Last week, on AEW Dynamite Fight for the Fallen, Chris Jericho found himself in Chapter 2 of MJF‘s “5 Labours of Jericho.” On this night, he battled deathmatch veteran and former GCW World Champion Nick Gage in a match contested under no rules. Following a brutal encounter that involved everything from a pizza cutter to light tubes to a pane of glass, Jericho put down Gage with the Judas Effect. Post-match, an irate MJF took to the mic, deciding to take his rival on a trip down memory lane. On the November 13, 2019 episode of Dynamite, Jericho insinuated that even before MJF was born, “Le Champion” was beating up Juventud Guerrera on WCW Saturday Night. When MJF asked, “who the hell is Juvi,” Jericho told him to Google it. Through this seemingly innocent callback, MJF formulated Chapter 3. This week, for the first time in 15 years, “The Juice” returns to TNT.
Juventud Guerrera – What to Know
Early Days in Mexico and ECW
Born on November 23, 1974, the man who eventually found fame as Juventud Guerrera began his professional wrestling career in 1992. As the son of Fuerza Guerrera, who worked for major promotions in Mexico such as Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL), it almost seemed like a foregone conclusion that “Juvi” would become a wrestler as well. For the first few years of his career, Guerrera wrestled primarily for AAA, donning a mask like his father before him.
In February of 1996, Juventud Guerrera became exposed to American audiences through his brief stint in Extreme Championship Wrestling. Along with such names as Konnan and Rey Misterio Jr., Guerrera showcased lucha libre; this is a wrestling style characterized by colorful personas and fast-paced action. During this period, fans either seldom saw the style in question or were never exposed to it. That same year, Guerrera debuted for World Championship Wrestling. Keep in mind that, by this time, he was already a popular star in Mexico. For the World Wrestling Association, for example, Guerrera was a former WWA World Welterweight Champion, Tag Team Champion, Trios Champion, and 2x Lightweight Champion. As WCW brought more international talent into the fold, “Juvi’s” inclusion was a no-brainer.
Juventud Guerrera’s Leap to WCW
On August 26, 1996, Juventud Guerrera officially debuted on WCW Nitro, besting future Raven’s Flock member Billy Kidman. From there, Guerrera became a prominent competitor in the company’s cruiserweight division, which featured wrestlers up to 220 lbs. Not unlike lucha libre, WCW’s cruiserweight scene was built upon lightning-fast maneuvers and high-flying feats. In his first year in WCW, Guerrera routinely challenged World Cruiserweight titleholders Rey Mysterio Jr. and Dean Malenko. Guerrera even stepped up to World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal.
In the years that followed, Guerrera remained entrenched in the WCW cruiserweight division. It was in 1997 when he first locked horns with Chris Jericho in singles competition. Their feud led Guerrera to lose his trademark mask at SuperBrawl VIII in February of 1998. Guerrera would soon trade his mask for gold; later that August, at the WCW/nWo Road Wild event, Guerrera bested Jericho for his first WCW World Cruiserweight Championship. Guerrera would go on to successfully defend the title against names including Kaz Hayashi and Psychosis before dropping it to Kidman the following month. Ultimately, Guerrera became a 3x World Cruiserweight Champion in WCW.
In 1999, Guerrera joined The Filthy Animals, a group that consisted of such names as Kidman, Konnan, and Mysterio. As part of this group, Guerrera won the WCW World Tag Team Championship alongside Mysterio. However, in late 2000, Guerrera was released from the company following an incident during an Australia tour. The following year, WCW shut its doors.
The Lead-Up to World Wrestling Entertainment
Following his WCW departure, Juventud Guerrera wrestled internationally. He returned to AAA and CMLL in Mexico. Guerrera would also debut for other organizations such as Xtreme Pro Wrestling in Los Angeles, California and Pro Wrestling NOAH in Japan. Additionally, he made numerous appearances for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling during the early-to-mid 2000s. It was here where he competed in the World X Cup and Super X Cup tournaments. During the spring of 2005, Guerrera landed in WWE. However, he wouldn’t find fame in the company alone.
On June 23, alongside Psicosis and Super Crazy, Guerrera appeared on SmackDown. The trio interfered in a match between Paul London and Chavo Guerrero. Together, Guerrera, Psicosis, and Super Crazy became known as The Mexicools, riding to the ring on lawnmowers and parodying stereotypical views of Mexicans in the United States. As part of The Mexicools, Guerrera became a 2x WWE Cruiserweight Champion; between WWE and WCW, he was a 5x overall cruiserweight titleholder. By early 2006, Guerrera would be gone from WWE. This was due to his use of the 450 splash in a match with Kid Kash. Keep in mind, in an earlier match Guerrera had with London, the former executed the move, resulting in London suffering multiple facial bone fractures. WWE banned the maneuver following this incident.
The Return of Juventud Guerrera to AAA and Elsewhere
Not long after his WWE release, Juventud Guerrera returned to wrestle for AAA and other locations in Mexico. It was in AAA where he was most prominent, even forming The Mexican Powers along with Crazy Boy, Psicosis II, and other wrestlers in the company. With this new group, Guerrera won the Mexican National Atomicos Championship, a four-man title in AAA. Other promotions Guerrera appeared for included Nu-Wrestling Evolution in Spain, where he became the first, and only, NWE Cruiserweight Champion.
To this day, “The Juice” continues to wrestle regularly around the world. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, he was the focal point of Canadian Wrestling’s Elite‘s The Juice Is on the Loose tour. This tour began in early November of 2019. During this, Guerrera won the CWE Canadian Unified Junior Heavyweight Championship from Angel Dorado. Guerrera would hold the title throughout the tour, defending it on multiple occasions before dropping it to Jimmy Jacobs later that month. Most recently, Guerrera was announced for multiple upcoming independent shows. Specifically, these were Black Label Pro‘s 3 Cups Stuffed and Game Changer Wrestling’s Off the Rails and The Art of War Games events.
As stated earlier, Juventud Guerrero will make his AEW Dynamite debut against Chris Jericho this Wednesday. The stipulation of this encounter, per MJF, is that Jericho must hit a top rope maneuver to win. Given “Juvi’s” in-ring style, as well as mastery of lucha libre, such a task will be easier said than done. For longtime wrestling fans, Guerrera’s return to TNT will be nothing short of a nostalgia trip. For those that have never seen his work, keep your eyes on the action; you may just miss something otherwise.
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch AEW Dynamite Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TNT and AEW Dark: Elevation (Monday nights) and AEW: Dark (Tuesday nights) at 7 PM ET on YouTube.