Jim Ross has explained why he once made the difficult decision to release Eddie Guerrero from his WWE contract.
In May 2001, Guerrero was written off television and sent to rehab due to an addiction to pain medication. Ross, WWE's head of talent relations at the time, fired the popular superstar in November of the same year after he was arrested for drink-driving.
On his Grilling JR podcast, Ross was asked whether Guerrero's 2001 departure was the toughest talent release he ever had to give:
"It probably was because I saw greatness," Ross said. "I saw one of the greatest pro wrestlers in the world that we're about to lose if we don't get our arms around his problem. But in order for us to get our arms around his problem, he's gotta cooperate with us. He's gotta allow us to hug him. That's what we kept waiting on. So, yeah, that was probably the toughest because I had such an emotional investment in him." [1:37:23 – 1:37:48]
Guerrero returned to WWE in April 2002 after short spells with various promotions, including New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor. Two years later, he won the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar at No Way Out 2004.
Why Jim Ross fired Eddie Guerrero
Although Jim Ross did not want Eddie Guerrero to leave WWE, the veteran commentator felt he had no choice but to release the former WCW star.
Ross knew Guerrero's life would be in danger if he continued to take pain medication while wrestling for WWE:
"That's it, it's no simpler than that, Conrad [Grilling JR host Conrad Thompson]," Jim Ross continued. "That's exactly what my goal was. I said it here several times: my goal was to save Eddie's life and to get Eddie healthy. We knew what we had when he got healthy." [54:07 – 54:21]
Guerrero passed away on November 13, 2005, due to acute heart failure. He was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the following year.
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Please credit Grilling JR and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.