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The Legacy of the Radicals

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Here's an interesting topic. We have the Radicalz, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guererro, Dean Malenko, and Perry Saturn. So they were unhappy in WCW, tried desperately to get out of their contracts due to Kevin Sullivan taking off the booking duties. So they sucessfully get out, join the WWF and within a year WCW dies. Some say they were the backbone of WCW and once they left WCW was done for.


In the WWF, all four have so sub-par to moderate success. Saturn was a lower card guy, who I believe won the European title. They tried a bit to get Malenko over, but he eventually retired. Guererro was injured at first, got some good success as Latino Heat, then around 2001 got fired, but rehired in 2002. Benoit started off pretty strong got some IC title runs, got hurt, then came back in 2002.


In 2004, Saturn was gone from the WWE, Malenko became an agent, Benoit and Guererro explode with the benefit of the WWE backing and become World Champions at the same time with the peak being the hug after the Wrestlemania XX main event.


But, in 2005 Eddie passes away. Later on the WWE puts in place a "Wellness Program" shortly after he passes away. Some say it was put in place as a direct result of Eddie's passing.


In 2007, Benoit does the unthinkable and murders his wife, child and himself. He was linked to signature pharmacy and well, basically he single handed fucked up the WWE for a short time.


The legacy of these four men has certainly changed over the years. With that said, here are a few things to discuss.


Did them leaving really kill off WCW for good?


What is their legacy, even after the events of 2005 and 2007?


If they never joined the WWF in 2000, where would their careers be today?


Do you still look at the radicals ever the same again? Especially when you watch their early stuff right after the jumped ship and still look out of place and very WCW like.

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Funny thing, in spite of Benoit, is that 2007 was the highest grossing year in the history of the WWE. I'm sure those numbers are padded to a degree (there was no internet in 1987 and much less merchandise in 1998), but there you go.


I stopped watching wrestling for about 3 years after ECW folded. (Ironically, keep reading). So I didn't get to see much of Saturn as a Radical, but I recall a guy who got a pretty lousy gimmick, worked stiff with a jobber, and broke up a rape after wrestling.


I saw a bit of Dean Malenko's ECW and WCW stuff and was always impressed. I was surprised to hear of how poorly Bret spoke about him in his book.


Eddie Guerrero as a cheating face was an awesome character. I remember his ECW days, saw a bit of his WCW work, and loved his WWE days. What made his face character so awesome is echoed in his title win over Brock at NWO '04, when he went ballistic, celebrating with the fans and hugging his mom. I don't remember the actual match that well, but I'm sure he was crafty in it, and that strikes me as the essence of Eddie. If any of the Canadians here remember the recap show The Score did after Eddie passed, Josh Mathews' remembering of Eddie is probably the most quintessential description that springs to mind. To add to the irony column, my ex at the time of Eddie's death was as into wrestling as I am. She asked me the following Tuesday if I saw the Eddie tribute, and my answer was honest: I cried during the Benoit segment. She did too.

As sad and unexpected as it was, I don't think it was what made his legacy though. He had plenty of good matches and memorable moments, it wasn't his untimely death that made him a legend.


As far as Benoit? I'm probably one of the biggest bleeding hearts on the planet, but I have absolutely no sympathy for him, brain damage/roid rage or not. He killed his fucking son. Maybe I'm being unfair, since I've had a little trouble coming to terms with the fact that at 16 years old, I idolized him. I can appreciate good wrestling, and he was unquestionably one of the hardest-working and most skilled wrestlers I'll ever see. But after ECW went under, it was Chris Benoit's Rumble win and title win at WMXX that brought me back. Dozens of times, I compared it (along with Eddie joining him in the ring) to the BoSox World Series win that fall, or Phil Mickelson's Masters win four weeks later. But it's absolutely tainted now. I can still watch a match with him for a few minutes and appreciate the wrestling before I think "Hey, this guy killed his family...what the hell?" And then it's all downhill. The legacy of a profession, regardless of how much it dictated a person's memory, should not trump personality.


I'm pretty drunk, and this is still a pretty touchy subject for me (The incident on my Bday will likely be brought up in the Chocolate Socket in a few minutes). So, that's my thoughts on all of them individually. As far as the Radicals - I was only watching the WWE sporadically at that point, but I remember them making such an impact in their debut, being a part of the 10-man tag with a ridiculously hot crowd, but then kind of being split up and nothing from there.


The WCW was absolutely a sinking ship by Feb. 2000. This wasn't the final nail in the coffin, but it was close.

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If I was running the WWE at the time I probably wouldn't have signed those four guys if I had known in advance they'd be dead.

or at least released them in early 2005 so that we'd have the benefits of their glory years without being responsible for their deaths.

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I thought it would be interesting to sum each of the "Radicals" legacy up in one word.


Perry Saturn: Moppy


Eddie Guerrerro: Mustache


Chris Benoit: Woman


Dean Malenko: Oompa-Loompa

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