9. Eddie Guerrero - PPV Box Office Decline, Pressure Of Being Champion
It was a dream come true for Eddie Guerrero when he won the WWE championship in 2004 ... but it quickly turned into a nightmare. The killer stat is this - 450,000 PPV buys achieved for No Way Out 2003 compared to just 265,000 buys for No Way Out 2004 built around Guerrero and culminating in his title victory. The pressure of being champion was something that Guerrero could not cope with. This was exacerbated by a depleted Smackdown roster that saw Kurt Angle out injured and Brock Lesnar leaving the company. Having to carry the entire brand on his shoulders, Eddie felt very uneasy. It got to the point he went to Vince McMahon and asked for the title to be taken off of him. When JBL eventually captured the championship, Guerrero later spoke of his "relief". What was it about being Champion that Guerrero struggled so much with? It wasn't really the championship, it was the responsibility. TV ratings were creeping down, and given the limited star power on Smackdown, Guerrero was the only man who could be blamed. Guerrero felt like it was his fault. It perhaps was. It's hard to imagine the decline would have been as heavy if WWE could have kept Kurt Angle fit or retained Brock Lesnar. It was clear to see though, empty seats were increasing at house shows as fans didn't see much value in attending the Smackdown brand. It was around this time that fans stopped viewing Smackdown as an equal to Raw, the blue brand very much becoming the B show. Speaking to The Sun Newspaper in the UK, Guerrero admitted he had been a disaster as a drawing Champion - "It's a great responsibility being champion, as you're the one carrying the ball, and I found it very difficult. It was the first time I'd held the title and I don't think I was ready. I was ready to win the belt, but not for what lay ahead of me. I wasn't prepared mentally for what happens outside the ring - because I think that's where the real challenges lie. I was taking things like attendances and ratings very personally."