Tracing Carlos Colon's WWE Hall of Fame Career

David Bixenspan@davidbixFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2014

Carlos Colon in the 1993 Royal Rumble match.
Carlos Colon in the 1993 Royal Rumble match.Credit: WWE.com

Last night at the WWE SmackDown/Main Event tapings in Little Rock, Ark., it was officially announced that Carlos Colon is the latest member of the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame.  To younger fans, he's best known as the father of Carlito (Carlos Jr./Carly) and Primo (Eddie) Colon (now Diego of Los Matadores) and the uncle of Epico (Orlando Colon, now Fernando of Los Matadores).  In Puerto Rico, though, they're best known for being his sons.

 The best comparison as far as a mainland American star would be Jerry Lawler in Memphis, Tenn.:

  • Both were the top babyface star for decades and became huge celebrities/cutural figures.
  • Both ended up as partners in their home promotions.
  • Both the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico and the Memphis promotion under various names did incredible TV ratings, even by the impressive standards of local wrestling shows.
  • Both were best known as bloody brawlers who dispatched a "who's who" of stars.

 The big differences are:

  • Colon owned his promotion from its inception (Lawler wasn't made a partner for several years).
  • WWC's biggest shows were much bigger than the ones run by the Memphis office drawing much bigger crowds to baseball stadiums.
  • Between better pay and arguably better connections (Gorilla Monsoon owned part of WWC while also serving as a co-owner of and later announcer/front-office worker in the WWF), the WWC became a destination for the biggest stars in wrestling, so Colon faced bigger stars in their primes.
  • Colon's promotion somehow still exists.

Colon actually started wrestling in the mainland United States in 1966 before moving back home in 1973 to start WWC (then Capitol Sports Promotions) with Victor Jovica.  As the top star of WWC, his trademark was wild, bloody brawling to the point that that the first thing most fans think of when hearing his name is that he has one of the worst scarred foreheads in wrestling history.

His most famous feud is most likely the one with fellow WWE Hall of Fame inductee Abdullah the Butcher.  Feuding on and off for decades, they were made for each other, spilling blood all over the island in crazy brawls and even taking the rivalry over to the mainland in a featured match at the first Starrcade in 1983.  

Twenty years later, they started up again as if they never stopped with a match at the WWC 30th anniversary show.  Colon also had a very memorable (and yes, bloody) feud when Hansen rarely made appearances outside of Japan.

In other pro wrestling Halls of Fame, like the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (which has the largest voting base, including the most voters who have worked in the wrestling business), there are two arguments that are usually used against voting for Colon:

  1. He was only a star in one territory, and some voters favor (inter)national stars even if the local star was so successful he never had to leave.
  2. The belief that in some way, WWC kept justice from being done when Frank "Bruiser Brody" Goodish was killed by Jose "Invader I" Gonzales (that isn't in dispute, only the circumstances are, as Gonzales claimed he was defending himself, according to a Ric Russo Orlando Sentinel article in 2000) in one of their locker rooms.

With regard to Brody's death, there's a lot of conjecture, and while there were definitely some shady situations around the trial, like Wayne Keown (Zeb Colter/Dutch Mantell) getting his subpoena after the trial ended, there's no substantive proof that Colon, Jovica or anyone else from the wrestling office had anything to do with it.  

Still, Invader was pushed heavily as a babyface leading into the trial in a territory where the fans believed enough to be more violent to the heels than in most regions, and some have argued this was done intentionally to sway the trial.  

Colon stuck to the basic facts when commenting in 2000 for the Orlando Sentinel article.  "People write and say garbage about me and what happened all the time. I just ignore that stuff.  Gonzalez was arrested, tried by a jury in a courtroom and acquitted. What else is there to say about it?"

Dave Meltzer, the editor of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter and a friend of Brody, noted the renewed push of Gonzalez when asked about a comparison of the case with the grand jury investigation into the 1983 death of Jimmy Snuka's girlfriend, Nancy Argentino:

@mmaencyclopedia @DylanWaco @mattfarmer93 Big difference btwn that and weapon disappearing and babyfacing perpetrator b4 trial.

— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) March 12, 2014

There's also the counterargument that in pro wrestling or other sports and entertainment Halls of Fame, you're not creating a hall of good people, which Jim Cornette once cited on Twitter in a discussion about the Fabulous Moolah:

@davidbix @courtbauer That's why no sport has a "Hall of Nice People"

— Jim Cornette (@TheJimCornette) November 23, 2013

Because of the emotion surrounding Brody's death and how Colon could very well end up being the most controversial inductee in the history of the WWE Hall of Fame.  While his accomplishments make him a viable inductee to any pro wrestling Hall of Fame, Brody's death was under his watch, so even if one were to say he did nothing wrong after the fact, this could still get ugly.

David Bixenspan is also lead writer of Figure Four Weekly. Some of his work can be seen in Fighting Spirit Magazine.


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