WWE's Carlito Recalls Early Interactions With John Cena, Ripping Off Razor Ramon

When a debuting Carlito defeated John Cena for the WWE United States Championship in 2004, he was understandably the target of envy from his peers in the locker room. Thankfully for Carlito, Cena helped him navigate those choppy waters and earn the acceptance of his fellow wrestlers. Reflecting on those early years, Carlito remains grateful to Cena for easing him into the spotlight.

"To win a championship on my first night was crazy ... you had to deal with people in the back who were like, 'Oh, you're the next whatever' but I had dealt with it before and knew how to conduct myself," Carl explained to "Cheap Heat." "And Cena couldn't have been a greater partner; he helped me out a lot. I thought he was ribbing me because he was so nice to me during the day, and when we locked up ... that first kick to the stomach ... I was like, 'I see what's going on here.' But hey, he just hits that hard [laughs]."

Carlito's "Caribbean Cool" gimmick was based on him spitting a piece of apple "in the face of people who don't want to be cool." When asked about the origins of the character, Carlito conceded that he ripped off elements from a legendary gimmick. "If you notice, my vignettes were basically a rip off of Razor Ramon's old vignettes," Carlito said. "In one of those vignettes, he [Razor] spat something. So, in mine, I was at a fruit stand and the fruit vendor was asking me to pay for whatever, and I ended up spitting in his face. Vince [McMahon] was looking back at it ... 'I love it. I want you to keep doing that.' I never thought it was take off the way it did."