As reported earlier, Carlito ? real name Carlos Col?n ? was released from his WWE contract last Friday due to his first violation of the company’s Wellness Program and subsequent refusal to enter a rehabilitation facility. Company sources indicate Col?n did not actually fail a drug test. Rather, management felt he was “unfit to perform” after arriving to the Air Canada Centre for last week’s RAW taping. He was told he needed to enter rehab, but refused, denying he had a problem. Hence, officials felt they had no choice but to cut ties with him.

Regarding the problem in question, his father, Carlos Col?n, Sr., revealed in an interview with that his son was abusing painkillers. The elder Col?n said his son started using them recently in order to cure debilitating back pain, but his use had spiraled into abuse.

“I want to clarify that Carly was not suspended for using cocaine, or heroin or marijuana, but for abuse of painkillers, which is not unusual because they cause pain falls and blows, combined with the constant traveling,” Col?n, Sr. stated. “Carly started using one or two for his back pain, but it seems that the situation has become much more serious and needs help.”

He said his son’s lingering back pain was due to the execution of his finishing maneuver, ‘The Backstabber’ (double knee backbreaker), as he’s forced to endure the brunt of 200 to 300 pound wrestlers on his knees each time he utilizes the attack. He never sought medical attention for his back pain, and thus his reliance on painkillers increased.

The late Eddie Fatu (a/k/a Umaga) was similarly released by World Wrestling Entertainment last June after refusing to enter rehabilitation due to a perceived problem with painkillers. The combined effects of painkillers, tranquilizers and a muscle relaxant ultimately resulted in his death last December at the tender age of 36. The abuse of painkillers has triggered the passings of a number of wrestlers under the age of 50 including Test (33), Rick Rude (40), Brian Adams (44) and Louie Spicolli (27), among others.

Col?n reportedly asked WWE for his release three years ago due to frustration over the direction of his character, but was ultimately talked into staying. There was speculation at the time that he was bound for TNA. Considering he’s no longer affiliated to WWE, such speculation has once again resumed. According to sources inside TNA, there is said to be no interest in the ex-WWE star at this time. He is expected to resume working for his father’s Puerto Rican based Wrestling Council promotion, where he is an eleven-time Universal Heavyweight Champion.

Here are highlights from the Colon Sr. interview:

On what drug he was using: “I want to clarify that, contrary to internet and message board rumors, he did not tested positive for marihuana, cocaine, heroin or any of those drugs. He was tested because they suspected he was abusing painkillers and it proved to be true. Painkillers are somewhat of a necessary evil for pro wrestlers because of the pain and the constant travel. He started taking one or two when he broke his arm some years ago and then it seems he went out of control when he started having issues with his back. He needs help.”

On his firing: “He was offered an opportunity to go to rehab, but he refused because he doesn’t believe he has a problem or at least he feels it is not an issue. He was fired because he refused, even if this was his first violation of the Wellness Policy”.

On Carlito’s future: “His mom already left Puerto Rico for Houston (where Carlito lives) and she is going to spend some time with him. Eddie (Primo), Orlando (Tito Colon in FCW) and I are doing everything we can to pressure him into going to rehab and admit he has a problem. This is something that he needs to admit to himself and improve and get out of that situation. If he goes to rehab and successfully completes the program he would be reinstated, he would get his job back”.

On WWC Anniversary Show: “This situation hurts us because the main event was going to be Carlito against El Mesias. Now those plans are out of the window because if Carlito goes to rehab he can’t participate. We will find a suitable replacement. I have to put the health of my son ahead of any main event match or any show.”