Carlito made his WWE debut by defeating John Cena on his first night on the main roster, winning the United States Championship in the process. However, the Superstar endured a rough couple of years afterwards, and in 2007, he once again beat Cena who was the then WWE Champion on RAW, before facing Triple H at WWE Unforgiven.
Bruce Prichard, on his Something to Wrestle podcast was asked about Carlito’s start-stop push in the company, and what Vince McMahon thought about the Superstar.
“A lot of times it has to do with injuries”, said Prichard. “It just was utilizing what you had at the time and who’s healthy, and what could we do at the time. And some of it is also timing. The landscape dictates it, so if guys are injured and are nursing stuff, we got to pull people up from bullpen and you’ve got to do something with the guys that are healthy and ready to go at the time. To me, I always looked at Carlito as one of those guys you could plug-in anywhere, anytime. And it was time to plug him in.
“Vince liked Carlito. Vince was a big fan of his going all the way back? he loved his gimmick. It was one of his gimmicks that he helped come up with, the whole “Carlito Cool man, you’re not cool”, and spitting the apples. He loved the gimmick. And he liked Carlito, being a second generation wrestler. So it was somebody overall that he really liked. He enjoyed working with him.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.