Former WWE and WWC star Carlito sat down with Chris Van Vliet in a recent live crowd interview. During the interview they discussed a variety of topics throughout Carlito’s career. While discussing his time in the WWE, Carlito recalled what moment in his career he gets asked the most about.
“The Cena stabbing, of course. They always ask that,” replied Carlito. “I think it turned out we didn’t stab him, something happened. I think somebody else did, I don’t know, I forgot how it all ended. I think that’s the main one, that one with Cena.
“Apparently I tried to kill John Cena. I think it was [my old bodyguard] Jesus that ended up trying to kill him? I don’t know, anyway, I ended up being innocent.”
He spoke more about it later during an audience Q and A, where a fan asked him how he felt making his debut against Cena. He admits to having been nervous, but talks being able to overcome them by having faith in himself.
“I was nervous for a little bit of course,” said Carlito. “Also, I like it when you have no choice. You have to go out there and perform. When you realized it’s like that, it kind of takes the pressure off you. It’s like, number one, I’m not going back to Puerto Rico, number 2, I’m not going to fail in front of a live audience. So, you just kind of lose those nerves and do what you do.”
Carlito also remembers Cena being really cool throughout the whole process, saying how Cena might have been too nice. He then recalls thinking Cena was ribbing him after the first shot of the match was stiff.
“He was really cool, he was actually too nice,” recalled Carlito. “It’s funny, I thought he ribbed me, I thought he was tricking me because, you know, you’ve met John, right? He’s just one of the nicest guys you’ll meet. And the first thing we do is we lock up, and he kicks me in the stomach. And I looked at him, and my stomach, and I couldn’t breathe.
“I was like ‘Oh okay, this must be a welcome to the big leagues type of thing.’ But no, it was just the way he was at first. When he first started he would just kill you. Since then, he’s gotten so much better, but those first couple of matches, and he was a big boy. When he hit you, he hit you.”
Carlito further touched on his debut against Cena for the United States Championship. Carlito spoke fondly about his debut and recalled the company keeping it a secret.
“Yeah, I don’t think you can ask for a better debut than that,” noted Carlito. “I [knew about the debut] a couple of days before. This was when they started the whole trying to keep stuff from everybody. Not even [just] the dirt sheets, but the boys too.”
Carlito then went on to recall a story from 2006’s New Year’s Revolution, where he participated in an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Heavyweight Championship. He recalled disagreeing with the finish that ended with Cena rolling up Carlito to end the match. Then suddenly after the match, Edge’s music hits.
“I remember, it was me and Cena at the end,” recalled Carlito. “[They said] ‘Yeah, then he’ll hit you with a rollup.’ I was like ‘Wait a minute, that’s not the way to end [it]. We’ve done all this [work].’ [They said] ‘No, it’s going to be cool. [I said] ‘No, I think we should do something else man.’ [They said] ‘No, no, no, let’s do that.’ I was like ‘Alright, if that’s what you guys want to do.’
“Sure enough, the rollup happens, 1-2-3. [Then hits] Edge’s music. I’m just looking at it [thinking] ‘Oh okay, I see. I see, now makes sense. Now, the rollup is actually the perfect kind of finish for what’s going to happen next.”
Edge would then go on to be the first person to cash-in the Money In The Bank title, thereby winning his first of 11 World Heavyweight titles. This event would go on to serve as a huge launch in the Rated R Superstar’s Hall of Fame career.
When reflecting on his own career, Carlito admits it was tough for him to keep building his momentum following his impressive 14 match undefeated streak after winning the United States title in his debut. He then noted he also received some resistance for getting such a big push in the first place.
“Yeah [it’s tough to keep building after a big debut],” admitted Carlito. “Not only that, people start looking at you like ‘Who’s this guy that they’re giving this big push to?’ You know what I mean? But I was always confident I could handle myself, I wasn’t worried about it too much. And also, my head didn’t get too big because I also knew ‘Okay, this is what everyone is thinking’.”
Carlito noted he knew that people were thinking he had a big ego. He notes he grew up in the business, so he had a sense of when there was trouble with the talent in the back.
“Oh yeah, I grew up in this,” stated Carlito. “You know, I can tell. I know the boys; I can tell what’s going on.”
Carlito then went on to discuss being paired with Hall of Famers Torrie Wilson and Trish Stratus. He admits that he didn’t like those angles because he always saw Carlito as more of a solo and single type. He also says that’s when he thinks things started going south for him.
“Yeah, I actually didn’t like any of that,” said a matter-of-fact Carlito. “That’s what, I think [when] things started going downhill. Carlito’s the guy that always talked about having all these girls but never got the girl. You know what I mean? And when he gets the girl it’s like, okay, that’s not him. You know what I mean? He’s a guy that brags about getting all these girls and these girls, you talk to them, and he does the worst things imaginable. They can’t stand him. But, I don’t know, they turned me into a ladies man for some reason.
“No, it was just the opposite [of my character]. Carlito wasn’t a ladies man. [Torrie Wilson and Trish Stratus] are great friends and stuff, but at the same time I’m thinking that ‘This isn’t the best thing for my character’.”
Carlito was then asked if there was anything he could really do about it at that point in his WWE career. He notes that he should have spoken up, but didn’t because he was a younger talent and reveals his philosophy at that time. It’s known that Carlito would later become disgruntled working for the WWE and would eventually ask for his release multiple times.
“No [there’s wasn’t anything I could do,” said Carlito. “Because you’re young and stuff. I should’ve spoken out more. But at that point I was just starting, but you know, at that point I was just starting. So, you keep your mouth shut and do what they tell you.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.