Throwback to the Future
Carlito is potentially one of the WWE’s brightest, young superstars and at the end of the day we can only hope that Carlito has the success inside the ring that his fellow Puerto Rican and WWE Hall of Famer Pedro Morales had during his tenure in the WWE. However, that will be no small feat.
The similarities between Carlito and Morales go beyond their Puerto Rican roots. Both Morales and Carlito are less than six feet tall, and Pedro, in his prime, weighed about 230 pounds or less, much like Carlito. Morales did not win matches on size or power, even though Pedro was a deceivingly strong athlete. Morales was a great mat wrestler during his WWE tenure, which saw Pedro capture the WWE Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the World Tag Team Championship - the first man in WWE history to accomplish this impressive trifecta.
Morales also had the famous 76-minute draw with the legendary Bruno Sammartino in 1972 at Shea Stadium in New York for the then-WWWF Championship. These were the two most popular stars of their time competing against each other, which was unique for that time.
From watching tapes of Pedro in action, (I am a regular viewer and big fan of WWE 24/7) the one thing that stands out when watching his matches is the emotion and passion that Morales brought to the table. Especially in main event level matches, it always seemed that Pedro was able to “reach down” to seize a little extra when the situation called for it. This passion and enthusiasm was infectious. The fans, whether they were of Latino decent or not, could all relate to Morales’ passion, and it made it easy for all fans to support Pedro and make that all-important emotional investment in this special competitor.
Pedro Morales may not have had the flash or “coolness” of Carlito, but the native of Culebra Island had so much emotion packed into his compact frame that any fan who paid attention knew that Pedro would never quit or never “phone it in”. Morales’ fans always knew that win or lose, Pedro would always give them 100% effort, and if he lost, it would be in a blaze of glory and not without a helluva fight.
Carlito is more athletic than Morales. Carlito can execute a more diverse variety of offense than Pedro did in his day. At times, I have seen Carlito perform some amazing athletic maneuvers that few wrestlers would even attempt to do. The second generation wrestler, the son of the legendary Carlos Colon who was the undisputed wrestling King of the island of Puerto Rico, has all the physical tools to be one of the best ever in WWE. Youngsters that essentially grow up in the business have a distinct advantage over their peers more often than not when it comes to doing things naturally in the ring and for recognizing in-ring situations. It’s much like being a coach’s son.
Carlito has already won the Intercontinental and United States Championships since arriving in WWE. Are bigger things ahead for Carlito? I honestly think so. If Carlito can avoid any serious injuries and develop the pure passion that took Pedro Morales to stardom, and do it on a regular, day in and day out basis, there is no Championship that Carlito cannot win. However, the world is a different place than it was in 1959 when Pedro Morales made his in-ring debut. There were fewer distractions for an athlete then than there are today. Can Carlito, as a single young man who enjoys life, look through these distractions and focus on becoming the best wrestler in WWE, or is simply being “cool” going to satisfy this gifted young competitor?
My money is on more championships adorning the waist of Carlito in the near future. Now that would be cool.