Carlos Colon was announced as the newest inductee into the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame at this week’s SmackDown taping in Little Rock, Ark.
To current WWE fans he’s just a name from the past they have little to no knowledge of. Although he wrestled around the world Colon made his biggest impact in the Puerto Rico’s World Wrestling Council where he was the company’s top star and owner.
Colon’s career is comparable to that of fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, who was the top star and owner of the old Memphis wrestling territory. While Lawler dominated wrestling in a small region, Colon did so across a much broader geographic area. Colon’s biggest cards were held in stadium-sized venues during WWC’s heyday in the 1980s and many of the biggest stars of that era migrated to WWC at one time or another during their careers.
In addition to his contributions as a performer and promoter, Colon’s legacy lives on through his sons Carlos Jr. and Eddie, and nephew Orlando. Eddie and Orlando currently compete in WWE as the Los Matadores. Carlos Jr. competed there from 2004-2010 as Carlito.
Above all his accomplishments, Colon’s career is forever linked with the 1988 murder of Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish.
Brody, one of the biggest wrestling stars of the 1980s, was stabbed to death by Jose Gonzales during a backstage altercation at a WWC show. Gonzales was indicted on charges of first degree murder but was later acquitted. Several wrestlers, most notably Tony Atlas and Dutch Mantell (aka Zeb Colter) never testified despite being present on the night the murder occurred.
Not only was Colon a local legend, but he wielded considerable influence on the island. Some claim that he had evidence removed and threatened several witnesses who wanted to testify. Many of Brody’s close friends never worked again in WWC out of respect for his legacy.
I feel that Brody’s death should not be held against Colon’s legacy. While what happened was a tragedy and pushing an alleged murderer on top for years after looks terribly bad in hindsight, is what Colon did any worse than WWE owner Vince McMahon shamefully exploiting the death of Eddie Guerrero and Lawler’s near-tragic heart attack into television angles for cheap heat?
Colon deserves recognition for his longevity in the business and the impact he made in transforming Puerto Rico into a wrestling hotbed.