Historical Perspective: WWC Universal Title 2000-2005
In our last article, at the end of the millennium, Carlos Colon was the Universal Champion as his son Carly Colon, who went on to become Carlito Caribbean Cool, began his wrestling training and introduction to the wrestling public.
In January 2000, Carlito’s in ring career would begin during the Three Kings Day Tour, where he defeated El Exotico, a career lower midcarder who went on to become El Paparazzi in IWA soon after. In the final night of the tour, Rey Gonzales defeated Carlos Colon to win the Universal Title for the 10th time. The stage was set for his eventual match with the son of the legend.
For two weeks, Carly took out almost the entire midcard and upper midcard heel roster on his way to the Universal Title. I have to admit that the decision to put him into a main event role sop soon was premature, but even green as he was, he had the crowd on the palm of his hand and his skills where showing promise. One of the reasons he became so good near the end of his WWC run was because of the many matches with Rey, who was Puerto Rico’s version of Kurt Angle, capable of carrying anyone to a good match, a great master of psychology, who I believed inspired part of the cockiness you see in Carlito’s character today. On January 29 2000 in Carolina, Carly would win his first Universal Title and inspire a celebration with the fans like no other. Fans where all over him as the face locker room raised him on their shoulders in celebration.
But as you guess, the feud is far from over, it was just getting started. Rey started to bring in the Colon Family’s biggest enemies of all time to side with him. This few months saw the returns of the 50 year old, albeit in great physical shape, Hercules Ayala and Colon’s worse nightmare, Bronco #1!! They all sided with Rey in an alliance to put an end to Carly, Carlos and his young upstart brother, Eddie.
It was with Bronco’s help that Rey Gonzales won his 11th Universal Title on February 19th 2000 in Carolina. Rey retained the title for a decent run, specially with Carly busy with Ayala and Bronco. But after those opponents where down, Rey had nowhere else to go and a match with Carly for the title was signed for July 16 at the Anniversary Show. Like all Anniversary events, it ended on a positive note with Carly becoming Universal Champion for the second time. Bronco #1 costed Rey the match by accident and this led to Bronco’s face turn and feud with Rey.
But someone needed to feud with the young Colon and that’s how Curt Henning came to Puerto Rico, on behalf of Rey Gonzales. Henning would capture the Universal Title on September 30 2000, with the belt being held up on October 4 after a time limit draw and Carly finally winning it back on November 25 2000 in a “No DQ, No Time Limit, there must be a winner” match. This series of matches are considered among Carly’s best, going from Rey to Henning, two great teachers in the arts of psychology and mat techniques.
Meanwhile, Rey was engaged on a feud with another of the men he betrayed, Hercules Ayala, and to stop Carly he brought in another man from the states in “martial artist” Jerry Flynn. Flynn was never a good worker, but Carly was good enough to carry him to a decent series of bouts, with Flynn winning the Universal Title on February 17 2001, after several failed attempts.
Carly and Rey went back at it as Bronco #1 stepped up to become the transitional champion. Bronco was getting huge pops since turning face and was chosen for a short run at the top with the purpose of putting the belt back on Rey Gonzales. Bronco defeated Flynn on March 3 2001 and lost the belt to Rey in a much hyped match on March 31.
But instead of going back to Carly at once, WWC went for the slow burn by having Carly and brother Eddie engage on a feud with Thunder and Lightning, Rey’s “Heavy Artillery” and reigning tag team champions. It was up to Super Gladiador, a guy with a steroid built body, to be Rey’s next challenger. It became innocently enough, with Rey kicking Gladiador out of his stable for being a loser, this after Gladiador lost his mask to Black Boy of all people, who was nothing short of a glorified jobber at that point(although things would change later). Gladiador would try to go after Rey right off the bat and score a surprising non-title match victory. This set up a much hyped match for the Universal Title(and MADE Gladiador’s career), in which both men went toe to toe for a time limit draw and the belt was held up. Rey would regain the title and become a 13th time Universal Champion on July 7 2001.
This once again allowed WWC to program a huge main event for the Season Finale show of 2001 on December 1 2001, between Carly and Rey in which Carly won the Universal Title for the 4th time.
Another foreigner would be Carly’s challenger for the beginning of 2002 in the person of Vampiro. After several matches that ended in DQ wins for Carly, Vampiro won the Universal Title in April after his trademark “Nail in the Coffin” in a No DQ match. In the rematch, the title was held up after both men where disqualified for attacking the ref. The final match in the feud in Fajardo, culminated with Carly winning his 5th Universal Title.
Then it came Konnan. Konnan and Carly where playing the “big buddies” angle and soon after Konnan put his eyes on Stacy, Carly’s sister. The angle played wonderfully, with Konnan doing everything to gained the Colon’s family respect. Finally he asked the Colon family for Stacy’s hand and Carlos agreed! The very next week he staged a celebration for the fans and for the Colon Family by bringing in trademark stuff from Mexico for them. Mariachis and stuff. Then he desired to give Carlos a gift, a typical Mexican guitar, custom made for him! But then to everyone’s shock, he bonked Stacy with it!! And bloodied Carlos with the remains! Carly was enraged to say the least.
He revealed this to have been a plan to get Carly out of focus and it worked. Carly, blinded by rage, lost his concentration and the Universal Title to Konnan on November 2 in San Sebastian, the Colon’s family hometown!! He was not so lucky in the rematch, with Carly doing an absolute ass kicking party on Konnan and coming out the winner of his 6th Universal Title on November 23.
By this point Rey Gonzales was already gone to IWA and WWC lacked a strong heel to work with Carly. So they dug another dinosaur and brought in Chicky Starr, one of the most over heels of all time and a living legend. Starr had left IWA on bad terms and received a push to the top upon arrival. Starr, always known as a master of cheating, won the title on January 11 2003 by using a set of brass knucks. Ironic that this was Starr’s first Universal Title considering how over he had been and for how long, considered the WWC’s version of Roddy Piper. However, this would be just a short run to have the fans buzzing and Carly would capture his 7th Universal Title on February 1 2001.
Then came Sabu and Carly’s bloodiest matches. Another import brought in to have a short program and continue moving the company until they had somebody else for an extended program. Sabu would win the Universal Title on March 15 2003, but Carly would win the decisive rematch on March 31 for his 8th Universal Title.
And thus…the decline. Carly signed with the WWE short after this and the belt was vacated during an intense and emotional promo on TV. Carly left for OVW and WWC almost went down.
A tournament was scheduled with Eddie Colon being the early favorite. IWA was riding high and most of WWC’s top talent and even some of their more popular imports like Vampiro and Konnan where working for them. It was up to WWC to create new talent, something they where not used to do, since they rode the Colon name for all their existence. It would have been easy to put Eddie on top and try to see if lightning stroke for a third time, but WWC had the guts to go a different route and try something new. During the build-up, the team of Thunder and Lightning split up when Lightning turned heel, using a real life affair he had with heel manager Tigresa as the motives. The feud between the two former tag teammates would build interest going into the tournament. The tournament where just four matches and the final two where Lightning and Eddie Colon. Everybody expected Eddie to win, but Lightning shock the world by defeating the “Wonder Boy” and winning his only Universal Title.
The idea was to ride the Thunder and Lightning feud at the top of the card until someone was ready. While this went on, they ran an angle in which there was a mole inside the faces locker room. The mole turned out to be Black Boy, perennial jobber, who became Dominican Boy and Bronco #1’s student. They took time in building him up by having him feud with Eddie Colon over the Puerto Rican Title and losing his mask in the process. The result became El Diamante and he became incredibly over in a short time. The Thunder and Lightning feud was halted when the team asked management to be put back together and they had their former manager and trainer Isaac Rosario come out and stop them from brawling, which led to a reunion and face turn for Lightning. The reason why T & L wanted to be put back together? They had an offer from IWA on the table. El Diamante would win the Universal Title from Lightning on September 13 2003 and less than three months later, T & L would show up on IWA. Meanwhile, Carly came back on loan from the WWE for the Christmas events and defeated Diamante(who was also leaving) for his 9th and final(for the foreseeable future) Universal Title.
Since his loan was until early January, Abdullah the Butcher came back to the island and won the title from him on January 3 2004. But Abdullah rarely came over to defend the belt, only a handful of times in his almost 8 month long title reign. WWC was going nowhere fast for the last two years and it was the time to try what always works….a Colon at the top.
The WWC Universal Title was vacated September 11 2004 when Abdullah the Butcher could not defend the belt due to an “injury”. A tournament was held on September 25 2004 to crown a new champion.
In the first round Huracan Castillo Jr defeated Big Vito, Abyss defeated Jungle Jim Steele, Bronco #1 defeated Angel Rodriguez and El Nene defeated David Young. The semis had Huracan Castillo Jr beating Abyss by DQ and Bronco defeating El Nene buy cheating. The finals had Bronco beating Castillo cleanly for his 3rd Universal Title. WWC was wise to keep Eddie out of the tournament, since it would make his win predictable. Instead, they had Eddie win a #1 Contender’s Battle Royale the next week and had Eddie defeat Bronco for his first Universal Title on November 6 2004.
Eddie went over Bronco several times, over Abyss, Jungle Jim Steele and even Abdullah the Butcher in a very short time in order to put him over as credible. The title was held up in the Season Finale show in December in a match aganist Titus(Ryan Wilson in a character he would use for a short time in TNA) and the eventual rematch had Eddie win it back on January 6 2005 in the Three Kings Day Tour.
A returning heel would prove to be Eddie’s best feud as Universal Champion(I still say that his best feuds in his career came as Puerto Rican Champion and Junior Heavyweight Champion) against El Diamante. Diamante won the Universal Title for the second time on May 28 2005 and Eddie was forced to chase, with Diamante doing every heel trick to find ways to sneak out with the title around his waist. Eddie would finally end the feud and win his 3rd and last Universal Championship(at least until this very day) when he defeated Diamante in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match. Diamante was gone to the NWS soon after.
This feud began the rise of WWC as they started to beat IWA in the ratings. In came Bryan, who became Puerto Rican Champion on his first match and soon after was main eventing. He took the Universal Title from Eddie in early September and went on to feud with Bronco #1. Soon after that, WWC began a working agreement with NWS and that brought Puerto Rico’s hottest act and the #1 guy in the island today(edging Rey Gonzales by a hair), Shane the Glammour Boy. He defeated Bryan at the 32nd Anniversary Show on November 6 2005 in Mayaguez.
As this article comes to a close, Shane still holds the Universal Title and everyone is waiting to see when the Shane-Eddie one on one dream match will happen.
WWC Universal Champions: (in order by amount of titles won)
Carlos Colon- 26 times
Rey Gonzales- 13 times
Carly Colon(Carlito Cool)- 9 times
Abdullah the Butcher- 4 times
Bronco #1- 3 times
Hercules Ayala- 3 times
Eddie Colon- 3 times
Invader #1- 2 times
Shane the Glammour Boy- 2 times
Ronnie Garvin- 2 times
El Nene – 2 times
El Diamante- 2 times
Dory Funk Jr
“Sadistic” Steve Strong
Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Huracan Castillo Jr