Here’s an induction that Wrestlecrappers have been demanding for years.
Maybe it’s because the key plot points took place off screen.
Maybe it’s because, like the time he got fired by the Anonymous Raw GM, it wasted a perfectly good excuse to never see John Cena in a wrestling ring again.
Or maybe it’s because it mirrored one of wrestling’s greatest real-life tragedies.
All I know is, this story line left viewers with such a bad taste in their mouths that they would have been forgiven for spitting it right back in Josh Mathews’s face.
It was October 2004, and John Cena had just emerged triumphant in a best-of-five series to regain his US Title, riding high on a wave of hometown support in Boston, and his first order of business as champion was to make fun of Michael Cole for admittedly no reason.
Who should arrive to interrupt the champ’s riffing and gay-baiting than the debuting Carlito…
…the apple-spitting Caribbean who made history as the only person to ever rip off Razor Ramon without ripping off Scarface.
If you’ll recall, Carlito’s obsession in those early days was with coolness, or at least the aspiration to coolness, famously declaring, “I spit in the face of people who don’t want to be cool.”
This, despite showing up to Smackdown looking like Justin Guarini had joined a Caribbean branch of the Mean Street Posse.
Carlito said that he had heard John Cena was the coolest guy in WWE…
…but that it would be even cooler if he took his US title.
That night, Carlito Caribbean Cool, as he was then known, did the unthinkable by dethroning John Cena in his very first title defense (with the help of the same steel chain Cena had used to win the title for the first time), in the process becoming the stupidest-named United States champion since Hugh G. Rection.
The bad news kept coming for Cena fans when Teddy Long informed a concerned Smackdown roster that John Cena would be out for months filming a movie.
Kidding! The bad news was that the movie was The Marine.
Kidding again! The bad news was that John Cena had been stabbed.
The Smackdown GM announced that, following a night club “may-lee” (which is how Teddy Long pronounced “mee-lay” ), the former champion had suffered “several puncture wounds” last Thursday night and was now struggling to save his kidney.
The whole locker room, heels and faces alike, was shocked, except for Carlito, who told Teddy Long that a thug like Cena had it coming.
This left Teddy Long very perplexed.
Obviously, Carlito was the prime suspect in the stabbing, with witnesses placing him at the same night club as Cena on the night of the stabbing. This created some unsettling parallels with the death of Frank “Bruiser Brody” Goodish.
In 1988, Brody was stabbed to death backstage in Puerto Rico by fellow wrestler José González, a crime allegedly covered up by Puerto Rican promoter/wrestler Carlos Colón.
But WWE wouldn’t go the direct route of having Carlito Caribbean Cool himself be the culprit.
Rumors have since spread that WWE, seeking realism in this stabbing angle, sought to sign New Jack to the publicly-traded company, despite the fact that I don’t even have to finish this sentence.
Instead, they brought in Aaron Aguilera, who was last seen in 2000 as Edge’s stand-in as part of The Conquistadors.
Carlito introduced Aguilera as his socio, Jesús.
Or, as WWE Network has rendered it, his sorcerer, Jesus.
Jesús would serve as Carlito’s very tall-looking bodyguard, dressed in hiked-up pants and suspenders.
All that was missing was a chihuahua, pinstripes, and platform shoes.
Given Jesús’s “shady past” and the accusations from Teddy Long that he too had been in the club the night Cena was stabbed, the story became even more tasteless in its resemblance to the Brody case:
Bruiser Brody had been stabbed by a Puerto Rican wrestler working for Carlos Colón, while John Cena had been stabbed by a Puerto Rican wrestler working for Carlito…
…real name, Carlos Colón, Jr.
After seven weeks of recovery and a struggle to save his kidney, John Cena returned at Survivor Series without a scratch on him…
…then promptly defeated Carlito on Smackdown to regain his US Title.
His celebration was short-lived, however, when Jesús punched him in the kidney with Cena’s own metal chain. This shelved Cena for a few more weeks until his triumphant return at Armageddon, where he would defend his US Title against the world’s tallest six-and-a-half-footer.
This time around, someone had figured out that maybe Cena should wear some gauze or something to sell his kayfabe life-threatening injury. Sure, it made no sense to wear a simple bandage to treat what was now an internal injury, but better late than never.
Cena beat Jesús in the street fight, retaining his US Title and vanquishing the injured street tough for good. At last, justice had been served, except for his stabbing case, which was never officially solved…
…just like the mystery of who broke Edge’s neck in 2003 and who attacked Natalya in 2015. Hmmm… that sounds like an idea for a listicle.