Some children get the opportunity to see what their parents do to earn a living. For Carlos Edwin Colon Jr., it meant seeing his father get "beat up" by other professional wrestlers night after night.
"One of my earliest wrestling memories is seeing my father wrestle Abdullah the Butcher [a 6-foot-3, 400-plus-pound wrestler], and his face covered in blood. After that first time, I got used to seeing my father that way when he wrestled Abdullah."
Witnessing such carnage did not deter young Carlos from following in his father's footsteps. These days, Carlos Jr. wrestles for World Wrestling Entertainment as Carlito (aka Carlito Caribbean Cool).
Since his arrival in the WWE in 2003, Carlito has worked for both the RAW and Smackdown brands. He has held several titles, including United States Championship, Intercontinental Championship and WWE Tag Championship, the latter he currently holds with his brother Eddie "Primo" Colon.
Carlito came to the WWE from Puerto Rico after four years wrestling for his father's World Wrestling Council organization. Carlito says that "working for my father was a good experience for me. But I felt like I was held back in Puerto Rico, so I jumped at the chance to come to the States and wrestle.
"When I came to the WWE, I actually had to tone down my wrestling style. In Puerto Rico, the wrestling is much more violent than it is here in the States."
When it came to creating the laid-back, smartass Carlito Caribbean Cool character, Carlos Jr. says that it was a combination of ideas from him and the WWE.
"They gave me some stuff about the character and I ran with it," Carlito recalls. "In one of the vignette videos they showed before my debut match, they had me spitting an apple in an old man's face because I didn't think he was 'cool.' And it took off from there."
Although he started his WWE career as a "heel" (bad guy), these days Carlito is working as a "face" (good guy). But Carlos Colon Jr. says that "everybody who knows Carlito knows that he is a heel at heart. I hope that I get to be a heel again."
The WWE Smackdown will be Jan. 27, 7:45 p.m. at Conseco Fieldhouse. Tickets are available at the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, all TicketMaster locations, by phone (317-239-5151) or www.ticketmaster.com.