Acrylic and spray on 24″ x 24″ wood
To paraphrase the immortal bard, Carlos Colon is not a businessman, he’s a business, man. Born in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico in 1948, he emigrated with his family to Brooklyn in 1961, where he developed his love for professional wrestling. He soon started training at the same gym that Antonino Rocca and Miguel Perez worked out at, and had his first match in 1966 against Bobo Brazil. He soon started working the eastern United States as well as Canada, before returning to Puerto Rico in 1973.
There he formed Capitol Sport Promotions, later known as the World Wrestling Council. With the WWC, he filled what he saw as a void in Puerto Rican wrestling, by building up local stars and also bringing in international names, drawing huge rabid crowds in the process. American stars like Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen and Abdullah the Butcher were mainstays of the territory. Between 1982 and 1999 Colon held the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship 26 times, with his most notable opponent being Abdullah the Butcher, who contributed to the majority of the 70 scars on Carlos’ forehead. On January 6, 1983 he defeated Ric Flair in a unification match between the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and his own WWC title. It’s said that he dropped the NWA title back to Flair a few days later, but the NWA does not recognize this title change. As with Antonio Inoki’s WWF title win, I think it’s fun when wrestling companies say, “That one wasn’t real,” because of backstage politics. He won it, he was booked to win it, so I’m recognizing him in the collection.
Colon officially retired in 2008, ending a career that spanned nearly half a century, although his legacy will live on. His sons Carly (Carlito) and Eddie (Primo), and nephew Orlando (Epico) are all stars in the business today, with Carlito having a run with WWE and now with the independent scene and WWC, and Primo and Epico in WWE now.
About the piece: I thought it’d be fun to mix in some Puerto Rican feel to the piece. Normally that would call for a pastel palette, but I wanted to change it up and show a beach sunset scene in the background. So I used spray paint to create the smooth gradations of color, then used a sponge brush and black house paint to make the silhouette of the palm tree. I then painted Carlos in with acrylics, matching the background colors, and then brought in the strips of yellow spray paint for balance.