Star Roger: Getting Out of the Shadow of Carlos Colon

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It’s been said that every person that is born in Puerto Rico has a genetic code that made him/her feel attracted to cheer for Puerto Rican Icon Carlos Colon. The small island has had his share of great wrestlers, from the old WWWF with Pedro Morales and Miguel Perez, to the WWE with Carlito. But for every good wrestler that the island has seen, nobody can touch the big admiration and love that Carlos Colon generated. The man alongside Victor Jovica (co-owner) and Capitol Sport Promotion (now the WWC), helped shape the wrestling landscape in Puerto Rico, starting in the late 70s to the tail end of the 80s. Carlos did it big, Baseball Stadiums packed, weekly tv doing big ratings and people buying like freaks to see their hero beat some old American heel that insulted the island. It was that frenetic era that made a little boy from a poor neighborhood fall in love with Pro Wrestling.

Carlos Colon, Photo: WWC

Roger Diaz lived those moments, and while some people just wanted to be spectators, he in the other hand wanted to be in the action. Star Roger started his wrestling career as Carlitos, as an assistant for K.C. James in the International Wrestling Association (IWA PR). It was basically a parody; the name was for IWA’s competition WWC. The name Carlitos was as similar as the recent WWE United States Champion and son of Carlos Colon, Carlito. In this time, WWC and IWA fought for supremacy in Puerto Rico. This gimmick would usually see Roger being humiliated for being black or for basically looking like a Puerto Rican farmer. This in 2005 look a little outdated and stupid because of its purpose, but somehow Roger (Carlitos) made it work.

Star Roger started to compete in the Jr. division and he became quickly a fan favorite. It was so obvious that the gimmick wouldn’t overshadow his natural ability. Sensacional started to rank up wins and titles, for 2008 he was one of the most over guys in a company that was hurting. Roger (Carlitos at the time) would made the jump to WWC, an irony considering that the only Carlos or Carlito that got over was the Colons and not him. But this didn’t stop him, he would fight against the tides, with him getting great reactions, to a point that the historic Puerto Rican Championship had to be given to him.  He was the best worker, with no doubt, but something kept him for getting his push.

Roger seemed always destine to be the main guy, but to Colon or Victor Jovica, he was never the guy, for a long time in WWC, the man was cursed to stay in the mid-card and be content with being regular guy that the fans liked. He had 2 choices, stay there and be happy for wrestling in the biggest promotion in Puerto Rico and alongside his Idol and Hero, Carlos Colon, or move to new waters.

Photo: WWC

At the time, a new project came along. The World Wrestling League promised to be the alternative to WWC and take the place of the extinct IWA. The company was headed by a very wealthy guy and had the best names that money could get. WWL was responsible for bringing back an old WWC name that had created his own legacy in Chicago and Japan. That was John Yurnet aka. Mr.450. The man, like Roger, was disgruntled with WWC’s management and went to the states to grow. He had already created a name in All Japan Pro Wrestling, so when he came to Puerto Rico, he was another wrestler. 450’s name is here because of how both men had casually landed in the new project. Both would create magic and both would change the legacy of Puerto Rican Wrestling.

Star Roger tore the house down with 450, with al kinds of matches being the obvious picks for Match of the Year. For 2 straight years, they had the hottest matches. He was obvious to be the guy, and so did 450. Even WWE looked at both guys and were impressed, but only 450 got the call. Not only did 450 got the call, but he became WWC Universal Championship (WWC’s greatest accolade).

For Roger, he never captured the championship, even though he was in those same epics matches. He was still the knock-off version of the biggest wrestler in Puerto Rico and someone that only had noise in the island. By these moment anybody would have quit, but not the Sensatonal One. In 2016, Sensacional Carlitos (Roger’s name at the time) would test waters again, but this time it was with a relatively small promotion.

The Caribbean Wrestling Association was small, compared to WWL or WWC, but it was consistent. The promotion always felt that it needed a marquee guy, that the fans would identify quickly. Both situations came together and Sensacional Carlitos was their top guy, but for that he had to prove himself.

In front of him… former Ring of Honor World Champion and then CWA Champion, Jay Lethal. Lethal had beat Dennis Rivera (Savio Vega’s brother) for the title and was in a hiatus after becoming champion. His first defense would come in the form of the guy that never was seemed a the chosen one or the “guy”.  This, for a big company in the island seemed unrealistic, how the parody of the Colon family be the top guy?

Carlitos and Lethal would tore the house down, in what was deemed 2016 Match of the Year in Puerto Rico. For the first time, Carlitos was the top guy, holding the biggest price in the company. Many would say that this is a minimum move, given CWA is only the third best company in Puerto Rico, but for Carlitos, it was something else. This was the proof that there was something else, that he wasn’t only a parody of his idol’s family.

Everything seemed in his place, but, just one thing remained… his name. The man that grew up watching Carlos Colon create a legacy, knew, that no matter what he would do, his name would be a constant reminder of his roots and what it represented. Roger Diaz (Carlitos) knew that, to create a legacy, you can’t live off past replicas. He would change his name for Roger Star and know is on the path to become a legend and not an ordinary wrestler.

Carlitos now in the summer has the biggest championship streak of any company in Puerto Rico, with 7-straight defenses and 175 days as champion. As I write this, Roger is in the path to have a one year reign (365 days) and be the greatest champion since 1994, when Carlos Colon hold the Universal Championship for more than 400 days. In a change of scenery and identity, Roger could build, destroy and in 2017, be reborn.

Photo: CWA

 

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Emmanuel Figueroa Rosado is a young writer out of Puerto Rico. He’s been writing about Pro Wrestling for about a year now, with mostly focusing in Puerto Rican Wrestling. He also writes for a Digital Magazine called “Impacto Estelar” and, just recently, started his own weekly Spanish newsletter, El Impacto Semanal (The Weekly Impact). He is a 24-year-old from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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