In one of the surprises during the 2021 Men’s Royal Rumble match on Sunday night, former WWE Intercontinental, WWE United State, and WWE Tag Team Champion “Caribbean Cool” Carlito made his return to a WWE ring for the first time since 2010, entering the Rumble at #8. It marks the first in-ring appearance from the Puerto Rican Superstar since a RAW Live Event in May of 2010 and his first televised match since a no-contest against his brother Primo on WWE Superstars earlier that same month. His last official appearance for WWE came in 2014 when he accompanied his father, Puerto Rican wrestling legend Carlos Colon, who was inducted into the 2014 WWE Hall of Class. He was more recently announced for a Legends Night on Raw this past January 4, but it was canceled just prior to the event.
— WWE (@WWE) February 1, 2021
Carlito was one of the biggest stars in his father’s World Wrestling Council (WWC) in Puerto Rico prior to joining WWE in 2003, where he was a 10x WWC Universal Heavyweight Champion. He signed with WWE in 2003 and worked in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) until his debut in 2004. Over the next six years, he won the WWE Intercontinental Championship, WWE United States Championship, and finally the WWE Tag Team titles alongside his brother Primo, before leaving in 2010. He returned to WWC in Puerto Rico, adding seven more WWC Universal Heavyweight title reigns to his resume, and appeared sporadically in various US indies.
According to a report from PWInsider prior to the Royal Rumble event, it appears that Carlito is also scheduled to be at Monday Night Raw the following day, but the report also states it may also be a tryout for Carlito to begin working as a backstage producer. It would follow up a seemingly annual tradition in WWE of former veterans returning to the company at Royal Rumble who end up working backstage as a producer, “The Hurricane” Shane Helms made his return at the 2018 Royal Rumble before becoming a WWE producer, and in 2019, Jeff Jarrett made his WWE return at the Royal Rumble, his first appearance in a WWE ring since losing to Chyna in 1999. Jarrett would also become a producer shortly after. In 2020, it was MVP who made his WWE return, his first WWE match since departing in 2010, and he too became a producer afterward – although he was quickly returned as an in-ring performer where he launched The Hurt Business.
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