This past June 24, the World Wrestling Council from Puerto Rico celebrated its 50th anniversary. You might know it as Carlos Colon and Victor Jovica’s promotion in Puerto Rico. As a wrestling fan, you probably have experienced videos of very violent matches between Carlos Colón, Abdullah the Butcher, Chiky Starr, and Invader #1. It was a very important territory in the past. Think of any wrestler from the NWA and the territory era who probably had a run in Puerto Rico. It’s been 50 years now, and times have indeed changed.
The days of very violent matches and packed arenas have been over for a while. Local wrestling in Puerto Rico has not been significant in years. After the Bruiser Brody incident, the territory died. There was a small boom in the early 2000s thanks to the IWA PR and WWC war, but it died again. Pro wrestling in Puerto Rico has been limping along, with small promotions coming and going quickly, so it’s even more impressive that WWC has been alive this long. WWC has been alive so long that it has one of the longest-running programs in Puerto Rican television history, “Las Superestrellas de la Lucha Libre,” which runs every Saturday and Sunday.
While I respect the company’s existence, and the 50th anniversary is indeed an achievement, their celebration was one of the worst shows I have seen in years, and I was there live. I can’t even imagine my reaction watching it on TV, where it was broadcast through FITE TV. I don’t know who would watch this on TV and go, “I would like more Puerto Rican wrestling in my life.” It was a show full of the same match structure, cameos that nobody under 30 would know, bad matches, a celebrity main event that left a lot to be desired, and Carlito having a performance that I wondered why he even bothered to show up. This is the template on how not to run a big show.
The show started with an unaired pre-show that pumped people up. The preshow started around 5:15 pm and ended at around 6:30 pm. Then the fans, who were ready for the action, had to wait until 8 pm for the official show to start. This was mind-blowing to me, especially since it was a pre-show that I saw announced the same day of the show, unless it was announced on TV the day before. I don’t watch the weekly show, but social media was not current with the start time. Still, even if I just did not see it, why would you turn on the crowd and then make it wait for an hour and a half? Why not move the preshow to at least end 20 minutes before the official show?
The reputation of Puerto Rican fans is that they love their violence and action. So, of course, this show started its broadcast with a 20-minute promo instead of a match. It was an opening segment that, unless you were over 35 years old, you probably would not know what was happening.
It started with the special guest, a comedy character named Vitin, played by legendary Puerto Rican comedian Sunshine Logroño. Vitin was one of the most famous characters that he played in the 90s and 2000s. The concept of the character is that he is a very closeted gay man that runs a gym, and he always had famous men and athletes visit it, and hilariousness and double entendres ensued. They actually ran pro wrestling angles on this comedic segment.
Here is an example of it.:
This is the part where I tell you that the character and segment has not been on TV easily since 2009. So to start the anniversary, we got a lame duck segment instead of a match to promote Ray Gonzalez vs. Eddie Colón (Primo in WWE) later in the night.
After the never-ending segment was finally over, the bell rang.
I won’t even bother going match by match since, aside from the first two matches, all of the matches followed the same format: shine from the baby, heel cheats, distraction, ref bump, weapon, and finish. When I go to a local Puerto Rican show, I’m not expecting NJPW. I know what I’m getting. But I don’t know who is agenting these matches because they were exactly the same. The most dangerous job in pro wrestling is being a referee in the WWC since every referee was knocked out. Even the guest referees. All I ask is for there to be variety in my pro wrestling. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. You can have a face vs. face match, maybe one match has a distraction and another has weapons, but it was the same exact structure the whole damn time. Also, none of the matches lasted more than 10 minutes. They were so samey that they even shared the short match time.
The top matches were just bad.
Eddie Colón (Primo in WWE) wrestled “Mr. Rayting” Ray Gonzalez to determine the Director of Operations of WWC, if you care about that shit. This was a match where Eddie had to slow down since Gonzalez is not at his prime anymore, and they wrestled a sub-10-minute match where they sold like they were Kenny Omega and Will Ospreay at the 30-minute mark of their Forbidden Door match. This match had El Profe as a special guest referee and Hugo Savinovich as the enforcer outside. Since El Profe was doing slow counts for Gonzalez and fast counts for Eddie, Hugo intervened and beat up El Profe for the biggest pop of the night. Gonzalez pinned Eddie, Hugo counted, and then El Profe challenged Hugo Savinovich to a match next month in Puerto Rico. Hugo accepted. It won’t be broadcasted live, and after this review, I don’t think I’ll be invited to a WWC show, so I guess you won’t know who won that match until it airs on a Saturday or Sunday; if you care about it.
Carlito wrestled WWC Universal Champion Intelecto Cinco Estrellas in an awful short match. Carlito wrestled like a man that clearly is going to the greener pastures of WWE, so he barely did anything. He was wrestling like he did not want any type of accident preventing his return. The only reason he is probably going back to WWE is because of the reaction of Puerto Rican fans at Backlash, so I could not fathom that instead of having a good match, he just decided to be as lazy as possible for his last local match in a while. I think he barely sweated. The champion pinned him, and the fans chanted “Claje de mierda” (Piece of shit) at the match after the bell rang. Carlito saluted the fans, and they applauded. Good luck in WWE, Carlito, if the rumors are true.
Then we had the main event: Chiky Starr vs. Gallo the Producer. This will need some explanation.
Chiky Starr is a legend in Puerto Rico. He was good in the ring, and he has the gift of gab. He’s the best talker in Puerto Rican pro wrestling history, his promos are very famous and entertaining as hell. Chiky Starr was HATED by everyone, so much that in the 80s, he needed a police escort to leave the buildings. He is so famous that he became part of the Puerto Rican slang. There is a phrase that goes “No bregues Chiky Starr” (Don’t be such a Chiky Starr), which means “Don’t be an asshole.” He was such a famous asshole that his name became the verb for asshole. Obviously, time heals all wounds, and everyone loves the asshole now.
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Gallo the Producer is an influencer. Supposedly he produces music, Google says he does, but I can’t point to a single song of his or an artist produced by him. All he is really known for is for getting people mad online by talking shit about other influencers and boxers. Gallo became an online sensation by being annoying as fuck, being on podcasts that wanted the clout of the crazy man, and eventually became a celebrity boxer. WWC hired this man with the personality of a wet towel to wrestle one of the most beloved legends and move some tickets and PPV numbers. The problem? Gallo the Producer was like a deer in headlights in the ring and Chiky is 65 years old.
What followed was an abomination of a match. Normally when you do a celebrity match, you put the celebrity with a young and safe professional and put up a lot of smoke and mirrors. Well, they decided that the only smoke and mirrors needed was a ref bump, a distraction, and a weapon (like all the matches). There weren’t any fun run-ins, or fun spots, just a slow-ass match with a 65-year-old man trying to power through with his charisma with the celebrity confused as shit in the ring. Chiky Starr hit him with his bat to mercifully end this in, again, less than 10 minutes. At least the short match time was warranted.
I’ll talk about positive stuff.
The tag team called Thunder and Lighting, two masked men who have been going for years, had their last match at this show and unmasked to say goodbye to the fans in an emotional moment. The Dominican wrestler El Bronco is so fun and charismatic that you can’t help but love him.
But still, between the awful top matches, the rest being the same structure with the exception of the first match, a long Raw-like segment to start the show with an old comedy character, lazy Carlito, a bad weapons battle royale that people barely paid attention to, and a segment where two men dressed as Carlos Colón and Abdullah the Butcher imitated one of their famous matches (really, this happened), this show was just bad. The oldest company bet its 50 anniversary on a celebrity and old faces, and nostalgia was not enough to make this show entertaining.
I applaud WWC for surviving. They have been not only through economic downturns and low attendance, but also they are based on an island that has been in a massive recession since probably 2006, had the worst hurricane in its recorded history in 2017, earthquakes in January 2020, and a pandemic, all events that would have killed off financially any wrestling company, and here they are, still alive. Still doing wrestling shows, still on TV, the only one that has lasted. I don’t care if I’m corny here, but this company is as resilient as the people living on this island.
Friends from other countries, knowing what happens here, alongside the weekly power outages, ask me: “How can you keep doing it? Living there sounds hard.” Well, it fucking is, trust me. I don’t know how I do it. Yet I’m still here; the people are here fighting every day, and WWC is somehow still here. An awful show can’t take that away from them.