Carlito has praised John Cena for being one of his 'biggest cheerleaders' during his time with WWE, saying he never expected to beat the then-United States champion on his debut in 2004.
Carlito famously pinned Cena to win the United States Title on his first night on Smackdown back in 2004 and, reflecting on that match, the 42-year-old admits he felt a lot of responsibility going into the clash.
The superstar was grateful for WWE and for Cena putting their faith in him with the win, saying the 16-time WWE Champion was always a big supporter of his as he developed in the company.
Speaking to Wrestling Inc, Carlito said: “I didn’t expect it at all. I felt a lot of responsibility, like a ‘don’t screw this up.’ It felt like such a long time ago, but it’s great. Of course you got one of the biggest stars, one of the biggest rising stars at the time, and to give me a push like that was great for me.
“He’s always been a giving guy. He’s always been one of my biggest cheerleaders. Of course, if he doesn’t agree with it then it doesn’t go down. So it was very gracious to him to allow a young kid to come in and do the honours for me.”