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Pedro Morales
Ring name(s) Pedro Morales
Billed height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1][2]
Billed weight 235 lb (107 kg)[1] - 240 lb (110 kg)[2]
Born October 22, 1942 (1942-10-22) (age 67)[1]
Culebra, Puerto Rico[3]
Resides Central New Jersey
Trained by Barba Rojo[1]
Debut 1959[3]
Retired 1987

Pedro Morales (born October 22, 1942)[1] is a retired Puerto Rican professional wrestler. He began his wrestling career as a teenager in 1959 and continued through to the late 1980s. Morales was the first man in wrestling history to win all three major men's titles in the World Wrestling Federation: the WWWF Heavyweight Championship, the Intercontinental Championship and the WWF World Tag Team Championship.[4] Morales was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.

Contents

Career

Morales debuted in 1959 at the Sunnyside Gardens, beating Buddy Gilbert.[1] He wrestled on the West Coast during the 1960s,[2] taking on regional stars of the day such as Fred Blassie and The Destroyer, the latter from whom he took the World Wrestling Association's World Heavyweight Championship on March 12, 1965.[2] Morales lost the title on July 23 to "Crazy" Luke Graham,[2][5] but took it back from him on October 17.[1] He held the title for nine months before being defeated by Buddy Austin on August 5, 1966.[6] Morales then concentrated on tag team wrestling, co-holding the WWA tag belts four times during 1966-68, with four different partners: Luis Hernandez, Mark Lewin, Victor Rivera, and Ricky Romero.[1][2] During a stint in the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Morales held the Hawaiian U.S. title for two months in 1969.[7]

World Wide Wrestling Federation (1970-1973)

In 1970, Morales joined the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, now known as World Wrestling Entertainment) on the East Coast.[2] He won his first championship in the WWWF in January 1971, when he defeated Freddie Blassie in a tournament final for the WWWF United States Championship.[8]

As a fan favourite, Morales could not be expected to feud with fellow fan favorite Bruno Sammartino for his WWWF World Heavyweight Championship belt. Opportunity knocked on January 18, 1971 when Ivan Koloff ended Sammartino's seven-year reign.[4] Three weeks later, on February 8, Morales wrestled Koloff for the belt at Madison Square Garden and won the match to become the fourth Heavyweight Champion in WWWF history.[2][4][7][9] When he won the WWWF World Championship, the United States Championship became vacant.[8]

Morales proved to be a popular champion,[4][10] especially among New York's Puerto Rican community.[11] Like Sammartino before him, Morales was an ethnic champion.[9][11][12] He became known for his scientific wrestling ability and endurance, as well as a "fiery Latin temper" that emerged during matches. During his reign as champion, Morales feuded with the now-heel Freddie Blassie, who was the number one contender for his title.[13][14]

On September 1, 1972, however, he wrestled Bruno Sammartino in the main event of Showdown at Shea - it was the first WWWF title match to ever pit two fan favorites against each other.[3] After several near pins, the two men wrestled to a seventy-five minute draw.[2][15] After the match, the fans were noticeably angry, and some jumped into the dugouts to shake their fists at the wrestlers.[15]

During his reign, Morales worked an angle with the then-villain Larry Hennig.[16] After a title reign of almost three years, Morales dropped the title to Stan Stasiak on December 1, 1973.[2][7][17] He soon faded from the WWWF.

National Wrestling Alliance (1974-1980)

After leaving the WWWF, Morales wrestled for other promotions around the United States and Puerto Rico, including returns to NWA regions where he won more tag team gold with Pat Patterson and then Rocky Johnson.[7]

World Wrestling Federation (1980-1987)

In May 1980, Pedro staged a WWF comeback.[2] He added yet another title to his career on August 9 when he teamed with reigning Heavyweight champ Bob Backlund to defeat the tag team titleholders, the Wild Samoans, at the Showdown at Shea 1980.[2][18] Backlund and Morales quickly had to forfeit the belts, however, due to a rule stating that no Heavyweight champion could also hold a second title at the same time.[2][7]

The WWF Intercontinental Championship was now the only major men's title that Morales had never won in the promotion. On December 8, 1980, however, he became the first man to complete the federation's Triple Crown with a victory over Ken Patera at Madison Square Garden.[2][4][19] Morales feuded with "Magnificent" Don Muraco during 1981,[2] losing the belt to him on June 20 but reclaiming it on November 23.[20] With this win, Morales became the first man to hold the Intercontinental title twice, and he held it for fourteen months, the longest reign up until that point.[21] During his second reign, Morales defended the title against Don Muraco and "Superstar" Billy Graham.[2] It was Muraco, however, who ultimately ended Morales' second Intercontinental title reign on January 22, 1983.[7][21]

Morales never won another title and had reached an advanced stage in his career by the time of Vince McMahon Jr.'s national expansion of the WWF in the mid-1980s. He competed in the 1985 King of the Ring tournament, defeating Johnny Valiant and receiving a bye to advance to the third round before losing to Don Muraco.[22] The following year, he defeated Rudy Diamond, Mike Rotundo and Nikolai Volkoff before losing the final match to Harley Race.[23] Morales made his only WrestleMania appearance in 1986 when he was a part of a 20-man invitational battle royal at WrestleMania 2.[24] He wrestled in a WWF ring for the final time in late 1987.

Retirement

After retirement from the squared circle, Morales became a commentator for WWF's Spanish-language TV programming.[2] Pedro Morales was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in 1995.[3]

In wrestling

Championships and accomplishments

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Wrestler Profiles: Pedro Morales". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/p/pedro-morales.html. Retrieved 2007-10-02.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Steven Slagle (2002). "Hall of Fame: Pedro Morales". The Ring Chronicle. http://www.wrestlingmuseum.com/pages/bios/halloffame/moralesbio.html. Retrieved 2007-10-02.  
  3. ^ a b c d "WWE Hall of Fame: Pedro Morales". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/superstars/halloffame/pedromorales/bio/. Retrieved 2007-09-21.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Ivan Koloff's WWE Championship reign". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/wwechampionship/30445416. Retrieved 2007-10-01. "Pedro Morales [defeated] Ivan Koloff for the [WWF] Championship...Morales would also go on to become the first Triple Crown winner [upon winning] the Intercontinental Championship and World Tag Team Championship."  
  5. ^ "Wrestler Profiles: Luke Graham". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/l/luke-graham.html. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  6. ^ "Wrestler Profiles: Buddy Austin". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/profiles/b/buddy-austin.html. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories. Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.  
  8. ^ a b "History of the WWWF United States Heavyweight title". wrestling-titles.com. May 20, 2007. http://www.wrestling-titles.com/wwf/wwf-us-h.html. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  9. ^ a b Scott M. Beekman (2006). Ringside: A History of Professional Wrestling in America (p.105). Greenwood Press. ISBN 027598401X.  
  10. ^ Ross Davies (2001). Bruno Sammartino (p.72). The Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 0823934322.  
  11. ^ a b c Fred Blassie and Keith Elliot Greenberg (2004). "Classy" Freddie Blassie: Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks (p.175). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743463161.  
  12. ^ Ric Flair (2005). Ric Flair: To Be The Man (p.90). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743491815.  
  13. ^ Fred Blassie and Keith Elliot Greenberg (2004). "Classy" Freddie Blassie: Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks (p.174). Simon and Schuster. ISBN 0743463161.  
  14. ^ "Freddie Blassie: classy to the very end - Phantom of the Ring - Obituary". Wrestling Digest. October 2003. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCO/is_3_5/ai_108049498. Retrieved 2007-10-03.  
  15. ^ a b Ross Davies (2001). Bruno Sammartino (p.77). The Rosen Publishing Group. ISBN 0823934322.  
  16. ^ Dave Meltzer (2004). Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers (p.52). Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1582618178.  
  17. ^ "Stan Stasiak's WWE Championship reign". WWE.com. http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/wwechampionship/304454110. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  18. ^ "World Tag Team title history". WWE.com. http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/worldtagteam/. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  19. ^ "Morales' first Intercontinental reign". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/intercontinental/322372. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  20. ^ "Intercontinental Championship title history". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/intercontinental/. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  21. ^ a b "Morales' second Intercontinental reign". WWE. http://www.wwe.com/inside/titlehistory/intercontinental/322384. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  22. ^ "King of the Ring: July 8, 1985". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/wweppv/kingofthering85.html. Retrieved 2007-10-03.  
  23. ^ "King of the Ring: July 14, 1986". Online World of Wrestling. http://www.onlineworldofwrestling.com/results/wweppv/kingofthering86.html. Retrieved 2007-10-03.  
  24. ^ "WWF WrestleMania Results (2)". prowrestlinghistory.com. http://www.prowrestlinghistory.com/supercards/usa/wwf/mania.html#II. Retrieved 2007-09-21. "Andre the Giant won a "battle royal" which included both wrestlers and NFL players. The other wrestlers were: ... Pedro Morales, Jim Niedhart"  
  25. ^ "Other arena's finishing movelist". http://www.otherarena.com/nCo/finish/finish.html.  
  26. ^ Dave Meltzer (2004). Tributes II: Remembering More of the World's Greatest Professional Wrestlers (p.112). Sports Publishing LLC. ISBN 1582618178.  
  27. ^ "Wrestler of the Year". Wrestling Information Archive. http://www.100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/pwi/pwiwoty.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  
  28. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Top 500 Wrestlers of the PWI Years". Wrestling Information Archive. http://www.100megsfree4.com/wiawrestling/pages/pwi/pwi500yr.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-01.  

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