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WWE: Pedro Morales

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posted on Jun, 26 2004 @ 11:16 AM

Hailing from Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, Pedro Morales was the first wrestler to win all three major WWE titles: the WWE Championship, the Intercontinental crown, and World Tag Team Championships. He began wrestling in 1959 and his glorious career spanned nearly three decades before he retired in the late 1980s.

Morales burst onto the national scene when he defeated Ivan Koloff in 1971 to win the WWE Championship. Although he had previously held a regional championship in Southern California, Morales did not capture worldwide attention until he won the WWE title.

Morales held the belt nearly three years. During that time, he drew huge crowds and was incredibly popular in New York City, which had a large and loyal Puerto Rican fan base. This does not mean that he did not travel. Morales took on all comers anywhere he could.

In the ring, his style could be described as workmanlike, that is, until he lost his temper. Then, all bets were off, and his opponents were in trouble. A tremendously powerful puncher, Morales was also well versed in the technical aspects of the game and utilized the Boston Crab better than anyone in the business. He prided himself on being in tremendous condition and often won his bouts after he wore out his opponents.

In 1972, the fiery Puerto Rican wrestled Bruno Sammartino at Shea Stadium in one of the all-time classics. After 76 minutes, the showdown was declared a draw. Eight years later, also at Shea, he teamed with Bob Backlund to defeat The Wild Samoans to win the World Tag Team Championship. Since Backlund was the WWE Champion and could only hold one title at the time, the two were forced to relinquish the belt.

Toward the end of 1981, Morales became embroiled in a bitter feud with Intercontinental Champion Ken Patera. On December 8, the two squared off and Pedro bested Patera for the title. With the victory, he became the first man to win all three major WWE championships. He lost the title six months later to the Magnificent Muraco, but avenged the loss in November 1981, before he lost to Muraco again a few months later.

Because Pedro Morales was a soft-spoken man who didn't do outrageous things, he is sometimes overlooked when the names of the all-time greats are mentioned. And that is a shame, for Pedro Morales was everything a champion should be. He was loved by the public, respected by his peers, and always played within the rules. He fought all the top contenders of his time, and though only 235 pounds, proved that he could defeat anyone, no matter how large they might be.

WWE Hall of fame

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