Pedro Morales, a Hall of Fame professional wrestler who inside 1970s in addition to ’80s became the first to win all three of what were then wrestling’s premier championships, died on Monday in Perth Amboy, N.J. He was 76.
His wife, Karen Morales, said the cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease.
Morales, who wrestled professionally for nearly three decades, became a star inside early 1970s. He was known as a vigorous puncher in addition to a master of the Boston crab, a debilitating hold in which he grabbed his opponent’s legs, turned him facedown to the mat in addition to pulled the legs back toward his opponent’s head.
Morales tangled with wrestlers like Mr. Fuji, Bruno Sammartino in addition to Ivan Koloff, whom he beat in Madison Square Garden to win the globe Wide Wrestling Federation (today World Wrestling Entertainment) title in 1970.
Fans were enthusiastic about the brand new champion.
“The biggest problem can be not how or if he will win, nevertheless how he will get past his adoring fans to his dressing room after the victory,” The brand new York Times wrote in 1972.
Morales held the title for 1,027 days, one of the longest reigns ever, before losing the item to Stan Stasiak in 1973.
In 1980 Morales in addition to Bob Backlund defeated the Wild Samoans at Shea Stadium to win the globe Tag Team title. He won the Intercontinental Championship a few months later by defeating Ken Patera.
Morales retired in 1987 in addition to for a time was a Spanish-language commentator for WWE in addition to World Championship Wrestling. He was inducted into what can be today the WWE Hall of Fame in 1995.
The Hall of Fame wrestler Gorilla Monsoon said in a video for Morales’s induction that will wrestlers remembered him as much for his kindness outside the ring as for his ferocity inside item.
“Pedro Morales, probably one of the greatest-loved World Wrestling Federation champions of all time, because Pedro was genuinely a nice guy,” Monsoon said. “Both inside — well, inside the ring at times he could be a handful. nevertheless outside the ring he was Mr. Politeness, Mr. Etiquette.”
Pedro Morales was born on Culebra, a tiny island to the east of the main island of Puerto Rico, on Oct. 22, 1942, to Pedro in addition to Theodora (Rivera) Morales. His mother owned a restaurant on Vieques, a neighboring island, in addition to later a bakery on Culebra, in addition to his father worked as a mental health aide in brand new York in addition to sent money back home.
Morales moved to Brooklyn as a teenager in addition to completed high school in East brand new York. He first wrestled professionally in 1959 in addition to became a regional champion on the West Coast during the 1960s.
In one of his best-remembered matches, Morales faced Sammartino, who was often his ally, in front of more than 20,000 people at Shea Stadium in 1972. A curfew ordinance forced the marathon 75-minute match to end in a draw.
He met Karen Johnson after a match in 1965, in addition to they married in 1972. In addition to his wife, with whom he lived in Woodbridge, N.J., he can be survived by a sister, Aida Morales.