Pedro Morales, the energetic Puerto Rican star who rose to become WWWF World champion from 1971 to 1973, has died. He was 76. The news was first reported by Hugo Savinovich on his Facebook page.
He was one of the biggest drawing cards in the wrestling business in the 1960s and 1970s.
“He was a great talent,” raved The Destroyer (Dick Beyer). “Everything you wanted him to do, he could do. We never had a bad match, that’s what I liked about working with Pedro. You could go in the ring, you could go 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, and you could do it with Pedro.”
It would be wrong to say that Morales only appealed to the Hispanic market. Writer Jackson Pokress tried to capture Morales’ magic in a piece titled “Morales – Hero – Champion – Idol …”
“The fans turned out first out of curiosity, and then returned because Morales is not only exciting to watch, but he is a highly skilled wrestler who makes up in ability and speed what he may lack in strength and power.
“The cities with their large Puerto Rican and Spanish populations have, of course, taken Morales to their hearts. He is the idol they have been looking for in a sport where they are among the greatest rooters. But even in towns and cities where Pedro doesn’t enjoy a large and vocal following he has become a fan favorite.”
The 5-foot-11, 240-pound Morales was born on the tiny island of Culebra, October 22, 1942. The island housed an American navy base and was governed by Puerto Rico. He was an accomplished baseball player growing up, but a move to Brooklyn, NY, as a teen changed a potential career path.
His first professional match came in 1958 at the Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, and his father had to sign some paperwork to allow him to fight.
Though he was in some solid mid-card programs, often teaming with Miguel Perez or Argentina Apollo, it became apparent that he wasn’t going to go very far in the northeast, and headed out to get seasoning. In Amarillo and the Pacific Northwest, he was Johnny Como for a decent stretch, but in Hawaii, he worked under his real name.
“I think that was one of the best places, because I loved the beach,” Morales said of Hawaii, where they wrestled only three or four times a week. “I was born and raised on the ocean, on the island of Culebra. Culebra is only 28 square miles. My grandfather had a big sailboat, and could fit 25 head of cattle inside. I grew up in Culebra in a place right on the ocean. … Before I came to the United States, I was in the ocean all the time. I loved the ocean.”
In California, though, he became a star.
The WWA World title found its way to his waist in March 1965. The Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram talked to him just before he knocked off The Destroyer for the belt.
“Outside Morales’ dressing room …read more
Source:: Daily times