Pedro Morales passes away
WWE is saddened to learn WWE Hall of Famer Pedro Morales has passed away at age 78.
A native of Culebra Island, Puerto Rico, Morales moved to New York in his youth and debuted in the ring in 1959 at age 17. After establishing his reputation as a fiery competitor in WWE on the east coast, Morales traveled west to territories in Texas and California, where he competed for much of the 1960s. In California, he battled The Destroyer in a famous rivalry, and formed a popular tag team with Pepper Gomez.
Morales returned to WWE in 1970, and in less than a year, he captured the WWE Championship from Ivan Koloff inside Madison Square Garden. During his nearly three years on top, Morales developed a passionate following in the northeast, particularly among New York City’s growing Hispanic population.
More than 22,000 fans turned out to Shea Stadium in 1972 to watch him battle close friend and former champion Bruno Sammartino in the main event of the inaugural Showdown at Shea supercard. After 75 minutes of action, the bout was ruled a draw in accordance with the state athletic commission’s strict 11 p.m. curfew.
He held the WWE Title for a staggering 1027 days before losing it to Stan Stasiak in December 1973. Morales puts his name in the record books again in 1980 when he won the World Tag Team Titles with Bob Backlund and then the Intercontinental Title to become the first Triple Crown Champion in WWE history.
Morales hung up his boots in 1987 but continued on as an ambassador for sports-entertainment. He later became a commentator for both WCW and WWE’s Spanish announce teams, and in 1995, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
WWE extends its condolences to Morales’ family, friends and fans.