Few Superstars were more popular, or successful, during the 1970s and '80s than WWE Hall of Famer Pedro Morales.
Among the first highly successful Hispanic competitors, Morales became the first wrestler to hold WWE's coveted Triple Crown, meaning he captured the WWE, intercontinental and Tag Team championships during his time in the McMahon family-owned promotion.
While he achieved considerable success outside of New York, competing for WWA and various promotions around the globe, Morales has always been closely associated with the company that allowed him to be a cultural hero to the Hispanic population in the Big Apple.
His matches against Mr. Fuji, George Steele, Stan Stasiak and Larry Hennig helped establish him as one of the most beloved heroes to ever grace a McMahon-owned ring and contributed to his eventual induction into WWE's Hall of Fame in 1995.
A competitor who achieved success in every corner of the industry, Morales was one of the last great stars of the territorial days of WWE.
In his honor, take a look back at his phenomenal career through his greatest matches and moments in this full retrospective.
Morales was very much a traveler during the early part of his career, making the trips from Texas all the way up to Washington, D.C., then Connecticut as he attempted to catch on in the industry he loved. Along the way, he battled legendary competitors the likes of Hard Boiled Haggerty, the great Captain Lou Albano, Miguel Perez Sr. and Tony Altimore.
While he was successful and certainly helped build his name and reputation during his time traveling the country, it was not until he arrived in Los Angeles and Worldwide Wrestling Associates that his career took off.
The Von Stroheim's proved to be Morales' first real feud during his time in the promotion. The popular star would recruit tag team partners such as Mr. Moto and Luis Hernandez to battle Karl and Kurt with a great deal of success.
It was as a singles competitor that Morales enjoyed his greatest success in WWWA. On March 12, 1965, he defeated The Destroyer in a Best 2-out-of-3 Falls match to capture that company's heavyweight title. He would lose the title, then regain it, but never again would he reach those heights in the promotion.
Setting the stage for his championship success in WWE, Morales moved on to Hawaii, where he captured three different titles, becoming the most decorated performer of the time.
The World Wide Wrestling Federation
Just weeks after arriving in the New York territory, Morales scored his first singles championship, defeating the great villain "Classy" Freddie Blassie to capture the promotion's United States Heavyweight Championship.
Weeks later, riding a wave of momentum, he defeated Ivan Koloff to capture the top prize in the company. Koloff had defeated Bruno Sammartino, bringing an end to his eight-year reign, so the New York fans were incredibly happy to see Morales wrest the title away from him.
Morales waged war with some of the top villains of the time, but no rival was more a pain in the neck for the champion than Stan Stasiak, whom he feuded with over the course of two years. They battled in a 1971 Texas Death match, a contest that seemed to bring about the end of their rivalry.
Two years later, on December 1, 1973, Morales dropped the title, bringing an end to his dominance over Vincent J. McMahon's promotion.
Morales remained a cornerstone of the promotion, but he left in 1975 to pursue success elsewhere.
He competed in San Francisco and Florida, but the lure of further success in New York proved too strong.
Morales returned to his home promotion, teaming with Bob Backlund to defeat the Wild Samoans at the 1980 Showdown at Shea and become the tag team champions.
On December 8 of that same year, he added to his championship resume, defeating the hated Ken Patera to capture the intercontinental title. It was a victory that forever etched his name in the history books as the first Superstar to win all of the company's titles.
As champion, Morales feuded with Sgt. Slaughter and Larry Zbyszko before dropping the title to the Magnificent Don Muraco in June 1981.
Morales would remain a star for the New York-based company for years to come before slinking into the midcard and out of fan consciousness as McMahon took the promotion national.
A 1987 Battle Royal was his last match with the company.
Pedro Morales was a performer who succeeded at heights never experienced by any other Superstar to that point. Not only was he a Triple Crown winner, his reign as United States Heavyweight champion made him the first professional wrestler to win four championships in a single promotion.
His appeal was undeniable. Morales was one of the most beloved stars of his generation and one of the great good guys in the long and illustrious history of professional wrestling.
A cultural icon and a performer who succeeded at every level of competition, Morales was the standard-bearer for being a champion in Vince McMahon's promotion for the longest time, an example of what every Superstar should strive to be.
Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, Steve Austin and CM Punk are just a few of the Superstars who would go on to capture all of the company's titles, but Morales did it first, planting the seeds for every Triple Crown and Grand Slam champion that followed.