Pedro Morales inducted to the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame
Arguably the greatest Puerto Rican wrestler to ever come out of Puerto Rico, Pedro Morales was inducted into the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame. Morales, who is 75 now, is battling Parkinson’s Disease.
If you don’t know Morales’s story, is an amazing one. He comes from one of the two tiny islands in the east side of Puerto Rico, Culebra. People that come from there usually must take a boat to do their shopping or go to work in the main land. Morales went to New York and got training early on – after having a preliminary role in the North East in the 60s, he traveled to the west, were he became a main event draw. On two occasions, he won the WWA Heavyweight title in the hot Los Angeles territory. He also became a NWA World Tag Team champion (San Francisco) when he – alongside Pepper Gomez – beat Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson. He would then go to Hawaii to try more luck, which he found, as he became a main eventer in 50th State Big Time Wrestling. As Dave Meltzer explains, it was there that Gorilla Monsoon saw potential in Morales drawing power, especially being Puerto Rican. He told Vince McMahon Sr. that he (Morales) should be the next face of the World-Wide Wrestling Federation.
1971, Morales would end up beating Ivan Koloff to become the first ever Latin American to win the WWWF World Championship – Bruno Sammartino had stepped out of the position of Main Event draw. Morales would end up having a legendary run in New York, that saw him setting record gates and selling out the Madison Square Garden in 21 occasions.
If you’re asking yourself why Pedro Morales isn’t remembered that well, while having those accolades, the answer lies in his run after 1973. Although he was a big draw in New York, in other areas of the northeast, Morales didn’t draw well. He was resented by the Bruno Sammartino fans – he was seen as a replacement – and, his Latino status was a big factor with all the racism that persisted in that era. Morales would travel to the AWA, Puerto Rico (with the now World Wrestling Council), Florida and even California, but never achieved that same success that he gathered in WWWF. He would return in the 80s to the WWF, but he was old and didn’t move that well.
Morales won the WWF Intercontinental Championship and the WWF Tag Team Championship to become the first ever Triple Crown champion, and some would argue that the first ever Grand Slam Champion, as he was the WWF United States Heavyweight Champion when he got his WWWF run in the 1970s. Morales was already in the WWE Hall of Fame (back in 1995), the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and a Cauliflower Alley Club honoree.
NGCW event 2 weeks after FWR show
There’s nothing nastier than rivalry between promotion, especially if Puerto Rican promoters are involved.
Just two weeks after Florida Wrestling Revolution has their show in Orlando, New Generation Championship Wrestling plans to comeback to Kissimmee’s Fire Frog Stadium. The wrestling show will be co-promoted by wrestling legend and former WWE announcer, Hugo Savinovich.
NGCW and FWR haven’t had a friendly rivalry – when the latter one planned to start a promotion in the Kissimmee, Florida (which has a high Puerto Rican population), it was people from NGCW management that raised the red flag and blocked the show from happening in that part of Florida. That’s the reason why the show is now happening in the Orlando Recreational Complex. Now, in a move that involves 2two shows targeted to the same audience – Puerto Ricans – NGCW looks to disrupt any momentum that FWR has gathered in this past months.
The 2/24 show has former WWE superstar Gene Snitsky vs. Lucha Underground’s and Puerto Rican legend Mil Muertes. Also, appearing on the show, Impact Wrestling’s Johnny Mundo, Taya, Global Champion Eli Drake, former TNA World Champion EC3 and Carlito (which is a slap in the face of FWR, since he is wrestling their show too).
CWA Keeps the Steam going
As we referenced last week, Championship Wrestling Association was the first promotion after Hurricane Maria to put a wrestling show in Puerto Rico. Now, for a show in December 17, CWA is having their season finale show, Christmas Showdown.
The show will be headlined by CWA Champion Starr Roger defending against former WWC Universal Champion Mighty Ursus. The announcement was made on Wednesday, after a video of the heel authority figure announcing Ursus surfaced on social media. They match is a big deal, as Roger will likely get hit one-year reign completed – the first in this decade in the island – against one of the best big-men of the island. Ursus was in negotiation since May with CWA, but that never was completed, as Ursus waited for WWC to get desperate – because of the pressure of the WWL – and ended up singing him back.
The 12/17 show also has WWC referee Pelayo Vazquez teaming with Niche & Lynx against Los Apostadores (they are on a 300+ day run) for the CWA Tag Team Championship, Justin Dynamite vs. Neo for the CWA Puerto Rican Championship, Black Bullet vs. Steve Joel for the CWA Intercontinental Championship and more. If CWA can play it well, they could end up drawing more than 300 people.
Loaded Card For CKCW’s iPPV
Cleveland Knights Championship Wrestling keeps hyping their 2/9 show in Parma, Ohio. The promotion announced this week that their iPPV can be seen on the Fite App for 14.99.
The promotion has big expectations for their New World Rising show. Eric Bischoff is booked to appear and that already got them a lot of buzz on social media. The card is stacked with the most promising talents from Puerto Rico and wrestling legends like former Smokey Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Tracey Smothers.
The main event of the show will be headlined by J-Rocc defending his CKCW Heavyweight Championship against Impact Wrestling’s Kongo Kong. In other matches, Vanilla Vargas (c) vs. HoliDead and a Race for the Case match, involving Mike Mendoza, Sonny Vice, JD Smooth, Seth Allen, Brandon Edwards and former WWL Champion, El Nazareno. Also in the show, The Powers of Pain (Warlord and Barbarian), former NWA World Champion Kahagas, Xtreme Tiger, Ricky Reyes (Castro in LU), Hiram Tua, Starr Roger, BJ “El Fenómeno” and more.
Other news from the Caribbean
– With Konnan leaving The Crash promotion, the chances of guys like Mike Mendoza and Angel Fashion on going to México seem slim. The Crash pulled out both guys and Vanilla Vargas (she was replaced by Lacey Lane) from the San Luis Potosí show last week. It was going to be the debut of two promising stars, but the poor attendance and the Konnan situation pushed back the booking of the WWL guys. Now, with Konnan going to Aro Lucha – with Vanilla Vargas – WWL’s relationship with The Crash seems long gone.
– Vanilla Vargas builds momentum for her debut in Aro Lucha. She is also on the 12/9 show in Tennessee – promoted by MLLW – which includes talents like Rey Mysterio Jr., Drago (form LU), Pentagón Jr., Sammy Guevara and Maximo Sexy.
– Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny launched a song called “Chambea”, which has been received as a mega hit. If that title sounds familiar, is because your probably saw it on all social media alongside Ric Flair. Bunny asked, “The Nature Boy” to appeared on the cover and the video on the song that right now has 22 million views in just 6 days. Even WWE United States Champion Baron Corbin praise Bunny’s collaboration with Flair on Twitter and even asked the Puerto Rican sensation when his next show in Florida was.
–Impacto Estelar has their latest Spanish newsletter (written by Emmanuel Rosado) out and it’s completely free. You can check it out right here. It has the latest news in the world on Pro Wrestling, but in Spanish, also themes that are in the Caribbean Report are discuss here with a little more flavor.