Big angle in 1981: Greg Valentine suplexes Pedro Morales on the concrete floor

Man, 30 years ago it didn’t take a lot to get an angle over with the audience compared to today. There may be no greater example of that than when Greg “The Hammer” Valentine taunted Intercontinental Champion Pedro Morales into match on TV.

To set the stage, in late 1981 Morales had just regained the Intercontinental belt from the Magnificent Muraco, whom the Grand Wizard managed. The Wizard also tutored Valentine, and after a squash match on Championship Wrestling, Valentine issued a challenge to Morales, including calling the Puerto Rican star a “greaseball.” Yes, those of us who were fans back then occasionally have reasons to hang our heads in shame for real.

Anyway, Morales came out to the accept the challenge as long as he could fight Valentine on free TV so that everyone could see “when I kick your butt, baby!”  To this day, I so distinctly remember Valentine’s reaction, shaking with his eyebrows raised up.

So the next week, we indeed got the big match, and the crowd was so pumped to see these two fight. During the match, the Wizard got up on the apron and Morales went after him, allowing Valentine to attack him from behind and chuck him outside the ring. Valentine then proceeded to give Morales a vertical suplex on the concrete floor, which was unheard of at the time.

“No, that’s concrete! That’s concrete! Ohhhh!” announcer Vince McMahon yelled. Morales was shaking “in agony” on the floor.

Valentine then attempted to apply his figure-four leglock on the champion, but Tony Garea, Rick Martel, and Ivan Putski ran out for the rescue.

Valentine and Morales fought around the WWF circuit in rematches, but ironically it was Muraco who eventually defeated Morales to regain the Intercontinental Championship. But Valentine would win that belt about two years later from Tito Santana, and he also held tag team gold with Brutus Beefcake.

As for Morales, I’m always amazed that a guy who held the WWWF World Title in the early 1970s was able to make the Intercontinental belt mean something a decade later, when such a a title should have been a step down for him. But people loved the guy and he made them believe it was an important championship.

Follow me on Twitter @BostGardenBalc

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7 comments

  1. Pingback: Del Rio as ethnic draw? Take some pages from Pedro Morales | Boston Garden Balcony
  2. Pingback: Jake the Snake Delivers a Devastating DDT to Steamboat on the Concrete | Boston Garden Balcony
  3. Joe Lowry

    I never figured this one out. The storyline between Valentine and Morales obviously did not go over too well. As I flip through the history of the WWE website and go through the arena results I am somewhat confused. Pedro defeats Muraco in NYC on 11/23/81 – less than two weeks later he faces Greg Valentine and loses via DQ in Boston. There was no IC title on the line for this match, yet afterwards they announce that Pedro had defeated Muraco to win the IC title. NYC did not have a show in December. Yet in January of 1982 Pedro defends his title against Killer Khan in Boston. Now the kicker in all of this is that from October 1981 to December of 1982 – Valentine was embroiled in a fued with Bob Backlund and actually won the title before that decision was reversed. Thus Backlunds “asterisk” as to his title run. Pedro did fight Valentine but not until January of 1982. Almost two months after the TV suplex stroyline. Confusing?? Yes…I would love to know the explanation as to why this was happening…

    • bostongardenbalcony

      That December 1981 Boston show during which Pedro fought Valentine was my first live wrestling card. I remember the Pedro match distinctly — he got disqualified for biting the ref in the head. I’m almost positive that the WWF’s Boston syndicated show did not announce at that point that Morales had beaten Muraco. Muraco (with a beard) fought that same night against Backlund in the cage, and I remember them promoting it as champion vs. champion with only the WWF Title on the line. I always hated the delayed acknowledgement of title switches in those days — but the Apter mags were the only place to find on what was going on.

  4. modew's manager

    Pedro never quite gets his due. He was champ for nearly three years when titles really mattered to fans. First WWWF/WWF/WWE Triple Crown champ (again, when that really mattered).
    Much like Bruno, a decent worker who could win over the ethnic market.
    And, like SD Jones, a lefty.
    Pedro actually got his big break from Fred Blassie. He was going to work for Dory Funk in Texas, and Blassie convinced him he could be a star on the West Coast.

  5. Chuck Mullen

    Great article as always! I am sure I could write up a million and a half reasons why “a suplex (sew-play, credit the late great Gordon Solie, “So long from the Sunshine state!”) on the concrete” worked so well then and would not mean anything now.

    I think its summed up in general 3 letter “an E, a C, and a W”… and in more terms, Hardcore “act… I mean WRESTLING”. Crap like FMW in the past, IWA-Japan, or Big Japan, though, I have to admit, my MrD part of my twitter handle @MrD666 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPPfPmudurY also Mid South was doing rather hardcore stuff and so was Championship Wrestling From Florida, Continental, etc.Stampede, the hardcore element was ALWAYS there but in WWWE (WWF, WWE) is was way more toned down stuff. Thanks to YouTube we can see some of these.

    And of course, down in Puerto Rico, the WWC was always doing crazy stuff.

    But a little bit of information, how the hardcore element has sort of ruined the Mexican wrestling business. I watch as much wrestling as I can. I still LOVE IT, and I always will. I currently watch SMASH, NJPW, NOAH, WWC, WWE, ROH, CMLL, AAA, Perros Del Mal, and FCW the most. I rarely watch TNA… in the past it was WCCW, Mid South, NWA, WWF, AWA, stuff like this. But back to the point, the whole deal was WWWF/WWF/WWE never did much in the way of this, and they was the MOST proliferate promotion for the most part. Thus it had the most VIEWERS (per say) and was doing only this stuff for the selling of beatings to the face by the heel to get local houses to pop for attendance.

    There was no HOME VIDEO. No ON DEMAND. No PPV, houses was the life blood of the industry and “wrestling was on the marque” not “SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT!” or SUPERSHOW crap like now. The times started changing when the population watching wrestling changed. The demographics changed. It went to a more sign of the times, as with the social and society rot underway, to a more violent needing fan base. Thus how ECW or others with the violent style started to accelerate. I will not lie, I always enjoyed the hardcore angles, and I still can not understand how in the WORLD you can have a Cage Match in WWE and no blood. JESUS. I recall the times, way back, when a program started. First match, DQ or COUNTOUT, return DOUBLE COUNTOUT or DOUBLE DQ, then lets settle it in a CAGE. I would attend those 3rd on the loop for sure, WHY, BLOOD!

    I would read in the APTER MAGS and the Wrestling World with the pictures from WWC in Puerto Rico, and the likes be in awe of the blood shed, etc. This is when I was a young punk. Funny story though, I never cared about workrate as much as I cared about the “business” aspect, and the “story” to the match. I could enjoy a lot of stuff everyone else would put down. But now I have switched to STORY and WORKRATE. Regardless it worked then, because the fans was not desensitized to the hardcore stuff. Now its terrible. You got guys getting hit with everything, glass, lightbulbs, etc, and its nothing. You got guys bumping from higher and higher levels, and it just gets an indifferent type of response. Sad. Sometimes these guys or gals, are in front of 100 to 150 people.

    Either way the days like this will never return and as much as most of us “old timers” tend to disagree with the current “product” in general, we remember the old times much more vividly than the current times. Back then they had to tell the story in the ring and via angles, now its a side to the main course. I can only think how much further WWE can go with this style right now. I just do not see it working. A return to a more serious style of product would be such a change, and such a relevant looking deal, that it would help way more than a return to say “the attitude era” or something similar.

    In closing, the way it was done then and now, could still work. The whole idea though is to build up the talent to LOOK like a million bucks and stick to this. Pedro was a great example as they got behind him and STAYED behind him, thus he gave CREDITABILITY to the IC TITLE. Now its OK, we will push him until the next PPV and then give up after 3 or 4 weeks, and check the “ratings pattern” and say OK hes a failure and derail it. Thus no one comes off as a threat NOR strong. Everyone seems to be the exact same, and no one stands out.

    Really I could go on and on… endlessly I think.

    • bostongardenbalcony

      Wow, this reply could have been a post on its own. I think you state things well and don’t need me adding to it (and I agree with most of what you wrote).

      Two things that just made me remember, however:
      1. Your mention of how we are nostalgic about the old days, which makes our memories more vivid — that is so true, and I try not to forget that these days, because there are a lot of things better now than they were in 1982
      2. The old house show feud pattern of DQ, double countout, gimmick match — At least for the old Boston Garden, you always knew with the hot feuds that you had to wait three months out to get the real match you wanted, such as the cage of a Texad death match.

      Good stuff from you, thanks.,..

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