Don Muraco

The Magnificent Muraco

Don Muraco at the WWE Hall Of Fame


The Magnificent Muraco is well remembered by anyone who followed WWE during the 1980s as one of the truly elite Superstars, as well as one of the most hated competitors the game has ever seen. His arrogant demeanor and total disregard for the rules drew him the instant disdain of fans far and wide, who greeted him with chants of “Beach Bum” as he did battle with their favorite heroes. Whether under the management of the late Grand Wizard, Capt. Lou Albano (both WWE Hall of Famers) or Mr. Fuji, Muraco was a force to be reckoned with. He was a two-time Intercontinental Champion, holding the title longer than nearly any other competitor, and his wars for that title with Pedro Morales are the stuff of legend. His 60-minute classics with WWE Champion Bob Backlund are among WWE’s most revered matchups, as is his famous 1983 steel-cage bout with Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka at MSG.

Later in his WWE career, Muraco finally won over the hearts of the masses, taking on Superstar Billy Graham as his manager and hearing the cheers of the crowd for the first time. The first WWE Superstar to be called “The Rock,” he took part in the WWE Championship tournament held at WrestleMania IV. In 1996, Muraco inducted his longtime rival Snuka into the WWE Hall of Fame.


Don Muraco, also known as The Magnificent Muraco was a Hawaiian professional wrestler in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Born Don Morrow on September 10, 1949, Muraco wrestled in the old American Wrestling Association (AWA), and several National Wrestling Alliance territories (including Vancouver-based NWA All-Star Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions). His greatest success was in the early 80's in the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he held the Intercontinental Championship twice for a combined period of almost 18 months. The hugely muscular and genuinely intimidating Don Muraco had bloody feuds with Pedro Morales, Bob Backlund, Rocky Johnson and Jimmy Snuka. Muraco's character was based on being an incredibly arrogant heel, and in one of his more famous moments, he brought a sandwich to the ring and ate it during the match as a show of disrespect to his opponent. During his tenure in the WWE, Muraco had several colorful managers (The Grand Wizard, Captain Lou Albano, Mr. Fuji, and Superstar Billy Graham). Fuji and Muraco famously debuted Fuji Vice, a soap opera starring them (and parodying Miami Vice) on Tuesday Night Titans in 1985 (Fuji General Hospital, a parody of the ABC soap General Hospital, followed soon after). It is rumored that Muraco was fired from the WWF in late 1988 after supposedly "disrespecting" booker Nick Bockwinkel; after that, Muraco split his time between Stampede Wrestling (where he defeated Makhan Singh to win the North American Heavyweight title), the AWA and Herb Abrams' UWF, where he feuded with a young Cactus Jack.

In the early 90's Muraco was one of the first to hold the ECW World Heavyweight Championship, before it became Extreme Championship Wrestling. Ironically, the first was his old rival Snuka.

Although Muraco wrestled mostly as a heel, his intensity, charisma and cockiness won him many fans, especially in New York and Philadelphia. Along with Ric Flair, Jake Roberts, Roddy Piper, and Randy Savage, Muraco was a precursor to the 90's attitude era when lines were blurred between heels and babyface. He was the first wrestler to be known as "the Rock", originally simply as a play on his name, and his finishing maneuvre, which The Undertaker would later call the "tombstone", was the infamous reverse piledriver.

After retiring from the ring, Muraco returned to Hawaii. In 2003 he founded Hawaii Championship Wrestling, and is the current commissioner and Director of Operations. In 2004, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Mick Foley, who, like other such as Tommy Dreamer and Brother Ray Deadly, credits a famous Intercontinental title match between Muraco and Snuka he attended at Madison Square Garden as his inspiration for breaking into professional wrestling.

Finishing and signature moves
Reverse Piledriver
Asian Spike
Samoan Drop
Press Slam
Top Turnbuckle Splash
Knee Lift
Falling Headbutt to the abdomen
Face First Piledriver (ECW)
Shoulder Breaker

"Superstar" Billy Graham
Captain Lou Albano
The Grand Wizard
Mr. Fuji
Sir Oliver Humperdink

Championships and accomplishments

World Wrestling Federation
2-Time WWF Intercontinental Champion
1985 King of the Ring (non PPV)
Member of WWE Hall of Fame (inducted 2004)

National Wrestling Alliance
1-Time NWA United States Heavyweight Champion (San Francisco version)
1-Time NWA World Tag Team Champion (San Francisco version) (with The Invader)
1-Time NWA America's Heavyweight Champion
1-Time NWA Pacific International Heavyweight Champion
1-Time NWA Hawaii Tag Team Champion (with Rick Martel)

Eastern/Extreme Championship Wrestling
2-Time ECW World Heavyweight Champion

Florida Championship Wrestling
1-Time Florida Heavyweight Champion
1-Time Florida Television Champion
1-Time Florida United States Tag Team Champion (with Jos LeDuc)

Other titles
1-Time New Zealand British Commonwealth Champion
1-Time Polynesian Pacific Wrestling Heavyweight Champion
1-Time ACCW Heavyweight Champion
1-Time Stampede Wrestling North American Heavyweight Champion

Pro Wrestling Illustrated
Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) ranked him # 50 of the 500 best singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003.

Wrestling Observer Newsletter
1981 Best Heel

Muraco won the first King of the Ring tournament in 1985--eight years before it became an annual Pay-Per-View.
The Grand Wizard is the godfather of Muraco's daughter.
The Magnificent One defeated an opponent once while eating a sandwich!
Known as one of the few wrestling legends with a move set that was constantly in flux. Continued adding new moves to his repertoire even into the 1990s.

WWE Hall Of Fame Profile
Hawai'i Championship Wrestling - Muraco's home promotion
Credit: Wikipedia



Wrestling Legends