Freddie Blassie

Perhaps the most hated villain of all time, Classy Freddie Blassie made being a heel an art-form. Look at the man who ridiculed wrestling fans as “pencil-necked geeks” and won championships across the country.

Classy Freddie Blassie
Real Name: Fred Blassie
Stats:6′ 0″ 220 lbs.
Born: 1921
By Steve Slagle

Fred Blassie was one of the most important figures in professional wrestling throughout his entire 40+ years in the wrestling business. During his incredible career, Blassie was a true trendsetter, and an incredibly influential performer. As “evil” as they came, the nickname “The Vampire” was often associated with Blassie during his wrestling days because of his incredibly sharp teeth (he often claimed to have sharpened them with a file) and his propensity to use them to draw blood from his opponents’ forehead during his invariably brutal matches. “The Fashion Plate of Wrestling” was also one of the sport’s most famous wrestlers, and a constant champion. After injuries ended his ring career, Blassie went on to become one of the premier wrestling managers of all-time, and once again influenced a generation of wrestlers, managers, and fans in the process…
He entered the sport very early in life, when he was a teenager and he paid his dues for years during the early part of his career. But eventually Blassie acquired the experience and skill to rise up the ladder, and after struggling during his first years in the sport, he reached the top of his profession.

In 1954 he won the very prestigious N.W.A. Southern Heavyweight title. It was an omen of things to come, because Blassie would go on to win the Southern Heavyweight title a total of 14 times between 1954-1960, and at the same time became — by far — the most hated wrestler in the southeast. After conquering that region of the country, the controversial Blassie headed to Los Angeles and the World Wrestling Alliance…

Once in Los Angeles, Blassie again established himself as the territory’s most hated wrestler. In fact, during this time period, the self-proclaimed “King of Men” stretched the boundaries of how hated a wrestler could become. Blassie’s wrestling fame helped him become a true celebrity among celebrities while in L.A. and he was among those wrestlers personally responsible for the large rise in popularity of wrestling in The Garden State during the 1960’s and 1970’s.

He won the W.W.A. (Los Angeles) World Heavyweight title 4 times between 1961-1964, defeating elite wrestling legends like Rikidozan, Eduard Carpentier, and The Destroyer for the title. He also wore the W.W.A. World Tag Team title twice, winning the belts with Mr. Moto in 1964 and Buddy Austin in 1967. Among Blassie’s other titles were five N.W.A. America’s Heavyweight championships (which he won by defeating the likes of The Sheik, Bobo Brazil, and John Tolos), the Georgia Heavyweight title, and the “Beat The Champ” TV Title. He also held the N.W.A. America’s Brass Knuckles championship for 5 years between 1969-1974, defeating every “Pencil-neck geek” (a term he coined) that he came up against. Without a doubt, “Classy” Fred Blassie was one of the most prolific champions of his era…
After conquering the entire West Coast, Blassie headed east to the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Once there, he was teamed with Lou Albano (who had just begun his managerial career) and once again established himself as the area’s top heel through a reign of violence, cheating tactics, and bloodshed like few others. He engaged in an absolute classic series of matches against W.W.W.F. World Champion Bruno Sammartino, coming incredibly close to winning the title on several occasions. Later, he would also push W.W.W.F. World Champion Pedro Morales to the limit, again often coming within an eyelash of becoming WWWF World Champion. But soon Blassie’s knees, which were in terrible condition, forced him to retire from the wrestling ring after decades of being a top competitor. However, Blassie’s career in the business was far from over…

After his in-ring career was over, Blassie became one of the WWF’s “Evil Trinity” of managers (Blassie, Albano, and The Grand Wizard) and guided some of the meanest and most vicious men in the sport. The three rulebreaking managers guided virtually every heel who came into the WWF, with Blassie eventually gaining a reputation for specializing primarily in evil, anti-American foreign wrestlers like Spiros Arion, Victor Rivera, Mr. Saito, Peter Maivia, Killer Khan, Mr. Fuji, Nicolai Volkoff, The Iron Sheik, and others. However, he also managed many top “American” wrestlers as well…men like Jesse “The Body” Ventura (pictured, above right), Adrian Adonis, Stan Hansen, George “The Animal” Steele, Dick Murdoch, and manyothers.
Blassie was also credited as the man responsible for bringing the young (heel) Hulk Hogan into the WWF for the first time back in 1979, although former WWF owner/promoter Vince McMahon Sr. was the man truly responsible for Terry Bollea’s debut in the WWF back in `79. Still, Blassie helped lend an air of credibility to the massive young Hogan, and the duo was very successful together.

Blassie was a key figure in the WWF for a generation of wrestlers and fans, and a primary participant in WW(W)F storylines and angles as a manager for over a decade, up until he retired in the mid-1980’s.

In 1994, after some 50 years of involvement in pro wrestling, “Classy” Fred was inducted into the World Wrestling Federation Hall of Fame after a truly legendary career. The Ring Chronicle also salutes this all-time pro wrestling great by inducting him into T.R.C.’s Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame…

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