Freddie Blassie: Wrestling Icon and Manager

Frederick Kenneth Blassie, known to the world as “Classy” Freddie Blassie, was a towering figure in the world of professional wrestling. Born on February 8, 1918, in St. Louis, Missouri, Blassie’s career spanned over five decades, during which he evolved from a feared in-ring competitor to a charismatic manager and mentor to some of the biggest names in the industry.

Early Life and Military Service

Blassie’s early life was marked by the Great Depression, a period that instilled in him the toughness and resilience that would become his trademarks. His athletic prowess was evident from a young age, as he engaged in baseball and football before finding his true calling in wrestling. Blassie’s service in the United States Navy during World War II, where he achieved the rank of Petty Officer Second Class, further honed his discipline and fortitude.

Wrestling Career

Blassie’s wrestling debut in 1935 marked the beginning of an illustrious in-ring career. Initially billed as “Sailor” Fred Blassie, he struggled to find his footing, but his fortunes changed as he developed his persona into the “Hollywood Fashion Plate,” a villainous character that wrestling fans loved to hate. His ability to incite the crowd with his antics and his signature Stomach Claw move made him a standout performer.

Blassie’s time in the ring was marked by numerous championships, including the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship. His international notoriety skyrocketed after a brutal match with Japanese superstar Rikidozan in 1962, which left an indelible mark on the wrestling world.

Managerial Career

In 1974, Blassie transitioned to a managerial role, leveraging his gift of gab and keen understanding of the wrestling business to guide the careers of future legends. His stable of wrestlers included the likes of The Iron Sheik, Hulk Hogan, and Nikolai Volkoff. Blassie’s managerial acumen was instrumental in leading The Iron Sheik to the WWE Championship in 1983 and Volkoff & Sheik to the World Tag Team Championship at the first WrestleMania.

Retirement and Legacy

Blassie’s career officially ended in 1986, but his influence persisted. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1994 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1996 Slammy Awards. His autobiography, “Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks,” became an instant bestseller, cementing his status as a wrestling icon.

Freddie Blassie passed away on June 2, 2003, but his legacy as one of the greatest heels in wrestling history lives on. His ability to draw the ire of fans, his contributions to the sport as a manager, and his enduring catchphrases have secured his place in the annals of wrestling history. Freddie Blassie was not just a wrestler or a manager; he was an integral part of the fabric that makes professional wrestling a unique and captivating spectacle.

Professional Wrestling

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