scum-suckin' pea head with a lousy physique
He's a one man, no gut, losing streak
Nothin' but a pencil neck geek."
Frederick Kenneth "Freddie" Blassie (February 8, 1918 – June 2, 2003) was an American professional wrestler and manager best known for his work in the World Wide Wrestling Federation, later known as WWE. Blassie was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame in '94.
The Wise Men (Blassie, Captain Lou, and Ernie "Grand Wizard" Roth) managed the heels in the 70s and early 80s. "Classy" Blasse was a cane-wielding Man's Man who could beat up Yakuza members. If you were a heel and being managed by the triumverate, you were guaranteed to get booed out of every building, every night, in any town.
With the exception of Roth, each wrestled before they became managers. Blassie in particular had a long, storied career, becoming the top heel in Los Angeles for a long time. Worked a lot of very bloody matches, and was considered one of the great brawlers of his day. People today talk about "heat" like they know about heat. Fred Blassie had so much heat that he gave viewers heart attacks in Japan. People literally died from his heat. The man was stabbed a few times and even had acid thrown at him because of his heel work. He was so hated that at one point, fans torched his car. Someone from the Rat Pack nearly murdered him backstage for the stuff he said about Sammartino. He is even a recurring villain in Tiger Mask.
Fred is the subject of My Breakfast with Blassie, a low-budget parody of My Dinner with Andre (co-starring Andy Kaufman as his wrestling persona). Apart from his wrestling career, he recorded a novelty song called "Pencil Neck Geek", which was popular on The Dr. Demento Show.
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 1994.
"Read my tropes, you pencil-neck geeks!":
- All-American Face: The shit-eating grin was always a constant. Might be one of the reasons why his "Sailor" Fred gimmick didn't get over. (He served in the Navy before/during World War II and then came back.)
- Always a Bigger Fish: His last TV appearance was on the May 12, 2003 Raw. Bischoff was about to signal 3 Minute Warning (a heel stable) to attack the wheelchair-bound Blassie, but Stone Cold (then-"Sheriff" of Raw) and the Dudleyz intervened.
- As Himself:
- Badass Boast: "FREDDIE BLASSIE, MAKER OF CHAMPIONS!"
- Borrowed Catchphrase His last-recorded words on television were "D'VON! GET THE TABLES!"
- The Cameo:
- He passed not too terribly long after the InVasion. There were a few great moments sprinkled throughout this dud of a storyline. Blasse's locker room pep-talk was one.
- Canon Discontinuity: He was one of the men who defeated the "disputed" NWA World Heavyweight Champion Édouard Carpentier, whom NWA President Sam Muchnick eventually declared had no claim to the title when Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn left the NWA. Still, World Wrestling Associates used the victory to break away from the NWA itself for seven years and promote Blassie as it's world champion.
- "Listen, you pencil-neck geeks...". It's even the title of his autobiography, the cover of which provides the page photo.*
- While he was wrestling at carnivals, he noticed a geek performer with a neck which looked like a stack of dimes, which inspired the term.
- He became a manager because California law prohibited anyone over 55 from getting or having a wrestling license.
- The Dandy:One of his early nicknames was "The Hollywood Fashion Plate"
- Finishing Move: The Southern (Swinging) Neckbreaker
- Foreign Wrestling Heel: In Japan. He also managed several: The Iron Sheik (Fred was redubbed "Ayatollah Blassie"), Volkoff, Kamala, Killer Khan, and more.
- Guttural Growler : In his book, he claimed to have a "leather lung voice."
- Man Bites Man:
- A staple of his offense. One of his nicknames during his in-ring career was "The Vampire."
- His album, also featuring "Pencil Neck Geek," was called I Bite The Songs.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor:
- To the degree that his young Japanese wife had to defend him as being this to her mother, according to his book.
- Teetotaler, too, if you can believe it. He was a dirty man of clean living. (His father was an abusive drunk, that is until a teenage Freddie threatened his father with a baseball bat. It's why Blassie never touched alcohol.)
- According to the book, Joey Bishop of The Rat Pack was backstage hanging out with Sammartino. Blassie, in-character, began insulting Sammartino for fun. Bishop took offense and looked like he was about to pull a gun from his jacket. Bruno and Blassie made quick eye contact, and Bruno (keeping kayfabe) calmed Bishop down by saying he'd deal with Blassie in the ring.
- No-Sell: In Blassie's book, Killer Khan talks about growing up watching Blassie's matches with Rikidozan and seeing him do this.
- Passing the Torch: The poem he composed for WrestleMania XVI. In the late 90s the WWF was all about saying the stars from the 80s had their time but it was over and this new breed of star was the future of wrestling. (Pretty ironic that the business fell over in the early 2000s, and now it's all about the nostalgia acts beating up the younger stars.)
- Ring Oldies:
- He debuted in 1935 working the carnival circuit and went from there to work in the St. Louis and Kansas City promotions. This was before there were technically even territories.
- He retired from active competition in '74 (as California State law required) and became one of the original top three heel managers there, along with Captan Lou (who had in fact previously managed Blassie). His biggest successes as a manager, though short-lived, both involved The Iron Sheik. He retired from managing in 1986, but was kept on as an on-air personality until his passing.
- The Rival: Rikidozan or John Tolos. Fun Fact: Blassie also helped established Japanese pro wrestling by having high-profile matches with Rikidozen.
- Blassie, an American at a wrestling event in California, was such a hated heel that they still booed him and cheered Rikidozan. Yeah, Rikidozan is a cultural icon back home, but this is 1962 American fans we're talking about.
- Outside of the ring, he is on the list of wrestlers, along with Mick Foley and Chris Jericho generations later, who had negative opinions about Mil Mascaras. He didn't think too highly of Antonio Inoki either, and even supported Muhammad Ali in his infamous "match" with Inoki.
- Retired Badass:
- He had a funny comeback for Bischoff in a backstage segment preceding that promo. Eric tells Blassie that he has a great idea for him inside the arena. Blassie's reply? "What are you gonna do, hang yourself?" Just perfect.
- It was really unsettling when Stephanie and Shane McMahon cornered him after the show and said that, like the WWF, he'd soon be dead. He wrote about it in his book. Fred knew it was to further the angle, but he was put off by it. Mostly because he couldn't wrap his head around it being the same two kids he used to see around the WWF offices.
- Rousing Speech: Blassie standing up from his wheelchair. Watch as Kurt Angle goes nuts.
- Shout-Out: R.E.M.'s "Man on the Moon", about Andy Kaufman, referenced the movie they made together, My Breakfast with Blassie."Mr. Fred Blassie and the Breakfast mess, yeah yeah yeah yeah"
- Signature Move: The Stomach Clawhold.
- Testosterone Poisoning:
- Freddie Blassie sings "Blassie, King Of Men"
- According to his biography, he one decked a pair of drunken Yakuza on a tour of Japan, not knowing who they were. ("I jumped up and zapped the other one with a real flying dropkick...") He was politely 'asked' to visit their oyabun... just so he could meet the fearsome Freddie Blassie and tell him what a fan he was.
- Wrestling Monster: He was notorious for his viciousness in the ring. When Blassie was wrestling in Japan, he utilized a particularly brutal style, particularly in his matches with Rikidozan. It was so barbaric (for the time) that, halfway through the rematch, more than one fan had a fatal heart attack when Blassie busted him open.
- Unrelated Brothers: As Fred McDaniel with Billy McDaniel as the McDaniel Brothers..