In Meltzer’s Tributes II, Freddie Blassie becomes known to me as any promoter’s dream in his ability to get a crowd going, creating heat and selling tickets. Blassie did this by inventing new ways to antagonize the fans so that they would come to the matches. In short, he had tremendous drawing power. For example, Freddie dove over a table to attack Dick Beyer, a face who was being interviewed at half-time, on a widely televised football game. The next day, the arena was sold out. According to the reading, Blassie had a following of several prominent fans including Elvis, Andy Kaufman and Muhammad Ali. Fans loved to hate him.
Conversely, although Blassie maintained major beefs with the fans, having been stabbed several times over the years, he was well liked by his fellow wrestlers such as his archrival John Tolos. Blassie is also credited with forging and enhancing the careers of several wrestlers, most notably Pedro Morales. Morales stated that they sold out wherever they went, and that the “Spanish boys” loved him. Freddie also started the career of Ernie Ladd who came over from the NFL, and became very popular.
Blassie’s most famous move was that he bit his opponents and he was hyped as “The Vampire” before going to Tokyo. According to Meltzer, once Freddie landed in Japan, he began to file his teeth. This new stratagem was powerful enough to make him the hottest foreign star in Japan, surpassing Lou Thesz.
Later in his career, Blassie became a manager, even though he was still one of wrestling’s biggest stars. He mainly managed foreign stars, such as the Iron Sheik, and overseas in Japan, Freddie was the manager for Adrian Adonis and later Hulk Hogan, which I found interesting. Freddie really taught these two the wrestling culture of Japan—how to act as a star.
So we have a TV interviewer’s nightmare, a heel who is probably best remembered as the most “vicious biter” in the business, which is a complete and flagrant disregard of the rules, who could pack in houses on a whim for any promoter. In addition, fans hated him to the point of stabbing him, yet wrestlers loved and respected him. Sounds like the main event of wrestling culture to me.