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 - Bill Balch

Freddie Blassie.  That name stirred up more anger and rage in wrestling fans in Southern California than anyone.  Before or since.  In fact, he was perfectly capable of causing a riot anywhere he appeared.  Freddie Blassie.  Look up the word "heat" in the dictionary and you should see his picture.  He was incredible.  He could arouse more emotion in fans with just a look, or wiping the sweat off his brow and flinging it at them, than most wrestlers could with their dirtiest ring tactics.  There was always a threat of a fan attacking Freddie and the Olympic had to hire uniformed Los Angeles police officers to escort him to and from the ring, and sit at ringside during his matches.  Occasionally, that wasnąt enough.

What few people knew and much less cared about during his reign of terror in the Olympic Auditorium was that there were two Freddie Blassies.  The first one they knew all too well.  The one they loathed.  The charismatic master showman would turn heads and create near hysteria from the very moment he appeared.  He would strut down the aisle in his sequined jacket, matching color trunks and boots, blond hair perfectly combed and every eye in the place would be on him.  He commanded your attention with everything he did.  When he entered the ring, he would pace around like a caged animal ready to strike.  Even though the fans hated him, they were always in awe of his presence.

To further enrage fans, Freddie came up with the gimmick of biting his opponents.  To show that he meant business, he would even file his teeth during interviews.  And, Freddie Blassie could get over on interviews alone.  Fans were always afraid of what he might do to their favorite "pencilneck geek."  

Not exactly a shrinking violet, he could dish it out verbally with the fans as well.  One night as a young teenage fan attending the matches at the Long Beach Auditorium, I went to the back of the arena after Blassie’s match to shake his hand.  Just as he’s getting close, an old woman stands up, shaking her finger at him.  "You son of a bitch! You damn son of a bitch" she yells at him. Not missing a beat Freddie turned around and a big grin came over his face.  "Hi Mom," he shouted back for everyone to hear.  The more I tried not to laugh, the harder I laughed.  When Freddie walked by me he just winked and smiled.  But, the old woman and the fans around her could not have been more furious. 

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