Bulldog's Bookshelf

Listen, You Pencil-Neck Geeks

"Classy" Freddie Blassie

with Keith Elliot Greenberg

Synopsis: The autobiography of one of wrestling's most infamous (and yet beloved) heels, published weeks before his death.

Pages: 272

Published: 2003

Rome, Georgia, was the first place where I ever got cut. This son of a bitch got up to the apron, reached through the ropes, and stuck a knife in my calf. I was talking around the ring, and saw that knife jutting up, and kind of shook my leg, hoping the damn thing would fall out. Nothing happened.

 

"Oh, f*ck," I said, jumping off the apron and stroming back to the dressing room. I pulled out the knife - and a big hunk of meat with it - poured some peroxide on the wound, put a little Band-Aid and walked back out into the crowd.

 

It was a stupid thing to do. Aroused by the blood, it seemed like the whole town had come off the streets and joined the crackers in the arena, hoping to finish the job and lynch me from some oak tree. I don't know how many people were there - maybe a thousand, maybe two - but I pushed my way past them and got back in the ring.

 

"You gutless, no-good motherf*ckers!" I screamed. "Which one of you wants to come in here now and get his f*cking head handed to him? You pencil neck geeks! There's not a man among you! You let your women do your fighting."

Wrestling fans today who have never heard of Classy Freddie Blassie are seriously missing out. Not only did he redefine the heel manager when I started out as a fan, but he was one of the most feared villians in wrestling history before that -- no small task.

 

What I find fascinating about The Hollywood Fashion Plate's life story is that he truly lived through some amazing eras of wrestling. How many other people can say that they've fought everyone from Mil Mascaras to Rikidozan, managed everyone from Hulk Hogan to Muhammad Ali, appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show and worked for three generations of McMahons? No one else, actually.

 

From someone who was in his mid-80's at the time of publication, Blassie had amazing recall (or at the very least, could spin some amazing stories). His stories are colorful and often laugh-out-loud funny, yet it's hard to believe sometimes that the wrestling industry has changed so much since he began.

 

Filling in the few gaps are a wide variety of personalities, including Hogan, Vince McMahon, The Iron Sheik, Captain Lou Albano, Killer Khan, Big Boss Man, The Destroyer and, of all people, Regis Philbin. And unlike most autobiographies that include comments from contemporaries, most of these stories are original and worth reading.

 

Blassie passed away shortly after the book's first printing - mere weeks, in fact. A second printing includes details on The Ayatollah's final television angle (a storyline involvingEric Bischoff, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Dudley Boyz and Three Minute Warning) and his funeral.

 

The book also includes a rare foreword by Mr. McMahon, who saw Blassie as a grandfather figure, noting that he wrote the book as he was likely close to the end of his life. This can only mean one thing: Vinnie Mac murdered Classy Freddie!

 

Overall rating: Oh Hell Yeah! A book that has been overlooked because Blassie was in a different era that today's wrestlers. But perhaps it shouldn't be. A hell of a good read.

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