STRATAGEM COGITATION — CH.6: TRIPLE OG KINGPIN OF THE SJW GAME
Dateline: March 28th, 1962, Grand Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles California USA… a decade and a half removed from the horrors of the second World War and society is rapidly becoming a global affair. Youth culture and counter-culture explodes onto the streets and across the airwaves… forcing a burgeoning national civil/human rights movement, environmental issues and other concerns to the forefront of America’s collective consciousness. All fueled by a revolutionary soundtrack of Rock, Soul and Country music, the most prominent social influence vehicles of the day.
For worldwide postwar Asian populations in general and Japanese people in specific, their fortitude and willingness to rebuild paved a path towards success and integration. But a high price-tag was required for this limited time offer and with their self-worth and identity shattered… they faced daunting prospects in a future filled with increasing pressures to conform towards Anglo standards of aesthetic and success. Japanese-Americans, or Nikkei Amerikajin, were even more vulnerable. Despite seized property and families herded into concentration camps, their Nisei (second generation immigrant) sons produced the most valorous participants in US military history. Salute to the heroes comprising our 100th Infantry Battalion, 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 522nd Field Artillery Battalion and their WW2 service. Once that conflict ended, Japanese-Americans were essentially dumped back onto the streets to fend for themselves and start over, often migrating to West Coast urban centers or agricultural areas. Bringing them into contact with whatever citizenry would accept, or at least not attack them.
Meanwhile overseas, with a near ethnostate comprised almost exclusively by Nihonjin (ethnic Japanese) the population faced a double edged sword of shame via military defeat/occupation while also being haunted by their legacy of Imperial war machine atrocities. With national and individual confidence (particularly in relation to strength and meeting non-Japanese as equals) in tatters, both of these groups desperately needed a hero and their persecutors required a reason to cease the torment. But without a proper foil to represent the harsh realities of their struggle, without someone willing to pay the price necessary to establish and represent the sidewinding obstacles facing them… there seemed no outlet for healing the wartime wounds.
Enter Rikidozan and his sanguine adversary… The Carnivore.
From Grappling with Shadows to Fighting for Championships -
On November 14, 1924, the world welcomed baby Kim Sin-rak. An ethnic Korean who grew into a standout Sumo prospect, Kim immigrated to Japan in 1940 from the northern Korean Peninsula. Despite an abundance of talent, dedication and even an attempt to hide his true ethnic origins, the discrimination and outright racism Kim faced as a result of his Gaijin (foreigner) status ensured any real prospects of top-level success as a Sumo were artificially neutered and he would exit the sport prematurely, never having attained its highest title of Yokozuna, or Grand Champion. However, during his years of active training and competition Kim was bestowed with the Shikona (ring name) of Rikidozan. He proceeded to drift from occupation to occupation, eventually catching the eye of Professional Wrestling athlete/promoter Bobby Bruns who was developing a tour of Japan to promote the sport and after formal training, Rikidozan made his squared circle debut on October 28th, 1951.
This form of Professional Wrestling was much different from the spectacle we see currently exhibited by its replacement. Competitors in the style of Western Slam Bang Wrestling were essentially the MMA athletes of their era, having repeatedly proven the new Combat Sports superiority over European and Asian styles of grappling as well as the wildly popular Western-style boxing and its representatives via “mixed matches”. There was a strict hierarchy enforced in order to maintain the secrecy of both techniques and promotional aspects within the professional ranks. The game was definitely to be sold, not told. But Professional Wrestling is a visual experience, so with the introduction of televised events and matches, the already prominent sport became anchor programming for many broadcasters as it soared into the public’s fascination-zone…
Throughout this initial boom, Rikidozan paid the price of blood, sweat and tears to advance both himself and Professional Wrestling into Japan’s national sporting soul, along the way facing and defeating many of the day’s top foreign and domestic athletes, including the legendary Lou Thesz. He had successfully lobbied Japanese entertainment industry power players and convinced them of his vision to restore Asian pride via direct sporting competition with the outside world. And his estimation was correct. Yet with all of this success, there was one summit Rikidozan and his Japanese compatriots had failed to reach, and in order for a full restoration of dignity, this zenith had to be achieved in order to satisfy the hunger of those yearning for equal footing… only a true World Championship would suffice.
The Carnivore -
Born as an only child on February 8, 1918 in St. Louis, Missouri, Frederick Kenneth Blassie survived a rough upbringing and found solace in area wrestling and boxing gyms where he excelled in the fields of physical development and Combat Sports. Blassie earned his stripes the hard way, taking on all comers in carnival shoot matches and eventually graduating to the professional circuit where his persistence and natural acumen led veteran wrestlers to impart precious industry wisdom with him. WW2 kicked off and Blassie enlisted with the US Navy, serving 42 months in the Pacific Theater. Upon his stateside return, it was right back to the ring and by the early 50’s Blassie had found his way to Los Angeles where he began developing the “Hollywood fashion plate” persona, complete with bleach blond hair, bronzed body and a beaming, billion-megawatt smile.
“Sailor” Blassie didn’t last long though and he ditched the attempts at crowd outreach, embracing his inner-heel to the degree that police escorts were soon required to prevent mobs of incensed fans from physically attacking him at venues throughout the nation (ex: he delighted in enraging Southern crowds with his “Yankee” heritage). The levels of violence he exhibited were so severe that Blassie was dubbed “The Carnivore” and “The Vampire” as his bloodlust seemed to know no bounds… going so far as to file his teeth in public in order to assure maximum carnage when he got to chomping on opponents while berating fans and foes alike with his trademark insult of “pencil neck geek” as he set out to climb the treacherous ladder of success in this most dangerous of occupations. On June 12, 1961, Blassie would vanquish the Flying Frenchman Édouard Carpentier to capture his first WWA World Heavyweight Championship. It was in this moment when he and Rikidozan were placed on a collision course, destined to challenge the very foundations of American white supremacy and racism, but by the wrestlers own terms. On the night of March 28th, 1962 in the L.A. Grand Olympic Auditorium, they were given that opportunity.
A Contest for the Soul of Two Nations and Beyond-
On certain occasions, when individuals representing a particular endeavor are willing to roll the dice and stand by their talent and convictions, athletic or artistic performance can transcend the normal confines of awareness and invoke a deeper state of meaning. Moments when clarity and purity cut through the smog of oppression in order to change the very fabric of our cultural landscape. That night in East Los was just such an occasion.
War wounds were still fresh and deeply gouged into the worlds psyche and if judged solely by the date and location, one might be forgiven for assuming the blue-eyed, Hollywood style icon would garner the fans support while the hated, “filthy Jap” would be public enemy #1. That estimation fails to take into account the moral character of the combatants or their willingness to take a stand. With a multicultural crowd in attendance representing the true tapestry of America’s racial makeup, these warriors went into battle not only against each other, but against the disease of racism which was responsible for so much devastation only a few years prior. A disease which continues to plague America to this very moment… but on that fateful 1962 spring night, Freddie Blassie and Rikidozan were able to heal so much of the pain shared by so many… they were able to correct the balance of power within their own spheres of influence. And their efforts helped change the world.
Peep the footage for yourself of this thrilling contest. It gives chills to see Asian powerhouse Rikidozan, draped in traditional Japanese finery and bounding his way towards the ring, buoyed by the unwavering and riotous support of an American audience… to hear their loyal vocalizations, cheering him on to victory, even before the bell rings. Just a few years ago, these peoples were locked in a life and death struggle of all-out warfare against each other. Yet here, due to the juice of Professional Wrestling and the efforts of two individuals willing to cross that line, the tables of racial hatred had been upended. You know it must have felt so good, so right for those people to have reason for casting off their racial nonsense and embracing the “other” as our human hearts are wont to do. Once the match gets underway, their appreciation for this new hero from a foreign and formerly hated land only increases and their moral encouragement intensifies.
As you can see, both men are absolute physical specimens. This was important as it not only showed that Asian people (at that moment in time occupiers of the lowest rung on the racial perception ladder) could be as stout and stiff as anyone else, but it also showed they were able to compete at the highest levels against the pinnacle of Caucasian physical representation. Need an indication of the crowds admiration for the challenger and their scalding scorn for the champ? Just check the video’s 9:26 mark (among other instances). Every underhanded “they-wild-out-of-control” lazy, devious and ghetto stereotype inflicted on ethnic minorities is embodied by Freddie Blassie throughout the bout and afterwards, contrasted by an overjoyed crowds eruption when the gallant, rule-abiding Rikidozan is declared victor. As spontaneous and extraordinary as any moment you will find in American sporting history. And although this represented a major contribution towards re-structuring racial attitudes, it was merely among the genesis moments of Freddie Blassies crusade to re-imagine a new era of harmony at the expense and sacrifice of his white privilege, which he utilized with the skillset of both psychologist and gangster.
Freddie Blassie continued to strike fear and evoke the ire of wrestling audiences until he retired from competition in 1974 due to California state regulations barring those over the age of 55 from obtaining a wrestling license. This development didn’t halt the “Hollywood fashion plate” in his quest for championship gold or racial justice. Rather it served as launching pad for even greater success and notoriety once he transitioned into his new moniker and occupation… “Classy” Freddie Blassie, manager to the stars.
Making Combat Sports History -
“Manager to the stars sure sounds nice, but anyone can claim anything… how do we know Blassie is for real?”
During the heart of America’s 1976 bi-centennial summer, in what was to be the first major Mixed Martial Arts bout of the modern era (a full ten years before Shooto would emerge and almost two decades prior to the UFC’s inaugural event) the top professional Boxing and Wrestling World Champions from their respective sports would face off at one of the most venerable venues in the fighting and sporting world… the Nippon Budokan arena, located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda district.
Representing Professional Wrestling would be Antonio Inoki, world heavyweight title holder for the New Japan Pro-Wrestling promotion and the ace of it’s dojo. Inoki (now retired at 77 but still moving like a stallion, dabbling in national politics when it suits him) carries with him a legitimate claim of CACC (Catch as Catch Can) and shoot wrestling lineage, inherited under direct tutelage from (among other grapplers of note) Karl Gotch and Rikidozan himself. Inoki believed in the power and potential of Professional Wrestling as the strongest form of martial arts and was willing to pay the price to prove it. Armed with God-given physical gifts, laser like focus, steadfast dedication and a constitution built for competition at the highest levels, Inoki and his fighting spirit rose to the top of the fight game. Antonio Inoki (and by natural extension Professional Wrestling and the NJPW promotion) commanded respect as he embodied the physical manifestation of modern societies highest ideals regarding decency, skill, triumph and ultimately… the violence necessary to defend the innocent from the threats of the wicked.
In order to accomplish the goal of essentially establishing himself as a prototype MMA champion, Inoki began entering mixed matches similar to those of the bygone carnival days… when At-Shows would allow boxers and wrestlers to compete in style-vs-style bouts. Days when legit champions would also meet in these cross-discipline contests. Sometimes during private challenge match-ups while others were public affairs… where outsiders would have opinions, but insiders knew the smart money was almost always on the wrestler. Eventually his preeminence allowed him to call out not only the biggest name in combat sports, not only the biggest star of the entertainment industry, but the most recognized name on planet Earth.
Before we reveal his opponents identity, take a gander as Antonio Inoki leads a troupe of Japanese and American wrestlers into a two day extravaganza, competing before a total of 355,000 spectators and in the process setting what is undoubtedly an attendance record for modern professional Combat Sports. Why italicize Americans? Well, the year was 1995, event title: Pyongyang International Sports and Culture Festival for Peace, venue: May Day Stadium, Pyongyang, North Korea, host: Kim Jong-il. Sure, WCW repackaged it as “Collision in Korea” for Western audiences… but only Inoki had the kind of clout it took to open a door, let alone seal the deal.
As for his opponent? You might know of him, but you may not have known that his manager was, as it was destined to be… “Classy” Freddie Blassie. Which makes Blassie possibly the only human to have won a world championship in wrestling as well as managed a world champ in both his sport and boxing. And if the bout that sweltering night in Tokyo hadn’t been declared a draw after 15 grueling rounds of fighting, he might have been able to add “manager of the first MMA World Champion” to his resume as well. Blassie steps on the scene at the 7:22 mark.
World Tensions on the Brink -
Middle Eastern tension during the 1970's threatened the realistic prospect of all-out war in the region between multiple factions and nations.
“Goodbye Tel Aviv, Jeddah, Istanbul & etc… were ready to wrap it up RIGHT (Apocalypse) NOW!!”
“Hold up, what do your own laws, scriptures and prophecies say about your own behavior?”
“Didn’t you hear?! RIGHT NOW!!”
God obviously decided otherwise. Ever wonder what them same people are trying to sell these days?
This tension produced shockwaves which included everything from energy cartels, embargoes and crises to terrorist warfare and weapons of mass destruction. Sure have been playing that tune for a long time. The romanticized Arabian Peninsula of Hollyweird was giving way to a dangerous, hostile new media narrative… a narrative designed to stoke flames and feed fears of a world at the edge of nuclear conflict. And at the center of this tension, one nation emerged as the embodiment of villainy for both Middle Eastern and Western sensibilities… one nation which represented a credible, truly fear inspiring threat. One dominant enemy…
Farsi Forces -
Persian life continued with biz as usual in the early 1970s under the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi monarchy and the nation also celebrated 2,500 years of civilization… an achievement which speaks for itself. With the decades turmoil swirling around national borders, Shah (king) Pahlavi presented a muted, often neutral stance on some of the more divisive regional issues and maintained a subordinate role in service of Western allies and patrons. Unfortunately, the societal order of his rule was maintained via secular, dictatorial corruption and violent oppression. In fact, it was the 1968 state-sponsored “disappearance” of Olympic gold medalist wrestler, human rights activist and national hero Gholamreza Takhti which some credit as providing the initial impetus for a chain reaction, culminating in the revolutionary theocratic movement sweeping to power by the close of the 70's. Persia once again occupied the worlds center stage.
March 30/31 of 1979 produced the Iranian Islamic Revolution and installed Ayatollah Khomeini as the nations supreme leader. His public proclamations such as America being the “great satan” and the Soviet Union being a “lesser satan” immediately earned intense scrutiny and notoriety for both himself and the Iranian people. Then, just before the dawn of a new decade, the unthinkable happened and on Nov. 4, 1979 radical students seized control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 staff personnel hostage. “The Iran Hostage Crisis” as it became known by (eventually leading to the Iran-Contra affair) was beamed all over the world via satellite television and showcased a mudhole being stomped in America’s international prestige for 444 straight days. This was an unprecedented act of defiance and brought on the full focus of DC and its allies. As if the powder keg needed any more lit fuses during this period, on Sept. 22, 1980 Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein (with direct encouragement from the Regan administration) invaded the oil-abundant Khuzestan province, kicking off the Iran-Iraq War which would rage until 1988.
In this short span of time, Iran had established itself as a terrifying world power to the U.S. perspective. Unafraid, diametrically opposite and resourceful enough to hold their own, the Iranian people became reviled by the American public as tensions escalated. Needles to say, most Iranian-Americans were looking to maintain as low of a profile as possible. Most…
Persian Pride on American Soil -
Born March 15, 1942 in Tehran, Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri was deeply inspired, along with many other Iranian youth, by the example set forth from Gholamreza Takhti. And like many other Iranian youth, he shared a passion for Takhti’s chosen sport. Vaziri was not the average child. A gifted athlete who would advance rapidly within the wrestling ranks, he was eventually tapped for duty as part of the Shah’s personal bodyguard detail. After maxing out his amateur possibilities in Iran, Vaziri decided to move to America in search of a way to make a living from his trade and found almost immediate success, capturing the AAU’s Greco-Roman world championship and gold medal at 180.5lbs. while also coaching AAU champions and serving as a coach on multiple US Olympic wrestling squads. Viziri eventually settled in the Twin Cities where he had been coaching, marrying a daughter of the Midwest. It was also where he caught the attention of locally based Professional Wrestler/promoter/physical culture visionary Verne Gagne. With impeccable credentials, including two NCAA championships, Gagne preferred to sign real athletes to his AWA (American Wrestling Association) promotion. His focus was on maintaining the standard of Professional Wrestling as a legitimate combat sport, and his roster reflected this commitment. Therefore it was a natural transition for Viziri to graduate into the professional class of the discipline he had long labored in as an amateur, and Gagne’s AWA umbrella offered the ideal circumstance. So after his training under master Catch Wrestler Billy Robinson was deemed sufficient, one of the most complete and dangerous practitioners of the sports modern era was unleashed onto the scene. However, Viziri refused to take any shortcuts and would abide by every rule, despite whatever foul tactics his opponents might employ. In the ring, Viziri outclassed his opposition to such a degree that he simply didn’t need to cheat. He was also so proud of America and his contributions to her wrestling tradition that he would wear his Red, White and Blue AAU gear to the ring along with his medals. Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri was truly doing his best to partake in the American dream, and he carried this ethos with him as he ventured into other Professional Wrestling territories and promotions.
But somewhere along the way things changed… somewhere along his path, Viziri realized that he was approaching a ceiling he couldn’t break through. No matter how patriotic or loyal he was, he never seemed to achieve the success many though he deserved, that he was sacrificing so much for. The success he was depending on to provide for his new family. At some point, Vaziri made the choice of many an Old West lawman as he decided to put away the rulebook and move forward by any means necessary. Embracing his cultural heritage and adopting a regionally influenced attire selection, Vaziri also embraced the ire of American opponents and fans as he exploited their hatred of his native land to devious advantage. With an All-American past quickly fading into memory, a new force stood ready to challenge the very foundations of American notions regarding security and prominence… Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri was no longer competing in matches. In his place stood a living, breathing engine of destruction which frightened domestic audiences to their core. In his place now stood… the Iron Sheik.
Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere…
Sounds impressive right? Such convenient rhetoric for instant tough guys and gals, but often pure hyperbole depending on the source. The Iron Sheik was the fighting embodiment of this mentality, traversing the nation and globe on a quest to locate the most beloved champions and heroes of the land… in order to brutalize them into defeat and submission in front of their own fans. Appearing at times during interviews to be a refined individual of the international set, the Iron Sheik could also fly into a violent tirade or attack at any moment. Both his treachery and willingness to go into battle no matter the odds soon established the Iron Sheik as a legit threat in any arena he appeared at. Fans hatred was so intense that extra security would be required to keep them in line, yet somehow they rarely managed to actually attack him, wonder why?
The path of devastation in his wake coincided with geopolitics of the day to unleash a true wave of fear and revulsion regarding his wrestling exploits and as his success and scalps mounted, so did the public desire to see him defeated, humbled and vanquished. His rampage disputed every notion of not only the White Supremacist ideology, but the doctrine of American Exceptionalism itself, and the primary name America’s public rallied around to handle the perilous Persian was none other than Bob Backlund. The reigning WWWF World Heavyweight Champion possessed his own impressive amateur pedigree as a collegiate national champion/All-American and at that moment was into year six of his title run. For faithful fans, Backlund represented the best shot to halt the Iron Sheiks merciless and seemingly unstoppable advance. After a series of dark (untelevised) matches, house show bouts and various other encounters, it was decided that on the night of December 26th, 1983 the situation would be settled during a Madison Square Garden main event with the belt on the line. The arena was sold to capacity, a fever pitch in the air was thick enough to taste and all systems were go to see the hated heel get his violent comeuppance at the hands of a champion carrying a moniker of “the All-American”… Its difficult to illustrate for you, gentle reader, the proper context and gravity of this situation… but suffice it to say, much more was on the line than a mere athletic competition, or even championship.
What Backlund fans actually received was the public dismantling of their Great White Hope. After a pitched battle, the Iron Sheik achieved the upper hand and executed his signature hold, a devastating human torture rack known as the Camel Clutch, in the center of the ring. Tormenting both crowd and opponent and with no escape possible for his prey, the Iron Sheik applied the Double C with such ferocity that a game Backlund’s manager was forced to throw in the towel. And in that moment of defeat, a seismic shift in power coursed through the building and pulsed out through the nation, reverberating with global implications. Many of the wrestling faithful wailed and despaired, cops gritted their teeth and prepared for the worst while the Iron Sheik rejoiced center-ring with the truest friend a fiend of his stature could secure… a fellow caitiff who earned that reputation drenched in blood. Who was this nefarious individual who had helped guide America’s principal scoundrel to the heights of physical and media culture? Why, it was none other than…
“Ayatollah” Fred Blassie -
Yes, you read and see correctly… The King of Men had evolved his game into the stratosphere as a manager. It was noted that even in this portion of his career, where he had been retired from competition for years, Blassie would lead by example and still partake in the daily training regimen with the charges of his stable, who he would refer to as “my men”. In fact, Blassie maintained such a high level of physical condition that even in this managerial phase of his career, wrestlers would attest to seeing him actually bodyslam Andre the Giant during an early 1980's training session, while aged well into his 60's. With the red hot hatred of his personal villainy already established, these new developments sent his heat with the public to molten levels. But it wasn’t just the fact that he was a “bad guy” nor was this vehemence purely ascribable to his traitorous alliances and friendships. The biggest bee under the nations collective bonnet regarding Blassie was the fact that a man who physically embodied the optimum standards white America aspired to attain, the image they were promoting to the world, the image they wanted the world to buy… had rejected their easy route to success and instead carved his own path at the expense of a racial identity so many had bought into so thoroughly. Blassie had his success, had it on repeat mode and he enjoyed it on his own terms. By embracing a cast of characters others chose to revile and not only staying on top of the game (all while stunting on the masses in custom, tailor made gear), but elevating it, Freddie Blassie cast a very tall and dark shadow.
All title runs must come to an end though so when the Iron Sheik dropped the strap, many would have considered it already to be a career for the ages, mellowed out and waited for their Hall Of Fame nomination. Does that sound like Freddie Blassie to you? Being the maniacal mastermind he was, Blassie again sought out the most dangerous political intrigue possible to exploit… and once again, he struck rouge’s gold.
With the Cold War heating up and on high alert, “Classy” decided to poke the bear (literally) and raided the Eastern Bloc to acquire the services of Super-Soviet Red Menace… Nikolai Volkoff. A natural tag-team partner for the Iron One, whom Blassie also dubbed “Sheiky Baby” Volkoff was massive, athletic and had a mean streak wide as a country mile. Demanding audiences stand in silence and respect as his baritone barrage belted out the CCCP national anthem into ring microphones before matches, Volkoff would inflame already hostile crowds. And to the continuing horror of red-blooded American patriots, Blassie would elatedly lead this dastardly duo to World Championship glory, deliciously and maliciously at the expense of a mullet-laden twosome comprised of the capable and legit Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham, who competed as… you better believe it… the U.S. Express. Never let it be said Blassie aint know how to twist the knife.
You might be thinking to yourself, “How much further could he take this? How much tougher could he support America’s enemies or promote minorities as heros who are currently feeling the wrath of white America’s racial acrimony?” and these are valid queries… lets put them to rest.
Jimmy The Greek, Take a Seat -
The well documented racial ramblings and flameout of Jimmy The Greek during a CBS Sunday NFL pregame show is etched in the annals of network TV. And while JTG’s soliloquy on “slave muscles” no doubt helped serve as a catalyst for some of the improvements regarding media’s depiction and coverage of racial sensitivities in the wake of the righteous outrage generated by those comments… the genius of Freddie Blassie was ready and able to exploit similar controversy to the fullest.
In a promo for the ages where Blassie barks at Mean Gene to “keep quiet” when he attempts interrupting a partially-Persian rant of the Iron Sheik (a rant in which he declarers to train another All-American hero, the military minded Sgt. Slaughter, like a “lazy camel” at none other than… the Olympic Auditorium!) Blassie employs a masterstroke of mass-psychology for the benefit of beloved masked Mexican luchador superstar, Mil Máscaras. As he is remarking about his current charge Tiger Chung Lee’s upcoming bout with Mil, Blassie vows that they will unmask “that wetback Mil Moscrus” during an interview that would probably halt production on the spot these days. But the early 1980’s offered a very different cultural terrain from our current state of racial affairs.
I can just hear the simpleton SJW’s now, only viewing this moment retroactively through their 2021 rose colored lenses, having no clue or regard for the mental manipulation Freddie Blassie just manifested to benefit a true Mexican icon. “Owe Emm Gee!! Did you hear that white man utter the racial slur on LIVE TV!! #SHUT IT DOWN!!” Blassie would just chuckle, call them pencil neck geeks and figure job well done.
Because you see, the game Blassie ran down was so cold and complex, only he could pull it off. Here we witness white America, having to accept the pinnacle of their ideal is going to bat for the foreigners at the expense of their heroes… including a Mexican foreigner who spoke no English. Game Recognized. In that moment, anyone on the fence who was willing to hold a racial grudge against Máscaras simply for being from south of the border was forced to surrender such notions on the spot or depart from the realm of Professional Wrestling after being insulted by the Heels Heel, as only he could. So if they weren’t already on team Double M, what choice did white America have left except to throw in their support behind the foreign fighter after being verbally backhanded? And it was “Classy” Freddie Blassie who rode them right across that finish line.
“Owe Emm Gee, he only used those poor, helpless minorities! He looks like such a culture vulture…” well, thats not what his history shows. Like ever. But lets see what “The Giver of Pain” Mr. Fuji has to say about the matter…
Slowing His Roll/Role -
As the bumps began to catch up with him, autumn of 1986 saw Blassie sell half of the interest in his stable in order to begin a phased retirement process. He was much too important and crucial to just walk away cold, many arrangements would be necessary in order to attempt picking up the slack and filling an unfillable void which would be left by the Hollywood fashion plate upon his absence from the sport. The public could sense his imminent exit from ringside and although he never lost that vital heel heat which so much was sacrificed to establish… even after all the tears and fears he generated over the years… most everyone could admit that a bond had been forged with Fred Blassie, and things wouldn’t be the same without him scowling and scheming away. Of course, you knew on his way out Blassie would sell his concern only to another manager he deemed a true contemporary, a worthy heir to his legacy of savagery and success… the Reverend Slick fit the bill.
In Conclusion -
To say Freddie Blassie left an indelible mark on both Professional Wrestling as a sport and America as a nation would be an understatement. His contributions throughout the years still echo through the halls of competition and today, many of his pioneered techniques are now utilized by generations of talent who may not even realize it was Blassie’s initial efforts and ingenuity which paved the way for their opportunity to walk in his footsteps. To be honest, many up and comers might not even know who The Carnivore was. But many of us do remember, value and honor the legitimate, barrier-breaking work done by an individual who went against the grain for the right reasons. A man who refused to buckle as he strove to defy the racial inequities of his day, in his own violent and misanthropic fashion. The man known as Fred Blassie, February 8, 1918 -June 2, 2003.
If you would like to learn more about some of the characters from this article, please check out Freddie Blassie’s auto/biography titled “Listen, You Pencil Neck Geeks” or the excellent 2014 documentary titled “The Sheik” covering the life and career of Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri. Also highly recommended is the entertaining, yet poignant and heart wrenching full-length Japanese feature film from 2004, “Rikidozan: A Hero Extraordinary”.
By the Way…
Recently came across this excellent short bio on Blassie as presented by Dave Knows Wrestling. This article and his video cover some of the same history and confirm each other as well as presenting fresh info and perspectives. Seems to be a good natured fellow with an expansive knowledge of the sport, so please feel free to check out Dave’s channel for more of his original content.