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This Day in Wrestling History (Feb. 18): The War To Settle The Score

Today’s TDIPWH is presented in two parts. The second part will focus on the life of Kerry Von Erich, who committed suicide 24 years ago today.

this day in wrestling history

Our condolences to the family, friends, and many fans of George “The Animal” Steele. He passed away Friday at age 79.

32 years ago today, WWF presented The War to Settle the Score from Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The event, airing on MTV, would essentially serve as a hard sell for the inaugural Wrestlemania. The in-house crowd got a full event, while the home audience only got to see the featured bout, Hulk Hogan versus Rowdy Roddy Piper for the WWF Championship.

At the time of its original airing, it was the most watched show in the cable network's history. However, it would also be the last time a WWF show aired on the network until 2001. MTV wanted a share of the WWF in exchange for doing more specials. Needless to say, Vince McMahon declined.

Though MTV would do wrestling-themed special episodes of some of their shows, it wouldn't be until 1998 when MTV aired an all-wrestling show again, when they aired The Ultimate Video Bash, an event marred by awful wrestling in a driving rainstorm.

  • Johnny Rodz defeated Jose Luis Rivera.
  • Hillbilly Jim defeated Rene Goulet.
  • The Magnificent Muraco defeated Salvatore Bellomo.
  • Moondog Spot and Rick McGraw fought to a 15-minute time limit draw.
  • David Sammartino defeated Moondog Rex.
  • Nikolai Volkoff defeated Swede Hanson.
  • Leilani Kai defeated Wendi Richter to win the WWF Womens Championship.
  • Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo defeated The Assassin & The Spoiler to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
  • Paul Orndorff defeated Tony Atlas.
  • Jimmy Snuka defeated Bob Orton.
  • Hulk Hogan defeated Roddy Piper by disqualification to retain the WWF Championship.

28 years ago today, famed women's wrestler Mildred Bliss, best known as Mildred Burke, died of a stroke in Northridge, California. She was 73.

Born August 5, 1915 in Coffeyville, Kansas, Mildred worked as a waitress on an Indian reservation in New Mexico as a teenager. At age 18, Mildred left for Kansas City, Missouri and married her boyfriend.

After her boyfriend took her to a wrestling event, Mildred took an interest in the sport. An office stenographer by day, she trained by night under famed women's wrestling trainer Billy Wolfe. Hoping he would get Burke out of his hair, he instructed a male wrestler to bodyslam her. Burke, who was well-developed in the muscular department, bodyslammed him instead. Wolfe trained her and over time realized she was the student he'd been seeking. Over time the teacher-student relationship became a husband-wife one. In Janaury 1937, Burke would defeat Clara Mortensen to win the Womens Championship.

Despite having a very beneficial marriage financially (he the successful manager, she the successful wrestler), Wolfe was a known womanizer on the road, often enjoying the companionship of the women with whom he traveled. Eventually, his extramarital affairs would drive a wedge between the two and ultimately into divorce. The two divorced in 1952; immediately, Burke was frozen out of the NWA. The group attempted to reconcile their business dealings, but only agreed that one would sell out to the other; Burke would sell to Wolfe, in August 1953, Wolfe boldly declared himself to be the booker for Burke and her stable of wrestlers. This would be quickly go into dispute with Wolfe citing Burke was violating a binding agreement that she would not compete against him.

As women were banned from NWA yearly conferences at the time, Wolfe would get to make his case, but not Burke. In the end, at the September 1953 meeting, the NWA declined to recognize women's wrestling, giving Wolfe his stake in Burke Attractions, Inc. Many of the women sided with Burke and refused to wrestle for Wolfe. Burke would make her case in a November 1953 letter, claiming she would work with 12 grapplers instead of just one that Wolfe claimed.

Emotionally exhausted, Burke wrestled Wolfe's daughter-in-law June Byers in August 1954 in Atlanta. Because of the genuine heat between the two, it became a shoot fight. With Wolfe's influence, he had a friendly referee for the bout. Burke gave up the first fall, but the match ended during the second fall when officials called the bout. Burke technically didn't lose the title, but the press didn't see it that way; Byers was recognized as the new champion.

Burke started the World Women's Wrestling Association in Los Angeles, and returned there and still called herself the world women's champion, though the NWA declared June Byers the champion. Burke vacated the belt when she retired in 1966. The belt would be revived in 1970 by All Japan Womens Pro Wrestling (AJW) and would become their top championship until the promotion folded in 2005. Her efforts would also find another joshi promotion, the World Wide Womens Wrestling Association.

Burke ran a women's wrestling school in Encino, California; her most famous trainee was Rhonda Sing, who would go on to success in the WWF as Bertha Faye and Monster Ripper internationally. Burke would be posthumously inducted into the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1996 and the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2002.

22 years ago today, Eddie Gilbert died of a heart attack in his apartment in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico. He was just 33.

Born Thomas Edward Gilbert, Jr, on August 14, 1961 in Lexington, Tennessee, Gilbert always had a love for wrestling. He began his career in 1979 as Tommy Gilbert Jr. in honor of his father. He would make up booking sheets and matches like his idol Jerry Lawler while Gilbert was in school. He had a cup of coffee in the WWF in the early 1980s, but a serious car accident derailed his push in 1983. He would return to the company with the inspiration of then-WWF Champion Bob Backlund.

After leaving the WWF in 1984, he would wrestle for Mid-South and CWA Wrestling as Eddie Gilbert. Gilbert and Tommy Rich as "Fargo's Fabulous Ones" would win the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship. After splitting up, the duo had a brief but intense feud before Gilbert left for the Universal Wrestling Federation in 1986, where Gilbert arguably had his greatest successes. "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert, he formed Hot Stuff International, Inc., which included a young Sting, Rick Steiner, Ultimate Warrior, Dick Murdoch, and Missy Hyatt all before they were big names. In fact, Gilbert married Missy in 1988.

As a booker, Gilbert was the brains behind the infamous "Battle of New Orleans" in 1987, a post-match brawl that would spill into the stands and involve everything from trash cans and tables to popcorn machines and beer kegs. Gilbert won best booker for Wrestling Observer Newsletter in 1988. He would remain with UWF until Jim Crockett Promotions bought UWF in 1989.

During his brief time with JCP, he would feud with the Varsity Club and the Horsemen while teaming with Rick Steiner, Ricky Steamboat, and Lex Luger. After leaving WCW, he divorced Missy and returned to the independent circuit, most notably the USWA where he feuded with his idol Jerry Lawler and in the Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, a precursor to ECW. He also briefly married Madusa in 1990. He and Doug Gilbert also worked for the Global Wrestling Federation, but left in 1992 as their North American Heavyweight Champion due to a contract dispute.

His final wrestling and booking days came in 1995 for Puerto Rico's World Wrestling Council. Gilbert is also credited with pioneering the wrestling shoot video when he sat down with Bob Barnett after leaving ECW in 1993. The video, Looking for Mr. Gilbert, is highly sought after among wrestling collectors.

Gilbert died of a heart attack in his apartment on February 18, 1995. Eddie's father Tommy stated that injures he had suffered in a serious auto accident in 1993 could have been a factor. Eddie's addiction to painkillers following the accident may have played a role in his death. For a few years following Eddie's death, The Eddie Gilbert Memorial Brawl would be held in the Philadelphia area promoted primarily by NWA New Jersey and promoter Dennis Coraluzzo.

21 years ago today in Norfolk, Virginia, Johnny B. Badd defeated Lex Luger to win the WCW World Television Championship just one night after Badd lost the title to Luger.

21 years ago today, WWF presented In Your House 6: Rage in the Cage (WWE Network link) from the Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky. About 5,500 were in attendance, with 238,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • In a Free For All Match, Jake Roberts defeated Tatanka.
  • Razor Ramon defeated The 1-2-3 Kid in a "crybaby" match. With the loss, The 1-2-3 Kid was forced to don a baby's outfit.
  • Hunter Hearst Helmsley defeated Duke Droese.
  • Yokozuna defeated The British Bulldog.
  • Shawn Michaels defeated Owen Hart to become the #1 contender for the WWF Championship.
  • Bret Hart defeated Diesel in a steel cage match to retain the WWF Championship.
  • In a post-show dark match, The Godwinns (Henry O. Godwinn & Phineas I. Godwinn) defeated The Body Donnas (Skip & Zip).
  • In a post-show dark match, Ahmed Johnson defeated Isaac Yankem.
  • In a post-show dark match, The Undertaker defeated Goldust by countout in a WWF Intercontinental Championship match.

16 years ago today, WCW presented SuperBrawl Revenge (WWE Network link) from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. 4,395 were in attendance, with just 70,000 homes watching on PPV.

Of note, this was the next-to-last PPV ever put on by WCW; just over a week after their next PPV, Greed, WCW was bought out by the WWF. Unsurprisingly, the event was never made available for commercial release until WWE Network launched in February 2014 (a distinction shared by SuperBrawl IV).

  • In a preshow dark match, Chris Harris defeated Kid Romeo.
  • Shane Helms last eliminated Kaz Hayashi to win a six-man elimination match to become the #1 contender for the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Other participants were Shannon Moore, Yun Yang, Evan Karagias, and Jamie Knoble.
  • Hugh Morrus defeated The Wall.
  • Sean O'Haire and Chuck Palumbo defeated Mark Jindrak and Shawn Stasiak to retain the WCW World Tag Team Championship.
  • Chavo Guerrero, Jr. defeated Rey Misterio, Jr. to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Rick Steiner defeated Dustin Rhodes to retain the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • Totally Buff (Lex Luger and Buff Bagwell) defeated Brian Adams in a handicap match.
  • The Cat defeated Lance Storm.
  • Kanyon defeated Diamond Dallas Page.
  • Diamond Dallas Page defeated Jeff Jarrett.
  • Scott Steiner defeated Kevin Nash 2-1 in a best of three falls count anywhere match to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship. As a result of the loss, Nash had to retire, making this technically Kevin Nash's final WCW appearance.

11 years ago today at a WWE house show in Long Island, New York, Paul Heyman announced that there would be a second ECW One Night Stand that summer. The 2006 One Night Stand would serve as a relaunch of ECW.

10 years ago today, WWE presented No Way Out (WWE Network link) from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. About 14,000 were in attendance, with 218,000 homes watching on PPV.

  • In a dark match, Rob Van Dam defeated Shelton Benjamin.
  • Chris Benoit, Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy defeated Joey Mercury, Johnny Nitro & Montel Vontavious Porter.
  • Chavo Guerrero defeated Gregory Helms, Daivari, Funaki, Jamie Noble, Jimmy Wang Yang, Scotty 2 Hotty, and Shannon Moore in a Cruiserweight Open to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.
  • Finlay and Little Bastard defeated The Boogeyman and Little Boogeyman.
  • Kane defeated King Booker.
  • Paul London and Brian Kendrick defeated Deuce 'N Domino to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Mr. Kennedy defeated Bobby Lashley by disqualification in a ECW World Heavyweight Championship match.
  • John Cena and Shawn Michaels defeated Batista and The Undertaker.

9 years ago today, WWE announced Ric Flair would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

He was the first active wrestler to be inducted. The "active" part didn't last long, as he was retired by Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XXIV the night after his induction. Flair would be inducted again in 2012 as a member of the Four Horsemen.

6 years ago today, WWE aired the 600th episode of Smackdown.

The show was taped three days earlier at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. With the airing, the show surpassed Lassie for third most shows of a weekly episodic series.

  • Edge, John Cena, John Morrison, R-Truth, Randy Orton & Rey Mysterio defeated CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Kane, King Sheamus & Wade Barrett.
  • Layla & Maryse defeated Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres.
  • The Miz defeated Kofi Kingston.
  • Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov defeated Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel by disqualification to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
  • Edge defeated Dolph Ziggler to win the World Heavyweight Championship. The title was vacated when Edge used the banned spear the previous week in a match. Returning general manager Teddy Long restored the move and ordered Ziggler to defend the title just minutes after he had been awarded the belt.

4 years ago today, WWE announces that Wrestlemania XXX would be held at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This was a departure from past milestone Wrestlemanias; Both Wrestlemania X and Wrestlemania XX were held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. Last month, WWE announced that Wrestlemania XXXIV will be held in the Superdome, giving them their second Wrestlemania in five years.

4 years ago today on RAW from Lafayette, Louisiana (WWE Network link), The Rock unveils the new WWE Championship belt.

The new title belt (which was partially designed by Orange County Choppers of American Chopper fame) featured a large cut-out of the scratch WWE logo (encrusted with diamonds) inside a large irregular heptagonal plate. The word "CHAMPION" appeared underneath the logo in large letters. On each side was a divider bar and a large plate. By default (mainly when the title was vacant), the side plates consisted of a red globe with a WWE logo underneath a crown.

When there is a champion, the side plates would be customized to the champion's logo (in the case of The Rock, a brahma bull). The design would be tweaked slightly the next year with the WWE Network logo and the words "WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION" in small print under the logo. The new belt replaced the "Spinner" belt WWE had used since 2005.

WWE has since made similar belts for its new Women’s and Universal Championships, both introduced in 2016.

3 years ago today, Nelson Frazier, Jr., best known to wrestling fans as Mabel, Viscera, and Big Daddy V, died of a heart attack. He was just 43.

Born Valentine's Day 1971 in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Frazier made his professional wrestling debut as Nelson Knight, one half of the Harlem Knights with his storyline brother Bobby (no relation to the famed basketball coach of the same name obviously; real name Robert Horne). They wrestled for USWA and the Pro Wrestling Federation before signing with the WWF in 1993.

The storyline brothers were given a new gimmick when they came to the WWF: Nelson became Mabel, Bobby became Mo, and combined with rapping manager Oscar, the trio became Men on a Mission, three African-American men looking to make a positive change in inner-city neighborhoods. The group had moderate success, winning the WWF Tag Team Championship in April 1994 in London. They'd lose the titles just two days later to the Quebecers, the team they beat for the titles.

The group broke up in 1995 after losing a match to the Smoking Gunns for the tag titles when both Mabel and Mo attacked Oscar. Mabel would adopt a thug-like persona and would get a monster (no pun intended) push, winning the King of the Ring tournament.

Following the win, Mabel became King Mabel, with Mo becoming Sir Mo. Mabel even had his own championship belt created for him, but the belt was never seen on WWF television. Mabel would briefly be the WWF’s top heel, but the company went in a different direction by the end of the summer, deciding on pushing The British Bulldog as their top heel. A stable involving Bulldog, Mabel, Mo, and Jim Cornette would never come to pass. The Summerslam bout with Diesel nearly resulted in his firing when Mabel performed a sitdown splash on Diesel, hindering his movement for the remainder of the bout. Diesel, aka Kevin Nash, would ultimately talk Vince out of firing him, but he would be deemphasized for the remainder of his time in the WWF.

Frazier's history of injuring wrestlers would be a breaking point for Vince when he injured Undertaker's orbital bone and knocked him out for two months. Mabel would lose to Undertaker in December in a casket match at In Your House 5: Season's Beatings, then again on WWF Superstars the next month. The same month, he was defeated in eight seconds by Diesel and eliminated third in the 1996 Royal Rumble match. Both he and Horne were fired following the event.

He would spend the next three years on the independent circuit, primarily in Tennessee-based United States Wrestling Association, which would be rebranded twice while he was there (first to Memphis Championship Wrestling, then to Memphis Wrestling). He also was briefly WWC Universal Heavyweight Champion, feuding with Carlos Colon. Frazier also made one-night only appearances in 1998 for the WWF and ECW.

He returned full-time to the WWF in 1999, first as Mabel during the preshow for the Royal Rumble PPV, then was kidnapped by the Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness. He was introduced the next night as Viscera, the group's enforcer. When the group broke up that summer, he floated around the low and midcard ranks, primarily teaming with Mideon and competing in the hardcore division. He was briefly WWF Hardcore Champion at Wrestlemania 2000, but Frazier would be released again that summer. He would spend the next four years on the independent circuit, save for two appearances for TNA in 2003.

Frazier began a third run with the company in 2004, attacking former Ministry of Darkness leader The Undertaker with Gangrel and one-time Acolyte John "Bradshaw" Layfield. After two weeks on Smackdown, Frazier was moved to RAW. His first major appearance on the show in the brand extension era came in April 2005 when he aligned with Trish Stratus in her feud with Lita and Kane. Viscera's failed attempt to seduce Trish would accidentally on purpose give birth to Frazier's new gimmick: Viscera, the world's largest love machine.

Frazier would make lewd gestures and wear pajamas to the ring. He would attempt to seduce ring announcer Lilian Garcia for a few weeks. Eventually it worked, and the two were about to be storyline engaged, but Lilian would be left behind when The Godfather arrived with his band of "hos". The two attempted a reconciliation the next year, but Viscera was attacked by Umaga. A few weeks later, Lilian was legitimately injured when Charlie Haas knocked Lilian off the ring apron and sprained her wrist. The injury would be written into storyline, with the two fighting over Garcia. After Lilian decided she just wanted to be friends, Viscera "accidentally on purpose" Samoan dropped Lilian. After feigning it was an accident, both men laughed about it, turning Viscera heel. The two teamed briefly before Haas reformed The World's Greatest Tag Team with Shelton Benjamin.

Viscera would be sent to ECW in June 2007 and would soon be repackaged as Big Daddy V, the enforcer for Matt Striker. He would feud with The Boogeyman, Tommy Dreamer, CM Punk, and Kane before being phased out following Wrestlemania XXIV. He would be sent to Smackdown in the 2008 Supplemental Draft, but would never wrestle for the brand; Frazier was released for a third time that August.

Frazier would spend the remainder of his wrestling days on the independent and international circuit, competing for promotions including Juggalo Championship Wrestling, NWA, Pro Wrestling Extreme, Inoki Genome Federation, Family Wrestling Entertainment, Nu-Wrestling Evolution, All Japan Pro Wrestling, and World Wrestling League in Mexico. Frazier's final bout came in October 2013, a win over Rene Dupree for Qatar Pro Wrestling.

Frazier died of a heart attack just four days after his 43rd birthday. His death was first reported by his agent Eric Simms. Frazier was cremated, with his ashes sent in pendants for his loved ones. 500 were sent in all.

It’s a happy 60th birthday of Vanna Marie Rosich, but she's best known to millions as Vanna White.

The longtime hostess of Wheel of Fortune (she's been the show's letter turner since 1982) and Guinness world record holder as "television's most frequent clapper" does have a wrestling connection: she ran the backstage bracket board at Wrestlemania IV and was the guest timekeeper for the show's main event.

Today would have been the 99th birthday of Frederick Kenneth Blassman, best known to wrestling fans as "Classy" Freddie Blassie.

Born in St. Louis, Missouri to German immigrants, Blassie was an only child; he watched his father abuse his mother and often stayed with his grandparents to get away from the abuse. At age 13, he threatened to attack his father with a baseball bat after seeing him abuse his mother. He stayed with his aunt for six months before his mother asked him to come home.

After graduating high school, he got a job at a meatpacking plant. In his spare time, he took up boxing and won a heavyweight championship. It was while he boxed he took interest in wrestling. The locals would recognize him and they would teach him holds.

His first wrestling match was actually a shoot bout; he did it to impress a girl he brought to the show. He would soon get work at wrestling carnivals; it was in one of those carnivals he came up with his most famous catchphrase "pencil-neck geek", in reference to a performer known as "The Geek" who had a thin neck like a stack of dimes. Eventually, he would work with famed Missouri promoters Tom Packs out of St. Louis and George Simpson out of Kansas City.

After a three and a half year stint in the Navy during World War II (he got married and reached Petty Officer Second Class before being discharged), he returned to the ring as "Sailor" Fred Blassie to capitalize on the wave of war-time patriotism. The gimmick flopped.

In 1952, Blassie moved to Los Angeles and worked with promoter Jules Strongbow for the World Wrestling Association. He teamed with Billy McDaniel as the McDaniel Brothers, but away from California, they were known as the Blassie Brothers.

The next year, he worked for Paul Jones (no relation to the wrestler of the 1980s) in Atlanta, Georgia. He captured the NWA Georgia Southern Heavyweight Championship, putting him in line for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. It was during his seven years in Georgia he developed his heel gimmick: he was a Yankee who, like many other stars of the day, dyed his hair blonde. He also bit his opponents during matches and filed his teeth during interviews, giving Blassie the nickname "The Vampire".

Freddie returned to Strongbow's WWA in Los Angeles in 1960, and would be one of the biggest draws to the Olympic Auditorium...and among the most hated; he was often surrounded by uniformed police officers during his entrances and exits. Blassie, who claimed to have made Regis Philbin the celebrity that he is, won his first WWA World Heavyweight Championship in 1961 from Edouard Carpenter; his first major successful defense came a month later against former NWA world champion Lou Thesz.

The next year, he feuded with Japanese wrestling icon Rikidozan. Rikidozan defeated Blassie for the WWA title; the two rematched in Japan, and bit the forehead of the legend. Many viewers were horrified to the point of heart attacks and even death. The act made him even more hated overseas than on American soil. He would regain the title from Rikidozan, but would lose it just two days later to "The Destroyer" Dick Beyer. He would win it back in 1963, but lose it to Bearcat Wright, at the time one of the more notable title wins by an African-American in wrestling. He would capture that championship once more in 1964, losing it to Dick The Bruiser before heading east to the World Wide Wrestling Federation.

During his first stint with the WWF, Blassie feuded with Bruno Sammartino and Bobo Brazil, claiming to be the Pacific World Champion and he had come to Sammartino's backyard to unify the belts. The feud lasted throughout the year, and although Blassie did defeat Sammartino, he never pinned the champion. The feud culminated in Madison Square Garden, where Bruno defeated Freddie.

In 1965 while on tour in Japan, he met Miyako Morozumi. Miyako would go on to be Blassie's third wife; he first married while on shore leave during World War II, but his philandering ways caught up with him. It would again with his second marriage, leading him to become estranged with his children. Blassie thought his reputation in Japan (not to mention the 28-year age difference) would be a dealbreaker for the Morozumis, but eventually her parents gave him their blessing, and Freddie took her home to the United States. They would marry in late September 1968.

That same year, Blassie returned to Los Angeles for the WWF just as promoter Mike LeBell returned to the NWA. Blassie's antics that made him the among the most hated eventually made him a fan favorite, and he was turned face in the 1970s. He feuded most notably with Soulman Rocky Johnson, The Sheik, and "The Golden Greek" John Tolos; the Blassie-Tolos bout in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum broke attendance and gate records for the state of California.

In 1971, Blassie returned to the WWWF and under the tutelage of Captain Lou Albano, challenged for the WWWF title held by Pedro Morales.

In 1974, Blassie retired from in-ring competition due to California regulations preventing anyone over 55 from obtaining a wrestling license. He devoted the remainder of his wrestling career to managing in the WWWF, which eventually became the WWF. He managed among others Nikolai Volkoff, High Chief Peter Maivia, Jesse Ventura, Adrian Adonis, Dick Murdoch, the Iron Sheik, Mr. Fuji, Professor Tanaka, Kamala, Hercules Hernandez, Hulk Hogan, and in 1976, Muhammad Ali for his boxer-wrestler match with Antonio Inoki.

His close relationship with Vince McMahon Sr. made Blassie a part of the WWF umbrella until his death. He made infrequent appearances for the company following his retirement in 1986; most notably as a guest on Prime Time Wrestling in 1989 and 1990, in an impassionate speech to the WWF roster during the Invasion era in 2001, and on RAW in 2003 when he did Bubba Ray Dudley's catchphrase ("D-Von, get the tables!"). On June 2, 2003, Blassie died of heart and kidney failure in Hartsdale, New York. He was 85.

In 1994, Blassie was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame. He joined the inaugural class of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame in 1996, honored by the Cauliflower Alley Club in 1998, given the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Stanley Weston Award for lifetime achievement in 2000, and was posthumously inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004 and the NWA Hall of Fame in 2011. He was also honored with a Lifetime Achievement Slammy in 1996.

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