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The Legends of Wrestling: "Classy" Freddie Blassie

by Keith Elliot Greenberg Classy Freddie Blassie

"Classy" Freddie Blassie was universally acknowledged as one of the most hated heels in wrestling history. Freddie really knew how to antagonize the fans -- how to "get heat." Death threats were frequent, enraged fans stabbed him twenty-one times, and he was even doused with acid. Undeterred, Blassie just took the action up a level. He reveled in being the heel. It was commonplace to see him biting his opponents and then spitting out their blood. Blassie would routinely "file" his teeth during interviews. His matches in Los Angeles' Olympic Stadium brought him to the attention of Hollywood. Freddie's style and unpredictability made him a natural for the medium, and he became one of the biggest draws in the wrestling business. In the early '60s, he was invited to wrestle in Japan. Blassie both horrified and mesmerized sedate Japanese society. At seventeen, Freddie made his wrestling debut in a carnival. Unhappy with his choice of occupation, his family persuaded him to get a "real" job, and for a while he worked as a meatcutter. But after serving in the Navy in World War II, Freddie returned to wrestling. Here he picked up his catch phrase: "pencil neck geek." Early in his career, Blassie wrestled for Jess McMahon, and would later work for both his son, Vincent James McMahon, and his grandson, Vincent Kennedy McMahon, the current owner of World Wrestling Entertainment. When his days in the ring ended, "Classy" Freddie Blassie became the manager of heels, transferring to a whole new generation of wrestlers the style, moves, and ring knowledge that had made him a legend of wrestling. Released just prior to his death, Legends of Wrestling: "Classy" Freddie Blassie contains vibrant tales of his days in wrestling with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Killer Kowalski, and the Iron Sheik. He frankly chronicles his dealings with the wrestling fraternity and the promoters, even recounting the infamous "boxer vs. wrestler" match with Muhammad Ali, who was managed by Blassie. His out-of-the-ring stories are equally compelling. Freddie details his countless sexual exploits, and his three marriages. He reflects on the cult status that he gained after his song "Pencil Neck Geek" rocketed to the top of the Dr. Demento Show play list. He recounts his touching relationship with comedian Andy Kaufman, who cast him in Breakfast with Blassie -- an underground classic in which Blassie uttered: "What the hell ever happened to the human race?" Added to this edition is an epilogue, recounting Freddie's last days and his unforgettable funeral.

New Kids on the Block

by Keith Elliot Greenberg

Just a few years ago, they were typical Boston teenagers. Now the New Kids on the Block can't go anywhere without being mobbed by adoring fans. Obviously, the New Kids have something special. Their records and videos fly off store shelves. When they perform in concert, audiences scream for more. But there is more to this act than polished dance routines, funky outfits, and smooth vocals. In New Kids on the Block, you'll learn how Donnie Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Joe McIntyre, Jon Knight, and Jordan Knight handle success, and how they put their talents to work for many important causes. Keith Elliot Greenberg lives in Queens, New York, where he writes about many subjects, including sports, music, and social issues. Greenberg's articles have appeared in USA Today, the Toronto Globe and Mail, Cosmopolitan, Us, and other publications. New Kids on the Block is Greenberg's 11th book on the world of entertainment. Read more about the entertainment world in Michael J. Fox by Keith Elliot Greenberg Heavy Metal by Keith Elliot Greenberg Jim Henson: Muppet Master by Nathan Aaseng Whitney Houston by Keith Elliot Greenberg Janet Jackson by D.L. Mabery This Is Michael Jackson by D.L. Mabery George Lucas by D.L. Mabery Ralph Macchio by Keith Elliot Greenberg Madonna by Keith Elliot Greenberg Eddie Murphy by Teresa Koenig & Rivian Bell Prince by D.L. Mabery Rap by Keith Elliot Greenberg Steven Spielberg by D.L. Mabery Bruce Springsteen by Keith Elliot Greenberg Tina Turner by D.L. Mabery

Ric Flair: To Be the Man

by Keith Elliot Greenberg Ric Flair

"Woooooo!" With that triumphant cry, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair surpassed his predecessors and his peers to become one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history. To wrestling fans, the Nature Boy is a platinum-blond deity. A sixteen-time World Champion, "Slick Ric" could convince television viewers that a momentous life experience would pass them by if they missed an upcoming match. His opponents were challenged with this simple taunt: "To be the man, you have to beat the man."

WWE Legends - Superstar Billy Graham

by Billy Graham Keith Elliot Greenberg

"I'm the man of the hour," Superstar Billy Graham told his audiences, "the man with the power. Too sweet to be sour!" Despite years of devastating health issues (a long history of drug abuse led to a liver transplant in 2002), the man regarded as one of the most influential professional wrestlers of the past thirty years still flaunts the same optimism that made his interviews as compelling as his matches. In Tangled Ropes, his autobiography, Graham remembers his victories -- and his setbacks -- on both the wrestling and the evangelism circuits in vibrant detail. At his core, Graham is still Wayne Coleman, the artistic, curious boy who escaped the wrath of his disabled father in post-war Phoenix through painting, sports, and bodybuilding. When his photo appeared in a bodybuilding magazine, the young man caught the attention of a family in Texas who began praying for his soul. Soon, Wayne found religion at a revival meeting, then mortified his parents as he left home to bend steel, rip phone books in half, and preach the Gospel on the back roads of America. Because of his natural athleticism, Wayne held a series of jobs -- from bouncer to boxer, from repo man to football player. However, it was under the training of the "Mentor of Mayhem," Stu Hart, that the wrestler was revealed. Then the fading headliner Dr. Jerry Graham bleached Wayne's hair blond and transformed him into an in-ring "brother." Still reverent of men of faith, Coleman became "Billy Graham," after the preacher. Graham completed the package with his golden tan and enormous "pythons," a succession of color-coordinated outfits and jive-talking -- a persona imitated by countless wrestlers, including Hulk Hogan and Jesse "The Body" Ventura. The Superstar's greatest wrestling achievement came in 1977, when he took the World Wide Wrestling Federation Championship from Bruno Sammartino. He held the prize for nearly a year -- the first wrestling villain to do so. But after he lost the title to wholesome Bob Backlund, Graham fell into a deep depression. He disappeared from the business, squandering his money and losing himself in a haze of drugs. In Tangled Ropes -- co-written with Keith Elliot Greenberg -- Superstar Billy Graham tells a story that transcends his life in the wrestling profession, offering candor, nostalgia, inspiration, and humor. Graham's narrative is supplemented by anecdotes from personalities like Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, Ivan Koloff, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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