Bruno Sammartino and Freddie Blassie – Too Real for the Mob

Bruno Sammartino took the wrestling business seriously — so seriously, in fact, that he refused to break kayfabe longer than almost anyone else from his era.

It was Sammartino’s commitment to kayfabe that put Freddie Blassie in severe real-life danger.

Bruno's straightforward, no-nonsense attitude allowed generations of fans in the northeast United States to believe in him, and he didn’t want to let those fans down.

Freddie Blassie had just finished up as WWA "world" champion in Los Angeles. Bruno Sammartino was in the middle of an epic 7.5-year run as the WWWF champion.

The two met at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey, on June 26, 1964. Sammartino was a huge favorite with the pro-Italian crowd.

"Bruno and I had a real brawl.  I grabbed his cauliflower ears and twisted them, then paused and looked at the crowd to piss them off," Blassie wrote.

After the matches, things got serious backstage when members of the Italian mob took the action in the ring too seriously.

Had it not been the quick thinking of Sammartino, Blassie's life could have ended right then and there.

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