loose cannon (LOO-s CAN-non) [noun] - an unpredictable or uncontrolled person who is likely to cause unintentional damage. 

In professional wrestling, a loose cannon comes along once per generation. A superstar who by every definition, is memorable, and would be without certain quirks of their personality. Fred Blassie in 1950s was a great grappler who wowed audiences across the United States. Roddy Piper was a scrappy teen who refused to back down from a challenge. “Flyin’“ Brian Pillman was a beloved handsome devil in the early 90s, gathering reactions only mirrored by ones for pop stars. Dean Ambrose was one third of a well-oiled machine known as The Shield, capable of standing up and against every authority-backed superstar that the company held.

But, somewhere along the way, each of these men encountered something that set off the beast within, and their demeanor changed significantly. Fred Blassie went from a handsome Hollywood type to an animal who filed his teeth and snarled into the camera. Roddy Piper grew up to be a brash, fearless loudmouth who’d kick pop stars in the teeth and toss stools at TV superstars. Brian Pillman morphed from a teen icon to a madman who would fight audience members and brandish weaponry. Dean Ambrose’s eyes would widen as he was tested by his former brother in The Sheild and would stop at nothing to protect what he’d built for himself.

It’s a strange thing in pro wrestling how a man can take hard shot after hard shot, body slam after suplex after clothesline, but when something hits just right, when an incident occurs at just the right moment, something shakes loose. Suddenly, the man we all once knew has become unhinged. A beast. A freed feral animal who’s free from the chains that once bound and is now unstoppable. Oddly enough, the superstars who fit the bill of being a loose cannon are ones that audiences refuse to turn from, and often wind up adamantly supporting. Although this phenomenon is quite rare, it’s one that has borned some of the most memorable moments and created incredible atmospheres that both take fans’ breath away, and immortalize the legacy of the superstars themselves.

Wrestling Revue Magazine [October 1964]

I would pay decent money to get a copy of this issue. Fred Blassie was a man who conquered every avenue of professional wrestling, from the ring to the mic, from the canvas to the apron, it was as if you couldn’t get rid of the guy! In this age, Blassie was known for being the guy who didn’t hold back and made it a point to leave his opponents a bloody mess.

Fred Blassie

In 1955, wrestling fans who had previously adored him completely turned on Fred Blassie due to the fact that he was embracing that he was a “Yankee” wrestling in the Atlanta, Georgia territory of the USA. Due to his growing disdain and ability to hone his evil ways, Blassie’s appearances in Los Angeles were usually accompanied by police escorts, because promoters feared for Blassie’s life due to how hated he was.Though Blassie began dying his hair bleach blonde (to remind the fans of the ‘golden standard’ he possessed), his tactics would often cause the familiar red stain of blood to appear on nearly every canvas he stepped across.

Blassie was famous for two nicknames: “The Hollywood Fashion Plate”, for his extravagant apparel, and “The Vampire”, because of his tendency to bite his fellow wrestler. There were even moments when Blassie would be speaking on a live mic while also filing his teeth! Because of Blassie’s tendencies, this photo was shot of him sporting a bite-guard used to prevent psych ward patients from attacking orderlies. This guard was the cause for at least one person in attendance at a show to faint once the guard was removed, because she (quote) “saw them unleash the beast”.

Talk about career goals!

“Classy” Freddie Blassie, Capt. Lou Albano, The Grand Wizard, and Paul Heyman (15 years old)

Long before Heyman was a pro wrestling manager or the owner of ECW, he got a job taking ringside photographs at wrestling shows. Is it possible that this night was the night that Heyman decided what he wanted to be in the business?