Kowalski didn't share the country's black-and-white view of morality. He knew you could be the good guy and your ear could still fall off. Real life was vastly more complicated—and probably less satisfying—than the televised veneer of reality that passed for entertainment. Who needed to know that Sammartino, whom Kowalski regularly bloodied in the ring, seeming to bite off entire hunks of flesh, was his best friend? Who needed to know, furthermore, that Kowalski was a vegetarian? (He would bite things with a face on them but wouldn't ingest them.)
The country liked its life simplified, its heroes heroic and its villains transparently (and, in the end, ineptly) evil. Professional wrestling was the perfect entertainment, the athletes catering to the quick-fix mentality of the time. It was good to be a professional wrestler in 1954, men of such conviction, roaring from territory to territory, small town to big city, arguing with their car radios the whole way.