Five Things I Like About – Tully Blanchard

When I contemplated starting a wrestling site, I had to come to terms that it may not be successful. It’s the way of things – not everyone likes what you like, and not everyone sees things the same way.

As such, I started to wonder about the things I wanted to write about – the parts of the wrestling industry that appealed to me, yet may not have appealed to everyone else. If we all thought alike, things would be pretty boring, wouldn’t they? They’d either be that, or they’d be Reddit.

Anyway, I started wondering how many angles I could look at the things I loved about wrestling and the people involved in it, and decided that a series on the five things I loved about a given performer would both celebrate how good a worker was, and perhaps open a few eyes to aspects of the character that others may have missed on the way through.

As such, the “Five Things I Like About…” series was born.

Each week (or so), I will choose a performer and cast my mind back to what made me admire their work. It might be little things – idiosyncrasies they had in the ring that made them stand out, or it may be big things.

Possibly medium things… depending on how I feel.

So, without further ado, five things I love about… Tully Blanchard.



Which of Tully’s actions makes you screw your face up more?

Was it the carpark attack on Dusty Rhodes with the Horsemen that saw them break Dusty’s arm with a baseball bat?

No, not good enough?

What about the time he reared back and slapped Baby Doll on TV – this was a long while before Jake Roberts drew the ire of the wrestling world for striking Elizabeth?

Or how about when he attacked Magnum TA at ringside as a clearly debilitated Magnum was unable to properly defend himself following the car crash that ended his career?

People, Tully Blanchard was a heel in every facet. He had no conscience and was more of an “act now, think later” type of heel, at times.

Any one of the above angles would see modern pro wrestling shows pulled off the air. The WWE simply does not allow violence against women (yet were fine building their business around it in the mid to late nineties) and anything involving someone with a clear disability… well, advertisers like that about as much as shareholders  – hell, it Is even hard to imagine Brock Lesnar getting away with brutalising Zach Gowan given the current climate).

Blanchard was a maverick and though he seemed a little out of control and impulsive, his persona fit perfectly with the cocky, self-indulgent heel he was portraying.



You have to be good to pull this off, and Blanchard was right up there with the best.

If there is one moment that captures Blanchard’s sneaky, opportunistic ways, it came at Wrestlemania Five. Wrestling Strike Force (Tito Santana and Rick Martel), Tito went for his flying forearm, but Tully was able to duck out of the way, causing Santana to deck Martel.

Moments later, Santana desperately needed the tag and reached out to Martel, who simply dropped off the ring apron, abandoning his partner… and there is this little moment where Tully looks at Martel leaving the ringside area and has a half-smile. It is not over the top, it is not over-acted… it is perfect.

From there, Tully knows his team has it in the bag, and his actions in the ring reflect it. No more cowering, no more hightailing it out of harm’s way – just arrogance and cockiness as The Brain Busters take control and use the spike piledriver to get the win.



I’ll go on record – the combination of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson is as good as it gets in pro wrestlingThey’re my allt-ime favourite team.

With Anderson the bear-like strong man, and Blanchard playing the sadistic and, at times, cowardly, smaller man in the team, they worked a style that both made them and their opponents look fantastic. They could work against bigger teams, begging off and cowering, or against smaller teams, playing the role of bullies, and continually flouting the rules to gain the advantage.

Blanchard’s efforts to make blind tags to Anderson as he slid under the bottom rope with an opponent close behind him, or ran to the ropes, himself, set up many sneak attacks from Double A on their unsuspecting opponents and would always garner the ire of the gathered crowd, as they bent the rules without quite breaking them. As a matter of fact, they used the rules to their advantage most of the time and managed to stay within them with the way they tagged in and out.

It was such a shame that they were unable to reunite as part of the Horsemen in WCW in 1989. After winning the WWF World Tag Team Titles, they had as much credibility as any team in the game and would have been right in the WCW World Tag Team Title picture up to their eyeballs.



I wrote a little of this above, but this is more to do with the way Tully carried himself in interviews and at ringside.

We’ve all known people who think they’re just a little better than everyone else, haven’t we? I’ve known plenty, and when I see Tully Blanchard wander out, always holding a title belt like it means something, he oozes arrogance like Razor Ramon oozed machismo.

He spoke like someone who knew they were good – like one of those adults who have been told they’re the best at everything their whole lives and refuse to be shaken, even by successive failures. Despite losses to opponents like Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA, and many opponents of the Four Horsemen, Blanchard never, ever appeared flustered by it.

It always came across as though it was a small pothole in the road – never a detour or a roadblock. Tully may have lost, but the unshakable confidence meant that the way he carried himself meant the losses didn’t seem to mean as much as they did to others.



When most wrestlers step away from the limelight, they’re forever thinking of a way to get back into it. How long have you seen some retirements last? Hell, even one of my all-time favourites, Randy Savage, wrestled in Japan days after dropping a ‘loser must retire’ match to the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania Seven.

Whilst Blanchard’s situation kind of demanded he lay low – failing a drug test with the WWF before heading back to WCW… which saw the boys down south immediately rip up his contract offer – Tully didn’t seem to last too long working around the remianing territories, and instead, looked elsewhere for meaning.

After a few appearances in the American Wrestling Association, which was on its last legs by this stage, Tully was done. After WCW attempted to bring him back for a Four Horsemen reunion, Blanchard baulked at the payday – five hundred bucks per appearance. I don’t blame him.

Despite appearances for ECW in 1996 and the NWA in 1998, he was largely lost to the business, and concentrated on his ministry, which operates throughout prisons.



His 1985 “I Quit” US Title Match against Magnum TA is a classic – perhaps the best match in the history of Starrcade, with both men at, or around their peak as singles competitors at this time. 20 years after that event, Blanchard’s former wife ended up marrying his opponent from that day, Magnum TA.

Depending on how well you know her, you can assess which man truly won the battle. Hopefully, all are able to smile and be pleased with where they now find themselves.


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