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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As i just posted in another thread i believe the Magnum T.A/Tully Blanchard feud and series of matches to be criminally underrated but as far as underrated wrestlers and characters go Tully Blanchard has to be up there near the very top. I'm a firm believer that if Ric Flair hadn't been as truly great as he was in between 1983 and 1989 when Tully Blanchard was in NWA then Tully Blanchard would have been a multiple time World champion because he was a great mic worker, a great in ring worker and had a great look and was basically everything that NWA was about back then.

A lot of people look at Tully Blanchard as strictly a tag team wrestler due to him and Arn Anderson being such a legendary team as part of The Four Horsemen and then in WWE as The Brainbusters but he was also a great singles wrestler before that who held the US title and TV title along the way when they were prestigious titles. Some of the feuds he had along the way before his tag team run were with Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A and Ricky Steamboat which were very good for their time but as a tag team wrestler he feuded with The Road Warriors, The Rock And Roll Express, The Midnight Express, Demolition, The Hart Foundation, The Rockers and the thrown together team of Lex Luger and Barry Windham which led to Barry Windham joining The Four Horsemen later on.
 

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I was born in 1988, so I've only seen him and the rest of the Horsemen through DVDs and Youtube, educating myself. That being said, the Horsemen that always stuck out the most to me and really interested me was Tully Blanchard. Whether it was his matches or his promos, he just had an IT factor, being one of the first cool bad guys in wrestling. Sure, you can say that about the rest of them, but he doesn't quite get the respect he deserves.
 

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I was born in 1988, so I've only seen him and the rest of the Horsemen through DVDs and Youtube, educating myself. That being said, the Horsemen that always stuck out the most to me and really interested me was Tully Blanchard. Whether it was his matches or his promos, he just had an IT factor, being one of the first cool bad guys in wrestling. Sure, you can say that about the rest of them, but he doesn't quite get the respect he deserves.
You nailed it. He didn't have to talk a lot - he just had this "aura" about him ...
 

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He never reached his potential. IMO, biggest mistake he made was leaving for WWE. Sure, he likely wouldn't have become a main event star in WCW/NWA but he would have had a better opportunity, for example, if he got kicked out of the Horsemen, feuding with them 1 by 1 before getting a match with Flair at one of the bigger PPV's.

But yeah, he doesn't get all the credit he deserves.
 

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My favorite Horseman. I love the Steamboat match where Blanchard keeps going after the ribs and busts Steamboat with a pair of knucks when Steamboat goes to backdrop him. Right between the eyes! THAT's how you cheat to win.

Flair was the dirtiest player in the game but Tully was the nastiest.
 

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He's generally underrated in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Tully, Arn, Ric and JJ were amazing together. I remember actually starting watching WWF in the late 80's to see Arn and Tully.
Funnily enough it was ex NWA/WCW guys going to WWE that got me into WWE as well. I remember seeing a video for Survivor Series in 1989 with Dusty Rhodes, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard on the back in their team and though "wow i saw them in NWA/WCW" so had one of my family buy it. I had been bought other WWE videos before but none that had excited me as much as Survivor Series in 1989 and then once The Road Warriors and Ric Flair also went to WWE i became a weekly viewer.

It's such a shame that Jim Crockett and Dusty Rhodes didn't see eye to eye with Tully Blanchard in NWA/WCW back in latter 1988 because that was for me basically the beginning of the end for Tully Blanchard. All he had said was if NWA/WCW wanted to make as much money from their upcoming PPV as they believed they could then they needed to do Road Warriors/Four Horsemen on the PPV instead of Midnight Express/Four Horsemen. Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson were actually getting paid less than a lot of people back then despite being involved in all the biggest storylines and matches which is why they left NWA/WCW for WWE.

I think that once Ric Flair left for WWE in 1991 that Tully Blanchard could have been a World champion at that time as he was a much better heel, better in ring worker and better on the mic than Lex Luger and Barry Windham and was far more established. Before Vader came in and Rick Rude was pushed to the main event scene i think a Sting/Blanchard feud over the World title would have worked brilliantly and probably done a good deal of work for the reign Sting had as World champion in that time.
 

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He was good as a wrestler, but never great like Steamboat, Flair, Rude, Andre
 

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Tully was the real deal, he was easily the most hated member of the horsemen. I can remember going to a show before he and Arn left for WWF and Arn was getting a few cheers while beating up on Sting but when he tagged in Tully the crowd turned up the heat on him.
 

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Incredible heel, played the part brilliantly and was amazing as a cowardly heel you wanted to see eaten alive whilst retaining this hidden aura where you knew he was a man capable of brutal violence when the time called for it. Great promo man, sterling charisma and just carried himself so merticulously in the ring as well.

His match v Ronnie Garvin on 05/03/1986 is something I'd happily call the best TV match of all time, such a simple and well executed match revolving around the broken hand of Garvin and Blanchard's cheating antics. Incredibly dusty finish as well to boot.

Took me long enough but finally tracked down my review of Blanchard/Garvin, in case anyone wants to understand what specifically makes it as great as I think it is:

Tully Blanchard vs Ron Garvin, NWA National Heavyweight Championship, Worldwide, 05/03/1986

This is a spectacular TV match, arguably up there with some of the greatest televised matches from any era in any promotion. It had an organic Benoit vs Finlay feel in how everything was a struggle, every hold felt important and dramatic and the crowd was magnificent.

To touch on the last point first, this crowd is ridiculously amazing for Garvin. Its about as loud and consistent as I can recall for 1 match, seeing them getting thunderous ovations for simple lock ups and test of strength spots is amazing.

Garvin comes into this with an injured hand as a result of the Horseman & Blanchard in particular I believe. His selling of the hand is awesome, he establishes it as a major weapon early on before then refusing to use the hand due to the pain and sets about resorting to kneedrops and awesome headbutts to compensate. He can't hook the leg on pins or abdominal stretches and constantly shakes at the hand after the odd offensive manouevre. Tully is terrific in peppering him with kidney and face shots in the hopes of getting Garvin to use his injured arm and its this spot that leads to Garvin using his noggin to send Tully loopy. Tully establishes himself as a terric bumper and spends the best part of the opening 5 minutes working from the bottom and constantly being one upped and seeking JJ Dillon's guidance. There's one spot in particular with Garvin jumping to the turnbuckle and over Tully before catching him in a backslide for a close fall.

I touched on it earlier that this match is one giant struggle for control and a beautiful exchange of crucifix pins highlights this. Tully deadweights on every attempt to gain control and Garvin really sells the difficulty in trying to force him down to the mat. JJ is a constant maniacal genius with how he distracts the referee long enough to have Tully reach the ropes and there's a beautiful spot where JJ talks to the ref whilst simultaneously dragging Tully to the ropes. Garvin realises he's overwhelmed and sets about ripping Tully's leg out of his socket and locks in a couple of leg locks to gain control. Tully sells it amazingly by constantly fallinf down when trying to get to his feet and constantly rolling under the ropes for a breather, lovely stooging by Tully.

No sooner have they reached 15 minutes and both men are selling the wear and tear of the match to perfection. There's a beautiful pacing in stretching out bursts of offence before selling the damage and teasing close near falls. Garvin in particular looks a perfect babyface worker: looking invincible in spells before selling himself as a biable underdog and pacing the match superbly. Tully smartly sets about using the hair and tights to keep control and I marked out for an attemped roll through pin which Garvin counters by grabbing the ropes before screaming in pain and almost letting go with his damaged right hand. JJ finally gives Tully a means of control via a foreign object which Tully smashes off of the injured arm before removing the tape and working it over nicely with submissions and stomps. Garvin again sells to perfection and the women are almost crying: everytime you see a kid in the audience with his mom screaming you believe good ol' Ron had his way with the mom at some point in time.

The finish though puts this over as a classic. Dusty Rhodes has enough with the cheating and gives Garvin some extra tape to protect his injured hand and make it deadly whilst JJ is in the process of handing Tully a roll of quarters. The crowd reaction is amazing as both men rise to their feet with loaded weapons and turn ever so slowly before Garvin finally connects with a right hand sending the bag of change everywhere and scoring the 1-2-3!!!!!!

But JJ enters the ring and points Tommy Cooper to Garvin now having a loaded hand and accuses Dusty of shenanigans and Tommy reverses the decision and this crowd is freaking PISSED. Perfect heel finish and I loved it.

****1/2-****3/4



And of course, the Magnum TA match from Starrcade remains not only the definitive I Quit match, but quite simply one of the all time great Steel Cage matches as well. A truly underated wrestler in all aspects.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Incredible heel, played the part brilliantly and was amazing as a cowardly heel you wanted to see eaten alive whilst retaining this hidden aura where you knew he was a man capable of brutal violence when the time called for it. Great promo man, sterling charisma and just carried himself so merticulously in the ring as well.

His match v Ronnie Garvin on 05/03/1986 is something I'd happily call the best TV match of all time, such a simple and well executed match revolving around the broken hand of Garvin and Blanchard's cheating antics. Incredibly dusty finish as well to boot.

Took me long enough but finally tracked down my review of Blanchard/Garvin, in case anyone wants to understand what specifically makes it as great as I think it is:

Tully Blanchard vs Ron Garvin, NWA National Heavyweight Championship, Worldwide, 05/03/1986

This is a spectacular TV match, arguably up there with some of the greatest televised matches from any era in any promotion. It had an organic Benoit vs Finlay feel in how everything was a struggle, every hold felt important and dramatic and the crowd was magnificent.

To touch on the last point first, this crowd is ridiculously amazing for Garvin. Its about as loud and consistent as I can recall for 1 match, seeing them getting thunderous ovations for simple lock ups and test of strength spots is amazing.

Garvin comes into this with an injured hand as a result of the Horseman & Blanchard in particular I believe. His selling of the hand is awesome, he establishes it as a major weapon early on before then refusing to use the hand due to the pain and sets about resorting to kneedrops and awesome headbutts to compensate. He can't hook the leg on pins or abdominal stretches and constantly shakes at the hand after the odd offensive manouevre. Tully is terrific in peppering him with kidney and face shots in the hopes of getting Garvin to use his injured arm and its this spot that leads to Garvin using his noggin to send Tully loopy. Tully establishes himself as a terric bumper and spends the best part of the opening 5 minutes working from the bottom and constantly being one upped and seeking JJ Dillon's guidance. There's one spot in particular with Garvin jumping to the turnbuckle and over Tully before catching him in a backslide for a close fall.

I touched on it earlier that this match is one giant struggle for control and a beautiful exchange of crucifix pins highlights this. Tully deadweights on every attempt to gain control and Garvin really sells the difficulty in trying to force him down to the mat. JJ is a constant maniacal genius with how he distracts the referee long enough to have Tully reach the ropes and there's a beautiful spot where JJ talks to the ref whilst simultaneously dragging Tully to the ropes. Garvin realises he's overwhelmed and sets about ripping Tully's leg out of his socket and locks in a couple of leg locks to gain control. Tully sells it amazingly by constantly fallinf down when trying to get to his feet and constantly rolling under the ropes for a breather, lovely stooging by Tully.

No sooner have they reached 15 minutes and both men are selling the wear and tear of the match to perfection. There's a beautiful pacing in stretching out bursts of offence before selling the damage and teasing close near falls. Garvin in particular looks a perfect babyface worker: looking invincible in spells before selling himself as a biable underdog and pacing the match superbly. Tully smartly sets about using the hair and tights to keep control and I marked out for an attemped roll through pin which Garvin counters by grabbing the ropes before screaming in pain and almost letting go with his damaged right hand. JJ finally gives Tully a means of control via a foreign object which Tully smashes off of the injured arm before removing the tape and working it over nicely with submissions and stomps. Garvin again sells to perfection and the women are almost crying: everytime you see a kid in the audience with his mom screaming you believe good ol' Ron had his way with the mom at some point in time.

The finish though puts this over as a classic. Dusty Rhodes has enough with the cheating and gives Garvin some extra tape to protect his injured hand and make it deadly whilst JJ is in the process of handing Tully a roll of quarters. The crowd reaction is amazing as both men rise to their feet with loaded weapons and turn ever so slowly before Garvin finally connects with a right hand sending the bag of change everywhere and scoring the 1-2-3!!!!!!

But JJ enters the ring and points Tommy Cooper to Garvin now having a loaded hand and accuses Dusty of shenanigans and Tommy reverses the decision and this crowd is freaking PISSED. Perfect heel finish and I loved it.

****1/2-****3/4



And of course, the Magnum TA match from Starrcade remains not only the definitive I Quit match, but quite simply one of the all time great Steel Cage matches as well. A truly underated wrestler in all aspects.
I was never a fan at all of Ronnie Garvin and never rated him although he was a good enough brawler but he clicked so well with Tully Blanchard just as many others seemed to do in the ring with him which is a sign of a truly great in ring worker. When you get to a stage where you have great matches with almost anyone you work with you know you have very few peers and in the 80's for me Tully Blanchard was up there with Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Jerry Lawler and Ricky Steamboat as an in ring worker but as an all round package he was the best in NWA/JCP outside of Ric Flair.

It's a shame in a lot of ways that most people will only ever remember Tully Blanchard as a tag team wrestler as despite being a part of one of the greatest and most legendary tag teams ever alongside Arn Anderson he doesn't get the credit he deserves for his US title and TV title runs as they were brilliant and elevated the titles so much. Tragically his career was over way too soon because of that failed drug test just as he was re-signing with NWA/WCW and The Four Horsemen of Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham and Tully Blanchard were reuniting which would have been epic as they were the best version by far but by this time Sting was established as top babyface, The Road Warriors were still there and The Steiners were there.
 

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I liked Tully a whole lot....I would point out he did get a little "family push" but heck he ran with it. I would not put him up there on par with a Flair or Lawler, but he was easily one of the top ten heels of the 80's.

I too loved the Mgnum T.A. fued and I also enjoyed his fued with Dusty. He was also pretty darn good in his dad's home promotion. I actually think he was a better singles wrestler. He was possibly the best cocky heel of the era, and I think guys like Gino Hernandez and Rip Rogers owe Tully a lot.

I was more of an Arn fan but the two made each other better.
 
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