As the son of wrestling promoter and former American Wrestling Association star Joe Blanchard, Tully Blanchard was involved in professional wrestling at a very young age. He began selling programs and refreshments at the arenas at the age of ten, and worked as a referee when he was older. Blanchard attended West Texas State University, where he played American football, first as a quarterback and then as a defensive end, alongside fellow future wrestlers Tito Santana and Ted DiBiase.
Southwest Championship Wrestling
After graduating, he trained as a wrestler and eventually wrestled for Southwest Championship Wrestling (SCW), where he also held a number of backstage production and creative positions. Blanchard was very successful in SCW, starting out as a face and teaming with his father in a feud with Dory Jr. and Terry Funk. He later teamed regularly with Gino Hernandez in the heel tag team "The Dynamic Duo", which held both the World and Tag Team titles. Eventually, Hernandez left for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and formed a second version of The Dynamic Duo with Chris Adams. Blanchard then began wrestling with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Mid-Atlantic promotion.
Mid-Atlantic and the birth of the Four Horsemen
Blanchard came to Jim Crockett, Jr.'s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in early 1984. Blanchard immediately entered into a feud with Mark Youngblood over the NWA World Television Championship. Blanchard won the title on March 28, 1984 and defended the title against some of the top contenders in the territory such as Ricky Steamboat, whom he faced at Starrcade '84.
After Steamboat departed JCP for the WWF, Blanchard and Dusty Rhodes began a feud for the TV title. On March 16, 1985, Rhodes defeated Blanchard to win the NWA Television Championship, ending Blanchard's 353 day reign. The title would soon be renamed the NWA World Television Championship and the two continued to feud throughout the first half of 1985 with Blanchard regaining the title and losing it back to Rhodes in early July 1985 at the Great American Bash inside a steel cage; Rhodes also won the services of Baby Doll for 30 days.
In late 1985, Blanchard fired Baby Doll as his manager, slapping her during an interview segment and ignited a feud with Dusty Rhodes, who came to her aid. After replacing Baby Doll with James J. Dillon,
After Blanchard's feud with Rhodes ended, he soon found himself immersed in another high-profile feud over the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship held by Magnum T.A. Much like his feud with Dusty Rhodes, Blanchard's rivalry with Magnum escalated into a series of bloody and brutal matches, and became one of the top feuds in the NWA. On July 21, 1985 Blanchard defeated Magnum for the U.S. Championship by punching him with a foreign object in his hand given to him by Baby Doll, who came to ringside dressed as a security guard. The feud culminated at Starrcade '85 during a brutal and extremely bloody I Quit match held inside of a steel cage for the title. The match ended with Magnum driving a piece of a broken wooden chair into Blanchard's forehead, which was already deeply cut and bleeding profusely, forcing him to submit.
Throughout the latter half of 1985, Blanchard and a number of high-profile wrestlers in the company often competed together, usually in variations of tag team matches or interfering in one another's matches if they appeared to be losing. These wrestlers included Ole Anderson, who had long since become a legendary figure in the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories, rising star Arn Anderson and Ric Flair, the biggest star in the promotion and NWA World Heavyweight Champion. In early 1986, the foursome became a solidified group and called themselves The Four Horsemen. The group quickly established dominance within the territory by capturing numerous championships with Ole and Arn capturing the NWA National Tag Team Championship with Arn being the NWA World Television Champion simultaneously, Blanchard winning the NWA National Heavyweight Championship in March 1986 and with Flair as the NWA World Champion. The Horsemen feuded with the top baby faces of the territory including Magnum T.A., Nikita Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, Wahoo McDaniel, The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) and the Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal).
The Horsemen continued to feud with the other top stars of the NWA throughout 1986 and 1987, particularly after forcing out Ole Anderson and replacing him with Lex Luger. By mid 1987, Blanchard and Anderson began competing regularly on the tag team circuit and quickly entered into a feud with the Rock 'n' Roll Express over the NWA World Tag Team Championship. The feud culminated in late September after Blanchard and Anderson won the titles after a number of high-profile matches.
Around the same time, Lex Luger defected from the Horsemen and feuded with all of them over the course of the next several months. Luger quickly formed a partnership with Barry Windham and competed in the tag team division as well. The new duo defeated Anderson and Blanchard on March 27, 1988 though they would lose the titles back to them a little more than a month later after Windham turned on Luger and became the newest Horsemen.
After clashing with Jim Crockett and booker Dusty Rhodes about their pay, Blanchard and Arn Anderson left the NWA for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on September 10, 1988, losing in an 11th-hour title change to the The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) after a brief feud. Fellow Horseman Barry Windham and manager J.J. Dillon would leave later for similar reasons; Flair, meanwhile, considered leaving but decided to stay when the NWA signed his old friend Ricky Steamboat and put them in a program together. In the WWF, Blanchard and Anderson were dubbed "The Brain Busters" and paired with heel manager Bobby Heenan. The team defeated Demolition (Ax & Smash) for the WWF Tag Team Championship on July 18, 1989, ending Demolition's historic first reign, but lost them back to Demolition on October 2, 1989.
Departure from the WWF
Blanchard and Anderson were planning a return to the NWA. As a result, the WWF pushed a break up angle between Heenan and the Brain Busters on the November 25, 1989 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. Around that time, Blanchard failed a drug test, testing positive for cocaine and causing his premature departure from the WWF. Bobby Heenan himself replaced Blanchard as part of the Heenan Family team at the Survivor Series a month later.
Blanchard and Anderson were supposed to return to the NWA to reform the Four Horsemen with Ric Flair and Ole Anderson. However, when the NWA learned of Blanchard's infraction, they declined to offer him a contract.
A few months later he would again negotiate with the NWA to rejoin the Horsemen in early 1990, but ultimately declined what he considered to be a very low offer (reportedly half of a previous verbal agreement). Blanchard would go on to make a few appearances in the AWA in the spring of 1990 and headline independent cards throughout the country, but would soon retire from full-time wrestling to become a preacher.
Born again Christianity
Without a contract and troubled by his increasing alcohol and drug abuse, Blanchard became a born-again Christian on November 13, 1989. He currently has a prison ministry, where he preaches the Christian gospel to inmates.
In 1992, Blanchard joined up with Charlotte Christian School as an assistant coach. He was often referred to as "The Beast" among the teammates and helped the team achieve the NC/SC Independent School Athletic Association championship.
Later wrestling career
He wrestled infrequently throughout the 1990s, with his most notable matches being a bout with Terry Funk at Slamboree 1994 that ended in a double-disqualification, and a time-limit draw with then-Extreme Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas in 1995.
On September 12, 1998, Blanchard teamed up with fellow Four Horseman alumnus, Barry Windham, and defeated the Border Patrol to win the NWA World Tag Team Titles.
Confrontation with JBL and future wrestling plans
It was reported on October 23, 2006, that Blanchard was working for World Wrestling Entertainment as a Road Agent/Producer. On November 3, Dave Meltzer reported that Blanchard had a confrontation with JBL that caused him to quit. JBL claimed that Blanchard had treated him poorly when he first got into wrestling and referred to Blanchard in public as a drug addict, cheater, liar, and hypocrite who used God to make money.
Blanchard resigned his position, citing numerous reasons for his wanting to leave, with the incident with JBL cited as one of the reasons. On November 8, Blanchard claimed (via the Between the Ropes wrestling radio show), he simply wasn't as passionate about the business as he once was and could not deliver the commitment World Wrestling Entertainment would surely expect of him. He came to this conclusion upon pondering Chris Benoit's backstage question: "Do you miss it?" Blanchard believes his prison ministry is now his true passion, despite having an existing "Legend" contract still in place with World Wrestling Entertainment.
He appeared prominently in the 2007 DVD Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen. On the March 31, 2008 edition of WWE Raw, Blanchard reunited with Arn Anderson, J.J. Dillon, and Barry Windham to salute the recently retired Ric Flair. In November 2008, he hosted part 2 of the 5 part Essential Starrcade series on WWE 24/7 as well as appearing in one of the matches.
Blanchard is currently the new head booker of NWA: New Beginnings territory in Charlotte, NC and has been a backstage agent for the wrestling shows as part of the 2010 and 2011 NWA Legends Convention which were in Charlotte, NC and Atlanta, GA.
Blanchard was first married on May 7, 1978 to Elizabeth Diane Boyles in Bexar County, Texas. However, the marriage was brief and ended in divorce on June 30, 1980.
Blanchard later married Courtney Shattuck. Together, they have 4 children: Taylor, Tanner, Tessa and Tally. They later divorced with Courtney remarrying another former wrestler, Magnum T.A., in March 2005.
Championships and accomplishments
- NWA All-Star Wrestling (North Carolina)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- SCW Southwest Heavyweight Championship (6 times)
- SCW Southwest Tag Team Championship (5 times) - with Gino Hernandez
- SCW Southwest Television Championship (3 times)
- SCW World Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Gino Hernandez