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Tully Blanchard

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff
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November 27, 2021 12:30 pm

Tully Blanchard

It's Time to Man Up! / Nikita Koloff

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November 27, 2021 12:30 pm

Nikita speaks with wrestling Legend Tully Blanchard of the Four Horsemen in part 1 of a 2 part podcast. Discussing his career as a promoter's kid in the early 1970's.

Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
It's Time to Man Up!
Nikita Koloff
Truth Talk
Stu Epperson
It's Time to Man Up!
Nikita Koloff
Truth Talk
Stu Epperson

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Their whole inventory is right there with the right price. Everybody drives a Crescent. You should too. Once a world champion wrestler, now a champion for Christ. Once the Russian nightmare, now the devil's worst nightmare. And your tag team partner, Nikita Kolov. It's time to Man Up. Welcome back to another episode of the Man Up show with Nikita Kolov.

No longer the Russian nightmare now. The devil's nightmare, storming the gates of hell, winning people into the kingdom of God. And each and every week, I try to bring a special guest onto the show. This one's super special. I mean, they're all special in my eyes, but for real, this one in my eyes is super special because I'm going to introduce a peer to the wrestling industry, to the wrestling world, a name that you will be totally familiar with. And if you're not, your head must be in the sand, especially if you're a wrestling fan. And that's none other than one of the legendary four horsemen, Mr. Tully Blanchard.

Tully, welcome to the Man Up show. Well, GQ, it's great to be here. And it's great to see what your life has come through.

Well, it is. We're just going to have a conversation. And for the listeners out there, I mean, there's some who probably know quite a bit of your story or quite a bit of your history. And then again, there's some who may not.

I mean, already the show in just over a year has been downloaded in 58 different countries. And so the message is getting out. And of course, it centers around, it all centers around Christ, but also around the life of an individual.

And I certainly want to be able to talk about that maybe a little later in the show. But before we get there, let's let our listeners, tell our listeners, you grew up in Texas and in San Antonio, Tully? Yes.

So San Antonio, Texas. And I was just trying to recall, of course, you came, you come out of a wrestling family, right? Your dad, Joe Blanchard, right? Was very involved in wrestling. Cause I don't, I don't know that I know this, but was your dad always a promoter? Did he wrestle before he promoted or what did your dad do? My dad was, my dad wrestled for 30 years. He was the big eight champion in 1950 heavyweight amateur wrestling at Kansas state.

And well, actually it was the big seven back then. And he went to Canada and played pro football. Uh, Barry Windham just sent me a picture of Gene Kadeski, Wilbur Snyder, and my dad, uh, and Daryl Royal. And, uh, Daryl Royal's first head coaching job was with the Edmonton Eskimos and coached my dad and Gene and Wilbur. And they were all superstars in professional wrestling.

Gene Kadeski got on to be the world champion and, uh, just, uh, great guys. We moved from we moved from Indianapolis to Texas to move into the promotion part. Dad was able to, to, uh, buy into the, the promotions in South Texas. Okay. And, uh, and so that was, uh, a good thing for our family and got us zeroed in. So when I was in the fifth grade, I became a San Antonio light.

Okay. Fifth grade. And, and, uh, I, um, fifth grade was, was instrumental for me too. I moved out of the, the, the projects.

I call it the, the, the projects, the ghettos of Minneapolis out to the suburbs, a suburb called Robinsdale. But let me, let me ask you just when, so when would your dad would have played in the state? Like what was that in the sixties? He was in the CFL or when would he have been up there?

No, no, no, no, no. He played up there in, uh, 50. I was born in Calgary in 54. Okay.

And so it would have been 50 51, 52, 53, 54. Uh, he played for three years up there and, and that's where he started wrestling. He started, uh, Stu Hart started my dad, uh, in wrestling and, uh, in professional wrestling.

And, uh, it was, uh, then he got booked and we moved into the United States after, when I was six weeks old and, and, uh, he, he started wrestling and traveled and travel and travel. Yeah. Right.

Travel, travel, travel. So he was part of the legendary dungeon as I know it's the Stu Hart dungeon. Yeah. Well, yeah, I guess you might put it that way, but my, my dad could really wrestle. Oh yeah, no, I, yeah. Right.

But Vergania style, Brad Reagan style, right. I mean, yeah. So for sure.

I mean, a lot of those guys back in those days, correct me if I'm wrong, uh, Tully, even some of the names you mentioned, I mean, the majority of them had that amateur wrestling background, right? I believe so. Yeah. They were, yeah. Vern was, was national champion, if I'm not mistaken.

University of Minnesota. Yeah. Yeah. And, uh, and then you had, uh, uh, Dr. Big Bill Miller. I think he was a big amateur guy too. And, uh, Danny Miller and, uh, some people and then Baron Bonrasky was a, was a great amateur. I think he was a national champion too. Yes.

And, uh, Nebraska, I think. Yeah. Yeah. He was, he was, uh, uh, just monster of all the athletes and stuff that came into professional wrestling back in that era. And, uh, and not everybody's son went into wrestling.

A lot of us did. Right. Greg Gagne and myself and, uh, Fritz, Fritz Von Erich's kids all wrestled and, uh, but it was, uh, you know, it was, it was harder to become a star if your dad had already been a star.

Okay. And, uh, so I'm fortunate that, that my dad won championships and stuff, but, uh, he realized that, that the promoters were the ones making all the money. And so he, he moved that direction. So that was exciting.

I didn't know it was exciting, but it was cause it, it got us off the road. I mean, I got to go to the same school and, uh, play football and get a college scholarship. Yep. Yeah.

So I knew, yeah. So I knew, I knew you played, I knew you played football, so, but you didn't, you didn't wrestle. You didn't do amateur wrestling. No, because South Texas amateur wrestling had not got there yet. Oh, whoa.

Okay. So we amateur wrestled the football team, um, because it was my dad talked to the coaches and said, if you can amateur wrestle, it makes your lineman better. And so, uh, we ended up having amateur wrestling, uh, in off season. And, uh, and so it was, it was good. It was fun.

I mean, I had amateur wrestling in the garage and, uh, realized at my nice little 17 year old self that my dad was still tougher than I was. Right. Oh man. So all good stuff. So, so, so you, so you embrace football at a, at a young, young age, obviously football in Texas just kind of go hand in hand.

I like you're saying they go hand in hand, right? I mean, high school, high school football in Texas, for those who don't know is probably as bigger or bigger than college football in, in some States across America. That's possible. Uh, it's, it's certainly, uh, Friday night lights is a big deal in Texas.

Yeah. I mean, I remember telling, see, I mean, see a picture, you know, 10, 15,000 fans at a Friday night high school football game. I'm like, I, I, we were, we were happy to get 10 or 15 fans at our high school football game on Friday.

I'm exaggerating slightly, but I saw some huge crowds, high school, and the stadium, the state, the state championship game in Texas would, would have 60, 70,000 people. See, that's it. That's insane. I can't wrap my head around that. Like, you know, we didn't have that in Minnesota. I can just tell you right now.

We, we, uh, there was no crowds of that size, uh, other than at a, at a potentially at a bike Minnesota Viking game, not a high school championship game. That's amazing. Wow.

Well, so you have this football career in, in high school, you said, and you mentioned you got a scholarship now, which correct me if I'm wrong, quarterback, right? Yes. Okay. Yeah. I went to, I went to SMU out of high school and, uh, Hayden Fry was the, was the head coach at SMU.

Okay. And he got fired before the last game, my freshman year, they brought in a new coach, which changed our offense and changed a lot of stuff. And they changed me from quarterback to fullback in spring training freshman year. And then when we went back for two days, they changed me from fullback to defense weak side defensive end. Oh, wow. Okay. And, um, I was actually second team. So I made the traveling squad and I told my dad, I said, I said, dad, I'm going to waste a whole year of eligibility running down on the kickoff team. Right.

So this is crazy. And so, uh, he agreed. So I dropped out of school and, uh, came home for, uh, a semester and, uh, didn't really look at a different place to play because I wanted to go. I, back then you couldn't transfer into big colleges.

Right. And, uh, so I, I, I went to a registered in a, to a junior college so that I could graduate. And if you graduate from a junior college, then you were eligible. You didn't have to red shirt and set out.

Yup. And so, uh, I went to Cisco junior college and, uh, got all my classes to finish my sophomore year and graduate. And Terry funk talked to my dad and said, your boy needs to come to West Texas.

I said, Amarillo was the farthest thing from my mind. So, but, uh, but I ended up going up there on a, on a trip and, and throwing the ball for the coach and et cetera, et cetera. And they offered me a scholarship. And so, and it was, it was, it was Missouri Valley conference.

It was still division one, uh, at that time. And so, you know, went forward and everything was good. Went back to school and, uh, probably the most, uh, crazy thing that happened that not a lot of people know about, but when I graduate, when I finished the, the fall semester, our spring semester at Cisco junior college, I had two weeks off and then I had to come back for summer school and finish so that I could graduate in summer school and then report to West Texas. And we, uh, I got, I drove back home. I refereed in Abilene on the Friday night. Then I went back to San Antonio, drove most of the night, um, got up, a friend of mine wanted to go out to a place called edge falls, which is about 30 minutes north of San Antonio's. He jumped off cliffs into the water and we'd been there many times. And, uh, in fact, it was Mike Blackwood. It was his older brother and younger brother were part of the, uh, the, uh, the, uh, were part of the killer bees. They were the Blackwood brothers who played for the dolphins and, uh, and Lyle played for the Colts too.

Okay. And, um, and Mike and I were in a car wreck and I was, I had my right arm, my right lap muscle was severed right to my ribs. And, uh, it took them five hours to sell me back together. If you would like to support Colal for Christ ministries for a gift of $25, Nikita will send you his two CDs adoration and declaration for a gift of $50. Nikita will include his book wrestling with success. And for a gift of $100 or more, Nikita will include a signed copy of his newly updated life story, a tale of the ring and redemption. Go to and donate today. Nikita Koloff here. If you're needing to buy a car and have marginal credit and considering using buy here, pay here, that's worse than taking the Russian sickle Winston Salem motor cars will put you behind the wheel of a car you can rely on while helping rebuild repair or establish your credit score. Conveniently located on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston Salem.

Be sure to check them out today at w S M C the number because you are number one. I didn't tell anybody because I didn't figure if they knew that my arm was hurt and I couldn't throw, I figured they'd take my scholarship away from me. So I didn't tell anybody. Right. Right. And I, I got in shape and, and, uh, reported and, uh, uh, didn't throw very well, but we ran the wishbone. Okay.

Learned how to run the wishbone familiar with that. Yep. And, uh, I, I ended up, uh, beating out the other quarterbacks in two a days and I started the first game of the year at quarterback for West Texas state buffaloes. Now they're the West Texas A and M buffaloes. Okay.

And, uh, and so that was, that was pretty wild. Um, it, it did affect our offense a little bit. Coach Mayfield walked into the dressing room on a Monday one time and said, how far do you think you threw that ball the other day? I said, I am maybe 45 yards or something.

He said 27 yards. Okay. Okay. Right. I said, woo, which, uh, I could throw a little further than that.

Right. Uh, when my arm was in full before the injury and yeah, pre-injury and, uh, uh, it amazed me, but, but, uh, anyway, I didn't, I still didn't tell him about the car wreck until he saw me without a shirt on and never went anywhere without a shirt on. And he said, what happened to you? I said, I was in a car wreck. He said, oh my gosh. I said, yeah, it was in April. That that's a, that's a, that's a, that's a story that, you know, that's something that you don't write if you're trying to make the starting spot or make the team, you don't really want to devote some of that information to him. Right.

Hey, let me, let me ask you a question. So, so about West Texas state, because, you know, I hear questions all the time, you know, I get questioned all the time about all the professional wrestlers that came out of, out of, uh, Robinsville high school, but man, Dolly, you had quite a few guys that came out of West Texas, some of which you played with and rattle off a few of the names that came out of West Texas state university. Well, you got Dorian Terry funk, both were world champions, uh, bruiser Brody Tito. Didn't Tito go there?

Tito was, Tito played with me. Yeah. He played tight end or something, right? Yes.

He was on tight end. Okay. And, uh, play, he played for a year up in Canada and he was the last cut of the, of the Kansas city chiefs one year.

Okay. And, uh, and he came back and finished his teeth, got his teaching degree. My dad said, you know, he's handsome. He's Hispanic. I said, we need to get him in wrestling. He's six foot two and big. So we recruited him to start going to wrestling.

So when I graduated mid-term Merced and I went to, uh, Florida and started and Jim Barnett fell in love with him and shot him up to Atlanta and they ended up changing his name to Tito Santana and the rest is history. Yeah. I mean, uh, but you, but you've got Stan Hansen was there. The folks. Yeah.

A lot of guys. Oh, Ted Dibiase was, was there when I got there. Yep.

Yeah. And then, uh, he, he, he realized that having a wife and a child that you needed to make more money than be on scholarships. So when they changed the rules that you could wrestle, you could be a professional in one sport and not in another and still be an amateur. Uh, I went and wrestled that summer and Teddy went and wrestled that summer and, and he didn't come back to school. And I came back and played the last year for your last year. And so what year, what year would that been that you and Tito and something? So what year was that that you got broke into the ranks of professional wrestling?

Uh, it was 74. Okay. And Merced was, uh, was a senior and played my sophomore year. So we played together and then Dibiase and I would have been, I think he and I would have been the same class. Gotcha.

Because when I graduated from junior college and went, I had, I was a sophomore in eligibility and I was a, uh, junior in school. Okay. And, uh, and so that, that was that. So, so there's some, there's, uh, Manny Fernandez played after me.

Uh, I think that's about it. Well, let's, it's some pretty big names in wrestling for anyone who's a wrestling fan. So, so you leave school, you get into wrestling and was it as easy decision for you to decide to, yeah, obviously your dad's already promoting. And, and so was that a pretty easy decision for you to decide you want to do that as a career as well? Well, what I wanted, I wanted to go learn the wrestling business.

Okay. I wanted to, because I knew that I would be a promoter and, uh, and produce TV shows and stuff like that. So I wanted to learn what it was to be like, I wanted to learn how to work. Number one, I wanted to learn what it was like to be on the road because the guys that you now are hiring, you know, how, how do you, how do you deal with them? How do you pay them?

How do you, how do you make it, make it a good job instead of, uh, a sorry job. Right. And, um, so I went to Florida and learned an immense amount about TV production, about TV shows, how they did their TV show in a small, uh, setting, but it made it look like an arena with live, live crowd and stuff like that. So, uh, that was, that was huge. And then, uh, I realized that was that under Eddie Graham, was that under it? Yes. Okay. Yes.

Okay. And Eddie liked me and, uh, he came, I met Eddie five days a week at the studio and he and I wrestled and talked to philosophy and talked about what to do and how to do it and when to do it and probably accelerated my career 10 years. And, um, but they didn't pay really well. Uh, so I got all the stuff and I, and wahoo was up in North Carolina. And so I called wahoo up and, uh, asked him if they needed anybody.

And so I got hired by the crockets up there in the end of 1977 and, uh, went up there and my income tripled, which was nice. Yeah. Right.

And, uh, pay increase. Yep. And, uh, their territory was doing unbelievable business. And, you know, I was traveling with wahoo and I was traveling with the top guys and who would have been like blackjack Mulligan or who would have been some of the guys, wahoo McDaniel, who else? Daniel black, uh, blackjack Mulligan, Johnny Weaver, uh, Johnny Weaver at that time. Um, Sergeant slaughter, I think was still there. Um, Roddy Piper was he there?

Uh, Piper had already been stolen. Gotcha. Uh, at that time they were just pushing steamboats, bill Edie. I forget what they called him underneath the mass.

Yeah. Wasn't like the mass superstar or something like that superstar superstar and, um, flair was there at that point, right? Paul Jones flare was just, just starting to be on top and learn what it was like to be a star. And, um, so it was a lot of good people to learn from and, you know, wahoo was one of the great comeback baby face guys in the business. So I watched him and, and watched the rest of them. And I went out and did my 30 minute matches and got beat up by the old timers that were just there having to work in learn your craft though.

Yes, I did. And so then at the end of that year, end of 77, I figured I had learned from two of the best territories in the country on how to do it, what to do, how to produce your TV shows, how to make it interesting for the wrestling fans. And, uh, so I took that knowledge back to San Antonio and, and, uh, told my dad that we needed to make some big adjustments because of, you know, the, the old way of taping the first three matches on your house show and make that your TV show was not conducive to a big, big business, a big production.

And let me interject it. Wrestling was in a, in a, you were transitioning the wrestling business for your dad. And, and here's what we're going to have to do. We're going to have to do a part two because we haven't even got to really the, the, the meat of your career, which I want to talk about. And, and so, um, um, we got just a couple minutes left here, but so you go down to San Antonio, share with your dad, everything you learned. And then it was, uh, things began to transition in, uh, in your dad's promotion. Yes.

Uh, we, we started making big changes. The thing I never wanted was to be a promoter's kid. They got to push and didn't deserve it. Right. Right. And, um, and so I, I didn't, um, you wanted to earn it. You wanted to earn it. I, I, I was not a, I was not a box office baby face.

Right. And, and so, uh, I finally talked my dad into wahoo came down and was our booker, you know, and they were trying to have me be involved at stuff and I, and it just wasn't working. I said, guys, switch me heel and whatever. And so we did. And, uh, our business almost doubled overnight.

Okay. And, uh, but it was, it was pulling teeth with wahoo because promoters kids were never heels. They were always baby faces. And, uh, and so it was a, it was a, uh, a big step because my dad being the promoter and helped with announcing and et cetera, et cetera. And, uh, it was, it was a thing that, that, uh, ended up being great. And I mean, it was really simple.

I mean, it was probably one of the simplest things in the world. We started a Southwest championship belt and we had a tournament for it. And I, I wrestled Alberto Madrid for the championship in the, in the, in the match. And, uh, did a spot where he did a leap frog and didn't leap frog high enough. And I hit him head first into his private areas. And he went down and the referee said, you know, it was an accident.

All the people said it was an accident, blah, blah, blah, blah. And all I did was say, okay, he can't continue. Give me the belt.

I want him down in the champion. Well, there you go. We're going to leave on a cliffhanger. So we're gonna let everyone know what they're gonna have to tune in for part two to figure out what happened here. Okay. So let's, uh, let's, let's do this.

Take a break. Tune in next week for part two with the legendary four horsemen Tully Blanchard. Thank you for listening to the Man Up show today. Men, I would like to challenge each of you to consider spending five days with Lex Luger and I at Man Camp, pursuing the heart of God. Ladies, if you're listening, we'll send your men home better equipped to be men of God, Godly husbands and Godly fathers that appeals to you. Give them your blessing and encourage them to sign up today at Pastors, if you would like to bring Koloff for Christ Ministries and Man Up Conference to your community, go to and email me.

Remember this, it's time to Man Up. All feet agree. Clemens carpet is where you need to be with carpet, vinyl, tile, and hardwood from the top brands. Clemens carpet does it right from beginning to install. Voted number one by you in the reader's choice awards, Doug, Chad, Benny, Pee Wee, and the team at Clemens carpet look forward to seeing and serving you soon. This is Nikita Koloff and I want to thank Clemens carpet for supporting my new show, Man Up, Saturday afternoon at 12 30 on the truth network. Another program powered by the truth network. This is the truth network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-16 18:45:12 / 2023-07-16 18:55:55 / 11

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