Tully Blanchard attacked an injured Magnum TA after a car accident left him paralyzed for months and wheel-chair bound for life. On paper, it sounds even more horrible; a disabled person getting assaulted for the pettiest of reasons. But the history of the act and the events that led up to it made it so much worse.
IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW
Tully Arthur Blanchard is an American retired professional wrestler and current on-screen manager signed to All Elite Wrestling. He is best known for his appearances with Jim Crockett Promotions and the World Wrestling Federation in the mid to late 1980s as a member of The Four Horsemen and The Brain Busters.
Championships held by Blanchard over his career include the NWA World Television Championship, NWA World Tag Team Championship, WWF World Tag Team Championship, and NWA United States Heavyweight Championship. He was inducted into the NWA Hall of Fame in 2009 and the WWE Hall of Fame in 2012.
March 26th, 1988: Magnum TA was being interviewed by David Crockett. Magnum had been in a horrible car accident a couple of years earlier, leaving him with great difficulty walking and a mostly paralyzed right arm. Magnum mentioned that he now needed an equalizer, in this case, a baseball bat, for him to be at ringside with his friends as the people they were fighting obviously had an advantage over him.
He mentioned his fighting spirit, talking about his drive and his friends in an equal, proud measure. And then he mentioned his greatest victory; an insanely bloody and violent “I Quit” cage match, where the only way that the winner could win was when the loser muttered those very words.
The person who he defeated and humiliated in that match? Tully Blanchard.
Tully Blanchard came out with manager James J. Dillon during Magnum’s interview, interrupting the proceedings and immediately getting into Magnum’s face, talking about their past history but specifically about his bringing up that “I Quit” match, saying that the videotapes being sold of that infamous match was putting money into Magnum’s pocket even though he didn’t really win that match as he had never in his life said “I quit” (he did).
He then said that he was like everyone else when Magnum got hurt, mimicking him, saying (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Poor Magnum, he got hurt! Too bad!” But then the scene went from already awful to horrible as Tully then told him that until he’s 100% healthy, he had better stay clear of him and his associates, the Four Horsemen.
Barry Windham, a friend of Magnum’s, came out to try and calm the situation and was rewarded by being sucker-punched instantly by Tully. Tully kept the attack going by swatting Magnum right alongside the head with JJ dragging him down to the floor.
Tully Blanchard turned his attention back to Barry, who was trying to get back up even though disoriented. Tully hit Barry with a knee to the chest and JJ followed up with a kick to the ribs while Tully focused squarely on a fallen Magnum, turning him over and ready to attack again.
Dusty Rhodes was a blur of rage, swinging that bat at any opening he could find on Tully. Several officials ran out to try and put an end to the carnage but Dusty swung the bat at them also, like a mad dog chasing people away from a fresh kill. Tully tried to shoot for Dusty’s legs but proceeded to get beat on some more with Dusty showing no signs of slowing.
Backstage officials, with announcers Tony Schiavone, David Crockett and Jim Ross all came over to try and stop it with even promoter Jim Crockett came out and jumped on Dusty’s back. The camera cut out for a few seconds with the audio still being played with the crowd screaming their heads off.
The returning camera-shot showed Dusty rearing back and clubbing Crockett in the mouth with the handle and then turning back to Tully, placing the bat across his throat to choke him and then falling backward, wrapping his legs around him/leg-lacing him so that he’d have no leverage or escape.
Tully sprawled around, his arms and legs waving but starting to slow when the locker room cleared out of all the other wrestlers to finally separate everyone, with them prying him off of Tully the way you’d have to pry off a snapping turtle. The carnage was clear. Magnum was helped off by two wrestlers (Jimmy Garvin and I think Tommy Rich).
Jim Crockett was looked over by several officials and Dusty Rhodes and Tully Blanchard finally separated in the background. But the viewer watching at home only knew one thing- due to the heinous actions of Tully Blanchard, they had nearly seen a murder happen on live television.