Monday, July 26, 2021

Tully Blanchard: The Lights Go Out

NWA TV Champion Tully Blanchard, victim of a Johnny Weaver sleeper.

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Photograph by Ginger Layman Lynch
Tully Blanchard sleeps peacefully on the mat, it seems, his NWA TV championship belt almost as a pillow. But moments earlier, it was actually wrestling legend Johnny Weaver who put the champ to sleep with his famous sleeper hold in a title match in Roanoke VA. The time limit expired before the referee declared Blanchard out, and Blanchard retained his title.

One of my favorite moments each week on "World Wide Wrestling" in the early 1980s was when Johnny Weaver would pick one match each week and sing "Turn Out the Lights (The Party's Over)" at the finish. It was an homage to "Dandy" Don Meredith who used to sing the same song at the end of games in the 1970s on ABC's "Monday Night Football."

On this night in Roanoke, although he didn't win the title, Johnny Weaver could have sung to Tully Blanchard.

This is one of my favorite photographs by Roanoke-area photographer Ginger Layman Lynch, who shot photos ringside in Roanoke and Rocky Mount VA in the early 1980s. She was kind enough to share some of her photographs with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

See more of Ginger's photography on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archive site HERE.

Photograph Copyright © Ginger Layman Lynch. Used by permission. Originally published December 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.