#116 – Tully Blanchard v Ron Garvin, May 3, 1986

This week we watch a classic old school match between two greats as they battle for the NWA National Heavyweight title on an episode of NWA Worldwide TV. We also go over some amazing feedback from our review of a match involving Victor the Bear. We also visited our PO BOX for the first time since early December and stumbled upon another Christmas present from a listener! Please support the Old School Wrestling Podcast by visiting flairchop.com to purchase our book “The OSWP 500,” are collected volumes of the first 75 episodes, an OSWP t-shirt, or one of our beautiful posters.

This episode has been archived in the Season 4 digital box set available for $9.99 at the OSWP Merch Store!


  1. SlingshotSuplex says:

    Worldwide Wrestling was the Mid-Atlantic/Crockett show. Crockett inherited the National title when they took over the remnants of the Georgia office and got the TBS slot.

    I was a big Ron Garvin fan. He had the knockout punch, the Garvin Stomp, and he beat the shit out of jobbers, leaving them more decimated than even the Andersons.

    I remember this match from back in the day and have seen it since, and you’re right that it’s great. You nicely captured the intensity and logic that made it special. This was also the big set up for the series of taped fists matches between Garvin & Tully at the Great American Bash on tour.

  2. The Small Package says:

    I love, Love, LOVE NWA in the ‘80s. While I wasn’t a fan of Ronnie Garvin at all back then, over the years I have grown to appreciate his matches more. I think you have to give him credit for winning the NWA World Title. Ric Flair ruled the NWA in the 1980’s, of course, and only 5 men were actually able to become the man by beating the man in the decade (Harley Race, Kerry Von Erich, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and Garvin). So there has to be something said for that.

    Now the subject of the Garvin Stomp is a whole different matter. Before you said it, The People’s Elbow and The 5 Knuckle Shuffle immediately came to mind. If I were doing a quick 1-2-3 of absurd wrestling moves that look totally corny and would never work in real life, those three moves would be battling it out with The Worm and the 619 to see who made my list. Here, let me just lay here while you take an absurd amount of time to execute a basic move on me that once it’s completed I’ll just spring back to my feet and continue the match.

    Keep up the good work guys, can’t wait for the next episode.

  3. Crapgame13 says:

    The “Tully Blanchard Enterprises” gimmick existed before the pairing of JJ Dillon and Tully. I believe Tully had been using this for a few years to prop himself up as a man of means and different interests. I recall in 85 when he hired Abdullah the Butcher to help him it was under the guise that Tully Blanchard Enterprises had conducted a search for a new employee.

    JJ came in to be executive director storyline wise due to Baby Doll’s “unreliability” after going with Dusty, and Tully’s growing empire (real life it was because Buddy Landel had been fired and there was no one else for Dillon worth managing other than the Thunderfoot 1 and 2 gimmicks which were floundering and Ron Bass had turned on him).

    The other thing I remember is that Garvin had vicious chops.

    Ron Garvin on the other hand is vastly underappreciated for his sheer athletic ability. While his promos didn’t say much while having a credible toughness to him and he always looked about 50, he was chiseled, and was doing a lot of moves you wouldn’t expect for a guy with a “brawling” gimmick like flying head scissors which were beautifully executed.

    • Crapgame13 says:

      yeah that first Garvin sentence should be at the bottom…the perils of cut and pasting on a phone

    • SlingshotSuplex says:

      It’s easy to forget how little JJ Dillon had going for him before hooking up with Tully. He was barely floating above Paul Jones level of manager and wearing those silly tuxes and such. He totally found himself in the executive director role and the rest is history.

  4. Masked Superstar says:

    When it came to talking smack, Tully was great when he got wound up. When he was on the low key, he wasn’t as flowing with the words but was had that arrogant confidence that said, “f@#% it, I’m GREAT”. Ron Garvin was just above a jobber to me. Saw him several times here in NC and always wanted to see him get a bloody ass stomping.

  5. Dynamite's Illegitimate Kid says:

    Just discovered the podcast guys, and have to say, well done indeed. Love hearing your in-depth breakdowns on all these old school matches, really brings back the memories. Hearing you refer to Ronnie Garvin as the “Hands of Stone” made me ponder something I hadn’t thought of in quite some time : Did he swipe that nickname off of Roberto Duran or vice versa, since they were both prominent at around the same time? I always thought it was cool that a popular wrestler and boxer had the same moniker. Just something I was always curious about.

    Also, don’t know if you take requests (I’m sure you have quite a docket of matches on the back burner), but since you guys did such a great job on the Hogan/Stan Hansen match a few episodes back, I think it would be awesome if you looked at the Vader/Hansen match from NJPW circa 1990. This is the infamous “eye” match and is probably one of the stiffest contests I have ever seen. Would be a real treat to hear your thoughts on it. Anyways, just a suggestion, and keep up the good work.

  6. Follow the Camel says:

    Thank you for the great episode as always. I tracked down this match and really enjoyed it. I was also impressed to find that the NWA National Heavyweight Championship was resurrected in the late 90s and is still around. The current champion is Nitro who appears to wrestle out of Ohio. Nitro’s Old School link is fascinating because he has wrestled as a member of Demolition and has had a ten year feud with The Barbarian according to the article I found about him.

    I’m curious about other matches that Les Thatcher suggested?

  7. ric hogan says:

    May 3 is my birthday. So this match was a gift to me although never seeing it. Am I totally stupid tully Blanchard sucks. He is such a loser. He just seems like an arrogant jerk. Ron garvin is infinitely times better. Blanchard does not transfer beyond 1986. The brainbusters were cool because of arn’s spine buster. Tully is a turd. Then, now, and forever. Ron garvin is so much better. I know garvin won the nwa title after this match. At least garvin won it. Tully had his issues after the wwf run. If you saw the 4 horseman DVD tully referred to himself as the blast cap. I guess I am against tully quite a bit and should get help for myself .

    Garvin had sweet hair.

  8. SpecialGuestReferee says:

    When Dre said, Les Thatcher gave that tape to new wrestlers as an example of great ring psychology? He glossed over this fairly quickly. I think we need the back story of Dre’s wrestling career here. I feel cheated and I want answers. Was Dre actually Steve Blackman? Was he one of the Doinks? Perhaps his career got derailed by Liz Hunter. There is more to this story and the masses are clamoring to know!

  9. Dead Reckoning says:

    Garvin Stomp = Riverdance.

    Stupid f***ing move

  10. Whoa! Excellent breakdown of this classic match, Black Cat and Dre! Totally agree on how great this is with just straight mat tactics and psychology. Funny thing was, I walked past a roll of white tape right when you got near the finish. Jeez, did the roll of quarters gimmick ever rule! Shades of AWA-era Curt Henning vs. Bockwinkle at the Cow Palace. Maaan do I mark out big time for Garvin’s part Quebcois/part Southern accent. This match vs. Tully reminds me of how DEEP in was into watching Crockett and territory wrestling. I first saw this match on “World Wide” via the San Jose station KICU – the Bay Area independent stations were a goldmine for supplementary mat action.

    It also reminds me of watching TONS of NWA on WTBS at 3:05 (West Coast time) with my mom’s then-boyfriend who was a fan of the old-school stuff (“like the Crusher and the Bruiser”? Indeed). I was trying to be in a metal band (go figure?) as my guitar lessons were at 5pm. Though Saturday TV wrestling – especially focusing “The Hands of Stone” (instead of working with my hands on G minor scales) put a change to all that.

    Also, the “Garvin Stomp” has its own noise-punk tribute via the Ohio band, Unholy Two. http://youtu.be/cSGFG1jOEnc

    Thanks and looking forward to the next episode!

  11. Great show as ever guys. That’s the thing with your show – even if I don’t know much (or not at all as it happen sometimes) the wrestler you talk about I know I’ll have a good time because I’ll get to know these grappler and have fun with your comment in any case!

    And you mark a very good point; As much as lucha-libre style technical moves can make a great match, it’s not the sole thing can be. Drama, angst, violence, skills, comedy, heat, sheer physicality, acting, storyline or charisma, just to name them, can make a match. Or any combinations of those – which result on a lots of different ways a match can be played and appreciated.
    But you guys know that, and that’s make your podcast my favorite of the bunch!

  12. IanEvs79 says:

    What an epic match! I’ve never seen much of Garvin, apart from a few WWF matches. I can’t believe how over he was with the fans, as they wouldn’t stop cheering for the whole 30+ minutes. The time flew by and both guys put on a show.

    Just out of interest, the video list on Youtube made reference to the Garvin Stomp as The Bristol stomp.