Mid-Atlantic Legends Fanfest opens with Tully Blanchard, Jim Cornette, Magnum T.A. and more


Miami Herald Writer

CHARLOTTE -- Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. recounted their classic steel cage “I Quit” match and Jim Cornette went unplugged and uncensored on Thursday, Aug. 1 at the ninth annual Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest.

The two question-and-answer sessions, which also broadcasted on internet pay-per-view, kicked off the four days of nostalgia with a bang at the Hilton University Place Hotel.

First was Blanchard and Magnum, as they detailed their classic rivalry and climatic battle at Starrcade 1985. Acclaimed pro wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham served as moderator.

Blanchard called the cage match an appropriate end to a feud that has stood the test of time. He rated the bloody war among the best or the best steel cage match of all time. The fight was the, “period at the end of the sentence”.

The two also discussed other classic opponents like Magnum on Wahoo McDaniel and Blanchard on Dusty Rhodes. Questions for Blanchard also included what it was like being a Four Horseman and him and Arn Anderson’s exodus from the NWA to WWE.

The former in-ring foes were on their game and let loose, no matter how difficult or personal the subject. Blanchard provided insight into how he turned his life around, finding God during an especially dark period. Magnum reflected on the car accident in 1986 that prematurely ended his wrestling career at the height of his popularity. They even touched on the fact Magnum is married to Blanchard’s ex-wife and how they are family. It was ultimately two hours of stories, laughter and engaging interaction for the old school wrestling fans in attendance.

That was followed by the outspoken Cornette, who also delivered on entertainment with his own brand of colorful language. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson hosted the late night session which also featured special guest and legendary referee Tommy Young. The “Louisville Lip” has lost a significant amount of weight and looked great. It was classic Cornette.

He told stories including his historic run with the Midnight Express and his runs with various promoters, as well as anecdotes revolving around British Bulldog Davey Boy Smith and Owen Hart ribs, the Fantastics, a trip to Dairy Queen and the Dynamic Dudes. Each one had the audience in stitches.

He told the standing room only crowd and those watching on iPPV that the Fanfest would be his only wrestling related appearance of the year. Cornette, who retired from the business in November, says his current stint away from having some sort of exposure to pro wrestling (watching or working) was his longest in 42 years.

The Q&As began with an introduction by veteran and beloved announcer Bob Caudle. The rest of the weekend is jam-packed with autograph sessions, photo opportunities, karaoke, the Hall of Heroes awards ceremony dinner, two cards of wrestling and more.

Dr. Tom Prichard Legends Training Camp is also ongoing. Guest coaches Tully Blanchard, Les Thatcher, Jerry Brisco and Leilani Kai will help decide the candidate who receives the $2,500 Reid Fliehr Memorial Scholarship, a wrestling training opportunity named after Ric Flair’s son who died earlier this year.

• The Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest runs through Sunday, Aug. 4. Visit www.nwalegends.com for everything on the events.

• Look for live tweets in the coming days on my Twitter @smFISHMAN.

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