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Joe Blanchard (1928-2012)

Real NameJoseph Blanchard
Lifespan - 12/7/1928 - 3/22/2012
6’2” 235 lbs. - San Antonio, TX

Athletic BackgroundFootball (CFL), Wrestling (Kansas State - 1950 Big 7 Champion)

Teacher(s) - Stu Hart

Professional BackgroundEdmonton(`52), Texas(`54), Los Angeles(`55), San Francisco(`56), Hawaii(`56-`57), Buffalo, Hawaii(`58-`59), Indianapolis(`59-), Texas(`63-`85)

Aliases - none

Peak Years`59-`66

Place in HistoryJoe Blanchard wore many hats during his four decades in the pro-wrestling business.  He was a pro-wrestler for the majority of those years, rarely a main eventer, but rather a middle-of-the-card, straight-laced babyface.  He was an announcer from the time he started for Jim Barnett in Indianapolis in the fifties and was a fixture with his own promotion in San Antonio in the seventies and eighties.  He was a favorite troubleshooting referee and even worked a famous swerve in the role.  He helped break in numerous talents over the years from Wahoo McDaniel and Curtis Iaukea to Blackjack Mulligan and his own son Tully.  He was a booker, learning under Roy Shire, and being a key person behind the scenes in several hot periods in Texas.  Most notably though, Joe Blanchard was the promoter out of San Antonio for twenty years.  Fritz Von Erich, the promoter in Dallas, helped strongarm Blanchard into San Antonio and along with Paul Boesch out Houston the three men turned Eastern Texas into one of the most lucrative of the era as a cooperative weekly circuit.  Over time the relationships declined and by the late 1970s, it was fragmented for good.  Blanchard knew his demographics and was regularly imported stars from Mexico and Los Angeles and secured a tremendous roster.  Southwest Championship Wrestling was, for a few years, a red hot territory, but declined rapidly.  Blanchard secured a spot of the USA Network and had aspirations of going outside his home market with his blood and guts wrestling, but the promotion was struggling with money and talent.  In 1985, Blanchard sold the company to Fred Behrend and largely moved on.  He appeared for the AWA as a figurehead president, ran WCW’s ring crew for a time, but largely focused on his ministries.  Southwest as an independent entity really had a short peak, but it has been romanticized by those who worked there and people like Shawn Michaels who grew up watching it.  Curiously, his amateur career has been overlooked, which included defeating Mike Dibiase for a Big 7 Championship in 1950 and being fourth in the nation when Dick Hutton was a dominant national wrestler.  Blanchard, while an impressive amateur wrestler, was a bigger football star and went on to play pro ball in Edmonton and went to the Grey Cup alongside future stars Gene Kiniski and Wilbur Snyder.  Joe Blanchard filled so many different roles over the years and was very good at most of them.  He was the type of self-styled success story that gave him credibility and likeability with the fans and his colleagues.