Blackjack Mulligan was one of the best storytellers in the wrestling business.
And while it has been years since heâ<80><99>s been around to regale fans with his entertaining tales, his new book, â<80><9c>True Lies and Alibis,â<80> brings back some of that down-home storytelling Mulligan was famous for.
The book, written by Mulligan with co-author Steve Buchanan, is mostly Blackjackâ<80><99>s life story told by the man himself. The book is far from fancy and thereâ<80><99>s little editing, but in Mulliganâ<80><99>s case, that might be for the best since it doesnâ<80><99>t camouflage his unique, politically incorrect style.
â<80><9c>I love Jesus, whiskey and beautiful women. I hope I have that in the right order. Without a doubt, Iâ<80><99>m a living contradiction,â<80> Mulligan proudly proclaims in the autobiography.
Ask any longtime Mid-Atlantic wrestling fan to name four or five of his most memorable performers, and chances are Blackjack Mulligan will be at the top of the list. Mulliganâ<80><99>s success wasnâ<80><99>t just limited to the Carolinas-Virginia territory. He was a main-eventer everywhere he went, and he left lasting impressions throughout the country.
Mulligan traveled the roads with some of the greatest characters in the wrestling business. The pride of Sweetwater, Texas, was, indeed, one of pro wrestlingâ<80><99>s true originals.
Not only was Mulligan, also known as Bobby Jack Windham, a larger-than-life character in the wrestling business, he also was one of the largest men in the business in stature as well. At six-foot-seven and well over 300 pounds, Mulligan cast an imposing shadow and went head-to-head with other giants of the day, such as Andre The Giant, Big John Studd and The Super Destroyer (Don Jardine).
Quite naturally there are many humorous stories throughout the 264-page book, and some of them involve â<80><9c>Nature Boyâ<80> Ric Flair, Mulliganâ<80><99>s running buddy during the late â<80>~70s.
â<80><9c>We were neighbors, good friends and running mates,â<80> Mulligan writes. The two first crossed paths 35 years ago at the Headlock Ranch (then owned by Mulligan and Dusty Rhodes) in Austin, Texas, where a green Flair accompanied a crew that included Dick Murdoch, Bobby Duncum and Ray â<80><9c>The Cripplerâ<80> Stevens.
Mulligan recalls that Flair, who sported a brown crewcut at the time, resembled Curly of The Three Stooges.
â<80><9c>Ray Stevens ribbed Ric, the new boy, into taking down a full-grown cow, about 1,200 pounds, and the fight was on. Itâ<80><99>s a wonder Ric is alive today,â<80> Mulligan jokes. â<80><9c>Ric weighed about 300 pounds then and was big as a house. He loved wrestling and so did I. He was very enthusiastic and was a hard worker, even back then. I can say in all honesty heâ<80><99>s the biggest star of all time.â<80>
Mulligan, a WWE Hall of Famer, makes the case that Flair was the greatest despite not having the advantage of exposure in the larger Northeastern wrestling market.
â<80><9c>The New York boys are the ones who never went anywhere else and proved themselves. So, by my standings, they are not in the top 10 of all time,â<80> claims Mulligan. â<80><9c>If you canâ<80><99>t draw with Vinceâ<80><99>s massive push and all that TV exposure, you are lost. Why even a chimpanzee could get over if Vince pushed it the right way. Well, not every chimp, as some didnâ<80><99>t make it.â<80>
Flair, he argues, was the exception to the rule that many stars couldnâ<80><99>t draw outside of the big-market territory.
â<80><9c>He could draw anywhere.â<80>
Mulligan, privately or publicly, is at his best telling stories of his days on the road with the Nature Boy. Some of those stories he gladly shares in his book. And others?
â<80><9c>Well, Iâ<80><99>ll be leaving Godâ<80><99>s green earth with them stories,â<80> writes Mulligan. â<80><9c>Iâ<80><99>m a married man, and I want to stay that way.â<80>
Blackjack travels through the book in a meandering style, thoughts flowing like the copious amounts of adult beverages he consumed during his working days, and might have benefited from a steadying and more organizational hand. But the stories are there, in his own words, so you just have to pretend youâ<80><99>re sitting around a campfire with Mully spinning the yarns.
Co-author Buchanan deserves credit for putting the book together for one of his childhood heroes.
â<80>I never thought Iâ<80><99>d ever meet, but much get to know and become a friend of, Blackjack Mulligan,â<80> Buchanan writes in the book. â<80><9c>Working on his life story entailed many, many late nights of writing and sending each other e-mails, not to mention all the phone calls to get the story just right. I idolized Blackjack Mulligan, but I admire and respect Jack Windham a great deal more.â<80>
Itâ<80><99>s clear that Buchanan had as much fun putting Mulliganâ<80><99>s words to paper as Mulligan had traveling down memory lane, remembering when pro wrestling was from the heart, and when cutting promos reflected your character, not words scripted by a Hollywood-style creative team member.
Blackjack Mulligan remains one of the very few stars of yesteryear that have failed to get on the wrestling nostalgia circuit bandwagon. Heâ<80><99>s also one of the most sought after, especially in the Mid-Atlantic area, which is host to the yearly Fanfest convention that draws thousands of fans from across the country and as far away as Japan and Australia.
Blackjack has suffered his share of health issues over the years, but hereâ<80><99>s hoping that this book adds yet another chapter to the life of one of the sportâ<80><99>s most beloved characters.
The book is available at www.blackjackmulligan.net.>
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