Monday, January 16, 2017

Blackjack Mulligan vs. Enforcer Luciano . . . in a FISH match??

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

One of the strangest feuds in the storied history of Jim Crockett Promotions featured the legendary Blackjack Mulligan against the whacky Enforcer Luciano in the summer of 1980. The Enforcer was only around the Mid-Atlantic area for about three months, but he managed to pull off several strange stunts on television in his short tenure including chewing up glass from a light bulb.

Enforcer Luciano with Bob Caudle and David Crockett
When Luciano came out during the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show taped on June 4, 1980, color commentator David Crockett noticed, “Looks like he’s got a bag, whatever it is.” The Enforcer told the fans, “Right now I have something; it’s a family tradition. And I’d like to call Blackjack Mulligan out here. I have something for him here.” An incredulous announcer Bob Caudle asked, “You mean you have a gift for him?” Luciano confirmed, “I have a gift for Mr. Mulligan.”

The Enforcer then called out Mulligan to come in front of the cameras to accept his gift. When Blackjack appeared from the back with “Cousin Luke” Mulligan, Luciano insisted that Luke not be part of this gift presentation. As Mulligan reluctantly escorted his cousin to the back, Luciano told the fans, “I want to explain something to these people. You see this hand? I did a job one night; I took a crowbar and I was breaking presses for some of the boys. There were ten presses, and I broke nine of those presses.”

Enforcer Luciano
Mulligan then reappeared on the set, and Luciano barked, “Just get out of the way; I’m talking.” The Enforcer then continued, “I broke nine of those presses. And the boys came in and they caught me, and there was one press left. Well, they put this hand in that press and they CRUSHED it…AND THE PAIN WAS PLEASURE! They put the hand together with steel pins. This hand is STRONGER than any human hand!”

As everyone on the TV set looked on in disbelief at Luciano, the Enforcer said, “Now Mr. Mulligan, I have something for you. This is a family tradition.” Mulligan countered, “What is it, a bomb or something in there?” Luciano retorted, “Just take it and open it up and take a look.” Mulligan said, “For me?” Luciano answered, “It’s for you; just take a look. This is for Mr. Mulligan. Mr. Mulligan can appreciate this I’m sure!”

Bob Caudle then asked, “What is it Blackjack?! As Mulligan began to open the bag he said, “I think it’s a bouquet of flowers.” As the gift was revealed an astonished Caudle commented, “Oh goodness gracious alive it’s not; it’s a FISH!” A beaming Enforcer Luciano then chimed in, “Come on take it out of that thing! Take it out of that thing!” A dismayed Crockett bellowed, “What?? A FISH??” After getting a good whiff of it, Caudle confirmed, “And it’s a REAL fish!”

A maniacal Luciano then yelled out, “DO YOU KNOW THE TRADITION? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THIS MEANS MR. MULLIGAN? DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS??” A completely dumbfounded Blackjack Mulligan responded, “Down where I come from it means you’ve been cat fishing or fishing on a trout line or something.” Luciano became even more overbearing, shouting, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS MR. MULLIGAN, HUH? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA?” And at that point Luciano slapped Blackjack across the face, and scurried backstage.

Trying to regain his composure, an infuriated Mulligan exclaimed,

“YOU WON’T GET AWAY WITH THIS YOU WEASLEY RAT! Let me tell you something Bob Caudle, I don’t know what this means. Where I come from it means you’ve got a big meal. But nobody slaps me and gets away with it. I’ll tell you something Luciano, you yellow rat, if it’s a match you want… you want a Fish Match? I don’t care what you want! But now you’ve got my wrath! I’m gonna wrestle you in any kind of match, any place, anywhere…it makes me no difference! You name the rules brother, and I think I’ll take this and cook it up tonight.”

As Blackjack went off camera, Crockett exclaimed, “Please do!” And Caudle followed up, “Take it somewhere! David, it’s a real fish!” Crockett laughed, “Yes it is, and it’s ripe too!” Caudle countered, “It’s been around a while David; around out of the water! I don’t know what it means.” Crockett concurred, “I don’t know the meaning of the fish either, but I’ll try to find out for you. If he wanted to make Mulligan mad, and if that’s what the fish was for, he did it.”

While there was no follow up that I recall about the fish (I guess we were supposed to understand the reference to the Godfather movies), this TV incident did spark and lead to a number of specialty bouts between Mulligan and the Enforcer, including Detroit Street Brawls, Texas Street Fights and Russian Chain matches. However, the one match that Mulligan mentioned that didn’t happen between these two was a Fish Match! And considering the wackiness that followed Enforcer Luciano everywhere, it really is surprising a Fish Match wasn’t served up on the plate of some Mid-Atlantic arena sometime, somewhere during the summer of 1980!

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For more on the whacky character Enforcer Luciano, see these other posts on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway:

Almanac - May 1980 - Enforcer Luciano comes to the Mid-Atlantic area

Hot August Night  Enforcer Luciano's swan-song in the Mid-Atlantic area on a big card in Richmond. (Includes audio of the Enforcer!)

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