Friday, May 19, 2017

Leaving No Doubt

Blackjack Mulligan Dispatches Enforcer Luciano

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Enforcer Luciano with Bob Caudle and David Crockett
One of Blackjack Mulligan’s most intriguing feuds in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling was against the notorious mafioso boss, Enforcer Luciano. While the Mulligan/Luciano program was quite short, lasting only about three months from May to August in 1980, it had its share of memorable moments. Who can forget Blackjack bringing in his cousin “Crazy Luke” to battle the Enforcer? And Luciano surprisingly dominating Mulligan in a series of the Enforcer’s specialty matches, the “Detroit Street Brawls.” But to me, the most lasting memory of this feud was its grand finale.

As the summer of 1980 neared its end in late September, Jim Crockett Promotions decided to take the extraordinary step of producing a TV highlight show to pay tribute to the wresting action during the “long hot summer” of 1980 as announcer David Crockett would couch it. And how could any highlight show of the summer of 1980 be complete without a segment focusing on the feud between Blackjack Mulligan and Enforcer Luciano?

Blackjack started off the segment with announcer Bob Caudle stating, “I understand they have a film here of Luciano. Everybody’s been asking me and hollering and screaming whatever happened to Luciano…he just kind of took a U-haul trailer and left town. We're gonna find out in just a second where Luciano is, and WHY he left town.” Caudle questioned, “This is the way you got rid of him Jack, really?” Blackjack affirmed, “That’s exactly right, Luciano didn't want too much. You know, Luciano considered himself a real bad boy.”

The film that was shared with the viewing audience of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show was a Texas Street Fight between Mulligan and Luciano. These Texas Street Fights occurred throughout the territory’s larger arenas in late July and early August, and emphatically ended the feud.

Mulligan continued his narration, “I notice I have my Texas Street Fighting clothes on here now, because that’s when you’re really gettin’ down to it. Luciano just took a right hook to the face right there because now we're to the point now…the referee’s knocked down. Hit the man so hard that I knocked the referee down too!”

Blackjack then elaborated further, “I got the boots on, got the spurs on and we are ready to go. I'm holding the right hand of his, he had something taped to it and just punishing him a little bit. There’s a chain, a chain came loose, the man had a chain taped to his arm there. Trying to use everything in the world. There it is right there, a piece of chain. Now, I’m gonna give him a little bit of his own medicine Bob Caudle. We're gonna see how he likes a little bit of that!”

Caudle interjected, “You must have Jack, because we haven't heard of him since this either.” Mulligan explained “You know, everybody thinks they're pretty tough wherever they come from…you know, Luciano never attacked west Texas before. There's a right hook to the jaw there. I'm sure the man had a busted jaw…he probably had to eat soup for three or four months! Because at this point now I don't think Luciano wants it, because you understand a Texas Street Fight is a very serious affair!"

Mulligan then explained why stating, “Because that is the way we settle things down in the state there if there is a difference over a woman or property or some money, or if somebody took somebody’s pickup truck illegally…this is the way we settle it because it definitely gets settled. Because a man goes out there and fights...see I'm prying his arm loose right there. I'm definitely trying to pry his arm loose from his shoulder is what I'm trying to do!”

Blackjack carries on with his entertaining blow by blow noting, “At this point I get it down there and put the old boot on it…let's see what happens right here. This is the way we settle things from down where I come from, and I’m puttin’ the heel of that boot on that hand and I'm sure the man the next morning probably had a rough time eating a hot dog with that hand because I'm sure there were some knuckles smashed. There goes another shirt, one of those Detroit specials…tore that off of him too!”

Mulligan then describes the final segment of the bout that concluded the Enforcer’s run in the Mid-Atlantic area saying, “Here we go, there goes the man into the ropes right here, and there goes a boot right to the jaw and I guarantee you if the man had got up from this; watch this, slipping it off…” Caudle then excitedly observed, “You took that boot off!” Blackjack cackled, “I know this is a little bit nasty and I know this is a little bit dirty, but this is the thing they call the coup de grace, right across the face!”

Mulligan then gave the fans some historical context to this demolition of Luciano, explaining, “This is the same thing that happened to ol’ Luther Daniels one night when he was messin’ around with the wrong person; shouldn't have been messin’ around. Brother, when you put the spurs on ‘em and you put the boots on ‘em, that’s when Slim Gabriel comes to town, and he's the high Sheriff when he comes down there.”

The viewing audience then learned that Blackjack was not finished, and that he wasn't leaving the Enforcer’s utter demise to any element of chance.   “Luciano is hurtin’ now, believe me. So when you want to finish a man off in west Texas drop that spur right across the top of his head and give him a good ol’ boot right between the eyes, put it between the goalposts, and he won't come back to town! And if he does you better watch out because you haven't put enough on him,” Mulligan exclaimed.

Blackjack concluded, “There's Luciano, he's down and out. At this point I’m gonna give him just a little bit more because he was such a loudmouth and such a smart aleck. Right in the face! I know that seems a little mean and nasty…there I go. You should never kick a man while he's down, but it depends on what kind of man he was. Luciano was an extra dirty filthy rat…he’s gonna get it one more time right smack in the puss! There he is, down one, two, three it's all over for Luciano and I don't think we ever saw him or that we’ll ever hear from him again.”

I saw the Richmond Coliseum version of this epic Texas Street Fight on August 1, 1980. To this day, when any team or individual suffers a major whuppin’ I will immediately harken back to Enforcer Luciano laying on his back, spread eagle, staring up at the Richmond Coliseum lights for at least five minutes courtesy of the big man from Eagle Pass, Texas…never to be heard from again.  Yes, Blackjack Mulligan left absolutely no doubt!