Saturday, March 28, 2020

Blackjack Mulligan Faces The Indian Strap (Part 4)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Before reading this,
catch up on PART ONE, PART TWOand PART THREE of this series.

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After Blackjack Mulligan shocked the fans in Richmond, Virginia by appearing on the July 12, 1975 airing of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show and challenging the great “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel to a Texas Death Match, Wahoo and even Mulligan’s buddy Ric Flair had plenty to say in the lead-up to this epic grudge battle!

Later in the July 12th show, Wahoo explained to announcer Les Thatcher and the Richmond fans, “Well you know, I had a strap match and beat the man and I thought I had him out of my hair for good…but the man has come back for more. Now, a Texas Death Match, that’s his kind of match. That’s a match where falls don’t count. There could be one fall, there could be 100 falls.”

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Yearbooks
McDaniel further elaborated, “It’s just the man that can answer after a ten count wins the match. Now, the man is six foot seven and 309 pounds…he’s tough; I think I’m tough. I’ve been in death matches, sure they’re bloody, they’re hard because it’s the man who has the most intestinal fortitude to get up off that mat, to keep fightin’ and to keep goin.’ It's the man standin’ at the end of the match and that’s what I intend to be…the man standin’ at the end of the match.”

Never at a loss for words, Blackjack’s friend Ric Flair, who was on the interview set for his Lumberjack match with Paul Jones on that same July 18, 1975 Richmond card, also weighed in on the Wahoo-Blackjack bout. Ric told Thatcher, “Ah baby, Mulligan just called me on the phone and you folks just saw him on the TV, Mulligan is MAD! McDaniel if I was you I would get down on my hands and knees and pray, pray that Mulligan gets shot out of the sky, that a train runs over him, that a car hits him, that anything happens to him before he gets to the Richmond Coliseum.”

The Nature Boy concluded his remarks and directed them straight to Wahoo, “You gotta know how bad he wants a piece of your body, to come all the way from Eagle Pass, Texas just to get a piece of you McDaniel! I shutter at the very thought of what he’s gonna do to you!”

On a warm and muggy Richmond evening on July 18th, around 10:00 p.m. within the confines of the Richmond Coliseum, still a sparkling new building in 1975, Blackjack Mulligan barreled to the ring with fire in his eyes as the great Indian Wahoo McDaniel awaited. All of the pent-up rage from Mulligan’s Indian Strap Match drubbing in May in the Richmond Arena drove the Cowboy to several near wins in his Texas Death Match as Wahoo was only able to answer referee Angelo Martinelli’s count a fraction of a second before he hit 10.

Frustration grew on Blackjack’s part as Wahoo would not succumb, and the Indian slowly took control as the near sellout crowd roared its approval. After the combination of McDaniel’s chops and suplexes over and over again took a brutal toll on Mulligan, the Cowboy stumbled and barely made it to his feet but a millisecond after Martinelli hit his count of 10.

The Richmond faithful were joyous, Wahoo appeared relieved, but Blackjack’s reaction to the result was the memorable one. Mulligan stood by himself in the middle of the ring, alternating between his head being bowed and then gazing at the top of the cavernous building as he shook his head in disbelief. It seemed to be double dejection for Blackjack…not only failing to get revenge against Wahoo, but it being his last scheduled match wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions. Mulligan faced Wahoo’s Indian Strap in the spring of 1975, and it ultimately led to his Mid-Atlantic demise in the summer of 1975. 

The dramatic and totally unexpected return of Blackjack Mulligan to the Mid-Atlantic area in October of 1975!