Wednesday, February 01, 2023

Blackjack Mulligan-John Studd: It's On!

By David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that aired in most markets on Saturday October 28, 1978 showcased the first extended interview with a giant newcomer to Jim Crockett Promotions, by the name of “Big” John Studd. As Studd ambled out to the set, announcer Bob Caudle told the fans, “He’s only been in the Mid-Atlantic area just a few weeks now, and he's already creating quite a bit of controversy, quite a bit of talk, stir and activity…John Studd.”

Blackjack Mulligan tests John Studd

The massive newcomer responded, “That’s right, BIG John Studd, let’s get it straight, it’s BIG John Studd. Not just any John Studd, but BIG John Studd! Now I’m out here for a few minutes and I’m going to be very congenial, anything you want to know, ask me!” 

Before Caudle could respond, Studd preemptively cut him off shouting, “And I’ll tell you this, I’m six feet nine inches and I weigh 330 pounds and when John Studd comes to town, everybody leaves town! I came out here and I had a list, I called it my Studd List. The List was about two feet long, but all of a sudden the promoters are getting phone calls from everybody right and left saying ‘my knee hurts, my ankle hurts, my thigh hurts.’ What’s wrong? They’re all cowards!”

At that juncture, Studd turned his attention to none other than equally big Blackjack Mulligan, who was standing in the WRAL TV5 studio ring ready to be introduced for his upcoming televised match. Studd bellowed, “Mulligan! Stay up there unless you want to get slapped!” After some yapping back and forth between the two behemoths Studd then continued, “On my Studd List I have Number 1 on the list, Paul Jones! Paul Jones, you’re not number one because you’re a great wrestler, you’re number one because you’re at the head of the list! Now we have your partner Ricky Steamboat.”

Once again, Big John and Mulligan were trading heated barbs prompting John to exclaim, “Mulligan, you just get back in the corner where you belong! Get than man in a cage!” Studd rambled on referencing the horrific  Flair/Steamboat TV incident from the week before where Ric injured Steamboat’s face and eye saying, “Ricky Steamboat, the man has never tasted defeat, but he knows pain because my man Ric Flair came out here and rubbed his face in the dirt! He knows pain, and he’s gonna taste defeat!”

Studd then once again turned his attention to Mulligan, “Now we have Blackjack Mulligan, six foot two and 210 pounds!” Bob Caudle audibly gasped when Studd uttered those bogus measurements, but Studd concluded, “Ric Flair sent for me, he said ‘Studd, I want you to do me a favor, I have $10,000 and all you have to do is get rid of Mulligan.’ Ric, I’m gonna take your 10-grand and Mulligan’s going out of town!”

The John Studd and Blackjack Mulligan saga would last for a year and a half around the Mid-Atlantic area, and the brutal matches between these two giants would be among the most memorable in Jim Crockett Promotion’s history. And to think, it all started with this first in-person confrontation when the first crossed words were passed between the two giants!