Our special thanks to the one and only Blackjack Mulligan for the time he has given to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.


Chappell: How did these real estate ventures become such a problem for you?


Mulligan: (President) Reagan changed the real estate laws on investment properties…they became so they weren’t tax deductible. I got caught holding about 35 million dollars worth of property that you couldn’t deduct anymore.


Chappell: Wow.


Mulligan: Reagan did that tax change and…OH BOY---HERE WE GO! Me and these four idiots I was in with, who I won’t mention…golly man, we can do this with no problem! Yeah…WRONG! Wrong decision! (laughs)


(pauses) So, I wound up in some trouble. You know…I wound up in federal prison for two years. I’ll address it just like it is…I’m very candid.


Chappell: Wasn’t your son Kendall also involved in this?


Mulligan: I even took my son [to prison] with me…and that was a shame. That was a total disgrace to a great career of mine, it was a slap in the face to my fans, and it was a slap in the face to my parents…that I, with all the great things that happened to me over the years, had to resort to what I did.


Chappell: As many of us who follow sports know, a number of great athletes find it difficult to adjust to retirement, and facing a much different life in the ‘real world.’ It sounds like you may have had those same type issues coming out of wrestling?


Mulligan: When you try and make this transition from this big business of wrestling…to citizen---there’s a psychological barrier there that most guys don’t make.


(pauses) It’s hard to explain…because one day you’re on top, and the next day you’re in the trash can. And, I’m going through it right now with a few guys...I won’t mention their names. But I’m here to help them…because I’ve experienced it---they don’t have to fall to the depths that I did.


And, David , I’d just like to straighten up something right now.


Chappell: Yes…


Mulligan: Now…you’re an attorney, and you know how things go down. I get rapped a lot, saying how I did this and that, and how I rolled over on this guy.


Chappell: You’re referring to your federal case?


Mulligan: Right. Now, first of all, there were sixteen people involved in this indictment. I got two years (in prison). Kendall got 27 months. Everybody else got six months. The guy that rats doesn’t get more time than everybody else…


Chappell: True…that person typically gets a lesser sentence for his ‘cooperation.’


Mulligan: Exactly…that’s backwards. There was nothing said about anybody else, and it’s a knock on me. But, it’s really the only shot you can throw at me…and that’s fine. It’s part of me…I can’t deny it. 


Of all the great things I did, there was a little part of my life where I did some really stupid things. About ’83 I get into real estate in Florida, and the wild and crazy things come out of that.


I rib about it now…I tell people now, ‘I came down on vacation and ended up on probation! I wanted to come down and become a tycoon, and became a typhoon! That’s me!’ (laughs)


Chappell: (laughing) Well, I think it speaks volumes about you as a person that you look at a difficult time like that with some humor now.


What was your time like in prison?


Mulligan: I was never really in a prison like most people probably think of. I was in a camp…but that’s not to say that being in there was easy at all. But, it was a good mental thing for me.


I came out of there, and I slowly got my stuff together. And at first I’m doing shows…I’m relegated to kind of like the old Indian selling cigars for about a year. Out on the street, there, beating the tom-toms. It used to embarrass me so much.


Chappell: With your attitude, you’ve obviously risen above that stage in your life now.


Mulligan: Oh…very much so. Nobody would let me forget what happened…they tortured me after that. But, maybe I deserved it. After a little while, I went to WCW.


Eric Bischoff was there. They wanted me so bad…I did one night on TV. There was so much jealousy. The only way they could ever take me out, David , was to say, ‘I don’t think he’s the type of guy we want on TV talking to our children.’


Chappell: A not so subtle reference to your just completed legal issues…


Mulligan: Of course. So…that’s the way they finally finished me up. But that’s okay…that’s cool, because I’d made the transition from wrestling to citizen.


I stayed (at WCW) a few years. They put me down in their training center over there, but that wasn’t for me.


Chappell: You were a TV guy.


Mulligan: My forte was TV….so that was really my last stop in the wrestling business.


Chappell: When you were really out of the wrestling business for good, did you still keep up with any of the boys?


Mulligan: To some degree, yes. And I’ll tell you, one of the most difficult things for me was with Wahoo McDaniel at the end of his life.


Chappell: I know he was very sick with, I believe, diabetes?


Mulligan: Well, in the later years, it made me so sad that Wahoo would sit at those flea markets. You know…beating that tom-tom. I just couldn’t handle that, you know?


I respected him so much…as a great football player and as the great athlete he was…


Chappell: So you remained close to him through the years?


Mulligan: I was in touch with him up to the last days of his life…


Chappell: Oh, really?


Mulligan: Yeah. (pauses) I, I couldn’t help him…I couldn’t reach him. I couldn’t reach out to help him…because he had that diabetes and that kidney failure---and he just wouldn’t do what I said.


I tried to get him to come down here. I tried to save him. It was a horrible experience for me. I lost touch with him for about three weeks…and he died on me…


Chappell: Oh no…


Mulligan: His daughter called me from Odessa. Wahoo had wanted his ashes spread over the Brazos River, and they couldn’t do it. I was pretty sick at the time, I was having some health problems then, so I couldn’t go down---and I wound up not doing the funeral thing.


Chappell: That must have been a tough, tough time for you.


Mulligan: Yes…it was very, very difficult.


Chappell: Wahoo was a true legend. And as you know, there was recently a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Convention and Fanfest in Charlotte…


Mulligan: I saw the pictures on your site…they looked great.


Chappell: We as fans missed you there. I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on these types of ‘reunions.’


Mulligan: David , I’ll explain some things about these legends things. This may sound really, really weird. But I’ve had such a blessed career, and I’m at such a position in my life and a steady place now…legends to me are Jesus and Mother Theresa.


If anybody tries to give me praise and accolades now…I just don’t handle it well. That’s because I just don’t feel that I did anything extra special for anybody. It may sound weird, but I don’t. I guess my thought is…focus on people who really made a difference in this world. There were a lot of people that did…Martin Luther King…there were a lot of people that did! (laughs)


Chappell: I certainly respect your opinion Blackjack. But, I think you and your colleagues from the Mid-Atlantic days touched a lot of us more than any you could ever imagine. And the size of that crowd in Charlotte at the reunion…sometimes seeing is believing!


Mulligan: The fans have been great to me. If sometimes I seem almost untouchable…it’s not because I’m not appreciative. Maybe ‘shy’ is the word I’m looking for. Maybe I don’t realize what I did back then…


Chappell: I’ve come to believe that many of the guys you ran with back then share those very same feelings.


Mulligan: Please don’t ever think that it’s ego or pride…or anything else like that with me. I guess I’m a hard legend’s guy, you know…I don’t believe that what I did was all that big to do, guys! But I do appreciate others thinking that it was! (laughs)


Chappell: Well, I don’t think you would be talking to me at this length if you weren’t appreciative of all your fans out there! (laughs)


Mulligan: I look at your site, and I see that, and it’s just phenomenal. And talking with you…I mean, this could go on into multi hours!


Those years were such a party to me. I’m one of the few guys that got to go through life and play professional football, and also got to wrestle. I loved it, and the fans were great!


Chappell: Tell us how the fans entered into your mind as you worked a match.


Mulligan: We were taught in the old school ways. Dory Funk, Sr., Joe Blanchard and Verne Gagne…these guys drilled it into your head that you had better give a performance. They actually had that as part of their schools, their training process.


The fans paid $3.50-$4.00 to get those wrestling tickets, and they brought their families. And that was a lot of money back then. So we were taught that you better entertain the people, or they won’t stay with you. That was the tact that we took.


Chappell: You, and almost everybody back in that time…


Mulligan: Ric Flair took that tact. We tried to entertain people, whether it was making them happy or making them sad…or whatever. But when that guy left the building, he had bought his popcorn and watched some great wrestling and said, ‘WOW, MAN, THAT WAS AWESOME!’


Chappell: That’s so true, because you all put on a great show…it didn’t matter if you were in a big Coliseum or in a little high school gym. The same effort was put forth for both.


Do you watch any of the current wrestling product?



Mulligan: Hardly ever see it. Barry will come through every now and then and flip it over to wrestling. I’ll check it and watch a few things…but not much.


Chappell: Do you see territorial wrestling ever coming back?


Mulligan: What has to happen, is that Vince McMahon has to go away. But it’s really ready now, for regional things to return. But Vince won’t let it. And you’re not going to find anybody with a couple of million dollars to come in…because they’ll lose it at the beginning.


You know, the minute you get a TV station…Vince comes in and buys you out. He takes it right out from underneath you. What’s a TV station manager going to do….take the little show you’re trying to do, or take Vince McMahon?


Chappell: So, when Vince McMahon is no longer in the picture, you see a return of the wrestling territories?


Mulligan: You’ll probably live to see it, David , but I won’t. But it will happen again. Eventually it will happen, because people are ready for it. But with Vince’s Barbarian-Mongol attitude…I mean, San Jose, California, he’d fly a leer jet to California just to take over a TV station. But that’s Vinny…he’s done it his way---and he’s worth a lot of money!


Chappell: If you had to sum up your years wrestling in the old Mid-Atlantic territory, how would you describe that time period in your life?


Mulligan: David , what we did, we caught a magic moment in time. There was never another one like it. I mean, after I left Mid-Atlantic, I toured the world as I’ve said. I went to work for the Sheik, and then I went to Arabia and made top dollar. I went to Germany. I wrestled the wildest man in wrestling…that stupid Dutchman Jan Wilkens from South Africa---I made a fortune over there with that guy.


But I never again captured the magic that we had there in Mid-Atlantic with George Scott. Everything just fell into place…it was just a magical moment in time.


Chappell: Could it…can it…ever be repeated?


Mulligan: It’s history. You’ll never get another type mix of George Scott, Jack Mulligan, Mosca, John Studd, Timmy Woods, Johnny Weaver…and all the rest that were in Charlotte then.


Chappell: Any particularly favorite places or towns in the Mid-Atlantic area for you?


Mulligan: Wow, there were so many. Richmond…one of my favorite all time towns. Norfolk…I loved Norfolk. I loved Virginia. Actually, I thought about buying property up there around Culpeper one time…I loved that area. But at the time, I didn’t really know what I was going to do, or understand where I was going…so that didn’t work out. But I loved that country up there.


I loved the Carolinas. If I have any regrets at all in my life…it would be the decision I made when Dusty got the job up there in ’84. I had a ticket to ride, on the kids, you know. I should have taken the ticket to ride, and didn’t. Because Dusty and I had all those goofy matches, and we could have had the kids do all the hard work…and Dusty and I would take all the glory! (laughs hard)


Chappell: As fans, I think we all wish that would have happened!


Mulligan: It was just a mistake, and it didn’t happen. I could have had another five year run, and there’d be another chapter of Blackjack Mulligan in Carolina we’d be talking about now.


Chappell: You’re making tears come to my eyes now, Blackjack!


Mulligan: (laughing)


Chappell: Tell us what Blackjack Mulligan is up to these days?


Mulligan: Man, Blackjack Mulligan is fine. I wound up in the car business. I’ve got this silly little car business…I’m making as much money as I was when I was wrestling. (laughs)


Chappell: How did you end up in the car business? You sell cars, right?


Mulligan: Yeah…I’m selling cars. After I had hit bottom, people starting calling me giving me $1,500-$2,000 to show up on their car lot, their car dealership. You know, they wanted Blackjack Mulligan there…and I just did promos, like my old wrestling promos.


I started making some money, and people started showing up! Crowds…hordes of people. I mean, I’d go to these little places and there would be hundreds of people standing there. A guy that ran one of them who was a wrestling fan said, ‘My God, what do we have here? I knew you could sell cars!’


Chappell: (laughing) You COULD always cut a great promo! You just broadened the subject matter!


Mulligan: That same guy said, ‘You need to open a car lot. Buddy, we’re doing $30,000 an hour while you’re here.’ I said, ‘I’ll ask for a raise then!’ (everybody laughs)


So…I just kept on talking. We would do live radio from the dealerships…and we’d cross over to the rock stations from the country stations. It was great.


Chappell: And you eventually took that guy’s advice, and went into the car business for yourself?


Mulligan: Yes…I just have a small dealership that me and my wife run. It’s phenomenal. It’s nothing big…it’s a corner lot. We work at our own speed, but we do real well.


I actually have taken retirement already from the government…my wife really runs the lot.


Chappell: How is your health now? You mentioned having some health issues around the time of Wahoo’s passing.


Mulligan: I’m doing good. I have a few little health issues, now. I was an avid diver. From the age of 50 to 55, I set the world record on dives…how many dives a guy can do. (laughs)


I was the oldest guy to pass the Dive Master test, that’s PADI and NAUI…


Chappell: That’s really something!


Mulligan: Yeah! But I had a little problem one day. Went down in there, and had a little breath taken away. Went to my Doctor and he said, ‘Uh oh…we got a little problem here.’ So, he asked me not to dive anymore, you know. So…I quit doing that goofy thing.


Chappell: How old are you now?



Mulligan: I’m 63 now. So the Doctor has kind of settled me down a little bit. He said, ‘We’re going to keep you here a long time.’


Chappell: Well, I guess none of us have a problem with that! (laughs)


Mulligan: He said, ‘Let’s don’t be doing anymore cave diving, okay?’


Chappell: Did you dive any when you were younger?


Mulligan: Yeah, yeah…I did it many years ago when I was in the Marines. I was in Guam with the Marines, and used to dive there. And then I got back into it pretty recently. For four or five years there, I was always two hundred feet underground…diving into every cesspool in the world!   (everybody laughs)


Chappell: Where are you living now, Blackjack?


Mulligan: I’m right here in Central Florida…right in between Tampa and Orlando. I did a little thing a while back with ol’ Eddie Mansfield at Universal Studios…Universal Studios thought they wanted to be in wrestling…until they found out what it was all about!


Chappell: (laughing)


Mulligan: But I bought this property in Florida, and gosh, I’ve been here about ten years. I’ll probably never leave here. I’ve sold all my properties in Texas.


Chappell: As we conclude Blackjack, any final thoughts on your wrestling career…or your life in general?


Mulligan: Life has really been super to me, David . I’ve had such a blessed life. God blessed me…I mean, I was a little kind from a west Texas town…and got every dream that he ever wanted. I mean…it’s amazing. Even my life today…there are some super highs and some lows---but even to this day, I’m very blessed.


Chappell: Anybody that ever watched Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, was blessed to see you perform and entertain. You brought so much joy to so many fans!


Mulligan: I want to tell all the fans, ‘Thank you.’ And man, you and Dick Bourne …you guys are doing just an awesome job down there. I appreciate everything you all are doing for wrestling. God bless you guys.


Chappell: Words like that make our efforts on the site all seem worthwhile! Thank you for those kind words, and thank you for all the time you’ve spent with the Gateway tonight.


Mulligan: Anytime I can do something for you…call me. Thank you, buddy.