Ask any professional wrestling fan and they will tell you about the wrestler named Blackjack Mulligan. This legendary American professional wrestler was as mean as they come. He took his wrestling name from the card game, a move that is actually more common than you might think. Here’s a closer look at Blackjack Mulligan and how he came to be identified with our favorite gambling game.
About Blackjack Mulligan
Blackjack Mulligan was born Robert Deroy Windham in 1942. Windham was a talented athlete blessed with a large size. In his professional wrestling career, Blackjack was billed as 6’9” tall and weighing 300 pounds. This was likely a fabrication designed to convince wrestling fans that Mulligan was very strong. Nevertheless, he was still a large man who once competed with the likes of Andre the Giant.
Windham played football in college and achieved modest success. He was given tryouts with multiple NFL football teams, and even played a pre-season schedule with the New York Jets. The success that Windham had in college did not carry over to the pro level, and Windham soon decided to give professional wrestling a try.
When he entered the world of professional wrestling, the name Robert Windham was not suitable for the profession. Windham knew that he needed a name that would sound menacing to match his size. He chose to go with an outlaw cowboy gimmick. Windham donned black trunks, black boots, and a black hat. He called himself Blackjack Mulligan.
Throughout his entire wrestling career Blackjack Mulligan was known as a villain, or heel. He was most often placed in matches against “good guys” who were often smaller than he was. At one point in his career he became a tag team partner of Andre the Giant. The two wore masks and called themselves The Machines.
Blackjack Mulligan made his mark in professional wrestling by holding several championships. He also had three children who entered professional wrestling. Of these, Barry Windham became the most successful. Barry Windham eventually became a world champion, and also was a tag team partner of Ric Flair.
Blackjack Gets in Trouble With the Law
Blackjack Mulligan’s youngest son Kendall was arrested along with his father in the 1990s for the possession of counterfeit money. Law officials claimed that the two men were in possession of $500,000 in counterfeit $20 bills. Both were sentenced to 24 months in federal prison.
Upon his release, Blackjack Mulligan became a born-again Christian and participated in active ministry until the time of his death in 2016. He was given a burial with military honors due to his tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps.
Why Some People Choose Blackjack as a Name
Robert Windham wasn’t the only professional wrestler to choose the name Blackjack. There was also Blackjack Lanza. The two men would team together in the WWWF for many years under the name The Blackjacks.
Why do some individuals use the name Blackjack? Most just seem to think the name is cool. It is a name that evokes a sense of mischief and danger for some. For others, the name Blackjack conjures images of an outlaw gambler in the old west. For Blackjack Mulligan it was probably a combination of all of these things. Since this site is about blackjack, we even covered blackjack pizza. YES! they named it that.
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