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The BlackJacks were a professional wrestling tag team. They were two rough and tough Texans who could back up their intimidating look with relentless offense and rule-breaking.
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Blackjack Mulligan and Jack Lanza formed the famed BlackJacks tag team in the 1970s, and they were a main attraction wherever they went. Along with their manager, Bobby Heenan, the BlackJacks would win the WWA Tag Team Championship; two tag-team championships in WCCW and the World Tag Team Championship in 1975.
BlackJack Mulligan was a brutish 6-foot-9, 340-pound native of Sweetwater. And he’s one of the most accomplished wrestlers ever to come out of the state of Texas. He’s also one of the biggest and most-powerful. In addition to many regional championships, Mulligan was NWA World Tag Team Champion (with Ric Flair), NWA United States Heavyweight Champion and NWA World Heavyweight champion, defeating WWE Hall of Famer Bobo Brazil. Mulligan also had many memorable battles with WWE Hall of Famer Andre the Giant, as well as matches with Pedro Morales and Bruno Sammartino.
Before becoming a professional wrestler, Mulligan was a star football player at West Texas State University. But he would trade in his cleats for a pair of wrestling boots and train under fellow 2006 WWE Hall of Fame inductee Verne Gagne. Mulligan (Robert Windham) is the father of Barry and Kendall Windham.
Mulligan had a highly successful singles career, but after adopting a black hat and black glove it seemed he was destined to join forces with Jack Lanza.
Lanza, with his devastating Iron Claw, was mean and sadistic in the ring. The AWA superstar was once referred to as “the embodiment of evil.”
This Laredo, Texas, native made his debut in 1962 and achieved early success under the tutelage of Bobby Heenan. With Heenan at his side, Lanza & Bobby Duncum won the AWA World Tag Team Championship from Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher. Lanza also had memorable battles with WWE Hall of Famer “Big Cat” Ernie Ladd, among many others. At the 2004 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, Lanza paid tribute to the crucial role of Heenan in his career by inducting “The Brain” into the Hall.
More than a decade after the BlackJacks dominated, Mulligan’s son, Barry Windham, and Lanza’s nephew, Bradshaw, would form the new BlackJacks, paying homage to the legendary figures who came before them.