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WWE HALL OF FAMER BLACKJACK MULLIGAN HOSPITALIZED

By Mike Johnson on 2016-02-01 18:30:49
WWE Hall of Famer Robert "Blackjack Mulligan" Windham, 73, announced on Facebook that he has been hospitalized in Florida, where he lives. Mulligan suffered a heart attack last year (which he downplayed publicly) and has been in ill-health for years, which he has attributed to suffering from the ill effects of The Bends from a diving incident.

In checking on Mulligan's condition, PWInsider.com learned that it is serious enough that his grandsons, Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas as well as their father, WWE Producer Mike "IRS" Rotunda have left today's Raw taping. Dallas and Wyatt will not be appearing on tonight's broadcast live, although it's possible material involving one or both was pre-taped.

Mulligan broke into the business in the late 1960s after being trained by Verne Gagne. With great brawling skills and an incredible gift for storytelling via interviews, Mulligan became a huge star in the AWA, Florida, Mid-Atlantic and many other areas, including the WWWF. As a top villain in the WWWF, he challenged then-champion Pedro Morales and received such incredible heat that he was once stabbed on the way to a ring by a fan in the old Boston Garden, requiring hundreds of stitches. Even worse, it turned out the fan was a butcher and stabbed Mulligan with a dirty knife, causing a really bad infection after he had been stitched up that required additional medical attention.

Mulligan also had a run in the late 1980s WWF as himself and under a mask as "The Big Machine", teaming with Andre the Giant, who was under a mask as "The Giant Machine", a persona created when Andre was "suspended." He appeared at the very first WCW Slamboree PPV in 1993, wrestling in a Legends six man tag team bout. Mulligan and his long-time partner Blackjack Lanza were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by their long-time manager Bobby Heenan.

Mulligan, who also had his hands in a number of territories as an owner and booker, released a self-published autobiography in 2008. Mulligan made very rare public appearances in recent years due to his health issues but there are many stories of Mulligan greeting fans who knocked on his door, inviting them into his home and giving them free copies of his book after spending time with them telling old stories from his career.

Mulligan's sons, Barry and Kendall, each broke into the wrestling business and at one point, Barry was one of the best in-ring performers in the world. The Windham family wrestling legacy continues today with Mulligan's grandsons, who perform as Bo Dallas and Bray Wyatt in WWE.

On behalf of everyone associated with PWInsider.com, we'd like to wish Blackjack Mulligan and the entire Windham family nothing but the best.

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