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[1979-01-05-JCP-Richmond, VA] Blackjack Mulligan vs Big John Studd

Matt D

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I'm not convinced on this date (clawmaster's stuff says this was in Richmond with the opposite result).


This is JIP after the introductions. We get a King of the Mountain control segment, a Mulligan comeback that goes to the outside, Studd taking back over after ref intervention with a cheapshot elbow, a heel control segment in the ring which culminates with a Studd bearhug,Mulligan doing what he does best by teasing the claw, that moment just being a quick second to free himself, and a cross body for the pin. Post match Studd gets his heat back with a beatdown and the prelim guys come out so he'll leave.


The crowd's amazing. There are two clear moments of comeback here, the first when Mulligan fights his way back into the ring (mainly by being stubborn and absorbing damage) and gets in a jab to Studd's stomach. The crowd comes unglued. You see this teenager in the background leap up and down, arms flailing. When Mulligan starts to get some revenge on Studd on the outside after this, the kids all run around to get a better view. The second is obviously the slow build to the claw (eyerake in this case) out of the bearhug and it's perfect, with Mulligan teasing it and teasing it and teasing it before holding his fist up in the air, stopping time and letting the crowd know that all of their cheering was about to pay off.


I am literally the only person in the world who finds Studd fascinating as a wrestler, but I do. When he's in there against another big man, I swear that he goes out of his way to work small to draw heat. You want to see him go toe to toe with his opponent but he delays that gratification by stalling (which I bet he did at the start of the match here, which we don't have) or by working a King of the Mountain section with very little contact. When he took back over after the ref intervened, it was with the world's tinest, sneakiest back elbow jab. After that he worked bigger, with the clubbering and choking, and he was there on the post match too, but he was excellent at being huge but making it feel like his opportunities were not earned, like he wasn't playing fair or acting like a giant should. That dissonance made the fans want to see him get his comeuppance and I think is very, very interesting.


Mulligan's act was so good and the fans bought it completely. I think a babyface could get the claw over today because it'd be so different. It's so easy to tease, so easy to cut off, so easy to build, so easy to pay off.


So this is ultimately nothing special, but it really does show how (and to a degree why) Mulligan was so over and is just another tiny piece in the (totally meaningless, I admit) case of Studd being more than he ever got credit for.

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