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 - David Stone

Of all of the bright-eyed, smiling youngsters in the eighties who looked more like high school basketball players than pro-wrestlers, Barry Windham always had a little something extra. Perhaps it was because he learned his lessons from one of the toughest brawlers in wrestling history, his father, Blackjack Mulligan. Not only did his agile body allow him to compete on the lightning-fast pace of other high-flyers, but he was never shy to let his fists get his point across either.

Early on in his career, the terms of his relationship with his father swung from good to bad and back again, and he changed his ring name accordingly. Hence, some fans' earliest memories of Windham involve him wrestling as "Blackjack Mulligan Junior." For the record, he didn't invent the "Barry Windham" name. On the contrary, Barry's father's name was Bob Windham.

A large portion of Windham's career was spent in the sunny land of Florida. It was here that Dusty Rhodes, Ron Bass, and his father were the primary favorites. Still, Barry's exciting ring style would have gotten him fame in Florida even without being in a popular crowd. He put away the grizzled Maso Saito to win the Florida TV Title in 1980, and swapped the belt with the likes of Bugsy McGraw and Super Destroyer before losing it finally to Baron Von Raschke. Also, the Florida Tag Team Titles found their way to Windham on two occasions, thanks to partners Scott McGhee and Mike Graham.  

Barry Windham captured the Florida Heavyweight Title in 1981, by beating Dory Funk Jr, former NWA World Champion. To defeat a legend like Funk in his prime was quite a coup for a young man like Windham. Unfortunately, a car accident put Barry on the shelf in 1981, and he had to relinquish the title. Still, Windham's youth allowed for a quick recovery, and bigger things lied ahead. The prestigious Southern Heavyweight Title belonged to Barry Windham later that same year.   

In 1982, Barry's championship goals were often marred by the most evil force in the entire wrestling universe (well, in Florida anyway), Kevin Sullivan. The two met in a match for Dusty Rhodes' Southern Title. Sullivan's apprentice, the equally-evil Jake Roberts cost Windham the match and the title. However, Sullivan's title conspiracy was not appreciated, and he was stripped of the title. In the subsequent tournament, Windham beat Greg Valentine in the finals to win the gold for himself.  More...

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