Nick Bockwinkel Passes Away at 80

Sources: F4Wonline, Wikipedia

Bickwinkel during one of his lengthy reigns as AWA World Champion
Bickwinkel during one of his lengthy reigns as AWA World Champion
The wrestling world has lost another legend, as legendary wrestler Nick Bockwinkel has passed away. He was 80 years old.

Bockwinkel, widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest villains, enjoyed a 30+ year in ring career, which began in the mid 1950’s. He held dozens of regional titles during the 50’s and 60’s before settling in with the America Wrestling Association, where he is probably best remembered as a longtime rival of Verne Gagne.

In 1975, Bockwinkel defeated Gagne for his first world title at the age of 40. With manager Bobby Heenan in his corner, he would go on to hold the title for five straight years. Unlike the heel wrestler stereotype, Bockwinkel rarely shouted or raised his voice during promos. He had a professional and calm demeanor to him, which cast him as more of a calculating villain than a brash cocky tough guy.

Bockwinkel held the AWA World Championship on four occasions, two of which were cases where the title was to him due to outside circumstances. He also held the AWA World Tag Team Championship with partner Ray Stevens. The pairing of Bockwinkel, Stevens, and Heenan were almost universally hated by the fans, which of course meant they would draw major crowds when they faced the top AWA heroes. During his reigns as AWA World Champion, he faced the likes of Hulk Hogan, Stan Hansen, Jerry Lawler, and Curt Hennig. He even wrestled Bob Backlund in an AWA Champion vs. WWF Champion match.

Upon retiring from the ring, Bockwinkel worked as an agent for the then World Wrestling Federation. He also served as an onscreen commissioner for WCW during the mid-1990’s. In 2007. Nick Bockwinkel was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame, and was elected president of the prestigious Cauliflower Alley Club. He served as president for seven years extends their condolences to the Bockwinkel family.

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