It is a sad day in the world of professional wrestling as former AWA World Heavyweight Champion and WWE Hall of Famer, Nick Bockwinkel passed away today at the age of 80.
The former world champion got his start as far back as 1955 and would win regional titles in the Pacific Northwwest, Hawaii, San Francisco and Los Angeles but it was a move to Minnesota to the American Wrestling Association, which was where he would become a star.
With Bobby “The Brain” Heenan as his manager, Bockwinkel was paired with Ray “The Crippler” Stevens and the duo would win the AWA World Tag Team Championship three times and would be the hottest tag team in the North. After the team’s breakup, Bockwinkel remained heel and with Heenan still in tow he would win the AWA World Heavyweight Title in 1975 at the age of 40 and would hold that for five years until he was defeated by Verne Gagne, the man he beat for the belt.
Bockwinkel would remain the company’s main star through the bulk of the 1980’s, even though he would was their champion well into his 50’s. While Bockwinkel was older, he didn’t look his age and was one of the top promo men in the business where he would use articulate dialogue in a calm voice, very different from his peers.
Following his departure from the AWA, he would work as a road agent with the then named WWF and would be an occasional color commentator. Bockwinkel would become known to a new generation when he served as the on screen commissioner of WCW in the mid-90’s. He would later be the President of the Cauliflower Alley Club, from 2007 until last year when his ailments began to catch up to him.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Nick Bockwinkel at this time.