Name: Nick Bockwinkel
Year Inducted: 2003
Induction Category: Modern Era

Nick Bockwinkel

Nick Bockwinkel was highly successful in both tag team as well as singles wrestling competition. Then again, few, if any, expected anything less from the native of Los Angeles, California. As a second-generation grappler, Bockwinkel grew up in arenas and dressing rooms with many of the game's greatest attractions.

Nick's father, Warren Bockwinkel was a standout performer for many years. As a teenager living in Los Angeles, Nick's first appearance on TV was as the opponent to Lou Thesz during an exhibition of holds.

It was in the Midwest-based American Wrestling Association where Bockwinkel participated in his greatest ring moments. On four separate occasions, Nick was crowned AWA Heavyweight Champion. His longest run with the strap, which occurred during his first reign, commenced on November 8,1975 in St. Paul, Minnesota by dethroning Verne Gagne. Nick defended the title for five years. Bobby Heenan served as his manager. With partner Ray Stevens, Bockwinkel wore the tag team title belt three times.

Moving over to the WWF in 1987, serving briefly as a TV color commentator, Bockwinkel then signed on with WCW in a commissioner's role. A major box-office attraction wherever he traveled, including Canada and Japan, Bockwinkel always projected himself as a man of class and high professionalism. In one of his last times to lace up his ring boots, Bockwinkel participated in the WWF bill on November 16,1987 at the New Jersey Meadowlands. This legends battle royal included Bobo Brazil, Pat O'Connor, Lou Thesz, Gene Kiniski, and The Crusher.

-Don Laible

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