|Ring name(s)||Nick Bockwinkel
The Sensational White Phantom
|Billed height||5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)|
|Billed weight||241 lb (109 kg)|
December 6, 1934 |
St. Paul, Minnesota
|Resides||Las Vegas, Nevada|
|Billed from||Beverly Hills, California|
|Trained by||Warren Bockwinkel
Nicholas Warren Francis "Nick" Bockwinkel (born December 6, 1934) is a retired American professional wrestler. He mainly competed in the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in the United States. He is a former multi-time AWA World champion and co-holder of the AWA World tag team title.
Bockwinkel was considered by his peers and many industry experts to be an excellent wrestler, known for his exceptional technical ability and ring psychology. He was also known for his calm, charismatic, articulate promos, which distinguished him from many of his contemporaries.
Professional wrestling career
Bockwinkel began his career in 1955, after a knee injury forced the University of Oklahoma to withdraw his football scholarship. After training to become a wrestler by his father Warren, a regional star in the 1940s, and Lou Thesz, he spent the early years of his career teaming with his father. At the age of 16, he had his debut match against Thesz. He won his first major singles title in 1963, defeating Tony Borne for the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship.
American Wrestling Association
In 1970, Bockwinkel joined the American Wrestling Association (AWA), where he formed a team with wrestler Ray Stevens and manager Bobby Heenan. Together, they won the AWA World Tag Team Championship three times, the first in 1972.
Bockwinkel won the first of many AWA World Heavyweight Championships at the age of 40, ending Verne Gagne's seven year reign. As AWA Champion, Bockwinkel had feuds with Billy Robinson, Dick the Bruiser, The Crusher, Mad Dog Vachon, Jerry Lawler, Otto Wanz, Mr. Saito, Verne Gagne and Hulk Hogan. Bockwinkel was involved in the first ever AWA versus World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) World Title Unification match, wrestling WWWF Champion, Bob Backlund, to a double count-out, on March 25, 1979.
During the early years of the 1980s Nick Bockwinkel and the AWA World Heavyweight Championship would be mired in controversy. On July 19, 1980 Nick Bockwinkel was defeated by former and seven time AWA Champion Verne Gagne in Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after regaining the AWA World title, Verne Gagne announced his retirement from professional wrestling and the AWA Heavyweight Championship was awarded to the #1 contender Nick Bockwinkel on May 19, 1981. This move infuriated wrestling fans throughout the American Wrestling Association and solidified Nick Bockwinkel as the most despised wrestler in the AWA. But the controversy surrounding Nick Bockwinkel, AWA president Stanley Blackburn and the AWA title would continue to grow.
Perhaps the biggest controversy (in a series of questionable decisions in favor of Bockwinkel) was known as the "screwjob" that involved Hulk Hogan. In June 1982, Hulk Hogan defeated Nick Bockwinkel by pinfall in St. Paul, Mn to capture the AWA World Title, but once again the favor of AWA president Stanley Blackburn rested in Bockwinkel's corner. Immediately after the conclusion of the match, AWA president Stanley Blackburn reversed the decision and returned the title to Bockwinkel who would lose the title again in a stunning upset to Otto Wanz on August 29, 1982. Two months later Nick Bockwinkel would regain the AWA Heavyweight Championship.
On February 22, 1984, Jumbo Tsuruta defeated Bockwinkel to capture the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. Bockwinkel wrestled NWA World Champion Ric Flair for the NWA title at the last AWA show in Winnipeg, Manitoba on January 16, 1986 at the Winnipeg Arena before the AWA territory lost Winnipeg to the WWF. Bockwinkel was not the AWA champion at this time. Bockwinkel last held the title in 1987, at the age of 52, before dropping the championship to another second generation wrestler, Curt Hennig, at SuperClash. The match ended in controversial fashion due to interference by Larry Zbyszko, who had handed a roll of coins to Hennig to use on Bockwinkel. Bockwinkel retired in 1987, ending a career that spanned four decades. In one of his final matches as an active competitor, he paid Zbyszko back for costing him the AWA World title by pinning him on an episode of AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN after knocking him out with a roll of coins.
Bockwinkel came out of retirement for one night in May 1992, wrestling old rival Billy Robinson on a UWFI show in Japan. The match has gotten some notoriety in recent times for an incident in which Robinson became legitimately upset with Bockwinkel for throwing a knee at him, and Bockwinkel audibly replying "It's a knee, Robinson."
After departing AWA, Bockwinkel worked as a road agent for the World Wrestling Federation, also serving as a color commentator for occasional televised events. He returned to the ring in 1993 at Slamboree: A Legends' Reunion. The card was promoted by World Championship Wrestling (WCW) but featured veteran wrestlers from all over the country. Bockwinkel wrestled former NWA World Champion Dory Funk, Jr. to a time limit draw as part of the undercard. In 1994, Bockwinkel became the on-screen commissioner of WCW.
In 2000, he and Yoshiaki Fujiwara were the commissioners for a short-lived shoot style promotion, the Japan Pro Wrestling Association, but as the shoot-style market in Japan had been low since the collapse of UWF International, the wrestlers on it moved to other promotions. Bockwinkel is currently the President of the Cauliflower Alley Club, as well as the on-screen General Manager for AWA Superstars.
Bockwinkel made an appearance on WWE Monday Night Raw on March 29 2010, as part of Legends Lumberjack match. He was a Lumberjack for the match between Christian and Ted Dibiase.
In 1968, Bockwinkel appeared as a contestant on a prime-time version of the NBC game show Hollywood Squares. He played Harry in the episode Savage Sunday in the show Hawaii Five-O. Bockwinkel also played a wrestler in an episode of the 1960s television series The Monkees.
He now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with his second wife Darlene, who they have been married since the early 1970s. He has two daughters (from his first marriage), two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. On November 8, 2009, Bockwinkel underwent triple bypass heart surgery.
In 2007, he was elected President of the Cauliflower Alley Club, a non-profit organization.
- Signature moves
Championships and accomplishments
- American Wrestling Association
- Championship Wrestling from Florida
- Continental Wrestling Association
- Mid-South Sports
- NWA Big Time Wrestling
- NWA Los Angeles
- NWA Mid-Pacific Promotions
- NWA San Francisco
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (San Francisco version) (2 times) - with Ramon Torres
- Pacific Northwest Wrestling
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum
- World Wrestling Association (Los Angeles)
- WWA International Television Tag Team Championship (2 times) - with Édouard Carpentier (1) and Lord James Blears (1)
- World Wrestling Entertainment
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- "Nick Bockwinkel". WWE. Retrieved 2011-03-30.
- American Wrestling Assiciation (1986-05-13). "Col DeBeers Vs Nick Bockwinkel". AWA.
- Meltzer, Dave & John F. Molinaro (2002). Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of all Time. Winding Stair Press. ISBN 1-55366-305-5.
- WWE Hall of Fame Profile of Nick Bockwinkel
- OWW Profile
- Story archive at SLAM! Wrestling
- Nick Bockwinkel at the Internet Movie Database