R.I.P. Nick Bockwinkel

Nick Bockwinkel 1987

Professional wrestling great Nick Bockwinkel died Nov. 14 at age 80. The image above is from what was probably his last appearance in Duluth, as special referee during a World Wrestling Federation card at the Duluth Arena in 1987. (WWF is now World Wrestling Entertainment; Duluth Arena is now the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center Arena.)

Bockwinkel held the American Wrestling Association’s World Heavyweight Title four times, along with numerous other championship belts. He was inducted into the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.

Nick Bockwinkel and Lenny Lane

The image above, from 1996, shows Bockwinkel with Duluth native Leonard Carlson, who was then a champion on the independent circuit, wrestling under the name Lenny Lane, and would later win World Championship Wrestling’s cruiserweight title.

Iron Sheik on Bockwinkel

1 Comment

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

AWA Presents ESPN Family Night

I finally had a chance to dig deep into the PDD archives and unearth photos from one of Nick Bockwinkel's final matches. 

Date: Aug. 1, 1987
Location: Minneapolis Auditorium
Opponent: AWA World Heavyweight Champion Curt Hennig (also now deceased)
Triple Indignity: Bockwinkel's name was misspelled on the marquee. So was Hennig's. Also, some twit from Duluth was there wearing a red American Legion baseball cap with an orange Sunkist T-shirt. Good lord. At least the T-shirt matches the gun show poster.

Hennig and Bockwinkel

Bockwinkel was looking to regain the title, but Larry Zbyszko interfered in the match, adding extra force to Curt Hennig's pile driver. The referee caught Zbyszko in the act and awarded the match to Bockwinkel by disqualification. Title belts, however, do not change hands on a disqualification.

Spike Pile Driver

Bockwinkel went on to wrestle in maybe two or three "legends" or "old-timer's" matches, but this was basically the final bout of his career.

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