As Drew Koscelek posted earlier this morning, WWE Hall of Famer and AWA Champion Nick Bockwinkel sadly passed away at the age of 80. Bockwinkel was a great champion and quite possibly one of the greatest heels of wrestling, ever. WWE has released a statement regarding the passing of Bockwinkel, which reads as follows:
WWE is saddened to learn that Nick Bockwinkel, a WWE Hall of Famer and former four time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, has passed away at age 80.
Bockwinkel, known for his great in-ring skill and intelligent interviews, began his sports entertainment career in the mid-1950s after concluding his time on the University of Oklahoma football team. Bockwinkel was trained by his famous father, Warren Bockwinkel, and wrestling legend, Lou Thesz. Nick teamed with his father on many occassions, competing in Georgia, Texas and the Pacific Northwest before moving on to the where he would find the most success: the American Wrestling Association.
Bockwinkel was famously managed by WWE Hall of Famer Bobby “The Brain” Heenan during his AWA tenure, with the two drawing the ire of crowds everywhere. The self-proclaimed “Smartest Wrestler Alive” did it all during his time in AWA, with his crowning accomplishment coming when he defeated fellow WWE Hall of Famer and AWA legend Verne Gagne to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, ending Gagne’s historic seven-year run with the title.
Bockwinkel would go on to accumulate many more accolades as his career went on. From his nationally televised rivalry with Larry Zbyszko on ESPN to guest starring on “Hawaii Five-O,” the legend truly did it all. It was only fitting that his great career be capped off by his 2007 induction into the WWE Hall of Fame, where he will forever be enshrined as one of sports entertainments’ all-time greats.
WWE extends its condolences to Bockwinkel’s family, friends and fans.
The Cauliflower Alley Club is reporting that former AWA Champion, WWE Hall of Famer, and one of pro-wrestling’s all time greats, Nick Bockwinkel passed away Saturday night at the age of 80.
Bockwinkel served as President of the Cauliflower Alley Club until 2014, and is a WWE Hall of Famer. According to CAC, he passed due to health issues at approximately 8:40pm Saturday, November 14th, 2015.
CAC wrote: “It is with a heavy heart the Cauliflower Alley Club announces that The Greatest AWA World Champion of all time and former CAC President Nicholas ‘Nick’ Bockwinkel passed away Saturday night at approx. 8:40 p.m. due to health issues. … The Cauliflower Alley Club, it’s members, and all of Nicks fans & friends send their condolences to Darlene & the Bockwinkel family at this time.”
Bockwinkel was one of the biggest stars in the AWA during the 70s and 80s. He was a top champion and is widely regarded as one of the best heels of all time. In 2007, Bockwinkel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his long-time manager, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
Our condolences go out to the Bockwinkel’s friends and family.