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WWE Hall of Famer Nick Bockwinkel Passes Away at 80

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Nick-Bockwinkel-660X400Former AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel passed away on Saturday night, according to Cauliflower Alley Club EVP Morgan Dollar. The Bockwinkel family is asking for privacy at this time.

Bockwinkel had to give up his duties as Cauliflower Alley President earlier this year due to health issues. While younger fans might remember him as a figurehead authority figure in WCW in the 1990s and as a member of the WWE Hall Of Fame, he was much more than that.

He is most famous for his run in the AWA which started in the early 1970s and lasted through most of the 1980s when he became the main rival to Verne Gagne. He held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship on four occasions and he’s a three-time AWA World Tag Team Champion. He, along with manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, dominated the scene in Minnesota as the top heels in the promotion for many years.

We send out deepest condolences Bockwinkel’s family and friends.

WWE issued this statement on Bockwinkel today:

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.

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