Sunday, August 28, 2011
Nick Bockwinkel Awarded AWA Title
Dan Poutsma shared this video on Wrestling Classics and it is certainly interesting. You had Verne Gagne defeat Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA Title and then retire shortly thereafter. I'm not a big fan of champions retiring with an active belt anyway and it seems to me to be fairly uncommon, but that is what Gagne chose to do. At that point the AWA threw fuel on the fire by choosing to simply hand the belt back to the former champion, Bockwinkel. Why? I have no idea why they chose to do it from a booking standpoint, but the storyline reason is...weak...to say the least. As you see in the clip above AWA President Stanley Blackburn essentially says it would be too difficult to stage a tournament that would take almost a year to crown a champion. WWE did one in two nights a couple of weeks ago and in one PPV at WrestleMania IV, but that was the best reason the AWA could come up with. I think that's pathetic.
None of this should be seen as a reflection on Nick Bockwinkel, mind you. I was not fortunate enough to see much of him growing up, but looking back I can see that Bock was a fantastic champion. Beyond that I have heard nothing but great things about his professionalism as wrestler in general. Bockwinkel was a fine choice as champion, but they needed to get that belt on him some other way.
I highly recommend reading the YouTube: Nick Bockwinkel awarded the AWA title (1981) thread linked above from WCMB. It really is interesting reading the discussion between these bright wrestling minds on this particular angle.
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