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[1979-02-10-AWA-Chicago, IL] Nick Bockwinkel vs Verne Gagne

paul sosnowski

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The ring announcer is a bit confused.. He says this match is for the World WBA Championship, then corrects himself and says "AWA Championship". He also seems to botch the ending of the match and can't get the finish straight. Nick Bockwinkel has been champion since November 8, 1975 and is accompanied by Bobby the Brain Heenan. Nick and Heenan seem to have a problem with the Gagne sleeper and are warning the referee to watch out for the choke. This match was filmed exclusively for Japanese TV and it is complete.


Bockwinkel looks spry and much younger than his opponent. Nick is 44 and Verne is about 2 weeks shy of his 53rd birthday. Nick circles around his opponent several times after the bell rings, and quickly gets Verne in a hammerlock. Verne shakes him off and hurls him hard to the mat, and then takes him down again with a drop toehold. Back to their feet and Bockwinkel locks on a standing full nelson, but Verne drops out of it and kicks him off. They lock up again and Gagne shoves Bockwinkel hard into the ropes twice. Now a third time, and Verne slaps Bock in the face. He takes Bock down with three armdrags and Bockwinkel bails to the outside and consults with Heenan. A ringside fan calls Bockwinkel, "You Creampuff". Lol


Bockwinkel gets the advantage in the next lockup, pushing Verne into the ropes. Instead of a clean break, Bock hammers a fist into Verne's chest. But Verne returns with a fist to Bockwinkel which sends him flying across the ring. Verne is arguing with the referee and Bock tries to sneak attack him, but gets caught. Verne takes Bockwinkel down with a waistlock and grabs an armbar. He rolls to the center of the ring, and ties up both arms in a scissorlock and hits three legdrops on Bock's head. He cranks hard on Nick's right arm and rolls him for a 2 count, but Nick gets his feet on the ropes. They get up and Verne hits a big knee and follows with some chops that send Nick to the canvas for another 2 count. He scoops Bockwinkel again and ties up his legs with an indian deathlock. Nick again bails outside, but Verne kicks him in the head on the way out. Someone yells at Bock, "Cmon you pussy"!!!


Verne takes Bockwinkel by the left arm again and drags him around the ring with it, lifting him off the mat. He takes Nick down by the arm, spins around and sits on it. Bockwinkel finally gets Verne in the corner and breaks the hold with three big punches to Verne's ribs and abdomen, followed up by four big kicks. Verne is down and Bock starts choking him in the corner. He's stepping on his throat now! Verne kicks Bockwinkel in the ribs and nails three big uppercuts. He punts Bock in the ribs and sends him into the turnbuckle. Another big chop that sends Bock flying for a 2 count. Verne bodyslams Bockwinkel five times, hard down to the mat. He drops a knee on Bock's head, but the champion gets his foot on the ropes. He misses a second knee and Bockwinkel takes advantage, working over the injured leg. Bockwinkel hooks on a figure four, but Gagne rolls to the ropes for a quick break. Gagne is up and punts Bock in the ribs again, whips him to the corner, back first, and gets a high back bodydrop for another 2 count. Bockwinkel grabs a side headlock and chokes Gagne on the ropes a bit. Bock attempts a piledriver, but is met with another backdrop. Bock whips Verne to the ropes, but Gagne shoulderblocks him and sends him down. Verne comes at him again, but Bock catches him and both men tumble over the top rope to the floor. Gagne gets back in the ring first, and whips Bockwinkel into the corner. Drops him again and hooks on the dreaded Gagne sleeper hold. Bobby Heenan has seen enough, Bockwinkel pulls him into the ring and Heenan jumps on Gagne for the DQ at 18:26. (announced as 19:28).


Gagne is furious and attacks Heenan, sending him between the ropes and flying hard into the ringpost. Heenan hits a gusher as Gagne climbs to the top rope and drops a knee on Bobby's throat!!! Heenan's face is soaked with blood like on the cover of a 1970's Sports Review Wrestling magazine. Seriously, he is lying on the mat in a huge puddle.


Our confused ring announcer says that Verne is the new AWA World Heavyweight Champion. AWA President Stanley Blackburn has to get into the ring and correct him. "Verne Gagne wins the match, but Bockwinkel still retains the belt and is still champion". He repeats and corrects himself several times.


Four stars ****







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  • GSR changed the title to [1979-02-10-AWA-Chicago, IL] Nick Bockwinkel vs Verne Gagne

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