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[1980-07-10-AWA-Winnipeg, MB] Nick Bockwinkel vs Dino Bravo

paul sosnowski

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Nick Bockwinkel has been AWA World Champion since November 8, 1975. He will lose it eight days after this to Verne Gagne in Chicago (7/18/80).

Well, I thought this was complete, but there is a "5 Minutes" call at 23 seconds of the footage. Arrgh...it's JIP and clipped!!!! Mean Gene Okerlund is doing commentary from ringside. He mentions that Bobby Heenan was run out of the arena by Greg Gagne during the opening of this match. The special referee is Buck Zumhofe.

We start the footage with a lockup, Bockwinkel with a hiptoss. They tie up again, Bockwinkel pulls Bravo's hair and sends him into the ropes, this time Bravo gets a hiptoss and Bockwinkel rolls outside to take a breather. Bockwinkel wins a test of strength and takes the younger man down to his knees. Bravo starts getting back up, Bockwinkel kicks him in the gut and takes him down with a side headlock. They get back to their feet, Bock hits two shoulder tackles and takes Bravo back to the mat with the headlock. Finally Bravo gets back to his feet, but Bockwinkel comes off the ropes with another tackle, goes for another but Bravo catches and bodyslams him this time. Bockwinkel punches Bravo in the abdomen and takes him down with a third side headlock. Bravo tries to rolls him up twice and gets a one count. Bravo gets back up, whips Bock to the ropes, Bockwinkel comes back at him with a clothesline. Bravo hits a huge hiptoss, but bockwinkel hits another punch to the mid section, followed by an eye rake and takes him down again. Bravo gets up, nails a big punch to Bockwinkel's abdomen, Bock runs the ropes and Bravo hits a drop toe hold for a takedown. Bravo works over the leg, but Bock escapes with a hair pull and an eye rake. Bockwinkel charges at Bravo in the corner, but misses with a big knee. Bravo capitalizes on the pain and hooks Bock in an indian deathlock on the mat. He nails Bock with two big chops to the head. Bravo stands up with the deathlock and slaps Bockwinkel down. Then he drops backward to the mat trying for the submission. He holds the champ down for a two count. Bravo continues to work on the left leg. Bockwinkel escapes with a choke, comes at Bravo for a big splash, but he misses. Bravo puts Bockwinkel into a deep one legged boston crab, Bockwinkel pulls his hair and rakes his eyes again.

The champion gets Bravo in the corner and nails him with an overhead sledgehammer to the chest, followed by some punches to the head, he whips Bravo to the corner and slams him headfirst into the buckle. He drapes Bravo over the second rope and drops a huge knee to his back. Bockwinkel pounces on him for a two count, before slamming Bravo's head into the buckle twice more. Bockwinkel hooks on a front facelock, but Bravo starts punching him in the thigh, he kicks the leg out from under him and applies the spinning toehold into a figure four. Bockwinkel tries to grab the ropes, but special referee Buck Zumhofe kicks Bock's hands loose four times before Bock can finally escape. Bockwinkel begs off, but Bravo stomps down hard on his left leg. He tries for the figure four again, but Bockwinkel sends him down with a fist to the forehead. Bravo puts Bock's head into the turnbuckle and hits a roundhouse right for another two count. Bravo whips Bockwinkel to the ropes for a big back body drop and another two count. Bockwinkel reverses a whip and gets a victory roll up, Bravo tries to pin Bock's shoulders down with his legs. Bravo hits an over the knee backbreaker, he stomps on Bockwinkel, but is answered with another eye rake. Bockwinkel tosses him to the outside, between the second and third rope. Clipped!!! Bravo is suddenly back in the ring, nailing Bock with punches, he whips him to the ropes for a flying dropkick, into an airplane spin. He throws Bockwinkel down to the mat and the referee counts to three!!!! The bell rings!!!!

Bravo celebrates, grabs the title belt and runs out of the ring, up the aisle. BUT WAIT, Bockwinkel's foot was on the ropes and the referee orders the match to restart immediately. The match must continue, but Bravo is gone!!! Mean Gene says the time is 28:43, but then the ref starts his count...Nick Bockwinkel wins by count out at approximately 30:00. If you include the count out, I get 20:57 of footage.

Three and 1/4 ***. I liked seeing young babyface Dino Bravo.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1980-07-10-AWA-Winnipeg, MB] Nick Bockwinkel vs Dino Bravo
  • 3 years later...

Nick Bockwinkel (c) vs. Dino Bravo
AWA World Heavyweight Title Match
Winnipeg Arena, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

AWA hasn’t really delivered so far this year but this was really great stuff. Initially Bockwinkel had control with a series of side headlock takedowns and he did a fantastic job at grinding on Dino’s head. Then the general timing of Dino’s escape attempts and reverts back into the hold kept things ticking along nicely. When it was time for the momentum swing Dino went for the leg. His leg sweep takedowns were consistently clumsy looking but Dino was single minded in his focus on the leg and Bockwinkel sold the hell out of it. He attempted a comeback of his own and ended up going knee first into the turnbuckle and Dino had no hesitation and went right back to that leg for spinning toe holds, a single leg boston crab and even a figure four. Whenever Bockwinkel had the chance to get to his feet he was limping around like crazy and that leg just looked incredibly vulnerable. Bravo, in terms of match psychology, did all the correct things but those little extras that raised everything up all came from Bockwinkel and he gave a masterful performance.
This had the feeling of a nice slow burn and they were building to a great finale before we had just a terrible finish. Bravo got dumped to the outside and then came back firing. We had a number of near falls before the final three count by the referee BUT Bockwinkel’s leg was on the rope. Bravo thought he’d won the belt and grabbed it from Okerlund before heading to the back. The referee immediately realises his mistake and gestures for the match to continue, Okerlund on the house microphone calls Dino to return but he no shows and finally the referee is forced to count him out and Bockwinkel gets the win. Winning a match because your opponent didn’t realise the match was still ongoing is the definition of cheap, and no matter how good the match was up until that point I can’t help but have a bad taste in my mouth with that finish.

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