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 - Jim Zordani

Nick Bockwinkel not only defended the AWA title in AWA cities but also defended the strap in other territories as well. Bockwinkel was the closest thing to a traveling champion as the AWA ever had. Some territories Bockwinkel hit during the late 70s included Toronto, San Antonio, Houston, Honolulu, Atlanta, Memphis and Mississippi. This month's column will cover Nick's matches in Toronto during the late 70s.

In late 1977, Toronto promoter Frank Tunney brokered a deal for AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel to wrestle on several inter-promotional cards featuring stars from the WWWF, Jim Crockett Promotions, Canada in addition to the AWA. Here's a listing of Bockwinkel's AWA title defenses in Toronto during the late 1970s followed by a few comments about each match.

10/16/77 Toronto

AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel beat Dominic DeNucci - DeNucci had been a successful wrestler for a very long time and probably was best known for his stints in the WWWF where he was a tag team champion and where he was aligned with Bruno Sammartino. A few months after this match, Dominic would swing down to the Indianapolis based WWA and he would cross paths again with Bockwinkel in Chicago.

11/20/77 Toronto

AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel beat Edouard Carpentier in 15:18 - Carpentier was winding down a legendary career by this point but was still a huge name in Canada. This card also featured WWWF champion Superstar Billy Graham beating Stan Stasiak.

12/11/77 Toronto

AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel beat Edouard Carpentier - Carpentier was granted a second opportunity against Bockwinkel but once again came up short. This card also featured WWWF champion Superstar Graham defeating Chief Jay Strongbow.

01/08/78 Toronto

AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel beat Stan Stasiak - Stasiak was a former WWWF champion and master of the heart punch. Stan had quite a following in Toronto and the fans were disappointed when he lost to Bockwinkel.

02/05/78 Toronto

AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel beat Chief Jay Strongbow - Strongbow had a storied career first using his real name Joe Scarpa in Florida and Georgia then reinventing himself as an Indian Chief in the WWWF during 1970. These interpromotional matchups were what made Toronto cards extremely special. 

02/18/78 Toronto

AWA tag team champions Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell beat Nick Bockwinkel and Bobby Heenan - Gagne used the sleeper hold to defeat Bockwinkel in this encounter.

Greg's win over Nick with the sleeper earned Gagne an AWA title shot against Bockwinkel on the next card.

03/05/78 Toronto

Nick Bockwinkel beat Greg Gagne - Nick avenged his loss to Greg in the tag title match two weeks earlier.

Bockwinkel had worked against both Gagne and his partner Jim Brunzell hundreds of time since Greg and Jim debuted in 1973. This familiarity led to outstanding matches whenever Nick battled either Gagne or Brunzell. This particular match was no exception.  More...

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