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 - Jim Zordani

The duo of Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens was generally considered the best tag team in the world during the early to mid 1970s. The next few installments on this monthly AWA history column will be devoted to the unit of Bockwinkel and Stevens. In this month's column, the career paths of both Bockwinkel and Stevens on their way to the AWA will be covered in depth. We'll also take a look at how the team of Bockwinkel and Stevens was formed.

Warren Nicholas (Nick) Bockwinkel was born on December 6th, 1934 in St Louis, Missouri. His father Warren Bockwinkel was a longtime journeyman wrestler who competed in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Nick's parents divorced when he was five years old and Nick ended up living with his grandmother until he was twelve. After a two year stint at an Indiana boarding school, Nick returned to St Louis to live with his father and attend high school.

Being that Nick's father Warren was a professional wrestler constantly moving from territory to territory, Nick went to four high schools six time. He attended two of the high schools twice. Nick starred in football as a fullback while in high school. Nick's prowess on the football field earned him a scholarship to the University of Oklahoma.

Nick's stay at the University of Oklahoma was a short one. Bockwinkel suffered two knee injuries and his scholarship was revoked after his sophomore year. Nick promptly transferred to UCLA and started wrestling professionally in southern California while continuing his college education.

In addition to the training he received from his father, Nick was also trained to be a professional wrestler by Lou Thesz, Wilbur Snyder, Gene Kiniski and Lord James Blears. In 1956, Nick had his first professional wrestling match for Los Angeles promoter Hugh Nichols against Jerry Christy. Bockwinkel battled Christy to a twenty minute time limit draw. Nick was billed in that match as Young Nicky Bockwinkel, the old ladies' favorite.

After finishing his education at UCLA, Nick was drafted into the Army. He was stationed at Fort Ord in Monterey, California. Bockwinkel spent two years in the Army but still wrestled professionally using the name Dick Warren.  More...

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