AWA #30 Page #2

Honolulu, Hawaii was another place outside the AWA region where Nick and Ray defended their AWA tag tem titles. The August 30th, 1972 card in Honolulu saw Nick and Ray defeat Wahoo McDaniel and Flying Fred Curry.

On September 20th in Honolulu, Bockwinkel and Stevens topped McDaniel and WWWF champion Pedro Morales. The October 11th Honolulu card had Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens winning over Bobo Brazil and Bearcat Wright. 

However on the November 15th show in Honolulu, Hawaii, Billy Robinson and Bill Francis, the Hawaiian promoter at the time, defeated Bockwinkel and Stevens for the AWA tag team titles. This title victory by Robinson and Francis was not acknowledged anywhere outside of Hawaii and is generally ignored by most record books. Robinson and Francis did defend the AWA tag titles one time on November 29th, 1972 in Honolulu before being announced as being stripped of the titles for failure to defend.

While this title change is an obscure bit of wrestling trivia, it does show Nick and Ray ventured outside the AWA territory to defend their titles. Bockwinkel and Stevens would continue to defend the AWA tag straps in different territories as the years went by when their schedule permitted them.

Billy Robinson was an extremely talented wrestler from England. Robinson was considered the top performer in Europe during the 1960s. Billy also made his mark in Japanese rings. Robinson first came to North America in 1969 working for Stu Hart in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Billy debuted in the AWA during the summer of 1971 and was immediately given a sizeable push beating such top notch wrestlers as Strong Kobayashi and Edouard Carpentier. Robinson displayed a vast arsenal of holds and very soon was challenging Verne Gagne for the AWA title. Billy also teamed with a variety of partners against Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens.

Even though Billy Robinson was considered the most serious threat to AWA champion Verne Gagne, Billy and Verne maintained a friendship despite battling against each other in the ring from time to time. Robinson and Gagne had mutual enemies in Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens so Billy and Verne decided to team together in hopes of unseating Bockwinkel and Stevens as AWA tag team champions. The dream team of Billy Robinson and Verne Gagne upended Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens on December 30th, 1972 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to win the AWA tag team titles. Nick and Ray regained the AWA tag straps one week later from Robison and Gagne on January 6th, 1973 in St Paul, Minnesota. These two tag title changes were only acknowledged in Minnesota. The rest of the AWA cities and their fans had no idea these title changes had happened.

After the tag title loss to Nick Bockwinkel and Ray Stevens, Billy Robinson recruited the impressive Hawaiian youngster Don Muraco to be his new tag team partner. Robinson and Muraco were given a television victory over The Texas Outlaws Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch to establish themselves as the top contenders to the AWA tag team championship held by Bockwinkel and Stevens. Over the first four months of 1973, Billy and Don were granted several title shots against Nick and Ray but were unable to capture the AWA tag team titles.

The Texas Outlaws, Dusty Rhodes and Dirty Dick Murdoch, were an exciting tag team. Rhodes oozed charisma and could really get the crowd going. Murdoch was a tremendous brawler who could also trade holds with anyone.  Rhodes and Murdoch were despised by the fans and feuded with all the AWA babyfaces. The AWA decided to book Rhodes and Murdoch against Bockwinkel and Stevens in non title matches in Minneapolis on April 8th, 1973 and in Milwaukee on April 21st, 1973. Both encounters ended in double disqualifications. Dusty and Dick were subsequently awarded rematches with Nick and Ray in both cities. Bockwinkel and Stevens emerged victorious in the no disqualification bouts against Rhodes and Murdoch on April 28th, 1973 in Minneapolis and on May 12th, 1973 in Milwaukee.

Thanks to AWA historians Jim Melby, George Schire and George Lentz.  Without the work of these gentlemen, columns like this one would not be possible.

Any comments, questions and corrections can be sent to


I'll continue covering the career of Nick Bockwinkel.

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