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 - Jim Zordani

On the July 3rd, 1983 edition of All Star Wrestling, Brad Rheingans shocked everyone by battling AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel to a time limit draw. Rheingans was just about to pin Bockwinkel when the bell rang signifying the time limit had expired. Getting a draw against Nick on the AWA's weekly television program instantly made Brad the number one contender to the AWA champion. The AWA pushed the time limit draw hard replaying the match twice on All Star Wrestling over the next few months. As a result, Brad Rheingans was awarded a number of title shots against AWA kingpin Nick Bockwinkel throughout the AWA region. Here is a recap of those bouts.

8/12/83 Denver- Nick Bockwinkel beat Brad Rheingans 

9/25/83 St. Paul- Nick Bockwinkel drew Brad Rheingans 

1/1/84 Salt Lake City- Nick Bockwinkel beat Brad Rheingans 

1/24/84 Salt Lake City- Nick Bockwinkel beat Brad Rheingans 

1/25/84 Denver- Nick Bockwinkel vs Brad Rheingans result unknown 

1/27/84 Rockford- Nick Bockwinkel beat Brad Rheingans 

1/28/84 Sheboygan- Nick Bockwinkel beat Brad Rheingans 

1/30/84 Phoenix- Nick Bockwinkel vs Brad Rheingans result unknown 

1/31/84 San Francisco- Nick Bockwinkel beat Brad Rheingans 

By September of 1983, Mad Dog Vachon was nearing his 20th year of actively competing in the AWA. Vachon much like long time AWA stars Baron Von Raschke and the Crusher was still over with the fans and was viewed as a credible challenger to Bockwinkel at any time despite Mad Dog's advanced age. Even though Mad Dog Vachon mainly feuded with AWA tag team champions Jerry Blackwell and Ken Patera during the latter part of 1983, the grizzled Canadian veteran did receive a number of title shots against AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel. Here is a listing of Vachon's title bouts vs. Nick Bockwinkel in the second half of 1983.

9/9/83 Denver- Nick Bockwinkel beat Mad Dog Vachon DQ 

9/10/83 San Francisco- Nick Bockwinkel vs Mad Dog Vachon result unknown 

9/17/83 Chicago- Nick Bockwinkel beat Mad Dog Vachon 

11/24/83 St. Paul- Nick Bockwinkel beat Mad Dog Vachon 

11/26/83 San Francisco- Nick Bockwinkel vs Mad Dog Vachon result unknown

Blackjack Lanza had a long association with Bobby Heenan dating back to 1967 in the Indianapolis based WWA. Whenever Lanza competed in the AWA, Bobby Heenan was at his side as his manager. In late August of 1983 at the Winnipeg Arena, Blackjack Lanza was wrestling Greg Gagne. Bobby Heenan tried to interfere but messed up which enabled Greg Gagne to score the victory over Blackjack Lanza. Heenan berated Lanza after the match for losing and even pushed Blackjack a few times. 

Finally Bobby Heenan slapped Blackjack Lanza. Lanza went nuts and began pounding on Heenan. The next few weeks saw Blackjack Lanza abandon his black Blackjack outfit in favor of white Cowboy attire to signify his babyface turn. Lanza and Heenan squared off in a series of bunkhouse matches which saw Lanza emerge victorious every time. By virtue of his victories over Heenan, Blackjack Lanza was awarded several matches against Nick Bockwinkel. More...

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