When you ask many fans over thirty-five about the greatest wrestling match ever held at the Winnipeg Arena, you tend to get a large proportion saying the same thing: Ric Flair vs. Nick Bockwinkel. This was an AWA match where the Gagnes brought in NWA World Champion Flair, then at the apex of his greatness, for a title match with then AWA World Champion Bockwinkel and it has taken on legendary status in the Manitoba wrestling scene.
So what was so great? What made it better than all of those appearances by Hogan, Austin, The Rock and yes, even the current closest thing to Flair, Chris Jericho? Well, both were world champs when those belts really meant something. Bockwinkel had been selling out the arena for years and Flair was living the lifestyle, jetting all over the world defending what was truly a world title. Secondly, both men were technical masters, with Bockwinkel being more scientific (more holds) and Flair being the more flamboyant, but still showing a PhD level knowledge of the squared circle.
The other great thing about these two, was that both liked to "put their time in." In other words, you knew you were going to be in for a long night. Flair's cardio levels were un-human, and Bockwinkel, according to my former tag partner Rick Martel, liked to go long and also like to work "snug." In other words, Bock liked to make sure you felt everything. Now, I should say that in wrestling, with all of the falling on your back and taking big moves, that I always felt that I was feeling enough in there, without some smart guy wanting to work snug with his headlocks. But I digress.
Flair and Bockwinkel proceeded to put on what can only be described as an all time classic. The fact that tape of this match is either non-existent or lost has only added to the match's mystique. the reality is that if the tape were found it could likely never live up to expectations because of word of mouth over the last twenty years and columns like this one.
Nevertheless, when folks talk about the old barn having its last match this past week, I will always remember the greatest match ever at the arena. Ric Flair vs. Nick Bockwinkel, sixty minute draw.
Kurt Angle should be back for Wrestlemania as should Christian ... Test is out of action indefinitely with neck problems, best of luck in a speedy recover pal ... Reports are that WWE had a great two nights of entertainment at the old barn this past week. Kudos to Bob Holliday for putting on a great event ... Had a chance to talk to Terry Taylor this past week. Terry is a good friend and one of the smartest guys in the business. he also happens to be a phenomenal wrestler. I learned more about the secret little things in the business by spending ten minutes with Taylor than I did from anyone else ... Special guest appearance by a TNA star on this week's NHB Radio show ... rumours abound that Kurt Angle has some heat backstage. I personally find that hard to swallow, given his professionalism and dedication to the industry ... Brock Lesnar continues his attempt to get into the NFL. Maybe the Bombers should have a look at him and use him as a pass rusher ... Jeff Hardy is getting ready to sign a contract with TNA, if my sources are correct.
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