I’m continuing to enjoy the classic episodes of AWA wrestling from 1985 being posted to YouTube, as mentioned in my recent article. I described in that article how AWA “reveled in the sexiness of masculinity. Their roster included several hairy-chested daddies who proudly flaunted their manly beefcake.”
This match from the 10/29/85 episode of AWA is no exception with the epitome of sexy, hairy-chested manliness — Nick Bockwinkel — entering the ring in a gorgeous white track suit.
As he stepped out of his pants, I got the sense that his wrestling trunks were made to seem like underwear (at least from my perspective, given that I grew up wearing white Fruit of the Looms underneath my sweatpants). How fun to picture Nick Bockwinkel in his underwear.
Just compare his flabby, soft-bellied body to the hard, hairy physique on the older, more powerful Man stripping off his clothes across the ring.
Sure enough, Daddy Bockwinkel soon takes Jobber Gola down in a Headlock…
All this body contact adds a sensual feel to the match — Gola reaching around to grope the other man’s shoulder, waist, neck, and latissimus dorsi.
It’s as if wrestling another dude gives you permission to touch him wherever you wish, while you’re also granting him the same permission to touch you all over. Back in 1985, this made me very eager to wrestle another dude.
They trade places with the Champ allowing the rookie to put him in a Headlock. (By the way, I’m calling Bockwinkel the “Champ” to allude to his talent and success, but he is actually a three-time former champ at this point in 1985.)
Now Bockwinkel takes this opportunity to feel up his opponent’s smooth, soft body, wrapping an arm around his ample waist, even slipping a couple fingers down his trunks to break up the Headlock. Like I said, these Public Displays of Affection are very sensual to witness.
After a few minutes of Headlock foreplay, Bockwinkel moves on to torturing Gola’s legs. He implements that awesome Toehold that he frequently used, capturing the other man’s leg over his right thigh and under his left knee. He used this same sexy Grapevine to torture Curt Hennig in their epic battle, which I’ve dubbed the “Last Great Wrestling Match” — see below photo collage:
Several times in the Gola match, we’re shown these tight close-ups of their legs, drawing our attention to their thick thigh muscles, their trunks and powerful glutes, utterly fetishizing their entangled black boots.
I think the intent is to emphasize Bockwinkel’s wrestling prowess — his ability to hurt you and defeat you without even needing to use his hands. We are shown that his talented legs can get the job done thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge of punishing leglocks.
Bockwinkel’s brand image was his prowess as a wrestler. He wasn’t the biggest, meanest, or most muscular guy, but he was the most talented (and cockiest.) We feared and respected him because he knew how to hurt guys with his wrestling ability.
This Skilled Grappler gimmick, the veteran who knew 1,000 holds, was a big turn-on. I kind of miss it. Bockwinkel’s father Warren was also a pro wrestler who presumably taught his son all the best holds and maneuvers from a very young age.
Bockwinkel finishes off his Doughboy with a great Figure 4 Leglock, which Gola sells the hell out of. He screams his head off as if this dangerous, sadistic veteran is totally breaking his leg. What a turn-on — get him, Bock! Show him what happens to flabby blonde sissy-boys when they fight with a Real Man!
Not only was Bockwinkel an excellent grappler, but he was also arrogant about it — a real Dickhead Heel. Check him out with his arms raised in triumph as he flaunts his thick, hairy body over Gola’s defeated carcass. This bold-faced arrogance always made me swoon for the Heel.
The only way it could be better is if he’d place one foot on the jobber’s chest to utterly degrade him. Go ahead, Champ, make that Doughboy look like a slave to your greatness.
After the match, commentator Larry Nelson enters the ring to interview the sweat-soaked winner, who boasts about his “great skill and wrestling ability.” I’m picking up all kinds of vibes between these two manly daddies as Nelson stands just inches away from the bare-chested wrestler (are their dicks touching?).
With his fingers nearly brushing the Champ’s chest hair, Nelson holds his microphone up near Bockinkel’s mouth like an erect phallus. They gaze into each other’s eyes, their mouths just inches apart, the sexual tension thick in air, and I get the sense that Larry wants to spend some time in Bockwinkel’s Grapevine (and I sure don’t blame him.)