The days of the territories in wrestling created a diverse amount of talent and styles in the industry. The diversity of territories and promotions created with it regional legends. Every single area of the country had their guy who was the greatest thing ever to grace a professional wrestling ring.
The nationalization of pro wrestling helped some of these legends become national icons, as the big two were able to push their narrative. In their wake however, some great wrestlers have been nearly lost to history and therefore also lost from the narrative of the all time greats. The Northeast had Sammartino, the Southeast had Ric Flair, and the Midwest had the newest edition to the Underrated and Underappreciated Wrestler Series: Nick Bockwinkel.
Much like Ric Flair, Bockwinkel was one of the greatest of all time in the ring and on the mic. Bockwinkel possessed absolutely no weaknesses in his game, delivering top-level performances from the beginning of his career and well on into his fifties, as and active performer prior to leaving the business.
Trained by two legendary wrestlers in their own right: Warren Bockwinkel (his father) and Lou Thesz, Bockwinkel was one of the greatest technical wrestlers in the history of the game. It wasn't just his flawless technique; he had the work rate and psychology to go right along with it. His matches hold up to this day as excellent.
On the mic, Bockwinkel had a style that an extreme minority of wrestlers have ever been able to pull off successfully. Bockwinkel was the definition of calm, collected, and intelligent when cutting promos, but still provided an edge that got across the fact he was one dangerous man.
This is a man who outshined Bobby Heenan (the greatest manager of all time) while they were allied together. It was only on the rarest of occasions that Bockwinkel would raise his voice, so the effect was amplified tenfold when he did. If Bockwinkel was pushed to the point of losing his cool on the mic, then you knew someone was in for an absolute beating.
Bockwinkel was truly a transcendent wrestler and if he had spent his career in the WWF or the NWA, he would be in every greatest wrestler of all time conversation to be had.
My words can do little justice to his abilities, so let me show you: