Great you got it worked out. Your tactic might work more than in the short term, but if the previous owner had this behaviour well established, I wouldn't expect it to be that easy to 'fix'. I'd expect him to 'revert'. If the problem is his nose swinging towards you, you could always teach him conflicting behaviour & reward that, such as his nose facing the other way.
Couple of thoughts on what you wrote that might help...
I thought it was a very rude and strange evasion tactic. Whenever he did that, I'd send him off and throw his fat little butt in a circle on the lunge line. But after a few days of that, I noticed his bridling wasn't improving.
If something seems 'rude', it's generally that they've either not been taught better 'manners', or - as in this case - they've actually been taught the 'rude' behaviour, inadvertently or otherwise. Therefore I wouldn't consider it 'disrespectful' & deserving of punishment, as a rule.
Horses learn from *instant* consequences. So he would only have learned this as an evasion, if it got him out of being bridled. And regardless whether it was an evasion, rudeness or otherwise, if you want to punish him for something, it must be done *instantly*, at the time of the 'misdemeanor'. By the time you 'send him off'(presumably also have to get the bridle on for that), that behaviour has long been & gone.
If you make him 'work' as punishment - be that lunging, backing up, whatever - & make it unpleasant for him, the thing associated with the unpleasantness is 'working'(& probably you too). Aside from other things explained here, I personally want to avoid turning 'work' into punishment, and instead do all I can to encourage the horse to enjoy the 'work' I ask of it, think of it instead as 'play'.