The behavior of beam-column (B-C) connections received thorough investigation during the past decades focusing on critically-detailed connections before and after strengthening. Exposure of such B-C connections to thermal shock due to subjected to cycles of heating–cooling such as in chimneys, concrete foundations for launching rockets carrying spaceships, concrete near to furnace, clinker silos and nuclear power plants, or those subjected to fire then extinguished using water would aggravate the weakness of the high joint zone. In this study, systematic nonlinear finite element analyses (NLFEA) were conducted using ANSYS to evaluate the effects of the level of the column axial load and thermal shock impact which is a parameter difficult to evaluate experimentally due to limitations in loading machines and requirement for complicated testing setups. A total of eight NLFEA models were created, calibrated and properly verified with reputable experimental literature results. The NLFEA results showed that both level of the column axial load and thermal shock impact significantly affect the cracks distribution, failure mode, ultimate load capacity, and ductility of the B-C connection. Column axial load levels up to 75 % were advantageous to the behavior of virgin B-C connections. The lateral load capacities, net drifts, hysteresis loops, cracks distribution, energy dissipation, and failure modes were presented.