Verne Gagne was one of the premier superstars of the 1950s due to being Fred Kohler's top star on his TV shows. After wearing the NWA Junior Heavyweight title, Kohler's United States title and then laying a claim to a world title, Gagne partnered with Wally Karbo and broke away from the NWA. The American Wrestling Association was one of the major pro-wrestling companies in the United States for three decades. Based out of Minneapolis, the AWA's territory grew to include Miluwakee, Wisconsin; Omaha, Nebraska; Denver, Colorado and Chicago, Illinois as its major cities. Other regular stops included Green Bay, Wisconsin; Salt Lake City, Utah; Winnipeg, Manitoba; San Francisco, California and Las Vegas, Nevada over the years. Gagne may have stepped on the NWA's toes in his early years, but eventually he too respected the boundaries and came to work with promoters throughout the Midwest to maximize his group's success. In the 1960s and 1970s, the AWA was one of the biggest and best companies in the world. They had great wrestlers, big draws and colorful characters as well as great TV coverage. Gagne had a great vision of the big picture and set up big shows in the big cities as well as anyone. By the 1980s, Gagne's roster was deteriorated by the WWF's expansion and his remained talent looked old and his production looked dated. The times passed the company by and after hanging on for several years and trying to make alliances with other territories to keep themselves alive, the AWA folded.


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"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods
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Tom Zenk



I'd like to thank Tim Hornbaker and his wonderful "National Wrestling Alliance" book. I'd also like to thank Steve Yohe, J. Michael Kenyon, Doc Silverkat, and James Zordani specifically for their various contributions via the internet. Thanks to Evan Ginsberg and Mike Lano's "Legends Radio" show. And, of course Royal Duncun and Gary Will's contributions to wrestling-titles.com