Did Verne Gagne doom the AWA by not making Hulk Hogan the champion?
- Kathy SmithLv 76 months ago
hell no best decision Verne ever made
- CandleLv 76 months ago
Probably not. While it was a big pivotal point in AWA's existence to lose Hogan over paranoid and wishy-washy Gagne booking, the promotion still had gas in the tank as one of the last remaining great territories even after losing Hulkster. I've heard tell that there was more to it than just Gagne's hesitance to put the gold on Hogan. Some even said Gagne would've willingly put the belt on Hogan at one point if Hulkster would've given him a cut of his Japanese touring money and a percentage of his merchandise earnings, but Hulk turned him down. In the end Hogan wasn't the kind of wrestler AWA was built around despite the fact that he was one of their more over stars. I don't know if Gagne could've booked him to be half the star that McMahon did because Hogan's strengths as a performer weren't exactly the meat and potatoes of what made Gagne's vision of AWA. Guys like Curt Hennig, Scott Hall, DDP, Bruiser Brody, the Road Warriors, the Fabulous Freebirds, Ric Flair, Sgt Slaughter, Stan Hanson, Billy Graham, Jimmy Snuka, The Midnight Rockers, the Rock & Roll Express, the Midnight Express, the Original Midnight Express, and so many others past through AWA with high profile stays before and after Hogan left, and many of those names were bigger than Hogan's while he was a part of the AWA.
The mentality that kept the belt off of Hogan was AWA's ultimate killer. Guys like Stan Hanson got so fed up that he skipped bookings for AWA to go to Japan while still holding the AWA World Championship. Verne demanded the title be returned, so Hanson sent it back in the mail with a giant 4-wheeler tire track denting in the face plate. Curt Hennig managed to beat Bockwinkel for the gold but didn't hold it long, so he ended up leaving for greener pastures as well. The AWA lost a lot of big stars at the top of the card because of Verne's paranoia. Couple that with Gagne's willingness to let the company go when faced with the option to keep it going or sell some prime real estate, and it's clear that Gagne's priorities were always a bit muddled.
- 6 months ago
There came a point where I could not believe Bockwinkel, as great as he was, could hold off the Hulkster, and as soon as the bigger guy left for the WWF I said there goes the AWA. Hulk was the obvious next phase in a People's Champion. The AWA was hanging on to a tradition that I loved, but kids want to go on to become teenagers, even if they miss being a kid when they become adults.