Comments by Steve Black (written for RSPW Hall of Fame)
Verne Gagne was a Minneapolis legend who made professional wrestling in
the Midwest. His career spanned from World War II until his retirement in
1980, and he became one of the few men to retire from professional
wrestling as a world heavyweight champion, as recognized by his own
promotion, the American Wrestling Association. Gagne made the first real
challenge to the national dominance of the National Wrestling Alliance,
forming the AWA in the 50's in protest over the NWA's decision to deny
one of his allies, Edouard Carpentier, the world championship. Over the
years, he symbolized the AWA, holding the belt nine times, more than any
world champion in any other organization before Ric Flair broke the record
in the early 1990s.
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