Verne Gagne

  134 views

Title History

  • Big Ten Wrestling Champion four times (1944, 1947, 1948 and 1949);
  • NCAA Wrestling Champion in l948 and l949;
  • Member of the U.S. Olympic team in l948;
  • AAU Wrestling Champion in l949;
  • NWA Texas Heavyweight title defeating Leo Newman (December 16, 1949);
  • NWA Texas Heavyweight title defeating Miguel Guzman (September 8, 1950);
  • NWA World Junior Heavyweight title defeating Sonny Myers [Tournament] (November 13, 1950);
  • AWA (Montreal) International Heavyweight title defeating Killer Kowalski (Febuary 25, 1953);
  • NWA (Chicago) United States Heavyweight title Awarded (September 3, 1953);
  • NWA (Chicago/Indianapolis) World Tag Team titles w/Edouard Carpentier defeating Boris & Nicoli Volkoff (May 25, 1957);
  • NWA (Texas) World Tag Team titles w/Wilbur Snyder defeating ??????????? (July ??, 1957);
  • NWA (Minneapolis) World Tag Team titles w/Bronco Nagurski defeating Johnny Valentine & Chet Wallich (December 26, 1957);
  • NWA (Chicago) United States Television title defeating ????????? (March ??, 1958);
  • NWA (Chicago) United States Heavyweight title defeating Dick the Bruiser (April 12, 1958);
  • NWA (Minneapolis) World Tag Team titles w/Leo Nomellini defeating Mike & Doc Gallagher (May 15, 1958);
  • AWA (Omaha) World Heavyweight title defeating Édouard Carpentier (August 9, 1958);
  • NWA (Minneapolis) World Tag Team titles w/Butch Levy defeating Baron Gattoni & Karol Kalimikoff (April 28, 1959);
  • NWA (Minneapolis) World Tag Team titles w/Leo Nomellini defeating Stan Kowalski & Tiny Mills (July 19, 1960);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title Awarded (August 16, 1960);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Gene Kiniski (August 8, 1961);
  • AWA (Omaha) World Heavyweight title defeating Don Leo Jonathan (September 16, 1961);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Bill Miller (August 21, 1962);
  • AWA (Omaha) World Heavyweight title defeating Fritz Von Erich (August 25, 1962);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Crusher Lisowski (July 20, 1963);
  • AWA (Omaha) World Heavyweight title defeating Crusher Lisowski (July 20, 1963);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Fritz Von Erich (August 8, 1963);
  • AWA (Omaha) World Heavyweight title defeating Fritz Von Erich (September 7, 1963);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Crusher Lisowski (December 14, 1963);
  • AWA World Tag Team titles w/Moose Evans defeating Crusher & Dick the Bruiser (Febuary 9, 1964);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Mad Dog Vachon (May 16, 1964);
  • AWA World Tag Team titles w/Crusher defeating Harley Race & Larry Henning (July 24, 1965);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Mad Dog Vachon (Febuary 26, 1967);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Dick Beyer (August 31, 1968);
  • AWA World Tag Team titles w/Billy Robinson defeating Ray Stevens & Nick Bockwikel (December 30, 1972);
  • AWA World Tag Team titles w/Mad Dog Vachon defeating Ray Stevens & Pat Patterson (June 6, 1979);
  • IWA (Japan) World Heavyweight title defeating Rusher Kimura (November 13, 1979);
  • AWA World Heavyweight title defeating Nick Bockwinkel (July 18, 1980);

Career Highlights

In the Beginning:

  • Verne Gagne grew up on a farm in Minnesota and left home at age 14 after his mother passed away..
  • Verne Gagne went to Robbinsdale High School and played football, baseball and wrestling..
  • Verne Gagne worked before school sweeping and scrubbing a local tavern and beauty shop.
  • Verne Gagne won district, regional and state championships in high school wrestling..
  • Verne Gagne was selected to play in the All-State-Football team..
  • 1943: Verne Gagne was recruited to play football at the University of Minnesota..
  • Verne Gagne became a member of the All-Conference Team that same year..
  • After one year of college, he joined the Marines, based at El Toro, California and played on the marine football team..
  • Verne Gagne chose to return to the University of Minnesota and got a reputation as a top athlete in football & wrestling..
  • ~~~Verne Gagne was a Big Ten Wrestling Champion four times (1944, 1947, 1948 and 1949);
  • ~~~Verne Gagne was also an NCAA Wrestling Champion in l948 and l949;
  • ~~~Verne Gagne was a member of the United States Olympic team in l948;
  • ~~~Verne Gagne was an AAU Wrestling Champion in l949;
  • 1949: Verne Gagne was asked to play in the college all-star game in Chicago against the NFL Champions the Philadelphia Eagles..
  • Verne Gagne also enjoyed a brief stint playing professional football with the Green Bay Packers..
  • Tony Stecher the Minneapolis wrestling promoter encouraged Verne Gagne to enter the world of professional wrestling..

Getting into the Business:

  • Verne Gagne had his first professional match against Abe “King Kong” Kashey — refereed by boxer Jack Dempsey..
  • 1950: Verne Gagne won the Junior Heavyweight title and held it throughout l951..
  • Verne Gagne held the National Heavyweight Championship from 1952 until 1956..
  • February 4, 1953: Verne Gagne was the headliner at a sellout New York’s Madison Square Garden event..
  • ~~~A riot occured outside when 5000 fans were turned away!
  • l960: Verne Gagne returned to the Twin Cities with the newly formed American Wrestling Association..
  • Verne Gagne quickly became the AWA World’s Heavyweight champion..
  • August 8, 1961: Verne Gagne defeated gene Kiniski to recapture the AWA World Heavyweight title..
  • September 16, 1961: Verne Gagne defeated Don Leo Jonathan for the Omaha version of the World title!

American Wrestling Association:

  • Verne Gagne took an increasing interest in the management of the AWA, and eventually became the sole shareholder of the company..
  • The AWA product was picked up by ESPN and ran events New York, California, Canada, Mexico, plus Europe and the Middle East!
  • August 14, 1970 – AWA Comiskey Park: Verne Gagne defeated Baron Von Raschke in a best 2/3 Falls match to retain the AWA title..
  • June 25, 1976 – AWA Chicago Stadium: Nick Bockwinkel and Verne Gagne fought to a NO CONTEST in an AWA title match..
  • June 6, 1979: Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon defeated Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens for the AWA Tag Team title..
  • Verne Gagne retired from wrestling in the early 1980s but returned several times for special matches..
  • April 20, 1986 – AWA WrestleRock: Verne Gagne defeated Adnan Al-Kassie in a “Steel Cage” match..
  • Verne Gagne was the catalyst for many great stars like Hogan, Flair, Steamboat, Hennig, Ventura, Snuka, DDP, Andre and many more!
  • Verne Gagne trained Ric Flair, Bob Backlund, Jim Brunzell, Ken Patera, Ricky Steamboat, Buddy Rose and countless others.
  • The Gagne legend lived on in Verne’s son Greg, who carried on the great Gagne tradition for many years.
  • 1991: The AWA folded after other promotions (predominantly the World Wrestling Federation) scooped up most of the talent..
  • Verne Gagne later declared bankruptcy..

Retirement:

  • Verne Gagne is not longer associated with pro wrestling..
  • Verne Gagne is a stern supporter or nearly a dozen different charities accross the country..
  • May 7, 2002: Verne Gagne’s wife, Mary, sadly passed away..
  • Hulk Hogan wrote in his book that Verne tried to pay Iron Sheik to break Hogan’s legs in Madison Square Garden 1984..
  • March 13, 2006 – RAW: They announced that Verne Gagne would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1 in Chicago..
  • April 1, 2006: Verne Gagne was officially inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his son Greg Gagne..
  • June 2006: Verne Gagne was presented the Lou Thesz Award at the 2006 Cauliflower Ally Club Convention in Las Vegas..