WWE Hall of Famer and legendary promoter Verne Gagne passed away yesterday at the age of 89.
The Minnesota native joined the AWA – American Wrestling Association – in 1960 and began his reign as one of the biggest and most popular wrestlers of his generation, winning the AWA Heavyweight title 10 different times over a period of two decades.
A former NFL player, Gagne started his wrestling career in 1949 and joined the NWA in the 50’s, before moving to the AWA.
As the promoter of the AWA, Gagne had Hulk Hogan in his promotion but Hogan eventually left for the WWF in the early 80’s and when Gagne found out that Hogan was going to leave, he offered the Iron Sheik, a friend of Gagne, a large sum of money to screw up Hogan’s knee for real, something that Sheik refused to do. The AWA shut down in early 90’s after everyone left the company with Gagne declaring bankruptcy.
In April 2006, Verne Gagne was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his son Greg.
Gagne suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and lived with his daughter in Bloomington, Minnesota, up until his death.