Greg Gagne looks back on Hulk Hogan leaving the AWA for the WWF, losing the home base venue to the WWF, trying to work with other promoters on joint shows, Eric Bischoff starting with the AWA

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with Greg Gagne
Host: JP John Poz
Twitter: @TwoManPowerTrip
Website: www.tmptempire.com
Interview available at Tmptow.podomatic.com

On Hulk Hogan: “He always says, I’ve talked to him since, he says ‘I loved Minneapolis. I really wanted to stay. But Vince had…’, you know, he told me that Vince was paying him more money to miss the towns than when he would’ve been there. Could have been there. I dunno if that was true or not, but that’s what he said. And McMahon needed Hogan to make that thing work. Without him, they had never been able to do it. Hogan was in New York. I wrestled at Shea Stadium when he was wrestling Andre the Giant. And he had a horrible match that night. He was so bad. And I went out with Ricky Steamboat and Pat Patterson and um, uh, Ricky’s tag team partner at that time, and I was going back to the room, and I’m going down the hallway and there’s Hogan sitting in front of the door of his room. And I said, What’s the matter, big man? He said, ‘I can’t make it wrestling’. And I said, ‘Well, come to the AWA. You’ve got a lot of potential. You just need to be groomed. You need to be worked with.’ So we put him in the six-man tag matches with Jim [Brunzell] and I, and uh, we would tag him in when we had control. And you know, if he had the arm we’d, we had the arm, we’d give it, he’d grab the arm, twist it, drop a leg on it, tag out.”

On the AWA closing down: “When we got all the promoters together and did USA wrestling [Pro Wrestling USA], if they would’ve had one man make the decision and they go by that, but they all had their egos and they were all battling all the time. They wanted their people doing this, and, you know, we did an event in at Comiskey Park with the Crocketts and the Jarretts, and had a great crowd. I think Magnum [T.A.] wrestled [Ric] Flair that night. The Road Warriors were on the card. We had a really, a big, a big crowd and drew a great gate. While we’re out there wrestling, the Crocketts were trying to sign our talent to contracts in the locker room. So they all wanted to be in charge. They wanted to do it their way. If they would’ve just said, okay, Bill Watts, or Verne [Gagne], or [Jerry] Jarrett, you’re in charge, whatever you’ll be, you’ll have the final say. They couldn’t do that.”

On Eric Bischoff starting in the AWA: “Eric came to our office one day selling ninja suits out of the trunk of his car, right? And they had taken Gene Okerlund from us. Then they grabbed Ken Resnick… that was a loss. And then we had, he was there the day we were on a Friday and Monday we have to find an announcer. We don’t have an announcer, and one of our kids that did some of the producing, uh, Mike Shields, he said, well, this guy is in here. You know, he talks okay, maybe I can… let me work with him over the weekend just so we have somebody here to do the interviews. And that’s how Eric got the job.”

On the WWF taking dates in the AWA’s home market: “We ran Thanksgiving every year, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we always booked our arenas a year out, sometimes two years out. And I’d call the St. Paul Civic Center, and Gloria was the gal’s name. And I said, Gloria, we’re just calling up to confirm the next date here. We’re coming in. And she said, well, you don’t have that date. I said we got all the dates up through the end of the year. No, no, no, no, no. New York came in and took the dates from you. I said, what do you mean they took ’em from us? Well, they cut a better deal with us. And that had been, we’d been wrestling with, I mean, with those people for hundreds of years.”

Other topics include WWE, Triple H, Vince McMahon, growing up in the business, Verne Gagne, WWE HOF, OVW, DSW, CM Punk, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan, Bobby Heenan, Ric Flair, the AWA, the end of the AWA, and more.

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Readers Comments (1)

  1. After the Hogan departure and the litany of others that soon followed AWA just became like a farm system for (Usually) WWF. Any wrestler or tag-team that was showing promise and taking things to the next level would depart and turn up in the WWF not long after. Greg may not like it but Hogan made the best decision for his career as Verne was more like Vince Sr. and Vince Jr. was all in on having Hogan be the centerpiece, while Verne wanted to stick with and be loyal to Bockwinkel. Nothing at all wrong with Nick Bockwinkel but he didn’t transcend the sport and bring it to casual viewers like Hogan managed to do.

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