American Wrestling Association

American Wrestling Association AWA short, is the name of a former U.S. wrestling promotion that was based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Promoter Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo were.

Since 1996, global events were held under the banner of the former Promotion of Dale Gagne. In October 2008, the Federation had to be renamed to " Wrestling Superstars Live" due to a legal dispute over the name rights.


The history of the AWA starts about 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts as there by George Tuohey doctorate American Wrestling Association was founded. Already in 1922 acquired Bowser the AWA and extended their sphere of influence over the entire east coast from.

The AWA World Heavyweight Championship

The AWA created at the February 21, 1928 their own World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, as Ed " Strangler " Lewis in St. Louis, Missouri defeat his opponent Joe Stecher and win the now called the Independent World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship Wrestling title was allowed.

But on April 29, 1929 had to relinquish the title of Gus Sonnenberg, who transferred the title in the National Wrestling Association and distill their own world heavyweight wrestling championship created Lewis in Boston, Massachusetts.

The AWA as an affiliate of the National Wrestling Association

On 27 June 1935, the AWA was incorporated into the National Wrestling Association, which she belonged to 27 November 1949. Already on July 30, 1935 both titles were combined, as NWA champion Danno O'Mahoney in Boston, Massachusetts was allowed to win the AWA title.

The AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship was reactivated on 29 December 1937, continued as a regional title in which you let Lou Thesz win the NWA title in St. Louis, Missouri by his opponent Everette Marshal. In February 1938, the influence of the National Wrestling Association expanded into neighboring Canada, as the organizer Eddie Quinn joined with his Montreal Athletic Commission of the AWA.

The Wrestler Don Eagle was awarded on August 31, 1950 in Columbus, Ohio last AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship. The Championship has now been declared in November 1952 and by the vacant AWA Eastern Heavyweight Title, this was between 2 December 1952 and February 3, 1953, and the AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship - replaced Ohio version. The latter was held from June 27 1945 to 9 April 1953. Following this, the vacant AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship was set next to the local variations and combined with the NWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship.

The AWA as an affiliate of the National Wrestling Alliance

On November 27, 1949, the accession of the AWA was the National Wrestling Alliance, after the National Wrestling Association was merged into this one. Bowser was the NWA representative for the territory of New England and now led the promotion under the banner of NWA American Wrestling Association.

The promoter Tony Stecher, of Minnesota Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling promotion Club led since 1933, in July 1948, a founding member of the National Wrestling Alliance. At the September meeting in 1948 engraver of the State of Minnesota (NWA Territory of Minnesota) has been transferred and he led in Minneapolis called the National Wrestling Alliance Minneapolis Office.

The rise of the AWA for independent promotion

The break with the National Wrestling Alliance took place in 1957, when Bowser took his doctorate under the name Atlantic Athletic Commission independently. A little later, on 15 July 1957 also left NWA co-founder Max Clayton the NWA, the NWA office Omaha and the Nebraska Territory was closed again, regardless.

The working in Chicago promotions Ray Fabiani and Leonard Schwartz took over the name NWA American Wrestling Association in the short term for the territory of Chicago.

On August 9, 1958 Verne Gagne defeated in Omaha, Nebraska the former NWA Champion Edouard Carpentier. However, he was again stripped of the title because it was promised to the wrestler Killer Kowalski by Eddie Quinn. Verne Gagne tried now for almost two years, being awarded the title.

In January 1960, Tony engraver son Dennis withdrew from the NWA and the wrestlers Wally Karbo and Verne Gagne bought a Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling in the club.

Dennis Stecher, Wally Karbo and Verne Gagne were now equal organizer in this NWA affiliate. These three reactivated in February 1959 set 1953 AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship, in which one Pat O'Connor explained for the first AWA champion.

O'Connor was 1959 NWA champion since January 9th and so headed to the reactivated AWA title from the existing NWA title from. Verne Gagne and Wally Karbo gave O'Connor now a 90 -day ultimatum to hand over the title to Gagne, where he lost a required by the AWA match. But let the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Committee, which decided on the title change, pass this ultimatum unanswered.

As a result, closed Karbo and Verne, after their ultimatum, the NWA Minneapolis Office and that was the exit of the Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Club from the NWA legally completed in May 1960.

On 16 August 1960 Gagne was later to AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion explains, after Pat O'Connor refused to lose the NWA title and thus the original AWA Championship at this.

The AWA as an umbrella association of the independent scene

Under the Minneapolis Boxing & Wrestling Gagne Club was now registered under the name American Wrestling Association in the State Athletic Commission of Minnesota as a promotion.

In a short time she became one of the largest wrestling promotions in the U.S. and rose to become a serious competitor of the NWA, as the AWA possessed the same with the show AWA All- Star Wrestling on a solid TV format in Minnesota. This TV format should run until 1991 and was later expanded nationwide to the formats AWA Championship Wrestling and AWA Major League Wrestling; the latter TV format was produced for the neighboring Canada.

Already in the early days of the AWA, numerous organizer of the independent scene joined. Thus joined, among others, on 17 July 1960, the Atlantic Athletic Commission renewed the AWA and thus was Gagne's AWA and the general public as the legitimate successor of the original AWA promotion. Verne Gagne was also able to take over the former NWA Territory Nebraska.

The AWA as a global alternative to the NWA and WWF

Verne Gagne was wearing since 16 August 1960 and for a period of 22 years, interrupted by short title loss, the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. These should be developed between the 1960s and 1980s, one of the major wrestling title.

So he let host the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, not only in the U.S. but also in Spain and Japan.

Mid-1980s, but Gagne's age and his conservative attitude made ​​opposite the sports noticeable. This emigrated fans and superstars in droves from the more interesting competitors NWA and WWF. Well-known names among them were the Road Warriors, Stan Hansen, Rick Martel, Jesse Ventura, Mean Gene Okerlund and Bobby " the Brain" Heenan. As a special turning point applies here is that Gagne, despite the enormous popularity of the young Hulk Hogan refused to let Hogan win the world heavyweight title. This joined after an unsuccessful feud with AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel ultimately in December 1983, again in the WWF. Hulk Hogan and the cult of personality around him ( " Hulkamania " ) developed there, the driving force of the national and the international popularization of the WWF.

In order to counteract the migration of the fans for the overwhelming WWF, the American Wrestling Association 1984, with numerous affiliates of the new promotion NWA Pro Wrestling USA. Through the cooperation of different territories leagues based in the WWF was to be announced at national level, the struggle. While this promotion started successfully, but developed in the further course of a financial failure, which was closed in May 1990.

In 1985 the AWA on ESPN a nationally -to-air television program that is only made under the name of "Pro Wrestling USA", but soon as " AWA Championship Wrestling ". This opened the AWA a wider audience, since the produced since 1960 mission AWA All- Star Wrestling ran in syndication, was thus bought and broadcast by local stations in license and therefore was not to receive coverage. The contract with ESPN, however, was not renewed in 1990.

Despite the opposite WWF and NWA decreasing importance, the AWA was able to build some future stars. It is worth mentioning especially Curt Hennig, who had begun his career in 1982 in the promotion and after a reign as AWA World Tag Team along with Scott Hall in 1987 even the AWA World Heavyweight Championship from Nick Bockwinkel won Champion and was rebuilt as a new top star of the promotion. Furthermore, given the "Midnight Rockers " Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty her first big push and were each twice the AWA Southern and the AWA World Tag Team Title win. Despite these successes also Hennig, Michaels and Jannetty left the AWA in 1988 in the direction of the WWF. Scott Hall in 1989 moved to the NWA.

In 1989, the AWA, as the end of Pro Wrestling USA was already in sight, with the CWA and numerous independent promotions for USWA together.

As early as 1990, the AWA triggered again by the USWA and in December for financial reasons inactive. The under AWA contract Wrestlers were adopted by the World Wrestling Federation, unless they insisted Independent or to compete in the National Wrestling Alliance.

1991 Verne Gagne told the American Wrestling Association promotion bankrupt and the promotion has now officially closed, after he had waived any and all rights existing film material in favor of the WWF to pay off part of its debt.

Major events

A further measure against the rising WWF and their success with the first Wrestlemania were own major events of similar style, called in English " Supercard ". The first and largest of these events was the AWA Super Clash on September 28, 1985. Around 21,000 spectators watched live in Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois the spectacle with AWA and NWA stars. Although this event was actually a result of the "Pro - Wrestling " cooperation, she was being held under the AWA banner.

Still greater was the highly sought-after event " WrestleRock 86 " on 20 April 1986. Approx. 23,000 fans attended the event at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the stronghold of the AWA; it should be the last event of the promotion in a large stadium. As a special advertising campaign a rap music video was previously been included in the AWA wrestler Verne Gagne rapped personally. The actual show was truly impressive, and Gagne himself rose again for a cage match against Sheik Adnan El Kassey in the ring. Following the event country musician Waylon Jennings occurred.

On 28 April 1986 the AWA and the NWA in East Rutherford, New Jersey, a joint tournament lined up, which was the name Rage In A Gage.

The "Super Clash II" On May 2, 1987 at the Cow Palace in Daly City organizes, California. The only organized by the AWA show attracted 2,800 spectators considerably less visitors than the previous one.

On 13 December 1988, the Super Clash III took place in Chicago in the UIC Pavilion. This event involved the World Class Wrestling Association of Texas and the Championship Wrestling Association of Tennessee. Super Clash III was also the only AWA event that has ever been transmitted through pay -per-view, their reception in the TV was not free of charge. Both the number of spectators present in the Arena ( 1500 ) as well as the sales of PPV transmission were very low.

The fourth and final Super Clash then took place on 8 April 1990. Prior to 2000 visitors at the Civic Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, in the very ancestral territory AWA Larry Zbyszko was in a match against Mr. Saito for the vacant AWA World heavyweight Champion of the last champions of the promotion.

Video and film rights

The rights to the film and video material from Verne Gagne's AWA has long belonged to the organizer of World Wrestling Entertainment, Vince McMahon, the rights secured when he took over the AWA wrestler of Verne Gagne. This was in 2006 published a DVD entitled The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA. In a two -hour documentary Verne and Greg Gagne come, officials and commentators such as Al DeRusha, Eric Bischoff Gene Okerlund and also wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Baron Von Raschke and James Brunzell to speak.


In his desire to defy the WWF in every respect Verne Gagne forced not only a national TV presence and large events, he also arranged a series of AWA toys. The figures were produced by Remco and have nowadays due to their rarity, an extremely high value to collectors. Remco produced from 1985 to 1986 AWA Action Figures, a ring, a cage and " Thumbsters " (small wrestling figures, which one pulls on the thumb). A curiosity are the action figure and the Thumbster of Ric Flair, since this was last competed in 1974, ie 11 years before the appearance of the toys for the AWA.