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[Gagne Family Gallery]
Wrestler: Verne Gagne
Real Name:
Birthday: May 10, 1923
Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Marital Status: Married to Mary
Height & Weight: 5'11" - 215 lbs
Trained by:
Debut: 1949
Previous Gimmicks:
Finishing Move: Sleeper Hold
Favorite Moves: Flying Dropkick
Notable Feuds: Ray Stevens
Fritz Von Erich
Billy Robinson
Larry Hennig
Nick Bockwinkle
Kokina Maximus

  • 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 junior title;
  • AWA World Heavyweight title (10);
  • AWA World Tag Team titles;


  • 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 Bockwinkle 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 Shiek 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..