[Gagne Family Gallery]
||May 10, 1923
||Married to Mary
|Height & Weight:
||5'11" - 215 lbs
Fritz Von Erich
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..
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..