The American Wrestling Association was a uniquely Midwestern institution. Established by WWE Hall of Famer Verne Gagne and promoter Wally Karbo in 1960, the Minnesota-based promotion brought unforgettable competitors like Baron von Raschke, The Crusher and “Mad Dog” Vachon to flickering RCAs in frozen suburbs from Fargo to old Milwaukee. The most successful wrestling company in the United States at the height of its popularity, the AWA filled massive stadiums like Chicago’s Soldier Field with fans clamoring to see old school greats like Nick Bockwinkel and Billy Robinson battling for the coveted AWA Title.
The American Wrestling Association’s glorious years in the ’60s and ’70s gave way to struggle in the 1980s as Verne Gagne battled it out with Mr. McMahon for sports-entertainment supremacy. It’s obvious now which side won, but the AWA’s fascinating history is still a story that deserves to be told. Here, WWE Classics recounts the rise and fall of a professional wrestling organization that was, in a word, sensational.