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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 08:58 am
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beejmi
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I am thinking it never got defended at MSG. Verne is there in 1977 (vs Nikolai Volkoff) but Bockwinkle is the AWA champ then. Or did I miss some AWA title defenses at the Garden?

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 09:27 am
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paulsosn



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February 26, 1973. AWA champion Verne Gagne defeats Eddie Graham (14:35)          November 12, 1973.  Nontitle?   Verne defeats Mr Fuji (12:16)

Last edited on Tue Nov 10th, 2020 09:31 am by paulsosn

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 10:47 am
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Kriss
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paulsosn wrote: February 26, 1973. AWA champion Verne Gagne defeats Eddie Graham (14:35)          November 12, 1973.  Nontitle?   Verne defeats Mr Fuji (12:16)

There's nothing in the advertising or reporting of that February match which makes me think it was actually a title match. He was recognised as champion, but there is no mention of the title being on the line. Eddie Graham was a sub for Ray Stevens in that match. A lot of guys came in to NYC just to wrestle on this card, so there was probably some kind of meeting attached to it: Verne Gagne, Eddie Graham, Mike Graham, Dory Funk Sr., Terry Funk, Mil Mascaras and Victor Rivera were all present.

Similarly for the November card, no evidence that the title was on the line.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 12:24 pm
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beejmi
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Another question - was the AWA title there and Verne introduced as the champion?


Great stuff Paul and Kriss very interesting. The Eddie Graham match has me scratching my head (never realized he wrestled 'up here')

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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 01:08 pm
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Kriss
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beejmi wrote: Another question - was the AWA title there and Verne introduced as the champion?


Great stuff Paul and Kriss very interesting. The Eddie Graham match has me scratching my head (never realized he wrestled 'up here')


I am just reading the previews from the New York Post, which do say he is the AWA champion. Vince Sr. invited pretty much anyone who was anyone within the NWA to wrestle in the Garden at some time or another. You see this all over the country with promoter-wrestler and "office" wrestlers. They would travel to another territory "on business" and get a spot on the show as a pay-off for their trouble. Dick Slater was on that second card, although he was wrestling in Florida at the time.



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 Posted: Tue Nov 10th, 2020 03:09 pm
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Superstar
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Kriss wrote: beejmi wrote: Another question - was the AWA title there and Verne introduced as the champion?


Great stuff Paul and Kriss very interesting. The Eddie Graham match has me scratching my head (never realized he wrestled 'up here')


I am just reading the previews from the New York Post, which do say he is the AWA champion. Vince Sr. invited pretty much anyone who was anyone within the NWA to wrestle in the Garden at some time or another. You see this all over the country with promoter-wrestler and "office" wrestlers. They would travel to another territory "on business" and get a spot on the show as a pay-off for their trouble. Dick Slater was on that second card, although he was wrestling in Florida at the time.
I remember reading that it was supposed to be Verne vs Stevens and it got switched last minute.  Gagne vs Graham is quite a "special attraction" but I bet even then there were some hardcore fans that were pissed that Stevens didn't show.  In following up with Kriss and what he said - sometimes, wrestlers were invited to the Garden by Sr. and other times, they were sent intentionally to get a bit of Northeast exposure.  This happened a lot back then, remember how Flair and Piper also came in for Garden cards in the mid to late '70s, and in the case of Piper, even did a TV taping.  But what Kriss is saying about guys like Verne and Eddie Graham - the matches at the Garden pretty much paid their travel expenses in full, which of course they still were able to write off as a business expense. 



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2020 06:59 am
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beejmi
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I don't think of Eddie Graham as 'an AWA title challenger' either

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2020 05:46 pm
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glc

 

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Kriss wrote: paulsosn wrote: February 26, 1973. AWA champion Verne Gagne defeats Eddie Graham (14:35)          November 12, 1973.  Nontitle?   Verne defeats Mr Fuji (12:16)

There's nothing in the advertising or reporting of that February match which makes me think it was actually a title match. He was recognised as champion, but there is no mention of the title being on the line. Eddie Graham was a sub for Ray Stevens in that match. A lot of guys came in to NYC just to wrestle on this card, so there was probably some kind of meeting attached to it: Verne Gagne, Eddie Graham, Mike Graham, Dory Funk Sr., Terry Funk, Mil Mascaras and Victor Rivera were all present.

Similarly for the November card, no evidence that the title was on the line.

Jack Brisco and Bobby Shane were in Boston that night, too. Definitely something going on that weekend.

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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2020 06:21 pm
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Superstar
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glc wrote: Kriss wrote: paulsosn wrote: February 26, 1973. AWA champion Verne Gagne defeats Eddie Graham (14:35)          November 12, 1973.  Nontitle?   Verne defeats Mr Fuji (12:16)

There's nothing in the advertising or reporting of that February match which makes me think it was actually a title match. He was recognised as champion, but there is no mention of the title being on the line. Eddie Graham was a sub for Ray Stevens in that match. A lot of guys came in to NYC just to wrestle on this card, so there was probably some kind of meeting attached to it: Verne Gagne, Eddie Graham, Mike Graham, Dory Funk Sr., Terry Funk, Mil Mascaras and Victor Rivera were all present.

Similarly for the November card, no evidence that the title was on the line.

Jack Brisco and Bobby Shane were in Boston that night, too. Definitely something going on that weekend.
Well, it wasn't very long after this weekend that they took the NWA strap from Dory and gave it to Harley, who lost it to Brisco not long after.  Do you think that maybe the "Powers That Be" were coming up with the agreement on having Harley be the one that took it from Dory and passing it to Brisco?  Because that is a LOT of NWA talent coming up to the Northeast, and it wasn't to talk about Stasiak taking the belt from Sammartino later in the year.



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 Posted: Wed Nov 11th, 2020 09:11 pm
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glc

 

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Wonder where Sam Muchnick was that weekend? And how far in advance these guys were advertised.

The match where Dunk was supposed to lose the belt to Brisco was scheduled for the next weekend in Houston. The story goes there was some resistance from the Funks about doing it in Texas.

This could have been an emergence meeting to deal with that. Lot of drama behind the scenes in the NWA at this time. I've read that it was close to splintering.

To that point, I've always found it real interesting that Sam gave Sammartino a push in St. Louis during the switch from Funk to Race to Brisco. Not a coincidence, in my opinion. Bruno was Sam's plan B.

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