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Opinion question to the AWA crew.  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 01:54 am
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HarryG
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So, I'm bored and gazing over the wrestling title history website and I notice something. Up until Verne Gagne started his 9th reign as AWA Champion in 1968, the World Title was pretty much a hot potato.

Between 1960 and 1968 there were ten title reigns that lasted less than a month-many lasted only a week. The longest reign up until 1968 was just under 2 years. (Mad Dog Vachon, I believe).

QUESTION: Why was the title switched so often? I always imagined the AWA as the definition of old school, and yet they switched the title as much as WWE does today. Can any of the AWA folks who have a better knowledge of the early years of the promotion, forward an opinion? Thanks.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 02:45 am
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clawmaster
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In the early days of the AWA, Verne had a definite pattern to switching the title holder. He'd bring in a big name heel every year and trade the title with him. First Kiniski. Then Bill Miller as Mister M. Then Crusher Lisowski. Later on in 1963 after regaining the belt from Crusher, Verne came up with the idea to unify the AWA and Omaha World Title. So he and Fritz Von Erich did their thing.

Then Verne traded the title again with Crusher. Enter Mad Dog Vachon. Verne traded the title with Mad Dog in Omaha. Then Verne decided to let Vachon control the AWA Title for a few years. You had a bunch of those quickie AWA title switches in Omaha when Mad Dog was champ. This was done to appease Omaha promoter Joe Dusek.

Verne finally regained the title from Mad Dog in early 1967. The angle up to that point was Mad Dog ducking Gagne every chance he could. Enter Doctor X. X beat Gagne for the title and should have held the title for longer than he did. Beyer explains this time period in great detail in his new book. Read the book. It's really good.

Then Verne decided he wanted a really long title run ala Thesz and Bruno Sammartino. So that's what he did. I was shocked when Bockwinkel beat Verne for the title. Not that Nick didn't deserve it. It was just that Verne had been champ ever since I started watching wrestling. To give you an analogy, it was similar to Koloff beating Bruno except that Nick was champion for a long time.

The only thing I'd change would be letting Doctor X have a longer run as champ. The AWA could have built to a huge rematch.   
 



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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 03:57 am
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The Ultimate Sin
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Were all of the quick switches recognized throughout the territory, or were some of them only regional switches.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 04:11 am
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clawmaster
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The Ultimate Sin wrote: Were all of the quick switches recognized throughout the territory, or were some of them only regional switches.
The AWA title switches in Omaha were only acknowledged in Omaha.



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 Posted: Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 11:17 pm
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HarryG
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Thank you, Claw! I wish that the Omaha footage existed. That part of the AWA's history has always fascinated me.



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 Posted: Wed Jan 4th, 2012 01:21 pm
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JB5



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clawmaster wrote: Verne finally regained the title from Mad Dog in early 1967. The angle up to that point was Mad Dog ducking Gagne every chance he could. Enter Doctor X. X beat Gagne for the title and should have held the title for longer than he did. Beyer explains this time period in great detail in his new book. Read the book. It's really good. 



Just wanted to second what Claw said here. The new Dick Beyer book is very good!



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