Category:American Wrestling Association

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Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association was the governing body for Jarrett's CWA and Dick the Bruiser's World Wrestling Association in Indianapolis. The AWA World Heavyweight champion was the World Heavyweight champion for these territories until the AWA dissolved.

The AWA has its roots in the National Wrestling Alliance, but cards had been promoted in Minneapolis since 1933. Gagne had been an amateur wrestling champion, but politics in the NWA kept him from becoming the NWA World Heavyweight champion. Gagne bought part of the territory in 1959. In the following year, Gagne and co-owner Wally Karbo left the NWA and formed the AWA.

The AWA expanded through the 70s and 80s to include regular cards in Chicago, Omaha, Winnipeg, Las Vegas, Phoenix and other cities. This expansion was helped through the beginning of the decline of many of the western territories in the NWA.

The AWA is probably best known in the 80s as a feeder group. Gagne would get guys started and then they would jump to the WWF as McMahon was expanding into the Midwest. Notable departures include Hulk Hogan, Jim Brunzell, ... When the AWA dissolved in 1991, the talent went either to the WWF or WCW (especially Gagne's son-in-law Larry Zbyszko).

The AWA dissolved because it could not compete with the WWF. The talent that left to join WCW were those who had previously been snubbed by McMahon.