This week’s Throwback Thursday looks at the retirement of Verne Gagne in 1981. Gagne dethroned hated rival Nick Bockwinkel in 1980, and held the title for approximately 10 months. Gagne announced his retirement, and went on to have this match against Bockwinkel in 1981
Gagne’s career came to an end with a victory, but the AWA Title’s future was in question. A tournament? A top contenders’ match? How do you determine the next champion when the current champion has retired? Gene Okerlund went to AWA President Stanley Blackburn for the answer
This began a long history of Bockwinkel weaseling his way back into title possession after losses. Bockwinkel was known for having a calculating approach to his career, and this was an example of it in its prime.
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