The world of professional wrestling has learned some sad news, as legendary wrestler and AWA promoter Verne Gagne has passed away at the age of 89. The news broke last night and was confirmed by WWE, who inducted Gagne into the Hall Of Fame back in 2006.
Gagne was a lifer in the wrestling business, having won amateur championships in high school, as well as NCAA titles in college. He was even recruited as an alternate on the 1948 US Olympics freestyle wrestling team. Gagne began his professional wrestling career soon after, becoming a legend in the NWA throughout the 1950s, widely regarded as the best technical wrestler of the time.
He founded the American Wrestling Association (AWA) in 1960, based out of his home state Minnesota. Gagne won the AWA title a record 10 times over the course of 20 years as an active wrestler in the promotion. In total, he was a 16-time world champion.
Gagne was inducted into the WCW Hall of Fame in 1993, the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame in 1996, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004 and finally WWE in 2006.
On top of leading one of pro wrestling's most famous territories, Gagne also trained many legends we know and love, including Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, Bob Backlund and The Iron Sheik.