What if the AWA survived in 1991? - Wrestling Forum: WWE, AEW, New Japan, Indy Wrestling, Women of Wrestling Forums

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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
 
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What if the AWA survived in 1991?

What if Verne Gagne sold the AWA in 1991? Could it have survived?

Does Paul Heyman return to the AWA rather than ECW?

Does Eric Bischoff leave WCW and go back to the AWA?

With the AWAs history of work ethic, do guys like Malenko, Douglas, Benoit, Eddie go there instead in 92/93?

After his brief run in WCW in 90/91, Does Owen Hart go to the AWA, with Bret following in 92?

Does Ric Flair go to AWA instead of back to WCW?

Do Hogan, Heenan, Mene Gene etc return to AWA in 93/94?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 07:30 PM
 
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

The AWA in 1991 had low value. Aside from the tape library (which was a decade away from meaningful monetization) they had lost their ESPN deal. The Gagnes in partnership with the Chicago Tribune had made a seldom talked about, but very aggressive push to sign Hulk Hogan in the fall of 1990. The newspaper strike that fall caused the Tribune to pull back from their investment, which in turn caused the TV renewal to collapse. So the AWA of 1991 would be looking for local syndicated markets, and would not be much better off than perhaps SMW or ECW a few years later.

Let's presume Gagne had not run out of funding in 1991 and kept it going at a much reduced state. Heyman could have theoretically returned there. After all, he worked with Jim Barnett in the WWN in 1993. But Gagne's vision of pro wrestling was so diametrically opposed to Heyman's idea I just do not see how it would work. Even Heyman's booking and characters for the WWN were basically ECW-lite. As for Eric Bischoff, WCW was likely a step up and I imagine he had designs for higher positions within this larger company. I don't see him going back to the AWA unless he was fired.

As for the other questions, let's go further into the 1990s. Presume the AWA survives at a subsistence level and is present in 1994, when wrestling reached its nadir and the WWF released a lot of its talent. Do Heenan and Okerland go to the AWA? No, unless Gagne has the funding to match the terms and conditions of what WCW offered them. The best case scenario for the AWA in the mid-90s was for Gagne to get a proto-version of the American Wrestling Federation together, hoovering up the unsigned talent from WWF, WCW, ECW, and SMW. And in that case, it's largely older wrestlers like Greg Valentine and Hercules.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 08:19 PM
 
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

In the mid-late 80's it became apparent that Gagne needed help in the business, and there talks about minority shareholders or mergers, but nothing came of them. I am not sure if NJPW/Inoki put in an offer back then, but I think that's somewhat of a merger that could have worked very well and probably even to this day.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 09:38 PM
 
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

for AWA to have survived into 91 (and beyond), the leg work would have been done years before. It was well past the point of being saved at that point.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-19-2019, 10:43 PM
 
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

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Originally Posted by RKing85 View Post
for AWA to have survived into 91 (and beyond), the leg work would have been done years before. It was well past the point of being saved at that point.
I agree. By 1991, it's biggest value (at that point) was simply the cache of its name.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 11:15 AM Thread Starter
 
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I think even if Verne and Greg ended up being sleeper partners, but sold to someone willing to invest, I think it could have survived for a while. It may have been WWF-lite, but so was SMW and ECW and they lasted for years.

In 1991, they could have had Tully Blanchard, Ricky Steamboat, Paul Orndorff, Honky Tonk Man, Dr Death, Terry Funk, Sid, Vader, Scott Hall, Bam Bam Bigelow, Abdullah the Butcher, Tony Atlas, Scott Norton, Jushin Liger, Shane Douglas, Steve Austin, Jerry Lynn, The Malenkos
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 06:58 PM
 
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

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Originally Posted by the_flock View Post
I think even if Verne and Greg ended up being sleeper partners, but sold to someone willing to invest, I think it could have survived for a while. It may have been WWF-lite, but so was SMW and ECW and they lasted for years.

In 1991, they could have had Tully Blanchard, Ricky Steamboat, Paul Orndorff, Honky Tonk Man, Dr Death, Terry Funk, Sid, Vader, Scott Hall, Bam Bam Bigelow, Abdullah the Butcher, Tony Atlas, Scott Norton, Jushin Liger, Shane Douglas, Steve Austin, Jerry Lynn, The Malenkos
Let's presume they got the Tribune money and a new television deal. In 1991 they would likely have gone after:

Ric Flair: (following his WCW termination). Whether he would want to work for Verne remains to be seen
Bam Bam Bigelow
Ricky Steamboat
Rick Rude
Paul Orndorff
Greg Valentine: Briefly left WWF in Dec 1990 and went to the UWF
Steve Williams
Andre the Giant: After contract expired was very briefly in the UWF before getting resigned
Killer Bees
Terry Taylor
Al Perez
Paul Roma
Chris Chavis (Tatanka)
Chris Walker
Iron Shiek: Was briefly a free agent after leaving WCW in early 1991

I don't see a revived AWA going after Sid - he just doesn't fit the mold of anything that Verne would have pushed
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-20-2019, 10:27 PM
 
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

Well, calling itself American Wrestling Alliance, while World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation were doing shows in all of North America would need to change perception they weren't just "National" like National Wrestling Alliance seemed in brand name.

This is where Vince's marketing also helped his brand seem bigger, but as some said AWA's value was in its history. You change the initials and there goes that legacy recognition.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 12:19 AM
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Re: What if the AWA survived in 1991?

The AWA's one chance was the Pro Wrestling USA experiment....

That had star power, had potential. But too many cooks spoils the broth.

I don't think they could be saved. The WWF realized it's product sucked and changed with the times in the mid 80's. The AWA kept running that same tired old style long after they could not recover.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 10-21-2019, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
 
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When you consider at the end of 1990, they had Scott Norton, Jerry Lynn, The Destruction Crew, The Trooper and DJ Peterson, Brad Rheingans.

Rheingans also helped train Vader, so Vader would have been more inclined to go to AWA in my opinion.

Rheingans also helped WCW broker a working agreement with NJPW, so would have likely done that for AWA instead. So guys like Great Muta, Fujinami, Chono, Saito, Liger etc would have worked with them, that's why I think local guy Scott Norton would have been AWA champ around that time.

Other guys who worked for them like Tully Blanchard, Curtis Hughes, Yokozuna, Scott Hall, King Kong Bundy, Nikita Koloff, Wahoo McDaniel could have returned.

Last edited by the_flock; 10-21-2019 at 02:38 AM.
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