The Spectacular Legacy of The AWA: It started in the Midwest, and grew in stature until it was rivaling WWE and WCW for national supremacy, its champion on par with their promotions. The AWA launched hundreds of career... more »s, including Ric Flair, the Road Warriors, Sgt. Slaughter, Jessie Ventura, and so many more. It's the promotion where the Immortal Hulk Hogan first rose to prominence and the Showstoppa Shawn Michaels took center stage. THE SPECTACULAR LEGACY OF THE AWA profiles the amazing rise of the promotion to where it was considered one of the "Big 3" through its end. The DVD also includes memorable matches from the promotion's entire history.« less
Patrick E. (Santa) from LA VERNE, CA Reviewed on 3/30/2010...
Great story on how Vince McHeal stoled everything from the AWA and that is where the WWE actually came from- Verne Gagne built up the AWA trained Hulk and all the future WWE stars came from. Vince had more money, not talent or creativity. Verne was good at running a good show. When Vince had swallowed Verne's best talent, he went to the best promotion in L.A. and run by the LaBell brothers. Vince destroyed this promotion also. This documentory could have been about many wrestling organizations that Vince raped and destroyed. Of these the AWA was the best he destroyed at the beginning and then at the platitude of WWF's life they destroyed WCW, a better promotion that respected the fans IQ, and ECW the true wrestling promotion!
Really deserved to be a 3 or 4 disc set...
Movie Fan | 11/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When the WWE announced this set, I really thought they would butcher the AWA's legacy and put their own spin on everything. To my surprise, with a few exceptions, they told the truth for a change in this documentary and gave credit to Verne Gagne for all his accomplishments in making pro wrestling what it is today. More than Vince McMahon, Verne Gagne deserves credit for making wrestling into the cultural phenom it has become, because it was Verne who paved the way for this to happen. The documentary acknowledges Verne as wrestling's first big television star. The man had endorsement deals, appeared on the Steve Allen Show and was responsible for helping to make wrestling one of tv's first hit programs when it launched in the 1950s. It's hard for people to imagine this today, and it did have a lot to do with the lack of stations to choose from, but Verne's wrestling show drew a 24 rating at it's peak. A 24! I think the highest rated RAW was a 6.2, Verne had 24 million homes a week tuning in! This was huge and it laid the foundation for promotions to promote their product and get fans to go to the matches. All this is talked about in the documentary and Vince gives Verne the credit. All the great characters and personalities that many young fans believe got their start in the WWF, actually started in the AWA and that is finally talked about on this DVD release. Mean Gene Okerlund, Jesse Ventura, Bobby Heenan, Iron Shiek, Ricky Steamboat, Adrian Adonis, Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Brunzell, Shawn Michaels, Curt Hennig and Hulk Hogan all developed their characters in the AWA before going to the WWF. The best part about this DVD release is that you finally get to see this legendary footage that a lot of fans, myself included, have only read about. It's really great stuff. The promos and the matches are from that old school mentality of pure wrestling that I miss so much with today's promotions and it's great to see it showcased here. I only wish that they had included more. Just like with the ECW release a few years back that was only a 2 disc set, I really think 2 discs don't do these promotions justice when you try to put together a retrospective collection. You need at the very least 3, with 4 discs being preferred. I mean, they gave Hogan 4 discs in his DVD set, Bret Hart and Roddy Piper 3, they can't do the same for ECW or the AWA? With that said, there is a lot here and they seemed to have selected the best matches from the AWA and include them in the set. Overall, the documentary was good and will really open the eyes of younger fans who think wrestling begins and ends with WWE, that the foundation to what we know today was really built by the AWA. Only a few complaints with the documentary. First, they seemed to repeat many things in the begining, which dragged the pace down a bit, this may have been done to stretch the documentary out, I don't know. There are also a few laugh out loud moments, when laughter wasn't intended. For example, when they talk about Hulk Hogan leaving the AWA and not keeping his commitments to wrestle some shows that he had cut tv promos for weeks in advance and the Gagne's accuse Vince of telling Hogan NOT to keep those commitments, Vince has the nerve to say "he doesn't remember if he did or didn't say that to Hogan". Give me a break! Signing Hogan was a HUGE deal for Vince and the WWF national explosion, and he doesn't remember anything like that? I mean, the AWA was about to strike a national tv deal to bring wrestling to Saturday nights on CBS (later, Vince did this with NBC and Saturday Night's Main Event), but when CBS saw that Verne lost Hogan, the deal was over before it began. Hogan jumping was huge and Vince can't remember details about it? Highly unlikely. This, along with the slow pace of the documentary at times and lack of a 3rd disc brought my rating down, but it's still a must buy for ANYONE who claims to be a wrestling fan. Young fans raised on WWE may find it boring, but old school fans like myself will really enjoy it.
Here's the full run down of the DVD contents..
Disc One: 1. AWA Documentary 2. A collection of 19 stories, promos and interviews. You get stories from Michael Hayes, Eric Bischoff, the Gagnes, Baron von Raschke and Nick Bockwinkel (Nick's stories are the best, I could listen to him talk for hours). A couple of classic promos and Mean Gene interviewing Bobby Heenan and the East-West Connection.
Disc Two: Matches 1. High Flyers vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens 8/23/1971 2. Verne Gagne vs. Baron von Raschke AWA Championship 7/13/1974 3. Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens vs. Billy Robinson & Frankie Hill 5/20/1978 4. Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon vs. the East-West Connection AWA Tag Team Championship 3/22/1980 5. Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel AWA Championship 5/10/1981 6. High Flyers vs. The East-West Connection 8/30/1981 7. Nick Bockwinkel vs. Hulk Hogan AWA Championship 4/18/1982 8. Jesse Ventura vs. Baron von Raschke 3/16/1983 9. Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Saito & Mr. Hatori 8/28/1983 10. Legion of Doom vs. Crusher, Larry & Curt Hennig 1/13/1985 11. Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers 12/25/1986 12. Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkel AWA Championship from SuperClash II 5/02/1987 13. Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich AWA/WCCW Championship Unification Match from SuperClash III 12/13/1988"
WWE spits on a Spectacular Legacy?
D.P. | California | 12/14/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Before I get started, let me just say that I'm an unbiased fan because I never had the chance to actually see & follow the AWA when it was around unlike how I was able to with WCW & ECW. This is the 3rd attempt at WWE telling the history of another promotion & based on their previous two DVD sets of promotions, this documentary was either going in one of two directions. It was either going the way of "Rise & Fall Of ECW" where they spent time & went into heavy detail about how it's ideas had a heavy influence in professional wrestling today...or "Monday Night War" where they heavily focused on the negatives of the company & downplay the influence that company had on professional wrestling. Well, this DVD I saw went the way of the Monday Night War where I just saw a burial of the promotion by everyone involved except the main players of the company. And by the way, Ric Flair isn't interviewed or even mentioned until the closing the of documentary when they were naming off the wrestlers Gagne trained despite being on the cover, talk about false advertising! Bottom line is that this DVD follows the path of WCW in "Monday Night War" & Ultimate Warrior's DVD in which they build them up only to completely knock them down & out by the end of the feature.
Verne Gagne's background growing up kicks off the documentary along with the story of how the National Wrestling Alliance was born & eventually split up into the WWE, AWA, and NWA. How Gagne ran his territory & trained wrestlers followed by his innovations into the wrestling business (ala "The Wrestler" movie) are also glossed upon along with his strict rules & his idea of keeping "kayfabe." From here you'll get introductions into the early AWA stars such as Bobby Heenan, Nick Bockwinkle, the High Flyers, Texas Outlaws, Baron Von Raschke, Jesse Ventura, Superstar Billy Graham, Mad Dog Vachon, Gene Okerland, and others. The documentary takes a turn for the worse here as they cover Hulk Hogan breaking in and how Hulkamania was beginning in the AWA before Hogan leaving over money issues. Other talent started to talk about how they followed Hogan out of the AWA & were paid more money not to finish out their contractual agreements that Vince denied despite what the actual talent said. The title reigns of Rick Martel & Greg Gagne are briefly talked about in a negative light along with Larry Zbyszko's later in the documentary with Jerry Lawler saying he only got the title because he was Verne's son-in-law. The idea behind the SuperClash events were talked about and the reasons why that concept just wasn't working between all the promoters involved. The Stan Hansen title reign was discussed to the point to where it made Verne & the AWA look like complete idiots for giving him the title when his loyalties only lied with himself & working in Japan. The ESPN deal they had along with the new generation of talent coming into the company such as the Road Warriors, Sherri Martel, Eric Bischoff & the Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) is reduced to the idea that they only came into the company so they would get noticed by Vince with Sherri even admitting it. The entire story behind Jerry Lawler winning the title in a unification match and all the politics behind the match is talked about before Lawler explains why he never defended the title & still has it with him today. The idea behind a Team Challenge series that happened in the dying days of the company are discussed along with a state lawsuit that eventually ended the company. They end the documentary on a positive note stating the story behind Verne's induction into the Hall Of Fame despite people like Ricky Steamboat not approving of it.
The DVD extras include interview outtakes such as Jim Brunzell telling stories about "ribs" in the company, the entrance & exit of the Freebirds told by Michael Hayes, Eric Bischoff telling the story of him coming into the AWA & eventually being an announcer, and several wrestlers talking about a plane ride with Mad Dog Vachon. The real gem of the interview outtakes were several stories by Nick Bockwinkle talking about things like a joke Bobby Heenan played on an announcer, his longest night of wrestling, and his favorite match. Along with outtakes were various AWA promos with Gene Okerland featuring Bobby Heenan, East-West Connection, and Mad Dog Vachon with a pine box.
The second disc is complete with 13 matches BUT only 5 are shown in full...and one of them is already available on another DVD set. All the clipped matches show around 10 mins. of the match AT THE MOST with most of them having interview segments before & after the match. I mean it comes off at highlights more than actually wrestling matches. The only matches shown in full are a cage match between the Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers (not the match on HBK's DVD), High Flyers vs. Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens (with the introduction of Heenan as their manager), Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens vs. Billy Robinson & Frankie Hill, and two AWA Championship matches featuring Curt Henning vs. Nick Bockwinkel & a unification match with Jerry Lawler vs. WCCW Champion Kerry Von Erich (same match on "Greatest Stars Of The 80's"). The other clipped matches are: Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon vs. East-West Connection, Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel, High Flyers vs. East-West Connection, Nick Bockwinkle vs. Hulk Hogan (not the match on Hogan's DVD), Jesse Ventura vs. Baron Von Raschke, Hulk Hogan vs. Mr. Saito & Mr. Hatori, and Road Warriors & Paul Ellering vs. The Crusher & Larry Hennig & Curt Henning.
Overall, I was heavily disappointed as I just felt that this company to be around as long as it was & bring in so many legends to this sport as it did, it just painted an ugly picture of this company & I felt Greg Gagne's induction speech of this dad at the Hall Of Fame did more justice to the company than this DVD did. So much information on here was incorrect like Jim Ross talking about how the Mid-South/UWF promotion didn't want to participate in the SuperClash PPV but yet the UWF was absorbed into Jim Crockett Promotions around a year before the PPV, AWA legend Dick The Bruiser wasn't even mentioned once, and they put over the fact that Greg Gagne was AWA Champion (including a picture of him wearing the belt) when Greg never held the AWA Championship. This is only good for some archival footage & to see the old wrestling legends like Nick Bockwinkel & Baron Van Raschke but nothing past that. I recommend for a rental & see where you go from there. "
M. E. Morra | Long Island, New York United States | 10/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"HERE'S THE EARLY INFO, IT LOOKS LIKE A MUST HAVE...
there will be a one hour and 45 minute documentary focusing on Verne Gagne and it will largely be about the later years, Hulk Hogan and the Superclash shows.
Interviews featured on the DVD include Jim Brunzell, Michael Hayes, Baron Von Raschke, Greg Gagne, Eric Bischoff and Nick Bockwinkel. The match listings on the DVD are as follows:
*Nick Bockwinkel & Ray Stevens vs. High Flyers *Verne Gagne vs. Baron Von Raschke *Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens vs. Frank Hill & Billy Robinson *Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon vs. Adrian Adonis & Jesse Ventura *Verne Gagne vs. Nick Bockwinkel *Gagne & Brunzell vs. Ventura & Adonis *Bockwinkel vs. Hulk Hogan *Ventura vs. Von Raschke *Hogan vs. Masa Saito & Massao Hattori *Road Warriors vs. Crusher & Larry & Curt Hennig *Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty vs. Buddy Rose & Doug Somers *Bockwinkel vs. Curt Hennig *Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich"
Watch before you judge
J. Green | 03/08/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was a very going over of AWA. You would never believe of the stars that got their starts here before going on to bigger places and becoming bigger stars. The likes of Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Jesse "the Body" Ventura, "Superstar" Billy Graham and the list goes on. However after watching this you can make your judgment of whether to judge Vince Mcmahon on whether he killed the AWA or it was something else. I am so glad that the WWE has decided to put out dvds like this and others to show the new and more recent fans that it wasn't always the WWE and the stars from the past that we should never forget about. I hope to see more dvds like this soon."
Best DVD of sports entertainment..
Eric Brown | 02/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's the best entertainment sport of wrestling of AWA back in the 1960's where it first started by a promoter of Verne Gagne. He is one the best promoters of all time and he will not going to be forgotten even though he is not here physically. Even though he is heaven and he will be remembered as a hall of famer when he recevied his award ceremony and to all the people out there believed in him for those who does respect him and his legacy that he first created and his heart will be blessed in him where he is up in heaven now. As though he is the fine promoter that lived inside of his heart of all time."