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AWA DVD Review

AWA DVD Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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AWA DVD Review

AWA DVD Cover

(c) 2006 World Wrestling Entertainmnet, Inc.
The documentary is the best history lesson of the expansion era that the WWE has ever done. Fans of the AWA or of wrestling history will be fascinated by this DVD set and I highly recommend they purchase this DVD. If you are a fan of wrestling that does not care about the AWA or the history of the business then you should skip this DVD.

The Documentary

The DVD starts off discussing the wrestling landscape during the '50s and how the AWA was formed. The story then follows the life of Verne Gagne and the many great wrestlers he has trained. After a brief look at the zenith of the company, the story follows the collapse of the company.

It is at this point that the story becomes fascinating. In the past, WWE DVD releases have done a really poor job in describing what the expansion era of the WWE was like. This time, the WWE does a tremendous job and tells that story from both the viewpoints of the WWE and one of their competitors from that era.

While the DVD discusses the WWE expansion, the main focus stays on the AWA and the many mistakes they made that allowed the WWE to knock them out of business. Without a doubt, their biggest mistake involved Hulk Hogan and their petty dealings with him that cost them millions of dollars. That penny-wise dollar-foolish attitude continues throughout the story as their dealings with Stan Hansen and Jerry Lawler illustrate.

The most amazing part of this disc is listening to Verne and Greg Gagne discuss what they did and still not be able to face the reality that some of the decisions they made were really bad. While there is some revisionist history on this disc from both sides, it is kept to a minimum on this DVD.

My only gripe with the documentary is that the pink room used by the AWA at the end was never shown. The reason this upsets me is because newer fans would never believe what the TV show used to look like unless they saw this with their own eyes.

The Matches

Disc 1
  • 8/71: High Flyers vs Nick Bockwinkle & Ray Stevens
  • 7/74 AWA Title: Verne Gagne vs Baron von Raschke
  • 5/78 Pat Patterson & Ray Stevens vs Billy Robunson & Frankie Hill

    Disc 2

  • 3/80 AWA Tag Team Championship: Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon vs Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis
  • 5/81 AWA Title: Verne Gagne vs Nick Bockwinkle
  • 8/81 High Flyers vs Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis
  • 4/82 AWA Title: Nick Bockwinke vs Hulk Hogan
  • 3/83 Jesse Ventura vs Baron von Raschke
  • 8/83 Hulk Hogan vs Mr. Saito & Mr. Hatori
  • 1/85 Legion of Doom vs Crusher, Larry Hennig, & Curt Hennig
  • 12/86 Midnight Rockers vs Buddy Rose & Doug Somers
  • 5/87 AWA Title: Nick Bockwinkle vs Curt Hennig
  • 12/88 AWA/WCCW Unification Match: Jerry Lawler vs Kerry Von Erich

    One of the things that I feel led to the downfall of the AWA was a penny-wise dollar-foolish philosophy. One of the areas where the AWA badly skimped out on was their production values and these matches prove that. A majority of the matches are shot with only one camera. For the time that many of these matches took place, that is just embarrassing when compared to what the other major promotions of the era were doing.

    As far as the matches themselves, they are a nice walk down memory lane but there is no must see match on this DVD.

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