Greg Gagne Recalls Hulk Hogan No-Showing Big AWA Show At Vince McMahon's Request

Greg Gagne, the son of late legendary wrestler and promoter Verne Gagne, reflected on the time the American Wrestling Association (AWA) was left stunned by Hulk Hogan's decision to no-show its huge Christmas night event in 1983 in St Paul, Minn., at the request of then-WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. McMahon had been looking to purchase the AWA, but the promotion also was in talks with CBS to promote a huge clash between Hogan and AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel at a special event in April 1984. 

"Verne got a letter on December 21 from Tampa, Florida. It said, 'I'm not coming back. Signed Hulk Hogan,'" Gagne told "Busted Open Radio." "Verne saw it, and he said, 'Tampa, Florida, that damn Eddie Graham.' Eddie and him used to play ribs on each other all the time. So Verne thought it was a rib, and he threw it away. So Christmas night comes, St Paul's sold out. Hogan doesn't show up. I called him on the phone, I said, 'Hey, big man, what are you doing? We've got matches down here.' He says, 'I'm gonna go with the WWE.'"

Gagne said he told Hogan that "it isn't the way you do business." Hogan had completed all the promotional interviews leading up to the AWA's run of shows over the holiday period, and Gagne wanted Hogan to fulfill his commitments before he left for WWE. Hogan ultimately told Gagne that McMahon was "paying him more money to stay at home" than the AWA events over the holiday period would have paid him. 

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit "Busted Open Radio" with a h/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.