Hulk Hogan was SUPPOSED to be at an AWA house show working Nick Bockwinkel. But was he? Nope. He was at the Chase Park Hotel in St. Louis, MO. He was at the former centerpiece of the NWA. He was at the house that Sam Mushnick built – making his WWF return after a three year absense, wrestling perrenial jobber Bill Dixon.
Vince McMahon’s national expansion in 1983 would take a huge leap forward on that night. Not only was the AWA’s most popular performer and the legitimate future of the business making his debut -nonetheless at the CHASE Hotel of all places – but Mean Gene Okerlund and “Dr. D” David Schultz, also AWA regulars, would debut on this program as well. Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan were also among the group to come over, and later, guys like Jim Brunzell, Adrian Adonis, and others would trek to New York.
Many purists considered this a slap in the face to not only the AWA, but the NWA. Wrestling at the Chase was legendary, and even though in late ’83, the peak popularity of St. Louis wrestling was a thing of the past, it was still seen as insulting that Vince McMahon and the northeast WWF would dare to run a show there. These were true shots fired – Vince was coming to take the business, and now with Hulk Hogan in tow, stopping him would be the biggest challenge a promoter could face.
But nobody could be more pissed than AWA promoter Verne Gagne. He had Hogan booked on house shows – big house shows – all throughout the remainder of ’83 into ’84. McMahon paid Hulk, not just to come to WWF, but to NOT show up at the AWA shows. Even though in the future, Vince wasn’t as cold-hearted (allowing talent to fulfill their dates before coming to New York), this was 1983. Vince famously once told Verne, after a failed attempt to buy the AWA, “I don’t negotiate” as he was getting onto a plane. He certainly didn’t. Vince raped Verne of all his top guys, his top manager, his top interviewer, and most importantly – what would become the biggest household name in the sport – Hulk Hogan.
Watch Hogan put that armbar on! Ronda Rousey – you’ve got a lot to learn BROTHERRRR!
Anyways… yeah I found this on Facebook and thought hell, why not share and tell the story.