Former Executive Vice President of World Championship Wrestling Eric Bischoff has revealed that the legendary Verne Gagne originally pitched Brock Lesnar for a WCW run.
Prior to WCW’s momentus rise in the professional wrestling world and several years before they defeated the then World Wrestling Federation for eighty three weeks running in the ratings, the company were looking for new stars while relying on an influx of talent from their rivals.
While the likes of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage provided a boost in the short term – at least until the NWO came along and interest was sustained – feuding with incoming and outgoing stars such as Ric Flair and Vader, newer faces such as Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero and Brian Pillman who had broken away from tag team and light heavyweight action in order to be taken seriously were beginning to make the company’s mid-card must see.
Taking to his 83 Weeks podcast, the former Raw General Manager told the story of how the company could have had another diamond in the rough in their war against the WWF in the form of a teenage Brock Lesnar who had attracted the interest of AWA legend, Verne Gagne:
“I remember one of the last conversations I had with Verne, was Verne Gagne calling me and pitching this guy called ‘Brock Lesnar’. So, whatever year that was when Brock was graduating or shortly thereafter. Verne was so close with the University of Minnesota wrestling team, he was really close with the coach there. When Brock was a big star there, Verne thought for sure that Brock could be a huge star. Verne called me while I was in Atlanta some time in ’95 or ’96.”
Unfortunatley for World Championship Wrestling, they didn’t take the option of pursuing Brock Lesnar following his graduation from the University of Minnesota. In 2000, the prospect would sign a deal with the World Wrestling Federation and be assigned to their developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling.
A ten time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, four time AWA World Tag Team Champion, and two time AWA United States Champion among many other accolades, Verne Gagne passed away on April 27, 2015, at 89 years of age.
Credit for the interview: 83 Weeks Podcast