The AWA legend has passed away. The AWA was the promotion in my territory, before I understood the concept. The first two shows I went to were AWA shows, to see the Road Warriors beat up the Freebirds. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them, and wish I had started going much earlier, before the AWA talent pool was getting eaten up by Crocket and Vince.
I never thought much about Verne, since he was a TV only presence at the time. I never saw him wrestle live at all and only heard he was the former 10 time AWA champ. To me, at the time, he was just a commentator who's son wrestled. It was only later I came to respect how he treated pro-wrestling as an actual sport, despite it's predetermined outcome. I never felt he talked down to the fans at all or really considered us marks.
He ran a successful promotion for over 30 years, which is something most territories can't say.