The Five Biggest, Baddest Pro Wrestlers Who Hail From Minnesota
Minnesota has been a pro wrestling hotbed for nearly a decade. From the AWA days of the 1960's and 1970's to current local promotions like Steel Domain, F1RST Wrestling, Midwest Pro Wrestling, Pro Wrestling America and American Wrestling Federation, the state has spawned a number of big-name wrestlers.
Here is a list of the biggest, baddest pro wrestlers to come out of the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Backlund was born and raised in Princeton, Minnesota, and wrestled at Princeton High School before going to college at NDSU. Backlund went on to a highly decorated career in many promotions and notably was a two-time Heavyweight Champion and one-time Tag Team Champion in the WWF (now WWE).
He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013.
Larry Hennig was born in Minneapolis but spent the final decades of his life in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He was a five-time Tag Team Champion in the AWA and is the father of former WWF Superstar Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig and grandfather of current pro wrestler Curtis Axel.
Hennig passed away in 2018 at the age of 82.
Gable (Chad Betts) is a St. Michael, Minnesota native who made his WWE debut in September of 2014. He won a state wrestling title at 170 lbs for the Knights in 2004 before wrestling for the United States in the 2012 Olympics.
Vern Gagne was born in 1926, grew up in Corcoran, Minnesota and graduated from Robbinsdale High School before winning two national titles in wrestling at the University of Minnesota.
After a stint in the NFL with the Chicago Bears (which he quit in favor of wrestling), Gagne starred in both the NWA and AWA. He was elected into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006.
"Ravishing" Rick Rude was born in St. Peter in southern Minnesota but, like Verne Gagne, graduated from Robbinsdale High School. He joined World Championship Wrestling (WCW) in 1985 before switching to WWF in 1987. Rude would bounce between the two promotions throughout his career before he passed away in 1999 at the age of 40.
Rude was elected into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.