[AWA] Steve Corino Retains World Title


August 09, 2005

AWA President Dale Gagne has issued a decision regarding the ending of the Steve Corino vs. MANA match from last Saturday night in Philadelphia, PA.

MANA, the challenger, defeated Steve Corino at 10:39 when Frank Talent from the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission and ringside physician Dr. Abdel stopped the contest due to a bad cut to Corino’s forehead and the top of his head.

Pro-Wrestling WORLD-1 Senior Referee Mike Kehner awarded the match to MANA but not the title. Rob Dimension, MANA’s manager, grabbed the AWA World title belt and gave it to his charge and all hell broke loose. Corino went after Dimension, MANA went after Corino, and before you knew it the whole locker room had hit the ring. After the ring was cleared, the WORLD-1 fans went home not knowing who was the AWA World heavyweight champion.

Within hours of the event, both Corino and Dimension (through MANA) filed separate petitions to AWA President Dale Gagne claiming ownership to the AWA World championship. Gagne told both of them that he would not make a decision until he saw the footage from the match, which was sent to him by WORLD-1 distributor Sound Impressions, and spoke to everyone involved in the match including Corino, MANA, Dimension, Kehner, and even Matt Striker.

AWA Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. Dale R. Gagne, President August 9, 2005

Re: AWA World title controversy

To: Steven Corino, Robert Garrett, Michael Kehner, Matthew Kaye, and the entire AWA Board of Directors,

During the early morning of Sunday, August 7, I received faxes and calls from both Steve Corino and Rob Dimension filing official petitions and protests regarding the AWA World title match that happened only hours before between Steve Corino and MANA.

Mr. Corino, the reigning champion on August 6, informed me that Dr. Abdel and Mr. Frank Talent stopped the match due to multiple cuts to his head. Corino informed me that the cut in question was a cut that happened during a match in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada for the PCW promotion two days before. Corino also swore to me that he was in no danger and even pointed out that he had MANA in a King Cobra Clutch submission hold and it looked like the match was going to end in his favor.

Mr. Robert Garrett (aka Rob Dimension, speaking for MANA) protested that Corino could not continue and that Mr. Talent and Dr. Abdel were within their power to stop the match if they felt that Mr. Corino could not continue due to an excessive blood loss rule.

Mr. Garrett also submitted a tape of the famous December 13, 1988 match between then-AWA World champion Jerry Lawler vs. World Class Championship Wrestling champion Kerry Von Erich. In that match, referee Marty Miller stopped the match when he determined that Mr. Von Erich could not continue due to excessive blood loss and awarded the AWA and WCCW titles to Mr. Lawler.

After looking at the footage I can see that Mr. Corino’s cut was dangerous and I do not fault the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission for stopping the bout.

However, after speaking with Pro-Wrestling WORLD-1 Senior Referee Mike Kehner and asking him the condition of Corino who wrote me and I quote “I have been with Steve for over 10 years. I have seen him bleed buckets. I have seem him in more then 50 matches were I feared for his safety. That being said, I did not feel that Steve was at that point on Saturday night. He in fact had a finisher on MANA and I was more worried about MANA tapping out.”

While Mr. Garrett was well prepared I will rule that Steve Corino is still the AWA World heavyweight champion. I felt after talking to everyone involved that no one thought that Corino was in serious danger and that the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission was just following the rules. And I will also state the other reasons for my decision:

1. Although the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission has the authority to stop a match, they DO NOT have the authority to award the AWA World heavyweight championship or any AWA sanctioned title to anyone.

2. Mr. Kehner did not stop the contest unlike Marty Miller did during the Lawler/Von Erich contest. If Mr. Kehner would have stopped the match and awarded the championship to MANA, then Mr. Corino’s petition would have been denied and MANA would have been the AWA World heavyweight champion. In the AWA, a referee’s decision stands.

MANA did prove to be a legitimate contender and I will sanction a re-match between AWA World champion Steve Corino and MANA in the near future that I personally will attend.

Thank you to everyone involved that helped in my decision.


Dale R. Gagne President, AWA Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Pro-Wrestling WORLD-1 Fighting Arts


Matthew Michaels is editor emeritus of Pulse Wrestling, and has been since the site launched.