Could be argued he was like the Vince McMahon Jr. of his era as far as promoters go. Of all the territories McMahon Jr. raided of talent during the WWE's expansion in the 1980's, the AWA proved to be by far his biggest goldmine. It was kind of too bad Verne was too much of an old school traditionalist during the last 5-10 years of the promotions existence and wasn't really able to adapt and change with the times, because he had a lot of great talent slip through his fingers during that time before the promotion eventually went under.
The AWA alumni list is pretty much a mini Hall of Fame. Just to name a few...
Superstar Billy Graham
Scott Hall/Razor Ramon
Curt Hennig/Mr. Perfect
The Fabulous Freebirds
The Road Warriors
The Nasty Boys
Big Van Vader
A lot of people on this list learned the ins & outs of the business from Verne in the AWA.
The biggest example that comes to mind about Verne's traditionalist ways coming back to bite him and hurt his business was when Hulk Hogan left the promotion after feuding with Nick Bockwinkel for the AWA Heavyweight Title. Hogan and Verne got into a dispute over money Verne felt he should've been receiving from Hogan merchandise and revenue drawing when he'd go wrestle in Japan. Hogan leaves the AWA for the WWE and about a month later, becomes WWE Champion, Hulkamania is launched, and the WWE's popularity skyrocketed throughout the rest of the 1980's from there as the AWA's steadily declined.
Gagne was more like Vince McMahon Sr who ran the Capital Wrestling Corp(forerunner of the WWE).
Verne ran the AWA in the Midwest and the companies had an agreement NOT to steal stars. Tons of
big name stars came out of Vince Sr.'s run too. Many never made it to the Midwest but were on TV a lot
out in the northeast(New York primarily). Bruno Samartino, Lou Thesz, nature boy Buddy Rodgers, Gorgeous George,
Pat O'Connor, Hans Schmidt, Angelo Poffo, and many others. Some of these guys did perform with Gagne's outfit but
the NE(old man McMahon's organization) actually had more big stars in the 50's and 60's. Old Madison Square Garden
was a frequent spot for the big matches. TV changed things and the big stars from out east started to come out and
perform for Gagne, usually when they were OLD. The 2 organizations actually 'rotated' star wrestlers a bit so things didn't get stale. It worked for awhile, but Vince jr. had bigger ideas.
Vince jr. pretty much took old Verne to the cleaners, but Gagne was his own worst enemy. He had the chance to hook
up with the WWE and stay local; but Verne would work only for himself; hence his AWA did a slow death.