Some AWA Questions:
1) Was there really anything Verne could've done to keep Hulk? People tend to blame him for not putting the title on him and, then, not sharing in his t-shirt sales but, honestly, it seems Vince was going to get Hulk almost no matter what. Vince had more to offer Hulk than Verne whether it be money or exposure and there doesn't seem to be much Verne would've been able to do to stop it.
2) Granting that Hulk stayed in AWA, how big of a difference do you think it would've made. As big as Hulk could've gotten, and even if Vince never went national, New York is still New York and Minnesota is still Minnesota. Could Verne have gone national with Hulk? Was there a chance that Hulk went to Crockett? Mid-South? Back to Florida?
3) Let's say Hulk left but he was the only one. Do you think that would've been enough to kill AWA? If not, what other combination of wrestlers leaving really brought the AWA down? Martel? Ventura? Road Warriors? Hennig? Tito?
4) Say question but Hulk stays. IE If Hulk stays but everyone else who went to WWF does (or some combination therein).
I can answer all of these with one. Ultimately the problem with the AWA was not star power or going national, it was Verne Gagne. Verne never would have succeeded going national because his mindset was still in the 50s where promoters stay in their lane, and Vince would have destroyed him regardless. He could have the Road Warriors and Hulk Hogan, but ultimately he didn't know how to book them and what he had with them. By 1990, if I might use a Hitchhiker's Guide reference to sum it, the WWF Vogon Contructor Fleet was coming to demolish the Earth and it didn't matter if Verne and all the other old-timer carny promoters were going to let go of their talent and territories or not. Vince was winning in the end.