WCCW #4 Page #2

Chris was the youngest of the brothers and the one who wanted it the most, unfortunately he wasnít blessed with size and charisma of his older brothers. He made his debut in front of the crowd in ironically enough his fathers retirement match at the Cotton Bowl, against King Kong Bundy, helping his father and brothers in shaving the head of arch nemesis Gary Hart. At just over five feet tall and not much more than 170 pounds Chris just didnít measure up both literally and figuratively to his older brother.  He had just made his debut in the ring when injuries and his lack of size caught up to him. He too took his own life.

Unfortunately, it wasnít the end of the tragedy.

Kerry was the all American boy, with the Greek Adonis looks, the long flowing hair, the smile that made all the women in the audience palpitate, Kerry did have the total package. The only one of the boys to hold the NWA world heavyweight title (winning it in Texas Stadium against Ric Flair at the inaugural Parade of Champions tribute to his late brother David), he was also the only one to find stardom on his own right in the WWF winning their Intercontinental Championship. What people didnít know about Kerry was that he had developed an addiction to pain killers, after a motorcycle accident that also claimed part of his foot. Kerry had been wrestling for several years with a prosthesis which severely limited his mobility in the ring, he became a shell of his former self, the Modern Day Warrior took his own life on the familyís ranch. 

The only of the boys to still be with us today, is Kevin. While not being the larger than life figures of his brothers, Kevin was the working man's hero. The high flyer who wrestled without boots, never really ventured out of Texas, preferring instead to stay at home. His feud with Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy, was one of the hottest feuds in the nation in the early 1980ís, then later his problems with former family friend Brian Adias, kept the promotion afloat in the latter part of the decade. His 45 minute classic against Al Perez in the Cotton Bowl for the WCCW world heavyweight championship should be required viewing for all up and comers in the business. While never reaching the level of David and Kerry, Kevin was the glue that held the family together through all the tragedy. Kevin still lives in the Dallas area, but rarely steps back into the spotlight.

While this column is in no way a judgment on the parenting of Jack and Doris Adkisson, or a moral judgment on the wrestling industry, it is sad to think about what might have been.  The Von Erich's place at the top of Texas wrestling was cemented long ago, their success was unparalleled. In the ring there were few better. They are the main reason that Iím a fan of this business. Iím sorry that this column has been so racked with tragedy, sometimes you have to look at the bad before you can gain perspective on the good. 

David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris REST IN PEACE. 

NEXT MONTH:

Weíll look at one of the strangest nights in the history of Texas wrestling... The night the lights went out in Dallas.

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