The Family Von Erich
Get to Know the Legendary Von Erich Family
Superstars in the world of sports entertainment, the Von Erich family can very well be considered royalty in the squared circle. A professional wrestling family consisting of a father and his sons, they have been inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame; it is hard to think of wrestling entertainment without their name being mentioned.
The original Von Erich was the family’s patriarch, Jack Adkisson Sr., known professionally as Fritz Von Erich. Originally a football player, he never considered wrestling until he met Stu Hart of the also legendary Hart wrestling family in Edmonton, Canada. Hart decided the young Adkisson had potential and trained then booked him in his Klondike Wrestling promotion and gave him the wrestling name of Fritz Von Erich and partnered him with Waldo Von Erich as a pair of “evil German brothers.” Despite his eldest son, Jack Barton, dying accidentally, Fritz continued to travel and wrestling, leading him to win the AWA world title. He rose to stardom in many National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) promotions, holding many major belts, as well as in the World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). His top performance in the industry between the 1960s and 1970s made him a force to be reckoned with, having an imposing presence and his trademark finishing move, the Iron Claw.
He had six sons, and five of them became wrestling legends in their own right, as well as the third generation of the Von Erich family. Fritz’s second eldest, Kevin, was known as the Golden Warrior and spent a good part of his career working in the WCCW, where he had fights with other now-famous wrestlers like Ric Flair. Known for wrestling barefooted and using his father’s move, the Iron Claw, he retired in 1995 but still remained a presence in the WWE. His two sons Ross and Marshall are also professional wrestlers.
Fritz had four other sons who were also professional wrestlers. There was David, who was known as the Yellow Rose of Texas; Kerry, the Modern Day Warrior and the Texas Tornado and the best known of the Von Erich family; the fifth son, Mike, who replaced David in the squared circle after his death; and Chris, the youngest brother, who suffered from asthma and brittle bones yet still persisted in the ring.
From the outside, it seemed that the family lived a charmed life, but it was full of tragedy. David died in Japan from unconfirmed causes; Mike overdosed on tranquilizer after suffering from toxic shock syndrome and not being able to get back into the ring at full strength; and Chris, depressed about his lack of success in the wrestling business and the death of his brother Mike, committed suicide. Kerry, the most successful Von Erich brother who held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, wanting to follow his late brothers and distraught over the end of his marriage, also killed himself soon after. Kerry, however, was survived by his daughter Lacey, who followed in his footsteps and won the TNA Knockout Tag Team Championship before retiring in 2010. Fritz died of brain and lung cancer in 1997, four years after his fourth son’s death.
Despite the tragedies befalling the Von Erich families in the end, their legacy and legend live on, and the entire Von Erich family was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by longtime rival Michael “PS” Hayes and was received by the remaining brother, Kevin, in 2009. The third generation of the Von Erich family is currently forming, and only time will tell if they can live up to the legendary name of Von Erich.
WWW. 2017. “The Von Erichs.” Accessed on June 8, 2017. http://www.wwe.com/superstars/vonerichs.