Kerry Von Erich

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Kerry Von Erich
Kerry Von Erich.jpg
Von Erich as NWA World Heavyweight champion.
Born (1960-02-03)February 3, 1960[1][2]
Niagara Falls, New York
Died February 18, 1993(1993-02-18) (aged 33)[1][2][3]
Denton, Texas
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Cosmic Cowboy #2
Kerry Von Erich
The Modern Day Warrior[1][2]
Texas Tornado[1][2]
Billed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)[1][2]
Billed weight 254 lb (115 kg)[1][2]
Billed from Denton, Texas[4]
Trained by Fritz Von Erich[1]
Debut May 7, 1979[1][2][5]

Kerry Gene Adkisson (February 3, 1960 – February 18, 1993)[1][2] was an American professional wrestler under the ring names Kerry Von Erich, The Modern Day Warrior and the Texas Tornado. He was part of the Von Erich family of professional wrestlers.[1][2][6] He is best known for his time with his father's promotion World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), where he spent eleven years of his career, and his time in World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Adkisson held forty championships in various promotions during his career. Among other accolades, he was a five-time world champion: a four-time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion[7] and one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion,[8] and a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion.[9]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

NWA Texas (1979–1980)[edit]

Kerry was the son of wrestler Fritz Von Erich. His brothers, David, Kevin, Mike, and Chris, were also wrestlers. Kerry was also a standout in high school track and field and possessed a record-breaking discus throw.[6][10] He debuted in his father's promotion, NWA Texas/Big Time Wrestling on May 7, 1979 against Paul Perschmann.[5] In Big Time Wrestling, he held many Texas Tag Team and American Tag Team titles.[2]

World Class Championship Wrestling (1980–1989)[edit]

Most of Kerry's fame was made in Texas' World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), where he was nicknamed "The Modern Day Warrior." On December 28, 1980, his first NWA American Heavyweight Championship reign came after he defeated Gino Hernandez for the vacant title.[11] He lost the title to Ken Patera before winning his second NWA American Heavyweight Championship from The Masked Superstar.[11][12] In May and June 1981, Kerry exchanged the NWA American Heavyweight Championship with Ernie Ladd.[11][13] On October 25, he teamed with Terry Orndorff and they defeated The Great Kabuki and Chan Chung to win the NWA American Tag Team Championship.[14][15] After having short angles as a singles wrestler, he began teaming with his brother Kevin. On March 15, 1982, the two brothers wrestled Gary Hart and King Kong Bundy to a double disqualification.[16] On June 4, Von Erich defeated former NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race, elevating him to main event status.[17]

Kerry started feuding with the NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair. On August 15, he got his very first shot at the NWA title against Flair in a two out of three falls match, which Flair won to retain the title.[18] On December 25, Kerry got his next title shot against Flair in a no disqualification steel cage match, with Michael "P.S." Hayes, as the special guest referee. The Fabulous Freebirds helped Kerry to win the match, but he refused to take their help and said that he didn't want to win by cheating.[1] Terry Gordy slammed the cage door on Kerry's head, which led to Flair winning the match and retaining the title.[19] This culminated in a historic feud between the Von Erichs and the Freebirds that lasted for over five years.

Feud with the Fabulous Freebirds (1983–1984)[edit]

On June 17, 1983, he teamed with Bruiser Brody to defeat the Fabulous Freebirds for the NWA American Tag Team Championship.[14][20] On July 4, Kerry and his elder brothers Kevin and David defeated the Fabulous Freebirds in a two out of three falls match to win the NWA Texas Six-Man Tag Team Championship.[21][22] They lost the titles back to the Freebirds on August 12.[23] On September 5, the brothers took on the Fabulous Freebirds in a rematch for the titles; the Freebirds retained their titles by pinning Kerry.[24] On November 24, Kerry defeated Michael Hayes in a loser leaves Texas steel cage match.[25]

On December 2, the Von Erichs defeated the Freebirds for their second NWA Six-Man Tag Team Championship.[21][26] On December 25, Kerry defeated Kamala by disqualification. On January 30, 1984, he teamed up with his brothers Mike and David against the Fabulous Freebirds in a six-man tag team match, which the Von Erichs lost by disqualification.[27]

Kerry's biggest career highlight was on May 6, 1984, when he beat "Nature Boy" Ric Flair in a historic match, in front of over 45,000 fans at Texas Stadium to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[8][28] Kerry's victory was a tribute to his brother David, who had died three months earlier and for whom the event, the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, was named.[1][2][29] He lost the belt 18 days later in Yokosuka, Japan, back to Flair in a bout that was marred by controversy: Von Erich's feet were on the bottom rope following a reversed rollup, but the referee ignored this and made the count. Kerry has the 12th shortest NWA World title reign in history. In reality, the NWA only allowed Kerry a short reign due to his substance abuse, and he was told to drop the belt to Flair before the May 29 encounter between Flair and Ricky Steamboat.[2]

On July 4, the Von Erichs lost the six man tag title to the Fabulous Freebirds.[30] The title was held up due to the Freebirds winning after interference by Killer Khan. On September 3, they defeated the Freebirds in a handicap steel cage Loser Leaves Texas match for his fourth six man tag title reign.[21][31]

Later feuds (1984–1989)[edit]

After ending their rivalry with the Fabulous Freebirds, Von Erich brothers next feuded with Gino Hernandez, Chris Adams, and Jake Roberts. Kerry's angle with Adams was born out of Adams' angle with his brother Kevin, which began on September 28, 1984 (when Adams turned heel against Kevin following a tag team loss). In order to remain on kayfabe terms, Adams and Kerry wrestled as a tag team two days later in San Antonio, since the heel turn had not aired on television yet. On October 27, 1984, Hernandez, Adams, and Roberts defeated the Von Erichs to win the Six Man Tag Title in a match that saw Bobby Fulton substitute for an injured Kevin.[32] On October 29, he defeated Gino Hernandez for his fifth NWA American Heavyweight Championship.[11][33] On November 22, he teamed with Iceman Parsons to defeat Jake Roberts and Kelly Kiniski.[34] He later refereed a Texas Deathmatch between longtime rival Terry Gordy and Killer Khan, which Gordy won, via Kerry's decision. On December 25, Kerry again got a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, a title he had lost many months ago. The champion Ric Flair intentionally got disqualified to retain the title.[35] On December 31, the Von Erichs defeated Hernandez, Roberts, and Adams to regain their NWA Six-Man Tag Team Title.[21][36]

On June 4, 1986, Kerry was in a motorcycle accident that nearly ended his life. He suffered a dislocated hip and a badly injured right leg. Doctors were unable save his right foot, eventually amputating it. According to his brother Kevin, Kerry injured the foot following surgery by attempting to walk on it prematurely, thus forcing the doctors to amputate it. He was able to continue wrestling after the accident with a prosthesis and until his death, kept the amputation secret to the majority of fans and fellow wrestlers, even going to the extreme of showering with his boots on. However, Roddy Piper stated in his autobiography: "We were the best of friends. In fact, he felt comfortable enough to sit with me in a hotel and shoot the breeze with his prosthetic off". [37]

During his last days in WCCW, Kerry Von Erich would be embroiled in a feud with Jerry "The King" Lawler (AWA World Heavyweight Champion) over who would be the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Kerry was then the WCWA (World Class Wrestling Association (World Class' final used name before the USWA days) Heavyweight Champion.[7] They would meet at an interpromotional event called SuperClash III to settle the dispute. Prior to this match, Kerry accidentally cut his arm causing it to bleed. During the match, he also received a cut to the head. When he later had Lawler in a clawhold on the mat with Lawler's shoulders down, the referee saw the blood on Kerry's head, thought it was excessive, and stopped the match. The crowd thought Kerry won by submission but instead "due to excessive bleeding" the referee stopped the match and awarded the decision and the WCWA Championship to Jerry Lawler.[38] This would mark the end of Kerry's WCWA run.

St. Louis Wrestling Club (1983)[edit]

He also worked for St. Louis Wrestling Club in 1983, where he once held the NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship.[39]

United States Wrestling Association (1989–1990)[edit]

Kerry did continue to wrestle at the Dallas Sportatorium under the USWA banner, which acquired World Class in early-1989. He formed a tag team with Jeff Jarrett, and won the Texas heavyweight title twice.[40][41] In 1990, Kerry feuded violently with Matt Borne, who turned heel during a ringside interview; during one match, the two battled outside the Sportatorium into the parking lot during a thunderstorm. Manager Percy Pringle also turned heel, and began feuding with Kerry. During the height of their angle, Kerry abruptly left the USWA/World Class and joined the WWF, billed as The Texas Tornado, leaving the Von Erich tradition to older brother Kevin (who was considered semi-active) and Chris. Honorary Von Erich "Gentleman" Chris Adams then became the Sportatorium's main headliner, feuding with Pringle, Steve Austin, and Jeannie Clark. World Class withdrew from the USWA soon thereafter, but without Kerry, manager Gary Hart, and lack of television and revenues, World Class ceased operations three months later.

World Wrestling Federation[edit]

Debut and Intercontinental Champion (1990)[edit]

In mid-1990, he signed a contract with Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and debuted on the July 28, 1990 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event as a fan favorite under the ring name Texas Tornado, defeating Buddy Rose, who coincidentally was older brother Kevin's opponent when he made his wrestling debut in 1976.[42] At SummerSlam, Tornado substituted for the injured Brutus Beefcake and defeated Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship.[43][44] After he became Champion, Tornado defended the title for three months including a match against Haku on the October 13 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event[45] before losing the title back to former champion Mr. Perfect in a rematch on the December 15 (taped November 19) edition of Superstars.[46] Kerry lost this match, and the title to Perfect due to alleged interference from "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.[46]

At Survivor Series in 1990, while still Intercontinental champion, he wrestled in a Survivor Series match where he teamed with the WWF Champion The Ultimate Warrior (formerly The Dingo Warrior in World Class) and the Legion of Doom (Hawk and Animal). He was eliminated by long-time rival Mr. Perfect but his team won the match.[47]

Later years (1991–1992)[edit]

At the Royal Rumble in 1991, he participated in the Royal Rumble match where he entered fifth and was eliminated by The Undertaker after lasting nearly half an hour.[48] He made his WrestleMania debut at WrestleMania VII, defeating Dino Bravo following a Tornado Punch.[49] At SummerSlam, he teamed with the British Bulldog and Ricky Steamboat in a six-man tag team match to defeat the team of The Warlord and Power and Glory (Paul Roma and Hercules).[50]

At Survivor Series, he teamed with Sgt. Slaughter, Jim Duggan, and Tito Santana against Colonel Mustafa, The Berzerker, Skinner, and Hercules. He did not eliminate anyone, but his entire team survived.[51] He made his last pay-per-view (PPV) appearance at the Royal Rumble in 1992; he participated in the Royal Rumble match for the vacant WWF World Title. He was eliminated by the eventual winner Ric Flair, the man Von Erich beat eight years before for the NWA World Heavyweight Title.[8][52] Kerry's push eventually ended as he was relegated to jobber to the stars status. Following a series of house show losses to Kamala, Von Erich left the WWF in August 1992 .

United States Wrestling Federation and Global Wrestling Federation (1992–1993)[edit]

Kerry returned to Texas and claimed the USWF Texas Heavyweight Championship, which he lost to Dynamite Dixon in November. This would be Kerry's last championship belt. Kerry returned to Dallas to compete in the Global Wrestling Federation (GWF), where he began teaming with former arch-rival Chris Adams. Kerry's final match took place on February 12, 1993. It was a tag team match in the GWF at the Sportatorium on which Kerry and Chris Adams lost via disqualification to Johnny Mantell and Black Bart.

Death[edit]

After the amputation of his foot, Kerry became addicted to pain killers, followed by several drug problems. Among the many of them were two arrests, the first of which resulted in probation. One day after being indicted for the second charge, which likely would have resulted in extensive jail time (being a violation of his probation), Kerry committed suicide by a shot to the heart on February 18, 1993 on his father's ranch in Denton County, Texas.[3]

Bret Hart states in his biography ("My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling") that Kerry had told him months before about his plans, that he had wanted to follow his four late brothers (two of whom had committed suicide), and that they were calling him. His marriage had fallen apart as well and according to Hart, Von Erich believed his death was inevitable.

Posthumous induction in WWE Hall of Fame[edit]

On March 16, 2009, WWE.com announced that the Von Erich family would be inducted into the 2009 class of the WWE Hall of Fame by longtime rival, Michael Hayes. The family members inducted were Fritz, Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris Von Erich. Kevin received rings for his father, Fritz, as well as each of his brothers. WWE made two Hall of Fame rings with Kerry Von Erich's name inscribed on the interior which were presented by Kevin Von Erich to Kerry's daughters, Hollie and Lacey, attending with their mother Cathy (Kerry's ex-wife). The event was held close to the Von Erich's home at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on April 4, 2009.

Personal life[edit]

Kerry was married on June 18, 1983 to Catherine M. Murray.[53] They had two daughters, Hollie Brooke (born September 19, 1984) and Lacey (born July 17, 1986). The couple divorced on April 22, 1992.[54]

In wrestling[edit]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

  • Texas Wrestling Federation
    • TWF Texas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[61]
  • United States Wrestling Federation
    • USWF Texas Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[61]
  • WWWA Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[61]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Kerry Von Erich Bio". Accelerator 3359. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  3. ^ a b "Power Slam". This Month in History: February (SW Publishing). January 1999. p. 28. 55. 
  4. ^ a b c d Shields, Brian; Sullivan, Kevin (2009). WWE Encyclopedia. Dorling Kindersley. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-7566-4190-0. 
  5. ^ a b "Wrestling 85: Interview 85:Kerry Von Erich". Stanley Weston. Spring 1985. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  6. ^ a b "Von Erich Family Profile". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved 2008-03-05. 
  7. ^ a b c World Class Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  8. ^ a b c d "N.W.A. World Heavyweight Title". The Great Hisa's Puroresu Club. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  9. ^ a b "WWE Intercontinental Championship official title history". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  10. ^ Foley, Mick (1999). Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. New York: Regan Books. p. 129. ISBN 0-06-039299-1. 
  11. ^ a b c d e NWA American Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
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  13. ^ "Wrestling Star Wars 6/81 results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
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  15. ^ "Wrestling Star Wars 10/81 results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
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  22. ^ "Independence Day Star Wars 1983 results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  23. ^ Dananay, John (1983-08-12). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  24. ^ Dananay, John (1983-09-05). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  25. ^ Dananay, John (1983-11-24). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  26. ^ Dananay, John (1983-12-02). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  27. ^ Dananay, John (1984-01-30). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  28. ^ "1st Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  29. ^ "Parade of Champions". 411mania. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  30. ^ Dananay, John (1984-07-04). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  31. ^ Dananay, John (1984-09-03). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  32. ^ Dananay, John (1984-10-27). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  33. ^ Dananay, John (1984-10-29). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  34. ^ Dananay, John (1984-11-22). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  35. ^ Dananay, John (1984-12-25). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  36. ^ Dananay, John (1984-12-31). "WCCW Results". World Class Memories. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  37. ^ Piper, Roddy (2002). In the pit with Piper: Roddy gets Rowdy. New York: Berkley Boulevard. p. 208. ISBN 0-425-18721-7. 
  38. ^ "SuperClash III results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  39. ^ a b NWA Missouri Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  40. ^ a b World Class Wrestling Association World Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  41. ^ a b Texas Heavyweight Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  42. ^ "Saturday Night's Main Event results – July 28, 1990". WWE. 1990-07-28. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  43. ^ "SummerSlam 1990 official results". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  44. ^ "Texas Tornado's first Intercontinental Championship reign". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  45. ^ "Saturday Night's Main Event results – October 13, 1990". WWE. 1990-10-13. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  46. ^ a b "WWF Superstars Results (1986–1997)". Angelfire. Archived from the original on 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
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  48. ^ "Hulk Hogan (spot No. 24) wins the Royal Rumble Match". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
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  52. ^ "Ric Flair (spot No. 3) wins the Royal Rumble Match to become WWE Champion". WWE. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  53. ^ Texas Marriages
  54. ^ Texas Divorces
  55. ^ "Kerry von Erich vs Salvatore Bellomo part 1". YouTube. Retrieved June 25, 2013. 
  56. ^ "Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair-NWA Title Pt.1". YouTube. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  57. ^ Texas Tag Team Title history At wrestling-titles.com
  58. ^ National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Title (Texas) history At wrestling-titles.com
  59. ^ "PWI 500 1991". The Turnbuckle Post. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  60. ^ a b "PWI 500 of the PWI Years". Willy Wrestlefest. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 
  61. ^ a b c Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 

External links[edit]