Fritz Von Erich
|Fritz Von Erich|
|Birth name||Jack Barton Adkisson|
|Born||August 16, 1929|
|Died||September 10, 1997 (aged 68)|
|Cause of death||Brain and lung cancer|
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||Fritz Von Erich|
Tetsu no Tsume (Iron Claw)
|Billed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Billed weight||260 lb (120 kg)|
|Billed from||Denton, Texas|
|Trained by||Stu Hart|
Jack Barton Adkisson Sr. (August 16, 1929 – September 10, 1997) was an American professional wrestler known more under the ring name Fritz Von Erich, better known today as a wrestling promoter and the patriarch of the Von Erich family. He was also the owner of the World Class Championship Wrestling territory.
Adkisson attended Southern Methodist University, where he threw discus and played football. He has been reported to have played with the now defunct Dallas Texans of the NFL (not the AFL team which became the Kansas City Chiefs), but this is not true. He was signed as a guard but was cut. He then tried the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Professional wrestling career
Early career and training
While in Edmonton, he met legendary wrestler and trainer Stu Hart, and Hart decided to train and book him in his Klondike Wrestling promotion, naming him Fritz Von Erich and teaming him with "brother" Waldo Von Erich as a pair "evil German" brothers. Adkisson's oldest son Jack Barton Adkisson Jr. was born September 21, 1952. He died in 1959, however, after an accidental electrocution and drowning, and Jack Sr. stopped traveling to the east coast, allowing former partner Waldo to use the Von Erich name in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.
Despite Jack Jr.'s death, Adkisson continued to travel and wrestle. Adkisson won both versions of the AWA World title in 1963. His major circuit was Sam Muchnick's NWA territorial stronghold in St. Louis, Missouri. He wrestled there until 1967, when he voluntarily left the territory after losing a match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against then-champion Gene Kiniski. In the late 1960s, with Muchnick's backing, Adkisson became the promoter for the Dallas territory, effectively overseeing the Houston and San Antonio territories, as well.
Adkisson was a part of rebuilding Japanese wrestling after the stabbing death of Rikidōzan. He became a star due to his feuds with Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba, and his "Iron Claw" hold, which became one of the most popular wrestling moves in Japan.
In 1982, he held his first retirement match against King Kong Bundy in the newly renamed World Class Championship Wrestling promotion, based in Dallas. The promotion was known for its high production values, use of entrance music and the use of television syndication. The promotion was one of the most successful territories in the United States, with major draws like his sons, The Fabulous Freebirds, Chris Adams, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Gino Hernandez and Rick Rude. By the end of the 1980s, the promotion's talent pool was thin and it was eventually merged with Jerry Jarrett's Continental Wrestling Association to create the United States Wrestling Association in 1989.
Personal life and death
Adkisson married Doris J. Smith on June 23, 1950. Together, they had six sons: Jack Barton Jr. (September 21, 1952 - March 7, 1959), Kevin (born May 15, 1957), David (July 22, 1958 - February 10, 1984), Kerry (February 3, 1960 – February 18, 1993), Mike (March 2, 1964 – April 12, 1987) and Chris (September 30, 1969 – September 12, 1991). Of Adkisson's six sons, only Kevin is still living. The couple later separated and Doris divorced her husband on July 21, 1992 after 42 years of marriage.
Adkisson died of brain and lung cancer on September 10, 1997. His funeral service was held at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. His body was cremated with his ashes interred in the same plot as his fourth son, Kerry.
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling
- Big Time Wrestling
- Maple Leaf Wrestling
- Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
- NWA Minneapolis Wrestling and Boxing Club / American Wrestling Association
- NWA Western States Sports
- NWA International Tag Team Championship (Amarillo version) (1 time) - with Killer Karl Krupp
- NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Amarillo version) (4 times)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Southwest Sports, Inc / NWA Big Time Wrestling / World Class Championship Wrestling
- NWA American Heavyweight Championship (13 times)
- NWA American Tag Team Championship (7 times) - with Waldo Von Erich (2), Billy Red Lyons (1), Grizzly Smith (1), Fred Curry (1), Dan Miller (1), and Dean Ho (1)
- NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Texas version) (5 times)
- NWA Texas Heavyweight Championship (4 times)
- NWA United States Heavyweight Championship (Texas version) (3 times)[a]
- NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship (Texas version) (1 time) - with Kevin & Mike Von Erich
- NWA World Tag Team Championship (Texas Version) (2 times) - with Killer Karl Kox (1) and Duke Keomuka (1)
- St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2007
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2009)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic (1985) Usage of Mike Von Erich near death
- Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic (1986) Exploitation of the death of Gino Hernandez
- Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic (1987) Exploitation of the death of Mike Von Erich
- Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic (1988) Fake heart attack angle
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)
- This championship was later renamed the NWA American Heavyweight Championship in May 1968. It would later be renamed the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship after World Class' withdrawal from the NWA in February 1986.
- "Von Erichs' Patriarch Dead At 68". Classic Wrestling Articles. Retrieved 16 August 2015.
- "World Class Memories: Results 1953". John Dananay/Michael Moody/ISE Web Productions. July 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-09.
- Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.129)
- Dunham, Richard (January 24, 2010). "Today in Texas History: Texas gets its first NFL team". Retrieved 2014-07-09.
- "NFL PLAYERS".
search historical players, Jack Adkisson
- Hornbaker, Tim (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. p. 242. ISBN 978-1-55022-741-3.
- Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, January 9, 2008
- Texas Divorces
- "Fritz Von Erich dead at 68". Slam! Sports. 1997-09-11. Retrieved 2007-05-30.
- "PWI 500 of the PWI Years". Willy Wrestlefest. Retrieved 2012-08-28.
- Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.
| President of the National Wrestling Alliance