L-R: Kerry, Fritz, Kevin, Chris, Mike, DavidThe Von Erich Family
was a legitimate Professional Wrestling Family
, led by the patriarch Fritz Von Erich
(Jack Adkisson, 1929-1997) and consisting of sons Kevin
(1964-1987) and Chris
(1969-1991). Jack Adkisson debuted as Fritz in 1953 doing a Nazi gimmick. The name stuck even well after the gimmick faded away. Kerry, David and Kevin debuted in the 1970s, with Mike following in 1983. Fritz set up World Class Championship Wrestling in Dallas and he and his sons were huge box office draws as Faces
. Unfortunately, things started falling apart following the deaths of David and Mike. Kerry had temporarily broken out and had a run in WWE
in 1990-1992. He killed himself in 1993. Kevin retired in 1995. Kerry's daughter Lacey had a run in TNA
as a member of the Beautiful People and also worked for Wrestlicious
. Kevin's sons Ross and Marshall compete for Pro Wrestling NOAH
. Combined, the different blood relatives have held 144 titles. Among the more significant in-ring achievements, Fritz was a 1x AWA World Heavyweight Champion
, Kerry was a 1x NWA World Heavyweight Champion
and a 1x WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion
, Kevin and David were 1x All Japan Pro Wrestling All Asia Tag Team Champions
, and Fritz, Kevin, Kerry and Mike combined held the NWA American (World Class) Heavyweight Title 24
times. The family was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki
"World Class Tropes":
- 10-Minute Retirement: Fritz had a few of these during the 1980s.
- Action Girl: Lacey
- Action Mom: She already had a child when she made her in-ring debut.
- Alliterative Name: When Kerry and Kevin teamed up under masks as the Cosmic Cowboys
- Anything That Moves: Lacey, including referees and crazy midgets!
- Arch-Enemy: The Fabulous Freebirds, Devastation Inc.
- Badass Grandpa: Fritz, during the Von Erichs-Freebirds feud in the 1980s.
- Bash Brothers
- The Big Guy: The 6'7 David was this to the rest of the family.
- Boring Yet Practical: Kerry defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Title with a backslide.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Kevin usually wrestled barefoot. Same for Lacey, outside of TNA. In Kevins case, this was due to him wrestling his first match barefoot due to some fellow wrestlers hiding his boots prior to the match as a prank, and him sticking with it as a way to stand out from his brothers.
- Downer Ending: The deaths of David, Mike, Chris and Kerry.
- Dumb Blonde: Lacey made Mihoshi look like a genius.
- She didn't come off well (but then, none of the Knockouts did) during the "TNA Wrestling Special" week on Family Feud, November 1-5, 2010.
- Many of the boys' peers will tell you that the brothers played this trope straight (Despite them mostly being brown haired), with the exception of David.
- Everything Is Big in Texas: They were based in Dallas.
- Face-Heel Turn: David defied Fritz's wishes and had a heel run in Florida.
- Family Business
- Finishing Move: Iron Claw.
- Foreign Wrestling Heel: Fritz in his early years.
- Handicapped Badass: Kerry wrestled with an amputated right foot and managed to hide it his entire WWE run. He had lost it after getting the ankle crushed in a motorcycle accident, and not letting the bone heal properly before attempting to stand on it.
- Heel-Face Turn: Fritz was turned face in December 1966. Recently arrived heel manager Gary Hart had proclaimed that Fritz and Waldo were neither real brothers nor even real Germans, even going so far as to mention Fritz's real name on the air. Although the in-story explanation involved Fritz and Waldo's feud with Hart's team the Internationals (Skandor Akbar and Karl Von Brauner), it was more a case of necessity due to Real Life Writes the Plot. Fritz' wife was concerned about crazed fans, and the sons were having trouble in school because of having to defend their father. (Remember, this was during the time when Kayfabe was absolutely enforced.)
- How Much More Can He Take: The WWWF had to call Waldo Von Erich vs Champion Bruno Sammartino a draw because they went so long they were getting too close to an imposed curfew.
- It Runs in the Family
- Manipulative Bastard: Fritz is generally believed to be one of these. There are accounts of him telling Kevin that he didn't have the guts to kill himself; this, mind you, is after four of his brothers had died, two by their own hand.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Split with Madison due to this.
- Ms. Fanservice: Lacey.
- No Sell: Fritz.
- Pet the Dog: This usually followed Lacey saying something stupid when among the Beautiful People in TNA.
- Put on a Bus: Lacey from TNA, by her own choice. Kerry from WWF, with his suicide coming a year later. The others are kinda used to this trope themselves, though.
- Real Song Theme Tune:
- Kerry is best known for using Rush's "Tom Sawyer". In fact, he took his nickname "The Modern Day Warrior" from the opening line. He also used Blondie's "Call Me."
- Kevin used Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold"
- David used ZZ Top's "La Grange", Tanya Tucker's "Texas (When I Die)" and Pat Benatar's "Fire and Ice"
- Lance used John Mellencamp's "Hurts So Good" and the Fabulous Thunderbirds' "Tuff Enuff"
- Red Baron:
- In Japan, Fritz was known as "Tetsu no Tsume" ("The Iron Claw")
- Kevin was "The Golden Warrior"
- David was "The Yellow Rose of Texas"
- Kerry was "The Modern Day Warrior" in World Class, "The Texas Tornado" in WWE and "Tora no Tsume" ("Tiger Claw") in Japan.
- Sibling Team: Most notably Kerry and Kevin, but the four main brothers all teamed in different combinations.
- Signature Move: Kerry's tornado punch.
- Spiritual Successor: Galan Ramírez and Jacob Kilgore as the NWA Bodyslam tag team, The Texas Tornadoes.
- Stage Dad: Fritz
- Unrelated Brothers: Walter Sieber as Fritz's "brother" Waldo, who was the "uncle" of Lance (William "Ricky" Vaughan).
- Unperson: After Lance left for Wild West Wrestling, Fritz buried him on TV, breaking Kayfabe by saying that he was in no way, shape or form related to the Von Erich family" and that he was never going to mention Lance again.
- The Von Trope Family: Fritz was originally Type 1. The family was Type 2.
- You Wanna Get Sued?: A Texas indy wrestler/promoter named Rick Lerebeus called himself "Mark Von Erich" and claimed to be a relative despite Kevin sending him a cease-and-desist letter.