The Von Erich Curse
Wrestling's Saddest Story
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One cold night during a particularly long winter, back in 1958. A former nazi, by the name of Fritz Von Erich, was visited by a ghost. A terrifying vision appeared before Fritz’s eyes and explained to him why they had arrived. The pale female face explained that whilst alive, she had survived through the atrocities of the holocaust but had lost 5 out of 6 of her children during the horrors forced upon them. As retribution, the ghoulish figure placed upon Von Erich a curse. A punishment for his involvement in the genocide undertaken by the Germans during World War 2.
One which promised to see Fritz suffer the same gruesome fate as the ghost, with all but one of his children dying under terrible and miserable circumstances. However unlikely it would seem; over the following 40 years the curse was proved correct. And the future of Fritz Von Erich played out exactly as the ghost had predicted, leaving him with 5 out of his 6 sons dying before their father.
Now of course, all of that is simply a storyline from the fictional world of professional wrestling. A universe filled with undead wizards and leprechauns. There is no such thing as ghosts, ghouls or mystic apparitions from beyond the grave. There is no such thing as a curse, its all just superstition. Fritz Von Erich’s real name was Jack Adkisson an all-American football star who gained a purple heart for his valour and bravery during his time in the United States Military.
He was born in Texas and had never even visited Germany, let alone was he a part of some fascist regime. The whole horrible story about the visit from the ghost, was made up in order to entice fans and get them to had over their hard-earned money for a ticket.
However, the darkest part of the story is true. All but one of the Von Erich sons dead, far too young. And this is that real-life story.
The Von Erich family is a legendary wrestling dynasty that has produced some of the most famous and successful wrestlers in history. The family was started by Fritz Von Erich, a former wrestler who later became a promoter.
Fritz had six sons, all of whom followed in his footsteps and became wrestlers. The Texas based Von Erichs were famous for their high-flying, acrobatic style and through world championship title runs and their unique in-ring technique, quickly became one of the most popular wrestling families in the world.
"More than anything, they're remembered as pioneers. They were one of the first families of wrestling that took off, I would say. They could do nothing wrong. It's amazing what they were able to accomplish. Unfortunately, there's a lot of stigma there — all the tragedies. It overshadows everything else.” Cody Jones
Born on August 16, 1929, in Jewett, Texas, Fritz Von Erich's real name was Jack Barton Adkisson. Under the tutelage of Stu Hart, Fritz underwent training and eventually rose to fame as a prominent figure in various National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) promotions, including St. Louis and World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW).
In the 1960s, he held the AWA World Heavyweight Championship, but he never won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Nevertheless, Fritz remained a prominent figure in the NWA, holding several other significant titles. In 1950, Fritz married his sweetheart Doris in June, the pair going on to share more than forty years of marriage together.
Overseas, Fritz became known as Tetsu no Tsume in Japan, which translates to the iron claw. A name earned from the brutal use of the head grip known as the iron claw. Fritz was fundamental in the rebuilding of Asian wrestling during this period following the death of Rikidozan.
Through all of his wrestling victories around the globe, he became one of the most feared and respected performers in the industry. It takes huge amounts of determination and grit to become as successful as Fritz Von Erich did. However, this dedication to his craft came at a price. He was known for his intense training regimen and demanding expectations, which put a strain on his relationships with his family.
Clearly not satisfied with merely dominating his opposition within the ring. Von Erich took the money he had acquired and sensibly saved over the years and turned his hand to business outside of the ropes.
Fritz acquired the Dallas Sportatorium in 1960, a small wrestling venue with a rich history of hosting matches dating back to the 1930s.
Under Fritz's ownership, the Sportatorium became the base for the famous Von Erich wrestling family and became known as the "Madison Square Garden of Texas," the Sportatorium welcomed some of the biggest names in professional wrestling, such as "Gorgeous" George Wagner, Lou Thesz, Fritz Von Erich, and the Fabulous Freebirds. In 1981, the Von Erichs established their own promotion, the Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), which Fritz later led as the President.
The promotion reached its peak in the 1980s, coinciding with the in-ring careers of Fritz's sons, before ultimately folding in 1990. Fritz also briefly served as the President of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in the 1970s.
"Von Erich was intelligent to the ways of the wrestling business and had a personal dynamism shared by many of the major promoters and stars of the time. Promoters like Von Erich, ran their promotions like kings. They were all-knowing rulers whose personalities dominated anyone around them. They knew exactly what they wanted and listened to no one who disagreed with their vision of the world." Pro Wrestling Torch
Perhaps it is just bad luck, a coincidence, or maybe indeed there is a curse set upon the Von Erichs, for just as the family suffered through grief and tragedy, the Dallas Sportatorium itself also fell on hard times. The building falling into disrepair and becoming a venue for lower-tier wrestling promotions. The building was eventually demolished in 2003, and a strip mall now stands in its place.
The Von Erich family had a unique childhood. Fritz was a strict father who trained his sons to become wrestlers from a young age. The boys grew up in a house where wrestling was not just a job but also a way of life. The Von Erich family lived in a modest home in the Dallas area, and they had a large backyard where the boys would practice their wrestling moves. Fritz was a disciplinarian who had high expectations for his sons, and he pushed them hard to become successful wrestlers. The boys would train for hours every day, working on their technique and endurance.
"I remember when my dad was a bad guy in wrestling. My brothers and I would go to school, and the bigger kids would watch wrestling on Saturday night and get even on Monday. We fought together, and the family who fights together would not only get good at fighting, it gets really close. I don’t remember my parents being really super strict or abusive in any way at all. I remember a really happy childhood full of running in the Texas sun, just us and nature. We didn’t even wear clothes until we went to school. We were so far out in the country. We didn’t even have any school chums.” Kevin
Despite the rigorous training, the Von Erich boys had a close bond with each other and their parents. They were home-schooled, and their mother, Doris, was their teacher. The boys had a strong work ethic and learned the value of teamwork and family early on.
“The boys never felt they had to be different than their dad. They even encouraged each other to be like their father. I kept trying to tell them they could be any way they wanted. They could always be an Adkisson. They could go into art or music if they wanted. But finally, I had to admit that only one thing was important for them: to take on the Von Erich name.” Doris Adkisson
Fritz also instilled in his sons the importance of discipline, honesty, and hard work. He wanted them to be good role models, both in and out of the ring. The Von Erichs were known for their clean-cut image, and they avoided the wild party scene that was prevalent in the wrestling world at the time. They didn’t stay away from recklessness in other ways.
"We were a really reckless group always showing off for each other – like walking on bridges in Japan and taking every chance we could. We were just young kids. I’m really surprised that I survived. We used to have this thing called the ‘chance of the day,’ where every day we’d take a chance on our lives. Dave was always too smart for that, so he’d just watch. We’d jump on wild bulls’ backs and jump on trains going fast. We’d get on a roof of a car at highway speed. You start thinking nothing can get you, and you’re indestructible. That’s part of being in sports. We were blessed with good bodies and good balance. We felt like we could do anything, and nothing would hurt us.” Kevin
The Von Erich boys' childhood was not without tragedy, however. And thus begins the curse.
Fritz Von Erich's first son, Jack Barton Adkisson, Jr., was born on September 21, 1952. Whilst Fritz was away wrestling on tour. He received a phone call that would change the trajectory of his and his families lives forever. The voice on the other end of the line was his wife. Tragically, their son Jack had passed away at the young age of six in Niagara Falls, New York on March 7, 1959.
The incident occurred on a snowy day when Jack Junior was walking home after playing with friends. As he touched a neighbour’s trailer, he was electrocuted due to a short circuit in the wire underneath. He was knocked unconscious and fell into a melting snow puddle, which resulted in his drowning.
“After you lose the first one, there is that nagging fear you’ll lose another. You not only believe it can happen to you, you know it’s going to almost. It’s a horrible thing to live with, and I became very protective of the boys.” Doris
Fritz’s wife Doris was left to deal with the tragedy back in New York.
“I don’t remember being told anything when Jackie died, just that he was in heaven. It’s almost like God protects children from grief. I’m sure I did plenty of playing that day, even though my brother was gone. It’s not like losing brothers when you get older.” Kevin
At the time Doris and Fritz must’ve thought that this would certainly be the darkest day however long they would go on to live. But sadly, the devastation and loss felt at this time would go on to be a recurring emotion which would rear it’s ugly head for the rest of their time on this earth.
Despite the horrors of losing Jack, Fritz continued to push on realising his dream of involving all of his children in his business. Three more sons were born and raised under the careful tutelage of the Von Erich patriarch. Kevin, David and Kerry.
“Dad never, ever said we had to wrestle, or that we even ought to. To be honest, we didn’t even know if we’d like wrestling that much. I mean, wrestling was filled with these old, out-of-shape men, going from one small town to another, looking miserable.” “But we all knew what was going to happen in the end. It was inevitable. We were going to go into wrestling because we wanted to be just like our dad.” Kevin
The 3 brothers forming a formidable team within their fathers World Class wrestling promotion, all going on to taste a little personal glory along the way.
Kevin Von Erich, also known as "The Golden Warrior", was born as Kevin Ross Adkisson on May 15, 1957, in Belleville, Illinois. He is the second oldest and last surviving son of Fritz Von Erich.
Kevin spent most of his wrestling career in World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW), where he had notable feuds with wrestlers like Chris Adams, The Fabulous Freebirds, and Ric Flair. He gained recognition for his unique wrestling style, which involved using trademark moves such as the body scissors and the iron claw, as well as wrestling barefoot.
On August 1, 1980, Kevin married Pamela J. May, and they have four children together: Kristen Rain (born February 3, 1981), Jillian Lindsey (born February 10, 1985), David Michael "Ross" (born June 1, 1988), and Kevin Marshall (born November 10, 1992). Additionally, Kevin has seven grandchildren, including Adeline Claire (born September 22, 2004).
“We went into wrestling because it was fun. But when all the attention hit, we realized just how important this could be, not just for our family, but for other people. It didn’t become a performance anymore. It wasn’t an act. We became the Von Erichs, we began to think we were everything they represented.” Kevin
Kevin Von Erich vs. Ric Flair from September 19th, 1982 was perhaps the oldest brothers shining moment. This match was part of the WCCW Star Wars event and saw Kevin Von Erich defeat Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a historic upset.
David Von Erich vs. Ric Flair on February 10th, 1984. This match is considered one of the best matches in the history of the World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) promotion. David Von Erich challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a hard-fought battle that ended in a time limit draw. But showed those watching, the huge potential that David possessed.
KERRY VS FLAIR
Kerry Von Erich and Ric Flair had several matches against each other in their careers, but perhaps the most famous one took place on May 6, 1984.
At the time, Kerry was a rising star in World Class Championship Wrestling, while Flair was the reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion and one of the most successful and well-known wrestlers in the world.
The match was a classic back-and-forth battle between two highly skilled wrestlers, with both men trading blows and near falls throughout. Kerry utilized his signature moves, such as the Claw hold and the Iron Claw Slam, while Flair relied on his technical wrestling ability and flair for the dramatic.
In the end, Kerry was able to hit Flair with a discus punch and secure the pinfall victory to become the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The crowd erupted in excitement as Kerry celebrated his hard-fought victory.
The match is widely regarded as one of the greatest in wrestling history, and it cemented Kerry's status as one of the top stars in the industry. However, Kerry's reign as champion was short-lived, as he lost the title back to Flair just three weeks later.
The sadness of losing his newly gained title, was not the lasting feeling around this time for Kerry and the Von Erichs. Although the moment of gold winning glory was sweet for the family, the match itself took place at the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions.
David Von Erich, also known as "The Yellow Rose of Texas," was widely regarded as the most talented wrestler in his family due to his athleticism and charm. Born as David Alan Adkisson on July 22, 1958, in Dallas, Texas, he rose to fame in World Class Championship Wrestling, where he challenged Harley Race and Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship several times.
Despite never winning the belt, David's skills in the ring earned him a reputation as one of the best in the business. He also teamed up with his brothers Kevin and Kerry to face The Fabulous Freebirds.
David won the Missouri Heavyweight Championship on multiple occasions while wrestling in Missouri, and he also had a successful run as both a singles and tag team champion in the Florida territory from late 1981 to mid-1982.
Despite his professional success, David's personal life was marked by tragedy. He married Candy L. McLeod on June 26, 1978, and they had a daughter named Natosha Zoeanna on October 19, 1978, who sadly died in infancy. David's marriage to Candy ended in divorce on July 12, 1979. He remarried on June 8, 1982, to Patricia A. Matter.
THE DEATH OF DAVID
On February 10, 1984, David Von Erich passed away in his hotel room in Tokyo, Japan. His death was a devastating blow to his fans and the wrestling community, as he was one of the most promising wrestlers of his generation.
“Had David not died in Tokyo, he would have been the next NWA Champion.” Michael Hayes
Initial rumours circulated that David had overdosed on drugs, but the truth was much different. According to the US Embassy's death report, David died of acute enteritis, which led to ruptured intestines and a subsequent heart attack. This tragic medical matter caused his organs to fill with blood and ultimately led to his untimely death at the age of 25. As a highly publicized public figure, news of David's passing spread quickly and his fans were left devastated.
“With David, it was like a really low kick, terrible. To this day I’m not over that. Every death after it was just ‘Oh, this again.’ Losing David, that one kind of burned down the mission, you know?” Kevin Von Erich
Despite the official cause of death, there are still some who believe that David may have died from a drug overdose. Ric Flair wrote in his autobiography, To Be the Man, that "everyone in wrestling believes that it was a drug overdose that really killed him” and that “Bruiser Brody disposed of the narcotics by flushing them down a toilet before the police arrived.”
Mystery continued to surround David’s death as his father Fritz publicly rejected the coroner’s report. Part of the report explained that David’s body was found in a position which some speculated was an attempt to reach for the telephone in his hotel room. This led to widespread speculation that David’s death couldn’t have been a suicide and perhaps even something more sinister. To me, and many others, sadly this position is horrific in another way. A last-minute change of mind from David as he faded away, perhaps regretting the decision he has made to end his life.
But we must look at the official documents and always remember that this speculation does nothing to change the fact that the Von Erich’s and wider wrestling world lost a promising young star, far too soon.
“He told me he didn’t feel like going. But he said, ’Dad, when I get there. I’ll be okay.’ I said, ’David, that’s the way it is, son. You’ve got a contract. Those people over there have sold out a building to see a Von Erich.’ And he said, ’Dad, I’m going.’” Fritz
A special memorial episode of World Class was filmed a week after David's funeral, with Fritz and his sons being interviewed while sitting in a peaceful location by the lake. In this episode, Fritz made an announcement that Kerry would be taking David's place in the upcoming title match, with the aim of winning the championship as a tribute to David. A few months later, a tribute show was held in David's honour, during which Kerry Von Erich won the NWA World Title from Ric Flair.
“That was an ugly part. Kerry and I did not want to get in the ring. We were mourning David’s death. But it was a family business, and Dad was the business manager.” Kevin
Fritz’s determination to keep the show on the road may seem a little harsh and cold in retrospect, but it appears as if this was simply a father coping with the horrendous situation of losing his second son. Fritz carried on doing the one thing he had control over. Wrestling.
“Nobody knew what it was. He had a flu-type condition for about six weeks. But in our business, if you can walk, you go out there. You’re expected to go out there. People have paid to see you. At least in our family, it’s that way." Fritz
During the long period of mourning the loss of David, Fritz stated on an episode of World Class that the responsibility of filling David's shoes would be given to Mike. Born on March 2, 1964, in Dallas, Texas, Michael Brett Adkisson was the fifth son of Fritz Von Erich, famously known as Mike Von Erich.
He earned the moniker "Inspirational Warrior" and was thrust into the feud between the Von Erichs and The Fabulous Freebirds after David's untimely death. Despite his initial desire to work for World Class as a cameraman, Mike reluctantly stepped into the ring following his brother's passing, as per his father's insistence. Prior to this, he had only appeared on-screen when Ric Flair insulted him and wrestled him as a build-up to David's planned victory of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
“I think he always felt a lot more pressure on him, being in a family of overachievers. Here he was, with three older brothers who were never happy unless they did their best. Mike was thrown into that life in an awful hurry.” Kerry
On February 14, 1985, Mike married Shani Danette Garza.
THE DEATH OF MIKE
In 1987, just shortly after his wedding, he suffered a shoulder injury while on a tour in Israel. He received surgery on August 22 and was released from the hospital, but soon after, he developed a fever that reached 107 degrees. It was later discovered that he had toxic shock syndrome, which caused him to lose weight and suffer brain damage.
Despite the severity of his condition, Mike attempted to return to wrestling, but he was no longer physically or mentally fit to compete.
His father, Fritz, tried to market him as "The Living Miracle," claiming that he would come back stronger and win the World's Title. However, his appearance and coordination had been greatly affected, and his public appearances were uncomfortable to watch.
Fritz paraded Mike in front of 25,000 fans at the WCCW October Cotton Bowl show.
Weighing just 145 pounds at this point, Mike appeared a mere shadow of his former self.
Dave Meltzer reported at the time the Mike’s appearance at the arena was, “The most disgusting promotional stunt of the year. There’s almost nothing about pro wrestling that really outrages me, except for the Von Erichs.” Dave Meltzer
In one match, Mike tried to execute a dropkick but ended up landing on his face due to his lack of coordination. His memory was also affected, causing him to forget his moves in the middle of a match or forget what he was supposed to say during a promo. Despite his condition, Fritz continued to push him to compete, forcing him in front of fans.
“He was so private, that he would not tell people the pressure he felt to keep up. We’d say, ’Mike, if you don’t want to do it anymore, quit!’ And he would just look at us. I don’t think he wanted to disappoint anyone. I know he didn’t want to disappoint Dad.” Kevin
In Austin one night, Mike was handed the microphone and opened his mouth to let out a classic hero’s cry. But nothing came. Mike just stood there, with a blank expression and not a single syllable leaving his lips. All of this quickly compiled on top of Mike. He began drinking heavily, which eventually resulted in a DWI charge.
Mike's physical and mental health deteriorated, and he could no longer handle the pressure to compete at the level he had before. On April 12, 1987, he was found in a sleeping bag, having taken a fatal overdose of tranquilizers only a short distance away from his childhood home. His wrestling boots were found in the back seat of his car, along with a note addressed to his mother.
“Mom,” it began, “you have always been wonderful. I am in a better place.” Mike
THE DEATH OF CHRIS
Chris Von Erich, born on September 30, 1969, in Dallas, Texas, was the youngest member of the Von Erich family.
Despite his deep passion for wrestling, Chris was never able to achieve the same level of success as his father and brothers due to several physical limitations. He was only 5'4" tall, had asthma, and had extremely brittle bones that frequently led to fractures. Despite these challenges, Chris made multiple attempts to excel in wrestling and even engaged in a notable feud with Percy Pringle in the USWA/World Class. However, his career failed to take off like his family members' did.
Chris occasionally teamed up with his brothers Kerry and Kevin, as well as Chris Adams, to wrestle against Percy Pringle and Steve Austin. However, Chris only fought against Pringle, while the more agile Adams, Kerry, or Kevin took on Austin.
As Chris Von Erich tried to make his way in the wrestling world, it became apparent that he was struggling to find his footing. Despite his kind nature and willingness to give it his all, he was unable to achieve the same level of success as his father and brothers. The pressure to live up to the family legacy was palpable, and Chris found himself feeling inadequate and overwhelmed.
“How do you tell someone that his passion is over? How can I tell my youngest. Chris, that his asthma might keep him out of wrestling? Every day, he lifts weights. He dreams about being like his brothers. Do I dare go out there and break his heart?” Doris
Adding to his struggles was the devastating loss of his brother, Mike, which weighed heavily on him. Chris fell into a deep depression and turned to drugs as a way to numb his pain. He was experiencing both mental and physical distress, and his addiction only exacerbated his difficulties.
On September 12, 1991, Chris tragically took his own life at the young age of 21. Kevin, his brother, discovered Chris's body outside the Von Erich family farm, where Chris had taken his own life with a gunshot wound to the head. Fritz and Doris, Chris's parents, found a suicide note in his room, but they had doubts that he meant to go through with it.
They sent Kevin to talk to Chris, but unfortunately, it was too late. Chris's body was found lying on top of the highest hill on the East Texas ranch, near a spot where he often collected arrowheads. His passing was a devastating blow to the Von Erich family, who had already lost several members to tragic circumstances. Despite his struggles, Chris will always be remembered for his love of wrestling and his unwavering dedication to his family.
“I thought, ‘Oh, man, he’s taken a bunch of pills or something.’ So I put my hand behind him to lift him up and said, ‘Come on, Chris. Stand up, walk around.’ My thumb went into his head. You could’ve put a coffee cup in that hole. There was no doubt” Kevin
Kerry Von Erich was born Kerry Gene Adkisson on February 3, 1960, in Niagara Falls, New York, and was the fourth son of Fritz Von Erich. He was a professional wrestler and was popularly known as "The Modern Day Warrior" and "The Texas Tornado." Kerry spent the majority of his career wrestling in World Class Championship Wrestling, and he was the most successful of the Von Erich family. Even with all of this success, Kerry felt the pressure of the Von Erich name.
“When I started setting the discus records, I wanted to be known as Kerry Adkisson, not just Fritz Von Erich’s son. But then I felt sort of bad about that, so I let people call me Kerry Von Erich.” Kerry Von Erich
Kerry had many notable feuds during his career, including those against Gino Hernandez, Iceman Parsons, Chris Adams, and The Fabulous Freebirds. He also wrestled under the ring name "The Texas Tornado" for several months in both the World Wrestling Federation and Global Wrestling Federation. During his time in the WWF, he won the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam on August 27, 1990.
Kerry got married to Catherine "Cathy" Murray on June 18, 1983. Together they had two daughters named Hollie Brooke (born September 19, 1984) and Lacey Dawn (born July 17, 1986). However, the couple later separated and divorced on April 22, 1992. Lacey, their daughter, also pursued a career in wrestling and wrestled for several years, most notably with TNA as Lacey Von Erich, before leaving the wrestling business in 2010.
THE DEATH OF KERRY
Kerry Von Erich, a professional wrestler, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in June 1986 while riding near his home in Texas. The accident occurred when he collided with a car that turned in front of him, resulting in a dislocated hip, broken ankle, and shattered foot. Von Erich underwent multiple surgeries, including a hip replacement, but contracted acute hepatitis from a blood transfusion during one of the surgeries.
"Well, I saw, and this is not the foundation of my dad," Hollie continued. "He was a loving father. He was a loving person, but he had; I know that after his motorcycle accident, there was a lot of inner turmoil, just kind of feeling like a fraud. So, you can only imagine what that might do to someone because you're hiding something, and you can't be your true self. That was the big deal." Hollie Von Erich
Despite his injuries and health issues, Von Erich returned to wrestling later that year and continued to compete for several more years. However, the accident took a toll on his body and eventually led to his retirement from wrestling. Sadly, just two years after this career accomplishment, Kerry's career was tragically ended due to the motorcycle accident, which also resulted in the amputation of his right foot.
After the amputation, Kerry tried to hide the injury from the public and expected his family to do the same. However, this not only limited his in-ring ability but also led to an addiction to painkillers and subsequent arrests. In 1992, his marriage with his wife Cathy also ended.
"Daddy started thinking he had spiders in his arms. I don't know if I should get into all that, but, you know, kind of hallucinating, and so, he was digging in his arms, and he would be like, Baby, do you see that. Do you see it moving?' That was like towards the end when I was much older," revealed Hollie. "So I saw things like that, but yeah, my mom always said, 'Your dad is sick.' And it was so hard for her to let us go with him when it was his time, but she knew that was important, and you know, I'm sure he would have not taken no for an answer, but yeah, he was sick, that's what my mom always used to say." Hollie Von Erich
Kerry's addiction and legal problems continued to worsen, and he was indicted on a charge that would likely result in extensive jail time, violating his probation. Around this time, Kerry begun seeking advice from fellow wrestler Bret Hart. The two shared stories about the love they held for their brothers. Bret has since explained that Kerry would regularly discuss the idea of suicide and the desire to join his older brothers in heaven.
One day after the indictment, he committed suicide on February 18, 1993, on his father's ranch in Denton County, Texas.
Kerry shot himself with a .44 calibre bullet through his heart at the age of 33. The swift downfall he experienced in the preceding year is believed to have contributed to his decision to end his life. Kerry’s heavy usage of narcotics and constant partying only served to exacerbate the terrible situation.
After his untimely demise, his father Fritz placed a marker on the spot where Kerry had shot himself. The marker, in the form of an angel, serves as a sombre reminder of the tragedy that took place on the ranch. Kerry's death was a devastating loss for his family and friends, and his legacy as a talented performer continues to this day.
“Kerry and I talked on and on about our brothers and the good times that we’d both had as famous families in such a strange business. Kerry confided that he’d made up his mind to join his brothers in heaven. He was only waiting for God to tell him when. I said, ‘Kerry, your children will always need you, even more than your brothers do. You have to think of your children.’ He allowed me to think I’d made him change his mind, but I feared it was only lip service. On February 18, I heard that Kerry Von Erich had shot himself in the heart. Left a note that said he was joining his brothers in heaven. Owen and I were deeply saddened, but who could be surprised?” Bret Hart
Kevin Von Erich described his brother’s addiction in an interview with Texas Monthly: “Kerry wasn’t addicted to any one drug. He liked drugs. It wasn’t that he liked coke or ice or meth. He just liked that life of parties and drugs.” Kevin
"Seeing me with my family made his pain greater. It reminded him of what he was missing. It was such a sad, tragic thing. He had his two beautiful daughters and a wife he loved, but then he’d come home, and all his stuff would be moved out. She’d move all his stuff out. Kerry was no saint [but] they both treated each other kind of rough. He had pretty much come to an understanding the day he killed himself. He just left having lunch with Kathy, his wife. Kerry was going to jail*, and he was afraid of never seeing his girls again. He said, ‘Kevin, I’m about to kill myself… We had talked for about an hour. We told some good dirty jokes, we laughed, and he told me, ‘I’m going to kill myself.’ I thought I had him talked out of it. He said, ‘I didn’t want to be like Mike and not say goodbye.’ That’s when I begged him. I said, ‘Don’t do this. Don’t leave me alone. You’re my only brother. Don’t leave me.’ I thought I had talked him out of it. Thirty minutes later, they found his body. He must have gone right out and done it.” Kevin
THE END OF THE CURSE. THE DEATH OF FRITZ
Fritz Von Erich, the patriarch of the Von Erich wrestling family, faced a tragic end to his life. In his final years, Fritz was suffering from brain cancer which caused him to become increasingly unstable. According to Kevin Von Erich's testimony on the show "Dark Side of the Ring," his father's mental state had deteriorated to the point where he even threatened his remaining son with a loaded gun.
In 1997, Fritz's prolonged suffering finally came to an end when he passed away at the age of 68. The cancer that had been plaguing him had spread from his lungs to his brain, ultimately claiming his life on September 10th of that year.
“Fritz is an old warrior,” Doris said. “He’d like to build the business back up himself and make his sons the most famous wrestlers in the country. But you can’t have lost as much as he has without it doing something to you. He talks about never giving up, but you know, he’s worked for so long. I think he’s ready to sit out on the porch and watch the sun set.”
HALL OF FAME
“I guess this is our destiny, and there’s nothing more to be said about it. You have to go where your destiny leads you, no matter where that road might be. And for us, this is it.” Kevin
The Von Erich family, who are known for their contributions to the world of professional wrestling, were announced to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a group on March 16, 2009. This honour recognizes the family's significant impact on the industry and their successful wrestling careers.
The induction ceremony was conducted by none other than Michael "P.S." Hayes, who was a long time rival of the Von Erich family. Hayes delivered a heartfelt speech, reminiscing about his past with the Von Erichs and acknowledging their legacy in the wrestling world. Kevin Von Erich, the last surviving member of the Von Erich family, accepted the induction on behalf of his family.
"I do feel lonely. You’ll never know how close my brothers were to me. But life goes on. It’s not always easy …you just have to be tough. The rewards are there." Kevin
The Von Erich Curse is a tragic series of events that has haunted the wrestling world for decades. While the family has produced some of the greatest wrestlers of all time, they have also suffered unimaginable losses.
The curse has left a lasting impact on the wrestling world and has become a cautionary tale about the dangers of fame and fortune. The Von Erich family will always be remembered for their incredible wrestling talent, but they will also be remembered for the tragedy and heartbreak that they endured.
"Do I blame wrestling for my brothers’ deaths? Not at all. If anything’s to blame, it was our recklessness. I’m the only one alive, and some people are taking bets on me, but there’s no way that’s going to happen to me because I have reason to live, and it’s a good one. I’m happy with my life.” Kevin
There is no evidence to suggest that Fritz Von Erich, whose real name was Jack Adkisson, was cursed for playing a Nazi in his early wrestling career. While some people may view his portrayal of a Nazi sympathizer as controversial or offensive, it is important to note that it was a role that he played as part of his job as a professional wrestler.
It is also worth noting that Fritz Von Erich served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War and received a Purple Heart for his service. After his wrestling career, he became a born-again Christian and was involved in various philanthropic endeavours.
It is not appropriate to curse or wish harm upon someone based on a role they played, especially if it was part of their job or performance. We should judge individuals based on their actions and character as a whole, rather than a single aspect of their past.
Doris Adkisson. “But to be honest, we hardly know who the Adkissons are anymore. We have been a wrestling family for so long. I suppose I want the family to know that when they are tired of being Von Erichs, there is a place they can come to where they can still be Adkissons. But I don’t know if you can ever stop being a Von Erich.”
For more on this topic check out our video series: (1) The Von Erich Curse (Documentary) - YouTube