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Fritz Von Erich
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Wrestler Facts

Wrestler Name: Fritz Von Erich
Birthday: 16th August 1929
Hometown: Jewett, TX
Height: 6'4''
Weight: 260lb
Finishers: The Iron Claw
Previous Gimmicks: Tetsu no Tsume (iron claw) JAPAN



Title History (5)

[2 Times]:NWA World Tag Team (Texas) Champion
27/Jul/1963:AWA World Heavyweight Champion -
[2 Times]:World Heavyweight (Omaha) Champion
[3 Times]:NWA United States Heavyweight (Detroit) Champion
01/Jun/1958:NWA World Tag Team (Minneapolis) Champion -

Biography/Additional Facts

Real Name: Jack B. Adkisson

Career

Football career

Jack attended Southern Methodist University, where he threw discus and played football. He played one season of pro football for the Dallas Texans, and then tried the Canadian Football League. He did play for the CFL for a while. While in Edmonton, he met legendary wrestler and trainer Stu Hart, and Hart decided to train and book Jack in his Klondike Wrestling promotion. By the end of the 1950s, Fritz Von Erich relocated to Buffalo, New York and would be a top drawing heel throughout the country due to his large size, ring skills and interview ability. However, in 1959 his oldest son Jack died of an accidental electrocution (his son was actually knocked unconscious after touching an exposed electrical wire and drowned when he landed face first in a puddle of melting snow), and he stopped traveling to the east coast, allowing former partner Waldo Von Erich to use the Von Erich name in the World Wide Wrestling Federation. The death hit Fritz hard, and he blamed himself for the incident, reasoning that he could have prevented the incident had he not been on the road so much. He had five other sons who eventually wrestled under the Von Erich name: Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris.

St. Louis Wrestling Club

His major circuit was Sam Muchnick's NWA territorial stronghold in St. Louis, Missouri.

National Wrestling Alliance

He was even considered a top contender to be voted NWA World Tag Team Champion with his son David, but then-champions Gene and Ole Anderson were very vocal in their dislike of " gimmick" wrestlers and the board of directors did not want the champion to have an obviously fictional ring name. Jack offered to wrestle under his real name when he was up again for a possible title reign in the 1970s but again, the board of directors voted it down. In 1975, Adkisson became president of the NWA, after Sam Muchnick gave up the position, even though he continued to wrestle in his own promotion, which other members of the board of directors found as a conflict of interest. His time as president was seen as the time when the World Heavyweight Championship was devalued and unity within the NWA was damaged.

Japan

Fritz was a huge star in Japan as well, and was a major part of rebuilding Japanese wrestling after the stabbing death of Rikidozan. 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.

Retirement

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, Christopher Adams, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Gino Hernandez and Rick Rude. By the end of the eighties, the promotion's talent pool was thin and it was eventually merged with Jerry Jarrett's Memphis promotion to create the United States Wrestling Association.

Within a 10-year span, four of the remaining five Adkisson sons died premature deaths:

-David, 25 years of age, died in 1984 under circumstances that are still debated today. His cause of death was officially listed as acute gastroenteritis, but many believe, despite considerable evidence supporting the official cause, that he actually died of a drug overdose. Ric Flair implies this in his autobiography To Be The Man, stating that Bruiser Brody destroyed evidence pointing to an overdose.
-Mike died of a self-inflicted drug overdose in 1987 at the age of 23. He had apparently never completely recovered from a near-fatal bout with toxic shock syndrome, a condition very rarely seen in men, in 1985.
-Chris, depressed over his brothers deaths and his inability to excel as a wrestler, committed suicide in 1991 at the age of 21.
-Kerry, the most successful in the ring, also committed suicide in 1993 after well-documented substance abuse problems. He was 33 years old.

Kevin is the only survivor of the Adkisson sons.

Death

Fritz's wife Doris divorced him in 1992, and he died of brain and lung cancer on September 10, 1997 aged 68.


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