Hometown: Denton, Texas
Signature Moves: Iron Claw, dropkick, discus punch and press slam
WCCW Titles Held: WCWA World champion (four times), WCWA World tag champion (three times with Kevin Von Erich, once with Jeff Jarrett), WCCW World Six-Man Tag Team Titles (three times with Kevin and David Von Erich, three times with Kevin and Mike Von Erich, once with Kevin Von Erich & Brian Adias, once with Kevin and Lance Von Erich and once with Kevin Von Erich and Michael Hayes), NWA American Heavyweight champion (five times) and NWA American Tag Team Champions (twice with Kevin Von Erich, three times with Bruiser Brody). Also held NWA World Heavyweight title and WWF Intercontinental title.
Notable WCCW Feuds: Fabulous Freebirds, Dynamic Duo, Brian Adias, Great Kabuki, Jerry Lawler, One Man Gang.
Need to Know Facts: Born Kerry Gene Adkisson on February 3, 1960, “Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich was a professional wrestling god in the 1980’s. He possessed the perfect physique, was a tremendous athlete, was loaded with charisma and ultimately became the second youngest world champion when he would capture the industry’s top jewel at the time, the National Wrestling Alliance’s world title.
Kerry, like his older brothers Kevin and David, dropped out of college after his first year to begin his career in professional wrestling in 1979. At the age of 22, Kerry nearly captured the NWA World Championship from Ric Flair at Reunion Arena in a best 2 of 3 falls match in 1982, before over 10,000 wrestling fans. Many wrestling insiders feel this match truly set Kerry in the elite circle of true superstars within the industry. From this point on, his father, World Class owner Jack Adkisson, referred to Kerry as “the uncrowned world champion”. Later in 1982, during his Christmas cage match with world champion Flair, the legendary Von Erich-Freebird feud was born as guest referee Michael Hayes and cage door keeper Terry Gordy turned on Kerry during the match, ultimately costing Von Erich the title.
By the end of 1983, Kerry was considered by both his peers and wrestling insiders as one of the top five workers within the industry and also one of the most popular -- attaining the admiration of a rock star, having recently married and having the world at his command, it seemed his life was too good to be true.
On a cold Texas morning on February 10, 1984, Kerry was awakened by a phone call from his sister-in-law, who broke the news that his older brother David had been found dead in his hotel room in Tokyo, Japan. Suddenly the charmed life Kerry had been leading abruptly came to a screeching halt.
On May 6, 1984, in front of over 32,000 emotional fans in Texas Stadium, Kerry main-evented World Class’ biggest card ever: the Parade of Champions, an event dedicated to the memory of brother David. At the ripe age of 24, Kerry Von Erich became the second youngest NWA World champion (Lou Thesz was the youngest at 21 in 1937) when he defeated champion Ric Flair with a backslide in a near-13 minute match, which was cut considerably short compared to their previous battles as the temperature on the Texas Stadium field reached 110 degrees on this particular day.
Kerry and Flair would continue to sell out arenas everywhere they wrestled, as World Class Championship Wrestling and the Von Erich name remained strong throughout 1985. Honolulu, St. Louis, Texas and Louisiana would be just some of the areas treated to “broadways” (time limit draws, usually going a full hour) between the two legends.
On June 4, 1986, Kerry was involved in a serious motorcycle accident in which he hit a parked police car. The accident would keep Kerry away from regular in-ring competition for nearly 17 months, and would ultimately cost him the majority of his right foot.
Due to the steep decline in business in the World Class promotion during his leave, and seeing the pressures it was putting on his brother Kevin to be the lone wrestling Von Erich brother (Mike had passed away in April 1987), Kerry returned to wrestling on a full-time basis in November 1987. He had initially attempted a comeback in February 1987 against in-ring nemesis and real-life best friend Brian Adias. However, it was this match that was rumored to be the cause of Kerry reinjuring the foot and ankle causing a major setback in his return to the ring.
Rumors about the amputation started circulating within the industry in late 1988, when Colonel DeBeers accidentally pulled off Kerry's right boot during a match in Las Vegas on November 12, revealing to those in attendance that night his handicap.
Kerry would recapture a world’s title when he defeated “Latin Heartthrob” Al Perez for the World Class Wrestling Association’s world title on March 6, 1988. Kerry would swap the title with both Jerry “The King” Lawler and Tatsumi Fujinami during 1988, before the title was finally eliminated altogether by then-American Wrestling Association champion Lawler, who captured the WCWA belt with a victory over Kerry in a title unification match at Superclash III held in December of that year in Chicago, Illinois.
Kerry's reign, however, would be brief, and the painkiller addiction he had developed as a result of his injury began to catch up with him. At his father’s urging, Kerry entered drug rehabilitation in February of 1992. While the treatment initially seemed to do Kerry some good (please see the interview which was done right after his stint in rehab), his recovery was short-lived. He was eventually let go by the WWF in the summer and returned to Dallas, where he soon began wrestling for Grey Pierson's GWF.
Tragically, on February 18, 1993, Kerry became despondent after learning he had been indicted on a drug possession charge stemming from an arrest the previous month. As he was already on probation for ten years due to another charge, a jail sentence was not to be ruled out this time.
Kerry’s father Fritz discovered his son's body behind his ranch (where the Von Erichs grew up) with a self-inflicted gunshot through his heart. Kerry was only 33 years old.