Fritz Von Erich and the Temple of Doom

Scott Hudson

Holding a parent responsible for the acts of his children is not always fair (Skip Hitler was quite the handful at the Hamburg Boarding School but his dad went on to invent the Volkswagen). But, after a bleary-eyed viewing of the new (and excellent) WWE DVD â<80><9c>The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestlingâ<80> I am more convinced than ever that Fritz Von Erich was a world class dick.

â<80><9c>Scott, my boy, on what are you basing this statement?â<80> you may ask. Good question.

Why, the actions of his children, of course. No, its not always fair (see previous Skip Hitler reference), but sometimes it is.

What did Fritz do wrong? Sure, he was a promoter so, by law (I think), he was required to stiff most, if not all, the talent on payoffs, he pushed his family and his friends and himself at the expense of everyone else, he held too long to old ways of promotion when the natural evolution of his chosen profession indicated he should do differently. All which puts him in the same category with literally every other wrestling promoter that has ever lived, is living or is yet to be born. Within those parameters he certainly does not stand out as a bad guy or even a bad promoter.

No, Fritz broke the mold. The father of six sons was abusive, physically, emotionally and verbally from the womb to the tomb. Since you are reading Wrestlezone you know the gory details of the following:

David Von Erichâ<80><99>s â<80><9c>stomach illnessâ<80> (snort) related death in Japan in 1984

Mike Von Erichâ<80><99>s suicide in 1987

Chris Von Erichâ<80><99>s suicide in 1991

Kerry Von Erichâ<80><99>s suicide in 1993

I mean, seriously. Whatâ<80><99>s the common thread here? Were they all wrestlers? Yeah. But so were the Funk brothers, the Brisco brothers (both sets), the Steiner Brothers, and, last I checked, they were all still around and involved in wrestling. Were they all from Texas? Sure, but so are a zillion other people. Were they all athletic? Yeah, but so are the Osmonds. No, the common thread running through this sordid tale is the old lovable Nazi himself, Fritz Von Erich. Even mother Doris washed her hands of this stain in 1992 and kicked him to the proverbial curb five years before he became a worm farmer.

In the non-WWE DVD â<80><9c>Heroes of World Class,â<80> Kevin Von Erich told the story of Fritz pulling a gun on Kevin and threatening him. As Kevin escaped his fatherâ<80><99>s presence, the Fritzster (remembering his other sons) noted, â<80><9c>You would kill yourself too, if you had any guts.â<80> To which Kevin replied, â<80><9c>No dad, it takes guts to stay here.â<80> Damn straight.

The new DVD includes Kevin telling the heretofore unheard story of finding you Chris deep in the woods near the family compound. Chris, obviously distressed, said, â<80><9c>You found the note, didnâ<80><99>t you?â<80> Kevin left Chris in the woods (at Chrisâ<80><99> urging) and returned home where he found Chrisâ<80><99> suicide note. Kevin took his mother back to the site where he left his youngest brother and cradled him just as Chris Von Erichâ<80><99>s last breaths escaped his body. With his mother present.

Jesus. Those stories stick with you.

Did Fritz force feed David the killer California roll in Tokyo? No. Did Fritz shove the pills down Mikeâ<80><99>s gullet? No. Did Fritz pull either trigger as the muzzle pressed the flesh of Chris and Kerry? Nope. But he may as well have.

I do not know Kevin Von Erich. Like most of you, I know of him. I watched his work in World Class and admired his great ability. I watched him deal with the more and more tragic deaths of his brothers and, stoically maintain his dignity. I watched both DVDâ<80><99>s poke a prodding camera his way and ask uncomfortable questions to which he responded honestly. He has impressed me to no end with how he has carried himself in the face of a Job-like existence for over 20 years.

I also did not know Fritz Von Erich either. But he sucks.

Kevin remarked that he was always the oldest brother but now, he wasnâ<80><99>t even a brother at all.

Maybe Kevin was adopted.

(Please join me in the Forums section so we can further discuss parenting, fake Naziâ<80><99>s and The Fabulous Lance.)

CLICK HERE to discuss and debate this article with Scott in the WZ Forums!

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