David von Erich

Height: 6'5"

Weight: 260 lbs

Real Name: David Adkisson

DOB: 7/22/58

DOD: 2/10/84

Hometown: Denton County, Texas

Other Names: "Yellow Rose of Texas"

Wrestler Since: 1977

Finishing Maneuver: The Iron Claw

History: (Written by Craig Peters for the Wrestler, June '84)

The news came suddenly and terribly early on the morning of February 10 (1984). David Von Erich was found dead in his Tokyo hotel room – the victim of acute enteritis – a severe inflammation of the intestines. Von Erich was just beginning a three-week tour of Japan. In fact, he hadn’t even wrestled in his first match of the tour. Joe Higuchi, a referee for All Japan Pro Wrestling Association, discovered Von Erich in his room at the Takanawa Tobu hotel. An ambulance was called, but police said the medical report indicated that Von Erich had died in his sleep an hour before the call was made.

David was only 25 years old when he died, but in those 25 years he rose to the stature of hero not only in his home state of Texas, but in the hearts of wrestling fans across the country and around the world. The weeks following the news of his death saw thousands of cards and letters from all over the world expressing their sympathy sent to the Von Erich family.

David was born in Lake Dallas, Texas on July 22, 1958, the second of the six Von Erich sons. He was a basketball and football star at Lake Dallas High School and attended North Texas State on a basketball scholarship. After a year of college, David quit to become a professional wrestler. His debut match took place in the summer of 1977 against Gary Hart.

“I really don’t know how I could have avoided professional wrestling as a career,” David said in an interview shortly after his debut. “I had grown up in a wrestling atmosphere. My father – well everyone had heard about Fritz Von Erich for years. Wrestling is a part of my family, and I’ve always been a good athlete. It seemed natural for me to become a wrestler. Besides, Kevin needed someone to team with!”

Kevin was the first of the Von Erich brothers to wrestle professionally and David soon followed. In his debut match, David surprised a lot of people, including opponent Hart and the man Hart managed at the time, Mark Lewin (who was involved in a major feud with Kevin).

Hart felt that David would be a pushover in that match, and claimed that he would be able to beat David in five minutes. David responded by saying that if he could beat Hart in five minutes, he wanted to wrestle Lewin. David beat Hart very quickly and went on to beat Lewin as well!

That incident ignited a feud between Hart and the Von Erichs that lasted for years. Hart brought many wrestlers to Texas over that time to try and run the Von Erichs out of the state. Bruiser Brody, John Studd, Gino Hernandez, the Great Kabuki, The Spoiler, and Ernie Ladd were just a few of the men that Hart sent in against David and his brothers.

David’s excellence in Texas soon catapulted him to the top of the NWA ratings, and he found himself a perennial contender for the NWA World title. He wrestled for that title against Harley Race and Ric Flair. Though he never won the World title, he did succeed in winning several regional singles and tag team titles during his short career.

In 1979, David and Kevin combined to defeat the team of Bruiser Brody and Gino Hernandez for the American tag team belts. Two years later, David won the Texas State heavyweight championship from Hernandez. With his brother Kevin, David also held the U.S. tag team title, the World-Class tag team belts, and the All – Asian tag team belts (defeating the team of Shohel “Giant” Baba and Jumbo Tsuruta).

With brothers Kevin and Kerry, David feuded with the Freebirds over the last couple of years, with the World – Class Six – Man tag team championship changing hands between the two sides several times. Alone, David would go on to hold, among other titles, the Texas championship four times, the Southern Title (defeating Jack Brisco) and the United National belt (defeating Michael Hayes).

David also defeated Ric Flair on September 16, 1983, for the Missouri State Heavyweight Title, an honor he held until January 6, 1984, when he was defeated by Harley Race in St. Louis. David made his only Madison Square Garden appearance on November 11, 1979, against Davey O’Hannon. At the time, David noted that “wrestling in the Garden is the thrill of a life time, but I have to admit that I’m looking forward to getting back home to Texas. I’m a Lone Star cowboy at heart!”

Late in 1981, David traveled to Florida and struck up a friendship with Dory Funk Jr., a friendship that would soon influence David to adopt some of the stylistic mannerisms of the rule – breaking community. In the autumn of 1982, David vowed that he’d rather “quit wrestling then be Dory Funk’s puppet,” and he triumphantly returned to Texas once again to the overwhelming cheers and approval of his many fans.

Shortly thereafter, The Freebirds arrived in Texas. Originally they claimed to be friends of David’s, but turned on him on Christmas Night 1982. That marked the beginning of a feud between The Freebirds and the Von Erichs that still continues.

Throughout his entire career, David attempted to achieve nothing but excellence in his athletic endeavors. If excellence is measured by attainment of championship titles and becoming the object of unmatched admiration by his peers and by millions of wrestling fans around the world, then David Von Erich certainly reached that pinnacle of excellence be was striving for.

David Von Erich achieved much in his 25 years on this earth, and as long as we remember those achievements, as long as we recall the excellence that is David Von Erich, he will never be gone. Not from our hearts, nor from the pages of wrestling’s history books.

(For more Von Erich information, check out Friends of the Von Erich's, where this article was found.)

Pay-Per-View/Show Summary: (14 - 4)
- WCCW Wrestling Star Wars (October 25, '81) = Von Erich won a "Bunkhouse" Match over Tim Brooks.
- Fritz Von Erich Retirement Show (June 4, '82) = David & Kevin von Erich lost the WCCW All-Asia Tag-Team Titles to Magic Dragon & the Great Kabuki.
- WCCW Wrestling Star Wars (August 15, '82) = David & Kevin von Erich won the World Class All-Asia Tag-Team Titles from Magic Dragon & the Great Kabuki.
- WCCW Christmas Star Wars (December 25, '82) = Von Erich stayed the Texas Heavyweight Champ, beating Bill Irwin. Later on, Von Erich, as a substitute for Buddy Roberts, joined Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy in winning the new WCCW Six-Man Tag-Team Titles by taking down Tom Steele, Mike & Tommy Sharpe. Von Erich immediately gave his share of the title over to Roberts.
- Mid-South Superdome Extravaganza (April 16, '83) = David & Kevin von Erich defeated the Freebirds.
- WCCW Wrestling Star Wars (June 16, '83) = Von Erich won the Texas Heavyweight Title from Jimmy Garvin. An added stipulation also gave Von Erich Garvin & his manager, Sunshine, as his valets for a day.
- WCCW Independence Day Star Wars (July 4, '83) = Von Erich won the held-up Texas Heavyweight Title, beating Jimmy Garvin. Later on, David, Kevin, & Kerry von Erich defeated the Fabulous Freebirds in a "Three Falls" Match.
- NWA Missouri Heavyweight Title Tournament (July 15, '83) = Von Erich beat Bob Orton Jr & Blackjack Lanza, before losing to Ric Flair in the finals.
- WCCW Labor Day Star Wars (September 5, '83) = Von Erich retained the Texas Heavyweight Title, winning a "Three Falls" Match over Terry Gordy. Later on, David, Kevin, & Kerry von Erich lost to the WCCW Six Man Tag-Team Champs, the Fabulous Freebirds.
- Mid-South Superdome Extravaganza (November 19, '83) = Von Erich won, via countout, over Kimala.
- WCCW Thanksgiving Star Wars (November 24, '83) = Von Erich stayed the Texas Heavyweight Champ, winning, via DQ, over Kimala.
- WCCW Christmas Star Wars (December 25, '83) = Von Erich won, via DQ, over the NWA World Champ, Ric Flair.
- WCCW January Star Wars (January 30, '84) = David & Kerry von Erich fell to the Fabulous Freebirds.
- WWE Wrestlemania XXV (April 5, '09) = David was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Title Summary:
- NWA Texas Tag-Team Champion w/ Kevin von Erich (4/07/78 - 8/78)
- NWA Texas Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Kevin von Erich (9/04/78 - 10/78)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion (9/10/78 - 10/78)
- NWA American Tag-Team Champion w/ Kevin von Erich (10/78 - 2/19/79)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(2) (78 - 12/78)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(3) (2/79 - 11/79)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(4) (8/80 - 5/81)
- NWA World Tag-Team Champion w/ Kevin von Erich (2/81 - 81)
- All Asia Tag-Team Champion w/ Kevin von Erich (5/23/81 - 6/11/81)
- NWA (Florida) Southern Heavyweight Champion (12/26/81 - 7/16/82)
- All Asia (Dallas) Tag-Team Champion w/ Kevin von Erich (82)
- NWA (Florida) North American Tag-Team Champion w/ Dory Funk Jr (3/82 - 4/11/82)
- NWA (Florida) Television Champion (4/24/82 - 82)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(5) (9/19/82 - 3/83)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(6) (4/04/83 - 4/83)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(7) (7/04/83 - 7/11/83)
- WCCW World 6-Man Tag-Team Champion w/ Kevin & Kerry von Erich (7/04/83 - 8/12/83)
- NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion (9/16/83 - 1/06/84)
- WCCW Texas Heavyweight Champion(8) (83 - 2/10/84)
- WCCW World 6-Man Tag-Team Champion(2) w/ Kevin & Kerry von Erich (12/02/83 - 1/84)
- NWA United National Heavyweight Champion (2/03/84 - 2/10/84)

PWI Achievement Awards: (1 win, 0 1st RUs, 2 2nd RUs, 0 3rd RUs)
- 1978 Rookie of the Year, 2nd Runner-Up
- 1983 Most Popular Wrestler, 2nd Runner-Up
- 1984 Stanley Weston/Editors' Award