Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Tragedy and Failure

The story of the Von Erich family and their wrestling business was really one of the saddest things I have ever seen. Already the story started off with the family losing a child, Jackie and starting off in the business. The beginning seemed very similar to the story of the AWA and their roots. Fritz Von Erich was a wrestler, a legend in the business just like Verne Gagne and like Gagne, he tried to push his sons to superstardom. His push did work and it was almost like the situation with the AWA where the WCCW lost talent. The talent was lost to tragedy however unlike the AWA which lost talent to the WWF. What was there that Fritz Von Erich could have done to prevent the downfall of the WCCW? Obviously the answer was to expand. He had the opportunity. But it also seemed obvious that their business was doomed to fail. When the documentary went over the beginning of the syndication and increasing the production value of the show Fritz obviously failed to see the opportunity in going national and global so I really thought at that moment, that it was obvious his lack of vision would cost the company. Now it is hard for me to judge whether or not the WCCW would have continued to succeed had they expanded into other territories because the death of the Von Erich boys really seemed like it would have been a major setback and other people seemed like they were on their way to self destruction. Tino Hernandez was a prime example. An organization like the WWF had the upper hand because the owner and promoter was young and not as entrenched in the old ways of the business.

The last episode of WWE Raw had some pretty good moments but I think the build up to Wrestlemania is taking a while. The main focus of the RAW show is the impending match at Wrestlemania between Shawn Michaels and John Cena. The interesting thing to note here is that there is no distinguishable heel or face. Michaels appears to have the crowd in his favor and there is always a hint at him attacking John Cena from behind. The only thing is that it may seem that the crowd would be behind him if he does but it is frustrating for a fan since it this has been the situation for I think four weeks now and it does not move the story and drama forward.

On another note, it was also announced last night that Jerry “the King” Lawler will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. They even showed footage of his win at SuperClash 3, against Kerry Von Erich. It is pretty interesting to see that some of these guys we are reading about and watching are getting recognized. It made me wonder if the Von Erichs would get recognition some day.


Ismael said...

I remember watching Kerry Von Erich wrestle as the Texas Tornado in the WWE when I was younger. I remember he passed away but I never knew how it happened. Even though I thought the video was really sad, I'm glad I was able to see the story behind him because it changed my view on Kerry from an average WWE wrestler to a major WCCW wrestler who, along with his brothers, could've been one of the greatest. It's hard to imagine the suffering that that family had to go through and the remaining brother, Kevin, continues to go through. I think that the rise and fall of the WCCW was directly realted to the Von Erich brothers. They helped make it the top rated wrestling promotion and when they weren't around to wrestle anymore, the WCCW didn't really have a chance.

The video also made me realize how much of a visionary Vince Jr. is. He was able to do what WCCW and AWA were hesitant to do, which was expand to all over the world. I'm sure a lot of the older promoters hated him and I'm sure he's still hated by many today, but it can't be denied that he knows exactly how to run his business.

Omar said...

The story of the Von Erich family was truly a tragedy. I know the many deaths the Von Erichs suffered through were a bit of an oddity in the wrestling world, but it made me wonder how prevalent drugs and other social pressures were in the wrestling world. Was this simply a product of a time when drugs just happened to be on the scene? I guess it's just kind of difficult to reconcile the picture of wrestling as depicted in the WCCW documentary with that championed by the AWA and the likes of Verne Gagne and Nick Bockwinkel. Maybe these guys were just the last of a dying era who naturally had to give it up to the new era of wrestlers. I suppose it would be naive to believe that wrestling was somehow immune to the "rockstar" lifestyle.

Sam Ford said...

There has already been some discussion of inducting the Von Erichs in the Hall of Fame in some way, but the question was raised whether they should be inducted as a family act, as individual members, etc. On their own, no one of the boys had a career that made them deserve to be in the Hall of Fame, save Fritz because of his many years as a wrestler, but you could see how they would as a family. Kerry was NWA World Champion and WWE Intercontinental Champion, but both were already after his prime, and David was cut off before his prime, while Kevin was never a top pro wrestler on his own.

As for WCCW, it's hard to understand now how innovative this show was because it still seems "old-fashioned." But the six cameras, for instance, led to a much different presentation of the wrestlers, and I was amazed at how up-front the promotional commercials shown in the documentary were about that fact, with the commercial hyping all the technological innovations.

on WWE 24/7 On Demand, the subscription service to old wrestling clips, they've just started showing the WCCW shows, hosted by Michael Hayes and Kevin Von Erich, who explained that entrance music became popular in WCCW before it was in most other places as well, and they were one of the first shows to be "in stereo."

DJ said...

The Von Erich Family Story is a real tragedy. When the boys were young their mother committed suicide, that left Fritz to raise the boys. The Von Erich Brothers, David, Michael and Kerry all committed suicide. It is all very sad.
As I heard it Fritz was a hard man to live with. He was hard on his wife and the boys as well. I feel sorry for the whole situation.

Sam Ford said...

DJ, it is such a tragedy. There have been a variety of articles, news pieces, books or book chapters, and DVDs on the subject, but no one will ever be able to truly understand how and why it happened.