Friday, June 3, 2016

Famer Friday: Kerry Von Erich and what if

Kerry Von Erich
Courtsey: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Where it all started...
I credit Kerry Von Erich with being one of the wrestlers who got me hooked on pro wrestling at a young age. I remember seeing him battle Ric Flair inside a steel cage for the NWA World Heavyweight Title. It's the night the war between the Von Erichs and The Freebirds ignited and changed wrestling forever. It's also one of my earliest memories of the sport.

Right after the NWA Championship win
Kerry quickly became not only my favorite Von Erich, but my favorite wrestler. I had my standard wrestling magazine purchases each month: Pro Wrestling Illustrated, The Wrestler and Inside Wrestling. But if Kerry was featured on the cover or as the poster in any other publication, I added it to my collection. Despite Hulkamania running wild in other areas, I was 100% behind Kerry.

As NWA Heavyweight Champion
Of course he has a long list of accomplishments, winning the NWA Title from Flair eventually. He held several championships while in World Class Championship Wrestling and in 1990 when he signed with WWF my wrestling prayers had been answered. It didn't take long for the Texas Tornado to capture the Intercontinental Title.

After winning the IC Title
Courtesy: WWE
But Curt Hennig, Ted DiBiase and The Warlord weren't the only battles Kerry was facing. Outside the ring he had demons of his own. More than 20 years after his untimely death I am saddened as I wonder "what if..." Had he not been ill with addiction (as far as I'm concerned it's an illness), the sky would have been the limit for the Modern Day Warrior.

Courtesy: WWE
Kerry was in his early 30s when he arrived in the WWF. His short run as IC champion should have been a launching pad to bigger things in the company. As Vince McMahon was looking for new faces to replace Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior and "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Von Erich should have been on the short list. I've read on other sites that Kerry was supposed to get the "Bret Hart treatment" and the run with the belt.

I can't tell you how much I wish this would have happened. Don't get me wrong, Bret Hart is an icon and one of the all-time greats, but Kerry was my guy. He could have had some epic battles against the Hitman, Shawn Michaels, Razor Ramon and the other members of the New Generation. 

Kerry & Kevin Von Erich
He would have become a big time commodity during the Monday Night Wars as well. It would have been interesting to see where he ended up. His involvement in either WWF or WCW would have also likely meant Kevin joining him. The two would have made outstanding tag team champions and individual champs as well. Fantasy booking: Kerry as WWE Champion battling Kevin as IC Champion on a pay-per-view event.

Kerry may be gone, but he's not forgotten. May he continue to rest in peace. Thanks for the memories.

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