June 11, 2014

A new Von Erich generation enters the wrestling ring in Arlington

Kevin Adkisson, better known as wrestling great Kevin Von Erich, has two sons competing in Slammiversary XII at College Park Center at UTA on Sunday.

Kevin Adkisson’s 27-acre ranch on Kauai affords him the opportunity to live quietly among the Hawaiian Island’s tranquil lifestyle.

Floating almost unrecognized with residents keeps the man known in the ring as Kevin Von Erich from having to administer the family famous Iron Claw.

It’s been over a decade since Adkisson has been to North Texas, an area that he said has blanketed his family with love and admiration, and just as long since the Claw has made an appearance in the ring.

Adkisson said that’s likely to change Sunday as TNA Entertainment brings Slammiversary XII to College Park Center at UT Arlington and he introduces sons, Ross and Marshall, to the wrestling world.

The sight of a Von Erich in the ring is nothing new.

Although the family name is Adkisson, Kevin’s father and four of his brothers wrestled under the name Von Erich. His father was Fritz Von Erich. The brothers were David, Michael, Chris, and Kerry. All are deceased. Michael, Chris and Kerry committed suicide.

Now, a new generation of Von Erichs are in the ring.

Ross and Marshall are on the wrestling card. Their opponent will be announced later.

Taking time out from what he called his, “farming lifestyle,” Kevin Adkisson talked about his life, family legacy and his sons:

Hawaiians have always been big wrestling fans. How does it feel to walk the streets there without all the fanfare? Occasionally, someone will recognize me. Just the other day I was walking through the grocery store and saw a skinny Hawaiian looking guy. It turned out to be Kris Kristofferson. So there are all kinds of Emmy or Oscar winners walking around here and we all just fit in. There’s a lot of privacy here. This place reminds me a lot of North Texas. I live right here with my kids and grandkids on a big farm. We’re in an area where there are neighbors helping neighbors and that’s just like being in Texas. We’re all just tiny little island farmers here and everybody wants to be like that. Kauai is quite a bit different from the other islands in that it’s not as commercialized. We have a bowling alley and golf courses, but the nature is just incredible. We’re not really set up for tourism like the other islands are.

What sent you to Hawaii? Well, as everyone knows, I was in a difficult place in my life and I needed to get away really. It was time to turn the page from wrestling and leave that behind. I do have some great memories, but honestly not all of them are good ones. I looked at Costa Rica as a possibility, but I really wanted to stay in the States. Morgan ended up finishing school in Texas, but Ross finished out here and both of them ended up being great football players. Marshall was a record holder in the discus his junior and senior year.

What are your fondest wrestling memories? There’s a million really. I did this for 19 years so there’s a lot of great ones, especially being in the ring with my brothers and the tag-team matches. Being in there together was a great thing and we had a little bit different situation because you know your brother was going to respond in different situations. Tag-team wrestling is really kind of a science and it’s custom-made for brothers. I still have fond memories of the guys I wrestled with including Chris Adams. I made a trip out to see his family and for his funeral. I just wanted his family to know what a good, hard-working man he was. The booze really made him a different person, but I respected and admired Chris, and I wanted his family to know that he wasn’t a thug.

What’s your thought on your family’s legacy? Honestly, I’m just so grateful to have not been forgotten. We were just little kids that wanted to be like our dad. We wanted to be like him, and we were really close. And I think anyone can identify that. We thought everything he did was great. Kids are like that, I guess, and I thought that was normal. There’s this misnomer out there that Fritz was hard on us and pushed us, but that just isn’t true. He was the epitome of an honorable man, and we were good enough that he didn’t have to push us. It seemed like he knew everyone and he was noble. When you shook hands with Fritz, it was a contract. Now I’m surrounded by family and grandchildren. I’m just surrounded by love and hope and that’s helped me through a lot of all the things I went through. It was a long row to hoe. I’m very grateful that all this is going down on Father’s Day and in Texas and getting out there with all the fans. I can’t wait for the moment to do it.

How do you think Ross and Marshall will fare caring on the Von Erich name? They’re going to be ready. I would say Marshall and Ross both have different styles. Both, and really all of us, had this incredible, athletic, freaky strength. My brothers all had that untapped strength. They could lift more than you thought and really reach down and find some extra. Both of my boys have that, too. I sent them to Japan for two years so they could really learn the business from all angles.

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