The life of a professional athlete is an arduous journey that often surpasses the bounds of our imagination. Within the realm of professional wrestling, this challenge is exemplified by the Von Erich family, whose saga unfolded during the 1970s and 1980s. Amidst the dazzling lights and cheering crowds, the Von Erichs achieved unparalleled success, with the brothers — Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris — rising to prominence in the World Class Championship Wrestling circuit. Yet, their triumphs were accompanied by a series of heartbreaking losses in the family, starting with the death of David in 1983; by 1993, Kerry, Mike, and Chris had passed away, and in 1997, so did the patriarch Fritz Von Erich.
Kevin Von Erich stands today as the sole surviving brother, a living testament to the extraordinary journey that has defined his life. Haunted by persistent rumors of a family curse, Kevin has weathered the storm of grief, loss, and public scrutiny. His resilience in the face of adversity is a testament to the indomitable spirit that has characterized the Von Erich legacy. His story becomes as much a part of the film, ‘The Iron Claw,’ as does the story of the Von Erich family, and through his experiences, the human spirit to endure, transcend, and find meaning shines through.
Kevin Ross Adkisson, born on May 15, 1957, was the second eldest son in the Adkisson family, headed by Jack Barton Adkisson Sr., known by his wrestling moniker Fritz Von Erich, and Doris. Tragedy struck early in Kevin’s life when, at the age of 2, his older brother, Jack Jr., succumbed to drowning in a puddle near their home. This event thrust Kevin into the role of the eldest sibling among his four brothers. In his youth, Kevin played football just like his father did when the latter was also young, but a sports injury curtailed his aspirations of playing in the National Football League. Redirecting his athletic prowess, Kevin entered the world of professional wrestling, quickly gaining popularity due to his imposing physique and appealing looks. He not only excelled as a solo performer but also formed successful tag teams with his brothers, Kerry and David.
Kevin Kept At Wrestling Against All Adversities
In 1989, Kevin and Kerry stood as the sole surviving members of the Von Erich family who were still active in the wrestling scene. Kevin faced profound disappointment when his father decided to sell their World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) promotion to the Memphis-based CWA. Despite Kevin’s efforts to disentangle WCCW from the merger due to ongoing disputes, he struggled to restore it to its former glory. With Kevin’s reduced participation in matches, the situation worsened, culminating in the unfortunate closure of WCCW in November 1990.
In 1991, witnessing Kerry’s involvement in the WWF, Kevin also engaged in a dark match on December 2, 1991, facing off against Brian Lee and emerging victorious. This year marked the loss of his youngest brother, Chris. Despite the hardships, Kevin persisted in wrestling and even participated in a few matches in Mexico in the subsequent years. However, the toughest challenge for him was yet to unfold. In a poignant revelation during an interview, Kevin shared that his brother had called him before the tragic incident on February 18, 1993. Kevin pleaded with Kerry not to leave him alone, but Kerry’s struggles had taken a toll by that point.
By this point, Kevin admitted feeling profoundly abandoned, and his last wrestling triumph during the pinnacle of his career unfolded in 1995 while competing for Jim Crockett, Jr.’s NWA promotion, securing the North American heavyweight title. Amidst this professional success, Kevin grappled not only with the grief of losing his closest brother but also with the disintegration of his family. Having married Pam in 1980, they had four children – Kristen, Jillian, David Michael Ross, and Kevin Marshall. Seeking solace and healing, Kevin opted to move to Kauai, Hawaii, with his family, finding solace in the embrace of the ocean and formally retired from wrestling by 1995.
Kevin Made a Fresh Start in Hawaii
Kevin continued to make occasional appearances in the professional wrestling world. In 2005, he attended WWE Raw Homecoming, and the following year, in 2006, he joined other WCCW wrestlers in the production of ‘Heroes of World Class Wrestling,’ an independently produced documentary delving into the Von Erich family and WCCW. In that same year, he sold the rights to archived tapes of pre-1988 WCCW matches to WWE and also participated in other documentaries made about the wrestling families.
In April 2009, when the Von Erich family was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, Kevin proudly stood to represent his family. Two of Kevin’s sons, Ross and Marshall, followed in their father’s footsteps, entering the world of professional wrestling. In 2014, Kevin joined them for a tag team match at Slammiversary. Then, in 2017, after 22 years away from the ring, Kevin, at the age of 60, made a remarkable return. He teamed up with his sons and emerged victorious at The Rage Wrestling Mega Show in Tel Aviv, Israel, evoking memories of Kevin’s earlier wrestling days in the same country.
Kevin Von Erich Lives Near San Antonia Today
After residing in Hawaii for many years, Kevin and his wife established a family investment business together and ventured into professional real estate. Kevin now owns the rights to the distribution of WCCW, which he has rebranded as K.R. Adkisson Enterprises. Alongside these endeavors, he has become a grandfather to 11 grandchildren. In May 2023, Kevin, along with his wife and children, returned to Texas after more than three decades.
As of writing, Kevin, his wife Pam Adki and his family have settled on a ranch just outside Boerne, north of San Antonio, a property purchased jointly with his sons. Motivated by the film ‘The Iron Claw,’ Kevin decided it was time to share his story in his own words. Engaging in one-man shows and interacting with people, he eagerly anticipates revisiting the old highways and cherished memories of Texas.
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