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Rey Misterio and Tajiri’s feud is now underway with the tag match between Rey and Billy Kidman against Tajiri and Nunzio. Some innovative tag team offense to go with the video problems we were having. I love the Giant Swing into the drop kick, as well as Nunzio holding Kidman for the Tree of Woe Baseball slide. Sweet counter of Tajiri’s Tornado DDT into the Electric Chair. Rey was Rey, as always. Huge hooking back kick by Tajiri for the win. Solid match, good to open with a match like this. Hey, Big Show actually pulls off a suit well. Opening a segment with a lingering closeup on Sable’s legs is a great idea. Steph was bad, as usual. Vince was OK, but his sort of delivery didn’t quite work here. The video problems are getting annoying. Damn, Dawn Marie is freakin’ hot. Also, any woman who gives a Capt. Picard “The line must be drawn here!” speech is OK in my book. The match wasn’t anything special, but they are building Shaniqua the right way. Dawn Marie has learned how to bump. I want to see Shaniqua cross over and rule on all those working girls on RAW. Benoit and Rhyno had a match that I would say was very good. Rhyno is just that damn good. SO is Benoit. The match was hurt by the commercial break. I love the gore into the Tree of Woe. Great Sunset Flip Powerbomb off the top by Benoit. Nice stuff. Well, the APA got to do the 9-11 tribute. Bradshaw is the man who believes in his USA. Great Rap by John Cena this week. This push is working. The brawl was solid, and even the weapons that I thought would muddy the match worked really well. They destroyed a bunch of cars, making this an expensive match. The match featured all sorts of high impact spots, like the suplex onto the top of the car, and the whole thing showed that Eddy is great at every style. Chavo returns!!! A great showcase match, if a little too short. APA and Matt Hardy and Shannon Moore. Interesting booking choice. Still, it was as good as you’ll get out of the APA right now. Matt Hardy is always entertaining. Whatever happened to his “more talented” brother? The clothesline from Hell is still a solid finisher. The package reviewing Lesnar’s turn was a great piece and it helps build him another notch, which they need to do since he’s done a lot of jobs lately and he’s taking the title next week. Well, if you wanted to make the bile rise to the back of my throat, mission accomplished. I hated the main event, even if Kurt got to make the ring clear and stand tall. They should
have given us a tag or something instead. It ended flat for a show that was better than average with a couple of very good matches. I’d say that my favorite part was the brawl, and the Cruiserweight Tag was solid too. Good stuff until the end. I refuse to watch the Mullets. NEWS I finally saw the article on Masked Wrestling that the San Jose Mercury News ran this last Sunday. It was a good article that covered comics, MexiLucha films, Los Straightjackets, masked performance artists, and Rey Misterio. My favorite part: the writer interviewed the Patron Saint of Falls Count Anywhere, Dr. Tom Pritchard. The Wrestling Observer had a great article on 60 minute matches over the years. The Iron Man Match for next SmackDown! is a big chance, but the record for these types of matches looks fairly good. I think Angle easily has the repetoire to do it, and Brock can do his stuff in such a way that it will allow for the longest match of his career. This will be the first 60 minute match on Free TV since one of my all time favourite matches: Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkle in 1986. FlashBack! What the Kennedys are to the nation, the Von Erichs are to Texas: the classic AllAmerican family that slid into tragedy. Like the Kennedys, while they gave off a glowing exterior, there were dark secrets beneath the surface that may have helped lead to the great fall. The story begins with Jack Adkisson, a football player at Southern Methodist University who went on to play with old Dallas Texans and later with the Edmonton Eskimos. It was Stu Hart who brought Adkisson into wrestling in 1953. After a couple of years, Adkisson adopted the name Fritz Von Erich, mostly due to his size and evil sneer, he was cast as a Nazi who used the Iron Claw to draw blood and force faces to submit. Von Erich was a huge star from the mid-1950s. Fritz eventually fell in with a group of religious broadcasters, made several appearances on the 700 Club and began pushing the family as right living, religious boys who always fought fair. Fritz eventually became the head of the NWA and began bringing his sons to the NWA Annual Conventions, where he would bring his teenaged sons and say that they would all hold the NWA title someday. Fritz’s World Class Championship Wrestling was the best produced TV in the country, and was shown around the world. Fritz traveled the country and eventually became a huge deal in Japan. While he was wrestling out of Buffalo in 1959, his oldest son, Jack jr., was playing outside during a storm. He went too close to a downed power line, took a serious jolt and ended up falling face first into a puddle and drowning. He was 7 years old. This was the first of many tragedies for the Von Erichs.
David Von Erich was the best of the second generation of the Von Erich family. He was charismatic, a good worker, and draw very well in most of the cities where he appeared, especially in St. Louis. He was also a partier, and like most of his brothers, was into steroids and drugs. His matches The night before his first match in Japan, he overdosed and died in his hotel room. He was 25. Several wrestlers on the tour with Von Erich apparently cleaned the room of all drugs, allowing Fritz to claim that David died of an intestinal disease. The story has been told so many times that folks who should know better still say that it’s the cause of death. Fritz at one point claimed that a sneaky Japanese had given him a low kick that led to his death. After David’s death, Fritz turned a planned show at Texas Stadium, where it is believed that David was supposed to win the NWA title from Ric Flair, into the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions. Fritz also had one of his Gospel singing friends record the record Heaven Needed a Champion, which got huge play around Texas. Kerry won the NWA from Flair and lost it a couple of weeks later. The show drew 32, 000 fans. Mike Von Erich was a younger and smaller than his most successful brothers. He wrestled and was pushed hard from the beginning. He was just like his other brothers, but was prone to depression over the lack of success he had in wrestling. He had a surgery on his shoulder that led to Toxic Shock Syndrome. He was in a fight for his life, and there were many in the business that doubted that he was actually ill, though I’ve never heard anything that actually contradicted it. A few months later, Mike took an overdose of Placidyl after being arrested on drunk driving and controlled substance charges. He was 23. After Mike’s death, they renamed the Parade of Champions the David and Mike Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions. The next major Von Erich tragedy was Chris Von Erich. Chris had been around wrestling all his life, but was far too small to be a real wrestler. He was heavy into steroids to try and bulk up enough to be like his brothers, but it never really happened. Once he realized that it would never happen, Chris shot himself. He was 21. Kerry Von Erich was the one that fulfilled his father’s promise of NWA champions named Von Erich. He was also the biggest star, as he was huge in Texas, where he was the biggest sex symbol in the state, also big in Japan, and eventually in the WWF. He had a number of incidents with drugs, and a famous motorcycle accident that cost him half his foot. He was signed for a run in the WCW to take on Flair, but he no-showed his first date and was never used again. He signed with the WWF and won the WWF Intercontinental Title from Mr. Perfect. In 1992, Kerry was arrested on cocaine charges, and got a 10 year suspended sentence, and 10 years probation. He was also fired from the WWF later that summer. He was at the end of his rope as his relationship with his wife seemed to be over and he was certain to go to jail as he had been arrested again, which broke his probation. He hugged many
friends and family members goodbye, had a long phone conversation with his brother Kevin, and went out to his father’s ranch and shot himself in the chest. He was 33. Kevin was the one who survived. He was a decent worker, and was doing ranas and topes before any other American. There had been an “agreement” where the three oldest brothers, David, Kevin, and Kerry, would all be on the same level all the time. With David’s death, the agreement ended and Kerry was the top Von Erich. Kevin was bitter about that for a long time, and had a number of issues with drugs. He had a couple of very big scares, but survived. He left wrestling after the death of Chris and had only been back a few times. He is said to be working on a screenplay about the family story. Fritz’s story is the saddest to me. Once a force and innovator in the promotion of pro wrestling, he faded, with WCCW falling into obscurity and finally fading away. Doris, Fritz’s wife, divorced him in 1992, blaming him for all the troubles and death. He eventually ended up dying of lung cancer in 1997. The thing that makes the Von Erich story so sad to me is the fact that I wanted to be Kerry Von Erich so bad. I wanted to pin Flair in front of 32K and have Flair say that he respected me. When the family came crashing down, the whole fact that one of the heroes of my childhood had fallen. My dad was the same way about the Kennedys, especially JFK. That’s all for Falls Count Anywhere. Next week, more of the same, and a
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