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Fritz Von Erich

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Title: Fritz Von Erich  
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Subject: Big Time Wrestling Star Wars (1981), Kevin Von Erich, Waldo Von Erich, WCCW Star Wars (1982), Jim Duggan
Collection: 1929 Births, 1997 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Male Actors, American Football Offensive Linemen, American Male Professional Wrestlers, American Methodists, Cancer Deaths in Texas, Dallas Texans (Nfl) Players, Deaths from Brain Tumor, Deaths from Lung Cancer, Fictional Nazis, People from Denton, Texas, People from Leon County, Texas, Professional Wrestlers from Texas, Professional Wrestling Executives, Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum, Professional Wrestling Promoters, Professional Wrestling Trainers, Smu Mustangs Football Players, Von Erich Family, Wwe Hall of Fame
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Fritz Von Erich

Fritz Von Erich
Birth name Jack Barton Adkisson, Sr.
Born (1929-08-16)August 16, 1929
Jewett, Texas
Died September 10, 1997(1997-09-10) (aged 68)[1]
Dallas, Texas
Cause of death Brain and lung cancer
Family Von Erich
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Fritz Von Erich
Tetsu no Tsume (Iron Claw)
Jack Adkisson[2]
Billed height 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Billed weight 260 lb (120 kg)
Billed from Denton, Texas
Trained by Stu Hart
Debut January 8, 1953[2]
Retired 1982

Jack Barton Adkisson, Sr. (August 16, 1929 – September 10, 1997) was an American professional wrestler under the ring name Fritz Von Erich, better known today as a wrestling promoter and the patriarch of the Von Erich family. He was also the owner of the World Class Championship Wrestling territory.[3]


  • Football career 1
  • Professional wrestling career 2
    • Early career and training 2.1
    • 1960s 2.2
    • Japan 2.3
    • Retirement 2.4
  • Personal life and death 3
  • In wrestling 4
  • Championships and accomplishments 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Football career

Adkisson attended Southern Methodist University, where he threw discus and played football. He has been reported to have played with the now defunct Dallas Texans of the NFL (not the AFL team which became the Kansas City Chiefs),[4] but this is not true.[5] He was signed as a guard but was cut.[6] He then tried the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Professional wrestling career

Early career and training

While in Edmonton, he met legendary wrestler and trainer Stu Hart, and Hart decided to train and book him in his Klondike Wrestling promotion, naming him Fritz Von Erich and teaming him with "brother" Waldo Von Erich as a pair "evil German" brothers. Adkisson's oldest son Jack Barton Adkisson, Jr. was born September 21, 1952. He died in 1959, however, after an accidental electrocution, and Jack Sr. stopped traveling to the east coast, allowing former partner Waldo to use the Von Erich name in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.


Despite Jack Jr.'s death, Adkisson continued to travel and wrestle. Adkisson won both versions of the AWA World title in 1963. His major circuit was Sam Muchnick's NWA territorial stronghold in St. Louis, Missouri. He wrestled there until 1967, when he voluntarily left the territory after losing a match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against then-champion Gene Kiniski.[7] In the late 1960s, with Muchnick's backing, Adkisson became the promoter for the Dallas territory, effectively overseeing the Houston and San Antonio territories, as well.[7]


Adkisson was a part of rebuilding Japanese wrestling after the stabbing death of Rikidōzan. He became a star due to his feuds with Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba, and his "Iron Claw" hold, which became one of the most popular wrestling moves in Japan.


In 1982, he held his first retirement match against King Kong Bundy in the newly renamed World Class Championship Wrestling promotion, based in Dallas. The promotion was known for its high production values, use of entrance music and the use of television syndication. The promotion was one of the most successful territories in the United States, with major draws like his sons, The Fabulous Freebirds, Chris Adams, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Gino Hernandez and Rick Rude. By the end of the 1980s, the promotion's talent pool was thin and it was eventually merged with Jerry Jarrett's Continental Wrestling Association to create the United States Wrestling Association in 1989.

Personal life and death

Adkisson married Doris J. Smith on June 23, 1950.[8] Together, they had six sons: Jack Barton, Jr. (born September 21, 1952), Kevin (born May 15, 1957), David (born July 22, 1958), Kerry (born February 3, 1960), Mike (born March 2, 1964) and Chris (born September 30, 1969). Of Adkisson's six sons, only Kevin is still living. The couple later separated and Doris divorced her husband on July 21, 1992 after 42 years of marriage.

Adkisson died of brain and lung cancer on September 10, 1997.[9] His funeral service was held at the 1st Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. His body was cremated with his ashes interred in the same plot as his fourth son, Kerry.

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • "Tetsu no Tsume" ("The Iron Claw")

Championships and accomplishments

1This championship was later renamed the NWA American Heavyweight Championship in May 1968. It would later be renamed the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship after World Class' withdrawal from the NWA in February 1986.

See also


  1. ^ "Von Erichs’ Patriarch Dead At 68". Classic Wrestling Articles. Retrieved 16 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "World Class Memories: Results 1953". John Dananay/Michael Moody/ISE Web Productions. July 30, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  3. ^ Foley, Mick. Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks (p.129)
  4. ^ Dunham, Richard (January 24, 2010). "Today in Texas History: Texas gets its first NFL team". Retrieved 2014-07-09. 
  5. ^ (search historical players, Jack Adkisson) "NFL PLAYERS" . 
  6. ^ Hornbaker, Tim (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. p. 242.  
  7. ^ a b Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter, January 9, 2008
  8. ^ Texas Divorces
  9. ^ "Fritz Von Erich dead at 68". Slam! Sports. 1997-09-11. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  10. ^ "PWI 500 of the PWI Years". Willy Wrestlefest. Retrieved 2012-08-28. 


  • Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. HarperCollins.  

External links

Preceded by
Sam Muchnick
President of the National Wrestling Alliance
Succeeded by
Edward Gossett
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