Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
World Class Championship Wrestling
In honor of the DVD coming out Tuesday, December, 11, 2007, Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling, I wanted to talk for a minute about the ground-breaking organization. It was World Class Championship Wrestling that originally brought rock and roll to wrestling as the Fabulous Freebirds came to the ring with the Lynyrd Skynyrd’s anthem: Freebird. Everyone else followed suit.
World Class Championship Wrestling was the stomping grounds of some outstanding ring legends like the Fabulous Freebirds, the Von Erich Family, Gentleman Chris Adams, Stone Cold Steve Austin (who was Stunning, then), Ric Flair, the “Latin Heartthrob” Al Perez, Gino Hernandez, Bruiser Brody, Abdullah the Butcher, the Missing Link, Cactus Jack Manson (Mick Foley) and Percival Pringle III (Paul Bearer in the WWE).
The Von Erichs, “Texas’s First Family of Wrestling” were to World Class Wrestling what Hulk Hogan was to the WWF. They were extremely popular and had a huge fan following and they have had legendary feuds against the Fabulous Freebirds. Kerry Von Erich had even won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Ric Flair once as well.
The Von Erichs and the Freebird feud started when Freebird Michael Hayes, whose popularity then was only second to the Von Erichs, was the special guest referee in a steel cage match between Ric Flair and Kerry Von Erich. Hayes’ Freebird partner, Terry Gordy guarded the cage door. Several times Michael Hayes tried to interfere in the match on Kerry Von Erich’s behalf and he refused to pin Flair. Michael Hayes took offense to this and turned on Von Erich. When Kerry tried to escape the cage, Terry Gordy slammed the cage door on Kerry’s head. The back up referee, David Manning, banned the Freebirds from the ringside area. Kerry could not come back from the beating and soon lost the match to Flair.
The tragedy part of the WCCW history is the death of the Von Erich family. Kerry committed suicide by gunshot to the chest, Mike committed suicide by overdosing on Placidyl, and younger brother Chris committed suicide as well. The first notable death of the Von Erich clan was David who died in Japan while wrestling on tour of severe gastroenteritis but others dispute that over the years saying that it was drugs that killed him. Gino Hernandez, who also feuded with the Von Erichs and was about to start a feud with former partner, Chris Adams died of a cocaine overdose.
World Class Championship Wrestling has a long, storied history and the memories of it will live in the hearts of its fans forever.