Von Erich brothers aim to turn new leaf on family legacy

  • Photo courtesy Marshall Adkisson

    Marshall Von Erich takes to the air during a pro wrestling show in Israel in July.

  • Photo courtesy Marshall Adkisson

    Ross Von Erich plays to the crowd during a pro wrestling show in Dallas, Texas in April.

  • Photo courtesy Marshall Adkisson

    Marshall Von Erich wrestles during a pro wrestling show in Israel in July.

  • Photo courtesy Marshall Adkisson

    Ross, left, and Marshall Von Erich stop for a photo on Oahu in December.

LIHUE — The Von Erich name in pro wrestling is typically associated with its story of the family curse — the untimely deaths of four of five wrestling brothers.

The sons of the last surviving brother now aim to take the Von Erich name with them toward a brighter future rather than keep it in its grim past.

“We want to show everyone that we’re not cursed. We’re blessed,” Marshall Adkisson said.

Ross and Marshall Adkisson, known by their stage names Ross and Marshall Von Erich, look forward to what is ahead of them in their careers after recently signing a four-year deal with pro wrestling promotion Major League Wrestling (MLW).

The brothers will travel monthly to do shows for MLW nationally an sometimes internationally.

“They want to feature us mainly with international stuff,” Ross said. “And that was really one of our dreams, too. We love traveling. We love going to new countries and seeing new places.”

The deal couldn’t have come at a better time for the Von Erich brothers.

They’ve been in the business for about seven years, but they’ve questioned where their careers were headed after turning down a tryout with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) brand NXT about two years ago in order to keep living on Kauai rather than constantly tour.

“We went through a year of examining ourselves — why we were in wrestling and seeing where we were at,” Marshall said. “We were getting to travel and see awesome places, but after a while, there can be times where you take time off.

“We were continuing with wrestling, but sometimes there would be small crowds. Sometimes, it would be in high school gyms in the middle of Philadelphia. You don’t know where you’re going to be, and sometimes you think, ‘Am I doing the right thing?’ But all I can say is persevere. It was something we were praying about for a long time.”

The Von Erichs will make their MLW debut on June 1 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Soon after, they’ll make stops in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

The promotion’s weekly television show “MLW Fusion” can be seen on BeIN Sports. Recordings of past shows can also be seen on MLW’s YouTube channel.

Moving past dark family legacy

The brothers are the sons of WWE hall of famer Kevin Adkisson, known in the ring as Kevin Von Erich.

During the 1980s, Kevin and his brothers David, Mike, Chris and Kerry were active pro wrestlers with promotion World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) in their native state of Texas.

All but Kevin died during the prime of their careers — three of the brothers took their life by suicide. As children, the eldest brother Jack Jr. died at 6 years old after he was electrocuted and drowned in a puddle.

It was from these deaths that the myth of the “Von Erich Curse” arose.

“First of all, it’s crazy people are still remember it,” Ross said. “We’re aware my dad had a crazy story and that it impacted people and touched people emotionally. That’s why some people are still following it.”

Ross and Marshall now want to take their inherited Von Erich name and push it to a more positive course. They believe their signing with MLW is a sign of things to come for the duo.

“To the kids, the fans and whoever follows, we want to show that we’ve learned from those mistakes that they made,” Ross said. “We want to point people to the right direction.”

Whirlwind week-and-a-half

The Von Erichs, mainly the father Kevin, were featured in a 45-minute episode of a television series called “Dark Side of the Ring” released by Viceland. The episode is called “The Last of the Von Erichs”.

The documentary, some of which was recorded on the Adkissons’ home in Kapahi, thoroughly covers the Von Erich family’s rich pro wrestling history, the brothers’ deaths, and how Kevin lived through tragedy and that he’s found peace on Kauai.

Ross and Marshall signing with MLW happened in close proximity of the Viceland episode’s release earlier this month. Soon after, the brothers were contacted by Sports Illustrated for a feature story that published online.

“Right after we signed (with MLW), Sports Illustrated called to cover it. It was like bam, bam, bam all in the span of a week-and-a-half,” Marshall said. “Meanwhile, we were actually on Oahu coaching KYF (Kauai Youth Football). We coach for Kapaa KYF. We’re the D2 coaches.”

Ross added that as all of this has happened, he and his brother are just “along for the ride.”

“We really feel like God opened this door and that this is all his doing,” Ross said. “That’s what’s really exciting. We don’t know exactly what the future holds, but we’re just walking through these doors as they’re opening.”


Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or ncelario@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Drew Ray May 26, 2019 10:17 am Reply

    More power to them Boys/Young men 🙏
    I love that family as they were my own ❤️
    And prayers go up daily for my dearest friend Kevin who is probably the only person in the world who understands what I’ve been through losing my brother and father 😢l love them and will enjoy watching this family get the blessings that’s coming! My our Lord and savior King Jesus be with you All……Drew

  2. Carlos Fierro May 26, 2019 3:11 pm Reply

    Fritz once made a special appearance at the boys club in Ft Worth Texas. He was teaching kids how to fall. I think I was in Kinder or first grade. We begged him to teach us the claw or pile driver instead. Of course he wouldn’t. Too dangerous! Years later watching the Von Erichs (Fritz’ sons) Bruiser Brody, Rick Flair, Kabuke, on channel 11 in Oak Cliff Dallas when I was a preteen was often the highlight of my Saturday! The Von Erichs were able to exude heart, spirit, determination and love of craft out on the ring. Learning later of the immense personal challenges they faced back then was both heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. I (and I know a bunch of other ex Oak Cliff kids) wish the new generation of Von Erichs all the best!

  3. lynn k blackwell May 27, 2019 2:50 am Reply

    I loved the von erichs

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