Sept. 23, 1966
Made in Texas
Fritz Von Erich, one of the country’s leading wrestling villains, partners with Ed McLemore, owner of the Dallas-based Sportatorium, to take control of the Dallas–Fort Worth wrestling territory. The pair promotes shows in the area with Fritz usually competing in the main event against opponents like The Spoiler and Joe Blanchard. When McLemore dies of a heart attack in ’69, Fritz becomes the territory’s sole owner and a hero to the wrestling fans in Texas.
Aug. 9, 1976
The Von Erich Boys
Fritz’s eldest son, Kevin Von Erich, makes his ring debut in Fort Worth, Texas, defeating Paul Perschmann (who will later gain fame as “Playboy” Buddy Rose). In the years that follow, The Golden Warrior is joined by his brothers, David, Kerry and Mike, sparking off a sports-entertainment phenomenon that produces more screams from teenage girls than The Beatles invasion of America. (WATCH)
April 1, 1982
Looking to give his company more of a national appeal, Fritz changes the name of his Big Time Wrestling to World Class Championship Wrestling. With that, the promoter invests in more modern television production, bringing cutting edge music videos, sharp graphics and unique vignettes to markets across the country and, eventually, the world. This modern approach to sports-entertainment creates a generation of new Superstars in “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin, The Great Kabuki, Gino Hernandez and many others. (PHOTOS)
June 6, 1982
End of an Era
In what is billed as Fritz Von Erich’s retirement show, the Dallas icon defeats King Kong Bundy for the NWA American Heavyweight Championship in Texas Stadium, pinning the behemoth in the end zone in front of thousands of fans. (WATCH) It is not the last time Fritz steps through the ropes, but it is the night he unofficially passes the torch to his sons, Kevin, Kerry and David.