Five-Star Match of the Week: Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair - NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match, WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions
Every Wednesday, WWE Classics and Greatest Matches team up with your favorite Superstars to bring you the Five-Star Match of the Week. We ask a Superstar in the WWE locker room to select one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, and WWE.com brings you that full-length match, uncut.
When WWE Classics approached Cody Rhodes for a Five-Star Match of the Week selection, the son of the legendary Dusty Rhodes was more than game.
“All I do is watch old wrestling,” he said before waxing intellectual about a lesser-known classic from the World Class Championship Wrestling library.
Based in Dallas, the defunct promotion was operated by Fritz Von Erich under the National Wrestling Alliance banner with Fritz’s three sons, David, Kevin and Kerry, competing as the promotion’s stars. ( MORE VON ERICHS)
Following the tragic passing of David in February 1984, family patriarch Fritz presented a memorial show under the Parade of Champions name at the enormous Texas Stadium, former home to the Dallas Cowboys, on May 6, 1984. In the main event, David’s brother Kerry challenged Ric Flair for the NWA Title in front of more than 50,000 screaming fans. ( MORE WORLD CLASS)
“Fritz Von Erich actually said that David Von Erich himself was really close to being NWA World Heavyweight Champion,” the mustachioed Superstar explained. “David’s untimely death put Kerry Von Erich [in the title picture], but Kerry would’ve become the most popular of the Von Erichs regardless of what happened just off sheer look alone.”
Kerry’s grappling talent and incredible physique eventually brought him to WWE, where he won the Intercontinental Title from Mr. Perfect as The Texas Tornado. Von Erich was a popular champion in WWE, but in Dallas in 1984, Kerry was the hottest thing going.
“Nobody looked more like a star than Kerry Von Erich,” Cody said. “Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn’t take a picture with him because of that.”
As marketable as Von Erich was, Cody professed his enthusiasm for the pure athleticism Kerry displayed against the legendary Flair. ( MORE RIC FLAIR)
“What I remember about that match was not just Texas Stadium in Dallas being outdoors and the huge amount of people there,” he said. “But the end of the match came with a simple backslide.” ( MORE CODY RHODES)
The enormous crowd was whipped into a frenzy when Kerry pinned The Nature Boy seemingly out of nowhere to win the title. The hometown favorite lost the championship back to Flair slightly more than two weeks later, but Kerry’s victory will always been remembered for the emotion and ring brilliance.
“It was a really, really beautiful thing,” Cody said.
PREVIOUS FIVE-STAR MATCHES:
Oct. 3, 2012: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania XII
Oct. 10, 2012: Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero, Halloween Havoc 1997
Oct. 17, 2012: Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk, Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout
Oct. 24, 2012: CM Punk vs. John Cena, Money in the Bank 2011
Oct. 31, 2012: Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase, WrestleMania IV
Nov. 7, 2012: Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog, SummerSlam 1992
Nov. 14, 2012: Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels, WrestleMania X
Nov. 21, 2012: The Hart Foundation vs. The British Bulldogs, Madison Square Garden
Nov. 28, 2012: Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar, No Way Out 2004
Dec. 5, 2012: Ric Flair vs. Big Van Vader, Starrcade 1993
Dec. 12, 2012: Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect, SummerSlam 1991
Dec. 19, 2012: Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage, WrestleMania III
Dec. 26, 2012: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko, ECW, Aug. 26, 1995
Jan. 2, 2013: Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho, WrestleMania XIX