This week’s episode of Tales from the Territories, titled “World Class Championship Wrestling: Wrestling’s Lone Star Legacy”, merely scratches the surface on the tragic legacy of the Von Erich family, and in exchange offers some run-of-the-mill stories of bad, drunken behaviour and, for those keeping score at home, the third “loss-of-an-eye” story now in eight episodes this season.
Tonight’s roundtable features Brian Adias, Jimmy Garvin, David Manning, Chavo Guerrero, Jr., and Kevin Von Erich to look back upon the connection that WCCW had with the fans and the lasting impact of some of their rivalries and stars. Guerrero mostly serves as a moderator tonight, teeing up topics and letting those involved spin the stories.
There is much talk in the episode about how tough you had to be to wrestle in Texas; the ring was hard as a rock, the wrestlers hit hard and were expected to be hit hard back again. A roll call of current, aging, and future stars rolled through Texas, from Ric Flair, Rick Rude, Mick Foley, Mark Calaway, and El Santo at 70 years old.
“Gentleman” Chris Adams gets the opening feature as those that knew him look back, respectfully, on his mad, drunken behaviour. First up is Adams getting into a bar fight across the border in Mexico, as told by Adias, then on an international trip to Israel when Manning tells of Chris beating up a bartender, though he wasn’t there to see it firsthand. What Manning heard, though, is that Adams delivered a superkick to the bartender, knocking his eye out of its socket. Manning does have a personal hand in getting Adams out of the country as the Israeli police were storming their hotel room looking for Chris.
It doesn’t end there for Adams, as there’s one more story of him getting drunk on a plane to the point of being cut off from the free alcohol, with him then raising a ruckus until the pilot came to try and put him in his place only for Chris to headbutt him. This would lead to a 6-month prison sentence for assault.
The next segment seems poised to roll through the Von Erich brothers’ history, but the focus remains primarily on Kevin. He is described as the most physically gifted and naturally strong of the brothers. He describes himself as having such a hard time with a toothache, ironically stating that he couldn’t handle the pain, that he tells of pulling the tooth out with pliers just to get it over with.
Next up for discussion is the arrival of The Fabulous Freebirds – Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, and Buddy Roberts. Garvin recalls living with the Freebirds and being grateful that he survived their nightly partying, while Guerrero proclaims that nothing and no rivalry compares to the Freebirds versus the Von Erichs.
Next up his Garvin’s own story, though the segment is mostly focused on his rotating valets of Sunshine (his cousin Valerie) and Sunshine II and then Precious (his wife Patti), as they fought over Garvin’s attention and carried on a feud that he says followed the model of the hard-hitting Texas style.
The final story is of a show where Flair versus Kerry had drawn in all of the police to watch the match, leaving Manning to act as security for the gate money when a man takes off with the cash. Manning chases him down, firing warning shots in the air, and eventually taking him down with a crack to the face with the butt of the gun.
The final word goes to all those around the table, remembering how much the wrestlers of WCCW gave to the fans, and it’s striking to hear Von Erich speak in such reverent tones of what it meant for him to give all that he could, when his family one way or another gave so much to the world of wrestling.