Some have described it as ďthe greatest day in Texas Wrestling HistoryĒ. Others have characterized it is as ďa dream come trueĒ. Still others have called it ďa remarkable personal achievementĒ. All three definitions are correct.
What is being described of course, is Kerry Von Erichís incredible NWA World title win over Ric Flair. The match took place in Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, in front of 43,517 people - the largest attendance for a wrestling card in the stateís history.
Also on that card, Fritz Von Erich came out of retirement to team with his sons Kevin and Mike and the three Von Erichs captured the World Class six man title from The Fabulous Free Birds. And the ďRock Ďní SoulĒ tag team of Buck Zumhofe and ďIcemanĒ King Parsons defeated The Super Destroyers for the World Class tag team championship.
But Queryís historic victory will forever stand out above all else as the most memorable achievement of an incredible day, made that much more memorable by the fact that the entire card of matches was dedicated to the memory of David Von Erich.
Associate Editor Craig Peters spoke with Kerry Von Erich in fort Worth, Texas, the day after he won the World title.
Q: Well, Kerry, here it is just 24 hours later. Has it sunk in yet?
A: Well, it has and it hasnít, do you know what I mean Craig? I know in my head that Iím the NWA World champion, and I know that I managed to capture the greatest prize in all of professional wrestling, but the whole concept of being the champion of the entire world is just overwhelming.
Q: It certainly must have been overwhelming yesterday when you stepped into the ring with Ric Flair and over 43,000 people were screaming their support for you. Could you describe your thought and emotions at that time?
A: Oh, boy, what a question. There was so much rushing through my mind so many things that I was feeling, I donít really know where to start.
Q: Well, yesterdayís card of wrestling was dedicated to the memory of your brother David. How about your thoughts on that?
A: Again, thereís so much that was running through my mind, and so much that still runs through my mind. I suppose the most touching thing about yesterday was the fact that so many fans came out to the stadium. It was... I was really touched by that, and I think it was the greatest testament to David, to his popularity, and to his devotion to the sport and to his fans that so many friends and fans were there. When I stepped out of the dressing room area and saw what the crowd looked like, I... I donít know, I really canít describe what I was feeling. But I know that David was looking down on Texas stadium and I know that he was happy.
Q: Tell me what it was like once the match started...?
A: Once the match started I pressed myself to think only about the match, about Flairís position in the ring, about what I had to do next, about trying to keep one step ahead of Flair at every point in the match. But I must say that there were one or two points in the match where the action slowed down just a bit, where I had Flair in a headlock for example, and my mind drifted a bit. I looked out and I saw the fans, and I heard their cheers, and I knew that they were all rooting for me to win the belt. And I knew, deep down that I had to win the title for David. Thatís why all those people were there giving me their support, and thatís why I was there. And when I heard their cheers, I pushed myself that much harder because they were cheering not only for me, but for David.
Q: What a sound it was when you rolled Flair up for the pin and won the title - 43, 517 fans screaming at the top of their lungs, sharing the victory along with you. It was incredible!
A: Thatís for sure! That sound sent a chill down my spine. I had never heard anything like that in my life and I doubt I will ever hear anything like that again. And I canít even begin to describe what I was feeling at that time. Itís hard. It was a rare moment. The only way that Iíve been able to describe it is to say that I felt David smiling. Does that make sense?
Q: Perfect sense.
A: And when Kevin, Mike, Chris and Dad came into the ring to congratulate me, David was right there with us. It was a beautiful moment.
Q: Not to change the subject too abruptly Kerry, but since you mentioned your father, it reminded me that I wanted to ask you about the match in which he came back to team with Kevin and Mike against the Fabulous Freebirds.
A: Yes, of course.
Q: It was really exciting to see your father back in the ring again after being retired for so long.
A: Yes, it was. I was in my dressing room preparing for my own match while Dad and my brothers were wrestling The Freebirds, but I did get the opportunity today to watch a videotape of the match. It was exciting. And when Dad got Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts in the double - claw hold one in each hand, I found myself rooting and cheering, even though the match was yesterday! Iíll tell you, though, Craig, Iím prouder than you can imagine that I won the NWA World belt not only for David, but on the same wrestling card that Dad, Mike and Kevin won the six-man title from the Free Birds.
Q: Now that youíve got the world title, and youíve had a day to think about it, how do you feel about the responsibilities of being champion? I mean, where does Kerry Von Erich go from here?
A: Of course, I have to take over some of the commitments that Ric Flair had already scheduled. Tonight, for example, Iíll be wrestling Terry Gordy. I know that there will be some dates in Japan that Iíll be assuming. In fact, you want to know something strange? I was scheduled to challenge Flair for the title in a couple of weeks. When I signed for the match, I thought it would be another challenge match, and I anticipated capitalizing on some of the weaknesses I learned yesterday. But I never thought at the time that my title - challenge match would turn into a title defense! Itís kind of ironic, donít you think?
Q: But it sounds like youíve already got a good grasp on the responsibilities that lie ahead.
A: I hope so. I try to anyway. I just try to do my best every day in every way and I just hope to keep getting better and better as I keep trying. I hope that I can live up to the responsibilities of the NWA championship. This title means a lot to me because it doesnít belong to just me. It belongs to my family, my friends, the 43,000 people who were in Texas Stadium yesterday afternoon, and most of all, it belongs to my brother David. And thatís where the meaning for this title reign comes from. Iím devoting my title reign to David. Itís his championship as much as it is mine.