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Playback - Mike Von Erich Interview

Q & A with Mike Von Erich
The Wrestler May 1985
Conducted by Bill Apter

Q: As weíre speaking Mike, itís a little over a year since youíve made your pro debut. Youíve won the World Class American heavyweight title, and you were named Rookie of the Year for 1984. How does it all feel, looking back, now that your first year is over?
A: Well, Bill, Kevin and Kerry tell me that the first year is the hardest Ė then it gets tougher after that! Seriously, though, the whole year was just like a dream to me. I never believed that I would really be able to capture so important a title as the American Championship so early in my career.

Q: And you probably could have held on to that title a little longerÖ
A: If it werenít for Gino Hernandez and Nicola Roberts. Yeah, I know. This is something else Kevin and Kerry and I have talked about a lot. You know, thereís only so far you can with a guy like Gino before youíre baited into a feud that does you more harm than good. I donít want to get involved in that kind of feud. Growing up, Iíve seen too many wrestlers I admire get caught up in those kind of battles. It only hurts themselves.

Q: do you think that your brother Kevinís feud with Chris Adams is doing him more harm than good?
A: Wow! Good question! In a way, I think itís doing them both harm, butÖ well, see I understand where Kevin is coming from. But this is much more than a feud. This involves Chris and Kevin, it involves Gary Hart, it involves the rest of us Von Erichs, and it involves the fans. ItsíÖ I donít know, itís really a complex situation, and itís hard to put into words. I guess if you want to really understand the reasons for it, you should talk to Kev.

Q: Fair enough. Now a couple of times already, youíve referred to your brother Kevin and Kerry, how theyíve given you advice and so forth. Are they the strongest influences on your career right now?
A: Yes, Kerry and Kevin, along with my father, of course. But not to the point where they control me. See, they guide me along in a lot of ways, but theyíre also very aware of letting me grow and develop by learning things on my own, by making my own mistakes, and by doing things the way I have to do them.

Q: Could you give and example?
A: Letís seeÖ well, back in September, when Ginoís beast Nicola Roberts hit me from behind in that American title match, Gino went on to get me with a shoulderbreaker. I was really hurt. And later that same night, there was a six-man elimination cage match between me, Kerry and Kevin against the Freebirds. Well, because I was hurt, I couldnít wrestle in that match.

Q: I remember. You ran in toward the end of the match, your arm was in a sling, and you helped your team win the match. That was quite a moment.
A: See, that was something that I really felt I had to do.

Q: Even though it could have cost you injury?
A: Both of my brothers, especially Kerry, told me to stay put in the lockerroom. Theyíre kind of protective sometimes. They didnít really want me in the match at all. But Ė well, I want to be able to carry my own, weight, thatís all.

Q: Now in a recent match where you teamed with Billy Haynes, you used the iron claw for the first time ever in your career.
A: Yes I did.

Q: Were you afraid to use it the first time? Were you confident? What was it like?
A: In a way I guess I was a little tentative. You know, the first time you do anything itís a little bit scary, even though my brother and father trained me to use the claw. I had a little trouble clamping it down at first, but once it was in Ė well if you saw the match you saw what happened to Jake Roberts.

Q: I did see the match, and I did see what happened to Jake. Looks like youíve learned how to use the iron claw very, very effectively.
A: Like always, Bill, just trying to do my best.

Q: Now, before we conclude this interview, is there anything you want to say to your fans who will be reading this?
A: I just want to thank all of my fans everywhere for supporting me so strongly in what I do. I never really understood what it meant to be a Von Erich until now. Iíve seen my brotherís supported in matches and in feuds in their careers, but until youíre in there yourself experiencing that special relationship with the fans, you canít possibly understand what itís like. The fans are terrific to me; I appreciate all their support. I appreciate them voting my Rookie of the Year and I hope I never let them down. My rookie year is behind em now and Iím looking forward to a great 1985.