DALLAS, Texas - The Kevin Von Erich you remember has been replaced by an aging man who is left paying the price for a highly successful wrestling career. The man looks, and sounds, like he is some pain most of the time.
That discomfort is likely the reason he seldom leaves his home in Kauai. He has returned to his former home, Texas, to watch his two sons wrestle in the TNA Slammiversary, which is Sunday evening at the College Park Center on the Campus of UT-Arlington.
Von Erich is 57, and was nice enough to answer a few uncomfortable questions.
When was the last time you were back in Texas? It’s been four or five years. The last time I left (Hawaii) I was in Japan. I was there in about two years and I have not left since.
What is it like to be back in Texas? It’s really great to be in Texas and Dallas and Fort Worth. I was telling my boys about it – they are loving it. The people in Texas are just different. They are great in Hawai'i but there is no place like Texas.
How is it different? The traffic is a lot worse. You can see the population is a bit bigger. The freeway wasn’t here when I left. The tollway wasn’t here. But landing here was great; it was like I never left.
When you lived here, where did you go? Well, I hunted and fished a lot. After wrestling, I would go to Mr. Sushi in Inwood and Campisi’s in Dallas.
How has the wrestling industry changed? We don’t watch a lot of TV, so it’s hard to say. I know it has changed. I was keeping up with the WWE when I was working for them as a consultant. I have not done that for years. It’s more solid wrestling now and I do like that about it. That’s a change that a professional might notice.
Now they are get a hold of anything you can and hold on as long as you can. In Japan, it’s really wide open. Guys getting teeth kicked out and guys getting knocked out. It’s solid and more rugged and rough.
Why send your boys to Japan to start their pro wrestling careers? I put them in the ugliest and meanest place on earth and they stuck it out. My boys were there sweeping out the ring and bowing to everybody and they were young boys and they just earned it. They both could have played football and Marshall could have thrown the discus like his uncle Kerry. They wrestled because they wanted to like we did just like our dad.
They see how sore how I am and they still want to do it. I was the same way.
Which match do you recall as the most fun? It would be the tag team matches with my brothers. We loved it so much. They were great. We had to read each other and it was so much fun. My sons make fantastic tag team. I expect great things from them.
How is your health? It's terrible; everything hurts all the time. I tell you what, I was talking to the boys about wrestling back then and how it takes its toll on you and talk about the steroids and pain pills - they think that has to take a toll. Not all of the wrestlers did that.
I think a day will come when there is a union for wrestlers. Retirement or worker’s comp. Guys are forced to put their bodies through hell.
Was it worth it? I’d have to tell you I had a good time. It was my life and until I got married that was life was all about. I played football until I hurt my knees and then I wrestled until it wasn’t fun any more. I did it 19 years, so it's hard to say I shorted anyone. I loved it when I did it.
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