|David Von Erich|
From John Cannon:
When sitting around discussing the legendary Von Erich family, you can’t help but find the words what if from falling into the conversation. With such a vast amount of talent and promise, the Von Erich boys – Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris – all found stardom in Texas-based World Class Championship Wrestling – and to some degree, other US territories and abroad – until the untimely death of David, the tragic suicides of Mike, Chris, and Kerry, and the 1995 retirement of Kevin.
With his star on the rise in 1983, perhaps no other Von Erich garners more what could have been discussion than David. While Mike and Chris suffered from physical and health limitations that kept them from progressing to the top, and Kerry and Kevin seeing the apex of their wrestling careers, it has been said that David was being groomed for championship greatness just prior to his death on February 10, 1984.
In September of 1983, David defeated Ric Flair to win the Missouri Heavyweight Championship – a belt he would hold until losing it to Harley Race on January 6, 1984. St. Louis is known as the Gateway to the West, and the Missouri state title was once considered the gateway to the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Reportedly, this title reign, as well as a program with Flair started on Christmas day, was part of setting up David to win the NWA World Heavyweight belt later in the year.
On February 3, 1984, David won All-Japan Pro Wrestling’s United National Title in a match against Michael Hayes, who fictitiously won the title in Athens, Georgia, on January 28. Just one week later, David would pass away while in Japan to defend the title against Genichiro Tenryu, who would soon win the vacated title in a match against Ricky Steamboat.
On May 6, 1984, in front of 45,000 at Texas Stadium – in what many suggest was to be David’s championship match – Kerry defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in tribute to David.