Ric Flair VS “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich  – Barcelona, Spain – 1992

Preview: This match is featured on WWE Classics OnDemand this week. Before I watch the match I want to give a little background. Ric Flair is obviously a legend in the world of pro wrestling. A 16 time World Champion, he has main evented all over the world in a career that spans four decades. Kerry Von Erich known at the time of this match as “The Texas Tornado” is a member of the Von Erich wrestling family. His father Fritz promoted World Class Championship Wrestling in Texas where Kerry and his brothers were the featured stars. Kerry is a former NWA World Champion defeating Flair for that title at a memorial show for his brother David in May of 1984. He later lost the title back to Flair in a rematch later that month in Japan.

This match that I am about to review took place in then WWF (now WWE) in 1992. Flair is WWF World Champion. At the time of this match Kerry Von Erich was on a downward spiral. He was addicted to cocaine, and prescription drugs.

The Match: Sean Mooney and Lord Alfred Hayes are the announcers for this match, not the best announcer duo, but we take what we can get. Kerry takes charge in the opening moments just pushing Flair around and beating on him with Flair taking a few bumps before the two men exchange wristlocks, Kerry using his power advantage to stay in control. Flair takes control with his signature chops and the rolling knee drop. Kerry messes up a spot where he attempts to put Flair in the figure four, to the point that essentially Flair had to help him put move on. In one of my favorite old school spots Flair is so much pain in the figure four that he forgets his shoulders are down and gets a two count before getting the shoulder up, shortly after this Flair gets a rope break.

Kerry continues the assault with the 10 punches of doom, but the dirtiest player in the game use the good ol’ thumb to the eye. The two men brawl around the ring and then take it outside, brawling for a bit with Flair returning to the ring and not letting Kerry get back in the ring. When Kerry returns to the ring Flair continues his underhanded tactics. Flair pushes the ref away and almost gets DQ’d. Flair is on top of his game here using the foot on the ropes, arguing with the ref, arguing with the fans. We get the signature Flair corner flip bump run the apron jump off, but instead of hitting the double axe handle Kerry is able to lock on the Von Erich family specialty, the dreaded iron claw. Flair escapes with a backdrop before doing another signature move, the Flair flop.

Kerry’s attempt at a comeback is short lived with Flair locking in a sleeper hold. Kerry escapes and the two exchange blows, Flair chops, and the 10 punches of doom from Kerry. Patented beg off from Flair, and again they take it outside wit Kerry getting in the ring first and working over Flair. We get the Flair thrown off the top rope spot, followed by Kerry hitting his finisher the Tornado discuss punch. It only gets him a 2 count as Flair gets his foot on the rope. Kerry tosses Flair out of the ring, when Flair returns he comes in through the middle rope with a shoulder thrust to the gut of Kerry and slides into the ring with his feet on the ropes to pick up the 3 count.

The Aftermath: This match wasn’t a five star classic, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Flair did all of his signature spots, while also just letting Kerry use his strength advantage and beat the snot out of him. The announcing left something to be desired, but over all I’d give the match 3 stars. It was no where near as good as the Kerry/Flair matches in the mid-80’s, but those matches had tons of build, where this match was just a random match on an international tour.  Not Kerry’s best work, but I’ve seen a lot worse from him during his final days, most notably a match with Rick Martel where both the Model and the ref were looking at Kerry like what the hell is wrong with you.

Don’t get me wrong I’m a fan of the Von Erich’s especially the WCCW feud with the Freebirds it’s just sad to see what drugs did to Kerry and his career, but with everything that had happened to him and his family it can be seen why he was looking for an escape, but the other Von Erich family tragedies are a discussion for another day.

The months after this match were much worse for Kerry.  Due to the drug addictions Kerry would be released from the WWE in the Spring of 1992 shortly after this match with Flair took place. He would receive 10 years of a suspended license and 10 years supervised probation in October for the 6 felony counts of prescription forgery in February. He would return to Texas and wrestle for some local promotions until February of 1993 when he was indicted on a cocaine charge and would be going to prison for breaking parole. On February 18th, 1993 Kerry Von Erich took his own life. Kerry and the rest of the Von Erich family were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

Flair held the WWF World title twice before losing to Mr. Perfect in a loser leaves town match in January of 1993. Flair would then leave the WWF and return to WCW. Ric Flair was inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2008.