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Jack Barton Adkisson (August 16, 1929 – September 10, 1997) was an American professional wrestler under the ring name Fritz Von Erich, better known today as a wrestling promoter and the patriarch of the Von Erich family. He was also the owner of the World Class Championship Wrestling territory.

Football career

Adkisson attended Southern Methodist University, where he threw discus and played football. He was associated in some capacity with the now defunct Dallas Texans of the NFL (not the AFL team which became the Kansas City Chiefs) but did not actually play with them. He then tried the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Professional wrestling career

Early career and training

While in Edmonton, he met legendary wrestler and trainer Stu Hart, and Hart decided to train and book him in his Klondike Wrestling promotion, naming him Fritz Von Erich and teaming him with "brother" Waldo Von Erich as a pair of pseudo-nazi brothers (nazis still being popular villains in 50s and 60s wrestling). Adkisson's oldest son Jack Barton Adkisson, Jr. was born September 21, 1952. He died in 1959, however, after an accidental electrocution, and Jack Sr. stopped traveling to the east coast, allowing former partner Waldo to use the Von Erich name in the World Wide Wrestling Federation.

1960s

Despite Jack Jr.'s death, Adkisson continued to travel and wrestle. Adkisson won both versions of the AWA World title in 1963. His major circuit was Sam Muchnick's NWA territorial stronghold in St. Louis, Missouri. He wrestled there until 1967, when he voluntarily left the territory after losing a match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against then-champion Gene Kiniski. In the late 1960s, with Muchnick's backing, Adkisson became the promoter for the Dallas territory, effectively overseeing the Houston and San Antonio territories, as well.

Japan

Adkisson was a part of rebuilding Japanese wrestling after the stabbing death of Rikidōzan. He became a star due to his feuds with Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba, and his "Iron Claw" hold, which became one of the most popular wrestling moves in Japan.

Retirement

In 1982, he held his first retirement match against King Kong Bundy in the newly renamed World Class Championship Wrestling promotion, based in Dallas. The promotion was known for its high production values, use of entrance music and the use of television syndication. The promotion was one of the most successful territories in the United States, with major draws like his sons, The Fabulous Freebirds, Chris Adams, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Gino Hernandez and Rick Rude. By the end of the 1980s, the promotion's talent pool was thin and it was eventually merged with Jerry Jarrett's Continental Wrestling Association to create the United States Wrestling Association in 1989.

Personal life

Adkisson married Doris J. Smith on June 23, 1950. Together, they had six sons: Jack Barton, Jr. (born September 21, 1952), Kevin (born May 15, 1957), David (born July 22, 1958), Kerry (born February 3, 1960), Mike (born March 2, 1964) and Chris (born September 30, 1969). Of Adkisson's six sons, only Kevin is still living. The couple later separated and Doris divorced her husband on July 21, 1992 after 42 years of marriage.

Adkisson died of brain and lung cancer on September 10, 1997. His funeral service was held at the 1st Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. His body was cremated with his ashes interred in the same plot as his fourth son, Kerry.

In wrestling

  • Nicknames
    • "Tetsu no Tsume" ("The Iron Claw")

Championships and accomplishments

1This championship was later renamed the NWA American Heavyweight Championship in May 1968. It would later be renamed the WCWA World Heavyweight Championship after World Class' withdrawal from the NWA in February 1986.

See also

External links

WWE Hall of Fame
1993
Andre the Giant
1994
Arnold SkaalandBobo BrazilBuddy RogersChief Jay StrongbowFreddie BlassieGorilla MonsoonJames Dudley
1995
Antonino RoccaErnie LaddGeorge SteeleIvan PutskiThe Fabulous MoolahThe Grand WizardPedro Morales
1996
Lou AlbanoJimmy SnukaJimmy ValiantJohnny RodzJohnny ValiantKiller KowalskiMikel SciclunaPat PattersonVince McMahon, Sr.
2004
Big John StuddBobby HeenanDon MuracoGreg ValentineHarley RaceJesse VenturaJunkyard DogPete RoseSgt. SlaughterSuperstar Billy GrahamTito Santana
2005
Bob Orton, Jr.Hulk HoganJimmy HartNikolai VolkoffPaul OrndorffRoddy PiperThe Iron Sheik
2006
Bret HartBlackjack MulliganEddie GuerreroGene OkerlundJack LanzaSherri MartelTony AtlasVerne GagneWilliam Perry
2007
AfaCurt HennigDusty RhodesJerry LawlerJim RossMr. FujiNick BockwinkelSikaThe Sheik
2008
Eddie GrahamGerald BriscoGordon SolieJack BriscoMae YoungPeter MaiviaRic FlairRocky Johnson
2009
Bill WattsChris Von ErichDavid Von ErichDory Funk Jr.Fritz Von ErichHoward FinkelKerry Von ErichKevin Von ErichKoko B. WareMike Von ErichRicky SteamboatSteve AustinTerry Funk
2010
Antonio InokiBob UeckerGorgeous GeorgeMaurice VachonStu HartTed DiBiaseWendi Richter
2011
Abdullah the ButcherBob ArmstrongDrew CareyJim DugganLegion of DoomPaul ElleringShawn MichaelsSunny
2012
EdgeFour HorsemenMike TysonMil MáscarasRon SimmonsYokozuna
2013
Bob BacklundBooker TBruno SammartinoDonald TrumpMick FoleyTrish Stratus
2014
Carlos ColonJake RobertsLitaMr. TPaul BearerScott HallUltimate Warrior
2015
Arnold SchwarzeneggerConnor MichalekAlundra BlayzeKevin NashLarry ZbyszkoRandy SavageRikishiTatsumi FujinamiThe Bushwhackers
2016
Art ThomasBig BossmanBuddy RobertsThe GodfatherEd LewisFrank GotchGeorge HackenschmidtJacquelineJimmy GarvinJoan LundenLou TheszMichael P.S. HayesMildred BurkePat O'ConnorSnoop DoggStan HansenStingTerry Gordy
2017
Bearcat WrightBeth PhoenixDiamond Dallas PageDr. Jerry GrahamEric LeGrandHaystacks CalhounJudy GrableJune ByersKurt AngleLuther LindsayMartin BurnsRick RudeRicky MortonRikidozanRobert GibsonTheodore LongToots Mondt
2018
Alfred HayesBoris MalenkoCora CombsDara SinghDudley BoyzEl SantoGoldbergHillbilly JimHiro MatsudaIvoryJarrius "JJ" RobertsonJeff JarrettJim LondosKid RockMark HenryRufus R. JonesSputnik MonroeStan Stasiak
2019
D-Generation XHarlem HeatSue AitchisonThe Hart FoundationThe Honky Tonk ManTorrie Wilson
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