Michael Brett Adkisson (March 2, 1964 – April 12, 1987) was an American professional wrestler under the ring name Mike Von Erich. His four brothers, David, Kerry, Kevin and Chris, also wrestled. He was the son of longtime Texas wrestler and wrestling promoter Fritz Von Erich and a member of the famous Von Erich family.
Professional wrestling career
Several wrestlers associated with Mike, such as his brother Kevin, King Kong Bundy, "Gentleman" Chris Adams, Gary Hart and Jake Roberts, have all stated that he never wanted to be a wrestler. He was not a natural athlete like his older brothers and wanted to work for his father's company, World Class Championship Wrestling, as a cameraman. He also played guitar and wanted to be a musician away from the industry.
Mike made his debut on November 24, 1983, winning a match against Skandar Akbar during "WCCW Wrestling Star Wars" at the Reunion Arena. He was then involved in several encounters with The Freebirds. Von Erich and Michael Hayes brawled on October 17, 1983, in Ft. Worth, after Hayes ripped a jacket given to Mike by his brother Kerry.
Mike teamed up with his brother Kevin against Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts on December 25, 1983. The only time Mike ever teamed up with his brother David was in January 1984 when, along with Kerry, they battled the Freebirds. Mike took David's place teaming with Kerry after David's death in February 1984.
WCCW tried to give Mike a feud of his own against Brian Adias in October 1986, since Kerry was out of wrestling with an ankle injury. Mike and Adias were to battle in a match at Parade of Champions on May 3, 1987, but Mike died on April 12 of that year. His final match took place at the Sportatorium on April 3, 1987, against Mike Williams.
Mike was married on February 14, 1985, to Shani Garza. He underwent shoulder surgery on August 22, 1985, due to an injury suffered during a wrestling tour of Israel; he was involved in a tag match against Hernandez and Adams with his brother Kevin when his shoulder "went out." He was released from the hospital in good condition, but four days later he developed a fever of 107 °F (42 °C). He was later diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome and it is theorized that this resulted from his surgery, which was performed by Dr. Stonie R. Cotton at Brookhaven Hospital in Dallas, Texas.
It was said in various publications and in the Heroes of World Class DVD that he suffered some brain damage as a result of his illness, and he lost a great deal of weight. He had a difficult time returning to the ring, and was not able to perform as well as before. Just as Mike was not the same physically, his promos also suffered, as his speech was often slurred. Meanwhile, his drug and alcohol dependencies worsened as a result of depression over his condition, and his personal behavior became extremely erratic. He was accused (although later acquitted) of assaulting an emergency room physician while being treated for his shoulder problem.
In 1986, he suffered head injuries from a car accident in which his vehicle overturned after he lost control. In addition, Kevin cited an incident in which Mike attacked a streetlight in frustration over his current condition. Kevin once said that Mike also suffered from the pressure of having to "be David" after his brother's death. Since the two had similar facial features, many fans saw David in Mike, and from the beginning of his career the pressure was on for Mike to succeed on the same level of his brothers.
A few days before his death, Mike was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges. On April 12, 1987, he left a suicide note for his family, then went to Lake Dallas, where he overdosed on the sleeping pill Placidyl and alcohol. He was found dead four days later and buried at Grove Hill Memorial Park in Dallas.
Championships and accomplishments
- WWE Hall of Fame (Class of 2009)
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards