The Harts and Von Erichs: A Feud Over 60 Years in the Making

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This week, Major League Wrestling (MLW) announced the signing of Marshall & Ross Von Erich, the wrestling brothers who are the sons of legendary Von Erich family member and WWE Hall of Famer Kevin Von Erich, with the company. While it furthers the Von Erich legacy and brings another legendary wrestling family to the pro wrestling television scene, it goes much further than that. With the brothers joining MLW, it puts them in a promotion that features a brand new Hart Foundation – which features Hart blood members Teddy Hart and Davey Boy Smith Jr., and the son of honorary Hart family member Brian Pillman in Brian Pillman Jr. – and a collision course on a destiny that is over 60 years in the making. The ultimate story of two families intertwined for over 60 years without hardly every crossing paths since the genesis…until now.

The Harts vs. Von Erichs: In The Beginning

The road to a potential dream match of the Von Erichs versus the Harts began in 1953 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Jack Adkisson was a pro footballer nearing the end of his road. A college football star with Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, he was briefly signed by the now-defunct Dallas Texans of the NFL but was cut early into the season. In an effort to remain in pro football, he headed north to Canada to join the Canadian Football League (CFL). While in Edmonton, he caught the attention of Stu Hart, who saw something in the 6’4″, 280 lb. Adkisson and trained him to become a professional wrestler. Dubbing him Fritz Von Erich, a Nazi sympathizer, he became one of the biggest heels, first for Hart’s Klondike Wrestling (the precursor to Stampede Wrestling), before venturing out into other territories, through the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and various National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) regions, before becoming a staple in Dallas with Big Time Wrestling. By the late 1960s, he was the head promoter in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, and in the 1980s seceded from the NWA to form World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). His sons David, Kerry, Kevin, Mike and Chris all followed in his father’s footsteps and became wrestlers, continuing on the Von Erich name that Hart had first anointed Adkisson with in the early 1950s.

The Harts vs. Von Erichs: The Closest We Got

In the early 80s, both Stu Hart and Fritz Von Erich’s rising prodigy sons, Bret Hart and David Von Erich, began working in Japan, but neither crossed paths. Stu had a relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where Bret worked, while Fritz was allied with the NWA-affiliated All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). The Hart and Von Erich sons only crossed paths twice in their entire runs in pro wrestling. In 1984, with Mid South Wrestling, Kerry Von Erich faced off against Stu’s future son in law, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, while in 1991, with Kerry and Bret now in the WWF together, they appeared together in that year’s Royal Rumble, which also featured another Hart member, in Bret’s brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith, “The British Bulldog”.

Photo: WWE

The Harts vs. Von Erichs: Send The Daughters to the Slaughter

Photo: WWE

It would take until the mid-2000s before the Harts and Von Erichs would meet up again, but this time it was the granddaughters of Stu and Fritz who would lock up. With Neidhart’s daughter Natalya and Kerry’s daughter Lacey Von Erich signed to WWE developmental deals, the two fought a singles match in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) in October of 2007, and a month later teamed up (alongside Maryse) to face The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie Bella) and Alicia Fox in a 6-woman tag match in FCW. Lacey would be released soon after and headed to TNA/IMPACT Wrestling, while Natalya has remained a presence with WWE ever since.

Photo: IMPACT Wrestling

The Harts vs. Von Erichs: The Game of Thrones

Photo: MLW

Which leads us to 2019. The Hart Foundation is one of the top power players in MLW, with Teddy Hart the reigning MLW World Middleweight Champion and co-holder of the MLW World Tag Team Championships alongside his cousin Davey Boy Smith Jr. Since 2012, the Von Erich brothers have been splitting their time between the US indies and Japan, working with Pro Wrestling NOAH since their first year. Despite working for NOAH for a few years himself during his own Japanese travels, the Von Erichs never crossed paths with Bulldog Jr. But it’s safe to say that the Von Erichs are not coming to MLW just to be poster boys of a Von Erich legacy that has been marred with as much tragedy as it has success. They will be entering MLW’s tag team division looking to conquer and command. But to do that, they’ll have to go through the Hart Foundation, and for the first time in the two families history together that they will be chasing the same gold.

Photo: WWE

 

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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