In 2017, Kevin Von Erich stepped back into the squared circle for the final match of his illustrious career. The match, which took place in Tel Aviv, Israel, was notable for both Von Erich’s retirement as well as the inclusion of Kevin’s sons and the now-MLW Tag Team Champions Ross and Marshall. The event not only marked the first time the three had teamed together in an official capacity but was the first time in over 20 years that three Von Erichs had stepped inside the ring together.
Recently, both Ross and Marshall joined me to discuss a variety of topics, including being a part of their Dad’s retirement match.
Wrestling in their Dad’s retirement match in Israel
SL: “One other thing I want to touch on with your dad specifically is you guys have wrestled with him in his retirement match in Israel. How cool was that for you guys? Take me through the circumstances of how that came about.”
Marshall Von Erich: “That was just unreal. It was a dream of ours our whole life to even go to Israel. We were doing a lot of indie shows, we had just become the IWR World Class Revolution Champions, so we just-“
Ross Von Erich: “To us, that was a big deal, you know, for any company to put you know their belt on you is a huge honour to us, you know and so we just, we were feeling pretty good about ourselves at the time.”
Marshall Von Erich: “We became really close to the promoter, real good friends, his name is Jerry Bostic, we became good buddies, and he wanted us to defend those belts around the world. So, we got an opportunity to go to Israel. My dad set it up and we were going to defend our belts in Israel. It was just – to be in Israel, be so far away from home, and just the love and respect the fans had for my dad was unreal. Back in the 80s (in) Israel, after their Shabbat, they had one channel and that was World Class Championship Wrestling, so it was the first time ever the ratings were 100%. After Shabbat, after they see the first star in the sky, they turn their TVs on. It was like almost part of a tradition. They love what my dad stood for. They loved my dad never cheated, he fought his heart out, he would always – he was just Kevin Von Erich. They have a saying, I think it’s called ‘Von Erich Hazakim,’ it’s ‘what do you think you are, strong like Von Erich?’ You know, like how we say ‘what, you think you’re Superman?’”
SL: “Very cool.”
Marshall Von Erich: “It’s a saying down there, and so they told us like stories and stuff, we had posters of Israel on our wall like we always wanted to go. Getting to go with the entire family, all 20 of us – it was the first time my nieces and nephews got to watch us wrestle. My sisters, my brothers-in-law, it was the first time they all got to watch us wrestle. It was just a surreal moment. Going in there with my dad, you know, seeing how my dad prepared for matches it was just like, if my eight-year-old self could have seen that or to (have) known this would have happened would have been insane.”
Ross Von Erich: “For me, you know how you get that numb feeling when you’re like, ‘this is like some pivotal moment in my history in my life right now?’ I just had that feeling. Like, ‘I’m never gonna forget this,’ the whole night. Even being in the ring-“
Marshall Von Erich: “It was all slow motion.”
Ross Von Erich: “I remember being on the apron and my dad you know givin’ me pointers like ‘when you get back in, do this and that,’ and it was just so awesome to have that. Three Von Erichs in the ring at the same time.”
Marshall Von Erich: “First time in 20 years and you know, we always – my dad, I can’t tell you how many times he’s like, ‘Man, I wish I was in the ring with y’all. I would do this, I would do that,’ and then to have him in there. It was crazy, though I think he wanted to do a lot more, but he had the flu the day of the show, and so he kind of had to slow down a little bit, but to see him – he was literally throwing up in the locker room before the match, he was sick, he had a fever, everything. And then, as soon as this music came on, it was – he like nipped up, he turned it off, and we watched him get his body back in shape, he was over 200 pounds and he just turned back into Kevin Von Erich and it was just, it was unreal. Just being in there with him and listening to everybody in the crowd was like crying and stuff. It was in Israel, you know, there’s a lot of tension there with the Palestinians and the Jews and the Arabs, there’s all this, and then to see that wrestling brings all these people together, they’re cheering, they’re booing together, they have their arms around each other and it was just (spreading) peace and love through wrestling. It was just like, we got to see the power of wrestling, too, and I was also a pivotal thing in our careers that really made us know that we’re in the right place.”
SL: “That’s incredible, like, you hear that (and) it’s almost like Pavlov’s dog when he hears a bell ring. It’s just like, snap Kevin Von Erichs back!”
Ross Von Erich: “Yeah, exactly. You could just see this thing come over him and he’s like okay, now he’s Kevin Von Erich, he’s not dad right now.”
Marshall Von Erich: “It was weird. When the bell rung, my dad grabbed us and told us ‘hey, I’m passing the torch on to you guys. Take it and run with it,’ and I’ll never forget that, either. It really felt like we were taking the name from there and now we’re gonna leave it to our kids and stuff, so it was just a beautiful moment for us.”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used.