Home ARTICLES Ross & Marshall Von Erich on Fellow Legacy Wrestlers, the Von Erich Name

Ross & Marshall Von Erich on Fellow Legacy Wrestlers, the Von Erich Name

by Spencer Love

Major League Wrestling Tag Team Champions Ross & Marshall Von Erich are more than aware of the weight their last names hold. As members of the legendary Von Erich wrestling family, the pair are often compared to their legendary family members. Luckily, they’re far from the only legacy wrestlers currently wrestling for MLW, which the two discussed at length when we spoke a few months ago.

Working with fellow legacy wrestlers like Brian Pillman Jr, Davey Boy Smith Jr, and Jacob Fatu

SL: “I love that you mentioned it earlier, like, the family sort of environment. I think that it has a lot of parallels both in the, you know, metaphorical sense and in the actual sense with you guys. How much of a benefit is it for you guys to work with guys like Pillman Jr, a Davey Boy Smith Jr, Jacob Fatu,   who really do have a bit of a similar experience as far as being second and third and fourth generation wrestlers?”

Marshall Von Erich: “It’s just so awesome, because a lot of the guys, you know, in our life, it’s hard to meet somebody with a lot of common ground, and these guys have the same upbringing we had. You know, they had – their dads were wrestlers, their grandpas were wrestlers, so it’s been, like, the only thing they know as well. And it really is the only thing we know. We grew up in locker rooms, wrestling has been a part of our lives our entire lives, and so to meet other men like that, and to be doing what our fathers and grandfathers were doing is – everyone’s extremely happy with where they’re at. You know, like, if my dad was a blacksmith, we’d probably be blacksmiths. It doesn’t matter. When you’re a kid you want to be like your dad, and that’s why I got a lot of love for men without fathers because having a good dad has been nothing but a huge blessing in our lives and stuff. To meet guys with their head on straight with not having that fatherly figure growing up, it amazes me. Like Pillman Jr, there’s a lot about that guy that – he’s just, he’s just a good guy all around, and my dad loved his dad and the fact that we can, you know, that a Pillman and a Von Erich (can be) on the end on the same card again, or a Hart and a Von Erich are on the same card again. Fatu, it really is just – even if we have differences in the ring or the storylines, all that stuff, we’re still always going to be brothers.”

If they feel their name has been a hindrance or a benefit to their wrestling careers

SL: “I do have to get – we got a fan question in for you guys before we close it out on the show. They wanted to ask ‘what are each of your feelings on being part of such a legendary wrestling family. Have you found it to be more of an advantage or a hindrance?’”

Ross Von Erich: “Man, that’s a pretty loaded question but, I mean, you know, in one aspect, it’s just been a huge impact and a positive impact for us as far as the name and everything. On the other hand, there’s the, not the pressure, but just the accountability, you know, just to live up to what your family did and honour the name. So, we feel like there’s a good balance, it’s good to have both, but we definitely-“

Marshall Von Erich: “Wrestling in Texas let us understand more of the magnitude of what my uncles and grandfather did and accomplished, and the emotions they brought out of people. And, you know, this stems from doing our best and trying our hardest to honour – if we’re not doing that, then we’re not honouring the name. But, being a part of this family has been nothing but a huge blessing for our careers and growing up, but it’s that’s definitely, that’s an awesome question and it almost has a different answer every time, because there’s so many answers for it. But it kind of all stems from – we got, these doors have been opened, not by us, and so it’s we’re going through the doors that stayed open. This is the family we’re in and the cards we’re dealt, and so we’re just trying to learn from their mistakes because they weren’t perfect, and my dad will be the first one to say it, but it does make us appreciate the value of having a brother, having a brother that we do hold each other accountable to keep our bodies in shape, to take care of ourselves. And we’re wrestlers, so there is – injuries are just a name of the game. They come with it, so working around injuries, working smart, and trying to take care of each other is extremely important.”

Ross Von Erich: “I think any good tag team will tell you it’s almost like being married, because you’re literally with the person, almost 24-7 when you’re on out there on the road. Same hotel room (and) all that. We just find ways to get along, and I think it just given us a deeper appreciation for brotherhood and each other and wrestling and just brings everything full circle.”

Marshall Von Erich: “It makes me have a respect for guys, the guys that do it alone. Some guys probably enjoy doing it alone, and I’m not a super social person. I don’t like handling big crowds but it’s weird that I’m in this kind of job because it just makes it to where – we hold each other accountable going all out in the meet-and-greets, and going all out in the shows because people paid to come to see us. You’ve got to give them their money’s worth and be genuine.”

Hearing stories about their family

SL: “You betcha man. It’s actually pretty cool you mention those guys, they’re dream matches in whichever era of professional wrestling you love, but I’m even bringing it up to my dad earlier today that I’m going to be speaking with you guys, and by no means is he a wrestling fan but he’s (like ‘Oh shit, the Von Erichs, that’s pretty cool,’ and I absolutely love it, man. It’s kind of cool when my dad puts me over.”

Ross Von Erich: “We can relate on that one.”

Marshall Von Erich: “No, that is awesome. And hearing people – like, whenever it gets old, sometimes fans feel like they could be annoying us or whatever, by telling us stories about how they met my dad, or my uncle’s, or my grandfather, but that stuff never gets old because it’s just confirmation of why we’re here and the impact that wrestling can make on, you know, a kid, (or) an adult, or whatever.”

Ross Von Erich: “Yeah. We hear countless stories of, you know, a guy saying, ‘you know, I was eight years old and I was just one of the kids in line you know, trying to get an autograph, or shake his hand, or something and-“

Marshall Von Erich: “’And your uncle grabbed my shoulder and encouraged me,’ and he’s like, ‘I’ll never forget that.'”

Ross Von Erich: “Yeah, you know and so it just it kind of puts everything in perspective for us, because there’s a lot of kids at our shows and we’re just like ‘let’s make it let’s make a good positive impact, as much as we’re able to.”

Marshall Von Erich: “These are moments that some people will never forget.”

Ross Von Erich: “You never know.”

Marshall Von Erich: “My dad – one thing my dad’s always said, coming from a life of, you know, a lot of trials and tribulations, losing his brothers -because he was really close to his brothers. I got one and I’m real close, I couldn’t imagine being closer – but the fact that my dad had five and lost them, he really appreciates life. He tells everyone he loves them before they leave the house. He lives life in moments, and something we’ve got from his life was that, and it’s to take advantage of every moment with any of the fans. You don’t know their stories, or what their background is, or where they’re coming from, and so every now and then a hug or shake your hand in encouragement-“

Ross Von Erich: “And we get to do such a cool thing, you know, we’re brothers, we get to travel the world, we’re with each other all the time when we’re traveling and stuff and so we kind of keep each other accountable, like, ‘look around, let’s – enjoy every aspect of wrestling. Going out to find good food, we both love good food, and we love traveling, and it’s just like, we are living the dream right now. We get to share these stories with my dad and stuff we really are living.”

Marshall Von Erich: “We’ve had other jobs. We were roofers for a while. We worked in a shipping logistics business. Ross owned a macadamia nut business when we first came to Hawaii. We tried everything, and we are so happy we get to be wrestlers. We’re so grateful that we get to do this for a living.”

Finding their places in professional wrestling

SL: “That’s awesome to hear, guys. You would almost think, and you don’t want to stereotype by any means, but a lot of individuals you would feel in the situation that you guys and your dad has been dealt maybe would be a little bit more bitter about it, or have a little bit more of a chip on their shoulder, but anything I’ve heard, anything I’ve read, t’s so nice to have that reinforced that, despite the fact that it’s got to be a pretty slim silver lining as far as stuff like that goes, that they were able to find it, right?”

Marshall Von Erich: “That is so true. I’m not gonna lie, in the beginning, it was rough. Going to Japan, and we were young, and so we didn’t know that the opportunity we had in front of us was such a big deal and what a blessing it was to start in Japan, because (in) Japan they pound the fundamentals in you and we just got a whole new respect for wrestling. But, those opportunities, getting those opportunities solely because we were Von Erichs – being a Von Erich is nothing but a blessing, and it’s nothing that we earned. It was something that was given, and so when we’re out there, we know that if we’re not doing our best-”

Ross Von Erich: “We’re not honouring the family names.”

Marshall Von Erich: “We’re not honouring the family names. We hold each other accountable to that as well. I think our whole careers have been, you know, when you start feeling down, ‘Am I doing the right thing? Am I in the right place?’ Then, I think that, like, God will give you some confirmation. We have a story: in Japan, we were going to Japan for three months where we wrestled – we didn’t wrestle, we just went for training for three months, and then we came home for a few weeks, and had to go back for three months. And so we were a little homesick, you know, we were tired. Tired from the road, and you know, you have a lot of those thoughts, like, ‘am I doing the right thing? Is this good for me? Am I in the right place? I mean I wish I could have played college football, I could have done this, could have done that.’ We were in line, going through the Japanese airport, (and) we had to go through customs. My first name is Kevin, Ross’ first name is David, and the guy at the counter said ‘I remember, 20, or 35 years ago, Kevin and David came through these doors, and I was like ‘oh, yeah those are – that’s my uncle, that’s my dad.’ And the guy started crying. We were just like ‘Woah-‘”

Ross Von Erich: “We couldn’t have felt further from home at the time, you know and I feel like it was just the confirmation we needed at that time. ‘Okay, we’re where we’re supposed to be right now. Let’s just put our heads down and do what we got to do.”

Marshall Von Erich: “And there’s so many of those stories where, as soon as we start feeling down or whatever, there’s confirmation you’re where you’re supposed to be. We’ve tried so many different things. This is the only door that hadn’t shut, so we know where we’re supposed to be.”

The moment they knew they were meant to be professional wrestlers

SL: “Yeah, and I wanted to touch on that, actually. I’m glad you bring it up because you’ve always mentioned sort of that being the only window that was really left open, but, was there a moment or was there, like, a solid point you can point to where it was like ‘okay, we’re moving into professional wrestling.’ I know you started off – or at least I think I know – that you started off at the Harley Race camp and then moved over to Japan, but what was sort of the decision-making point there where you said that you wanted to be wrestlers?”

Marshall Von Erich: “I remember the exact moment. It was our second tour in Japan, we came home, and it was like bittersweet. We got to see mom and dad, it was great, and we’re talking to dad, and I just see my dad’s – you know, he never forced us to do anything, but seeing his eyes light up when we became wrestlers, that meant a lot.”

Marshall Von Erich: “But, what really changed everything is we were wrestling I believe it was Korakuen Hall, but Ross and I, we like to go to the roof of any building that we’re working at just to get away from everybody. It sounds weird, but we go to a roof and it’s just this kind of escape and get away from everybody. It was before a big match at Korakuen Hall, and it was just, I don’t know why we did it, but Ross got on my shoulders and found this really high spot and we marked Marshall, Ross and marked the date and we drew a little picture that he was like ‘one day, we’ll come back here when we’re 20 or 10 or 15 years from now, and look at it. And so right after Ross marked it, we were getting down to go to get ready for the match, we saw another marking, and it was funny – we marked it high, so nobody can clean it off. That’s why we got (on my) shoulders, but we saw a marking that said Kevin and David and had a picture of an alligator. (We said) what is that and so it just kind of like, I was like ‘Man, what a coincidence!”

Ross Von Erich: “I draw this, like, cartoon dinosaur, so that’s what I drew. So weird.”

Marshall Von Erich: “We didn’t know it was my dad yet. After the match happened, we called my dad. My dad’s signature picture is an alligator, he draws an alligator with jagged teeth. That’s just what he’s done any time he tries to show off with his drawings-“

Ross Von Erich: “It’s the only thing that you can draw.”

Marshall Von Erich: “And so, we called my dad and told him about it. To hear him get choked up and say that ‘yeah that was us,’ that was the day we knew we were exactly where we were supposed to be. We were (in) exactly that same building, we were where we needed to be and that’s when we’re ‘okay, this is what we’re doing with our life. So let’s pour ourselves into this.’ That was confirmation from God, it really was. We’ll never forget that and that’s kind of what we’ve been holding on to this whole time.”

Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any transcriptions used. 

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