Kevin Ross Adkisson (born May 15 1957) is a retired professional wrestler under the ring name Kevin Von Erich of the Von Erich Family. He is the last surviving son of wrestler Fritz Von Erich and had four brothers that wrestled, David, Kerry, Mike and Chris, as well as an older brother, Jack, Jr., who died in 1959. He is set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.
During the lat 70s, Kevin established himself in the Dallas territory. His first major success came in 1978 while wrestling as a tag team with his younger brother David. During the year, they captured the NWA Texas Tag Team Championship on two occassions as well as the NWA American Tag Team Championship. On Christmas Day 1978, he established himself firmly in the singles ranks of the promotion by defeating Bruiser Brody for the NWA American Heavyweight Championship. As the 1980s dawned, Kevin became one of the promotion's most viable performers and continued to win numerous championships in both singles and tag team competition with a variety of different partners. However, his highest profile partners would always be his brothers Kerry and David.
A feud between the Von Erichs and Freebirds developed roughly a month later. During WCCW's annual Christmas show in 1982, Kerry Von Erich faced Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship inside of steel cage with Michael Hayes acting as a special referee. As explained in The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class Championship Wrestling DVD, the storyline was written as Hayes having been selected by fans to be a special enforcer type of referee in the match. Near the end of the match, Flair shoved Hayes, which resulted in Hayes punching him. Hayes them tried to place Kerry on top of Flair to make the three count. Von Erich refused to do so since it wasn't the "Texas thing to do", which lead to a brief shoving match and argument between the two. Hayes, disgusted with the situation, told Terry Gordy, who had been asigned as the gatekeeper, to open the cage door. As Hayes is about to leave Von Erich was attacked from behind by Ric Flair, with the former accidentally hitting Hayes and knocking him out of the cage. The angle was written as having neither Hayes nor Gordy being aware that Kerry was shoved into Hayes. As Kerry was getting to his feet inside the ring, that was the signal for Gordy to slam the cage door shut, hitting Kerry on the head and costing him the championship.
The Freebirds immediately became the top heels in the company, due to the belief of many fans that their actions cost one of their local heroes the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. As the feud was building, the WCCW television broadcasts were syndicated to television stations all across the United States, giving the promotion millions of viewers each week in the U.S. alone. This changed the face of wrestling and how it was marketed and presented to audiences. The extremely physical nature of the matches between the two factions captivated fans, changing preconceptions about what professional wrestling was and could be. Throughout the next several years, the Freebirds and Von Erichs engaged in numerous high profile matches that were very physical in nature with the various members of each group feuding over various championships within the promotion. The feud is seen today by many fans and wrestling industry insiders as one of the best worked and most memorable feuds in the history of professional wrestling.
Kevin also had a long feud with Chris Adams that lasted for months and had many violent matches, including two well-known chair shots on each other that required hospitalization for both men. Kevin would also tag-team with Adams on numerous occasions before and after their feud. Away from the ring, Kevin and Chris were close friends; Kevin served as a pallbearer during Adams' funeral in 2001 and traveled to England to visit Adams' family afterwards. In recent interviews, Kevin stated that Adams was the toughest wrestler he's ever wrestled in his career, yet he showed a great amount of respect for the British-born wrestler.
After the failure of SuperClash III, in 1989, Kevin became very despondent over his father's decision to sell the promotion to Jerry Jarrett, who owned the Memphis-based CWA, despite his brother Kerry welcoming Jarrett into the mix; the merged promotions became the USWA. However, because of disputes, including suing Jarrett himself, he pulled WCCW out of the USWA in 1990, but he couldn't resurrect the promotion his father built and had no choice but shut down World Class that November. Kevin did manage to draw crowds to the Sportatorium in the early going, but with the absence of brother, manager/booker Gary Hart, and the lack of television, World Class' survival was very thin.
During that time, Kevin competed very little; other than wrestling in other independent cards promoted by either himself, Chris Adams or Gary Hart. Kevin did not participate at all in the August 4, 1989 card in which World Class formally became USWA Texas, while brother Kerry, who competed on the card earlier, reportedly left the Sportatorium shortly after his match. Kevin however did help out a young Steve Austin increase his abilities in the ring during this time, and considers Austin as one of his friends to this day.
Kevin's last round of glory occurred in the mid-1990s while competing for Jim Crockett's NWA promotion based at the Sportatorium; where he won the vacant North American heavyweight title. He then formed a very brief alliance with manager Skandor Akbar. Kevin eventually cut back on his ring appearances and formally retired by the end of 1995.
Kevin and his wife of over 25 years live in Hawaii and run a family investment business together. Kevin also dabbles in commercial real estate, and owns the rights to Southwest Sports (the distributor of World Class Championship Wrestling), which was later renamed K.R. Adkisson Enterprises. Together they have four children; Kristen, Jill, David Ross, and Kerry Marshall, and one grandchild, Adeline Clair. Kevin is also the uncle of Lacey and Hollie Adkisson, Kerry's two daughters. Lacey is already in the wrestling business (using the Von Erich name), with reports of Kevin's son Ross entering the business soon.
In 2006, Kevin, and a number of others from World Class Championship Wrestling's heyday, participated in Heroes of World Class Wrestling, an independently produced retrospective documentary about the promotion and the Von Erich family. The documentary featured comments from Adkisson, Gary Hart, Skandor Akbar, Bill Mercer, Mickey Grant, David Manning, Marc Lowrance and via earlier interviews, Chris Adams.
Later that October he sold the rights to the (pre-1988) WCCW name and tape archives to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). WWE has since been broadcasting WCCW's syndicated programming on their subscription video on demand service WWE 24/7 Classics with Kevin and Michael "P.S." Hayes acting as hosts. WWE has produced The Triumph and Tragedy of World Class, their own documentary on the territory. Kevin was also featured in the 2007 WWE produced DVD The Most Powerful Families in Wrestling in a segment on the Von Erich family.