“The Von Erich name is not a burden,” Ross says.
The Von Erich legacy is ready to rise from the ashes.
Ross and Marshall Von Erich have signed with Major League Wrestling, and will make their debut at the June 1 television taping in Waukesha, Wisconsin.
The sons of Kevin Von Erich and grandsons of the late family patriarch Fritz Von Erich, the pair is ready to bring an electric style of tag team wrestling to MLW.
“Signing with MLW is a big deal for us,” said Ross. “They are the promotion that has allowed us to be with our dad, help out around the ranch, and still wrestle.”
“We’re able to continue the legacy,” added Marshall. “It’s humbling, we’re honored, and it’s the perfect timing—we’ve never been this ready for this big a stage before.”
The Von Erich name was synonymous with wrestling in Texas in the 1980s but later became associated primarily with tragedy. Five of Fritz’s six sons died tragic, premature deaths, three by suicide. Only Kevin, Ross and Michael’s father, survives.
“The Von Erich name is not a burden,” said Ross, who is the elder brother at 30. “We are grateful for our name, it’s a blessing to be a Von Erich. God gave us the right equipment, and we’re going to go out there and do our best.”
The two passed up a WWE tryout, instead signing with MLW, primarily because the opportunity with MLW allows the chance to be home far more often.
“WWE encouraged us to come to Florida and try out, and are extremely grateful for the offer, but we want to be as close to our dad as possible,” said Marshall, 26. “For us, MLW is the right home.”
The Von Erichs are oozing with charisma and untapped potential.
With wrestling DNA that’s equal parts Rob Van Dam and a young “Stunning” Steve Austin, the two are already extremely solid at brawling, high spots, and technical finesse. They have been wrestling for eight years, building a solid portfolio from their time in Israel, England, Australia and, more recently, Texas and Oklahoma.
The blonde-haired Marshall is a physical specimen at 6'4" and 250 pounds, while Ross, who is a former walk-on for the University of North Texas football team, is a force of his own at 6'0"and 200 pounds.
MLW CEO Court Bauer has been pursuing a deal with the Von Erichs since January, and revealed that they have committed to a multi-year deal.
“It’s poetic,” said Bauer, who noted that the contract still allows Ross and Marshall the opportunity to work in Israel and for Pro Wrestling Noah in Japan. “They’re fighting for their family name and their future. They represent a new hope and a new chapter in the family’s fabled story.”
The connective tissue between past and present is astounding.
The legendary Gary Hart helped build the Von Erich family into mega stars, and Bauer was the protégé of Hart. Now a new era emerges, with Bauer looking to rebuild the Von Erichs.
“It gives me such hope and excitement to see that story,” said Bauer. “It’s a very personal and exciting journey for all of us, especially Ross and Marshall.”
The family is best known in wrestling for its legendary run in Fritz Von Erich’s World Class Championship Wrestling, a powerhouse promotion that peaked in the early 1980s. But, incredibly, that was not the first name Fritz had in mind for his promotion.
“World Class Championship Wrestling, our grandpa’s promotion, was originally supposed to be called Major League Wrestling,” said Ross. “We’ve never told anyone that, but our uncles and dad thought it sounded too much like Major League Baseball. So this is a dream come true for us. We couldn’t be happier.”
Ross and Marshall broke into the business in 2011 at a Harley Race wrestling camp in Missouri.
“People kept telling us we looked like Von Erichs, that we reminded them of Fritz Von Erich,” said Marshall. “Their eyes opened when we said we were Kevin’s sons.”
They stood out to the point that they were sent to Japan to learn the inner-workings of the business from Pro Wrestling Noah’s Naomichi Marifuji.
“Then we got the fundamentals pounded into us in Japan,” said Marshall. “That’s our goal, enhance the family legacy and build off the good.”
It is surreal that their career started in Japan, where their uncle David Von Erich’s life ended.
The Von Erich legacy was just featured on last week’s episode of the Viceland “Dark Side of the Ring” series, detailing the family’s move from Texas to Hawaii. Both Ross and Marshall still have Texas blood running through their veins, but the move to Kaui, Hawaii in 2007 allowed the entire family to distance themselves from ghosts of wrestling past.
The Von Erichs now have a chance to rewrite the family legacy, an opportunity they do not hold lightly.
“That lights a fire under us,” said Ross. “We know the job set before us. It’s the reason we push ourselves the way we do. We’re going to do our best with this opportunity and prove MLW right.”
MLW provides the Von Erichs with the right infrastructure, regularity in the ring with advanced talents, and the chance to learn from minds like Bauer, Konnan, and Jim Cornette.
“This is what we’ve been born to do,” said Marshall. “We’re not going to live by fear. Me and my brother, we’re holding each other accountable. Our goal isn’t to worry about that, it’s to be an explosive, fast tag team and live up to the Von Erich name.”
The Von Erich family is in the midst of a reawakening, with Ross and Marshall given the chance to represent the future.
“We learned from our uncles’ mistakes,” said Ross. “We’re excited about the path laid out before us.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.