The Last of the Von Erichs
When it comes to families cursed with bad luck, alongside the Kennedys, no other family comes close to the tragedy experienced by wrestling icons, the Von Erichs. This week on Dark Side Of The Ring, we explore the background of this family, including the tragic fate associated with 5 of the 6 brothers following the passing of their father Fritz.
After a brief introduction to the family hierarchy, we’re introduced to the Von Erich’s roots in the wrestling business, beginning with Fritz’s debut. Playing a Nazi persona in the 50’s and 60’s, Fritz quickly rose the ranks of the wrestling world to become one of the most infamous heel (villain) personas of that time period. Fritz’s death sent shockwaves throughout the wrestling world and here we see over 4000 people attending his funeral, honouring the passing of a great icon.
As the torch passes to two of the six brothers, the Von Erich family rose to dizzying heights, eventually leading to an even more drastic decline. Needing a third member to fill Fritz’s big boots, the chosen replacement fails to leave a lasting mark, resulting in resentment from fans.
This ultimately acts as the catalyst for a black cloud of bad luck descending on the family, leading to five of the six brothers passing before their time. Re-told through the eyes of the last surviving brother, Dark Side Of The Ring tells this tragic tale from a first-hand perspective, peppered in with the usual array of re-enactments, archival match footage and face to face interviews for good measure.
It’s certainly a tragic tale too and one that reminds me a lot of the Kennedy family. They suffered similar hammer blows, with both Robert and Bobbie suffering untimely ends and their third brother dying some years later. This Von Erich episode ends on a similarly bittersweet tone; a reflection over what could have been.
Once again Dark Side of the Ring continues to impress, offering a sombre, humbling tone to proceedings with its recent episode. Given last week’s shocking content, it’s somewhat refreshing to find this week changing the tone up whilst keeping the feel of the show intact in the process. Weaving a tragic tale of regret, sadness and mental anguish, Dark Side Of The Ring delivers another very good episode.
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