The Von Erichs and The Freebirds had one of the best feuds in wrestling history. When it was time to go, these two teams beat the living hell out of one another, creating some of the best wrestling matches the business has ever seen.
Michael ‘PS’ Hayes and Kevin Von Erich open up about their storied rivalry, and that one time, an enthusiastic Von Erichs fan took things a bit too far!
"The Freebirds were known as wild, but I’m here to tell you that the Von Erichs were EXTREMELY wild!"
"Behind the scenes, it was pretty chaotic at times.
We were known as wild because you had to tone us down to put us on TV, but I’m here to tell you that the Von Erich’s were EXTREMELY wild too.
When [their father] Fritz was there, they were toned down and behaved to an extent, but when dad wasn’t around, the Von Erich’s would be just as wild as the Freebirds.
The people saw these kids grow up. They lived vicariously through them, and these kids were over like rover. I mean, they went into Six Flags [amusement park] one time, they had to shut down the park because of the mob scene!
David Von Erich, beyond a shadow of a doubt, was the most intelligent, the most ‘Fritz-like.’ He was groomed to be the next NWA champion, had he not died in Tokyo. David really had it.
Kerry and Kevin – phenomenal athletes. And they could just cruise on that ability alone.
Fritz and I had a very good relationship…and at times, I don’t know that he didn’t wish that some of his sons had the business acumen that I like to say I had at the time, crazy as I was…"
KEVIN VON ERICH:
"The people wanted us to get at Michael Hayes or Terry Gordy so bad, but it always seemed to be always against Buddy, and he was always getting the worst of it. The people never really got to see what they wanted because we were too busy beating up Buddy. We couldn’t get to Terry because Michael had a slick way of getting all the heat and avoiding all the payback. Michael was a slick guy. God, what a great team they were.
One time there was a big hot tag, and I had just come in. I was just dying to get into the ring, actually David and I both. Finally, Kerry tagged me in, and I come in and bang, bang, I am going at it with Buddy, and we are just going nuts. I had Buddy in the corner, and he was on the ground, and I came in and kicked him right in the face. He just cut into my foot. I had ten stitches on the outside of my foot and ten on the inside.
One of the seconds came in and told me that Buddy wanted me to know that, ‘You better have that looked at…because he doesn’t like to brush his teeth.’ (Laughs)
The doctor told me you would have been better off being bitten by a cobra…"
"Their fans didn’t intimidate us, but they sure tried to get to us a number of times.
One time a guy cut a big slice down [the side of my face] with a Polaroid camera. I made the proverbial mistake as I’m walking back… I’ve got the heat [and] one guy in the crowd gives me a little ‘paintbrush’ [slap in the face] and instead of keepin’ on walking – as you’re supposed to do – I grab that son of a gun.
And when I pulled back to hit him, his friend came swinging with that camera and just – boom! – blood came pouring…"
"Michael Hayes and I have put a lot of time in together. We’ve gone through a lot of suffering together. We’ve been through a lot of rocky trails. I guess that just made us closer.
I think of the world of all those guys, as well as respect their professionalism. The way the Freebirds were committed to entertainment. They are just the epitome of entertainment."
Watch: The Fabulous Freebirds battle The Von Erichs in Texas Stadium on May 6, 1984:
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure not to miss the following articles on our site:
- Kevin Von Erich on Being the Last of the Von Erich Brothers Left Alive
- How The Von Erich Family Brought Moments of Peace in Times of War in Israel
- Battling Demons: ‘The Texas Tornado’ Kerry Von Erich
Some quotes above were compiled by Matt Pender and shared here with thanks to our friends over at ‘Wrestling’s Glory Days’ Facebook page.