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DVD Review – Heroes of World Class

By Sheldon Goldberg | June 18, 2006

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By Sheldon Goldberg

“Heroes of World Class: The Story of the Von Erichs & The Rise & Fall of World Class Championship Wrestling”

Perhaps the most compelling story in the modern history of pro wrestling is the story of the Von Erich family and the Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling promotion.

In the early 80’s, there was nothing hotter than World Class. Before Vincent Kennedy McMahon set out to conquer the wrestling world by taking the World Wrestling Federation national, it had already been done by Fritz Von Erich’s World Class promotion.

Fritz Von Erich, real name Jack Adkisson, began his career as a pro wrestler in the late 50’s, becoming a main event star as a Nazi heel (including a run as AWA World Heavyweight Champion). In the late 60’s, Adkisson settled back in Texas and eventually took over the Dallas wrestling territory. Fritz was both the promoter and the main event star of the Dallas promotion, changing from evil Nazi to family man and hero.

In the early 80’s, the Adkisson boys, David, Kevin and Kerry, were being groomed to enter “the family business.” At the same time, a young filmmaker, named Mickey Grant, along with local broadcast veteran, Bill Mercer, had some new ideas about how wrestling could be presented on TV. Better lighting, audio and additonal cameras brought fans into the action as never before. The shows centered around the Von Erich brothers, whose talent and youthful exuberance propelled Dallas wrestling into a local phenomenon. When the local TV outlet went up on satellite and the then Christian Broadcasting Network syndicated the highly rated World Class Wrestling programs, an international phenomenon was born.

The sudden tragic death of David Von Erich in a Tokyo hotel room in February 1984 began a downward spiral for the Adkission family and the World Class promotion.

The deaths of brothers Mike, Chris and Kerry followed over the next several years.

“Heroes of World Class,” produced and directed by Brian Harrison is the story as it deserves to be told. While the documentary focuses mostly on Kevin Adkission (Kevin Von Erich), the last surviving brother, interviews with David Manning, Gary Hart, Skandor Akbar, Johnny Mantell, Mickey Grant, Bill Mercer and the late Chris Adams, bring a compelling depth of knowledge about what made World Class so successful and why and how it all unravelled. “Heroes of World Class” contains all the clips, major angles and skits us fans who followed World Class remember. The film is over 2 and half hours long and is a production that rivals its slick WWE conterparts.

If you are interested in wrestling history, “Heroes of World Class” is a must-have. This is the era when pro wrestling changed from the territorial system that had been in place for decades and those changes unfold before you. Even if you don’t remember the heyday of World Class Wrestling or are very into wrestling history, you will be swept up in the emotion of the story. “Heroes of World Class” is the most compelling wrestling movie made to date.

The producers are self-distrbuting the film on DVD and you can (and should) order it directly from them at Right Here Pictures. There is a great trailer for the film up there as well.

Topics: All Topics, Media, Pro-Wrestling, Sheldon Goldberg, TNA, WWE | No Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

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