Welcome to the second part of The Invitation.
If you missed the first part, here it is.
Let's take a look at one of the wrestling families, the Von Erichs. There's quite a bit of history to cover here but I will try my best to keep it as short as possible.
Once again, I did not know as much about the Von Erichs so I had to do a little digging. Let's take a look, shall we?
The Von Erich Family
Fritz Von Erich:
Fritz became on of the top stars of the NWA, he was a heel for the better part of his career. At one point, his finishing maneuver 'The Iron Claw' was the most popular move in Japan.
He has held the AWA World Heavyweight Title once. He was at one time the president of the NWA and propelled to stardom all thanks to his feuds with Antonio Inoki and other superstars of Japan.
Watch Fritz in action.
Kevin Von Erich:
Fritz' second oldest son Kevin was dubbed the 'Golden Warrior.'
Although it was not his intention to wrestle barefoot, he would do so and it would become his trademark.
Kevin would, from time to time, wrestle alongside his brothers Kerry and David and he would go on to become one of the top performers in several of the NWA territories.
He wrestled a few times for the WWE but nothing developed from it.
The feud that would put the Von Erichs on the professional wrestling radar was none other than the Von Erich-Freebirds feud.
The Freebirds consisting of Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy would feud with the Von Erichs costing several members of the family championship opportunities along the way.
The feud both elevated the Freebirds as heels and the Von Erichs instantly became heroes in the eyes of the fans.
Here is a short video recapping the feud:
In addition, Kevin won the World Heavyweight Title once and the American Heavyweight Title five times.
Kerry Von Erich:
The fourth son of Fritz Von Erich would become the most known of all in the family.
Kerry earned the moniker of 'The Modern Day Warrior' during his tenure in WCCW.
He went on to beat Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
His most memorable feud was with the Freebirds and Jerry 'The King' Lawler at Superclash Three.
He made his WWE debut on Saturday Night's Main Event and during his run with the promotion he became the Intercontinental Champion after defeating Mr. Perfect.
He would dedicate his NWA World Heavyweight run in the memory of his late brother, David, who feuded with the Freebirds and Ric Flair.
Both Mike and Chris Von Erich were never able to find any long-term success in the ring.
The death of many of the Von Erichs were shrouded in controversy as some died of depression while others notably David who according to an autopsy died from a myocardial infarction, but it is still disputed up to this day whether that was the cause of his death.
The Von Erichs certainly left their mark on the industry and are certainly worthy of a Hall of Fame induction. The choice of who is to induct them is not quite clear to me.
Why would you choose Michael Hayes of all people to induct the Von Erichs?
Agreed, that he was a long-time rival of the Von Erichs but it would be fitting for someone who knew the Von Erichs very closely.
Bruiser Brody could be a viable option although it's too late for the WWE to consider any one else and since Michael Hayes is on the pay roll, it's relatively easier for him to appear on the night of the ceremony.
Let's take a look at the career of one of the most loved baby faces of all time.
Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat
He would wrestle for the NWA from 1977 to 1985. During his tenure at Jim Crockett's promotion he would capture the World Heavyweight Title three times, having classic feuds with Ric Flair among other superstars.
When he debuted in the WWE, he was given the gimmick of a dragon as it would sit well with his Asian features.
He would have notable feuds, one of which would culminate into what has been deemed by critics and fans alike as one of the greatest matches of history, as the Intercontinental Champion Randy Savage defended his title against Steamboat in a classic one-on-one encounter at Wrestlemania III.
Steamboat returned to the NWA in 1989 to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship one more time by pinning Ric Flair. He also defended his title in Japan against Mitsuharu Misawa—more commonly known as Tiger Mask II.
He would then return to the WWE and would lose only once in 1991.
In a year, Steamboat returned to the newly christened WCW to become a tag team and World Heavyweight Champion.
He then feuded with none other than 'Stunning' Steve Austin for the US World Heavyweight Title. In one of their matchups, Steamboat would injure his back.
Steamboat would officially retire from in-ring competition in 1994.
Steamboat had a journey like no other, he remained a face throughout his entire wrestling career and one of the few who raised the bar permanently for his spectacular in-ring work and story-telling.
It is fitting that Ric Flair would induct him since their rivalry spawned an entirely new outlook on the world of professional wrestling.
Next up...the most loved anti-hero of all time.
Stone Cold Steve Austin
There's absolutely nothing stunning about this man who's been dubbed the toughest S.O.B. in the business.
"Where ever there's a WWE ring and where ever there's one of these WWE cameras then that night that's where Stone Cold Steve Austin's home so that means it's Stone Cold Steve Austin's show."
And rightly so as Steve Austin would take the WWE by storm. Whenever Austin entered the ring to cut a promo or deliver a Stunner or flip the middle finger, the crowd would go crazy.
Austin would begin his career in USWA but his stay would be short lived.
He debuted in WCW as 'Stunning' Steve Austin, where he would go on to win several titles including the US Heavyweight Championship as well as form a tag team with Brian Pillman.
They would be known as the Hollywood Blondes.
After he was fired by Eric Bischoff, Steve would go to ECW to take out his frustrations on camera. The promo that followed would lay the foundations of his future 'Stone Cold' attitude.
After a short period of time, Steve would sign with the WWE who gave him the 'Ringmaster' gimmick and would be managed by 'Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase who awarded him the Million Dollar Championship.
He would later wrestle Savio Vega in a Caribbean Strap match in which he would lose and Ted DiBiase was thus forced to leave the WWE.
At King of The Ring '96, Austin defeated Jake Roberts in the final by using his new finishing move: the Stone Cold Stunner.
His promo after his win was one that would change history forever.
His "Austin 3:16" speech quickly caught fire and he became an overnight sensation.
He began feuding with a returning Bret Hart, which culminated in a Submission match at Wrestlemania XIII.
Their match that would take place on that historic evening would be witness to the most iconic moment in sports entertainment.
Steve Austin refused to tap out to the Sharpshooter and due to an excess loss of blood, he would pass out.
In a rare double turn, the fans began cheering for Austin and booing Hart.
Austin would go on to officially kick start the Attitude Era as he won the WWE Championship from a retiring Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania XIV.
Austin would have spectacular feuds with some of WWE's greatest superstars such as the Rock and Triple H.
But no one, not even Austin could elevate himself to be the most cheered anti-hero.
This was the work of one man and one man alone.
The very man who loathed and despised Steve Austin.
Without the boss, Steve Austin's career might not have reached new heights.
Vince would go to such great lengths and allowed Stone Cold Steve Austin to do things even he would not do.
It is without a shadow of a doubt that I say that without these two, the WWE would not have been as successful as it had become.
Steve Austin brought sports entertainment to each and every household in America.
Without these two, the Attitude Era might not have been so successful.
So it's only fitting that Vince inducts his rival into the Hall of Fame and hopefully be on the receiving end of the "Stunner Heard Round the World" one last time.
Even today if fans were to hear shattering glass, it would send them into a mad frenzy as they know they are about to see a legend in the ring.
That concludes our history lesson for today. If you have anything to say for or against my opinion, then fire away in the comments section.
What? What? Signing out? What?
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