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Ask 411 Wrestling: Why Did Kerry Von Erich Get the NWA Title Over His Brother?

December 26, 2023 | Posted by Ryan Byers
USWA Championship Wrestling 3-10-90 Kerry Von Erich, Von Erichs, Zac Efron Image Credit: USWA, WWE

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.
If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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Doug is a (world) classy guy:

I just saw the trailer for The Iron Claw in a theater, and I thought of a question or two about WCCW:

In 1984, David von Erich’s NWA title match against Ric Flair was ceded to Kerry; he summarily went over Flair at Texas Stadium. I always wondered why that opportunity went to Kerry and not Kevin. Shoot, the preteen booker in me was even thinking: “Why not have a match between Kevin and Kerry to decide?” So, was there ever any question that David’s replacement was not going to be his younger (and historically, less-dependable) brother? Also, was there an unspoken rule among bookers at the time that absolutely forbade the smallest hint of conflict among any of the von Erichs, much less the idea of any matches among them?

This was touched on a bit in the obituary of Kerry von Erich that Dave Meltzer wrote in the wake of the Texas Tornado’s passing. In discussing Kerry’s World Title win, Meltzer noted that the three older von Erich brothers had historically been booked as equals, but there was a break in this philosophy upon David’s death, with Kerry being positioned as the bigger star than Kevin. The obituary noted that there were several wrestlers who were not the biggest fans of wrestling Kevin, as he was reportedly stiff and did not like to sell all that much, especially considering his size. Combine that with Kerry having a more marketable look at a time where that was becoming more and more important, and it’s not entirely surprising that he was selected for the slot over Kevin.

The question also mentions Kerry being “less dependable.” The way it is written, I am not sure if that is meant to read as less dependable than David or less dependable than Kevin. However, if it’s the latter, I’m not sure that Kevin really was viewed as being all that more reliable than Kerry. Retroactively, I feel like Kevin has gotten that reputation because he’s the von Erich brother who survived, but the reality is that, in the 1980s, Kevin had more than his own fair share of issues, including being in such bad shape that he once passed out during a match and had to be given CPR by Tommy Rogers.

On the subject of a Kerry/Kevin number one contenders match, babyface/babyface matches as a whole were not viewed favorably during this time, in part because they tended not to draw and in part because you ran the risk of inadvertently turning one of the wrestlers heel and killing a golden goose, particularly when you’re talking about a wrestler as popular as a von Erich in Dallas.

In short, I’ve never heard of Kevin von Erich being seriously considered for that NWA Title reign. I’m sure it was talked about at some level, but not to the point that it’s become part of pro wrestling lore.

Tyler from Winnipeg is . . . not right:

Given her dad was The Hot Rod, when did Piper Niven get into competing?

Piper Niven is not Roddy Piper’s daughter.

Piper Niven is Kimberly Benson, and she was legitimately born in Scotland (Piper was billed from Scotland at times but was born in Canada) and started training at an independent facility when she was a teenager, ultimately making her in-ring debut at 16.

That being said, Roddy Piper does have a daughter who wrestles, namely Aerial Teal Toombs, who professionally uses the name Teal Piper. The earliest records that I could find of Teal wrestling were in 2019, though she has not had a lot of bouts in that time – at least not in promotions that the databases I tend to use for research have tracked.

Teal has also occasionally made appearances on WWE shows discussing her father’s legacy, perhaps most notably an episode of WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures on A&E.

Stromi wants to get meta:

What would be your top 5 questions that you get repeatedly asked, even though you have answered them many times? I would assume the Montreal Screw job and Invasion storyline would be up there.

The Screwjob and the Invasion certainly ate up a lot of space at another time in this column’s life. Hell, Mat Sforcina basically made a meme out of the Invasion. I have received some questions on those subjects, but honestly I think fans have for the most part moved on.

I would say my most frequent questions relate to the following subjects:

What if Rock n’ Wrestling never happened: What would have happened if Vince McMahon didn’t sign Hulk Hogan? What would have happened if the first Wrestlemania flopped? What would have happened if Vince McMahon didn’t buy his father’s shares in the WWF? These are really all variations on the same question, and the subject of what would have happened if the Fed didn’t become the dominant force in pro wrestling is a pretty popular one around these parts.

Lex Luger in the WWF: This may come as a surprise to some, but Lex Luger really is the individual wrestler who I receive the most questions about. In particular, his WWF tenure is a popular subject of inquiries. I presume that this is because Luger was not in the WWE fold for quite some time and, as a result, his career has not been covered by their official sources nearly to the extent that the careers of his contemporaries have been.

WWE Transitioning Away from Vince McMahon: Before Vince McMahon was forced out of power by his backstage misdeeds, I was asked many questions about what would happen when he finally retired or died. After his ouster, return, and the Endeavor purchase of WWE, I’ve received quite a few questions about how Triple H has done with creative since Vince departed and what direction the promotion might be headed in.

Drawing: A lot of people who read this column seem to be confused about what it means to be a “draw” in pro wrestling, whether particular wrestlers were draws, and how we can really know whether a wrestler was a draw or not. I don’t tend to answer a lot of these, because it would be really repetitive. If you sell tickets or pay per views or get people to watch television, you’re a draw. If you don’t, you’re not. It really is that simple.

Mama, Michael just killed a man:

Jim Cornette referring to his mom during his wrestling run is pretty famous, but has Cornette’s mom ever been on television? Be it his real mom or an actress playing his mom?


According to Cornette on his own podcast, when he made the transition from being a photographer in the Memphis territory to being a manager in the Memphis territory, booker Jerry Jarrett thought that there needed to be an official explanation for the change, since loyal fans would have seen Corny shooting at ringside week in and week out. Ultimately, it was decided that the story would be Cornette’s wealthy mother bought his way into managing, which worked not just because it was logical but also because fans had seen Cornette’s mother driving him to shows because he was photographing before he was old enough to have a driver’s license.

Though the act was developed in Memphis, it worked so well that it basically followed Cornette throughout the rest of his career, though it was rarely if ever referenced in the WWF.

However, despite her being referenced for decades, Mama Cornette never made an appearance as an on-camera character.

In case you are curious, Jim Cornette’s actual mother, Thelma Cornette, passed away in 2002 at the age of 68 after a bout with cancer. She was a lifelong resident of Kentucky.

Uzoma is bulldozing through:

Is it true that were it not for his death, Umaga would’ve returned to the WWE in 2010?

I’ve never seen any direct confirmation of this from WWE, but the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that covered Umaga’s death on December 14, 2009 reported that Hulk Hogan attempted to recruit Umaga to come into TNA after he worked on Hogan’s Hulkamania tour of Australia earlier that year. However, Umaga reportedly turned Hogan down, claiming that he had an agreement to return to WWE in 2010.

So, the whole story appears to be based on something that Umaga told Hogan . . . and who knows if what Umaga was saying was the truth.

That’s . . . that’s . . . that’s Parys! He doesn’t work here!

Are there any former wrestlers with so much clout that they could jump the guardrail and attack someone they had beef with? Let’s say the Undertaker, who doesn’t work at WWE anymore, shows up at a live Smackdown taping and hops over the rail. He’s not supposed to be there he just showed up and made his way ringside. Does security tackle him or do they wait to see what he’s gonna do like starts kicking the hell out of Gunther?

Here’s the thing:

Not all security at WWE shows works for WWE. Many of the individuals who you see working in that capacity at E shows are employed by the venue and aren’t even fans, so they would have no idea what most wrestlers look like, including somebody who is as famous among wrestling fans as the Undertaker. In fact, it seems like every couple of years there’s a story about a wrestler who was trying to do a run-in out of the audience and got stopped by security guards that weren’t smartened up and didn’t realize it was part of the show. As a result, I cannot imagine a wrestler being permitted to jump the rail just because of their level of fame.

Bryan is all about the aesthetic:

Just an opinion question for you, for the visual presentation of pro wrestling, how important do you think the color of the ring is? I’ve always felt brighter is better because it actually makes it “look” bigger and too dark of a canvas wouldn’t look good in house shows. Same with ropes. What’s YOUR expert opinion?

I don’t think it matters, so long as the ring is part of an intentional, cohesive look for the entire décor of the event. I have seen shows where the ring, including the canvas, is very dark (Sapolski era ROH). I have seen shows where the ring is bright primary colors (early 1990s WWF). I have seen shows where the dominant color of the ring is emerald green (NOAH). Hell, I have seen shows where the ring is pink and purple (GLOW). Never once did I think that the coloration of the ring added to or detracted from the show, unless it just didn’t match the rest of the set.

Sim is a winner:

I’ve been listening to the Conrad/Prichard podcast episode about Batista, and how Triple H put Batista over multiple times, never getting his win back, until way later when Dave came back for one last hurrah.

It got me thinking about great wrestlers where one never actually got a single win back on the other. For example, and correct me if I’m wrong, i think Roman Reigns (a WM main eventer) has a 100% record on John Cena (a WM main eventer) and Bryan Danielson.

How many cases are there where one wrestler has a 100% record on another wrestler, taking into account the criteria below:

*Both wrestlers are Wrestlemania main eventers

*Singles matches only. No shenanigans like gauntlets. All stipulations are fine, as long as it’s 1 vs. 1 bell to bell.

*Wrestled each other at least twice.

*TV/PPV/PLE matches only (no dark match, house shows, etc.)

*WWE only

*Decisive wins only: DQs, no contests, reversed decisions don’t count. Dirty finishes/interference are OK, as long as the win is decisive

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise that the person who has the most undefeated records against other Wrestlemania main eventers is Hulk Hogan. Throughout his career, the Hulkster amassed a 5-0 record against Randy Savage, 4-0 against Paul Orndorff, and 3-0 against both Ted DiBiase and King Kong Bundy.

(Side note: I did adhere to Sim’s stipulations of only WWF matches and only televised matches. There would be some radically different numbers otherwise. Also, I totally disregarded draws, double disqualifications, and double count outs, not counting them as wins or losses for either wrestler, because I think that was in the spirit of Sim’s question.)

There are two men tied in second place behind Hulk Hogan, each of them having undefeated records against three other Wresltemania main eventers. The first, unsurprisingly, is Roman Reigns, who is 4-0 against both Drew McIntyre and Mike the Miz, as well as being 2-0 against John Cena. The other person, somewhat surprisingly, is Edge, who is 3-0 against both Ric Flair and Mike the Miz as well as being 2-0 against Drew McIntyre.

The Hulkster’s late 1990s equivalent, Steve Austin has a perfect record against two other Mania main eventers, one being the Big Show, who Austin defeated twice, and the other being Chris Benoit, who could not get a win over the Rattlesnake despite their having four one-on-one encounters.

Though he only has an undefeated record against one other Mania main eventer, Bam Bam Bigelow still impresses by running up a 5-0 record against that one opponent. The opponent in question? King Kong Bundy, who frequently faced the Beast from the East in his 1980s WWF run.

Matching Bundy’s accomplishment, albeit with a different opponent, is Bobby Lashley who has stomped Mike the Miz in each of their five singles encounters.

It’s not a 5-0 record against King Kong Bundy or Mike the Miz, but Triple H does have a 3-0 record against Edge. Though the current Adam Copeland did defeat HHH in triple threats and whatnot, he could never win a one-on-one battle with the Game.

This one took me by surprise a bit: Sid Vicious has an undefeated record against Bret Hart, defeating the Hitman in the two matches that they’ve had which meet the criteria for this answer.

You shouldn’t feel so bad for the Excellence of Execution, though, because Bret Hart has a flawless WWF record against Steve Austin, defeating him on two occasions.

Similarly, Ric Flair has two career encounters with Mick Foley in WWE, and he’s beaten the hardcore legend both times.

Shawn Michaels also joins the club of wrestlers who have a perfect record against a Wrestlemania main eventer, as he defeated Yokozuna in their two WWF singles matches.

Well, it’s The Big Show. He’s 2-0 against Mike the Miz.

Though he amassed a legendary streak of wins at Wrestlemania, The Undertaker didn’t run up any large streaks against other Wrestlemania main eventers, though he did have a small one against Sid, winning their only two singles encounters.

Adding another wrestler to the long list of those who have a 2-0 record against another WM headliner, The Rock has never lost to Hulk Hogan, winning both of their matches.

Here’s an interesting one, with two wrestlers having the same 2-0 record against the same opponent. Yes, that’s right, John Cena and Dave Batista are both undefeated when wrestling “Dashing” Cody Rhodes.

We go from “interesting” to just outright odd, as Randy Orton has a 2-0 record against Wrestlemania main eventer Sgt. Slaughter, owing to the Legend Killer gimmick that he had early in his career.

And we’ll close it out with another reference to Randy Orton, though at this time he’s on the losing end of things, as Brock Lesnar is 2-0 against him.

We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.