Throwback Thursday: NWA World Class Championship Wrestling (May 19, 1984), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock



This week Throwback Thursday heads back to Texas Stadium one final time as we conclude our celebration of the 40th anniversary of the inaugural David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions card with a special Parade of Champions themed edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 40 years ago this month!


Since the inaugural Christmas Star Wars card on December 25, 1982, which saw the first shots fired in the iconic Freebirds/Von Erich war, World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) had been steadily rising, growing more popular seemingly by the week.

At the heart of the World Class boom lay the sons of Jack Adkisson, better known as Fritz Von Erich. David, Kevin, & Kerry Von Erich were, by the start of 1984, three of most popular and well known stars in wrestling thanks in part to the reach of Dallas’ Superstation KTVT and the rise of the so-called “Apter mags”.

Though Kevin could fly and Kerry had the chiseled body, it was eldest brother David who was their father’s “chosen one”; the Von Erich who would finally break the curse and bring the elusive NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship home to Dallas.

Debuting in 1977, David was quickly pegged by those in the know as a tough, hard working, respectable, charismatic, nice young man; a young wrestler to keep an eye on.

By 1979 David was wrestling Harley Race for the NWA World title and making his lone stop at Madison Square Garden (November 19, 1979) before making a name for himself in his father’s territory in Dallas, Texas.

A trip to Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) territory from late 1981 to summer ’82 allowed David to work a heel persona under the close tutelage of both Terry & Dory Funk, Jr., before returning to Texas a conquering hero.

A memorable program with Jimmy Garvin and the early success of the Freebird/Von Erich program further elevated David in the eyes of both the Dallas faithful and the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA).

By the fall of 1983 David was, for certain, under consideration for a future NWA World Heavyweight title run.

On September 16, 1983, David dethroned the imminent NWA World Champion Ric Flair (who would win the title from Harley Race in less than three months time at the inaugural Starrcade) for the coveted NWA Missouri Heavyweight title, long considered a “steppingstone” for future NWA World titlists.

In Dallas, meanwhile, Ric Flair was already in the midst of his memorable program with Kerry and Kevin Von Erich that included a trio trio of bouts involving David Von Erich. The first, a DQ win over Flair, took place on November 28, 1983. The next occurred on December 2, when the Von Erichs won the Six-Man trophy from the Freebirds with Flair subbing for the “banned” Michael Hayes.

Then, on Christmas Night, 1983, David Von Erich challenged Ric Flair for the NWA World title in an instant classic in front of nearly 20,000 fans at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas.

The disqualification finish on Christmas Night and the subsequent Mike Von Erich/Ric Flair “ten minute challenge” bout (January 30, 1984) set the massive, highly anticipated Ric Flair/David Von Erich World title rematch in stone.

Then tragedy struck. On February 10, 1984, while on a tour with All Japan Pro Wrestling, David Von Erich died of acute enteritis at the age of 25.

On Wednesday, February 15, 1984, over 3,500 fans—the largest such gathering for a funeral in the recorded history of Denton, Texas at that time—gathered at Denton’s First Baptist Church to pay their respects with most waiting, frustrated, outside the church, straining to hear the service over the small PA System.

Still more fans waited for the 150 car procession to arrive at Grove Hill Memorial Park, where David Von Erich was at last laid to rest. David Von Erich’s death to Dallas-Fort Worth was, as KXAS Channel 5 reporter Pat Warren noted, what the death of Elvis was to the nation.

Overnight, what was expected to be David Von Erich’s coronation was transformed into a celebration of life, a massive memorial card deep in the heart of Texas.

Instead of David winning in front of his friends, fans, and extended family it would be Kerry Von Erich, in memory of his late older brother, winning the NWA World title in Texas Stadium.

Whether as a coronation or a cathartic memorial, no site but Texas Stadium would do. The Dallas fans, whether they grew up with the Adkisson boys or knew them only as the rasslin’ “Von Erichs”, won and lost with the Von Erichs, sharing each triumph and tragedy as if it were their own.

A beloved star in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, David Von Erich was extended kinfolk to most of those watching. And though David was not physically present in Texas Stadium on May 6, 1984, the spirit of the “Yellow Rose of Texas” certainly was, adding an emotional pathos to the star-studded event.

For Kerry Von Erich, winning the World title in honor of his late brother David was a personal and professional milestone that would come to define his own career and life, casting a long shadow that Kerry, for better or worse, would never truly able to outrun.




The top story in World Class Championship Wrestling the week this edition of NWA WCCW aired was the continued fallout from the inaugural David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions event at Texas Stadium.

Not only had Kerry Von Erich won the NWA World Heavyweight title in honor of his late brother David Von Erich but his father Fritz and brothers Kevin & Mike defeated the Fabulous Freebirds in a “Bad Street” brawl to claim the Six-Man Tag Team trophy.

Elsewhere on the card “Iceman” King Parsons & Buck Zumhofe defeated the Super Destroyers for the American Tag Team titles; Kamala defeated Great Kabuki (in what would be Kabuki’s last televised match in World class for the next year); and Chris Adams & Sunshine scored a measure of revenge against Jimmy Garvin and Precious.

Now let’s head on over to the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions themed edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling holds 40 years later!

Edits for this edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling, while striking, are not an issue with this show on the WWE Network and Peacock. Music, like the life performance of “Heaven Needed a Champion” (performed by 12 year old Jill Floyd), as well as any and all promotional ads, have been removed. As with last week’s show there is a small bit of tape distortion throughout the hour, but it does nothing to hinder the enjoyment of the show.

Context, meanwhile, is excellent. Nearly every prior edition of NWA WCCW, dating back to January 1982, as well as a handful of “Hidden Gems” cards, are available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network and Peacock!


NWA World Class Championship Wrestling #126 (WATCH)
Date: May 19, 1984 (TAPED: May 6, 1984; David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions) – Location: Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas
Attendance: 32,132 – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Marc Lowrance – Interviews: N/A

Number One Song: “Hello” (Lionel Richie)
Number One Album: Footloose: Original Soundtrack of the Paramount Motion Picture
Number One on Television: Dallas (CBS)
Number One Film in Theaters: The Natural (Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, & Wilford Brimley)
U.S. President & Vice President: Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush

NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich (May 6, 1984, NWA WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair)
NWA American Heavyweight Champion: “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin (April 1984, from “Gentleman” Chris Adams; where and when this title change occurred is currently unknown; this may have been a “phantom” title switch)
NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion: VACANT (Championship was vacated following the death of titleholder David Von Erich in Tokyo, Japan on February 10, 1984)
NWA American Tag Team Champions: Rock ‘N’ Soul (“Iceman” King Parsons & “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Buck Zumhofe) (May 6, 1984, NWA WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, from the Super Destroyers (Super Destroyer #1 & Super Destroyer #2))
NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Champions (TEXAS): The Von Erichs (Kevin, Mike & Fritz) (May 6, 1984, NWA WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, defeated the Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, & Buddy Roberts; this was a “Bad Street” rules match; the Von Erichs
WCCW Television Champion: Killer Khan (May 7, 1984, Fort Worth, Texas; Killer Khan wrestled in place of the injured Kelly Kiniski, the TV Champion at that time, and upon defeating Johnny Mantell was awarded the TV title)
NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Champion: “Gentleman” Chris Adams (September 1983, location unknown, from Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy)


Following the standard NWA World Class Championship Wrestling open of the era we head inside Texas Stadium where Marc Lowrance welcomes us to the show, calling it the “greatest card the world has ever seen”.

Marc Lowrance then gives us a rundown of the card to come, including the Kerry Von Erich/Ric Flair World title bout, before tossing to our first Peacock ad-break of the hour with graphics hyping the bouts to come.


—Singles Match (1:33)
“Hacksaw” Butch Reed vs. Chick Donovan

Butch Reed was the second Mid-South Wrestling star to appear on this Parade of Champions card. Last week we saw Junkyard Dog defeat Missing Link via reverse decision.

Chick Donovan, whom some may remember as an enhancement talent in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), had been around since 1977 and was slowly making a name for himself in Dallas heading into this one.

Butch Reed uses his power to get the better of Chick to start, running his mouth to Chick as he goes, before Reed walks into a Donovan dropkick.

Donovan works a side headlock on Reed, looking to ground the bigger Reed, but Reed refuses to stay down. Donovan cuts off a Reed rally and tries to return to the side headlock, but it quickly turns into a test of strength.

Reed, thanks to handful of hair, “wins” the test of strength and turns the tide on Donovan. Reed peppers Donovan with blows before tossing Chick to the floor.

After being stopped from reentering the ring Donovan rushes to the apron and drives a shoulder into Reed’s mid-section. Donovan attempts a quick comeback but, telegraphing a back body drop, eats a boot from Reed.

Reed press slams Donovan on his face before hitting the diving spear for the pinfall win at 4:23.

WINNER is “Hacksaw” Butch Reed (Pin, 4:23)


After the match a cocky Butch Reed celebrates his victory as Marc Lowrance wraps the bout and hypes a “special treat” to come before tossing to the next Peacock ad-break.


Coming out of the break Marc Lowrance sets up our NWA World title match and tosses to the entrance where Worlds Heavyweight Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair makes his long walk to the ring for our much-anticipated main event.


Next it’s Kerry Von Erich’s turn to make the long walk to the ring. Kerry’s ring entrance music has been overdubbed here. Originally Kerry emerged to the opening moments of a live version of Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” before the song transitioned to Tanya Tucker’s 1978 break out hit “Texas (When I Die)”. Marc Lowarnce’s commentary remains untouched as Lowrane was silent for Kerry’s entrance.

Kerry enters Texas Stadium to a thunderous ovation. Carrying a yellow rose, in honor of his late brother David, to the ring, Kerry tosses the rose to the fans as he steps into the ring.


—NWA World Heavyweight Championship – “No Disqualification, No Time Limit Match” (7:13)
“Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair(c)

This match is, almost without question, the biggest single match in the history of Dallas wrestling; a match that marks both the greatest triumph in World Class history and the slow crest before the swift decline.

The match, meanwhile, is about as perfect as it could be given the circumstances, and may well be the single greatest match in Kerry Von Erich’s career.

For the briefest of moments Texas Stadium, with it’s 32,000, becomes the intimate Dallas Sportatorium with fans chanting for Kerry and all of the Von Erich family.

The slow feeling out process gives way to a flurry of offense from Kerry that drives Flair to the corner to regroup. Before long we get a top wrist lock test of strength that Kerry turns into an armbar, much to the delight of Texas Stadium.

Kerry controls the action, easily fighting off Flair’s attempts to find a way back into the match. Flair begs off after a massive press slam and slinks to the floor to regroup yet again, slowing the match down.

Back in the ring Kerry backs Flair into the corner only to eat a boot to the lower mid-section that finally gives Flair the opening to go to work on Kerry.

Flair sends Kerry to the floor but Kerry, as if pushed by a stronger power, surges back, landing a sunset flip for a near-fall. Moments later Kerry cinches in a sleeper hold that Flair escapes with high belly-to-back suplex.

Flair opens up on Kerry, momentarily hushing Texas Stadium, scoring a near-fall with a vertical suplex. Flair continues to take the fight to a game Kerry before Kerry turns a back body drop attempt into an abdominal stretch.

Flair looks to be on the edge of submitting before hip tossing his way free. Kerry is all over Flair, though, delivering a slew of shots. Flair attempts a rally but runs smack into the dreaded Von Erich Iron Claw!

Texas Stadium explodes as Flair struggles to survive the Iron Claw. At last Flair goes low on Kerry to escape the Iron Claw, drawing the ire of referee David Manning.

Flair puts Kerry down and goes to the top rope for a splash but Kerry is there to meet him, hurling Flair across the ring. Kerry finds a second wind and goes on the attack, giving us the obligatory Stevens bump out of the corner.

A desperate Flair lands a low knee and attempts to cinch in the figure-four leg lock twice, but Kerry kicks Flair away both times. Flair drops Kerry with a shoulder block before the two trade hip toss attempts.

Out of nowhere, though, Kerry cinches in a backslide, putting Flair’s shoulders to the mat for the monumental 1-2-3 at 10:45 to win the lone NWA Worlds Heavyweight title of Kerry’s career. This ended Ric Flair’s second official reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion (of an eventual nine) at 164 days.

WINNER and NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion, “Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich (Pin, 10:45)


Following the three count Texas Stadium erupts! Kerry begins to celebrate his historic World title win as Kevin, Chris, and Mike Von Erich rush the ring to embrace their victorious brother.

Within moments Chris Adams, Chick Donovan, Johnny Mantell, Buck Zumhofe, and “Iceman” King Parsons join the Von Erichs to celebrate. Flair, meanwhile, stands in shocked disbelief.


Soon enough a calmed Ric Flair approaches Kerry. With David Manning between them Flair tells Kerry that while there won’t be any “trouble” today Ric Flair “will be back”. Flair warns Kerry to tell his brothers and his “old man” that Ric Flair “will be back”.

The celebration carries on with even Marc Lowrance getting caught up in the excitement of the moment as we see a replay of the most famous backslide in the history of wrestling one more time.


Coming out of the replay we see Kerry draping the NWA World title in the flag of Texas with a large yellow rose, holding up in honor of his late brother David and posing for Bill Apter.

Preparing to leave Kerry drapes the Lone Star Flag in the center of the ring and wraps the NWA World title inside of it before leaving the ring.


There in the aisle Kerry meets his mother, Doris, and his father. Kerry and Doris share a long, emotional embrace before the family turns and heads up the runway, no doubt carried by the love and affection of 32,000 fans.


Marc Lowrance quickly wraps the match and tosses to the next Peacock ad-break with a replay of Kerry celebrating his title win.


Coming out of the break we head back to Texas Stadium where Chris Adams (wearing Jimmy Garvin’s ring jacket and bow-tie) & Sunshine make their way to the ring for our final mixed-tag contest.

Out of nowhere, though, Gino Hernandez crashes the ring, stealing the microphone from Ralph Pulley. Gino says he’s heard all the talk about this being the “greatest wrestling card of all-time”. Who cares if the Von Erichs “swept the World titles”, Gino says, or if there’s “50,000 of you here”.

“No card is the ‘greatest wrestling card in the world’ without Gino Hernandez, the ‘handsome half-breed’!” Gino then takes exception to Precious and Sunshine wrestling before calling out both Chris Adams and Jimmy Garvin.

Whichever one of them, Adams or Garvin, is the American Heavyweight Champion in two weeks has a date with Gino in Puerto Rico, Hernandez says, dropping the mic and walking off.

After the ring introductions Adams & Sunshine mock Garvin & Precious before tearing Garvin’s white ring jacket in half.


—“Mixed Tag Team Grudge Match” (27:14)
NWA American Heavyweight Champion “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin & Precious vs. NWA Brass Knuckles Champion “Gentleman” Chris Adams & Sunshine

This was the final match of the evening, happening after the Kerry/Flair title switch and what the original program called a ten minute intermission.

Adams and Garvin start this one out, with Adams getting the early edge on Garvin. The action is fast-paced as Garvin prevents Adams from tagging in Sunshine.

Garvin grounds Adams with a side headlock but Adams is able to wrestle free before both men collide with a double clothesline. Both men reach their feet before Adams floors Garvin with a superkick and tags in Sunshine, forcing Precious to enter the match whether Precious likes it or not.

Sunshine brings the reluctant Precious in the hard way and the fight is on. Sunshine catapults Precious into the corner and delivers a flurry of punches before Precious tags in a weary Garvin.

In a flash Adams is across the ring and all over Garvin, scoring a pair of near-falls before Garvin hits snake eyes in the corner, cutting a bloodied Adams momentum short.

Garvin tries a piledriver but Adams blocks it and tags in Sunshine. But as Sunshine runs to meet Precious, Jimmy Garvin trips Precious, holding her for Precious to attack.

All hell breaks loose now with all four in the ring. Adams goes to the floor, allowing Garvin to hold Sunshine for Precious to slap. As Adams climbs on the apron Garvin moves to meet him.

As Sunshine dumps Precious to the floor Chris Adams lands a sunset flip on Garvin to score the show-closing three-count at 4:40 to give Adams & Sunshine the big win in Texas Stadium.

WINNERS are NWA Brass Knuckles Champion “Gentleman” Chris Adams & Sunshine (Pin, 4:40)


After the match Adams & Sunshine try to celebrate their win when Precious gloms Sunshine in the back of the head with a loaded purse.

As Adams tends to the fallen Sunshine Garvin & Precious flee to higher ground but Sunshine is in hot pursuit, tackling Precious on the floor of Texas Stadium as Jimmy Garvin tries to pull the ladies apart.

Finally, as Adams gets a shot in in Garvin, Jimmy Garvin & Precious run for their lives up the runway as Marc Lowrance wraps the scene and sends us to our final Peacock ad-break of the hour.


We return to Texas Stadium after the break where Marc Lowrance recaps Kerry Von Erich’s World title win. “A record-breaking crowd, a record-breaking card, and a record-breaking show for you to enjoy”, Lowrance says, bringing this week’s exciting, historic edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling to a close!


Final Thoughts

This is an excellent, historic, exciting edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling that is must-see for any true rasslin’ fan!

The three matches we see are great, in their own way, but the Kerry Von Erich/Ric Flair NWA Worlds title match is the megastar of this show. In spite of the tragedy and high expectations, this match delivered in spades.

The finale mixed-tag bout is helluvalotta fun as well, booked brilliantly to bring the emotional afternoon of drama and sport to a close.

So if you haven’t seen this David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling, what are you waiting for? Who knows, you may end up liking it, and that’s never a bad thing!

Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive this classic David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here!



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