Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mike Von Erich
Michael Brent Adkisson (March 2, 1964April 12, 1987) was an American professional wrestler under the ring name Mike Von Erich. His four brothers, David, Kerry, Kevin and Chris, also wrestled. He was the son of longtime Texas wrestler and wrestling promoter Fritz Von Erich and a member of the famous Von Erich family.

Several wrestlers associated with Mike, such as his brother Kevin, King Kong Bundy and Jake Roberts, have stated that he never wanted to be a wrestler. He was not a natural athlete like his older brothers, and wanted to work for his father's company, World Class Championship Wrestling, as a cameraman. He also played guitar and wanted to be a musician away from the industry.
When his brother David died in 1984, Mike was forced into the ring. He was never a very good wrestler, he was pushed into the business. WCCW tried to hide his lack of wrestling skills by keeping his matches rather short. He was teamed with his brothers Kerry and Kevin and put into a long feud with the Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts). He also had a feud with Gino Hernandez. His last match was in 1987 against Brian Adias, whom he defeated in five seconds.
On August 22, 1985, Mike's shoulder was operated on due to an injury suffered during a wrestling tour of Israel. He was released from the hospital in good condition, but his fever shot up to 107 degrees four days later. It was later found that Mike suffered from toxic shock syndrome, a rarity among men. It was said in various publications that he suffered some brain damage from his illness, and he lost a great deal of weight.
Mike had a difficult time returning to the ring, and was not able to perform as well as before. While Mike was not the same physically, his promos also suffered, as his speech was often slurred. Meanwhile, Mike's drug and alcohol dependencies worsened as a result of depression over his condition, and his personal behavior became extremely erratic. He was accused (and later acquitted) of assaulting an emergency room physician while being treated for his shoulder problem. In 1986, he suffered head injuries from a car accident in which his vehicle overturned after he lost control. After his battle with toxic shock syndrome, many wrestlers have also stated that Mike bragged to them about his sexual exploits with underage girls while inebriated. In addition, Kevin mentioned an incident in which Mike attacked a streetlight in frustration over his current condition.
Kevin once said that Mike also suffered from the pressure of having to "be David" after his brother's death. Since the two had similar facial features, many fans saw David in Mike, and from the beginning of his career the pressure was on for Mike to succeed on the same level of his brothers.
A few days before his death, Mike was arrested on drunk driving and drug charges. On April 12, 1987, he left a suicide note for his family, wrapped himself in a sleeping bag, then committed suicide by overdosing on the tranquilizer Placidyl. He was 23 years old. His brothers Kerry and Chris also committed suicide.

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