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משפחת ואן אריק בישראל - הסיפור המלא


Von Erichs in Israel - By Gery Roif

(To enlarge the photos open the images in new windows)

*In 1982 Dr. Lester Surmall (founder of the LeSea network) founded METV (Middle East TV) to bring the Gospel message of hope and peace to the troubles Middle East (that`s a quote I took from their site). The channel`s headquarters were in south Lebanon and it was available through-out arabs countries, as well as Israel. Their U.S base was in Texas, where NWA affiliate, WCCW dominated the state. Fritz Von Erich and Lester Surmall came to terms and World Class Championship Wrestling started airing on METV, thus reaching the middle east, especially Lebanon and Israel.Israel who had only one channel back then were  permanent viewers of arab networks they were able to receive. One year of broadcasting made the trick, and it wasn`t long before Israel`s first channel purchased the Von Erichs WCCW programming. With Salomon Monir as commentator in arabic, during the Arab-Israeli time slot, it became a family tradition in Israel to watch the Von Erichs every saturday evening.  Merchandise followed soon thereafter and the Von Erichs became part of Israeli culture. To this day, every Israeli who lived in the 80s remembers the Von Erichs name. They might say "Kerry Von Errie", "Erick Von Erich", or even "Vanerrie", but they still remember. I talked to Mr. Sabach, who managed the "Galmir" company which handled Von Erich`s tour in 85, and he recalls everybody wanting a peace of the Von Erichs. Every show was jam packed. Not one place left. Icecream (Shtrauss) companies paying Kevin tons of money to get an exclusive deal with him after a long bidding war between the companies. While Hulkamania was running wild in the U.S and where ever McMahon sold WWF TV rights, Von Erichs-Mania was running even wilder in Israel. Although Hulk Hogan almost as popular as the Von Erichs back in mid 80s in Israel, WWF was only shown on the Jordanian channel, and Israelis only had a limited access to it. Pro Wrestling back then was heavily kayfabed (nobody revealed it was staged), and all newspaper treated it like a legitimate sport. 

*Before the first Von Erichs tour in august, 1985, the great and legendary Kevin Von Erich arrived in Israel to check the security for the locations and promote their tour. He visited "Yad Eliyahu" statium where their events would take place, he visited "Eithan" gym, in Ramat Gan, where he`d work out,  and "Dan" hotels where the WCCW crew would stay, which later on would be swarmed by thousands of Israeli Von Erichs fans. During their 3 days of stay, Kevin walked bravely in the streets of Tel Aviv, something that WWF superstars didn`t do when they toured here, something that WCW stars were affraid to do, and something that today`s WWE stars aren`t willing to do. Kevin visited the Dizingoff Center in Tel Aviv, Carmel Center in Haifa, and spent the night at the "Club Hotel" in the gorgeous Tveria city.  From there he continues to Natzrat, where Jesus was born, Kiryan Shmona, and Metulla, where he was interviewed for METV, and Israeli TV, which aired monday during the sports show in arabic.  He continued to Acco, Naharia, where he was guest of the icecream "Shtrauss" company, who purchased the rights to use the Vin Erich name to sell their icecream. On his way to Haifa, Kevin stopped to interact with his fans at the "Tzabar" center in Kiryat Bialik. Friday Kevin visited my home town Netanya and from there continued to Tel Aviv. Saturday Kevin returned to the U.S. 

*Note: Some matches results may not be accurate. 

Saturday, august 3rd, 1985 at 19:00 in Yad Eliyahu Sports Stadium in Tel Aviv:
Buddy Roberts over Johny Mantell
"Gentleman" Chris Adams over Brian Adias
"Iceman" King Parsons over Kenny Kanitzki
Kevin Von Erich over Gino Hernandez
Mike Von Erich over Rip Oliver

Sunday, august 4th, 1985 at 21:00:
Kenny Kanitzki over Brian Adias
Scott Casey over Rip Oliver
"Iceman" King Parsons over Buddy Roberts
Mike Von Erich over Gino Hernandez
Kevin Von Erich over Chris Adams

Monday, august 5th, 1985 at 18:00
Brian Adias over Johny Mantel
Rip Oliver over "Iceman" King Parsons
Buddy Roberts over Scott Casey
Kevin & Mike Von Erich over Gino Hernandez & Chris Adams

Tuesday, august 6th, 1985 at 18:00
Kenny Kanitzky over Johny Mantel
King Parsons & Scott Casey over Rip Oliver & Gino Hernandez
Buddy Roberts over Mike Von Erich
Kevin Von Erich over Chris Adams in an "I Quit" match

Wednesday, august 7th, 1985:
Battle Royal took place between all the featured wrestlers above. 
5 2nd round matches. Four 3rd round matches. 
Semi Finals:
Kevin Von Erich over Chris Adams
Gino Hernandez over Mike Von Erich (the match where Mike seperated his shoulder)
Finals:
Kevin Von Erich over Gino Hernandez to win the Middle Eastern championship.

This photo was taken by Diker at the "Horses Bay" in Acco. Michael Hayes and the One Man Gang enjoy themselves while fishing. This is from the 1986 tour which I still research. 

October 1987 tour dates:
Oct 9 Kfar Saba, Oct 11 Tel Aviv, Oct 12 Haifa, Oct 13 Haifa, Oct 13 Tel Aviv, Oct 15 Tel Aviv, Oct 15 Kfar Saba

The crew was Bruiser Brody, Abdullah the Butcher, Buddy Roberts, Iceman 
Parsons, the Fantastics, Jeff Raitz, Steve Casey, Lance von Erich, Jeep 
Swenson, Dusty Wolf.
































*Many thanks to Dusty Wolf for 87 tour details. Thanks to Percy Pringle III for all his gracious help. Thanks to Lior Elzaam and Oded Sela for the magazines and clippings (which were heavily kayfabed).

Click here for a great bio of the Von Erichs by Steve Slagle

**Any addition and further information to my research would be appreciated.