Legendary WCCW announcer Bill Mercer recently joined and Dave Lagreca and Mike Riker on Busted Open. You can hear Busted Open on SiriusXM 92 and on the SiriusXM app. Also visit to BustedOpenNation.com for all the details. Below are excerpts from the interview.
On World Class Championship Wrestling in the 1980s:
"I think of a bunch of young guys controlled by their father so heavily that they didn't do anything else unless he told them too. The boys grew up around him of course, and grew up around wrestling and they saw it, they were evidently involved in enjoying it. David came up to the University of North Texas where I was, and also Kevin. David to play basketball, Kevin to play football. But, that never panned out. And one thing, Kevin's legs and knees just wouldn't allow him to be a football player anymore. David, according to a coach I knew up there, had a real possibility as a basketball player. They were doing a show in Fort Worth in Dallas, and so the next thing we knew David is running around being a wrestler and had bouts and won the bout and began his career. Kevin came along a little later. But they both evidently had been training and started into this system. They became rather instant heroes in the Dallas Fort Worth area. Both good looking, David not with the wrestling physique, Kevin had that, but David had the charm and the personality and that persona just won over everybody. And, so that's how it started."
"Later Kerry came along. Kerry was a track star and went to Houston but gave that up.. They just kept building up and building up and became fantastic stars. It was also an era of drugs and really it was just an awful situation. Gino Hernandez died, murdered some people say, drugs. A gentleman Chris Adams had drug problems and went to prison, it was just rampant. That's part of the legacy, I never thought David had any involvement with drugs and I doubt Kevin, I mean Kevin may have, but never like Kerry who did. And then Michael and his brief adventure with his severe illness and then he came back and he was never the same type after that terrible illness he had, and then he killed himself. Than Chris, who was not really physical or any other way suited to be a wrestler, killed himself. And Kerry ultimately did. It was a tragedy of a family. I don't think you can call it an All-American family because I don't think that would occur, maybe it would, but it wouldn't be considered the norm anyway. It was rife with all sorts of problems."
"When David died in Japan we noticed that immediately that some of the resonance of the personality of the whole thing began to fade a bit. He was the top glue, he was going to be the successor to Fritz and maybe run the whole show later on but it was a very brief time, you know just a few years. We put World Class on, and that was at the highlight of the boys popularity and it took off and it was amazing because they were trying to get up to send it around the country. It was done in Dallas and then taped and syndicated out to other units. It was a phenomena, but it was like a Roman candle that went up shone brightly briefly and faded away. It was just, very sad the way the center heart was destroyed and then finally just went away."
On whether or not the Von Erich boys had a "love/hate" relationship with their father:
"Oh yeah. At least I talked to Kevin later about that, I never talked to David about them. But Kevin later, yeah he had that sort of situation. It was although they were beholden to him and he could do anything he wanted to. Kevin complained one time that he would pay a star coming in to wrestle them and pay them the usual fee that he'd pay the wrestlers. So there were some hard feelings there. When those who thought about it I guess, like Kevin, that they were not free to do their life, well he wasn't. And Fritz really had a strong arm on them. We read about smaller events like that going on in the country and the world but, this was 5 boys and they didn't have a chance really to select something. That was what was interesting to me. When Kevin, they went to Hawaii after Fitz's death for a long time and he sold all the tapes and material to WWE, than he went to Hawaii and I was surprised I thought, I knew him well, I went out to the ranch and talked and we had visited and the boys were good looking kids as was his daughter. I was really surprised. I thought well maybe these kids will go off on their own and do something that they want to do but they've all turned out to be interested in wrestling. Now, that's not bad but I just wonder if Kevin is dominating them. I wouldn't think so."
On why didn't he announce Parade of Champions in 1984:
"Well, I had a contract, see I was a freelancer really. Mickey Grant worked at the station and he hired me on a freelance basis to do the shows. And we were scheduled to do the shows on certain days. Well, I had also been contacted to do broadcasting to do that first spring football adventure. So, I had a contract with them, which actually paid more than the contract with the wrestling, but that didn't make any difference. So, that big show out at the bowl came up and I just had another obligation. I hated to miss it, but it was just one of those things. That was one of those grand moments in the history of wrestling; 40,000 people that were out there."
Source: Busted Open