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The Iron Claw (2023) | Transcript

The Von Erichs face tragedy and triumph in wrestling, battling a family curse. Kevin endures loss, leads WCCW, and finds solace in Hawaii
The Iron Claw (2023)

The Iron Claw (2023)
Directed by: Sean Durkin
Written by: Sean Durkin
Starring: Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White, Harris Dickinson, Maura Tierney, Holt McCallany, Lily James
Distributed by: A24 (United States), Lionsgate (United Kingdom)
Release dates: November 8, 2023 (Dallas), December 22, 2023 (United States), February 9, 2024 (United Kingdom)
Running time: 132 minutes

Plot: In 1979, Texas NWA Heavyweight Champion Kevin Von Erich finds himself at the crossroads of family ambition and personal relationships, as his father, WCCW owner Fritz, pushes the wrestling legacy on his sons, sidelining youngest brother Mike’s musical aspirations. The story chronicles Kevin’s wrestling career and evolving family dynamics, including his marriage to Pam and the tragic unfolding of the “Von Erich curse,” which claims the lives of his brothers and haunts the family with loss and misfortune. Key moments include Kevin’s battles in the ring, the rise and fall of his brothers in wrestling, Mike’s tragic death, and the family’s struggle with grief and legacy. Despite the curse’s toll, Kevin’s life moves forward as he takes over WCCW, welcomes new beginnings with his growing family, and eventually finds solace in a new life in Hawaii, with the Von Erichs’ legacy immortalized in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

* * *

(LIGHTS CLICKING)

(GRUNTING)

(PEOPLE CHEERING IN BACKGROUND)

(GRUNTING)

REFEREE: It’s over, Rick, they’re gonna disqualify you.

One, two, three. Come on.

Get him out of the corner.

(GRUNTS)

(GROANS)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(GRUNTING)

(SCREAMING)

REFEREE: Do you wanna quit?

I’ll break it! I’ll snap his neck!

(GRUNTS)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(CROWD GASPING)

(GRUNTING)

REFEREE: One, two, three.

Ring the bell! It’s over. It’s over.

Let’s go.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(PANTING)

(BOYS GIGGLING).

Hey, now. Hey, Kevin. Hey, David.

You crushed that guy, Pop.

I sure did.

Oh! The Iron Claw.

Kevin’s got me in the Iron Claw.

You’re getting strong.

Nice to have you guys here for once.

DORIS: Hi.

(KISSES)

Did you see anything, Dottie?

DORIS: Not a chance!

But it sure sounded like everyone was angry at you.

FRITZ: That’s the idea.

(SCOFFS)

DORIS: What is that thing attached to our home?

FRITZ: You guys like it?

KEVIN: Oh, Dad. It’s incredible.

DAVID: Yeah, it’s incredible.

DORIS: Jack, where is our car?

I had the boys swap it out during the show.

Surprise!

DORIS: Wait. What are you thinking? We can’t afford this.

Well, hear me out.

I was talking to the promoter, and he said if I wanna be a star, I need to act like a star.

So, he told me to rent a Cadillac.

DORIS: I’m not even gonna ask how much it costs.

(SIGHING)

How much does it cost?

It’s gonna be fine, Dottie. I’m almost there.

We need a real house. A safe place to raise these guys.

How does blowing a bunch of money on a fancy car get us a house?

The only way to beat this thing–

There’s no thing.

The only way to beat it is to be the toughest, the strongest, the most successful, the absolute best.

To rely on no one but ourselves.

I will get us there.

I will be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and nothing will hurt us ever again.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go, for in you, I entrust my life.

FRITZ: We’ve been through hell, and we’re gonna leave all that behind. I promise.

(ALARM BEEPING)

(YAWNS, GROANS SOFTLY)

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

(GRUNTS)

(SIGHS)

(SNORTS)

What?

KEVIN: Let’s go for a run.

Go for a run?

KEVIN: Yeah.

(GRUNTS)

Come on. Let’s go!

DAVID: No, no. I’m not doing that.

KEVIN: All right.

(ROOM DOOR OPENS, CLOSES)

(FOOTSTEPS APPROACHING)

(DOOR OPENS)

KEVIN: Ever since I was a child, people said my family was cursed.

We never talked about it.

And I don’t know if my brothers and I believed it back then, but bad things kept happening.

Mom tried to protect us with God.

Pop tried to protect us with wrestling.

He said if we were the toughest, the strongest, the most successful…

(EXHALES)

…nothing could ever hurt us.

I believed him. We all did.

We loved our father.

And we loved wrestling.

(CROWD CHEERING)

CROWD: (CHANTING) One, two, three, four!

(GRUNTS)

(GROANS)

(INDISTINCT TRASH TALK)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(GRUNTING)

REFEREE: One, two…

That’s an eye gouge!

(SPITS)

(GRUNTS)

(THUDS)

REFEREE: That’s a trip.

(CROWD BOOING)

And stay out, you son of a bitch!

Or I’ll come out of retirement.

(GRUNTS)

(GROANS)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(GROANS)

CROWD: (CHANTING) One, two, three!

(CROWD CHEERING)

Yeah!

(CROWD CHEERING)

RING ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the winner and the new Texas Heavyweight Champion,

Kevin Von Erich.

Congratulations, son. You did well.

KEVIN: Thanks, Pop.

This is just the start. Tomorrow you’re back working harder than ever!

Proud of you!

KEVIN: Yes, sir!

(GRUNTING)

Morning.

MIKE: Morning.

FRITZ: Morning, son.

Pants tomorrow please, David.

Sorry, Ma. I couldn’t find them.

They are in the wash. Heard of it?

Michael, breathe.

Eat like you’re starving mutt.

Good morning.

That’s why I eat quickly. They take my food, Ma.

No!

Mike, you need to start hitting the weights more, kid.

You’re growing well, but you need to bulk up, get some strength in those arms.

I’ll always have your back, Michael.

You won’t always be around.

Mike’s fine, Pop.

Kid won’t be able to defend himself.

Well, may not be the strongest, but I still can eat the most.

It’s not a joke.

Kerry is about to become the family’s first Olympian.

Kevin is the NWA Texas Champion.

David is about to make his ring debut.

Pop, come on.

It’s time for you to start thinking about what you’re gonna be.

Now we all know Kerry’s my favorite, then Kev, then David then Mike, but the rankings can always change.

Everyone can work their way up or down.

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING)

KEVIN: Good.

Hold it up a little higher.

That’s it. Now push forward.

Goddamn it, Mike!

(ENGINE STARTS)

FRITZ: Come on!

Come on, David, I gotta take a dump.

Hurry up in there, man.

Mike, shut up! Give me a second.

David.

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

Come in.

(DOOR OPENS)

Hi, Mom.

Hey, Kevin.

(SIGHS)

Hey, I’ve been thinking. Can I talk to you about something?

Baby, that’s what your brothers are for.

I know, but

I don’t want to be late.

(SIGHS SOFTLY)

Dad’s too tough on Mike, Ma.

You gotta say something.

Please?

Kevin, that’s between them.

Now go, get ready.

We leave in 15 minutes.

(SIGHS) All right.

FRITZ: Hey, how are you? How you been?

Nice to see you.

DORIS: Hi.

Come on in.

FRITZ: How are you?

Good.

DORIS: Hi, how you doing?

FRITZ: Hey, how you doing?

MAN: Hey.

FRITZ: Howdy. How you doing? All right, good.

This is your biggest fan.

KEVIN: Thank you.

FRITZ: Yeah. It’s nice to see you again.

Likewise. Likewise.

Thank you so much.

Thanks for coming out, yeah.

DAVID: How are you?

Good to see you again. See this guy?

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(CHOIR SINGING IN THE BACKGROUND)

(ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MUSIC PLAYING)

(MUSIC CONCLUDES)

Yeah, that was good. That was… That was good.

All right, bye. See you later.

KEVIN: How was orchestra practice, Michael?

It was great. Thanks, Ma.

I’m starving. Uh… Can we get burgers on the way?

KEVIN: We got food in the cooler.

(SIGHS) I miss Kerry.

He would get burgers for me right now.

I’ll eat a burger with you, little brother.

Come on.

MIKE: Come on, Kev.

All right.

(ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MUSIC PLAYING ON CAR RADIO)

♪ Love doesn’t last that long

♪ I got this feelin’ inside night and day

♪ And now I can’t take it no more

♪ Listen, honey, can you see?

♪ Baby, you would bury me

♪ If you were in the public eye

♪ Givin’ someone else a try

♪ And you know you better watch your step

♪ Or you’re gonna get hurt yourself

♪ Someone’s gonna tell you lies

♪ Cut you down to size

(CHEERING)

♪ Don’t do me like that Don’t do me like that

♪ What if I love you, baby?

Hi, Kevin!

♪ Don’t, don’t, don’t…

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen.

We have the newlycrowned Texas Heavyweight Champion, Kevin Von Erich here, and he is scheduled to fight in a tagteam match later on tonight against Gino Hernandez and Bruiser Brody.

But his partner is still a mystery.

That’s right, Bill.

First off, I just wanna say to Gino, you’ve been running that mouth of yours way, way too long, and I’m here to take care of it.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY) Boy, oh, boy. Do I have somethin’ special for you tonight, buddy.

Can we just do that again from that top, yeah?

BILL: Yeah, absolutely.

Thank you.

BILL: Take it from the top, okay?

Okay.

(KEVIN EXHALES)

(BOTH CLEAR THROAT)

Ready?

KEVIN: Yeah.

CAMERA CREW: Ready.

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen.

We have the newly-crowned Texas Heavyweight Champion, Kevin Von Erich here tonight, and he’s scheduled to fight in a tag-team match against Gino Hernandez and Bruiser Brody.

But his partner is still a mystery.

KEVIN: That’s right, Bill.

First off, I just wanna say that, Gino, you’ve been shooting your mouth off way, way too long about me and my family.

I got something special for you, boy, oh, boy.

It ain’t gonna be all roses… Fuck.

(SNICKERING)

BILL: It’s okay. We’ll go again.

KEVIN: David, I hear you. Stop.

I didn’t say anything.

(KEVIN EXHALES)

BILL: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen.

We have the newly crowned Texas Heavyweight Champion, Kevin Von Erich here and he is scheduled to fight in a tag-team match later on tonight against Gino Hernandez and Bruiser Brody.

But his partner still remains a mystery.

That’s right, Bill.

I got something special for… that the hometown crowd fans are really gonna love… tonight.

You know, first off, I just wanna say, Gino, you’ve been shooting your mouth… shooting your… shoot… shooting your mouth…

DAVID: Shoobadoobadoo.

Shit, sorry.

(DAVID SINGING)

BILL: David.

If it’s so easy, you get up here and do it then.

Yeah, I mean I… I’d love to, but it’ll kind of ruin the surprise, you know?

KEVIN: Yeah, I know.

You’re not helping.

DAVID: All right.

Just get out of here.

BILL: Wanna try again?

KEVIN: Yeah, yes. Okay.

(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING)

♪ All our times have come

♪ Here but now they’re gone

♪ Seasons don’t fear the reaper

♪ Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

♪ We can be like they are

♪ Come on, baby, don’t fear the reaper

♪ Baby, take my hand Don’t fear the reaper

♪ We’ll be able to fly Don’t fear the reaper

♪ Baby, I’m your man… ♪

(VOCALIZING)

I’ll give you a big boot, so I want you to really sell it.

I tag Gino in, fight him back.

Give him a body slam, an elbow drop.

He’s gonna drive you to the corner, stay there ’cause I’m gonna be coming in and take the post.

And I’m a go straight up top, so don’t leave me there too long.

BRUISER: Hmm.

Okay. Cross body.

GINO: I’ll still be sellin’ I’ll heat up.

And then double dropkick?

BRUISER: Yeah.

Then the Claw?

GINO: Right, yeah.

You been working on that with your dad?

A little, yeah.

All right, just don’t fuck with my hair too much, okay?

(ALL LAUGHING)

All right, David. Welcome to the show.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(THUDS)

(CROWD CHEERING)

CROWD: (CHANTING) One, two…

BILL: And a kick out from Gino…

Let’s go, David.

BILL: David picks up Gino, but he pushes him in the corner.

And here comes Brody charging across the ring.

He misses him. He misses him. And comes all the way back over to the side.

Kevin getting up on the top rope.

Brody dazed now.

(CROWD CHEERING)

Breaking Holds, Breaking Hearts: The Von Erich Saga Wrestles with Fate in ‘The Iron Claw’ Epic

BILL: And a huge flying cross body knocks down Brody.

The brothers line up a double drop kick.

An incredible double drop kick. Blowing the roof off of this place!

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: Can you hear these people?

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: And here comes the Iron Claw, his father’s notorious signature move.

Oh, and he slaps it on Gino. Look at him.

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: The pain is too much. Gino taps out, and the Von Erichs win.

Look out, NWA. David and Kevin Von Erich are here!

RING ANNOUNCER: David and Kevin Von Erich!

No problem.

GIRL: Excuse me. Can you make it out to Emily?

KEVIN: Emily. That’s for you.

GIRL: Thank you, thank you.

KEVIN: Thank you. Thanks for coming, guys.

GIRL 1: Thank you so much.

GIRL 2: Thank you so much.

KEVIN: Yeah, thanks for coming. Come next week, all right?

PAM: I’m gonna go. (CHUCKLES)

Okay, bye.

Bye, bye.

KEVIN: All right.

PAM: Hi, Kevin.

Hey, um… Can I get your autograph?

Yeah, sure.

PAM: Thanks.

(CLEARS THROAT)

PAM: Oh, don’t you wanna ask me who to make it out to?

KEVIN: Oh, yeah. Sure.

It’s Pam.

Pam.

PAM: Mmmhmm.

You’re supposed to say, “Nice to meet you, Pam.”

Yeah, I’m sorry.

Uh, it is nice to meet you, Pam.

(CHUCKLES) It’s nice to meet you too, Kevin.

Did you, uh, want my brother to sign?

No, just you.

Okay, then.

(CLEARS THROAT)

Your folks not teach you how to ask questions?

Like what?

Well, like, you know, “Who shall I make this out to?” Or, um, or…

(BLOWS RASPBERRY)

“Would you like to have a drink with me sometime, Pam?”

Are you asking me out?

Make me feel a little worse while you’re at it.

No, no, no. Sorry, no, I, uh…

I would love to go out with you, Pam.

(CLEARS THROAT)

Wasn’t that… Yeah, I just… I’ve just never been asked before.

Oh.

Well, hopefully, it will go well and then no one else will have the chance to ask you again.

Yeah.

BILL: Morning.

Morning.

BILL: David’s good.

(CHUCKLES) David’s good.

(BILL CHUCKLES)

Got the Saturday ratings back.

Highest numbers ever.

And somebody called me from over at ESPN.

They wanna offer us a national slot for Saturday nights.

That’s great news.

(BILL CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

Break it down for me.

Well, it’s good financial base.

Uh, we’ll have ad revenue.

Bigger and bigger names coming through.

But if we perform and we have a World Heavyweight Champion in our roster, we could be the biggest promotion in wrestling.

Oh, we’ll have a World Heavyweight Champion.

I can promise you that.

Let’s move forward.

BILL: Okay.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

KEVIN: There you go.

Thanks.

Yeah, have a good one.

Are you this famous everywhere?

No, not everywhere.

They’re not such big fans up in Missouri.

Oh.

That’s for sure.

You travel a lot?

Uh, yeah. Yeah. We go out on the road.

But we don’t have to as much anymore, because our show is doing so well.

(CHUCKLES)

So, what do you want in life, Kevin Von Erich?

More ribs.

(PAM LAUGHS)

I wanna be World Heavyweight Champion.

Hmm.

Well, can you just explain that to me ’cause ain’t it all just fake?

Fake?

There’s nothing fake about what we do.

Okay. All right. All right. Not fake.

Um… prearranged? Written?

Look, you move up in any industry

based on your performances, right?

PAM: Mmmhmm.

So a belt, like my Texas title, is really just a job promotion.

The promoters keep you moving up if you do well.

And if you reach the top, you become World Champ as a reward, because you’re the best based on your ability and on how the crowd responds to you.

Is that all you want?

No. Of course not.

I wanna be with my family.

You know, be with my brothers.

Mmm, that’s sweet.

What do you like to do with your brothers?

Anything. I don’t know.

Just being together, we can do anything.

(INHALES SHARPLY)

Hmm.

What about you?

Well, I wanna be a vet.

I want kids. I want my own practice.

I want a man who’s okay with that.

Cool.

So, would you be okay with that?

Oh, damn right, I would.

(PAM CHUCKLES)

We could be one of those modern super couples.

(PAM CHUCKLES)

We can have our own ranch.

Everyone could come live with us. All my brothers, their families.

(CHUCKLING) Okay.

You know, you have oldest brother syndrome.

Yeah, you wanna take care of everyone.

Maybe.

I’m not the oldest though.

When I was five, my big brother, Jack Jr., he died.

Oh. Oh, my God. Kevin, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.

Oh, it’s all right. I don’t really think about it.

Not anymore.

What was that like?

I don’t know. It was strange.

As a kid, he just, uh…

He just wasn’t there to play with one day.

So, I’m not the oldest.

I must have the, uh… the second oldest brother syndrome.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

(SIGHS SOFTLY)

PAM: I’m so sorry.

It’s a part of the family curse, I guess.

What’s that?

Oh, I’m just joking.

What, you never heard of the curse of the Von Erichs?

No.

Really?

No.

Oh, it’s uh… it’s a silly story.

Hmm?

My dad changed his last name to Von Erich, which was my grandma’s last name.

And I don’t know, I guess her family had all sorts of tragedy.

So, when my brother died, people started saying that it was this curse.

But I don’t believe in any of that.

I know it was all just bad luck.

Well, I don’t believe in curses, and I don’t believe in luck.

I think we make our own luck.

You’re lucky then.

Kev.

Hey, Pop.

Get in here. Come in, son. Sit down.

(CHUCKLES)

Big news for you.

I booked Harley Race to come to the Sportatorium.

You are gonna fight the World Heavyweight Champion.

No way.

(CHUCKLES)

You kidding me, Pop?

Your first match will be a nontitle fight, but if you put a whooping on him and show the world who you are and what you can do, you will become the number one contender

for the World Heavyweight Championship and get your title shot.

Pop, thank you.

Thank you. I… I will make you so proud.

I’ve dreamed of having that belt in this house my whole career but the NWA never gave me the chance I deserved.

I got close many times, but they always robbed me at the last minute.

So you have to take this opportunity.

You can be the one to bring it home for us.

Yes, sir.

HARLEY: I am the fourtime World Heavyweight Champion.

Me, Harley Race, the real World Heavyweight Champion.

Not any of this plastic nonsense that you all parade around with out there.

You have all these guys walking around talking loud about how they are the man.

Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Tommy Rich, or one of your snotnosed Von Erich kids.

Well, this belt is the only measure of who is the man.

And that man is me.

The World’s Heavyweight Champion, Harley Race.

(UPBEAT MUSIC PLAYING)

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to an exciting night of World Class Championship Wrestling on ESPN.

Tonight we have a momentous main event, NWA World Heavyweight Champ Harley Race is in town to take on Texas Champion, Kevin Von Erich.

(WCCW THEME MUSIC PLAYING)

BILL: And here we go, folks.

You can feel the excitement here at the world-famous Sportatorium in downtown Dallas, Texas.

As that man right there, local hero Kevin Von Erich faces his biggest challenge to date.

Four-time World Champion, the indomitable Harley Race.

What an occasion this is for Von Erich family.

The 3,500 fans in the building and everyone watching at home as we are broadcasting in 62 countries around the world.

All eyes are on this contest.

Now this is a nontitle fight.

The belt cannot change hands here, tonight.

But it is a tremendous opportunity for Kevin.

If he can win, he would become the number one contender.

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: And they lock up, Harley Race overpowering Kevin into the corner.

And he delivers a big blow to the midsection, knocks the wind right out of him.

Not a great start for the young man looking to make an impression here tonight.

And a devastating shot to the lower back puts Kevin on the mat.

He’s lining up a big shot and Kevin blocks it and returns a punch.

Connects once. Twice.

And three times.

Hits Harley Race again pretty hard on that one.

(GRUNTS)

BILL: Kevin coming off the ropes with a clothesline.

The champ doesn’t budge.

Kevin again off the ropes. Oh, and he knocks him down.

He knocks down the old oak tree, Harley Race, with a spectacular flying clothesline.

But the champ is right back up. Shaking it off.

Kevin goes straight into a bear hug.

Looking for that bellytoback suplex.

REFEREE: Hey, break it off. Break it off!

BILL: Oh, and a low blow.

Oh, I don’t think the Ref saw that.

Kevin’s struggling now.

A vicious tactic from Race who looks to get back on top in this contest.

Let’s go for a ride, kid.

BILL: Oh, and he… he tosses Kevin over the top rope.

My goodness. Kevin crashes down on that concrete floor.

Race, absolutely ruthless, gets Kevin in a suplex.

Oh, no. I hope he doesn’t do it. And he does!

Harley Race puts a standing suplex on Kevin Von Erich, directly onto the concrete floor.

(CROWD BOOING)

BILL: Kevin is down. This crowd is stunned.

(GASPING)

Kevin is not moving, folks. Kevin Von Erich is not moving.

Harley Race gets back up to the ring.

CROWD: (CHANTING) Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!

REFEREE: One!

Two!

Three!

(GROANS)

HARLEY: Come on. Get up.

REFEREE: Four! Five!

Six!

(GRUNTS)

CROWD: (CHANTING) Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!

REFEREE: Seven!

Eight!

BILL: He’s starting to step up.

REFEREE: Nine!

BILL: He’s starting to come up, slowly but surely.

He crawls up. Kevin Von Erich. Unbelievable.

What this man has been through.

He’s seen it all. He’s Well, he’s self-sacrificed.

He’s worked very, very hard, and here he is, back in the ring with Harley Race.

(GROANS)

BILL: Kick to the ribs. That has to do some damage.

And this is why Harley Race is the most dominant champion of our time.

Kevin’s gasping for air as Race gets him into yet another suplex.

But Kevin spins out and a knee right in the jaw, knocking the champ flat on his back.

He’s back in this match.

And here he comes off the ropes. And a big splash.

This could be it.

CROWD: (CHANTING) One, two…

BILL: One, two!

(GROANS)

BILL: And Race gouges Kevin’s eyes.

The Ref cautioning, but he doesn’t wanna hear.

Oh, and he throws the Ref out.

And that’s it. Surely, he will be disqualified.

(CROWD BOOING)

(BELL DINGING)

BILL: Yes, and there’s the bell, folks.

The boos ring out.

The fans did not want to see it end like this.

RING ANNOUNCER: And the winner by disqualification, Kevin Von Erich.

BILL: Oh, oh, here comes David Von Erich.

(GRUNTING)

Get out of here! Get out of here!

I dare you to come back in!

Harley Race, I dare you!

(CROWD SCREAMING)

Go on. Get out of here. You ain’t got no place here.

(CROWD BOOING)

KEVIN: Harley Race.

(PANTING) You coward.

You afraid I was gonna beat you so… (PANTING)

Harley Race, tonight we showed you what we’re made of.

All right?

(CROWD CHEERING)

You came into our building with our fans…

And my brother here put a good old fashion Texas whooping on you.

You are the past, my friend.

We are the future of this sport.

So, you keep on running, but everyone sees you.

Oh, yeah. Everyone sees you.

And we’ll catch you whether you’re man enough to stop back through Dallas or if we have to chase you down in Missouri.

My brother here deserves his rematch and he will fight you anywhere, anytime for a fair shot at that NWA World Heavyweight title.

(MUFFLED CHEERING IN BACKGROUND)

(DOOR OPENS)

You were long getting up.

Yeah. I’ve just never hit the floor that hard before.

You gotta take it and get up.

Yeah, I know.

He wasn’t supposed to throw me out the ring.

Caught me off guard.

There was nothing I could do.

I physically… I just couldn’t move.

This is how they test you.

Did I do enough to get my rematch?

Of course, you did.

We’ll see.

Those rat bastards will use any excuse they can to screw us over.

But I’ll chase ’em.

David.

Great on the mic, son. Really great.

We’ll get you out on the road, get you some more exposure.

Okay.

(DOOR OPENS)

(CROWD CHEERING IN BACKGROUND)

(DOOR CLOSES)

Hey listen. Dad’s downplaying it ’cause he doesn’t wanna get your hopes up.

But you were incredible out there.

Why didn’t you let me talk?

Well, you didn’t.

You should’ve let me talk.

Yeah, I’m sorry, Kev, I thought I was helping.

(EXHALES)

Hey, smile, man.

You just beat the World Heavyweight Champion out there.

COACH: All right, Kerry, let’s make this a big one.

Ready?

You all set?

(GRUNTING)

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATION)

(INDISTINCT CONVERSATION)

In my judgement, what we are doing is preserving the principles and the quality of the Olympics, not destroying it.

It is absolutely imperative that we and other nations who believe in freedom and who believe in human rights, let our voices be heard in an absolutely clear way and not add the imprimatur of approval to the Soviet Union and its government while they have 105,000 heavily armed invading forces in the freedom-loving, and innocent, and deeply religious country of Afghanistan.

And I hope recognition of a grateful nation will at least partially make up for the sacrifice that you’ll have to make this summer in not going to Moscow for the Summer Olympics.

I can’t say at this moment what other nations will not go.

Ours will not go.

(GRUNTS)

KERRY: Hi!

Hey.

Kerry.

Welcome home, Kerry.

I’m sorry it didn’t work out, Pop.

Me too, son.

DORIS: Hey.

Hey, Ma.

KEVIN: Hey.

Hey, boys. Hi.

Come here, man.

Oh, Mikey. Look at you.

Ready, set!

Hike!

(SCREAMING)

FRITZ: You’re the fastest in the family, Kev.

No one could ever catch you.

You still got it, son.

Gotta put him on his ass before he breaks past you, Kerry.

Blue 82. Hut, hike!

(GRUNTS)

(FRITZ LAUGHS)

That’s how you make a hit on someone.

What?

What? Come on!

(WHISTLE BLOWS)

Hut hike!

(GROANS)

FRITZ: You gotta dive for them, Mike. You gotta lay out for that.

Come on, son.

Hike!

Oh, my God, look at that!

That’s why you’re the best linebacker in the state, Kerry.

Coach Royal called me from UT.

He said, “Why is the best linebacker in the state watching from the stands?”

Good job, son.

Hey, Pam.

Hmm?

I can pour you some more… more lemonade or something.

Sure, thanks, Mike.

(SOFTLY) You keep a hold on her, son. She’s a good one.

You put that down, someone else will pick it up.

(SOFTLY) Yes, sir.

Hey, I, uh… I saw the new show, Pop.

It’s great.

And I was real proud watching you fight Harley, Kev.

KEVIN: Thanks, Kerry.

Now, when’s the rematch?

Uh, not sure yet.

We just haven’t got the call.

KERRY: Oh.

I’m working on it.

Hey, Ker, you see all the new camera angles?

They’re cool, right?

Yep.

We’re talking about wrestling, not camera angles.

Your brother fought the World Champion on national TV.

Who gives a damn about camera angles?

Hey, how’s the music coming, Mike?

Hmm? Hey, what do you play?

Lots of things. Um… viola, violin, piano, some other instruments.

Musical like his father.

DAVID: What?

(KERRY CHUCKLES)

Dad’s musical?

DORIS: When I first met your father, he was classically trained on the clarinet and had a Music scholarship to University of Texas.

(CHUCKLES)

DAVID: Wow.

But he gave it up to play football at Southern Methodist.

Wow.

Decided there was no future in music.

I chose sport and I was right.

He used to play the most beautiful pieces for me when we first dated.

DAVID: Aww.

Such a well-rounded man.

Not like anyone I ever met.

Dottie, please.

I’ve been meaning to tell everyone, I… well, I got this… I got this quartet that I’m a part of from school and, um, well, we… we actually have a gig.

KEVIN: Yeah?

Michael, that’s great. When?

That’s the thing. It’s… well it’s tonight at UT, Dallas.

Oh.

No. You’re too young to set foot on a university campus on a Saturday night.

Ma… Kev… Kev went on national tour at 17. Excuse me.

FRITZ: That was for work.

Your mom said no and that’s the end of it.

This is work. We’re… We’re getting paid.

I mean, we could take him.

Yeah. Yeah, we could.

We could… He could play the gig, and we’ll leave right after.

KERRY: Sure.

No. The answer is no.

(WINDOW OPENING)

(MIKE GRUNTS)

KERRY: Shh!

(WHISPERING) Get down, get down.

Okay, come on.

(ALL PANTING)

(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

KERRY: Watch out.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING, CHEERING)

Oh, yeah.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

MIKE: Cheers! KEVIN: Cheers!

(CHEERING)

♪ Come on open the gates

♪ I’m hanging onto this feeling ’til they drag me away

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ So hold your head up high

♪ I’m not ready to run

♪ Mama now don’t you cry

♪ I’m gonna light up the sky

♪ A Roman candle just waiting for the fourth of July

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

He knows what he’s doing.

♪ I wanna live that way forever ♪

CROWD: (CHANTING) …five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten!

(ALL CHEERING)

Yeah! All right!

Look at my beautiful brothers. (WHOOPING)

He’s got an appetite.

Yeah, Kerry can put ’em back for sure.

That’s good. He’s letting off steam.

(CHUCKLES)

So, what do you think? Like we’re a lot.

I love your family, Kevin.

Really?

Yeah.

You know, you’re beautiful.

♪ Wanna live that way forever

♪ Wanna live that way forever ♪

(CHEERING IN THE DISTANCE)

PAM: Yeah, come on.

(PAM GIGGLES)

PAM: Oh, my God.

KEVIN: I got it.

(BOTH MOANING)

(KEVIN MOANING)

(BOTH KISSING, PANTING)

PAM: This okay?

KEVIN: Oh, yeah.

PAM: Ow.

KEVIN: Hey, uh…

PAM: Yeah.

Have you ever?

(PAM GIGGLES)

What? Why? Why, would that be a problem?

What. No. No, no, no. Not at all, no.

What is it then?

(SIGHS SOFTLY) I just, uh… I just…

Honey, never?

Not never, never.

Oh, Kevin, you sweet thing.

(KISSING, MOANING)

Okay.

(BOTH PANTING)

(BOTH MOANING)

(INDISTINCT COMMENTARY ON TV)

COMMENTATOR: One, two, three!

(BELL DINGING)

He did it! He did it!

Ric Flair has just defeated the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Harley Race.

There you see, he’s up on the screen, you folks.

Ric Flair, the new

(SIGHS)

(SHOVEL CLANGING)

(GRUNTS)

(GRUNTING)

Kerry.

Yes, sir.

I don’t know if you’ve been thinking about your future, but you should think about wrestling.

Now, I wouldn’t wish wrestling on any of you.

I only wrestled to provide for you all.

And I always hoped you boys would choose another profession.

But the Olympics has been taken from you the way professional football was taken from me.

The world keeps taking from us, and I’m sick of it.

I wanna fight back.

And the more of us in it together, the better.

So, Kerry, I want you to join your brothers in the ring.

Yes, sir, I’d love that.

Glad to hear it, son.

Thank you.

Get you training, little brother.

Whoo! Okay.

(STATIC ON AMPLIFIER)

(ROCK MUSIC PLAYING)

(PANTING)

(MUSIC PLAYING IN THE DISTANCE)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(THUDS)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(GRUNTS)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(THUDS)

REFEREE: One, two…

(MUSIC CONTINUES PLAYING)

(CROWD CLAMORING)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

(ALL CHEERING)

DAVID: Whoo!

(GROWLING)

(WOMAN SCREAMS)

(MUSIC CONTINUES PLAYING)

(MOTORCYCLE REVVING)

FRITZ: We get Kerry front row St. Louis and the crowd was electrified.

He’s gonna be World Heavyweight Champion one day.

You aren’t pressing. This is pressing.

You feel that? You feel that?

(DAVID GROANS)

Now push.

Damn it! Well, you gotta get this!

Freebirds, ever since you’ve arrived in the WCCW, you’ve done nothing but lie, bully and cheat your way to victory. And we’re sick of it.

FRITZ: There you go.

Now, you’ve made this about Georgia versus Texas and it isn’t.

It’s about filth versus decency. And you know it.

And we’re here today to restore justice and order to the wrestling federation that our father built with his own two hands.

The hands that were passed down to us.

The hands that will deliver the Iron Claw to you.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING, CHEERING)

(KEVIN GRUNTS)

RING ANNOUNCER: Welcome to WCCW.

The only promotion being broadcast worldwide.

To my left at a combined weight of 740 pounds from Bad Street, Atlanta, Georgia.

The reigning NWA six-man tag team champions, The Fabulous Freebirds.

(CROWD BOOING)

RING ANNOUNCER: And the challengers from Denton, Texas, weighing in at a combined weight of 690 pounds, Kevin, Kerry, and David Von Erich.

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: It’s total mayhem.

Gordy kicks out and Hayes elbows his own man.

Kerry moving out of the way just in time.

All hell has broken loose.

Kevin tossing Michael Hayes through the ropes, the Ref trying to restore some order here.

He forces Kevin back to his corner.

Buddy Roberts comes in.

Twoonone on Kerry.

Oh, no. But Kerry flips Buddy over the top rope.

Kerry off the ropes with a cross body.

Terry Gordy catches him. What he’s going to do with him?

Here comes David with a dropkick.

Kerry falls on Gordy. And that’s it.

That’s it!

The Von Erichs win!

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: What a special moment today.

RING ANNOUNCER: The winners and new NWA World’s Six-man tag team champions, Kevin, Kerry, and David Von Erich!

FRITZ: You did it. I’m real proud of you.

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: So…

FRITZ: Freebirds, tonight you saw the strength and resilience of my family.

(CROWD CHEERING, WHOOPING)

We’re sending a message to Sam Muchnick and every other territory out there in the NWA.

WCCW is the best in the business.

(CROWD CHEERING)

The Von Erichs are the best in the business.

And we’re coming for you all.

(CHEERING, HOOTING)

Well, Fritz, calling out the man who runs the NWA on air by name.

That’s a bold and unprecedented move.

It’s necessary, Bill, because I will make it my life’s work to see to it that David Von Erich will be the next NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

(CROWD CHEERING, WHOOPING)

And then each and every one of my sons starting with Kevin, then Kerry, then Mike.

(CHEERING, HOOTING)

All one day will lift that World Heavyweight title belt, because the Von Erich’s are and will forever be the greatest family in the history of wrestling.

(CROWD CHEERING)

BILL: Congratulations, boys.

I’m sure he doesn’t mean me first.

Pop doesn’t make mistakes like that.

Is there a problem?

No, sir.

(PANTING)

(GRUNTS)

FRITZ: Boys, I’ve got good news.

We are finally getting a World Heavyweight title shot with Ric Flair.

And they want it to be you, David.

Don’t look to your brother.

This is your time, your opportunity.

You’ve been chosen. You earned it.

You’ll go on the road and feud with Flair in every territory in America over the next six months.

Then you’ll go to Japan.

You can’t be World Champion unless you win over Japan.

Then you’ll fight with Flair at Parade of Champions in May at Texas Stadium.

Are you up for it?

Of course, I am.

I love you, Pop.

I love you too, son.

I’ve waited my whole life to have that belt.

We’ve had a couple of setbacks, but I can feel it.

If you perform, the title will be ours.

Now, this wouldn’t be happening without the two of you.

You’ve made your brother better, and your collective effort has pushed him to the top.

Keep it up out there.

You never know when your opportunity will come.

Yes, sir.

Yes, sir.

Fuck yeah, David. Fuck yeah.

(POP MUSIC PLAYING)

(ALL CHEERING)

♪ Put your loving hand out, baby

♪ I’m beggin’

♪ Beggin’ you

♪ So, put your loving hand out, baby

♪ I’m beggin’, beggin’ you

♪ So, put your loving hand out, baby

♪ Riding high, when I was king

♪ I played it hard and fast ’cause I had everything

♪ I walked away warned me then

♪ But easy come and easy go and it would end

(LAUGHING)

♪ I’m begging’ you

♪ Won’t you give your hand out, baby

♪ Beggin’

♪ Put your loving hand out, baby

♪ I need you to understand

♪ Tried so hard to be your man

♪ The kind of man… ♪

(DOOR OPENS, CLOSES)

(MAN COUGHING)

Too much already? It’s early.

(MAN RETCHES, COUGHS)

Who is it?

Shit, brother. You all right?

DAVID: Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, we got just some stomach cramps.

(COUGHS)

Jesus, man.

You need to see a doctor.

DAVID: No, I’m fine.

(SPITS)

You’re not fine.

No, it’s just a bug I picked up on the road.

Don’t worry about it.

(EXHALES)

Maybe you’re pushing too hard.

(EXHALES)

You need to rest.

I’m almost there.

You think it’s gonna slow down when you become world champion?

I’m fine, Kev. Seriously, I’m just sick. I’ll be good.

I don’t think you should go to Japan next week.

(BOTH LAUGH)

Okay. All right, yeah.

Shit.

For sure.

(BOTH LAUGH)

Hey, Dave.

Hmm?

I just wanna say,

I didn’t take it so well, you jumping me and all.

I understand.

I got pretty angry.

Not at you. Just at the whole situation.

Thing is, I didn’t even really want it that bad.

I just love being out there with you guys.

It’s the only thing that matters to me.

Look at you, man.

Married two hours and already losing your competitive edge.

(CHUCKLES)

Maybe.

(SIGHS)

I’ll be pretty happy to focus on my family though.

Family?

Turns out this is a shotgun wedding.

You rat bastard.

Don’t tell anyone.

God damn it, Kev.

(CHUCKLES)

Oh, man, that makes me so happy.

Shit.

I’m gonna be an uncle?

Yes, sir.

Gonna be an uncle, all right.

I’m happy for you guys.

Now we got some dancing to do. Come on.

Hold on. Let me look at you real quick.

No, I’m good. Let’s go. Let’s get out there.

(COUNTRY MUSIC PLAYING)

♪ Well, life on the farm is kinda laid back

♪ Ain’t much an old country boy like me can’t hack

♪ It’s early to rise early in the sack

♪ Thank God I’m a country boy

♪ Well, a simple kinda life never did me no harm

♪ A raisin’ me a family and workin’ on the farm

♪ My days are all filled with an easy country charm

♪ Thank God, I’m a country boy

♪ Well, I got me a… ♪

Look how lovely she looks when she puts a little effort into her appearance.

They’re a great couple.

Reminds me of a couple I knew once.

(CHUCKLES)

How about we get out of here, Dottie.

Well, I could use some air.

We could take advantage of the situation.

No boys in the house.

And I don’t have to worry about you getting me pregnant anymore.

Big stud.

PAM: Whoo!

Whoo!

♪ Well, I wouldn’t trade my life for diamonds or jewels

♪ I never was one of them money hungry fools

♪ I’d rather have my fiddle and my farmin’ tools

♪ Thank God, I’m a country boy

♪ Yeah, city folk drivin’ in a black limousine

♪ A lotta sad people thinkin’ that’s a mighty keen

♪ Well, son, let me tell ya now exactly what I mean

♪ I thank God I’m a country boy

♪ Well, I got me a fine wife I got me an ol’ fiddle

♪ When the sun’s comin’ up, I got cakes on the griddle… ♪

Pop?

Pop, what is it?

David.

What happened?

He died in his hotel room in Japan.

A ruptured intestine.

How does that happen?

Take those sunglasses off. All of you.

No hiding.

And I don’t wanna see any tears.

The Lord decided it was time for David to move on.

We have to accept that.

In his 25 years, he lived 75 years’ worth of life.

(CONTINUES INDISTINCTLY)

(EXHALES)

(CLEARS THROAT)

DAVID: Kev, sorry I sent this to the house.

I couldn’t remember your new address.

I miss you, brother.

You gotta come with me next time.

It’s wild over here.

Someone asked me for an autograph today because they thought I was you.

It made me very happy.

I’ll probably be home by the time you get this, so this is stupid.

But just wanted to send.

See you soon.

(DORIS SPEAKING INDISTINCTLY)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

PAM: Come on, hon!

I am here if you wanna talk.

No. I’m good.

It’s hard to see clearly in this dark moment, but we cannot let this tragedy define us.

Our greatness will be measured by our response to adversity.

Now, David’s title match against Ric Flair at Parade of Champions is a moment of a lifetime.

We still have a chance to bring the World Heavyweight Championship home if one of you will step up and wrestle in his place.

Everything we have ever worked for in the ring is riding on this moment.

I’ll do it.

I can do it, Dad.

KERRY: I can do it, too.

Kerry, I’ll do it.

I’m ready, Dad. I want it.

You don’t have to. It’s my mess.

No! I deserve it, too!

Boys, boys. It’s a tough decision.

You are the oldest Kev, but Kerry’s been getting the most heat lately.

We’re gonna flip a coin.

That’s the only fair way to decide.

Heads for Kerry. Tails for Kevin.

(CROWD CHEERING IN BACKGROUND)

BILL: Texas Stadium, please welcome the modern-day warrior, Kerry Von Erich!

(ENTRANCE MUSIC PLAYING)

BILL: 35,000 people here to celebrate the life of David Von Erich.

Make sure you’re on for his brother, Kerry Von Erich.

Ric Flair here, can’t find a handle.

The champion is always the favorite in a match like this.

Here on the biggest stage.

Step over to the hold from Flair, and Kerry puts a stop to that.

He knocks it away.

Here’s Flair, to the ropes. Wants to toss Kerry, but…

Kerry’s… Kerry’s got him. He’s got him in a backslide.

(SIGHS)

BILL (ON TV): There’s the pin. Two, Three.

The dream has come true, yes!

Kerry Von Erich, the NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

He wins it for his brother David, for his father Fritz.

And for the whole Von Erich family.

RING ANNOUNCER: The Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion, Kerry Von Erich!

(CROWD CHEERING FADES)

Hey, I didn’t know you were still here.

Yeah, just helping Pop. I’m about to head home.

How you doing?

I’m having trouble coming down. (CHUCKLES)

Yeah. Yeah, I bet.

I can’t believe it’s finally in our family.

(EXHALES)

Yeah.

(SIGHS)

You know what? I think I’m gonna go for a ride or something.

All right. Yeah, be careful.

Hey, Ker.

Yeah.

You were great today.

Thank you.

(SIGHS)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(SIGHING)

(MOTORCYCLE REVVING)

(MOTORCYCLE ACCELERATING)

(MOTORCYCLE ACCELERATING)

(BIRDS CHIRPING)

(GROANS)

(SNORTING)

Is everything correct?

Actually, his last name will be Adkisson.

That’s my birth name.

Do you have your birth certificate?

Yes, I do.

Let me update it and I’ll be right back.

Mmmhmm.

Thanks.

Are you sure you wanna do that?

No.

I just… I’ll feel safer for him, I think.

Kev, you know it’s got nothing to do with the name.

Yeah, I know.

Don’t cross your damn feet. Shuffle.

(BOTH GRUNTING)

Yup. Stand tall. Use your height!

Hey! That doesn’t mean anything, all right?

Twist it again, make it mean something.

Headlock.

(GRUNTING)

Keep that S grip tight. I don’t wanna see any windows.

There’s no air in there.

Switch your hips. Switch your feet.

Come on, God damn it. Switch your feet.

Like that?

Yes.

There it is.

Let’s do it again. It’s… it’s still not…

It’s fine, Mike. You’re doing fine. Just keep going.

Circle up.

(GRUNT)

(BELL DINGING)

Michael Von Erich, moving around the ring.

He looks ready for this match.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(BOTH GRUNTING)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(OPPONENT YELPS)

(YELLING)

(YELPING)

(CRYING)

KEVIN: Hey, Hey.

(BELL DINGING)

Come here. Where does it hurt?

(YELPING) Ow!

(CRYING)

(KEVIN BREATHING HEAVILY)

(DOOR OPENS)

Hey, Doc.

Kevin. Fritz.

How’d it go?

Um, we completed the surgery as planned.

We repaired the shoulder, but it was trickier than we anticipated.

Mike’s temperature skyrocketed.

We worked really hard to bring it down, but it was close to 107 degrees for almost two hours.

We believe he suffered toxic shock syndrome.

FRITZ: What does that mean?

DOCTOR: I’m sorry to say that Mike is in a coma.

KEVIN: What? How?

It was a routine shoulder surgery.

DOCTOR: Well, it’s rare, but it happens.

All we can do now is wait and pray he pulls through.

I’m very sorry.

KEVIN: Why is this happening to us?

Why does it just keep happening?

PAM (ON PHONE): Okay, baby, stay with me. Okay?

But it keeps happening.

It’s taken over.

PAM: It was a terrible accident. Nothing more.

He shouldn’t have even been in the ring.

PAM: This is not your fault.

If you want to blame someone, you blame your father, but it is not your fault.

I should’ve stopped him.

PAM: No. No. What could you do, Kevin?

There is no getting through to that man.

(BABY CRYING)

PAM: Hey. Hey, hon. I’m late for work, and I can’t get him to settle.

Can you take him for me?

I can’t.

What? Just… Okay, just take him till your mom gets here.

I gotta go.

(BABY CRYING)

I can’t.

Kevin?

Kevin! Come on.

Yeah. Sorry.

Here. Oh, honey, I’m sorry.

(BABY CRYING)

Hey.

It’s okay.

It’s okay.

Thank you all for coming, and thank you all the love and support.

REPORTER 1: Hey, Mike, are you feeling okay?

Yeah.

We’re all just so excited that Mike pulled through.

Shows how much of a fighter he is.

And, uh… after losing David, it’s just… it’s too much to think that we almost lost Mike, too.

I… I’m moved that, uh, my whole family is here with me through everything.

And, uh… that y’all out there sent flowers.

Uh, and, um, I’m thankful to everyone.

REPORTER 1: So what’s the timeframe for your return to the ring, Mike?

I know I’ll be back, uh, soon.

Yeah, soon.

Mike’s a fighter more than people even realize, I think.

And he’s gonna be back in the ring in no time.

(KEVIN CLEARS THROAT)

(BABY CRYING)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(CROWD CHEERING, WHOOPING)

CROWD: (CHANTING) One, two, three!

(BELL DINGING)

(SIGHS WEARILY)

(KERRY GRUNTS)

(WINCES)

(GROANS)

(PANTS)

(WINCES)

Fuck!

Here you go.

Thanks.

That’s the house I grew up in. I painted that.

What, what? Why didn’t you tell anyone?

I had my reasons. Just don’t remember ’em anymore.

I’m scared, Ma.

God loves you, Michael. There is nothing to be scared of.

I’m not David.

What?

Everybody wants me to be David, but I can’t replace him.

(STRUMMING GUITAR)

(PLAYING NOTES OUT OF TUNE)

(GULPING)

MIKE: ♪ I’ve got a fever these days

♪ Revved up like a riot at the end of a game

(HUMMING)

♪ Got a feeling ’til they take it away

♪ I wanna live that way forever

Come on!

♪ I wanna live that way forever

(KERRY YELPS)

Ow!

I see how much pain you’re in.

We can’t rush this. It’s gonna take time, Kerry.

I’m ready. I’m ready. Again!

Maybe this is God trying to tell you to slow down.

Huh?

Maybe you should do something else with your life.

Why?

So, you’re the only brother left in the ring?

You get all daddy’s attention? Fuck you.

I want you in the ring. I can’t do this by myself!

Come on! Come on!

Can’t just hide this, Kerry.

(GRUNTS)

(GRUNTS)

You want back in? Then get up.

You want back in, then get up! Get up!

(KERRY GRUNTS)

MIKE: I’m sorry if I hurt you,

but I’m going to a better place.

KEVIN: (SCREAMING) Mike!

Mike!

Mikey!

Mike!

(INDISTINCT SHOUTING)

(KNOCKING AT DOOR)

(KNOCKING AT DOOR CONTINUES)

(SIGHS SOFTLY)

Doris, honey, we should go.

I can’t put it on.

Everyone will recognize it. I… I can’t.

I can’t. I… I need a… a new dress.

Honey. Honey, listen to me. People here love you.

All right? They don’t care.

(CRYING SOFTLY)

Doris… we all love you.

(SNIFFLES)

All right, come on.

(SNIFFLES) All right.

Come on.

DORIS: Today we are here to lay to rest our son, Michael Brett Adkisson, my sweet, beautiful boy.

Kind, funny, and, uh, truly good.

Are you coming home tonight?

I don’t know. I’m not sure.

Um, I know how painful this is. I do.

And, uh, I’m trying to be patient but this… this doesn’t work for me.

(BABY FUSSES)

Okay?

I know.

So, just come home, all right?

Just be with us.

Hey.

I don’t want him to get it.

I don’t want you guys to catch it.

Kevin, you can’t be serious.

I’m sorry.

Just…

I’m sorry.

Come home.

I can’t, okay?

(SHUSHING)

Okay.

Okay.

(PANTING)

(BREATHING HEAVILY)

KEVIN: Ever since I was a child, people said my family was cursed.

It never seemed to worry my father.

He said if we were the toughest, the strongest…

FRITZ: The toughest, the strongest…

KEVIN: …the most successful…

FRITZ: …the most successful, the absolute best…

KEVIN: …the absolute best, nothing could ever hurt us.

(GRUNTING)

FRITZ: Faster!

KEVIN: I believed him.

Faster!

KEVIN: We all did.

(GRUNTS)

(PANTING)

(CROWD CHEERING)

RING ANNOUNCER: This match is scheduled for one fall and it’s for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

BILL (ON TV): Now, Ric, there’s been a lot of talk that you’ve been resisting coming down to the Sportatorium to defend your title against Kevin Von Erich.

It is so hard to be humble when you’re looking like Ric Flair.

You see the difference between me and a lot of these so-called bigtime stars is that I’m custom-made from head to toe.

That’s why I’ve got the biggest house, on the biggest hill on the biggest side of town.

That’s why this sports coat costs $800.

And I don’t know what that costs! I’d be ashamed to wear it!

That’s why I’ve got on lizard shoes and a Rolex watch, and I’ve got a limousine out there, a mile-long with 25 women in it just dying for me to go, whoo!

Now, let’s get to the less-pretty facts of life.

Kevin, your daddy got together with the powers that be and ordered me back down here to Dallas a nothing-happenin’, second-rate sports community.

I am the World’s Heavyweight Champion, because I am the greatest wrestler alive today, the toughest wrestler alive today.

I have bled and sweat for this title and no daddy’s boy is going to take that from me.

RIC (ON TV): This is professional wrestling.

It is the most grueling of all professional sports.

I’ve been stabbed, hit by chairs, beat up by everybody.

I don’t cry.

I don’t complain. I carry on.

But the bottom line is…

BILL (ON TV): You’re denying RIC (ON TV): I am talking right now.

Hey, listen to me. Listen to me.

I’ll tell you what, you like talking to me on the show.

You’ll listen to me talk while I’m out here.

(CROWD CHEERING)

The bottom line is, if you’re a man, you take the ups and downs.

If you’re a real man, you’ll never go down.

You’ll just stay up.

That’s why I am the World’s Heavyweight Champion.

And I can go through Kevin Von Erich, or any Von Erich in the worst day of my life.

(CROWD CHEERING)

RIC: Whoo! Whoo! Whoo!

Walk the aisle, daddy’s boy! Walk the aisle!

(CROWD CHEERING)

COMMENTATOR: And here comes Kevin.

A meteoric rise these last two months to become the number one contender for the NWA World Heavyweight title, the most prized belt in all of wrestling, the only title that escaped his father, living legend Fritz Von Erich.

(GRUNTING)

(BELL DINGING)

Whoo!

REFEREE: Ric, come on.

Oh, no, no, no, no, no!

(BOTH GRUNTING)

REFEREE: Come on, now. Come on.

(CROWD CHEERING, BOOING)

(CROWD CHEERING)

REFEREE: Kevin, come on, now.

(CROWD CHEERING)

(GRUNTING)

REFEREE: Kevin, no, no, no. Kev, Kev, come on.

What are you doing?

(GROANING)

(CROWD CHEERING)

(RIC GROANING)

REFEREE: Okay, Kevin, come on now. Break the hold.

One, two, three…

Come on, Kev, break the hold.

(RIC SCREAMING)

REFEREE: Come on, Kev, back up.

Leave me alone!

REFEREE: Come on, Kev!

Leave me alone!

REFEREE: Ring the bell. Ring the bell.

(BELL DINGING)

RING ANNOUNCER: Winner by disqualification and still NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair.

REFEREE: What are you doing? Come on. Hey! Come on, Kev.

(RIC SCREAMING)

FRITZ: Get off of him!

RING ANNOUNCER: Kevin Von Erich has been disqualified.

What the fuck happened, Kev?

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

(DOOR OPENS)

RIC: Whoo!

Ah, Kevin.

Oh, man. You were great.

(LAUGHS) You were one crazy son of a bitch.

I mean, I always thought you were a little soft, but, baby, you got it.

I’ll give you a rematch any day.

Christ, let’s get a drink.

Where can we get fucked up around here?

Oh, I’m… I’m good. Thanks.

All right, well, if you change your mind, let me know.

I’ll be down at the Holiday Inn. Phew.

(RIC LAUGHS, SIGHS) Oh.

(SLURPS, GULPS)

FRITZ: Come on, son.

(RIC GULPS, BURPS)

(DOOR OPENS, CLOSES)

(DOOR CLOSES)

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

(LAUGHS)

(DOG BARKING)

PAM: Hang on, I hear you.

Hang on, I’m just gonna have to…

KEVIN: Hey. ROSS: What’s up?

Hey, guys. How you doing?

How was your day?

BOYS: Good.

ROSS: It was amazing, yeah.

What’d you learn?

MARSHALL: We have learnt…

Hey, boys, come set up for dinner.

A couple more pieces of it.

MARSHALL: Hey, Mom.

Hey, Mom!

Hi, Mom.

Oh, hello, hello. I love you.

(SIGHS WEARILY)

May I be excused?

Have one more piece of broccoli.

All right.

PAM: Make it two.

All right. Get out of here.

Hey, how was your day?

It was… (EXHALES) long.

Yeah.

You?

Yeah, all right.

(BOYS CHATTERING)

(SIGHS)

We need to make a change.

We need a bigger boat.

(SIGHS)

BILL: So, what did you decide, boss?

KEVIN: I think we need to cut down again to one show.

Two is still too many.

We can get the guys touring during the week.

Bring ’em home for a Saturday night.

BILL: That sounds painful, but smart.

The numbers just haven’t been there since Kerry went to the WWF.

Jerry called again this morning, It’s a good offer.

You should think about it.

(INDISTINCT COMMENTARY)

Hey, Dad.

So, we have an offer on the table from Jerry Jarrett.

He wants to buy us out.

(INDISTINCT COMMENTARY ON TV)

Son, I didn’t give you the company so you could turn around and sell it.

I need to think about my family, Dad.

I’m almost broke. We need a house.

And we can’t fit in that apartment anymore.

If you sell, you can forget about stepping through these doors again.

Damn, you’re almost 40 years old.

Still can’t take care of yourself.

I’ve been through the books. It doesn’t add up.

I didn’t make nearly what it says I did.

I did what was right all along.

You think living here was a free ride?

Don’t you dare question me.

ROSS: One, two, three!

BOYS: Yes!

Atta boy, Kerry. That’s how you do it.

Look at your uncle, boys.

(INDISTINCT COMMENTARY ON TV)

(THEME MUSIC PLAYING)

FRITZ: Hey.

Welcome home, champ.

KERRY: Hi.

FRITZ: We’ve been watching every match on the TV.

KERRY: Thanks. Thanks, Pop.

TANIA: Oh, handsman.

Hey, Pam. Where’s the babies? Where’s the babies?

They’re asleep.

Yeah?

It’s so nice to meet you.

Hey!

Hi.

You’re late.

Yeah, I know.

Who’s this?

That’s uh, that’s Tania.

Hi.

Hey.

How do you do?

It’s so nice to meet you.

Let me get a look at you.

You look strong, son. WWF Intercontinental Champion, second biggest title in wrestling since your brother ruined our promotion.

Knew it was time to retire when I did.

Kerry, Kerry. Can you get me a drink, honey?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Dad, I got you, um… I got you something for Christmas and I… I don’t wanna wait.

I wanna give it to you now. Is that all right?

No. Kerry, no. We wait for Christmas.

KERRY: Oh, come on, Mom. It’s so good, it’s so good.

And Tania and I, we’re going to, uh, to Mexico for Christmas. Right?

FRITZ: I thought you were home for Christmas.

I’m here now, but we got this great deal on a Christmas day flight to Mexico.

And, you know, I need the rest. Been hitting it hard.

That’s, um… That’s for you.

Go ahead.

Now, that’s a… a Smith & Wesson .357 25th anniversary.

What do you think?

Hmm. It’s beautiful, son. Thank you.

Yeah.

Don’t… don’t do that. Don’t do that.

What are you doing? You gotta shoot that.

Oh, I don’t wanna shoot it now.

Well, you always shoot a gun when you get it.

I don’t wanna shoot it, Kerry.

Why the fuck not?

DORIS: Kerry, what is wrong with you?

What, me? What’s wrong with him?

Watch it, son. You brought company to the house.

Now, we don’t wanna be rude.

Just settle down and we’ll have a nice dinner that your mother worked hard to prepare.

Yeah.

Yeah, okay.

Now, come tell me.

When are you getting your world title shot over there?

Hmm?

I see your old tag team partner Hellwig’s holding.

That guy’s got nothing on you. Never has.

Oh, soon. Soon, Pop. Soon.

TANIA: (GASPS) Are these the boys? They’re so cute.

PAM: Yeah.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

Hi.

Hey.

(BOTH CHUCKLE)

KERRY: Man. Oh, I’m so excited to be home.

KEVIN: Yeah, I can see.

Let me look at you. Hmm.

You look good.

Yeah, you too.

Hey, stop. Stop.

Hey, you okay?

Yeah.

Yeah?

Yeah. Never been better.

Yeah, okay.

(PHONE RINGING)

Hello.

KERRY (ON PHONE): Oh, hey. Good. Good. You’re still up?

Yeah, yeah, I’m up.

Where are you?

KERRY: Oh, I’m in some hotel in Dallas.

Why didn’t you go home? You okay?

Kerry?

Oh, I’m scared, man.

I’m scared. I’m out of control.

KEVIN (ON PHONE): Well, you’ve got to get some help.

I’m in pain.

I’m in pain all the time. I’m fucking deformed.

It takes too much to hide it.

Well, it doesn’t show in the ring.

KERRY: They’re not giving me a new contract.

And they got me in-house shows from now on.

They don’t want me anymore.

Well, I’ve got… I got nowhere to go.

I got no one.

Where’s Tania?

Who?

KEVIN: Tania.

Ain’t… That was nothing. I… I need someone.

You know, I need a family.

Just come here. Stay with us.

KERRY: No, I can’t. I can’t let your boys see me like this.

(SIGHS)

Well, then let’s get breakfast somewhere.

Or meet me at home. Mom can make us pancakes.

You know, I want it all to end.

No, you don’t. No, you don’t. You don’t mean that.

KERRY: I do.

I’m fucking cursed. I wanna die.

How are you gonna say that to me, huh? After everything?

It’s in me now. It’s got ahold of me.

(SMACKS LIPS)

Kerry, just tell me where you are, and I’ll come and get you.

(SIGHS)

(EXHALES)

KEVIN: Kerry?

(EXHALES)

(LINE RINGING)

FRITZ (ON PHONE): Hello.

Dad. Dad, all right. Sorry for the early call.

FRITZ: It’s okay. I’m heading out to do some work.

Where’s Mom?

FRITZ: Sleeping.

Hey, I just talked to Kerry. He’s in a pretty bad state.

I’m worried about him. I’m gonna come out there.

We need to figure out how to help him, okay?

You boys need to work it out between yourselves.

Just look out for him, okay, Dad?

I’ll be there as soon as I can.

(CAR DOOR OPENS, CLOSES)

(GUNSHOT)

(PANTING)

No! No! Kerry, Kerry, Kerry.

Come on. Hey, Kerry.

Kerry.

(PANTING)

I told you to look out for him!

You didn’t take care of him!

You didn’t take care of any of ’em!

He called you, and you didn’t help him!

You

(GRUNTING)

(GAGS)

(GRUNTS)

(FRITZ COUGHS)

(PANTING)

(KEVIN GRUNTS)

KERRY: I don’t know what’s on the other side, but I can’t be here anymore.

Tonight, I walk with my brothers.

(KEVIN GROANS)

(SIGHS)

KERRY: Hey!

DAVID: Brother.

KERRY: Hey brothers!

DAVID: There he is.

Hey, Mikey.

(MIKE CHUCKLES)

(SOFTLY) Hi.

World champion of the afterlife, huh?

Oh, finally.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

Hey, where’s Jack Jr.?

(CHUCKLES)

You must be my oldest brother, Jackie.

So nice to meet you.

Come here.

(SIGHS SOFTLY)

(CHUCKLES)

I love you, Kerry.

Thanks, Kevin.

No, I’d love for you to stay on wrestling if you want.

I appreciate it. I could use the extra work.

Just so you know, your dad called me out to his ranch.

Tried to intimidate me out of buying this from you.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

Oh, he never stops.

Well, glad it didn’t work.

Yeah.

Well…

I’ll give you a minute.

(KEVIN SIGHS)

(DOOR OPENS)

FRITZ: Dottie?

DORIS: In here.

What are you doing?

DORIS: Painting.

What’s for dinner?

I didn’t make anything.

I’m not hungry.

(SIGHS SOFTLY)

KIDS: Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

PAM: Whoa, okay.

Careful, careful.

KEVIN: Hey.

We want pancakes!

Mmmhmm. How about a good morning?

BOYS: Good morning!

(PAM HUMMING)

(GRUNTING)

(KEVIN SNIFFLES)

ROSS: Marshall.

MARSHALL (GRUNTING): Oh.

ROSS: Marshall.

(BOYS GRUNTING)

(KEVIN SNIFFLES)

You okay, Dad?

Hey, I’m sorry. I… I’m sorry, boys.

(SNIFFLES)

You shouldn’t see me like this.

A man doesn’t cry.

I’m sorry, boys.

It’s okay, Dad. You can cry. Everyone cries.

Yeah. What are you talking about? We cry all the time.

(CHUCKLES SOFTLY)

Do you think you know why you’re sad?

(SNIFFLES)

Well, I guess it’s because I used to be a brother and, uh… and now I’m not a brother anymore.

Oh, well. We’ll be your brothers, Dad.

Yeah, Dad. We’ll be your brothers.

(SIGHING) Oh. Thank you, boys.

Thank you.

(SOFTLY) Thank you.

(SNIFFLES)

All right. Thank you, boys.

(GRUNTING)

♪ I got a feeling these days

♪ Revved up like a riot at the end of a game

♪ Come on open the gates

♪ Hanging over this feeling ’til they drag me away

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I fell asleep at the wheel

♪ I ran myself off the road and woke up in a field

♪ It’s getting harder to stay

♪ But I’ve got a vice grip on my future

♪ And I’m tougher than pain

♪ Hold your head up high

♪ I’m not ready to run but I’m gonna light up the sky

♪ I’m gonna light up the sky

♪ Roman candle just waiting for the fourth of July

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ Want you to know my name

♪ I want you to think of my face when you run away

♪ Don’t wanna be replaced

♪ But you’re waiting for another today

♪ I feel it’s slippin’, Oh, I feel it’s slippin’

♪ Oh, don’t say it’s slippin’

♪ Oh, don’t say It’s slipping away…

(ROCK MUSIC CONTINUES PLAYING)

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way

♪ I wanna live that way

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever

♪ I wanna live that way forever ♪

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