He debuted in his father's promotion, NWA Texas/Big Time Wrestling (later renamed World Class Championship Wrestling) on May 7, 1979 against Paul Perschmann. A quick study, Kerry won his first title, the NWA American Heavyweight Championship, on December 28, 1980. During his time in WCCW, he won several championship belts, including the NWA American Tag Team Championship, and several runs as the champion. On June 4, 1982, he defeated former NWA Champion Harley Race, elevating him to main event status. He then began a feud with Ric Flair. Their first pairing was in 1982 in a two out of three falls match (won by Flair), followed by a no disqualification steel cage match (won by Flair). The Fabulous Freebirds interfered in the cage match, starting a five year feud with the Von Erichs. After the collapse of WCCW, Kerry was hired by the WWF and became known as The Texas Tornado.
Kerry was poised to become a superstar, but a serious motorcycle accident in 1986 would change everything. His injuries were so severe that one of his feet had to be amputated, and he wrestled with a prosthetic foot for the rest of his career. He became addicted to painkillers, and in 1991 was arrested for forging prescriptions. He was fired immediately by the WWF. He was given probation, but a little over a year later, he violated his probation by being caught in possession of unauthorized prescription drugs. Recently divorced and despondent over an impending prison sentence, Kerry took his own life on February 18th, 1993, at the family ranch. He was preceded in death by his four brothers Jack, David, Mike and Chris.
32° 47.257, -096° 43.146
Grove Hill Memorial Park