The Von Brauners
Tag team
MembersKarl Von Brauner
Kurt Von Brauner#1
Eric Von Brauner
Kurt Von Brauner#2
Saul Weingeroff (manager)
Name(s)The Von Brauners
Kurt & Karl Von Brauner
Billed fromGermany
Debut1960
Disbanded1974

The Von Brauners were a professional wrestling tag team/stable that operated from the 1950s through the 1970s. The teams consisted of Karl Von Brauner (Doug Donnan), Kurt Von Brauner #1 (Jimmy Brawner), Eric Von Brauner (Ron Donnan), and Kurt Von Brauner #2 (Willy Rutgowsky). The chosen gimmick was that of a team of evil German twins.[1][2]

The four members worked as the Von Brauners for approximately fifteen years.[3] The team of Karl and Kurt #1 captured World Tag Team gold 20 times. All versions of the team captured a total of 35 World Tag Team titles plus 5 regional tag team titles.

Professional wrestling career

Jimmy Brawner and Doug Donovan began tag teaming together in January 1960 as Kurt and Karl Von Brauner, respectively, with the gimmick of evil German twins.[2] Some promotional material cited them as descending from Teutonic royalty.[3] Fellow professional wrestler Dick Steinborn suggested the two wrestle together after noting that they resembled each other.[3][4] The duo first teamed together in Oklahoma.[3] They were paired with Saul Weingeroff as their manager in the early 1960s, and Weingeroff frequently interfered in their matches by wielding his cane against the Von Brauners' opponents.[1][2][4] Later, they were booked by Nick Gulas in NWA Mid-America.[2] When Jimmy Brauner and Doug Donovan split up in 1965, Donovan's real life brother Ron "Red" Donnan began teaming with him as Karl and Eric Von Brauner.[2][3] Eric retired in the late 1960s and was replaced by the second Kurt Von Brauner, played by Willy Rutgowsky.[2][3] The teamed together in San Francisco with Gerhardt Kaiser as their manager.[2][4] The team disbanded in 1974.[3][4]

Personal lives

Karl Von Brauner

Doug Donovan played the Karl Von Brauner character. He was born Doug Donnan on a dairy farm in Stirling, Ontario.[3] He played junior football in Edmonton, Alberta.[3] While working at a gym, Stu Hart "discovered" Donovan and trained him to be a professional wrestler.[3] During his wrestling years, he changed his name to Donovan, and at 5′10″, he weighed 215 pounds.[3] Donovan had some early success with Pacific Northwest Wrestling as a singles wrestler, winning the NWA Pacific Northwest Heavyweight Championship once, as well as the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship five times (including twice with his brother Red).[5] Later, Donovan legally changed his name to Karl Von Brauner.[2][3]

In the mid-1960s, Donovan teamed with Al Costello as The Internationals with Gary Hart as their manager.[3] The team was later managed by George "Crybaby" Cannon.[6] The Internationals worked mainly in Tennessee and Texas for NWA Western States. In Texas, they won the Texas version of the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Donovan also later held this title with partner Luke Graham.[3] The Internationals were also billed as the first NWA American Tag Team Champions, titles that were also recognized by World Class Championship Wrestling in addition to the Western States promotion. The Internationals lost the American Tag Team title to Fritz and Waldo Von Erich on February 21, 1967.

After retiring from professional wrestling in 1975, Donovan moved to California and worked as an air freight pilot.[1][3] In the years before his death, he worked as a crop duster.[3] He had a wife Sherry and two sons named Jeff and Chris.[3] After a stroke and open heart surgery, he died on July 5, 2009.[3]

Kurt Von Brauner #1

Jimmy Brawner played the first version of Kurt Von Brauner.[2] Brawner was originally from Tennessee.[3] He was of German heritage and was able to speak German, as well.[2][3] Brawner later legally changed his name to Kurt Von Brawner to protect kayfabe.[2] After retiring from professional wrestling, he worked for the Southland Corporation in Tampa and later for the Shriners as chief of security for their hospital.[1] Brawner died from a stroke on July 4, 2004.[2] He lived in Tampa with his wife JoAnn until his death.[2]

Eric Von Brauner

Doug Donovan's real life brother Ron "Red" Donnan played Eric Von Brauner.[3] Red was two years younger than his brother Doug, but he was also born on a dairy farm in Stirling, Ontario.[3] Red worked for the Royal Canadian Air Force.[3]

He trained as a professional wrestler with Bert Ruby in Detroit.[3] In the late 1950s, he worked in Pacific Northwest Wrestling, where he held the NWA Pacific Northwest Tag Team Championship twice with his brother. Red retired from professional wrestling in the late 1960s and joined the fire department in Memphis.[3] He later moved to Covington, Georgia.[3]

Kurt Von Brauner #2

The second incarnation of Kurt Von Brauner was played by Willy Rutgowsky, who also previously wrestled under the name Kurt Von Stroheim.[2] Under the Von Stroheim name, Rutgowsky teamed with the original Kurt Von Brauner, Jimmy Brawner.[2] He was also of German heritage, and was interned by the Nazis during World War II before becoming a professional wrestler.[3] Rutgowsky died on February 17, 1993.[2]

Championships and accomplishments

Karl and Kurt Von Brauner

Karl and Kurt Von Brauner #1

Karl and Eric Von Brauner

Karl and Kurt Von Brauner #2

Kurt and Fritz Von Brauner

References

  1. ^ a b c d Webb, Ted. "Kurt & Karl Von Brauner & Gentleman Saul Weingroff". Wrestling Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2015-04-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Oliver, Greg (June 10, 2004). "Hated Kurt Von Brauner dies from stroke". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Oliver, Greg (July 17, 2009). "Karl Von Brauner dead at 78". SLAM! Sports. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d Greg Oliver and Steve Johnson (2005). "The Top 20: 19 the Von Brauners". The Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame: The Tag Teams. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-5502-2683-6.
  5. ^ "Karl von Brauner". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved May 12, 2013.
  6. ^ Conner, Floyd (12 February 2001). "not everyone can be a world champion". Wrestling's Most Wanted : The Top 10 Book of Pro Wrestling's Outrageous Performers, Punishing Piledrivers, and Other Oddities. Potomac Books. p. 227. ISBN 978-1-57488-308-4.
  7. ^ "National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Titles [W. Texas]". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Royal Duncan & Gary Will (2000). Wrestling Title Histories (4th ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  9. ^ "AWA World Tag Team Title (Indiana)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  10. ^ a b c "NWA World Tag Team Title (Mid-America)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  11. ^ "NWA Southern Tag Team History (Mid-Atlantic)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  12. ^ "NWA World Tag Team Title (Florida)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  13. ^ Duncan, Royal; Will, Gary (2000). "Texas: NWA World Tag Team Title [Siegel, Boesch and McLemore]". Wrestling title histories: professional wrestling champions around the world from the 19th century to the present. Pennsylvania: Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4.
  14. ^ "National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Title [E. Texas]". Wrestling-Titles. Retrieved February 21, 2017.
  15. ^ a b "NWA World Tag Team Title (Georgia)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  16. ^ "WWA World Tag Team Title (Indiana)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  17. ^ "World Tag Team Title (Amarillo)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  18. ^ "NWA Tennessee Tag Team Title". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  19. ^ "NWA World Tag Team Title (Detroit)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  20. ^ "NWA World Tag Team Title (San Francisco) (Roy Shire)". Wrestling-Titles.com. Puroresu Dojo. 2003. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  21. ^ "International Tag Team Title (Georgia)". Wrestling Titles. Retrieved 2009-01-12.