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The Von Brauners (Kurt & Karl)

Kurt Von Brauner

Real Name - Jimmy Brawner
Lifespan - ??? - 6/4/2003
??? - Memphis, TN
Athletic background - n/a
Teachers - n/a
Professional background - Mid-Atlantic
Aliases - Jimmy Brawner

Karl Von Brauner

Real Name - Karl Von Brauner (legally changed from "Doug Donnan")
Lifespan - ??? - 7/5/2009
5'10" 215 lbs. - Stirling, ONT
Athletic background - Football
Teachers - Stu Hart
Professional background - Portland, Tri-State(`58), Mid-Atlantic; Dallas(`66), Tri-State (`70-`71), Detroit
Aliases - Doug Donovan

Professional Background (as a team) - Nashville(`60), Mid-Atlantic(`60-`61), Florida(`61-`62), Indianapolis(`62-`63), Florida(`63), Houston(`63), Georgia(`63), Florida(`63), Nashville(`64), Georgia(`64), Nashville(`64-`65), Georgia(`65-`66), Houston(`67-`68), Nashville(`71-`72), San Francisco(`74), Detroit(`75-`76)

Peak Years - `60-`65

Place in History - The Von Brauners and their manager Saul Weingeroff were the type of heel act that could generate levels of heat that are only a select few have been able to over the years.  German heels were not unusual in pro-wrestling business in the early TV years after World War II.  Most downplayed the Nazi persona and tended to just be cold and calculating heels who might wear an iron cross and spout some German on promos.  The original and most successful version of the team was a pair of veteran journeymen who looked almost like twins.  The bald "brothers" with their handlebar mustaches and grimacing mugs could have generated great heat and found great success.  Their rapid tagging, illegal switches and ability to isolate and pound on a babyface was enough.  Kurt was was the son of German immigrants and could even speak the language when needed.  However, their manager, Saul Weingeroff, put the act over-the-top.  Playing off the long-held negative stereotypes of the Jewish people, Weingeroff's alliance with a couple Nazis seemed like the ultimate treachery.  The act started in Tennessee and they found their greatest success there, but they succeeded in drawing heat, winning titles and bringing in the fans throughout the South.  Their seriousness got them over huge in Tennessee, where things tended to be comedic.  They were credited with helping Florida opposite Eddie Graham and others start the course that led them to being one of the premier promotions in the US.  The Von Brauners did not usually stay long and developed a reputation for getting upset about payoffs.  They could draw though and were such a great working tag team that they usually got second chances.  In 1965, Kurt Von Brauner left the team and Karl's real life brother Eric replaced him for a couple years.  Then another genuine article joined the team as a new Kurt Von Brauner (Willi Kurt Rutkowsky) and had actually survived intern camps in Germany as a boy.  This version went into some new areas and found success as well.  Karl formed a few other tag teams over the years with seasoned heels like Waldo Von Erich and Al Costello.  The latter team was responsible for turning Fritz Von Erich in Dallas, where he became the headliner for years to come.  The Von Brauners were simply the right guys with the perfect manager at the right time and no other German heel teams were ever able to capture the level of magic that first version had in the early 1960s.  The Von Steigers, the Von Stroheims, Kurt Von Hess & Karl Von Shotz were all successful in their own right, but the Von Brauners were on a completely different level as a heel tag team.