On August 23rd the wrestling world lost one of the all-time greats, Terry Funk. I was tasked with writing this piece on him and last night I started discussing his career with a friend. I mentioned the first time I remember watching him was the Dumpster Match for the (at the time) WWF Tag Team championships as it was the defending champions The New Age Outlaws Road Dogg and Billy Gunn vs. Cactus Jack and Chainsaw Charlie which was one of the aliases Terry would use in his career. My friend and I then remembered all of the other accolades Funk would amass in what is probably the longest career of a professional wrestler from the United States that spanned over 50 years.
Remembering Terry Funk
Funk was a legend in Texas whether he was in singles action or tagging with his brother Dory Funk Jr. Personally one of the greatest wrestling families to ever exist, which says a lot about families in wrestling as we have the Von Erichs, Rhodes, Flairs, Orton, and Samoan families. Some of the matches he had early in his career against the likes of Ric Flair, Bruiser Brody, and Stan Hansen just to name a few are legendary and worth a watch. One match that needs to be watched is the singles match between Dory Funk Jr vs Bruiser Brody which turned into the blood bath tag team match of Dork and Terry Funk vs Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen.
You can also go and watch when Terry won the NWA World Heavyweight championship one of the many championships he would go on to claim in his career. To end this portion of his career, in what would be the feud of the year voted by Pro Wrestling Illustrated, I would recommend watching the Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk “I Quit” match from Clash of Champions 1989 as this match could possibly be the best “I Quit” match in wrestling history.
Terry Funk Kept Coming Back
With 50 years in the business, it is not a surprise that Funk would retire and unretire multiple times throughout his career. In the 90s we would witness Funk in more hardcore matches and change his wrestling style from his early days to more hardcore/deathmatch-like. Also. in this era, he would go to ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling) and become one of the pioneers of the company to the point of winning the ECW World Heavyweight Championship on the company’s first pay-per-view named Barely Legal in 1997.
In a span of a few weeks, he would go on to wrestling one of the most legendary extreme styles of matches when he would wrestle Atsushi Onita in what was dubbed as the first ever Exploding Ring Death match live from the Kawasaki Stadium in Japan. Funk would end the year of 1997 in another outlandish matchup when it was Sabu vs. Terry Funk in a Barbed Wire Match for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship at ECW Born to be Wired.
After these runs, Funk would continue to wrestle and make appearances within the community whether it was some independent companies starting up like ECW back in the 90s to NWA Total Nonstop Action who would ultimately become Impact Wrestling today. We could go on and list all of the accomplishments and championships he would capture which would be another article to do it justice, we could look at some of the films or TV shows he appeared in during his lifetime, definitely watch Roadhouse if you haven’t.
Terry Funk will go down as one of the most influential American wrestlers who succeeded in each country or promotion, he was in. From Amarillo Texas to Tokyo Japan, we as a wrestling community will miss one of the sports pioneers. His memory will always live on as each time we chant, or you hear “Fight Forever” you will think of the man who made it famous, and that man is Terry Funk.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and fans of Terry Funk. What are some of your favorite moments from this great and iconic wrestler’s career? That Hashtag show wants to hear from you.