Terry Funk Has Passed Away at the age of 79

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Bandit
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Terry Funk Has Passed Away at the age of 79

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Re: Terry Funk Has Passed Away at the age of 79

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Very sad, I've said quite a few times over the years Terry's one of my favourites of all time. He really helped put ECW on the map, just watched wrestling with wregret recently when Brian reviewed the barbed wire match with Sabu, he was in his 50s then I believe and Terry still put on a great match. His feud with Ric Flair is one of the best ever, Terry really is one of the greats, he did it all and I hope that they put on a tribute show in his honour, RIP Terry :(

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Re: Terry Funk Has Passed Away at the age of 79

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If any one wrestler's passing would warrant the major companies coming together for a tribute/benefit show, this is the one.

Literally fuck today.

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Re: Terry Funk Has Passed Away at the age of 79

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RIP Terry Funk

One of the greats.


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Dave Meltzer wrote:Terry Funk was the ultimate dichotomy: one of the most universally loved people within the wrestling business, yet one of the greatest working heels in its history.

Terry passed away this morning. He had been in poor health ever since surgery in 2016 when he suffered a hernia. The doctor ordered bed rest after surgery, but Tommy Dreamer was promoting some shows, and Dreamer was like a son to him. He didn't want to miss the shots, but the drive that led to his being a one-of-a-kind performer was his undoing. Damage was done and one specialist after another was never able to fully fix it. The man who probably told me a dozen or more times over more than 30 years that he was going to retire, only to always change his mind, was in his 70s and the instincts to perform were still there.

The second hit, and by far the worst, was the death of his wife Vicki in 2018. He told me he was in love with her when they were in the same class in sixth grade. They were together from that point on, went to college where he was a football star and she was a cheerleader, and got married amongst a good deal of local publicity.

Their love story had its stumbling blocks. They divorced while he was traveling the world as NWA world champion. In 1977, while holding the title that signified him being one of the top guys in the business, he voluntarily gave it up to win Vicki back. He got the most important win of his career when they got back together and remarried.

She appreciated wrestling, but I can recall sitting with her during a bloodbath match and her telling me as her husband was in the ring with barbed wire, that she sometimes, like at that moment, hated pro wrestling. Terry would do anything to get a match over and get his opponent over. He never bragged about being the best worker. He didn't have to. But he did have confidence in his instincts. In 1989, in Nashville, when he was preparing to shoot the angle with Ric Flair that lauded him all kinds of awards, he knew that many in WCW thought he was too old and too injured and were critical of the idea of bringing him back in the top heel slot. He told me right before he shot the angle that those people didn't understand because it was going to draw money. WCW was not doing well at the time, but Flair-Funk was the best drawing series WCW had until many years later.

He had supreme confidence in his ability to get over and his instincts. Until he realized one night that things had changed. He was working a WWF taping, a Shotgun Saturday Night show. He was just a guy booked on the show. But he knew exactly how he would steal the show and be more than just a face in the crowd. He did his thing, and the small crowd reacted. Then he went home and watched it. The TV cameras never focused on him, and what he was doing to get over to the live crowd wasn't aired. He wasn't the chosen one. After that show, he told me that things had changed and that the only way to get over was if they wanted you over. Ironically, today, with the current audience, he probably would have proven his own statement wrong.

His passing will immediately bring forth a flood of memories for any wrestling fan over multiple decades. It goes without saying he was one of the greatest wrestlers who ever lived. But he went through a career of different roles, different looks, and different style of performances, all based on time and place. For many, including myself, he was one of the great teachers. He was always accepting of changes but never forgot the past.

He knew how to flash a smile in the right way and make you like him. He had a brilliant memory. He knew how to talk to garner whatever the emotion was he was looking for. He was not afraid to take chances in the ring and on angles. He would note that some of the things he was most famous for in the 80s, like pouring motor oil over his head in doing a racist angle against Mexicans that would never fly today, or the legendary and brilliant empty arena match with Jerry Lawler, were, in his mind not great angles because they didn't draw money.

He was the son of a local wrestling legend, Dory Funk Sr., who was also the lead promoter of the Amarillo territory which he and his brother later ran after his father's death in 1973. He grew up with the idea of protecting the business, including his father at times having him do police work, like giving real life beatings to people who wanted to be wrestlers like the horror stories you hear about Eddie Graham in Florida. It was a different world. When he was a kid and out to dinner he remembered someone going up to his father, a college wrestler and real-life tough guy, and saying wrestling was fake. There was no discussion, or argument, his father gave the man a vicious beating.

In time, he would have mixed feelings about things like that. He didn't like the bullying, but it was about time and place. That's what he thought of wrestling. I've been backstage with him at shows and he was peeking through the curtain during the prelim matches, studying what the crowd was and wasn't reacting to. His performances were instinctive, not planned, past understanding the destination and figuring out the best way to get there. You wouldn't fully know what a Terry Funk match would be because so much of it was about what he thought the crowd was reacting to and how to take them where he wanted them to be. He had the ability to go into a new territory and in his first match, within seconds, get the crowd going crazy.

When he was in Japan in the 80s during the heyday of the Crush Gals, the idea was that women's wrestling was something put on for teenage girls. The idea of 130-pound women being serious wrestlers was scoffed at by most of the male fans and almost all of the talent. Terry Funk and Bruiser Brody were very different, both saying that they were better than the men. What they were doing was not something to ignore and scoff at – they were a window to the future. While most dismissed Lucha Libre as something too fake because of all the flying and in-ring rhythm, he, likely because he would regularly work in El Paso, across the border from Ciudad Juarez, was ahead of the curve.

While many of his era hated working with Mil Mascaras for a variety of reasons, Funk would always praise him for his different style, and at the end of the day, because Mascaras could draw money. In the end, drawing money was the key.

Funk was a good college football player at West Texas State, good enough to get NFL tryouts but not good enough to be an NFL player. He broke into wrestling after college, and because of his college football background and his father being a promoter, was pushed as a star from the start. Within a few years, he was one of the biggest stars in the world.

He went all over from 1969 to 1973 as the younger and crazier brother of NWA world champion Dory Funk Jr. His role was to go into a territory, cut great promos, be a complete wild heel and threaten to maim the local top babyfaces. The idea was that he was wilder and more of a street fighter than his brother, and tougher. So when the top babyface beat Terry, an international star, the fans would think he could beat Dory in a later title match.

His reputation from main events during the Dory Jr. era made him a top contender during the Jack Brisco era, and when Brisco burned out on the travel, the Board of Directors voted 4-3 for him over Harley Race to be the next champion, with the promise that when it came time for Funk to lose, Race would be the guy.

His accomplishments in the ring would take a book. Funk’s knowledge and instincts and open mindedness made him a walking encyclopedia. Multiple people in wrestling will tell you this, and I would be one of them. His teachings changed our lives in the most positive of ways.

The last few years were not kind to him. He loved to travel and see his friends and he no longer could. He loved to talk and keep in touch, and eventually he no longer could. At least to his closest friends, this was a day we knew was coming and a day we dreaded. The knowledge of that made today no easier.

Sometimes people say when a sports or entertainment icon passes away that there will never be another. In this case, those words are true, because wrestling is about time and place. He had his time and place from his 20s into his 50s, and even in his 60s could do an appearance and for one night it was Terry Funk's time and place. Those times and those places were always different and for that reason, there will never be another.

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Re: Terry Funk Has Passed Away at the age of 79

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Hee hee wooooo!

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