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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Hardcore Legends Part 3: Terry Funk
May 4, 2006 by James Watts


Terry Funk, hailing from the Double Cross Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, is well-known for being one of the most hardcore athletes to ever set foot inside the squared circle, and is referred to by many as the original Hardcore Legend. He is also widely acknowledged for being one of the best singles and tag team wrestlers in the world today.

Funk began his career in Texas, defeating tough veteran Sputnik Munroe in his debut match, and he has never looked back since. He has gone on to feud with some of the greatest wrestlers alive, as well as some of the most dangerous. Ric Flair, Harley Race, Jack Briscoe, Abdullah the Butcher, The Sheik, Sabu, Mick Foley, “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes and even his own flesh-and-blood, Dory Funk Jr., have had the misfortune to stand across the ring from the Funker, and he has, at one point or another, beaten them all.

Terry Funk is a former NWA World Champion, and he successfully defended the strap for fourteen months before dropping the belt to Harley Race. He also revolutionized hardcore wrestling in the NWA after he piledrove the Nature Boy Ric Flair through an announcer's table as a challenge for Flair’s NWA title. He was also the first man to introduce the Tables Match to the wrestling world, as he met the homicidal, suicidal, genocidal Sabu in the first ever tables match over in Japan. He also had legendary tag team feuds in Japan, teaming with his brother Dory against the monstrous team of Abdullah the Butcher and The Sheik. He would also have a brutal barbed wire contest in Japan against Sabu.

When he went back to the US, one of his first ports of call would be Memphis, Tennessee, home of Elvis Presley and one of Funk’s biggest rivals: Jerry “The King” Lawler. Funk and Lawler had several bloody wars in Memphis, one of them being the infamous empty arena match in which Lawler nearly blinded Funk by kicking a sharp spike back into his left eye.

Funk then became a mainstay for ECW, and would win the Heavyweight strap several times in his illustrious ECW career. He would feud with several ECW alumni, including Shane Douglas, Mick Foley and Sabu, and would be involved in the King of the Death Match tournament over in Japan, losing to Foley in the finals.

A stint in WCW quickly followed where he became Hardcore Champion and United States Champion, as well as Commissioner for WCW.

Despite the decades of bloodshed, Terry Funk still manages to get the job done in the ring. He still feuds extensively with Jerry Lawler on the independent circuit, as well as facing old rivals Dusty Rhodes and Abdullah the Butcher from time to time.

All in all, Terry Funk is one of wrestling’s true legends. He wrestles on despite being well north of fifty, and he is still successful.

by James Watts ..


DAREK PHILLIPS wrote:
I agree that Terry Funk is a true hardcore leagend. I've even heard that he still manages to wrestle and uses moonsaults and crazy moves like that even in his old age. Thats plain amazing. A lot of young guys cant do that and someone at his age doing stuff like that just blows me away. thanks for writing this column, I really enjoyed it.
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