Our WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk passed away at 79, The wrestling world mourns the loss of a legend, an eminent figure in hardcore wrestling renowned for his ferocious in-ring style. WWE conveyed the somber news of his demise at the age of 79 on Wednesday.
“WWE communicates its bitterness after finding out about the death of Terry Funk, a worshipped WWE Corridor of Famer who made a permanent imprint on fans and friends around the world. His unyielding determination, unwavering spirit, and enduring career solidify him as one of the most resilient competitors to grace the squared circle. From WWE to All Japan, from WCW to ECW, Funk consistently demonstrated his ability to match the best and redefine the boundaries of what was achievable within the wrestling arena.”
Terry Funk, WWE wrestling icon, dies at 79|Terry Funk, Hardcore Hall of Fame Wrestler, Dies at 79
The Wrestling Journey of Terry Funk
Terry Funk‘s wrestling legacy spans over five decades, encompassing a myriad of promotions across the globe. While his debut was in 1965, his prominence surged in the 1970s, notably alongside his brother Dory Jr., as they quickly rose to fame during their tenure in Japan. In 1975, Funk secured the NWA World Championship.
Transitioning to WWE, then known as WWF, in 1985, the Funk Brothers played a pivotal role in the development of WrestleMania, taking the stage at WrestleMania 2 against Tito Santana and the Junkyard Dog.
Funk’s wrestling journey included stints with various promotions in the subsequent decade, yet his legacy became etched in wrestling history through his partnership with Mick Foley, championing hardcore wrestling. This culminated in his involvement in the rise of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), where he clinched the ECW Championship in the promotion’s inaugural pay-per-view event in April 1997, triumphing over Raven.
The collaboration between Funk and Foley led to global exposure of the intense style, notably during a 1995 tournament where they clashed in a gripping final, embracing chaos with tables, chairs, and barbed wire. This relentless commitment to the art of wrestling captivated audiences worldwide.
Funk’s journey persisted into his 60s, epitomized by his appearance at ECW’s One Night Stand in 2006. In a memorable encounter alongside Tommy Dreamer and Beulah McGillicutty against Mick Foley, Edge, and Lita, Funk showcased remarkable resilience, even utilizing a flaming barbed wire wrapped 2-by-4 to strike Foley and send him crashing through a table. Funk’s wrestling pursuits extended beyond WWE until 2017.
In 2009, Funk achieved the honor of being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, alongside his brother, an accolade bestowed by Dusty Rhodes.
Tributes to a Wrestling Legend
Various wrestling luminaries, as well as contemporary stars, took to social media to pay tribute to Terry Funk, extolling his tenacity and dedication to the sport. Wrestling icon Ric Flair, who shared a storied feud with Funk in the 1980s, lauded his unparalleled work ethic, acknowledging, “I’ve never encountered anyone who put in more effort.”
Foley, deeply moved by Funk’s impact, shared, “He was my guide, my inspiration, a cherished friend. He stands as the greatest wrestler I’ve ever witnessed.” Encouraging others to delve into Funk’s matches and promos, Foley expressed gratitude for the immense contributions Funk made to the wrestling world.
Kevin Owens, Undisputed WWE Tag Team champion, reflected on the privilege of sharing the ring with Funk, recalling the unique energy and aura he brought to the encounter, an experience he continues to cherish.
Funk’s Enduring Legacy
Terry Funk, an eminent figure in the annals of professional wrestling, has concluded his journey at the age of 79. His wrestling odyssey, spanning from 1965 to 2017, included a remarkable 14-month reign as NWA world champion, a distinction of utmost significance during an era of regional wrestling territories.
A trailblazer of the “hardcore” wrestling style, Funk’s reputation as an exemplary professional resonated among wrestling enthusiasts and industry insiders alike. His influence extended beyond the ring, as he participated in the 1999 documentary ‘Beyond the Mat,’ providing further insight into his storied career.
His passing was confirmed by his close confidant, Mick Foley, a fellow wrestler who alternated between being Funk’s rival and partner in the ring. Foley shared the unfortunate news on social media, heralding Funk’s impact on his life and the world of wrestling.
Terry Funk’s legacy encompasses numerous accomplishments, from his NWA World Heavyweight Championship reigns to his roles in films such as “Road House” and “Over the Top.” His name resounds across generations, forever etched in the history of professional wrestling.
A Wrestling Luminary’s Enduring Impact
The wrestling community is reeling from the loss of a true icon, Terry Funk, whose impact reverberated through multiple eras. With a career spanning over five decades, Funk’s influence touched nearly every major wrestling promotion. Starting in 1965 under the wing of his father’s Western States Sports, Funk and his brother Dory Jr. quickly ascended the ranks.
A pivotal moment arrived in 1975 when Funk secured the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, a triumph that marked the pinnacle of his singles career. His rough-and-tumble style and fierce rivalries with the likes of Jerry Lawler and Ric Flair solidified his reputation as a gritty competitor.
Even retirement couldn’t hold Funk for long. He returned with a vengeance, engaging in intense feuds, including a heated one with Dusty Rhodes. These matches, whether in a bull rope showdown or a Texas death match, drew fans in and left an indelible mark on the wrestling landscape.
Funk’s renaissance continued with his involvement in Eastern Championship Wrestling, later known as Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW). Here, his legacy as a hardcore wrestling pioneer was cemented. He secured the ECW Championship in a fiery inaugural pay-per-view event, further demonstrating his willingness to push boundaries.
Never one to shy away from reinvention, Funk gracefully transitioned to acting, sharing the screen with Patrick Swayze in “Road House” and making appearances in other films. His multifaceted talents extended beyond the squared circle.
In 2017, at the age of 73, Funk bid farewell to professional wrestling, marking the end of an era. His influence was acknowledged with inductions into numerous halls of fame, a testament to his enduring impact on the sport.
A Life of Dedication and Legacy
Terry Funk’s journey began in 1944 in Hammond, Indiana, before his family settled in Amarillo, Texas. Born into a wrestling family, with his father Dory Funk Sr. a prominent figure, Terry’s destiny was intertwined with the world of wrestling from an early age. He and his brother would ultimately lead their father’s promotion to new heights.
His in-ring debut in 1965 against Sputnik Monroe marked the start of a legendary journey. Teaming up with his brother, they captured tag team championships in various NWA affiliates and made their mark internationally, notably in Japan’s All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Both Funk brothers left an indelible mark on the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, with Dory Jr. and Terry becoming the first and only siblings to claim this prestigious title. The legacy of their championship reigns remains unmatched.
Terry Funk’s saga extended beyond championships and titles, embodying the spirit of wrestling with an unmatched fervor. His confrontations with Dusty Rhodes, his participation in death matches in Japan, and his contributions to ECW showcased his fearless approach to the craft.
The wrestling world bids farewell to Terry Funk, a pioneer, an icon, and a beloved figure who gave his all to the sport. His memory lives on through the countless matches, moments, and memories he created throughout his illustrious career.
FAQs(Frequently Asked Questions)
Q1. Who was Terry Funk?
A1. Terry Funk was a wrestling luminary known for his pioneering contributions to hardcore wrestling and his remarkable career that spanned over five decades.
Q2. What is Terry Funk’s impact on the wrestling landscape?
A2. Terry Funk left an indelible mark on wrestling by introducing a gritty and intense style, influencing generations of wrestlers and promotions worldwide.
Q3. What were some of Terry Funk’s iconic rivalries?
A3. Funk engaged in memorable feuds with wrestling legends like Jerry Lawler, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair, often culminating in intense stipulation matches.
Q4. How did Terry Funk transition to acting?
A4. Apart from wrestling, Terry Funk ventured into acting, with notable appearances in films like “Road House,” showcasing his versatility beyond the wrestling ring.
Q5. What championships did Terry Funk win during his career?
A5. Terry Funk’s illustrious career includes multiple championship reigns, including the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, showcasing his prowess in the squared circle.
Q6. What is Terry Funk’s lasting legacy?
A6. Terry Funk’s legacy extends far beyond his championships, encompassing his fearless wrestling style, impact on the wrestling industry, and enduring influence on future wrestlers.
Q7. How did Terry Funk’s journey impact wrestling history?
A7. Terry Funk’s journey marked him as a trailblazer, shaping wrestling’s evolution and leaving an unmatched impact on both the sport and its fans.
Q8. How is Terry Funk remembered in the wrestling community?
A8. Terry Funk is remembered as an icon who dedicated his life to wrestling, inspiring a generation of fans, wrestlers, and promotions through his unmatched passion and tenacity.