Terry Funk, a highly-regarded professional wrestler and pioneer of the hardcore style, has sadly passed away at the age of 79. With a career spanning over five decades, Funk left an indelible mark on the world of wrestling. From his impressive reign as NWA world champion to his memorable matches and captivating promos, Funk will be remembered as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
Terry Funk was born into a wrestling family on June 30, 1944, in Amarillo, Texas. His father, Dory Funk Sr., was a renowned wrestler and promoter, and it was in his father’s promotion, Western State Sports, where Funk began his wrestling journey.
Rising to Prominence
Funk quickly made a name for himself in the wrestling world, showcasing his exceptional talent and dedication to the craft. In 1975, he embarked on a 14-month reign as the NWA world champion, a title that was highly regarded in the era when regional territories were prevalent. This achievement solidified Funk’s status as one of the top wrestlers of his time and earned him the respect of both fans and fellow wrestlers.
Pioneering the Hardcore Style
Funk’s contribution to the wrestling industry goes beyond championships. He is widely recognized as one of the pioneers of the hardcore style, which emphasized intense and often brutal matches. Funk’s willingness to push the boundaries and put his body on the line for the sake of entertainment set him apart from other wrestlers of his time.
Remembering Terry Funk
The news of Terry Funk’s passing saddened the wrestling community, and countless tributes poured in from wrestlers and fans alike. Mick Foley, who had a close relationship with Funk, shared the heartbreaking news on Twitter, describing Funk as his mentor, idol, and closest friend. Foley encouraged everyone to watch a Terry Funk match or promo to appreciate his greatness.
Legendary wrestler Ric Flair also paid tribute to Funk, highlighting his unmatched work ethic and fearlessness in the ring. Flair and Funk had a memorable “I Quit” match at WCW Clash of Champions IX in 1989, further solidifying their legacies.
Beyond the Ring
While Funk’s impact was primarily felt in the wrestling ring, he also ventured into the world of movies. He appeared in several films, including “Road House,” “Paradise Alley,” “The Ringer,” and “Over the Top.” Funk’s charisma and larger-than-life persona translated well onto the big screen, further showcasing his versatility and entertainment value.
An Enduring Legacy
Terry Funk’s contributions to professional wrestling earned him numerous accolades throughout his career. In 2011, he was rightfully inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, solidifying his status as a wrestling legend. Funk’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of wrestlers, and his impact on the industry will never be forgotten.
Terry Funk’s passion, talent, and dedication to professional wrestling made him a true icon in the industry. From his early days in his father’s promotion to his unforgettable matches and larger-than-life persona, Funk left an indelible mark on the hearts of wrestling fans worldwide. As we bid farewell to this legendary wrestler, let us remember the incredible legacy he leaves behind. Rest in peace, Terry Funk, knowing that your contributions will forever be cherished in the world of professional wrestling.