Terry Funk, an iconic figure in the world of professional wrestling, has left a lasting legacy as news of his passing at the age of 79 spreads. The wrestling community and fans mourn the loss of a true legend whose six-decade-long career spanned numerous promotions and earned him a multitude of championships and accolades.
Fellow wrestling luminaries Ric Flair and Mick Foley expressed their condolences on Wednesday afternoon, a sentiment soon confirmed by WWE. Funk’s remarkable journey began in the 1960s when he teamed up with his brother, Dory Funk Jr.
in their father’s Western States Sports promotion in Amarillo, Texas. Their partnership flourished, setting the stage for their later distinction as the only pair of brothers to both hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.
However, it was in 1975 that Terry Funk’s individual star shone brightest. He secured the NWA World Heavyweight Championship by defeating Jack Briscoe, a career-defining moment that saw him hold the prestigious title for over a year.
Funk’s prowess in the ring was amplified by his unique brawler style, which resonated with audiences not only in the U.S. but also in All Japan Pro Wrestling. Funk’s legacy was solidified in his role as a pioneer of the “hardcore” wrestling style, particularly during his intense feud with Ric Flair in World Championship Wrestling.
This reputation was further etched in history through his participation in the International Wrestling Association of Japan’s infamous “King of the Death Match Tournament.” Later on, he found a home in Extreme Championship Wrestling, leaving an indelible mark. You may also check Mary Fowler and Nathan Cleary’s Adorable Ice Cream Date Breaks the Internet.
Terry Funk’s career transcended generations, with impactful stints in WWE during the heralded “Attitude Era” of the late 1990s. Initially performing as “Chainsaw Charlie” and later under his real name, he formed both alliances and rivalries with Mick Foley, who himself gained prominence as Cactus Jack.
Their clash in the finals of the 1995 “King of the Death Match Tournament” remains etched in fans’ memories. Funk’s wrestling journey spanned until 2017, encompassing engagements with ECW, WCW, TNA, WWE, and numerous independent promotions. His contributions to the sport were recognized when he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his brother in 2009.
His influence stretched beyond the ring, earning him spots in the NWA, International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the George Tragus/Lou Thiess Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Beyond his wrestling career, Funk dabbled in the world of entertainment, making appearances in movies and TV shows such as “Over the Top,” “Road House,” and contributing stunt work to “Rambo III” and “Rocky V.” You should also read Hurry! Fyre Festival 2 Tickets Selling Out Fast, Claims Embattled Founder Billy McFarland.
Funk’s health struggles became public knowledge in 2021, when it was revealed by wrestling legend Don Muraco that he was battling dementia and residing in an assisted living facility. His own Twitter account later affirmed that he was facing multiple health challenges.
As the wrestling community says goodbye to Terry Funk, his unparalleled contributions and charismatic spirit will forever be woven into the tapestry of professional wrestling history.