WWE Hall of Famer and Hollywood Tough Guy Terry Funk passes away
If ever there was a man that fitted the phrase “tough as old boots” it was Terry Funk. Born in Hammond, IN, in 1944, Funk’s in-ring career lasted for more than 50 years. As a member of the legendary Funk wrestling family, the former NWA Heavyweight champion is perhaps best known for his wars with Mick Foley in WWE’s “Attitude Era” and as the go-to henchman in some of the ’80s and ’90s most popular action films.
M&F joins millions of fans around the world in paying tribute to the “Funkster,” who passed away at the age of 79.
Undoubtedly, Terry Funk was one of the most rugged competitors to ever step inside the squared circle. Born into a wrestling family, his dad, Dory, was a wrestler and promoter and so Terry, along with his younger brother Dory Jr soon found a home within the business. Before that, Terry had competed in amateur wrestling and football but would make his pro wrestling debut in 1965. In 1975, Funk beat Jack Brisco to lift the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and held on to that title for more than a year. He was a more than competent grappler but it is perhaps Funk’s charisma and flair for wild brawls that excited fans the most, particularly in Japan where he mixed it up with the likes of Abdullah The Butcher, Stan Hansen, and Bruiser Brody. While Funk later retired on several occasions, in true wrestling tradition, those retirements were usually short lived.
Terry Funk was one of pro wrestling’s most important innovators
Funk was also respected by his peers, with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin among the many icons of the business that have professed their admiration for his work. Ric Flair has also credited Funk as being a huge influence on his career. Of course, the love and respect that he garnered wasn’t limited to professional wrestling; Funk’s magnetic personality and enthralling mannerisms were a perfect fit for Hollywood.
Terry Funk had Hollywood in a headlock
The cause of death was not immediately released, but it is understood that Funk had been in bad health toward the end. Fortunately for all of us, his legacy will live on thanks to the many unforgettable moments that he gave us both in the ring and on the screen. During Funk’s acceptance into WWE’s Hall of Fame in 2009, Funk said “They say you’re as old as you feel. Well, I feel one hundred and five and I’m ready to go! Don’t bury me on the long prairie, no Siree. I want to go to heaven in a wrestling ring, and I’m going to park that ring just beyond the moon, halfway to the stars.” Terry, you were always out of this world!