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RIP The Funker

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I've never even heard of this match and am watching it for the first time. It's as sleazy and perfect wrestling as possible on paper as only 1993 ECW could be.

1) Terry Funk vs. "Hot Stuff' Eddie Gilbert

2) In a "Texas Chain Massacre" match. 

3) The winner is crowned "The King of Philadelphia."

4) It's Eastern Championship Wrestling and Heyman doesn't have the book yet.

5) No Joey Styles, either."

6) This has to end up in an absolute bloodbath and I'm excited. 

7) Eddie Gilbert and Terry Funk are an absolute perfect combination. Insane lunatics who were also both geniuses at the craft of wrestling. 


Edited by Greggulator
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I'm going to post two things. One's mine. One's not.

Someone was being a goof back in July and @Octopus, being the amiable gent that he is, said "Hey isn't Terry Funk great?" or something to change the subject, and I posted this because I wanted to lend credence to my friend's good intentions.


I'm going to write about Terry Funk for a bit here.

To me there are three interconnected elements that make Terry Funk so great. That's on top of all of the stuff that makes him so good, too, all of the things you'd expect at a wrestler of his level, just the credible strikes and ability to mat wrestle and everything else along those lines.

But what makes him great?

  1. Selling: All of these are interconnected, to the point I shouldn't even break them down honestly. I'll be talking over myself here. He has an absolute fearlessness in his selling combined with being in the moment at every point that allows him to react honestly to everything that's happening. You see this the most in Japan where, by the end of the 70s, everyone was so careful not to lose their aura of toughness by giving up too much. Funk became the most beloved American ever over there by giving so much, by not being afraid to just give and give and give so that when he did fight his way back and make it to Dory, the fans loved him all the more for it. The level of confidence that took both in himself and in the artform was monumental.
  2. Unpredictability: He reacts to everything, absolutely everything, always being on, and because of that, you never quite know what he's going to do. Will he shake someone's hand? Will he roll outside and start nailing them with a chair? Will he start tossing chairs into the crowd? Will he fall on his ass for no reason? Everything affects him which makes everything matter, but because nothing is rote and predictable, you're drawn in. His reactions always seem somehow right and organic, natural, as if he's able to bend the notion of selling to make it something all his own in a way almost no one else in wrestling history could do.
  3. Presence: Like I said, he's always on, always in the moment, always drawing you in. That's in his selling, in his offense, in his reactions, in his expressions, in his attitude. He never decides to just chill out on the apron or in a hold for a minute. You may not know if you're going to get technical Terry or brawling Terry or temper tantrum Terry or sportsman Terry or unhinged maniac Terry, and that's in the moment, let alone the match. I doubt he knew what he'd be at any moment. He saw stimuli and he charged toward it and in doing so he created a reality all his own, one more vibrant and entertaining and alive than what you'll experience in any part of your day. You never knew what you were going to get, but you know it would be worth watching and you'll be better off for having watched it.

And it was so, so easy to write just off the top of my head, because Terry Funk is so, so easy to talk about.

But I want to post my other good friend Dylan's writing about Terry Funk in a GWE context. He doesn't come around these parts anymore, but he's the best at writing about Funk and he was his best when he wrote about Funk.


"I wrote this about him a couple of years ago in the microscope and I stick to it other than the fact that I wouldn't definitively argue for him as the best ever as I do at the very beginning here.

Okay, everyone knows Funk is my favorite wrestler ever. I also think he's the GOAT. I can see an argument for several others and I don't want to shit on anyone else or minimize them in an attempt to point to the things I like about Funk, so instead I'll try and talk about why I think he's so great.

For starters - and this is huge to me - I think you can make a case that Terry is a top five all time working face and a top five all time working heel. In fact if we are talking peak v. peak I don't think it's really arguable.

I'd go so far as to say that Terry at his peak as a babyface in Japan is the single best sympathetic babyface I've ever seen. Not only can he take a beating and sell, but he was incredible at timing hope spots and comebacks. His little strut around punch comeback was great shit particularly when it was nothing more than a flurry on the front wave of a storm. The man could bleed, but during that period especially he really knew how to make a blade job mean something. He'd give you some massive splat bumps and they would always mean something too. He could sell a body part, whether or not it was being stabbed or actually worked over in a traditional fashion. Just little looks and body movement could trigger the crowd to go fucking nuts. When he finally fired all the way back it was always after things had been milked to the absolute peak moment - timing wise there really aren't many you could even put in the discussion with Funk. He was a guy with a Hulk Hogan level entrance, who could work underneath like Ricky Morton, but when he made his comeback he was teeing off like a guy who you believed could legit kill any heel on Earth. I love Morton, Rey, Steamboat, et. as babyfaces but Funk in AJPW is the best I've ever seen at that role.

I'd also go so far as to say that Terry at his peak as a heel in 89 was very possibly the best heel I've ever seen. He was certainly the most interesting. I've said this many times, but it was Flair v. Funk feud that made me a fan for life. Funk was a guy that got over jealous, craze, psychotic, who's sense of pride actually made him the most dangerous guy in the world - even though he was just an off the radar, semi-retired guy, with no credibility with that audience until WrestleWar. I love, love, love Funk in 89 in every respect, as he was a guy who was having awesome sprints with Eddie Guerrero trying to get him a job on tv, wild squashes v. bums like Cougar Jay and of course the awesome Flair matches which are among my favorites ever. Every match was a perfect representation of his character and he would switch gears mid-match to reflect that so easily.

As versatility goes I think the conversation is sort of odd. You've got NintendoLogic talking about how his work as a technician has been overblown but who the fuck talks about Terry as a technician? Now I happen to believe that he was very sharp working holds, very good at building them to a climax, very surprising in the offense he could bust out (I really like the Terry/Dory v. Caras/Mascaras tag as an example of Terry being ahead of his time/versatile in ways you might not expect years before "crazy man" schtick took over), et. But I don't know that Terry is a guy talked up as great in that regard by very many people. No clue who is hyping that aspect of his work to the point where it would be "overblown." My view is that Terry was very good in that respect, at times great, but it's not the defining trait of his career. If we had more 70's footage? I suspect things might be different.

One thing I really love about Terry that doesn't get talked about that much is the range of his characters even within the realm of what is commonly thought of as his "crazy old man" period. We know Terry worked different as a babyface at points - sometimes he was a top dog level technician, some times he was Ricky Morton with more credibility, late in his career he was the hardcore legend (sometimes as a enforcer threat, sometimes as a desperate old man fighting for honor and glory). But he had really incredibly range as a heel. If you look at how he worked during the WWF run it's different than how he worked in Puerto Rico which is different from how he worked in WCW in 89 which is different from how he worked as traveling lunatic working every promotion on Earth in 94 and so on. I don't think this is me imagining things either. If you watch something like the Martel match from Puerto Rico, Terry is really over the top on level that is almost entirely comedic. v. Hogan the comedic aspects were there, but he was a guy tailoring things around shortcuts to feed the inevitable Hogan comebacks. The Flair matches were obviously different and I already covered them. In 94 he was a hired hand traveling the wrestling landscape as the last outlaw called in to kill off annoying old challengers to the Southern wrestling family throne. You could keep going.

Another thing about Funk is I am not sure I have ever seen him have a boring match. I'm sure someone could point to one I wouldn't disagree with, but I can't recall it offhand. I seem to recall Will once telling me that the Terry Set is one of the only set's he's ever done where he wasn't sick of watching the same guy by the time it was over. He always works hard and makes things at least entertaining. When his body broke down too much to really bump or cut a pace, he just turned on the schtick and chaos. He and Lawler had several really good matches after 2000 which is fucking amazing if you think about it. Even in horrible 2000 WCW his matches didn'tsuck and everything sucked during that period. A byproduct of never having boring matches is that we are still finding awesome Funkmatches. There are really good Funk matches/performances from SMW and ECW I find while watching for those sets that didn't even make Will's mammoth Funk Set. There are WWF matches of his I've discovered in the last six months that didn't make that set that are very good. We'll likely be finding good Terry stuff for years, including really impressive shit like his back to back matches in 97 v. Sabu and Douglas in title defenses where he actually flipped and worked heel v. Douglas because they were in Pittsburgh.

As far as great matches? If someone wants to say Funk's best matches aren't as good as the best matches from some of the other GOATC's I would listen to it. If someone wanted to say he doesn't have the depth of great matches that Flair has I'd almost certainly agree. If someone said Terry only had one or two or even a handful of great matches? I'm not buying that, but then this may just end up with another debate about "good v. great" and I'm not sure I really want the thread to go down that road. What I would say is thatFunk v. Hansen, Funk v. Lawler and Funk v. Flair GAB 89 are in my absolute top tier of singles matches. I think Terry was a tremendously great tag worker at his peak and there are several tags of his I would rate very, very highly. I thought he was incredible in Wargames 94 which is a match I love. On first watch I thought his random match with Tony St. Clair in 93 was great though I haven't gone back to watch it again. I think Terry/Jumbo is a great match and it's probably not even a top 25 Funk match IMO. I don't really think Terry is hurting for great matches.

Al mentioned the fact that Funk didn't stay around any place very line as a sort of theoretically weakness. To me that was a real world strength. OJ is the one who coined this, but Terry is the ultimate loser leaves town wrestler. He was in somewhere for a while, got over huge, made you believe in him 100 percent, had his big match/feud/rivalry and was gone before he got stale. He always, always, always left you wanting more. There are a lot of guys I think are absolutely great wrestlers, but who hung around somewhere too long, or were involved in something that was run in the ground, or got lazy because they were comfortable or whatever. That NEVER happened with Terry Funk.

I'll admit I'm biased toward Funk. My dad loves him and grew up watching his dad's promotion. He is the guy who made me a fan for life, when I watched him up close in 89 killing himself on house shows and tying bags on Flair's head. But Terry Funk is a guy that has always made me care about his matches and believe in what he was selling. I'm not saying he's the only one who I can say that about, but the list is short.
Adding to that older post I would note that I think his ability to have great matches with a wide variety of people and within a wide variety of styles is impressive. I think Funk is among the most versatile wrestlers ever when it comes to both inputs and outputs, particularly as it pertains to effectively portraying a character and delivering good matches within the logic of that character portrayal. There are AJPW tag matches with him doing dives to the floor in the late 70s, matches where he is doing luchaesque matwork, obviously massive brawls, matches built around Funk selling, matches built around Funk the crazy aggressor, et., et., et.

I put a lot of value in range, versatility, variety and adaptability. That will be reflected in where I ultimately place Funk."


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Terry Funk was the Perfect Professional Wrestler. Heel or Face, it doesn't matter, he always gave his all, even when couldn't necessarily give his best.

I'm now going to do what I did when Dusty Rhodes died... go someplace quiet and cry. Then watch as much Terry Funk material as possible.


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2 hours ago, Matt D said:


This got brought up in something I was reading the other day and I thought "I haven't seen that in a long time, have I?" So, time for another go. 

Anyway if you post in this thread consider yourself "liked", I'm not gonna try and keep up with every one of em.

To share one more thing, one of the first things that came to mind about Terry when I read the news is from the end of the Forever Hardcore doc, where he says he got a contract for the WWF's One Night Stand, saying it was a contract for a lot of money, but then he says he couldn't do One Night Stand and Hardcore Homecoming so close together, knowing he'd have to give them both his all and they were right next to each other. He says his wife said he needs to take the money from Vince, and he says he just couldn't do it... and he breaks down, on camera. He says he wanted to do the one with the guys that he loved and that he went down the road with, and not for someone who couldn't give a damn about ECW and what it meant. And he says "and I guess that's why I'm not so smart" or something similar, and he stops and looks at the camera with those sad old Terry eyes, screwing up his face to hold back tears.

THAT was Terry Funk. 

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Huge loss. not just for pro wrestling, but for the world. As mentioned, the One Night Stand/Hardcore Homecoming decision tells you everything you need to know about the man. My condolences to his friends and family.

Former NWA and ECW champ. Part of the WCW Hall of Fame, the WWF Hall of Fame, and the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame. 

off the top of my head, the first 5 Terry Funk matches that come to mind:
Race/Funk that has been posted a few times already
Funk/Foley in the KotDM tournament|
Funk/Sabu "Born to be Wired"
Funk/Lawler Empty Arena
Funk/Flair "I Quit"

those 5 matches alone makes for a hell of a resume. And it's barely the tip of the iceberg. 

RIP Funker. i guess i'm watching WrestleFest '97 tonight. (edit: AND the WWE's 'Legends of Wrestling' dvd, since they never put out a full doc)

Edited by twiztor
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Was recently trying to get into Foley’s pod, and he got into an anecdote about the Funker. They’re having a chat before a show and Terry mentions he’d been stabbed in the building years before. Mick asks Terry if he pressed charges. Terry responded by asking “Why would I press charges against a fan who paid me the ultimate compliment?” 


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Horrible news to wake up to. Terry Funk was a true all rounder and one of the best to ever do it. My three favourite matches of his were vs. Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions IX, vs. Sabu at ECW Both to be Wired and vs. Mick  Foley on RAW in 1998. Condolences to Funk's family and friends at this saddest of times xxx.

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I think a spinning toe hold where the heel is talking trash to his opponent as he keeps spinning has some potential, even if it's sort of a "setup for the good guy to counter and make a comeback" spot instead of a "finisher" spot.

Would the rule of 3s mean that the counter comes on the 3rd spin or would it be 3 rounds of talking trash and an escape on the 4th trip?

Also considering how pretty much everybody adopted the spinning toe hold setup for the figure four, the Funk family had a huge footprint on wrestling. (Unless i'm a total idiot and the Funks didn't popularize the spinning toe hold)

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C&P from f4wonline.com:

  • Paul “Triple H” Levesque wrote: “Every night in cities all over the world, Terry Funk left it all in the ring for our business and for the fans. An icon of our industry. My thoughts are with Terry’s family, friends and fans.”
  • Mick Foley: “Hi, this is Mick. Terry’s daughters, Brandee and Stacy, have asked me to let you know how much they appreciate all the love and support you have showed him over the years - and how much they appreciate your condolences and kind words now. #RIPTerryFunk”
  • Kevin Owens posted on X:
          • I don’t really come here ever anymore but I had to today to say that Terry Funk was the absolute best of us and that getting to be in the ring with him 10 years ago is and always will be one of the absolute highlights of my career, bar none.
          • To this day, I still often think back on that night and shake my head in disbelief at the absolute privilege and incredible luck I had to get to be in there with him.
          • The energy and aura that Terry Funk carried with him into the ring that night is something I had never experienced before and have not experienced since, and I’ve been in there with some pretty crazy names…
          • I’ll never forget it.
          • Terry Funk.
          • Forever.
  • William Regal: “I’m deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Terry Funk. I knew Terry before I came to the US as he came to Europe. A totally incredible, wonderful and lovely man. I have my own treasured tales of times together. My condolences to Terrys family. Rest well.”

A legend.

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I'm at a loss but man if there's somebody I wish would live forever it's The Funker. There's going to be lovely tributes here (and have been already) but I'm just so damn bummed. He was pro wrestling as fuck and dared to do whatever he damn well pleased. I don't talk about him much or watch his stuff like I maybe should. But I fucking love Terry Funk and this is a sad day for pro wrestling. RIP, Terry.

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C&P from f4wonline.com

  • AEW posted a tribute to Terry Funk:
  • AEW is saddened to learn of the passing of the legendary Terry Funk. Hailing from the ‘Double Cross Ranch’ in Amarillo, TX, Funk was known to fans worldwide for being ‘middle aged and crazy’ with a charismatic persona and unpredictable in-ring style that spanned all forms of matches. Over the the course of his historic Hall of Fame career, Funk competed for wrestling promotions all over the world, holding multiple singles Championships and tag team gold alongside his brother, Dory, and captivated fans with rivalries against the likes of Ric Flair, Mick Foley, Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler, Sting and many others.
  • Outside the ring, Funk consistently gave back to the business he loved through mentorship, offering his incredible guidance and experience to the next generation of wrestling stars. In addition, Funk made a successful transition to the silver screen, appearing in such films as ‘Road House’ with Patrick Swayze and ‘Over The Top’ alongside Sylvester Stallone.
  • AEW sends its deepest condolences to Funk’s family, friends and fans. His legacy will continue to influence the professional wrestling industry in perpetuity.
  • Jim Ross: “I loved him like family. Terry was a brilliant mind. Absolutely amazing ring psychology. He was physically and mentally as tough as a $2 steak.”
  • Dustin Rhodes: “Just heard that Terry Funk is gone. Truly heartbroken over this. He has known me since I was a child. He was an incredible mentor and friend. Love him so much and sad to see him go. I know he is no longer in pain and has probably rekindled his war with Pops in heaven. Rest easy TF #RestInPeaceTerryFunk”
  • Taz: “I’m very sad to hear of the passing of the passing of a true legend & a great person, Terry Funk. Several of us had the honor & pleasure of being at his Double Cross Ranch many years ago after a show in Amarillo, I’ll never forget that!! Words can’t explain how Terry was just GREAT on so many levels. #RIPTerryFunk”
  • Lance Storm: “I will say more eventually. This one hits hard. RIP Terry Funk. A pleasure and honour to know you. Respect always.”
  • Matt Hardy: “#RIP Terry Funk. Not only were you the most amazing pro wrestler ever, you were the most incredible human being. Godspeed, Funker. My thoughts are with your family, friends & fans. You’ll be greatly missed.”
  • MJF: “Forever. RIP, Terry Funk.”
  • Frankie Kazarian: “The words ‘great’ and ‘legend’ are thrown around way too frequently. Terry Funk was both of those things and SO much more. An incredible and unique talent. An influence of a generation. An absolute gentleman. A man I was honored to have been friendly with. Godspeed sir.”
Edited by The Natural
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