Tweets by three friends perfectly summed up Terry Funk, who passed away Wednesday at 73:
I can only add one thing to Sean’s tweet: Whoever's second isn't close.
I often make fun of those who try to present wrestling as a noble pursuit by way of ennobling themselves. It’s a bastard form of athleticism, theatre of the absurd. It means little compared to sports legitimately competed. Nobody in their right mind gives a ***t about five-star matches.
But Funk made wrestling a noble pursuit organically. He never embarrassed himself or his profession, not once. (Some of his contemporaries made a specialty of that.)
Wrestling is about moments. Funk created those.
Wrestling is about money. Funk drew it.
Wrestling is about charisma. Funk had it.
Wrestling is about authenticity. You believed in Funk.
Wrestling is about making your opponent. Funk did that.
Funk did just about everything you can do in wrestling. He's in the conversation for best ever.
Funk was NWA touring world champion for 14 months from 1975-77 when that title meant far more than any other.
Funk put ECW over the top with his run there, becoming ECW world champ at that promotion’s first pay-per-view in 1997.
Funk was as big as they got in Japan, a gaijin without peer.
He was a star everywhere.
Few were more credible as a worker.
Nobody cut a better promo.
Nobody was more respected or beloved in the dressing room.
He had a great tag team with his brother Dory Jr., now 82. (Dory Jr. was also NWA world champ.)
In 2000, I worked with Terry in WCW. But I knew him long before then. I last saw him in 2013 when he made an appearance near Pittsburgh.
We used to talk regularly but I lost touch with him in later years. I will forever regret that.
Terry was a thoroughly good man. He always treated me like a million bucks. He taught me so much about wrestling and wasn’t afraid to say when I was wrong. Honest to a fault. (As much as any wrestler can be, anyway.)
Terry was devoted to his wife, Vicki. She was a firecracker. They were married in 1965. When Vicki passed in 2019, I worried for Terry.
I could list Terry’s career highlights, but they’re impossible to narrow down.
So, watch the video below from my favorite period in Terry’s career: His feud with Ric Flair in 1989.
Terry turned Flair babyface, no easy task. The run concluded with Flair beating Funk in an “I Quit” match on TBS. It’s an absolute classic, my favorite match ever.
Don’t believe in Santa Claus and remember, Old Yeller ain’t no dog.
Terry Funk, RIP.
Thumbnail via Getty Images