Welcome to a new series of articles here at the MWC Blog that we shall call: Cases For The Greatest.
This is where I examine some of the wrestlers who are often viewed by some or many as the greatest pro wrestler of all time and why they have an argument in being so.
In this edition, he is Middle Aged and Crazy, Terry Funk joins in on the fray!
Ring Name: Terry Funk
From: Amarillo, Texas, USA
Weight: 246 lbs.
Trained by: Dory Funk Sr.
Debut: 1965 (inactive)
NWA World Heavyweight Championship (1x)
ECW World Heavyweight Championship (2x)
NWA/WCW United States Heavyweight Championship (2x)
NWA International Tag-Team Championship (3x)
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship (1x)
WCW Hall of Fame (Class of 1995)
CAC Iron Mike Mazurki Awardee (2005)
NWA Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 2009)
WWE Hall of Fame Inductee (Class of 2009)
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Wrestler of the Year (1976)
Tokyo Sports Lifetime Achievement Award (1983)
1965 - Began working in his father's promotion: Western States Sports in Amarillo, Texas
1960s-1970s - Wrestled on numerous NWA territories not only in the US but abroad as well.
December 10, 1975 - Funk defeated Jack Brisco for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. His first and only time to hold the belt.
1970s-1990s - Competed in and out of Japan mainly for All Japan Pro Wrestling as a tag-team wrestler with his brother; Dory Funk Jr. Notable bouts against the duo of Abdullah the Butcher and The Sheik.
1985-1986 - Wrestled for the first time in WWF once again with Dory. He mainly feuded with Hulk Hogan during The Hulkster's run as WWF Champion.
Late 80s-1990s - Notably feuded with Ric Flair in WCW, this was during the pre-Bischoff era.
December 26, 1993 - Defeated Sabu for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.
1994-1995 - Helped popularized death matches in Japan for IWA Japan, the rival promotion of Atsushi Onita's FMW. This is where his famous hardcore battles against Cactus Jack began.
1997-1998 - Returned to the WWF as "Chainsaw Charlie" teaming up with the aforementioned Cactus Jack.
1998-2001 - "Living Legend" run in ECW and WCW.
2000's and onwards - Continues to wrestle in various independent promotions all over the world, big or small alike.
September 23, 2017 - Terry Funk's most latest match for Big Time Wrestling, he is 72 years old.
If longevity is the only factor to determine as someone as the greatest of all time then Terry Funk certainly is the G.O.A.T. Of course with all due respect to the likes of Great Kojika and Mitsuo Momota, The Funker is on another level in his popularity and achievements throughout his near 6 decade career!
What makes Terry Funk a special wrestler is that he is who he portrays. A crazy brawler from Texas who is the son of a local legend, it is simple yet effective. As he builds his own path he loomed away from the shadows of his father and older brother and arguably became a bigger star than both of them! Of course he wouldn't be as successful if it wasn't for their mentorship towards him but he just knew when and how to put that into his career.
Terry is a master of evolving his style inside the ring. Throughout the 60's and 70's wrestling was still at its peak in terms of the technical ways of approaching matches and less emphasis on the gimmicks or characters. Guys like Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Gene Kiniski, and even Giant Baba were about as "men's men" as you can get. No nonsense style whatsoever. If you were to look at Terry Funk's photos or videos during his younger years, it is such a drastic transformation to what would come just a decade later in the 80's where character was the main point towards storytelling thanks to the rise of Hulkamania.
Then the 90's came along where most fans are familiar with Terry's work that is the hardcore stuff. At this point he has no business taking all the crazy bumps he took especially in ECW and Japan, but that he did. Terry was not gonna take it easy even though he is already a bonafied and respected legend at this point, he wanted to prove to his peers and the fans that he is willing to take whatever for wrestling. That ladies and gentleman is what you call; passion.
Passion is what drives Terry Funk to still wrestle. Wrestling has been in his blood from the day he was born, so what if his body is barely held together at this point? He said it himself, wrestling is his first love, more than his own wife! Is that a "crazy" way of looking at things? Some might say so, after all taking about as many chairshots in the head will help you think insane in some form, but the man's whole life was and is revolving around one thing: professional wrestling. He is not just an old man wrestling and trying to relive his glory days for a quick paycheck, he is doing it because he loves it and he respects the business.
Yes, Terry is not unique in the aspect of someone being passionate about something they love, after all many have claimed the same through the years, but he not only has the decades of resume to prove it but you will never once hear him bash the business. Terry knows it is evolving and respects it the way it is, he will not willingly bury a wrestler or a style of wrestling just because he they are from different generations, he is willing to adapt in the era while also sharing himself into it whether as a wrestler or other form of connection. This is evident in what I've already said in his way of doing things as the decades go by.
Terry Funk has it all; in-ring skills, promos, charisma, dynasty, and the legacy. Most importantly of all though he has continous and undying passion for pro wrestling, to the point where he is willing to die in the middle of the ring if that what fate destines upon him.
That is why he has the Case for being the Greatest!
PREVIOUS: BRUNO SAMMARTINO
NEXT: KEIJI MUTOH
Follow on Twitter: @SuperMastodon
Like on Facebook: Super Mastodon
The name is Super Mastodon. Been a wrestling fan throughout my life, and I share my interest with you here, at the MWC Blog.
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH: