Professional wrestling mourns the loss of an icon as Terry Funk, a true legend of the sport, has passed away at the age of 79.
The news was confirmed by fellow wrestling luminaries Ric Flair and Mick Foley, with WWE subsequently confirming the somber announcement.
Funk’s remarkable journey in the ring spanned an impressive six decades, during which he graced nearly every major US wrestling promotion.
His legacy is punctuated by an array of championships and industry accolades that have solidified his place in wrestling history.
The early years saw Funk collaborate with his brother, Dory Funk Jr., in their father’s Western States Sports promotion in Amarillo, Texas, during the 1960s.
As a solo performer, Funk’s defining moment arrived in 1975 when he clinched the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Jack Brisco.
Holding onto this prestigious title for over a year, Funk’s victory etched him into the annals of wrestling lore.
His achievement, combined with his brother’s earlier title reign, established them as the only pair of brothers to each hold the coveted championship.
Funk’s inimitable style, characterized by his brawling prowess, earned him fame both stateside and overseas, notably in All Japan Pro Wrestling.
His legacy further unfolded during his groundbreaking feud with Ric Flair in World Championship Wrestling, his participation in the International Wrestling Association of Japan’s ‘King of the Death Match Tournament,’ and his eventual affiliation with Extreme Championship Wrestling.
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Terry Funk: A Trailblazing Legacy in Wrestling and Beyond
The wrestling legend also left an indelible mark on WWE, with a prominent role during the celebrated ‘Attitude Era’ of the late 1990s.
Taking on personas such as ‘Chainsaw Charlie’ and his given name, Funk’s dynamic partnerships and rivalries, particularly with Foley (known as Cactus Jack), helped propel hardcore wrestling to the forefront.
Their monumental clash in the finals of the ‘King of the Death Match Tournament’ in 1995 remains a defining moment in their careers.
Funk’s extraordinary journey continued until 2017, traversing stints in ECW, WCW, TNA, WWE, All Japan, and numerous independent promotions.
A deserved induction into the WWE Hall of Fame alongside his brother in 2009 solidified his status as a wrestling great.
Additionally, he secured a place in the NWA, International Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame, and the esteemed George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.
His contributions were honored further with the Iron Mike Mazurki Award from the esteemed Cauliflower Alley Club in 2005.
Beyond the squared circle, Funk ventured into film and television, leaving his mark in productions like ‘Over the Top,’ ‘Road House,’ and as a stuntman in ‘Rambo III’ and ‘Rocky V.’
Funk’s health challenges became public knowledge in 2021 when fellow legend Don Muraco disclosed his battle with dementia and his residence in an assisted living facility.
His Twitter account later shared his ongoing struggles with multiple health issues.
Terry Funk’s departure has reverberated throughout the wrestling world, evoking a torrent of heartfelt tributes and an outpouring of emotion from fans, peers, and the industry as a whole.
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Source: Yahoo News