"The Hardcore Icon" was born on June 30, 1944. He was the brother of Dory Funk, Jr., former NWA World Heavyweight Champion and son of the
late Dory Funk, Sr., an NWA promoter based in Amarillo, Texas.He played offensive guard at West Texas State University from 1962 to 1965
and made his pro-wrestling debut on December 9, 1965 against Sputnik Monroe in Amarillo
Terry competed on his first tour of Japan in the summer of 1970, teaming with his brother Dory against Shohei "Giant" Baba and Antonio
Inoki in a series of matches for the Japanese Pro Wrestling Alliance. In October 1972, Giant Baba formed All Japan Pro Wrestling with
the help of the Funks. The Funks were both headliners and bookers for All Japan. They also helped trained stars such as the late Jumbo
Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu.
On December 10, 1975, Terry Funk defeated Jack Brisco to win the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship in Miami,
Florida. His 14-month title reign came to an end on February 6, 1977 when he dropped the title to Harley Race in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
He returned to work for his Amarillo promotion and All Japan Pro Wrestling. On December 15, 1977, Terry teamed with Dory against Abdullah
the Butcher and The Sheik in All Japan's Real World Tag League Tournament. The Funks came out as the top babyfaces in the promotion.
The Funks continued to headline in Japan, winning All Japan's Real World Tag League Tournament three times between 1977 and 1982. Terry Funk
would wrestle his brother Dory for the NWA International Heavyweight Title on April 30, 1981.
In 1983, Terry announced his "retirement" and embarked on a huge tour in All Japan. His "last" match happened on August 31, 1983 in Tokyo
where he teamed with Dory to face the late Terry Gordy and Stan Hansen. A teary-eyed Funk delivered a gut-wrenching speech to the fans after
the match was over.
His retirement didn't last long.. He returned to All Japan in November 1984. He also had a brief stint in the World Wrestling Federation from
1985 to 1986, working entertaining matches with the likes of Hulk Hogan and the late Junkyard Dog.
Terry also began to work in Hollywood as an actor, appearing in several films and television programs, among them, "Wildside",
"Over the Top", and "Paradise Alley" (the latter two with Sylvester Stallone).
In 1989, Terry returned to professional wrestling in a big way. On May 7, 1989, Terry attacked "Nature Boy" Ric Flair after Flair had
just regained the NWA World Heavyweight Title from Ricky Steamboat. It led to a bitter feud between the two competitors, culminating in
one of the most brutal "I Quit" matches in the history of the sport on November 15, 1989, with Funk losing to Flair. Terry became a color
commentator for Ted Turner's WCW for a while before returning to active competition in the United States Wrestling Association. On November
5, 1990 in Memphis, Tennessee, Terry defeated Jerry Lawler to win the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship.
During the 1990s, Terry Funk assumed "The Hardcore Icon" persona. He helped out new promotions such as Eastern Championship Wrestling
(later to become known as Extreme Championship Wrestling) as well as Atsushi Onita's Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling promotion in Japan.
In the ECW, Funk wrestled the likes of Sabu, The Sandman, Shane Douglas, Raven, Cactus Jack (Mick Foley). He even teamed up with his brother
Dory to face the Public Enemy in June 1994 in Philadelphia..
On August 20, 1995 in Japan, Cactus Jack defeated Terry in the finals of a brutal King of the Death Match Tournament for IWA Japan. On September
11, 1997 in Amarillo,Terry lost a "retirement" match to then-WWF World Heavyweight Champion Bret Hart. But again, this "retirement"
was as brief as the last one. Terry returned to the WWF as "Chainsaw Charlie", teaming up with Cactus Jack to win the WWF World Tag
Team Title on March 29, 1998 in Boston, Massachusetts. Terry also competed for WCW, winning its' Hardcore Title and defending it against
opponents such as Chris Candido.
Terry Funk is like the Energizer Bunny. He keeps going and going and going. That is, until his body finally tells him it's time to hang up
the tights and boots forever.
- BRIAN WESTCOTT