If you’re a professional wrestling fan, you hear the question all the time: who should be on pro wrestling’s “Mount Rushmore”.
Usually, names like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Lou Thesz, Buddy Rogers, Shawn Michaels, and John Cena come to mind.
But one name seems to get left out… the hardcore legend himself, Terry Funk.
Recently, news broke that the 77-year old Funk, whose career began in 1965, has been moved to an assisted living facility while dealing with a plethora of health issues, most notably dementia. Over the course of over 50 years, Funk put his life and body on the line (as all professional wrestlers do). However, the worldwide success of the “Hardcore Legend” should be the catalyst for even more recognition.
Here’s just a small list of Funk’s accolades, including tag team reigns with his brother Dory Funk, Jr.:
-A multiple-time NWA Western States Heavyweight Champion
-A multiple-time co-holder of the NWA International Tag Team Title
w/ Dory Funk Jr. (1971) defeated Shohei Baba and Antonio Inoki
-NWA Missouri State Heavyweight Title (1973) defeated Johnny Valentine
-NWA United States Heavyweight Title (1975) defeated Paul Jones, tournament final
-NWA World Heavyweight Title (1975-’77) defeated Jack Brisco
-A two-time co-holder of the WWC World Tag Team Title
w/ Dory Funk Jr. (1979) defeated The Invaders
w/ Dory Funk Jr. (1979-’82) defeated The Invaders
-A three-time winner of the annual AJPW Real World Tag Team Tournament
w/ Dory Funk Jr. (1977)
w/ Dory Funk Jr. (1979)
w/ Dory Funk Jr. (1982)
-NWA Florida Heavyweight Title (1979) defeated Steve Keirn, tournament final
-USWA Unified World Heavyweight Title (1990-’91) defeated Jerry Lawler
-A two-time ECW World Heavyweight Champion (1993 and 1997)
-ECW Television Title (1993) defeated Jimmy Snuka
-Co-holder of the WWF World Tag Team Title (1998) w/ Cactus Jack
-A two-time WCW World Hardcore Champion
-WCW United States Heavyweight Title (2000) defeated Lance Storm
Ok, so maybe that’s a bigger list than expected. But that just proves the point. For over half a century, whether it be in WWF(E), WCW, ECW, NWA, USWA, NJPW, among many others, Funk went out there night after night and did what he did better than most: entertain.
Fellow hardcore legend and WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley summed it up perfectly: “Terry Funk is the greatest wrestler I have ever seen. No one made it easier to believe than The Funker.”
We wish all the best for Terry Funk and his family at this time.