An Iconic West Texas Wrestling Legend Is in the Fight of His Life
You can say what you want about Professional Wrestling -- that it's fake, that it's silly, etc. One thing you can't say is that the performers don't get hurt or suffer long-lasting health issues because of it. Because they do. More often than not.
For most people, wrestling begins and ends with the likes of Hulk Hogan, John Cena, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, among others. However, for every movie star like The Rock, there are hundreds of guys who put their bodies, and lives, on the line for the sole purpose of entertaining the fans.
(Full disclosure: I have a very peripheral association with Pro Wrestling, having served years ago as a ring announcer for a local promotion in California. I also had the honor of ring announcing at a then-WWF house show back in the 80s, which were live, un-televised shows.)
Terry Funk is a legend and one of the toughest wrestlers to ever enter the squared circle. Before the WWE became a global phenomenon, the wrestling business was divided into "territories." Terry's father, Dory Funk, Sr. ran the West Texas territory out of Amarillo, which also included Lubbock. The Funk Brothers, Terry & Dory Jr., were regulars on wrestling cards in Lubbock throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s. The Funks also made appearances in other promotions, including Jerry Lawler's Memphis Wrestling.
This past week, Terry Funk's Twitter page announced that the 77-year-old icon was battling dementia, which has affected many wrestlers over the years. Wrestling legend Don Muraco also revealed the news during his "Magnificent" podcast that Funk had been moved to an assisted living home in Amarillo.
Funk had some memorable matches in the WWF (now WWE) in the 80s and 90s before moving to WCW and eventually becoming a Hardcore Wrestling Icon. He was the ultimate "heel" (bad guy), but is also loved by true wrestling fans for his dedication.
When we say "hardcore," we mean barbed wire, fire and other stuff that can maim, if not kill you. Yes, that's real barbed wire that they're using as the ring ropes. This is insane.
With the passing this week of WWF/WWE legend Paul "Mr. Wonderful" Orndorff of dementia, it goes without saying that these guys are really sacrificing themselves for the sake of entertaining the fans. So many wrestlers are leaving us long before they get old or are barely senior citizens when they pass. That's the toll the business takes.
Terry Funk epitomizes West Texas toughness, and our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family in the hope that he's able to enjoy the rest of his years in good health and happiness.