Terry Funk Shoot Interviewby Brandon Truitt
Jul 7, 2003, 19:00
Not much to say today... several Cuba Libres + a few good movies + 3 day weekend = one happy writer.
Next week's shoot will probably be with Bill Watts then I'll take a week off. When I come back, I'll do the Rick Steiner shoot then, during the first week of August, I'll post Jim Cornette's 8-hour shoot from late 2000. Best shoot interview EVER... although that copy of Raven's second shoot that I'm waiting on may come close.
As always, you can feel free to Drop me an e-mail, read the archives, buy me stuff, or buy yourself stuff at Highspots.com.
Terry Funk shoot interview (8-23-1998)
We start off with a vintage Terry Funk promo on Jerry Lawler trying to be “a true Floridian”, where Funk takes a shower in Quaker State motor oil and dirt. Next is some deathmatch footage from Japan then a tag match pitting Terry and Dory Funk Jr. vs. Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy. That match is from Terry’s first retirement tour in Japan, as he cuts a farewell promo afterwards that was included in Beyond the Mat.
The interview begins with the standard question of how he entered the business. Terry says his father, Dory Funk Sr., was the superintendent of a boys ranch in the 1950s and made it mandatory for all the boys to do amateur wrestling. He ended up wrestling amateur all the way through high school but went to West Texas State to play football. His first match was against Sputnik Monroe in Amarillo where Sputnik put him in a hold and kept him down for several minutes, boring the fans, until Dory Sr. came out and yelled at him to get up, at which point he broke the hold and started bouncing all around the ring. He says the fans didn’t realize he feared his father a lot more than Sputnik.
What was it like growing up as the son of a famous wrestler? It was hard, especially when you had to protect the business to everyone at school. He tells one particular story from back then where a guy at a restaurant was asking him and Dory Jr. if wrestling was fake. Dory Jr. told Dory Sr. what the guy was saying and the guy got his ass whipped.
What was the business like back then? It was very different back then. They’d drive a 500 mile round trip for a payoff of at least $25. He remembers working in Florida when Dory Sr. called him up to say that the owner of the Amarillo territory had died and that they were taking over from his widow.
Was there pressure on him coming into the business considering his father and brother’s success? His father was great at handling their success as he would chew them out for 10 or 15 minutes each night in front of the boys after their matches, which got the other wrestlers to help them rather than resent them. His father’s name helped them get booked all across the country, as the promoters knew his father and had heard of both of them as a result.
Is that why they didn’t have troubles like the Von Erich brothers? He spent time with Fritz Von Erich right before he died and he was in total denial that his sons were drug addicts.
His style in the early days- Very different because it was considered a sport back then but it’s a performance now. He doesn’t have a problem with today’s style though. He evolved into his current style while in Japan during the late 1970s during the All Japan vs. New Japan war. All Japan was down at the time because Tiger Mask was wowing everyone so he and Abdullah the Butcher put on a match that “changed the country overnight.”
Terry Funk and Dory Funk Jr. vs. Abdullah the Butcher and Some Guy- HUGE brawl. The Funks win due to an apparent DQ when the ref gets bumped.
Which veterans helped him? Amongst others, it was guys like Jose Lothario and Wahoo McDaniel but many guys came through the territory over the years and he learned from them.
What was his first “big match” where he got nervous? He got scared before his first match but still takes a “nervous piss” every now and then. He says it’s time to retire when you aren’t nervous before your matches anymore.
When did he think “Wow, I really made it!”? He tries not to because he’s never sure he can get over with that crowd each night. He feels he could look back at his career and say “DAMN I was good”, though.
His first tour of Japan- It was for Japan Pro Wrestling, right before New Japan and All Japan split off. The crowds were very different back then as it was all men and they’d all be wearing black because they’d come to the matches straight after work. They also used to be dead silent during matches but would loudly applaud after each match was done. He says he’s been there for quite a few changes and that one of them was forced, as business was down and they started pushing the Gaijin as faces.
Memories of his NWA title win- He went down to Miami to substitute for Dory Jr. “which worked out WONDERFULLY for me.” He ended up facing Jack Brisco and winning the belt. It meant a lot to him as it meant he was on top of the business at the time but it was bad in that he broke referee Sonny Meyer’s nose in several places by accident during the match. He calls Dory Jr. the best NWA champion ever because he’d go into a territory, wrestle a guy for an hour broadway (draw), and make them look better than they ever looked before.
What was it like being a world champion back then? There’s no comparison because you’d wrestle 310 times in a year, meaning you had no home life. Jack Brisco was champion for about three years and was completely worn out by the end of it. He says that the most unusual thing about losing the belt is the feeling you get when there aren’t people milling around you all the time, as you come back and there’s no one in the locker room or waiting for you outside the building by the time your match is done and you get to the locker room.
Gerald Brisco and Jack Brisco vs. Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk- This is poor-quality Florida footage joined in progress. Dory gets pinned after being waffled with a belt buckle. The Briscos beat on the Funks afterwards.
Title defenses- He used to love defending against Harley Race or any of the guys in Florida. He puts over Paul Boesch of Houston and Don Owen of Portland, Oregon, as the best payoff guys. He tries not to be caught up in the past too much because he wants to stay in the present.
Wrestling against Dory Jr. in Japan- “Toughest match I ever had” as he was completely blown up at the end of the match. The only reason the match happened was because Abdullah the Butcher had just jumped to New Japan. That was Bruiser Brody’s first tour there as he knew him and Stan Hansen from his football days at West Texas State.
Bruiser Brody- One of the first things he remembers about Brody was that he would run across the tops of a street full of parked cars for a whole block. He thinks he’d still be in the business if he was alive today and that ECW would be perfect for him. He’s still shocked to this day about Brody’s death.
Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk vs. Brusier Brody and Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka with Stan Hansen- Brody and Superfly win then Hansen kicks the crap out of Dory. All Hell then breaks loose as Giant Baba and others storm the ring to take on Hansen.
What was Giant Baba like as a booker? Actually, he and Dory were the bookers up until the mid-80s. Baba was very intelligent and easy to work for.
The famous tag matches with Abdullah the Butcher and The Sheik- The crowds were great and he knew the matches were great but didn’t know that the matches would have the lasting effect that they have.
The Sheik- “He’s a wildman, always has been. You’ve got a mirror of him right now in Sabu.” Frightening guy.
Jerry Lawler- When he met him, his first thoughts were “Where did this shady bastard come from?” He’s got a great mind for the business and has been VERY successful considering the area he came out of. He says that Lawler owning the territory and putting himself on top was nothing new, as Roy Shires, the promoter in San Francisco, once promoted himself as the top guy in his territory. Eddie Graham did the same thing in Florida. It was all a matter of trust and, frankly, who can you trust more than yourself? He can barely believe that Vince McMahon has made himself the big star of the WWF these days.
The Empty Arena match with Lawler- It didn’t draw for the next week’s match when they had it so it’s amazing that it’s been as influential over time as it has been. “The match lives forever but didn’t draw any money.”
Terry Funk vs. Jerry Lawler in an Empty Arena match- This is the match that inspired the Rock vs. Mick Foley Empty Arena match for the WWF title match on Halftime Heat, the WWF’s special presentation during the halftime of the Super Bowl in 1999. Funk submits to Lawler after attempting to stab him with a stick, which Lawler counters and accidentally causes Funk to stab himself in the eye.
Dusty Rhodes- Dusty was another West Texas State player, a second team guard while Terry was on the first team. Very charismatic. Dusty used to work at Dory Sr.’s gas station and would have to clean Terry’s car whenever he came for gas. One day, Dusty told him “Dat shure is a good-lookin’ car…Man, sum day I want to have a car just like it.” Dusty and Bobby Duncum Sr. used to sit in the balcony and watch the matches and both wanted to become wrestlers but the Funks refused to break them into the business, partially because Dusty was too fat. Dusty eventually went to Boston to play football in the Continental League and fast-talked the local wrestling promoter into believing that he had wrestled for the Funks. His first night, he wrestled for the “World’s Championship” and his opponent was trying to find out afterwards if Dusty had ever wrestled before because he was so green. Dusty then worked in Detroit before coming back to Amarillo.
Dick Murdoch- Great guy. He’d be doing well today if he was still around. “A tough son of a bitch.” Murdoch’s only workouts were wrestling matches seven nights a week. One of his big problems was that if you asked him a question, he gave you an honest answer. Example: Booker- “What’s wrong with my territory?” Dick- “It’s you, you stupid son of a bitch.” He wasn’t wrestling anymore or staying in shape near the end. Funk thinks that Dick wrestling a 35 minute match the week before he died after not being in shape for so long is what killed him.
Did he ever work for Vince McMahon Sr.- He worked for him in the 1970s along with Dory Sr. against guys like Johny Rodz. They’d cause the Puerto Rican fans to riot, which would get Vince McMahon Jr. to run down to the ring and tell them “You’ve got too much heat. STOP IT!”
Vince McMahon Jr- “He’s a survivor.” He’s not sure why but Vince just won’t give up. He thinks that Vince shouldn’t even be here anymore and yet he keeps succeeding.
Eric Bischoff- He doesn’t think anyone but Bischoff would have gone head to head with Vince, which paid off for him in a big way. Whenever you think something is done completely against the way that things should work, it can sometimes pay off in a big way.
Did he ever get so frustrated that he contemplated retirement? “Hell, I’ve retired 25 times.” He remembers at least one time where he thought he had enough to retire so he did, then a few months later he had to load up his family, board up the Double Cross Ranch, and drive down to Florida to wrestle because he was broke. "Instead of being a poor bastard, I was an eccentric bastard. It worked.”
His entry into the WWF in 1985- He made his big splash there by beating up ringman and accused pedophile Mel Phillips. He says he realized a lot further ahead of time than most promoters that cable was changing the business considerably and that he was better off selling out and working for Vince than he was putting money back into his business and fighting him. He was out in Hollywood working on TV at the time hearing all about Hulk Hogan from everyone, so he figured he could make some money there. He went to New York to meet with Vince and was signed as-is and not asked to become more muscular.
The WWF in 1985- The boys were totally out of control because of the road schedule, like 65 days on the road. It was big money but people burned out or did stupid things. Some guys cracked, such as Rick McGraw. McGraw cracked because he was a loner who didn’t have anyone to support him. Thus, when he went too far, there was no one to reign him back in.
Was it hard dealing with Hogan and Roddy Piper since they were mainstream celebrities? At the time he was there, both were over tremendously in the mainstream press but would still put on a good show each night.
Was it special when he wrestled Hogan on Saturday Night’s Main Event? He remembers wrestling him several times on the show because no one else would do jobs for him on TV because they thought it would hurt them.
What was it like wrestling Hogan all the time? He calls Hogan tremendously talented and smart but was much more concerned with the quality of his matches than the content. He says now that Hogan’s more interested in the content than the quality now. Terry explains that content is like having a full band out there while quality is having one instrument player where everyone is concentrating on what they play.
Junkyard Dog- He made huge money in the WWF because of his run against JYD in addition to his runs against Hogan. Everyone knew JYD had problems which were evident back then but that “we are the captains of our own ship.” He wished JYD didn’t have those problems. Very charismatic.
Wrestlemania 2 with Dory Jr. vs. JYD and Tito Santana- Bringing Dory in was Vince’s idea. The event wasn’t as big as it was supposed to be because Piper vs. Mr. T in a boxing match wasn’t a draw like it was supposed to be.
What would he have done differently if he booked back then? “I would have had more Terry Funk matches… what do you think Dusty Rhodes would have done?”
Using Jesse Barr as Jimmy Jack Funk- It was Dory’s idea but Terry could care less if they wanted to make a fake Funk.
Why did he leave the WWF in 1986? He was working so many days in a row that he wasn’t at home much. By the time Dory came in, he knew he was leaving soon.
Where did he go from there? He thought he had enough to retire on so he retired in the US and worked a little in Japan before his return to WCW in 1989. He thinks it is very important to take breaks from the business because it keeps you from wearing out your welcome.
Terry and Dory Jr. vs. the Road Warriors- This is early in LOD’s careers as they still have beards and look like the Powers of Pain. The match is thrown out as everyone starts brawling in the ring. A huge schmoz follows.
Piledriving Ric Flair after the title match at Wrestle War 1989- That was an unusual year as he’d broken his back before the Great American Bash 1989 title match with Flair but worked through it, got retired without knowing about it as he wasn’t told the Clash of the Champions “I Quit” match against Flair was his retirement match, etc. He found it disrespectful that WCW sent him to several doctors instead of taking his word. He also had some problems with Ric Flair at the time which he’s discussed elsewhere. He wasn’t told what was on the card until 5 minutes before the show even though he was supposed to be the producer. Even something like choking Flair with a sack was a problem with WCW because an executive flipped out and they couldn’t reshow it on TV again.
Was there a lot of pressure on the Bash 89 match? There was a lot of pressure on him to be the best he could be.
Sting- He either mishandled himself or was mishandled several time.
The talent in 1989 WCW- He’s not sure who paired him up with Gary Hart and Great Muta. Funk remembers Hart working Amarillo early in his career under the gimmick “Gay Gary Hart.” He liked teaming up with Muta.
Did they rush his matches with Sting? “Everything was rushed because it was a very crucial time in WCW.” He says he can knock Flair as much as he wants to but acknowledges that Flair had him brought into the company in 1989.
Leaving WCW- It was just time to go.
Funk’s Grill- It was the idea of Jim Herd, the WCW Vice President. The segment actually got over and he feels that they should have a segment like that today. He feels that you don’t necessarily have to have interaction with the crowd at the arena if you are capable of reaching the fans at home. He feels they need to be pre-taped and shown on the air. The interviews used to be for putting asses in seats but now it’s to pop a TV rating. The average person’s attention span is shorter this day as well.
Sidenote- I personally disagree but that’s because the interview segments and off-site vignettes are overdone these days. One night when I went to RAW, there was a Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam match for the Undisputed Title in the main event but it was hard to focus on it because they kept doing Booker T and Steve Austin off-site vignettes that never lead to anything. When stuff like that happens, it hurts you at house shows because you’ve conditioned the fans to want Sportz Entertainment and then you give them matches while the live crowd at TV tapings are unhappy because they could have seen most of what they saw on TV for free instead of having the special experience of watching something live in front of them.
Leaving All Japan- It was time for him to go.
FMW- He got in because of Onita, who was a one of Baba’s young boys and had patterned his style after Terry. Onita offered him an obscene amount to work a bomb match so he took him up on the offer. He was there when Onita’s All Japan career ended, as Onita had slipped after taking a bump at ringside because of a spilled drink and screwed up his knee badly. Baba released Onita, who quit the business for a few years before getting into promoting.
Terry Funk vs. Onita in an explosive barbed-wire rope match- This doesn’t really have a winner as both take bumps into the barbed wire, which then explodes, but Onita was covering Funk at the time that the timer expired and all the explosives at ringside went off.
Did he think FWM would get as hot as it did? Yes, although he wanted it to get hot just for the satisfaction of leaving a hot company in the US and helping a different company become big. He left for IWA after a falling out with Onita.
Was there heat over leaving for IWA? He was pissed at Onita for saying that they’d wrestle so many times in a year then announcing his retirement shortly thereafter. It did set up a match down the road when he returned to FMW.
Terry Funk and Mike Awesome vs. Hayabusa and Masato Tanaka- Funk cuts a pre-match promo about how Mr. Pogo was bought away from IWA by FMW. Awesome’s wearing some HUGE kneebraces and a lot of tape on his legs here. Big hardcore brawl. Awesome wins with a top-rope Awesome-bomb on Tanaka, then he and funk give Hayabusa one after the match for good measure. Funk cuts lengthy post-match promos about FMW between him ass-kickings given to Hayabusa and Tanaka by Funk, the Headhunters, Leatherface, and others.
IWA King of the Deathmatch Tournament- None of those matches were gimmicked… it was all real stuff. It was a rough night.
Terry Funk vs. Leatheface in a chain match- This is a part of the deathmatch tournament and is severely clipped. Funk wins after hitting some of his trademark “Fred Sanford jabs” on Leatherface.
Terry Funk vs. Tiger Jeet Singh- This is a semifinal match, which is a glass match although this match is joined in progress after Funk has already gone through the pane of glass. Funk wins after Cactus Jack’s interference backfires and he hits Singh with his own sword rather than Funk.
Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack in an exploding ring barbed-wire rope match- This is the finals of the deathmatch tournament. There are barbed-wire boards around the ring, some of which are hooked with explosives, which Jack and Funk take bumps on. There is a large explosion that is supposed to go off near the end of the match but it was a dud. The match ends after Jack hits several elbows off of a ladder onto Funk. Funk is driven off in an ambulance to end the show. This was a lot more watchable when it was on Stranglemania 1 and the Insane Clown Posse were doing commentary
The tournament final against Cactus Jack- The explosion was a BIG disappointment and the fans could read that on his face immediately afterwards. He and Jack stepped it up a bit afterwards by pulling out the ladder and doing a lot of other stuff.
His most memorable match with Cactus Jack- There was one 60,000 person indoor show where Cactus tried to set the ring on fire and, if he’d done it, the whole show would have been shut down. They were on seventh out of thirteen matches and Terry figures that if 60,000 were chased out of the building halfway through the show, neither of them would ever work in Japan again. The promoters were PISSED after that but were afraid of both Terry and Cactus. They just started slapping around any Japanese wrestler who didn’t appear capable of fighting back.
Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk- All we get are poor-quality clips of the show, mostly of Cactus poring lighter fluid on something and attempting to set it on fire but failing.
What injuries did he get from the deathmatch tournament? He was burned up pretty bad from that final match and cut up from the glass in the match before that. He says that the Wrestlemania 14 match he had was tougher though.
The Wrestlemania 14 dumpster match with him and Cactus vs. the New Age Outlaws- He was fine until he got powerbombed, at which point he hurt his back. He toughed it out until the match was over. No one else in the match knew how hurt he was at the time.
The New Age Outlaws- He thinks that Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are great talent. He thinks that Road Dogg has been limited by having to do the same lines over and over again rather than showing his creativity.
Joel Goodhart’s TWA- “Joel Goodhart was insane.” He’s book everyone and their grandmothers and there would be more people in the locker room than the arena.
Eddie Gilbert- He was deeply in love with Missy Hyatt and was very trusting but she left him. He was a great guy and was very smart.
Was it hard working for ECW after Paul Heyman took over and considering the way that Eddie left? He’s not sure what happened with Eddie and ECW but it did put pressure on him.
Impressions of ECW under Paul E at the time- Paul E had a great mind and there was all kind of stuff that they could have done but they focused on the violence rather than other things the Philly crowds hadn’t seen.
Terry Funk and Stan Hansen vs. Kevin Sullivan and Abdullah the Butcher- This is the same match from the Hansen shoot so I’m skipping it.
Sabu- He thinks he’s one of the best talents in the business but is very misunderstood. Big innovator in the business. “We never saw this stuff before… I don’t think the Mexicans ever saw this stuff before.” Both he and Cactus put their bodies on the line to make each match as good as they could make it.
ECW egos- The boys have pulled together and do what’s best for the company. The WWF is trying to do the same thing by having Dory run the Funkin Dojo to train up and coming talent.
ECW and the NWA title tournament- He figures the changeover from Eastern Championship Wrestling to Extreme Championship Wrestling came the first time he said “where’s the chair?”
Cactus Jack and Terry Funk vs. Public Enemy- This is the infamous segment where Funk asks a fan for a chair and everyone starts throwing chairs in the ring on top of Public Enemy.
The Funk vs. Sabu vs. Shane Douglas match- It was one of the greatest matches he’s ever been in. Shane Douglas is a great talent but most people don’t recognize his abilities.
End of tape 1
Terry Funk interview- This is from the 70s and he makes an open challenge to Mark Lewin or anyone else who can pin him. We also get some quick clips of his Japanese deathmatch days.
Jumping from ECW back to WCW- “That’s hard for ME to remember…”
Did he get heat from Vader for doing the moonsault when Vader was going to do it in the main event that night? He got heat from the office and was told not to do it again. Vader never said anything about it. He did it because few people were doing them at the time, such as Vader and the Japanese. He did it in Smokey Mountain against Bob Armstrong because Armstrong was on a pile of chairs and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Terry Funk vs. Bob Armstrong- This is a quick clip of the moonsault in question from SMW, which gets Funk the pin.
We also get a clip of Funk doing the moonsault in Japan in a match involving Cactus Jack and Mike Awesome.
Coming back to ECW with the Funk In The Box angle- It was Paul E’s idea and worked well. Everyone pretty much knew he was coming back but not how, which is how they swerved everybody.
Cactus Jack vs. Sandman- There is a box at ringside. Jack beats up Sandman, throws him in the box, then someone comes out of the box in an outfit that looks like Sandman’s… but it’s actually Terry Funk. Funk, Sandman, and DC Drake beat up on Cactus until Tommy Dreamer comes out for the save and also gets beaten down. Finally, Shane Douglas comes out and is about to give Cactus a shot with the ECW title when he hits Sandma instead.
How did he team up with Ian Rotten and Axl Rotten as Funk’s Few Good Men? “That was like one of Vince Russo’s deals… it didn’t last too long.”
Did it hurt his overness by working so many cities leading up to Barely Legal 97? Maybe, but he felt it was necessary in order to make ECW’s first ever pay per view a success.
Pressure due to Barely Legal- It was pressure on the time spent preparing it. It’s hard to get people to buy something for the first time. He was satisfied with the pay per view, as everyone had turned it up a notch that night.
ECW co-promoting with the WWF- The WWF did it at the time because they were in trouble and weren’t sure what was going to happen. The company isn’t in trouble anymore, though.
Brawl For All- It’s a stupid concept because it may or may not draw ratings and, even if it does, it can cause more problems down the road as you look back to the concept when you’re in trouble and start putting yourself out of business. People were cheering in the back when Bart Gunn knocked out “Dr. Death” Steve Williams because he was an underdog and those kind of things cause problems in the locker room. He’s not sure if any of the plans for Doc are out the window because of his loss. He also feels that if it was an amateur wrestling match or if he was not wearing gloves, Doc would not have lost. Terry predicted that Bart would win it all in the beginning because of the way that the rules were written, as it “suits the hungry guy” and Bart was hungry for success. It didn’t hurt that Bart could both box and wrestle.
The barbed wire match with Sabu- “That was one of the toughest matches I’ve ever been in.” He calls it, by far, the most dangerous match he’s ever been in.
Sabu vs. Terry Funk in a barbed wire match- This is for the ECW title and is on the ECW: Deep Impact DVD. Sabu wins the title by tying himself and Funk up with barb wire then pinning him. He won despite having to stop mid-match to close some of his wounds with duct tape and it still took about 5 minutes to dislodge both of them from the barbed wire after the match.
Crazy bumps- He was there at King of the Ring 1998 when Cactus Jack, as Mankind, took a huge dive off of the cage then getting a chokeslam through the roof of the cage. Cactus has never been the same since because of the fallout he had at home and the realization of how close he came to serious injury.
His “retirement match” in Amarillo- He brought in Bret Hart to be his final opponent because he’s always liked the Hart family and he was a great wrestler.
Terry Funk vs. Bret Hart- Terry is accompanied by Dory Jr. and the referee is another Amarillo wrestler, Dennis Stamp, who helped train Bret. Bret was the WWF champion at the time. The circumstances surrounding this match can be seen in Beyond The Mat. Bret wins with a German Suplex pin spot where he gets his shoulders up on three but Terry doesn’t. LONG match and pre-match ceremony.
Coming into the WWF as Chainsaw Charlie- The Chainsaw gimmick was his idea, despite all the thoughts that it was a dumb gimmick forced on him by WWF management. He also wrestled under a mask as Dr. Knows-it-all in Texas before. He thought that run in the WWF was very successful but it went from an expected four appearances to WELL over that amount.
Chainsaw Charlie vs. Some Japanese Guy- This is a hardcore brawl from Japan. The match ends in an apparent no-contest.
His brief 1997 run in the WWF- He was in the Royal Rumble and made one TV appearance on Shotgun Saturday Night where he wrestled Steve Austin and went on a tirade where he called Jim Ross “an Oklahoma asshole”, Vince McMahon “a Yankee bastard”, and Todd Petingill’s mother a whore. That was enough to end that particular run although it was nothing compared to the company’s new direction a year later. He wishes that he had gotten to wrestle Austin more often.
Steve Austin- He worked through a lot of years where he made no money and has stayed himself despite his success.
The differences between Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin as champion- He was never around Michael while he was a champion but he’s a great wrestler and has gotten along with him just fine. He figures that’s because both have a good relationship with Jose Lothario, who broke Michaels into the business. He wishes that Michaels had been in the 8-man tag match at No Way Out 1998 because he’d never wrestled him. He did have the pleasure of wrestling The Rock, though, which was a particular pleasure because he’d also wrestled High Chief Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson, The Rock’s maternal grandfather and father respectively.
Was it special to main event a WWF pay per view at his age? No, it was no more meaningful than being in FMW, ECW, or one of All Japan’s big shows.
Was there any truth to the rumor that his Wrestlemania match with Cactus Jack was going to be a barbed wire match? There was talk of it being barbed wire or a bomb match when the thought was that he’d only work four days, although he was glad they didn’t go through with it.
Public criticism of how he was used by the WWF- He had no problem putting Mark Henry over because Mark worked his ass off and they had a good match. He’s taking time off from the company now but he’s probably retired again except for a few runs in Japan, although he admits it may not last.
How did he get into acting? Sylvester Stallone brought him in to work on Paradise Alley and it took off from there. He’s proud of some of his work but not other things, such as Swamp Thing.
Does he watch wrestling on TV? He doesn’t watch much because you’re either watching someone do it badly and you think how much better you could do it or someone does it a LOT better than you do. He will watch when he’s preparing to come into a federation, such as ECW or the WWF, in order to get a feel for what’s going on. He also reads the Wrestling Observer News and says that Dave Meltzer is good at what he does.
Bill Goldberg- He looks impressive and says his push is one of the best moves WCW has made in forever.
WCW, celebrities, and Ultimate Warrior’s impending return- They’re at war with the WWF right now and the only two rules when you’re at war are to have no shame and to not be boring. As for wresting in general, he thinks it will continue to change over the next few years.
What would he have done if he never got into the business? “I would probably be a very rich man by now.”
Guys he’s trained at the Funk Ranch- Lots of wrestlers came through there, such as Dusty Rhodes, Brusier Brody, Stan Hansen, Merced Soleis (Tito Santana), Tully Blanchard, Stu Hart’s kids, Dennis Stamp, Tenryu, Sakaguchi, Jumbo Tsuruta, Bobby Duncum Sr., and others.
Ric Flair’s troubles with WCW- It’s hard to understand unless he looks at the whole situation. He thinks that people have to keep on the lookout more than they used to. People need to be VERY careful about taking time off these days because people like The Rock and Sable have become huge stars overnight since the WWF really took off.
Was there ever any tension between him and Dory Jr.? Not really, partially because Dory’s living in Florida while he’s stuck around Amarillo.
If he had to retire tomorrow and had to pick one wrestler to face in his last match, who would it be? He sarcastically suggests Bill Alphonso.
Are there any wrestlers he hasn’t faced that he wished he could have? Shawn Michaels, if he was hungry to work, would be a great opponent.
Advice to up and coming wrestlers? “Don’t give someone $3000 for nothing.” Think long and hard before you get into the business and do it because you love it instead of doing it as a living because it’s hard to make a living at it these days. Don’t spend your lifetime trying, though.
Did he ever scare his daughter’s dates when he was at home? Yes, he did it on purpose. At least two of them came back too much as they married his kids. He wishes he was a grandfather now but knows he can’t tell his kids that or it take even longer to have them.
Is there a specific reason that he didn’t work with New Japan for so long? He had no ties with Baba for a long time so there shouldn’t have been any heat over it.
Why did he never jump to New Japan? He was very loyal to Baba.
Did he ever feel that something he did would reflect badly on Dory? There was a little of that but, when he left, it was right for him to move on while Dory stayed because his style didn’t mesh with All Japan as well as Dory’s did.
World Class- He used to wrestle Fritz Von Erich a lot when he was NWA champion and wrestled some of the Von Erich kids a lot. David Von Erich was Dory’s protégé in Florida and knew a lot about the business, which makes it even more of a shame that he died so young.
Tommy Dreamer- He’s a great talent who has turned into one of the best in the country. Loyal soldier for Paul E. He has a lot of heart and is “a pleasure to have in the business.”
Terry Funk cuts a promo on Tommy Dreamer but it’s impossible to hear because it’s a fancam and the crowd noise is too loud. Terry kicks Dreamer’s ass afterwards.
Masato Tanaka and Hayabusa- Both are talented and have very different styles. It’s great for them to go to ECW because it freshens them up by taking them out of Japan. Paul made a great move by brining them in.
What does he think about Tod Gordon trying to jump to WCW along with a lot of ECW talent? He loves Tod to death but was shocked when he heard about it. He finds it funny that he’s working for Dennis Coralluzzo now (Dennis and Tod have had a long feud going back to the early days of ECW and the NWA title tournament where Shane Douglas threw down the belt). He feels that Tod will be in the business for years to come, though. He figures he’ll show up in ECW sooner or later.
Will he come back to ECW? Not for any particular length of time but he figures it will happen sooner or later.
FMW- He doesn’t think he’ll go back there because they’d have to make him an offer that he can’t refuse.
His big priority is getting the most money he can get for the least amount of days when he works in Japan because no one could pay him what he’d want to work there full-time.
Q+A with the callers-
Why weren’t the matches with him and Dory against Hansen and Brody ever brought to the US? No one could afford to do it, he thinks.
Does he find Brody and Cactus similar? “Not in size or form…” He does find their styles similar though.
Dory Funk Jr., Terry Funk, and Giant Baba vs. Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, and Terry Gordy- The match ends in a double countout as both teams brawl on the floor.
What was the worst bump he ever took he ever took in a deathmatch? In the barbed wire match with Sabu, he had barbed wire wrapped entirely around him and thinks it was possible to decapitate himself or cut his carotid artery when he fell.
Instead of a question, a caller thanks him for always giving it his all because everyone wants to see him keep going on, unlike a Hulk Hogan where everyone’s hoping it’s his last match whenever he wrestles.
We get some footage from earlier that day when he and Cactus Jack were doing a public appearance.
Opinions on Onita- He was a student of his, as in “he was one of the young boys in All Japan while I was there” and has wrestled him and wishes he was in the US’s first bomb match against him but it won’t happen. He changed the world of pro wrestling
Is there any chance he’ll be on RAW anytime soon? Not this week.
Why did he quit using the branding iron? He started using the chainsaw instead in the WWF because he thought it was a better instrument.
Did he mean to injure Mr. Pogo in the barbed wire glass match? He didn’t mean to injure him although he DID mean to throw him into the barbed wire, glass, and bed of nails. What happened was that Pogo caught a barbed wire net under his neck and broke it, and he’s rarely wrestled since then.
Terry Funk vs. Mr. Pogo in a barbed wire match- The match is stopped when Pogo can’t continue. Funk had spit fire at him, which caused him to take a bump onto a barbed wire pen at ringside. He broke his neck in the fall.
His best match against Cactus Jack- One of the best was the deathmatch championship. They had another great one in the WWF.
Terry Funk vs. Cactus Jack- This is an ECW match where Cactus challenges Terry to start the match brawling in the crowd. Cactus Jack wins with a double-armed DDT despite Sandman’s interference. Afterwards, Sandman canes the crap out of Cactus and then Funk attacks him with a flaming branding iron.
Is he going back to Japan? Yes, he’s going back this September for IWA where he’ll team with Great Sasuke against probably Kabuki and someone else.
Does he plan on coming back to ECW? He doesn’t have plans although if Paul E calls him up, he’d do it.
Will he train younger talent? He’ll let Dory do that, as he’s already running the Funkin’ Dojo for the WWF.
What companies is he working for? He’s currently working for the WWF and IWA and thinks he’ll work for ECW every now and again. He just hopes he doesn’t end up in WCW again.
Will he ever go back to FMW? If they pay him enough.
What’s his fondest memory in the NWA? Winning the title from Jack Brisco and seeing Dory Jr. win the belt from Gene Kininski.
Differences between WCW, ECW, and the WWF in business and treatment of the boys- ECW pays as much as they can and treats the boys well. WCW treats the boys “somewhat differently” as the top stars are treated great and the others aren’t. The WWF treats all the boys great.
Who’s his most difficult opponents? Abdullah the Butcher, Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor, Harley Race, "Iron Mike" Dibiase, The Rock, Giant Baba, Jumbo Tsuruta, and others were all tough.
What’s the best federation he’s worked for? All Japan, without a doubt.
How does he feel about the media’s coverage of wrestling? It’s a breath of fresh air as everyone’s paying attention to it and treating it as entertainment this time. He hopes the guys can make enough to retire on.
Is there anything in his career that he’d do differently? He’d have spent more time listening to his father.
Terry Funk vs. Some Japanese Guy- This is a poor-quality piece of footage of an NWA title defense by Terry in Japan. The finish comes on a cool spot where Terry tries to roll the guy up and they keep rolling around the mat until Terry can finally get the guy’s shoulders to the mat.
Terry Funk vs. Mark Lewin- This match is from Detroit. A football player hits Lewin in the head for the DQ to save Terry from losing.
Terry Funk and Cactus Jack vs. Some Japanese Guys- This is a hardcore deathmatch where Jack and Terry give guys spike piledrivers into stacks of chairs.
Thoughts- This is a solid interview all the way around as Terry talks about everything from his NWA days all the way up to his hardcore matches in ECW, FMW, IWA, and the WWF. The only problem is that nothing is really here to take it to the next level, so I’ll go with a rating of Recommended.