Yesterday, the wrestling world lost Terry Funk.
Originally from Hammond, Indiana, Funk and his older brother Dory Funk Jr. followed in their father’s footsteps by entering the professional wrestling business. Originally a staple in the Amarillo, Texas, Funk’s success spread across the globe from the biggest promotions in the United States, Japan, and Puerto Rico.
There will never be another Terry Funk.
Below are three matches that define Funk’s lengthy, iconic career.
Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk: Clash of the Champions IX
The pinnacle of both Flair and Funk’s career took place in 1989. The summer-long feud tore apart WCW, climaxing at Clash of the Champions in November with a brutal, violent I Quit Match. A complete departure from the glossy, cartoonish aspect of the WWF at the time, this match shows Funk completely in his element.
Terry Funk vs. Carlos Colon: September 21, 1986
Carlos Colon was the Hulk Hogan of Puerto Rico. He was an icon and a part of the fabric of the country. Funk, was not. Funk was an evil invader who was looking to permanently injure the nation’s hero. What ensued was more Funk-branded violence.
Terry Funk & Dory Funk Jr. vs. Abdullah the Butcher & The Sheik: December 5, 1977
Terry Funk was a superstar in Japan. He changed the wrestling industry there. Initially embraced as a form of nationalism in a depleted World War II, the first 20 years of Japanese wrestling featured Japanese heroes vs. foreign invaders. Then, the Funk Brothers came along. They were so beloved that they became heroes and eventually expanded the industry beyond the rigid nationalistic view that it was built on. The match between Terry, Dory, Abdullah, and The Sheik marked the finals of All Japan Pro Wrestling’s inaugural Real World Tag League. This tournament would later come to symbolize peak athleticism in wrestling, but Terry Funk wasn’t an athlete. This was a bloody brawl that propelled Funk into superstardom.