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10 Behind-the-Scenes Terry Funk Stories Fans Should Know

In his 52-year career, Terry Funk has done it all: found success as a singles competitor and tag team specialist, was NWA World Heavyweight Champion, competed in every major promotion , including several races in WWE, and retired countless times. It’s an incredible career even ignoring his 1990s reinvention as the “Hardcore Legend.”

RELATED: 10 Facts Fans Need To Know About Terry Funk

Such a long and storied career means there are plenty of Terry Funk behind-the-scenes stories and anecdotes worth knowing. Let’s take a look at 10 of those stories, including not only his own exploits, but also instances where he was a major influence on other wrestlers.

ten Cover yourself with engine oil

Super old-school fans may be aware of Terry Funk’s 1981 feud with Jerry “The King” Lawler in Championship Wrestling From Florida, leading to a match with a unique stipulation: the loser would be covered in oil. engine. In one infamous promo, commonly referred to as the “Florida Cracker” promo, Funk literally poured motor oil on his head in the middle of a speech.

Although it was a good idea, Funk regretted doing it, as the engine oil stinged his eyes and made promotion all the more difficult.

9 Helped Atsushi Onita

Ironically, Terry Funk helped pioneer the hardcore/deathmatch style that would redefine his career, and not just because of his violent matches. Sometime in the 1980s, Funk was visited at his ranch in Amarillo, Texas by a young Atushi Onita – a future hardcore innovator himself – who was a big fan of the legend.

Onita then became Funk’s protege, as the veteran aided the newcomer to the wrestling game by buying him a car and getting him bookings. This experience would result in Onita’s return to Japan and the launch of the first deathmatch promotion, Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling.


8 Encourages Hulk Hogan to go to WWE

Fans may recall that Terry Funk clashed with Hulk Hogan on Saturday night’s main event in 1986, but they may not have known that the Funker was also partly responsible for Hogan’s presence in the first place. Prior to becoming The Hulkster, Hogan was an up-and-comer working as Terry “The Hulk” Boulder or Sterling Golden in various Southern promotions.

RELATED: 10 Facts Fans Should Know About Hulk Hogan’s Pre-WWE Career

However, in the late 1970s, Hogan considered quitting the business and pursuing something else. Before he could, however, Funk approached him and recommended he meet Vince McMahon Sr., getting a job with WWE in the process.

seven Hurt Ric Flair’s neck

One of Terry Funk’s top rivals in the late 1980s was Ric Flair, with whom Funk had two classic matches in 1989. But at some point, the build-up to their title match nearly went horribly wrong. In one of their first segments of this feud, Funk attacked Flair and drove the Nature Boy through a table.

While some mistakenly credit it as the first instance of someone being driven through a table, it has notoriety that Flair’s landing would have been awkward enough to injure his neck, which they incorporated into the script.

6 I got in trouble for strangling Flair

In the main event of Clash of Champions 8 TV Special, Ric Flair and Sting pulled off a DQ victory over Dick Slater and The Great Muta, after which Terry Funk attacked Flair. Although it looks like standard pro wrestling fare, the attack gained notoriety when Funk attempted to strangle his rival by putting a plastic bag over Flair’s head.

Reportedly, many viewers called to complain to TBS, and the footage went unseen for a long time after the initial airing. Senior WCW officials were angry at the incident, which Funk’s manager Gary Hart willingly took responsibility for.

5 Joke on Rick Martel

Of course, every professional wrestler’s life involves mishaps and mishaps on the road, and Funk is no different. As they drove through Florida, future Four Horsemen manager JJ Dillon and his partner Roger Kirby noticed Terry Funk and Rick Martel speeding past in another car only to stop some distance in front of them.

Martel got out of the car, dancing naked, but the joke was on him, as Funk jerked away. In the ensuing confusion, Martel lost a ring of sentimental value, so the other three wrestlers had to help him find the lost ring – just when it began to storm.

4 Helped develop The Mankind vs. Undertaker Hell in a Cell Match

Mick Foley (aka Cactus Jack aka Mankind) was one of Terry Funk’s biggest partners and rivals in the 1990s, but fans might not know that Funk played a part in one of Terry Funk’s greatest moments. Foley’s infamous. While preparing for his big Hell in a Cell match against The Undertaker, Foley and Funk were watching the first Hell in a Cell from the previous year, looking to top the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker classic.

RELATED: Hell In A Cell: 10 Facts Fans Should Know About Humanity & The Undertaker Classic

It was Funk who suggested the match start at the top of the cell, and as the two continued to talk about what could be done in that environment, Foley was determined to perform what would become his famous drop from the top of the cage.

3 Was asked to become WWE’s Head of Reservations

In 1993, Terry Funk was a nearly 30-year veteran in the wrestling business, and WWE approached the 49-year-old for a pretty big opportunity: to become the promotion’s head booker. The idea was that Funk would take the place of Pat Patterson, who was head of bookings at the time, following his participation as one of Jerry Lawler’s “knights” in a Survivor Series match.

However, the number of trips it took to arrange the reunion – going from his ranch in Texas to New York – was enough for him to decide that night that a backstage job at WWE was not for him.

2 The story of the horse

The next morning after the above meeting, Terry Funk decided to leave town and dodge the offer, leaving an excuse by note to Vince McMahon that he had a sick horse on his ranch to tend to.

Funk escaped to Texas, ignoring airport pages along the way which were presumably from WWE. Funk would eventually return to WWE in 1997, when he met Vince McMahon, who asked him about his horse.

1 Deter Tommy Dreamer from getting shot

Funk’s 1990s home of Extreme Championship Wrestling was known for pushing the envelope with risque content and in-ring violence, but some ideas were too extreme even for ECW. At one point, Tommy Dreamer actually offered to have a sniper shoot him in the shoulder during a promo, which Paul objected and urged Terry Funk to support.

Funk explained that his father, Dory Funk Sr., once got shot during a match, and that it killed wrestling’s credibility in the territory, because a wrestling match — even a Texas Deathmatch — doesn’t is not an appropriate escalation of attempted murder.

NEXT: 10 Greatest Games Of Terry Funk’s Career, Ranked

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