Terry Funk Passes Away

The legendary NWA and ECW World champion was 79

Terry Funk, former NWA and ECW World Heavyweight champion, renowned as one of the most gifted, compelling, and toughest professional wrestlers of all time, over a career that spanned six decades, passed away on Wednesday, at the age of 79.

News of Funk's passing was made by longtime friend and opponent Mick Foley, who tweeted"Terry Funk is gone. I just talked to Terry’s daughter, Brandee, who gave me the awful news. He was my mentor, my idol, one of the closest friends. He was the greatest wrestler I ever saw. If you get the chance, look up a Terry Funk match or a Terry Funk promo, and give thanks that this incredible man gave so much, for so long, to so many. There will never be another like him. May God bless Terry, his friends, family and all who loved him. RIP my dear friend - it was an honor to know you."

The son of Dory Funk Sr and brother of Dory Jr, Funk began his career in 1965. Despite announcing his retirement on seemingly dozens of occasions beginning in 1983 (which had become something of a running gag in the wrestling world), Funk wrestled off and on into 2017, marking 52 years as an active wrestler in some form.

In his long career, Funk wrestled for promotions such as WWE, WCW, All Japan, ECW, IWA Japan, FMW, and numerous NWA-affiliated territories, including Stampede, Florida, Georgia, St. Louis, Memphis' Continental, and Detroit's Big Time Wrestling. Funk also promoted in his native Amarillo, TX (home of The Double Cross Ranch, where he was specifically billed as hailing from throughout his career).

Among his in-ring achievements, Funk held the NWA World Title for 14 months from December 1975 to February 1977. At age 52, Funk won the ECW World Title in the main event of ECW's first pay-per-view, Barely Legal, in April 1997.

Outside of singles world titles, Funk won top territorial championships throughout the seventies and eighties, and on three occasions won All Japan's World's Strongest Tag Determination League with brother Dory.

Notable rivals throughout his career include Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Dick Murdoch, Stan Hansen, and Jack Brisco, among many others. Funk was also considered a foundational star for ECW in its early days, providing a veteran anchor, and earning notice for his three-way feud with Shane Douglas and Sabu.

Funk is a member of numerous Halls of Fames, including the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (1996 charter class), WWE (2009), NWA (2009), International Professional Wrestling (2021), the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall (2010), among others.

Cultaholic extends its condolences to Mr. Funk's family and friends.

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Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.