I read a tweet from Ric Flair last night. In it, he broke the news that Terry Funk had passed away.
Another legend has left us.
Funk had a wrestling career that spanned decades and many, many generations. His style evolved with the times thus proving he was ahead of the curve.
I was about to write that 'I first came across Funk when I was first interested in American professional wrestling in the late 80s', but that technically isn't true.
Terry Funk appeared in two movies I watched BEFORE I became a fan of the US-side of wrestling. He was in two Sylvester Stallone films I watched a lot when I was a child Paradise Alley and Over The Top.
There was also that episode of Quantum Leap when Sam leaped into the body of a professional wrestler working the territories. Funk appeared in that episode as one of the antagonists (although I would have seen this after knowing who Funk was).
When it comes to wrestling, however, I would have first found Funk in the NWA/WCW (Jim Crockett Promotions) to start off with. However, the company I absolutely loved seeing him in was Extreme Championship Wrestling. At that time, he was in the latter years of his career but was working some insane matches for that hardcore company.
Speaking of insane matches - his trips to Japan during that period, to work for Atsushi Onita, are also legendary.
As I said, he adapted his style to be relevant in the 90s era.
God, I miss that period of pro wrestling. Terry Funk was a huge part of that time. You really cannot mention ECW without thinking of what Funk did for its rise in popularity.
In an eerie coincidence, I am currently reading Tod is God by Tod Gordon. The author is the person who first created ECW. Can you guess who wrote the intro to the autobiography? Yep - The Funker!