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Terry Funk Interview

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On the day that the Philadelphia Phillies were making their return to the World Series after an absence of 15 years, I had the opportunity to talk to the man that helped make wrestling in Philadelphia a very special place in the ‘90s, the legendary Terry Funk.

Officially, I was to talk to him about an upcoming wrestling convention on November 1 in New York City but we spoke about many different topics in this interview that I hope is as fun for you to read as it was for me to partake in. In all the interviews I have done, no wrestler has been able to make me laugh as hard and as many times as Terry did in this interview.

Eric: What have you been up to lately?

Terry Funk: What am I up to? I’ll tell you what I am up to. I’m going to the World Series tonight and I am not going to yell for the Tampa Bay Rays. I am a Phillies boy. I am a Philly fan. I love the food up there. I love the people up there. Hell, that’s ECW country. I’ve got to scream and holler for the Phillies tonight, that’s for darn sure.

Eric: Talking about Philly, you’ve had a lot of great memories up there. What is your favorite memory from your time working for ECW?

Terry Funk: Oh gosh, there were so many different times up there. Some of them are notoriously remembered and some of them are just wonderful memories. You know, when I was up there and won the championship that was a great thrill to me. It really was. And seeing the guys, just seeing that whole organization, start from a pittance, just a puddle in the road, and then becoming big enough to be recognized by Vince McMahon, the guru and king of professional wrestling, and also the idiot.

Eric: What was the bigger thrill for you, when you won ECW title or when you won the NWA World Championship?

Terry Funk: Well. Different times, different places. Honestly, the NWA was probably the biggest thing that ever happened to me because it was just after my father had passed away. He had only passed away a couple of years earlier than that. It was a great thing to win that in Florida and be recognized throughout the world. ECW was a great thing because it was the start of something that was good. Not necessarily big but good. You always say “it was the start of something big”. Well this was the start of something good. It was the start of an organization that grew to something that had a lot of my friends that were intertwined within it.

Eric: I have always wondered, how did the branding iron become your weapon of choice?

Terry Funk: Because I am a bad hombre from the state of Texas. Meaner than a rattlesnake, tougher than shoe leather, more dangerous than a hollowed-eyed scorpion, middle-aged and crazy, crazy like a fox. That’s why. No, but that is why.

It was a part of my repertoire back then. You’re looking to being different and that is the truth of the matter. How can you be different? Well, you light a branding iron up and you brand them on the butt. What can be better than that? You know that’s quite different.

Eric: You were one of the few wrestlers to have been a part of the WWE during both the ‘80s Rock-n-Wrestling Era and the ‘90s Attitude Era. From a wrestler’s perspective, what was the biggest difference for you between those eras and which did you enjoy better?

Terry Funk: To me the eras, it is more the people you were with at that time. It really is. I probably liked the earlier era because I was with a bunch of guys that were my friends. And then I didn’t like it for some reason. Some of the reasons were competing against the same guy every night. I did a 65 day run up there and I probably wrestled the Junkyard Dog 58 of those 65 nights and that is no fooling. It was a good time to be up there but that part was not so good. It was a very time consuming profession at that time.

The other time was good. I’d have to pick the other time I’d guess because of Mick Foley. Being up there with Mick and doping some of the stuff that we did up there. Mick and I just got along and had some great road trips. You know, I had a lot of laughs and a lot of good times.

Eric: So what is your most memorable Mick Foley road trip story?

Terry Funk: When we went into a restaurant one night, some guy comes up and says: “Mick, Mick, What are you doing?” I was getting ready to go check into the hotel and pay for the hotel room and the guy says “Mick, Why don’t you come over to my house and stay over there?” Hell, we didn’t know this guy from Adam and Mick says OK and stays over there for nothing because he is a cheap-ass anyhow. So, he goes there and stays over there for nothing. So the next day, I go over to Mick and say “Mick are you nuts. That could have been Jack the Ripper. You don’t know who in the hell that was”. He goes “Nah, Nah, Nah, Nah.” He got a free night. Mick’s nuts like that. That’s just a short road story though.

Well, Mick’s a little bit crazy. I remember when we were in Japan, he went ahead and this one Japanese guy came up to me. He said, “Oh, Lookey here.” He’s got his clothes on but he’s got Mick Foley’s underwear on. I said “Where did you get those?” He said “Mick Foley, he sell to me.” Hell, Mick sold him his underwear for 3,000 yen, $20 or $30 bucks or something like that. That was Mick. He was always looking to make a buck.

Great guy to be with on the road, he really is. And he really understands the world. If you travel with him you’d laugh your ass off. Anybody would, you’d have a great time with him.

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