#50: Terry Funk

Real Name: Terrence Funk
Other Aliases: Chainsaw Charlie
Biggest Fan: Joe Timmins

One of the most-influential brawlers in wrestling history, Terry Funk has emerged as the most famous of one of the sport's preeminent families. The son of Dory Funk, Sr. and brother to Dory (Hoss) Funk, Jr., Terry has been competing since 1965 and has stated he "never really truly will retire" from wrestling. It would probably take ten blog entries to adequately explain and describe all that Terry has done in and for sports entertainment. Unfortunately, we'll have to limit ourselves to the highlights (readers eager for more can rent Beyond The Mat, or Road House or Over The Top, for that matter).

During the early stages of Terry's career, he captured the NWA Heavyweight Championship (a title his brother had previously held as well) from the legendary Jack Brisco in 1975. He would not relinquish this title until 1977, dropping it to "Handsome" Harley Race. Success in Japan followed, as Terry and his brother would become the inaugural champions of the "World's Strongest Tag Team League", which was an annual round-robin tournament featuring some of wrestling's most legendary performers. The Funk Brothers won the tournament again in 1979 and again in 1982!

Terry and Dory ended up in the World Wrestling Federation in 1985, wrestling mostly as a tag team, and scoring an impressive win at WrestleMania 2 over the duo of Junkyard Dog (see #51 below) and Tito Santana (below at #65). The Funks, and Terry in particular, didn't spend a long while in the WWF. Terry has admitted to disliking Vince McMahon, and so most of his successes took place away from the world's most famous promotion.

At age 45, you might think that Terry Funk's best years in wrestling were behind him. You would be dead wrong. In 1989, Funk found himself back in the NWA battling Ric Flair for the NWA Heavyweight Championship that he'd lost a dozen years earlier. This rivalry was, according to both of the premiere wrestling publications of the time (Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Wrestling Observer Newsletter), the feud of the year for 1989. Additionally, at Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout (held in Troy, NY, the most terrifying city in the nation), an "I Quit" match between the two of them was deemed a "5-Star Match" by Dave Meltzer. Terry, himself, won Wrestling Observer's awards for Best Heel, Best Brawler and Best on Interviews in 1989. Also during this feud, Terry Funk nearly suffocated Ric Flair in the ring with a real plastic shopping bag; that just had to get mentioned.

That still wasn't the end for Terry Funk. In 1994, he legitimized the fledgling Eastern Championship Wrestling promotion by competing there and was one of the key reasons for the explosion of success they would experience in the 1990s. At the first ECW pay-per-view event, Barely Legal, Terry Funk became ECW's World Heavyweight Champion by defeating Raven. It took a match with barbed wire ring ropes for Funk to lose that title on August 9, 1997, but a month later he was awarded a championship belt (bought to him by the ECW roster) and declared Lifetime ECW World Heavyweight Champion.

Funk, inducted into almost every professional wrestling hall of fame there is, revisited the WWF as Chainsaw Charlie in 1997, returned to ECW in 1998, and formed the Old Age Outlaws in WCW to feud with the nWo in 2000. This millennium has seen a WCW U.S. Heavyweight Title reign, a pair of WCW Hardcore Title reigns, and appearances in the WWE, TNA, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling for the legendary superstar from The Double Cross Ranch. With 45 years of wrestling under his belt, Terry Funk has seen it all, and probably deserves to be a Top 20 superstar. But our experts have spoken and here sits Terry Funk at #50.

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