Hardcore legend and WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Terry Funk has died. He was 79.
Funk’s mentee and fellow Hall of Famer Mick Foley confirmed his passing Wednesday on X, the app formerly known as Twitter. A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.
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“Terry Funk is gone. I just talked to Terry’s daughter, Brandee, who gave me the awful news,” Foley wrote. “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,” his statement continued. “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. #RIPTerryFunk”
Legendary wrestler Ric Flair also paid tribute to Funk, writing, “In my entire life, I’ve never met a guy who worked harder. Terry Funk was a great wrestler, entertainer, unbelievably fearless, and a great friend! Rest in Peace my friend, Terry Funk, knowing that no one will ever replace you in the world of professional wrestling!”
Funk made his wrestling debut in 1965 at his father Dory’s promotion Western State Sports, and spent the next few decades battling the likes of Jerry Lawler, The Sheik and Abdullah The Butcher on the indy circuit.
In 1985, he made his first WWE televised appearance on Championship Wrestling (WWE’s first national broadcast which aired on syndication from 1971 to 1986), where he defeated Aldo Marino in singles competition.
Funk joined WCW in 1989 and had a legendary feud with Ric Flair that culminated with their memorable “I Quit” match at Clash of the Champions IX. He later joined the Stud Stable and feuded with Dustin and Dusty Rhodes as well as the Nasty Boys.
In 1993, he joined ECW and competed in career-defining matches as a hardcore wrestler — including a barbed wire match against Sabu at Born to Be Wired — which helped bring national attention to that violent style of wrestling.
Over the course of his multi-decade career, in promotions such as TNA, WWE, All Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor, he’s fought the likes of Bret Hart, Cactus Jack, protegeè Tommy Dreamer, Triple H and many more.
Funk is a former ECW World Heavyweight Champion (2x), ECW Television Champion and WWE Tag Team Champion (with Cactus Jack). In 2009, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
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