Terry Funk's extreme claim to Fame
In its 16-year history, the WWE Hall of Fame has welcomed ring pioneers of all types -- from mat technicians to giants to all-around icons. But on April 4, 2009, for the first time ever, the Hall will be taken to the extreme.
Establishing a new "ECW"-emblazoned wing in the venerated Hall will be former ECW Champion Terry Funk, who has been announced as an inductee along with his brother, Dory Jr. A hardcore marvel and one of the toughest individuals to ever cross the ropes, Funk is the first ECW Champion to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Funk's inclusion will be a shared triumph for countless former Extremists, past and present.
"Terry Funk is the godfather of hardcore wrestling; he put ECW on the map when it was in its infancy," Tommy Dreamer explained. "Most importantly to me, Terry Funk is my mentor and friend. He gave me my greatest advice ever when I was struggling in the early days of ECW."
The simple, yet emphatic advice was for Dreamer to be himself and the fans would respect him. Even now, years after sharing a locker room with Funk, Dreamer stays true to this guidance, using it as nourishment in his current chase to reclaim the Land of the Extreme's prized gold.
"I haven't stopped being me," Dreamer added, "It is an honor to have a new wing in the WWE Hall of Fame opened, the ECW World Champions section -- and it will start with Terry Funk being where he belongs." (Read Dreamer's full comments on WWE Universe)
Fellow ECW Original and former ECW Champion Tazz agreed with Dreamer's sentiments, citing Terry Funk's tremendous influence in the extreme arts, not to mention the squared circle at large.
"Terry was always there during the ECW days to get advice from or help guide me and other young wrestlers in the correct direction," Tazz revealed. "I realized then how lucky we all were to have a legend on our roster."
He continued, "I am personally very excited that ‘The Funker,' along with his brother Dory, will be inducted in the highly decorated WWE Hall of Fame. I will be lucky enough to be there when it happens."
It will be roughly 12 years to the date of his 1997 ECW Title victory when Terry Funk joins the likes of Harley Race, Pat Patterson, Ric Flair and countless others in WWE's prestigious forum. More than a decade later, the individual who provided the play-by-brutal-play for the bout can vividly recall the weapon-strewn encounter, but also the critical role that Funk played in his entry into the four-corned realm of entertainment.
"Terry told me that he could see I had passion and that I should never hold back that passion when calling matches," Joey Styles divulged. "[He] also legitimately strangled me on ECW TV…" (Read Styles' full comments on WWE Universe)
Though his interests have somewhat diverted to the digital forum, the original voice of ECW spoke fondly of the aggressive Texas warrior, who will be enshrined along with his brother on the eve of WrestleMania.
Blood spilled and tears poured, ECW's first Hall of Fame representative proudly marches his way in -- branding iron possibly in tow. Join the WWE Universe for the historic event, the 2009 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, live at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas -- the very state where the Brothers Funk began their notorious careers years ago.