Terry Funk Death – Undisclosed Causes

Terry Funk wears the ECW World Championship

1944-2023 (Age 79)

Terry Funk, a second-generation grappler who competed over six decades. The tough-as-nails Texan came from a wrestling family but never rested on his laurels whether he was a rookie or a grizzled veteran.

Funk could do it all—work technical matches, go hardcore, and change his style to meet whichever promotion called upon him to work his magic.

The son of wrestler Dory Funk Sr., Terry was born in 1944. Terry and his brother Dory Jr. eventually entered the wrestling world, starting out in their father’s promotion Western State Sports before working in other territories.

A Who’s Who of Opponents

Terry Funk wrestled from 1965 to 2017, competing against a who’s who of wrestlers from multiple generations—Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Dusty Rhodes (who Funk famously called an “egg-sucking dog”), Jerry “The King” Lawler, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Cactus Jack, Sabu, Tommy Dreamer, The New Age Outlaws, and so many more.

Funk was also involved in many iconic matches whether it was his Empty Arena Match against Jerry Lawler, his No Ropes Barbed Wire Exploding Barbed Wire Boards & Exploding Ring Time Bomb Death Match against Mick Foley at 1995’s IWA Kawasaki Dream, and his epic performance at ECW’s first pay-per-view Barely Legal where he captured the ECW World Heavyweight Championship.

Two Bad Brothers

Terry Funk with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

Terry often teamed with his brother and the pair found success in various promotions, including numerous successful tours of Japan. Unsurprisingly, the Funks won tag team gold in many territories.

They also are the only brothers to have held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The Funks also crossed paths with another famous pair of brothers—Jack and Jerry Brisco.

Jack (who Terry defeated for the NWA World Championship) and Jerry (who held the NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship) gave the Funks some of their toughest matches.

Middle-Aged and Crazy

By 1989, Funk could easily have retired, resting on his many accolades. Instead, he was just getting warmed up. Funk was working as a judge for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match between Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair when he challenged Flair to a title match.

Flair had just regained the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and politely brushed off Funk’s request for a match. Finally, Flair told Funk he wasn’t a top-ten contender. An enraged Funk attacked Flair, culminating in a shocking moment where he piledrived the champion on top of a table, a spot rarely seen at the time.

This led to an epic feud with Flair that saw Funk admit he was “middle-aged and crazy.” Not only that but he was violent, at one point placing a plastic bag over Flair’s head in an effort to suffocate him. This led to a classic “I Quit” Match at WCW’s Clash of Champions IX special, with Flair forcing Funk to quit.

Not Only Said It All, Done It All

In a world full of men and women who lived colorful lives, Terry Funk stood out among his peers. Not only did he hold many titles and work against a who’s who of opponents, but he also competed across the globe and lent his experience to anyone willing to learn.

He also transcended wrestling, appearing in TV and film including roles in movies such as Paradise Alley, Over the Top, and Road House. Funk left a legacy that few wrestlers can compare to, as seen by his inductions into various wrestling Halls of Fame around the world including the WWE Hall of Fame.

Later Years

Terry Funk’s years in the ring took its toll on his body. Nevertheless, he continued wrestling into his 70s. Sadly, while he worked through his physical limitations, he later found himself stricken with a devastating mental disease.

In 2021, professional wrestler Don Muraco revealed that Funk was suffering from dementia. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson confirmed this, reporting:

“Terry has been dealing with issues for some time that have gotten progressively worse over the last year in the wake of the passing of his wife Vickie.”

Terry Funk Death

On August 23, 2023, Terry Funk died at age 79. He is survived by his brother Dory Funk Jr.

No details surrounding the cause of Terry Funk’s death have been made public at the time of this article.

Other pro wrestlers who died in 2023 include “Superstar” Billy Graham, Bray Wyatt, Mantaur, Butch Miller, Jay Briscoe, Jerry Jarrett, and “Leaping” Lanny Poffo.

What are your favorite memories of Terry Funk? Let us know in the comments below.