The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana
Episode 312 – Terry Funk
Release Date: August 4, 2016
Report by Chris Davidson
– “Dream guest” Terry Funk talks about his storied career in the ring.
– Terry Funk opens up about recording a record in Japan, and his movie career.
– Colt Cabana details his humbling experience at London Comic Con.
0:00 – Introduction
6:01 – Song of the week
10:14 – Terry Funk interview
14:35 – Terry Funk talks his first run in WWF
17:43 – Terry Funk talks growing up
22:20 – Terry Funk talks about various stages of his career
31:51 – Terry Funk talks Japan
38:51 – Terry Funk talks about his singing career and “Forever” speech
43:38 – Terry Funk talks his wrestling style
46:20 – Terry Funk talks acting
50:49 – Terry Funk talks “Beyond the Mat”
57:17 – Colt wraps up the show
1:00:41 – Easter Egg
0:00 – Introduction – Colt opened the show noting that he is in Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, before segueing into a Terry Funk impression. Colt called himself out for a subpar impression, and promised his comedy shows are not just him doing bad impressions. Colt brought up last week’s guest, Sabu, as someone he called an icon of independent wrestling, and that Terry Funk also represents working the independents and very small shows. Colt mentioned that, during the interview, he initially tried to move the conversation forward and ended up talking over Funk, so he tried to stop doing that when he noticed.
Colt called Funk a “dream guest” before talking about the time he is spending at the Fringe Festival with various comedians. Colt brought up a recent appearance at London Comic Con, and said that he learned how unpopular he was sitting between Ted DiBiase and Jim Duggan. Colt mentioned the fans that came up and spoke to him, and said that he appreciated it. Colt joked about being in a green room with Carl Weathers, “Napoleon Dynamite” (Jon Heder), and the little girl from the Netflix show “Stranger Things.” Colt teased the new few episodes being live shows, and encouraged fans to listen to them.
6:01 – Song of the week – The song of the week this week is “The Great Texan” by Terry Funk featuring Jimmy Hart.
10:14 – Terry Funk interview – Colt opened the interview with a quick story about winning over Tommy Dreamer taking a bump on a DDT from Terry Funk. Colt said that was the first time he met Funk, and Funk said that he kept hearing about Colt, but they only crossed paths a few times. Colt called Funk an “independent spirit” and Funk agreed that he wanted to do his own thing. Funk said that he got that attitude from his dad, and from running a territory for 25 years before WWE went national. Funk saw the rise of WWE coming, and noted that that’s just how the business evolved, and that “it had to happen.” Funk knew that a national territory could only come from Los Angeles or New York because of the easy access to television. Colt asked if Funk could see a national promotion coming from Texas, and Funk compared WWE’s rise to Wal-Mart wiping out small businesses.
14:35 – Terry Funk talks his first run in WWF – Colt asked about Funk being in WWF in the 1980s. Funk said he didn’t like going to New York because the city was too big, and it took him a long time to get from his hotel to Vince McMahon’s office. Funk skipped out on seeing Vince, leaving a note that his horse was sick, and McMahon asked about his horse the next time they ran into each other. Colt asked if Funk felt any different wrestling in WWF, compared to doing his own thing. Funk called his run “a good run”, but he came from a different upbringing which made it difficult.
17:43 – Terry Funk talks growing up – Colt asked about Funk’s upbringing. Funk said that he grew up on a ranch, and wrestled and played football through high school. Funk played college football, but his first love was wrestling, which is why he started amateur wrestling at age four. Funk remembered his father promoting shows, but also beating people up in restaurants who said wrestling was fake. Funk called his father a “great shooter” who went to Indiana University, and would have accomplished more if not for World War II. Funk touched on the evolution of pro wrestling, calling today’s wrestlers great athletes and performers. Funk said wrestling has always been what the people want it to be, so it keeps evolving.
22:20 – Terry Funk talks about various stages of his career – Colt asked how conscious Funk was about the various “reincarnations” of his career. Funk joked that he was a “foolish idiot”, but he’s happy to be living the dream he’s had his whole life of being a pro wrestler. Funk agreed that he has evolved with the times, and said that he brought death matches to Japan, and created “I Quit” matches, continually pushing new boundaries. Colt asked where these ideas came from, and Funk said he’s a “goofball,” so somewhere in his mind. Funk noted that his father called himself “King of the Death Matches,” and mentioned a 4 hour and 12 minute match between his dad and Mike DiBiase that ended in a draw because the town had a curfew and everyone had to leave. Funk said that falls didn’t count in a Texas Death Match, so they had around 40 falls and kept going, before getting in a fight in town while they were going to the hospital for injuries. Both Funk’s dad and DiBiase got arrested, and Funk called it a pretty good angle.
Colt asked about Funk’s father using a gun in a match, which Tommy Dreamer wanted to do until he heard it had been done before. Funk said his dad didn’t do it, but one of the wrestlers did want to shoot someone during a match, and his dad had to turn it down. Funk praised his dad and brother for caring about strong wrestling. Funk said he had wrestled hundreds of hour long matches with great wrestlers including Harley Race and Wahoo McDaniel while he was the NWA champion. Funk’s goal was to go in the ring with someone for an hour, so the next week they could be better without him there. In Funk’s mind, that’s what a champion does, but it wasn’t how the older wrestlers at the time felt or did. Funk went on a mini rant about the Kimura Lock being just a wrist lock, before he said he loves MMA. Funk doesn’t like that they renamed a wrist lock a Kimura because it wasn’t invented in Japan, and he joked it was likely invented by monkeys a long time ago.
31:51 – Terry Funk talks Japan – Colt brought up Japan, and Funk praised his t-shirt designer. Colt asked about Funk’s first time going to Japan. Funk talked about the “serious battles” with Antonio Inoki in New Japan, prior to when All Japan and New Japan split. Funk talked in depth about Giant Baba splitting off from Inoki to form All Japan, and how the Funk’s were picked by Baba to work in Japan. Funk discussed the hard work involved to keep going back to Japan, and called his father “nuts” for going over there because he was a massive heel. Funk brought up the tension in the locker rooms in Japan that led to very physical matches between the Japanese and American wrestlers. Overall, Funk loved his time in Japan.
38:51 – Terry Funk talks about his singing career and “Forever” speech – Colt brought up Funk’s singing career. Funk seemed confused, but said he knew he released an album in Japan, and it better not end up here. Colt divulged that he has the album framed on his wall and Funk was very surprised. Funk said that when he was hot in Japan, they wanted him to make a record, so he aid Jimmy Hart to write some songs. Funk praised Jimmy’s writing, but said that his singing was “horrible.”
Colt asked about Funk’s “Forever” speech after he first announced his retirement in 1983. Funk said that he feels the business is losing the creativity of the individual wrestler. Funk thinks that wrestlers who are extensions of their personalities are what make wrestling great, and the speech just came to him in the moment. Funk talked about the changes in wrestling, even in the last 20 years, to cater to shorter attention spans.
43:38 – Terry Funk talks his wrestling style – Colt mentioned that when he wrestles, he just wants to have fun in the ring and asked if Funk ever viewed wrestling as a fun thing to do, or more as business. Funk called wrestling his life, so he’s always looked at it as just his life. Funk credited his selling style to getting his too much, and his goal has been to suspend disbelief to make people believe in the product, which ultimately draws money. Funk said he wants to have a serious match, and keep his integrity and honesty with his style and with the fans.
46:20 – Terry Funk talks acting – Colt said that this is his show, and he can talk about whatever he wants, so he wants to talk about “Over the Top”, his favorite movie. Colt asked if Funk had any stories from the set of the movie, and whether Funk really shoved Sylvester Stallone through a glass door. Funk kind of laughed off the question, but said that Stallone was very good to him and put him into the movie business. Funk recorded a promo insulting Stallone, which led to getting used by Stallone in “a few different things.” Funk said that his reasoning to going to Hollywood was to join the Screen Actors Guild to get insurance. Funk kept his SAG membership long enough that he was even able to get retirement from SAG. Colt asked if Funk was bitter that wrestling didn’t come with a pension, but Funk said he knows that’s just how it is. Funk said being a wrestler is hard to define, so it makes sense that wrestlers don’t have retirement plans.
50:49 – Terry Funk talks “Beyond the Mat” – Colt brought up “Beyond the Mat” and Dennis Stamp, who Funk called a “nut.” Funk said that Stamp hated him after he was put in the movie, even though Funk tried to reach out to Stamp. Funk said that now Stamp has embraces him, and his role in the movie. Funk praised Stamp’s work, calling him a good, generous guy, but nuts. Funk also praised the producer of “Beyond the Mat,” Barry Blaustein, for putting together an accurate look at the world of wrestling. Funk asked if Colt liked the movie, which he does. Funk said that when he saw Stamp jumping on the trampoline, they didn’t realize it would turn Stamp into a star. Colt mentioned Stamp getting booked, and they briefly talked about Stamp’s poetry. Colt started to wrap up the interview, calling Funk someone who embodies the spirit of independent wrestling. Funk said he doesn’t see himself that way, but he’s out there trying. Funk said that he and Colt both love the business and they are hooked on pro wrestling, which is wonderful. Funk reiterated he always wanted to be a wrestler, and Colt called him one of the greatest ever before ending the interview.
57:17 – Colt wraps up the show – Colt talked about Terry Funk’s Twitter, which hasn’t been used since 2013, and he talked about Funk having a short period a few years ago where he was active online, before stopping. Colt plugged his upcoming events, thanked his fans, Terry Funk, his tech help and sponsors. Colt noted that this was the last podcast he was recording in America, because he is going to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival over the next month.
1:00:41 – Easter Egg – Terry Funk counted down from 6 seconds, said some gibberish, and said goodbye.
Score: 8.0 – Terry Funk is one of the true living legends currently in wrestling, and his interview didn’t disappoint. Funk was laid back throughout, except when Colt mentioned his album in Japan, and had a god amount of opinions and wisdom about wrestling’s past and present. There were multiple audio issues where the already soft spoken Funk became very difficult to hear, which impacted the score a little. Overall, Funk brought a lot of good insight to another great episode of The Art of Wrestling.