In a heartfelt conversation on "Under The Ring," Tommy Dreamer opened up about his initial animosity toward his late mentor, WWE Hall of Famer Terry Funk, and the profound influence Funk had on his career and the wrestling industry.
"First time I laid eyes on Terry Funk on my TV screen, I couldn't stand him," Dreamer candidly shared. "The reason was simple: he was exceptional at his job. He'd taken down my all-time hero, 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes.
Funk's prowess in the ring was so convincing that it blinded me to his talents. It wasn't until I stepped into the wrestling world that I appreciated the depth of his craft, especially after he famously injured Dusty Rhodes, my primary inspiration for joining the sport." Dreamer nostalgically reminisced about their first encounter back in ECW around 1992.
"He instantly recognized something in me, a spark perhaps. Terry not only nurtured my potential but also became a guiding light in my formative years. During those times when I grappled with establishing my presence in wrestling, Terry's invaluable insights kept me grounded," Dreamer reflected.
Terry's Impactful Legacy
The wrestler's voice grew heavy as he recounted moments from Funk's funeral. "Being there, surrounded by legends like Manny Fernandez, Ted DiBiase, Tully Blanchard, and Bret Hart, it was clear Terry had touched many lives.
Many echoed sentiments similar to mine. Terry had a knack for spotting talent and empowering them with the wisdom to remain authentic. His guidance resonated with many, emphasizing the importance of authenticity in one's character." Dreamer, now a prominent figure in Impact Wrestling, delved deeper into Funk's transformative impact on international wrestling, particularly in Japan.
"When you talk about the legacy of Terry Funk, there's one aspect people often overlook," Dreamer observed. "Historically, American wrestlers were vilified in Japan, partly because of wartime grievances. However, Terry shifted this narrative.
His charm and talent transcended national prejudices, establishing a favorable perception of American wrestlers. I once mentioned this to him, and in typical humble Terry fashion, he downplayed his revolutionary role. But in reality, he shattered stereotypes, making a profound cultural impact." In remembering Funk, Dreamer captures not just the essence of a great wrestler but also of a transformative figure who broke down barriers both inside and outside the ring.
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