Bruce Prichard, a stalwart of the wrestling industry and a native of the Texas wrestling scene, recently paid homage to the legendary Terry Funk on the latest episode of "Something To Wrestle." Prichard, known for his deep-rooted wrestling heritage, lauded Funk for his pivotal role in shaping what would become the iconic WWE style of performance—an approach that was met with skepticism by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) purists of the time.
Prichard revealed that during Funk's tenure as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, there was considerable resistance from what he termed "the fundamentalists"—the traditionalists of the sport who preferred a classic portrayal of wrestling.
"They were the old guards, holed up in their offices, clouded in cigar smoke, clinging to their notion of what wrestling should be," Prichard commented. These NWA powerbrokers viewed Funk as too unorthodox and unpredictable, fearing his flamboyant style was a departure from the sport's roots.
Funk: A Wrestling Pioneer
Despite the resistance, Funk's brand of wrestling was groundbreaking, and it predated the advent of WWE's embrace of similar theatrics. "Terry wasn't changing his style for anyone; he was ahead of his time," Prichard asserted.
When Funk transitioned to the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in the 1980s, some critics suggested he was beyond his wrestling prime. Prichard vigorously disputes this notion, arguing that Funk's dynamic presence merely had to be reined in to align with the WWF's more family-friendly image of that era.
Nevertheless, Funk's migration to the WWF provided him with a larger stage and a broader audience to appreciate his craft, a move that Prichard sees as a win for both Funk and wrestling fans globally. The wrestling world mourned the loss of Terry Funk, who passed away at 79 in August after a challenging battle with dementia.
Prichard's tribute underscores Funk's lasting influence and celebrates his unapologetic individualism—a legacy that continues to inspire the world of professional wrestling.