After the runaway success of Mick Foleyís Have a Nice Day: A Tale Of Blood And Sweatsocks (Mick also wrote the foreword to this book), there was a deluge of wrestling autobiographies that hit the market. Nothing wrong with capitalizing on a hot trend (or making a buck!), but some of the people writing them barely had their feet wet in the wrestling business, and thus Ė not much to talk about. Not the case with this book. Terry Funk is a hardcore legend to some, but mostly, he is just a legend - period - in the world of professional wrestling.
Terry Funk: More Than Just Hardcore is a revealing look into Terry Funk the person and the persona while simultaneously being a history lesson on professional wrestling. Terry takes you all the way back to when his father was a famous wrestler on the regional circuits, how the wrestling life was like circus life: one big family. After some really good stories as a kid growing up in the business - watching his dad wrestle, the traveling, the characters - Terry then goes into his time at West Texas State and all the future wrestling superstars that came out of there (Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, Tito Santana etc.). Itís amazing how many stars came from there. After that, it's how he got his start working for the local promoters and driving 250 miles for $25 payoffs. Such was the life of a wrestler back then.
After busting his rear for many years, Terry delves into his time being NWA champion and all the hard work traveling to the territories making the local guys look good. He made a lot of money that year ($400,000), but it would take it toll on him in his personal life with his wife.
After a year, Terry drops the belt and deals with his personal life. He gets his act together and goes into the politics of wrestling in Japan, his many tours, and his famous match with Abdullah The Butcher. The book is so red-hot with all the funny ribs and backstage stories that you donít even realize that the '50s, '60s and '70s flew right by.
By the '80s, the wrestling business would change drastically. The death of the local territories was imminent, and Vincent K. McMahon would take his regional WWF from the northeast to around the globe, and Terry was a part of it. He talked about his time in the WWF and his infamous angle with Mel Phillips.
In 1989, Terry went to WCW (the former NWA). He talked about his time on the booking committee and his hot angle with Ric Flair. He also talked about how screwed up WCWís backstage organization was; little did he know how bad it would become.
By the mid '90s, hardcore wrestling got popular, and Terry goes into the birth of ECW and his barbwire match with Sabu, and his time with Mick Foley and the death matches in Onitaís FMW. Before you know it, heís back in WCW. These were the dying days for the company, and we get treated stories of atrocious booking, terrible TV, and even worse promoting. When itís all said and done, ECW would fold and WCW would crash and burn into the annals of the worst demise of a wrestling company backed by national TV and huge finances of Ted Turnerís money.
Then Terry Funk goes full circle. After a short stint in WWF as Chainsaw Charlie, he ends back up working the independents; working in front of small crowds for small pay (sometimes even having to chase a few guys down to get his check).
Overall, this is a great book. Through the humorous stories and the tragedy (his father's death) we get to learn that, indeed, Terry is more than hardcore.