This has been a very sad week for the world of professional wrestling. We have lost the Legendary Terry Funk and WWE Superstar Bray Wyatt.
The name Funk was known throughout the wrestling world for decades. Terry was an extraordinary performer. He wrestled throughout the world, and practically for every wrestling promotion from the WWE to WCW, NWA, All Japan Pro Wrestling, ECW and Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW), where he had the most insane hardcore matches.
Terry was born on June 30, 1944, in Hammond, Indiana. His father, Dory Funk, was a wrestler and promoter, so Terry was born into the wrestling business. He worked for his father’s wrestling promotion, “Wrestling States Sports,” in Amarillo, Texas. Both he and his brother, Dory Funk Jr., became popular in the promotion and quickly rose up as a Tag Team and as Singles. Terry’s big shot came when he became the NWA World Heavyweight Champion in Miami, for Championship Wrestling from the Florida promotion. He defended the title against wrestling legends such as Dusty Rhodes, Pat O’Connor, Jack Brisco and Carlos Rocha. He held the title for 14 months, finally losing it to Harley Race. Terry went on to wrestle for Continental Wrestling Association, where he would feud against Jerry Lawler and start wrestling overseas in Japan against Stan Hanson, Bruiser Brody and The Sheik. He returned to the states to have a run with the World Wrestling Federation (Now, the WWE), and also with World Championship Wrestling (WCW) where he beat Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Championship. He eventually worked for Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), where he became the ECW World Champion. Terry had announced his retirement from wrestling only to return numerous times. He was an innovator, a leader and a coach. Truly a wrestler for the ages. We will miss him.
Windham Rotunda, known to the wrestling world as Bray Wyatt, was a phenomenal performer who made you believe that he was the character he was portraying. He was extremely talented, and his loss will be felt. Bray was born on May 23, 1987, in Brooksville, Florida. Bray made his debut for the WWE on February 5, 2009, for their developmental promotion, Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW). He was signed to a developmental deal and worked with his brother, Bo Dallas, as the Rotundo Brothers, and became FCW Tag Team Champions. He moved on to the NXT Brand when it was created and wrestled as Husky Harris. He later wrestled as a member of The Nexus with Wade Barrett, Michael McGillcutty, David Otunga and Heath Slater. The group saw much success until Bray was eventually written out of the storyline. He continued wrestling for FCW until April 2012 when he was brought to the main roster of the WWE, along with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan as the Wyatt Family. They began their storyline by attacking established wrestlers and leaving a cryptic message, “follow the buzzards.” They faced off against CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Sheamus to name a few. In 2014, the WWE repacked Bray in which saw him release Luke Harper and Erick Rowan from this group. Bray would wrestle by himself, and start feuds with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and the UnderTaker. He had a very successful run with the WWE, eventually becoming WWE Champion. He later reunited the Wyatt Family and further evolved his character. He had a prerecorded segment called the Firefly Fun House, in which he was joined by puppets, Mercy the Buzzard, Abby the Witch, Ramblin Rabbit and Hiskus the Pig Boy. This was an incredibly entertaining segment and showed a creative side of Bray Wyatt. This run was very successful until he was released in July 2021. He made his return to the WWE in September 2022, until he fell ill. Bray was suffering from Covid and eventually passed away from heart complications due to the virus.
Bray, in my book, was such a creative person who understood what it took to entertain and keep the audience hanging on every word.
Rest In Peace Terry & Bray. Thank you for all you did for our business.