Many fans remember Terry Funk for his time in ECW as the old gunslinger, having one last ride as the ECW Championship. He was a huge star, coming into the company under Paul Heyman and helping move the company onto the next level with his star power and in-ring ability. He is considered by many to be one of the best ECW Champions of all time and one of the best wrestlers of all time.
In this article, we’ll look at the surprising ECW debut of Terry Funk in the pre-Paul Heyman ECW, as well as his final match with the promotion and his big return to the ECW version of the show.
Terry Funk ECW Debut
The first time the legendary Terry Funk debuted in ECW was when the company was still known under it’s former name of Eastern Championship Wrestling, The lead booker at the time was Eddie Gilbert, with the creative control of the company not shifted to Paul Heyman until later that year.
Terry Funk vs Eddie Gilbert was booked as the debut match of Funk in ECW. It was booked for Battle of the Belts in the Radisson Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a special Funk themed stipulation. They battled for 23 minutes in a I Quit Texas Death match, somewhat of a speciality for the legend from Amarillo, Texas.
The only footage available of the match comes from Youtube, where a poor-quality TV recording of the show is available to watch. Terry Funk forced his opponent to say I Quit in his ECW debut in a brutal brawl that took place in and outside the ring. The show was also the last TV match of Kerry Von Eric, who died soon after the event would take place.
Terry Funk Last ECW Match
Terry Funk’s last match in ECW was against Shane Douglas and Sabu at ECW Hardcore Heaven 1997. The match was a three-way dance for the ECW Championship and pitted three of ECW’s biggest stars against one another in one of their biggest pay per view matches of all time.
The match came one week after Terry Funk lost the ECW Championship in the legendary barbed-wire match against Sabu. That bout has become infamous for the violent nature of the bout, where the ring ropes were replaced by barbed wire. Both men suffered horrible cuts as a consequence of the match, losing unsightly amounts of blood. Sabu won the ECW Championship, ending Funk’s reign as champion at just over 4 months.
His last match was on August 17th 1997 and was the main event of the ECW Hardcore Heaven pay per view. In typical ECW fashion, it featured hardcore action and a litany of outside interference. The Sandman was taken out by Sabu and Rob Van Dam earlier in the show but came back to the arena in an ambulance and interfered in the main event by shoving Sabu from the top rope. Dory Funk Jr, the brother of Terry Funk, also came to the ring to aide Terry in attacking Douglas in a crowd pleasing moment that night.
The brawling continued for 27 minutes until Shane Douglas hit Terry Funk with a belly-to-belly Suplex and pinned him for the victory. Shane Douglas won the ECW Champion in Terry Funk’s last match in ECW. The legendary Funker would retire soon after, although that retirement would barely last any time and is barely worth mentioning. His first retirement match was in 1983 with his last match finally taking place in 2017.
He Returned For ECW One Night Stand In 2006
Terry Funk returned to the WWE for one more match at the legendary ECW One Night Stand event in 2006. He teamed with Tommy Dreamer and Beulah to take on the trio of Edge, Mick Foley and Lita. Terry Funk’s last ECW match ended in defeat, but he was a huge fan-favourite for the hometown crowd and received the reaction he truly deserved from the iconic crowd.