A member of the great Funk Family, he was arguably the most talented and most successful of the group. His contributions to the sport extended well beyond his in-ring performances as he became a great teacher and goodwill ambassador.
Dory Funk, Jr.
Real Name: Dory Funk, Jr.
Stats: 6′ 2″ 250 lbs.
Born: February 19, 1941
By Steve Slagle
One-third of the legendary Funk Family (along with father Dory Funk and brother Terry) Dory Funk, Jr. is one of the greatest competitors, teachers, and “good will” ambassadors the “sport” of professional wrestling has ever known. His skill and dedication to professional wrestling is almost as well known as the world-famous Funk Family name. That skill and dedication, combined with a genuine love of the sport, helped Dory go on to have one of the most successful wrestling careers in the history of the business.
After establishing himself as a football and wrestling standout at West Texas State University, Dory Jr. followed his dad into the sport of pro wrestling. Having been born and raised in the business, he learned quickly from his famous father…though never relying on his family name to gain favor from promoters. For Dory’s young, talented son, no nepotism was needed. The young Funk was making waves everywhere he wrestled due to his supreme skills and hard working attitude. Soon after entering the profession, his hard work, reliability and dedication began to pay off for him…
On January 7, 1966 Dory Funk, Jr. forever placed himself into the history books by defeating then-N.W.A. World Champion “Big Thunder” Gene Kiniski. That such a young wrestler could defeat the grizzled veteran was shocking enough…but the fact that Funk forced Kiniski to submit to his patented Spinning ToeHold was even more impressive! Funk would go on to hold the N.W.A. World title for 4 consecutive years, defeating every worthy challenger. His clean-cut, polite mannerisms were very popular with the fans (although he later became one of the sports most hated men, along with brother Terry) and Funk, Jr. became one of the biggest drawing cards in wrestling. He was known and respected everywhere he went, and was quite a celebrity in American pop culture…even appearing in an issue of The Fantastic Four. Funk’s fame spread around the world, and he also became a genuine legend in Japan.
On March 24, 1973 Funk lost his World Title to another Hall of Famer, Harley Race. However, it would not be the end of Dory’s championship run…
He won the Florida Heavyweight Championship 3 times, the Florida TV Title twice, the Mid Atlantic Heavyweight championship twice, the NWA National Tag Team title (w/Terry and also w/David Von Erich), and many other championships. When you are as talented as Dory Funk, Jr., titles and success come naturally.
He (and often, his family) had dozens of epic feuds over the years involving the best of the best…Dusty Rhodes, The Brisco’s, Giant Baba, Harley Race, Hulk Hogan, Gene Kiniski, Mil Mascaras, the Grahams, the Windhams, and far too many others to list here. Success and respect have followed Funk everywhere he’s gone whether it be in Texas, the N.W.A., the A.W.A., the W.W.F., All Japan, New Japan, E.C.W. or W.C.W. Wherever Funk has wrestled across the globe, he’s (deservedly) been on the top of the ladder.
Funk is now retired and living in Florida. He teaches Japanese and does financial counseling…but he is still very much involved in the sport, primarily as a trainer of wrestlers that have made their way into the WWF, ECW, and WCW. Always the competitor, every once in awhile, Funk dons the trunks and still wrestles occasionally.
Wrestling is much richer for having had Dory Funk, Jr. as one of its own…and we at The Ring Chronicle salute this Hall of Fame legend…