WWE Hall Of Famer Terry Funk unfortunately passed away last week after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia over the past couple of years.
Speaking on WWE’s The Bump, Paul Heyman revealed why he didn’t comment on Funk’s passing publicly and went on to praise him.
“I’m always hesitant to try to encapsulate a life like Terry Funk’s within a soundbite or even a portion of a program. I didn’t say anything publicly. I haven’t yet. And one of the reasons why is because I was aware of the decline in Terry Funk’s health and I had the extraordinary opportunity and pleasure of speaking with him in the last few weeks of his life.
So I withheld my tributes because I got a chance to tell him while he was alive, I didn’t have to explain my affinity for the man after his passing, I got a chance to let him know, there is no pun intended, acknowledgment of the greatness of the performers in ECW without them getting into the ring with Terry Funk.
Shane Douglas was recognized as a franchise player because of his interaction with Terry Funk. The Public Enemy truly got recognized as a preeminent tag team of their time by being in the ring with Terry Funk and the Funk brothers, Terry and Dory Jr. Sabu came out of the gates at ECW making a splash, but his splash was infinitely bigger because by the end of Sabu’s first weekend in ECW, he was in the ring and holding his own and sharing the spotlight with Terry Funk.
I don’t know if there’s anything that I can say that will match the brilliance of what Cody (Rhodes) said. What Cody said the other night moved me. It was profound and just so eloquent in that you could be going through an airport and egg sucking dog and ‘What am I listening to? Who’s screaming?’ Here’s Terry Funk coming. It’s so Terry Funk for him to do, and at the same time, he was the grandfather of a revolution, an evolution in the industry, a movement, an extreme movement.
I think what I wish future generations will take from the legacy of Terry Funk is the passionate pursuit of greatness in all moments of a performance and never losing sight that it’s a business because many people today, and this is not a criticism of the young guys, the new generation, this was true 20 years ago. This was true 30 years ago. This is true in every generational turnover in this industry, and it is true today. It’s separate. Either you have those who sit there and go business, business, business, business, business, or you have those that go creative pursuit of greatness. I want to do this. I envision this with no viewpoint as to how do we exploit this in commerce, because at the end of the day, as a business, we are all commerce facilitators.
And Terry never lost sight of that. Terry was always balancing the pursuit of greatness within a performance. How do we make this into business? And then would say, okay, how do we make and where’s the greatness involved? And he always understood that’s the chocolate and the peanut butter that makes the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. They can’t be separate. They must always journey together. And sometimes it’s not a comfortable marriage.
Sometimes you have to scale back on the greatness to pursue the business, and sometimes you have to realize that the business needs to pace itself to allow greatness to shine and then capitalize on it. So it was a remarkable balance that someone who at all times could truly convince you he was out of his fricking mind, but that’s the line of greatness and insanity joining each other of genius and insanity always being hand in hand. And I think part of his genius was the fact that he accepted himself as being insane.”