Day 14 – Owee Zowee

Posted: January 16, 2012 in January
Tags: , , , ,

Those of us of a certain age who grew up watching the antics of Messrs Austin, Rock, Taker, Ass et al will probably be familiar with the wonderful documentary Beyond the Mat, which takes us behind the scenes in the world of professional wrestling, stripping away the glitz and the glamour,  revealing the truth of what is often a cruel, harsh, unedifying lifestyle where accidents, injuries, addictions and early death are occupational hazards. The film focuses on a number of wrestlers who cut increasingly sad and worrisome figures – the drug addled and addicted Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, who in a far cry form his days of playing to packed arenas as one of the biggest names in the biggest wrestling company in the world, the (then) WWF, is now wrestling in half empty high-school gyms in exchange for pocket change or crack, the ‘hardcore legend’ Mick Foley, a man famously referred to as a “glorified stuntman” by Ric Flair, who made his name in a succession matches wherein he bumped and bled, fell and/or was thrown on, to all manner of inanimate objects, and of course Foley’s hero, Terry Funk.

Funk was a part of a wrestling dynasty who had started his career in the mid-sixties, initially in the southern states of America before winning the world famous NWA title and defending it all over the world. He had a long and storied career, working for just about every major promotion in the world and winning almost every title there was to hold. Funk became most famous however in the latter part of his career, at a time when he should have been easing into his retirement and enjoying his golden years with his family on his ranch in Amarillo, Texas, for his involvement in the King of the Deathmatch tournament,  where he eventually lost in the final to (the aforementioned) Mick Foley in an exploding ring, C4 explosive, barbed wire match. Funk had always been a rough and tough Texas brawler, but from this point onwards all the baying, bloodthirsty fans wanted to see from him was blood. They didn’t care about his tearful wife or his heartbroken daughters at home, they wanted to see Terry Funk thrown from the top of a ladder onto a barb-wire covered table, his trademark bandana and balding skull festooned with thumbtacks, blood streaming from every inch of his exposed flesh and his battered, crumpled body contorted in pain.

Funk for his part was only too willing to oblige, not quite oblivious to the pain he was causing his family every time he laced up his boots but unwilling or unable to ignore the call of the crowd, addicted like all wrestlers, like all performers, are to the thrill of walking out before an audience, no matter how small, who are calling his name.  At one point the camera finds Funk in his bedroom, about to rise from his bed to begin his day, but the process is a torturous one. With not an ounce of cartilage left in his knees,  or any modicum of flexibility or movement left in his joints, it takes him an age to swing his weary legs out of the bed, his face a wrinkled mask of pain. He attempts to straighten his legs but the creaks and groans sound like the death rattle of a decrepit old home, long since deserted, and every millimetre of travel is a battle every bit as painful as the ones he’s fought every night in the ring for the last thirty years. He leans forward from the waist, coughing and spluttering as the air from his lungs is wearily exhaled and finally, after what seems like an eternity, his hand is just about in the same vicinity as his foot and he manages to pull his sock on, before falling backwards in a motion far too slow to be called a collapse, gathering himself before starting the painful process all over again.

I tell you all this only because this morning, I am Terry Funk. Fuck you GHD situps, fuck you in your stupid face.

Pavement – We Dance

PS  – I still did 40 minutes on the turbo trainer this evening, primarily because that was the only shape my body could adopt.

  1. Daniel says:

    Great post. Made me go to wikipedia to find out more about Terry Funk.
    (Btw that’s my favourite Pavement song.)

    • try366 says:

      Cheers Danny. I’d be a Major Leagues man myself (one of very few songs that I think are actually perfect) but We Dance isn’t far off it.

      Check out some of Terry Funk’s ECW promos while you’re at it, and Beyond the Mat if you’ve never seen it. Brilliant documentary.

  2. Lupton says:

    I feel your pain, but more importantly, I really want to watch Beyond The Mat again now…

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