Kayfabe, Lies and Alibis: Harley Race and Terry Funk Shoot Interview

Harley Race and Terry Funk and a case full of beer.

Presented by High Spots

Moderated by Bill Apter!

Terry opens talking about Dusty Rhodes and cuts a “heel” promo on him.

Race jokes about Dusty sunbathing and being mistaken for a beached whale.

Funk feels he and Race compromised their careers by joining the WWF circus in the 80’s after Vince McMahon admitted wrestling was a work.

Race feels the current product sucks. They poll the fans and no one will admit they watch.

They put over Benoit (this was taped prior to the Benoit murders but I can’t offer a date).

Funk gets on the soap box and explains how the WWF will take out anyone who tries to compete regardless of quality programming. He compares them to Wal-mart.

Terry wonders if the fans will just switch to MMA or something else since the product stinks.

Funk and Race both feel TNA’s 6 sided ring is not going to help the business in any manner.

Harley explains that wrestling should be good vs. evil at it’s core and needs far less flippy floppy matches.

Funk says a lot of workers are glorified acrobats but the marquee says wrestling not Cirque du Soleil.

Terry says Trevor Murdoch is a heck of a young worker since he trained under Race. Murdoch won’t take roids or drugs because of a fear of disappointing Race.

Race runs a indy that keeps the product clean and family friendly and he feels it leads to a lot of repeat business. No hardcore matches or fighting in the stands either.

Funk puts over Race’s business model. Apter calls Funk out for praising that style while having spent years as a top guy in ECW. Race explains Funk needed to evolve and survive.

Terry says “I was ECW” and talks about the revolutionary angles and matches that ECW created.

Race and Funk were the 70’s version of hardcore. They killed each other in the ring.  Race broke 2 vertebra in Funk’s neck with a chair shot and Funk had to take “a few weeks off”.

Race and Funk had to put on a good show because they had to leave the business better for the next guys on top so everyone could make money.

Wahoo McDaniel would scream at the promoters for not only his fair share of the profits, but everyone’s, all the way down to the jobbers.

Harley says the worst injury he worked through was when a rope broke and he flopped out of the ring and landed with his back smacking into the edge of the mat.  Race later learned he cracked 2 back bones.

Funk’s worst injury was while in the WWF against Lanny Poffo when he misjudged a spot and had Poffo’s whole body weight land on his neck.  This caused nerve damage and Terry had limited use of his tricep, pectoral muscle and shoulder – not to mention a sore neck.

Apter asks for a funny road story involving Funk – Race says both their wives are here so they can’t say too many.

Funk shares a Jerry Graham story where Jerry was drunk (as per usual) and decided he wanted to dye his suit, so he filled a bathtub with dye and laid in it while wearing the suit.  He then tried to dry it by rolling on the bed and he ended up with dye everywhere. He then stripped down to his underwear and went to the lobby for breakfast…

Race adds to the story by mentioning that they had to rent a trailer to haul Jerry in after that so the dye wouldn’t stain Race’s car.

Harley says he was the first guy to “fully slam” Andre.

  (Courtesy of PWI)

Funk shares a nasty story about Andre’s poo.

ROH is discussed. They both enjoy the hard hitting style.

Flair liked to brag he could out drink Race, Race relates that they were pounding down drinks at a bar all night when a waitress accidentally gave Harley Flair’s drink and instead of booze, it was water!

Harley says Backlund was in great shape, but was very limited in many aspects. Funk says Bob drew money and he and Apter argue a bit about Backlund drawing in MSG.

Both men agree that Backlund was Vince Sr.’s attempt to create his version of Jack Brisco.

Race buries Superstar Graham’s stamina.

Harley is asked about Vince Jr. offering him a deal the night before Starrcade ’83. Race thought the NWA would have more “guts” and fight Vince off. Now he may regret not taking the money and jumping ship.

A fan fawns over the Funk/Flair “I Quit” match. Funk says he and Flair both made that great.

Neither Funk or Flair was ever in the NWA board of director meetings to discuss future NWA champions.

Harley is still uncomfortable breaking kayfabe, but since it’s out every where he’s willing to do so.

Vince wanted Race to become one of his backstage stooges, but Harley isn’t a yes man.

Funk starts to berate a fan. He’s kidding around but it’s a little uncomfortable.

Race and Funk both talk about calling the match in the ring being superior to planning things out.

They won’t bury anyone as being over rated. They jokingly answer Dusty.

Lex Luger is buried by Race for not being able to go an hour or work a match. Vader is also buried for not being able to lead a match.

Funk knew he made it when he made Jack Brisco submit in Florida. Funk broke the ref’s nose accidentally when he tossed his hands up in celebration.  Race knew he made it when he beat Dory Funk Jr. for the World title.

A fan asks about the Ultimate Warrior. Race says UW was the only worker who was dumber than Hogan in the ring. Race had to work with UW for months on end when they were in the WWF and he loved to tie Warrior’s tassles to the ropes and watch him struggle to free himself. It took 6 or 7 times before UW smartened up enough to avoid that occurring.

Harley says Hogan had charisma and used that to cover up his many in ring deficiencies. Funk points out Hogan and Warrior may have been better workers than them because UW and Hogan made more money and took far fewer bumps.

Abdullah the Butcher was liked by Funk because he drew money. Funk credits Abby with being a major draw in All-Japan for Baba. Race feels he took The “Original” Sheik’s style and upped the crazy to another level.

A fan asks Race why Tommy Rich only received a week run as NWA champion. Race credits Jim Barnett for being Rich’s supporter. Apter adds in that Rich was responsible for one of the best selling Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazines of all time when he was quoted as saying “The fans can go to Hell!”

Race tries to tell a Bobby Heenan story but he can’t remember the Japanese wrestler’s named that was involved in Dick the Bruiser’s WWA promotion and Funk and the fans start talking over him – shouting out names, so Race announces he won’t tell the story because “you all seem to tell it better than me”. 

They get somber and start talking about how the business eats its young.  Funk wants a major change to come down from all the dying. He also wants all sports to get away from steroids.

Funk knew Eddy Guerrero since Eddy was 2 years old. Funk puts over a horde of Mexican workers.

They are asked how they made it in the business for over 30 years. Race jokes that the beer sure helps. Funk credits the love of the sport and the money.

Race says a lot of workers made a lot of money thanks to Funk and Race making them look good.

Funk and Race both agree the fans brought them back for more time and time again as well.

 

Final Thoughts: This was an interesting session to watch, as much ground was covered and they were able to avoid the trap falls of turning this into a love in. If I have to say anything derogatory, it would be that Funk got a little wacky for a big portion of the second half of the shoot and he talked over Race a lot during these parts.  Overall a worthwhile investment in 2 hours of your time though.

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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