|In Funk's Corner|
|Video Games Taking Over|
Who's the toughest legend you've ever been in the ring with in real life?
Dory Funk Jr.: A few come to mind like Jack Brisco, Harley Race, Terry Funk, an English wrestler by the name of Billy Robinson, and then there's one who is still around, Ric Flair. He's a tremendous athlete, a great wrestler, and a true legend even though he's still wrestling. Andre The Giant was another one. I was actually in Andre The Giant's last match in Japan. It was a six-man tag match and he was one of my partners. Strangely enough, I still have the tee shirt from that match. I'm proud of all the great wrestlers I had the opportunity to wrestle against.
IGN Sports: Do you have a favorite match that you've been involved in?
Dory Funk Jr.: Gene Kiniski, the time I won the NWA championship, that's a favorite. Wahoo McDaniel in Houston, Texas for 90 minutes. Jacksonville, Florda, Jack Brisco for 90 minutes, that's another one. I also wrestled Johnny Valentine in Houston, Texas in a match that lasted an hour and five minutes. There are a lot of people that I have loads of respect for. Some of them have passed on, but all of them were great wrestlers.
IGN Sports: They call 60 minute matches Iron Man. What do you call a match that lasts 90 minutes?
Dory Funk Jr.: A lot of people would call it a lot of things, but I absolutely loved being in the ring and performing for all of the fans. A 90 minute match was a challenge, but I certainly enjoyed it.
IGN Sports: You wrestled for so many years, what were some of the injuries that you suffered throughout your career?
Dory Funk Jr.: Very few. I did have a knee injury very early in my career and Gene Kiniski met me every night before I wrestled and helped me tape my knee. I managed to go my entire career without missing any matches due to injury. I just feel very lucky over that. I did have a pickup truck injury one time that caused me to miss a match, but other than that, that was it. As I mentioned earlier, we work very hard on our safety program at the Funking Conservatory training school. For a lot of reason, part of it being the calisthenics training that we do specializing in the knees, neck, and back. Professional wrestling should be a safe business. It should be fun. You should enjoy yourself. You should have a blast. The most fun time you have in wrestling is when you're inside the ring, bell to bell. The most difficult time you have is actually getting to the match. It's the traveling and everything you have to do to get there. But once you're there, it's the biggest thrill you can have.
IGN Sports: What do you think about the evolution of pro wrestling from when you started to how it is today?
Dory Funk Jr.: As I brought up, the money is tremendous right now, but the concentration is very tight. In any profession, you wouldn't expect to make the kind of money that The Rock and Stone Cold and Hulk Hogan and Triple H make. Everyone thinks they know what wrestling is, but it is very competitive for those few high paying spots.
IGN Sports: Say I wanted to be a wrestler. What's the first week of training like at the Funking Conservatory?
Dory Funk Jr.: We use television very extensive. Your first day at the Funking Conservatory you will be in the ring wrestling a match, you will have an interview for that match, and the next day you will look at the tape and try to make as many improvements as we can. If we're looking at a week, our goal would be to put on one great show on Saturday night at out Bang television taping. We would work toward that. Everyone in the training camp, we consider a part of the Funking Conservatory team. While you're in the ring, they all back you up and you're expected yourself, while the others are in the ring, to be there backing them up. We do train for particular maneuvers or holds, how to fall safely, how to throw people properly, but the main goal of our training camp is that every day you're on television with an interview. The way you come across to the wrestling fans is very important, so we look at that. And every day you're in the ring in a wrestling match. So in effect, if it's a one week program, you spend a week in the wrestling business. If it's a three-week program, we guarantee you an appearance on our Bang television program. You live three weeks just like a professional wrestler would. We think that's the best way. Doing it is the best way at learning it.
IGN Sports: Is there a name of a wrestler you're training right now that wrestling fans should write down and keep an eye out for in the future?
Dory Funk Jr.: There are several that come to mind. One would be Adam Windsor, who is a complete wrestler, and he also does video editing, writing for wrestling, advertising, promoting, commentating for TV. He does it all and he's living his dream. As a kid in England, he wanted more than anything to wrestle for WWE and he got that opportunity in Daytona Beach on a WWE match. He's doing a tremendous job right now, and he's only 22 years old, so I expect him to be doing something big in the near future. We have an unusual kid here who is 19 years old, seven feet tall, 320 pounds, and he's a phenomenal athlete. He's unheard of because he was born in Japan and when his mother brought him to America, he's been home-schooled. So his athletic competition in the past is limited because he was always too big, too strong, and too mean for the other kids to play with. [laughs] Now he is one of our outstanding wrestlers, and he moves as well as any big man I've ever seen. His name is Giant Magnum. Our women's champion, Dixie, also wrestles as Jayole Bate. She is 16 and already an outstanding wrestler. I think you'll see her in the near future. Recently gone to WWE is Paul London and Silvan Granier. There's also a young lady that just signed with the WWE and her name is Alexis Laree, and I'll think you'll hear from her soon. We also have a character who is a combination of Dusty Rhodes and Terry Funk, and his name is Bonecrusher Smith.
IGN Sports: That's quite a combination.
Dory Funk Jr.: Yes it is. [laughs] Believe it or not he lives up to it too. I think those are some of the people you'll hear about in the near future, but the Giant is unique. Seven feet tall and being able to move like he does, he's incredible.
IGN Sports: Any hopes to get back in the ring one more time?
Dory Funk Jr.: I absolutely love it in the ring,
so if the opportunity is right I would do it. The other side of it, I absolutely
love seeing kids I trained doing well. I haven't had an official retirement,
but my brother Terry has had about ten. [laughs] Terry had so many retirements
I don't think anybody would believe me if I retired. He retires and keeps
wrestling, I haven't retired but no longer wrestle, so go figure. For now,
I'll stick to the video game.