In Funk's Corner
Wahoo McDaniel, The Legend Lives On


Chief Wahoo McDaniel          Li'l Wahoo McDaniel

What ever they say about Wahoo, "He did it."

"Wahoo Forever"

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Wahoo and Tribe Run Over Amarillo Sandies

The above headline appeared in the sports section of the Amarillo Globe News. It was the Saturday morning special Texas high school football edition in the fall of 1955. It was the heyday of Texas High School football and the finest college prospects came from Texas. 

Bud Wilkenson and the Oklahoma Sooners were in process of building the longest winning streak in college football and Frank Gifford was the star of the New York Giants. I was a sophomore in high school, playing football for the Canyon High School Junior Varsity, hoping to make the Fighting Eagles starting lineup the following year. You Ain't Nothin' but a Hound Dog and Blue Sued Shoes were hot on the charts.

As I read the headlines, I wondered, "What kind of a name is that." A high school fullback from Midland Texas scored five touchdowns in route to a victory over the pride of the Texas Panhandle, the Amarillo High, Golden Sandstorm. His name was Wahoo???

The following year I did make the starting line up for the Canyon Eagles and coach Guy Harrison. We were on the way to two great seasons, one going to the Quarter finals of the Texas High School interscholastic league championship tournament, finally losing out to the Stamford Indians who featured the great running back, Mike McClellan.

We looked up to the college teams and their stars. There was one we heard of who was slightly off the wall. Oklahoma University's Running back and kicking specialist, Wahoo McDaniel. His exploits on the gridiron were well known, but this guy was infamous for other odd things, like running from Norman to Oklahoma City on a bet, Throwing a Coke machine out the second story of the athletic dormitory because it stole his change, and drinking a quart of motor oil. His name was Wahoo.

It was just after my debut match in Amarillo, Texas that my father informed me he had a chance to get a pro football player from the Denver Broncos who wanted to wrestle in the off season. He said, "You won't believe it, this guy looks just like Buddy Hackett but he is tough." His name is Wahoo.

It was a natural for Wahoo and I to team together in the Amarillo Territory. My father Dory Funk Sr. treated Wahoo like one of his kids, albeit the wildest of the bunch. Their relationship was close, I remember one night, Wahoo brought a starters pistol into the dressing room. My father said to the Indian, "be careful with that gun or you might hurt someone." Soon after that the gun went off next to my father's leg, burning a hole in his new slacks. Dad said, "God Damn you Wahoo, I told you not to play around with that gun in the dressing room." As we headed for the ring, Wahoo had tears in his eyes over the incident.

One night returning on a trip from Lubbock to Amarillo we stopped in Plainview, Texas late at night for a snack. Ricky Romero, myself and Wahoo were riding together. Over a bowl of chile we heard derogatory comments from the booth behind us about the Mexican who was sitting with us. In a second Wahoo was in their faces saying, "Hey you idiots, I'm a Mexican myself, have you assholes got anything to say about that? From that day on Ricky always loved the Crazy Indian, Wahoo McDaniel.

In those days, I often teamed with Wahoo. He was a terror because he listened very closely to the advice of my father, Dory Funk Sr. who once told us we looked like a couple of sick old whores when we were eaten up by a couple of preliminary wrestlers. From then on the Chief was always as aggressive as any wrestler ever in the ring. It led to him becoming a cinch drawing card anywhere he went.

I have wrestled two ninety minute matches in my career. One of them was against Wahoo in the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas for promoter Paul Boesch. Where would you go from there? It lead to the following Texas Death Match.

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Wrestling Program, Houston, Texas Friday December 18, 1970 Promoter, Paul Boesch

1971 will get an explosive start on Friday, January 8th. with the return bout the whole world is waiting for! World's Champion, Dory Funk Jr. vs Wahoo McDaniel. A Texas Death match title bout! No disqualification! No time limit! No fall limit! Match ends when one man cannot answer the bell! Nothing barred except eye gouging, choking and hitting below the belt. There will be two judges at ringside.

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"My wordie. Would look at those fake names they come up for that rasslin'." I was riding the limousine from Houston Intercontinental to the Holiday Inn downtown Houston. It wasn't a limousine like Hulk Hogan rides in all the time, it was the Airport limousine and the two little old ladies in the front seat were discussing the Marquee as we passed the Sam Houston Coliseum on the way. The Marquee read, Dory Funk  vs  Wahoo for the World Heavyweight Championship. I tried to keep my mouth shut as they babbled on about wrestler's names, The I finally said. "Hey, my real name is Dory Funk, and that other guy has been Wahoo forever."

The Spirit of Chief Wahoo McDaniel lives on in his son, Li'l Wahoo McDaniel.

Li'l Wahoo McDaniel is in training here at the Funking Conservatory. He is as free spirited as his father. Li'l Wahoo is in some ways very different from his father, loving the sport of surfing and running and playing on the beaches of Florida. Li'l Wahoo also is an amateur wrestler who was raised in the wrestling business traveling with and watching his father in all of his famous wrestling matches. Watching Li'l Wahoo in the ring you can see his father. When you hear his music and the sound of the drums and when you see him do his Indian Dance and throw hard chops just like his father did, you must know that the spirit of Chief Wahoo McDaniel lives on in his son Li'l Wahoo McDaniel.
 
 

The Spirit of Chief Wahoo McDaniel Lives

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