|In Funk's Corner|
By Dory Funk Jr.
|"That's My Boy"
Big John Tenta - 6' 6" 400 pounds.
Terry and I were in Japan working the Real World Tag Team Tour in December of 1987. The show in Korakuen Hall was over and we were sitting in the dressing room cooling down. Sitting across from us was Big John Tenta. He seemed in a state of deep thought. Terry looked up at Big John and said, "What are you thinking John?" Big John replied, "I am just trying to figure out what Mr. Baba would like next."
I knew John Tenta's background. I had read a story in the paper back home about an amateur wrestler/football player from LSU who was recruited to become a Sumo Wrestler in Japan. He was undefeated in Sumo however there were some problems because his hair was thinning at the top and it was difficult to fix in the Sumo hair style. To this day, Big John is the only non Samoan or Hawaiian ever to do so well in Sumo.
Even though Tenta was highly successful in Sumo competition, the highly restrictive life of a beginning Sumo wrestler was more than John could stick with so with an undefeated record in Sumo, John asked Giant Baba if he could become a professional wrestler.
As Terry and I were entering the showers, I saw Big John Tenta unlacing Giant Baba's wrestling shoes. (Living in Japan for a Japanese young boy this practice is not only accepted, but required) I thought it strange to see an LSU graduate, highly credible amateur wrestler and American football player doing this, but John was living in Japan, working in Japan and participating in the Japanese system of respect for his boss.
That evening at dinner, I asked Big John what he wanted to accomplish in professional wrestling. He said, "I want to work for the WWF." I told John, It is a long way from the "Young Boy System" in Japan to working for WWF but it it is your dream, I believe you can do it.
Three years later back in America, not only had John Tenta made it to the WWF but in August '90 he wrestled Hulk Hogan in the main event at Summer Slam. Big John Tenta lived his dream.
Following is a release this week from Big John Tenta.
"I have been diagnosed with advanced bladder cancer. I have a large tumor on my bladder blocking my left kidney from functioning properly, This, of course will now be the biggest battle EVER in my life, but I am not afraid."
"That's my boy."
Dory Funk Jr.