RF VIdeo Face-Off Volume 16: Figure-Four and Hardcore (Ric Flair & Terry Funk)

This
interview was filmed in June 2013. The runtime is just under two hours long.

 

The
interviewer starts by asking both men how they met. Funk says that he remembers
like it was yesterday. In 1972, Flair, along with Dick Murdoch and Dusty
Rhodes, pulled up to his place in a pickup truck. Flair said that he was
thrilled to meet Funk, as he read about him. Funk said that he knew Flair would
be great. They are asked if they had any good stories about Murdoch. Funk says
that Murdoch’s dad was tough on him and would take him to the matches and make
him get him food but would not let Dick get anything for himself. He also said
that Murdoch was adopted and quit high school at age 17 to become a referee.
Funk said that Murdoch was such a good athlete that he showed up to West Texas
State and told the coach he was a linebacker, a position he never even played
in high school, and went on to eventually play for the team.

 

 

Flair is
asked of his early memories of Verne Gagne. He said that he was legit as could
be and puts over how he played in the NFL. They are then both asked about Eddie
Graham and Funk tells us that Graham never had any formal education and had
gaps in his logic as a result but had a fantastic wrestling mind. Both men
agree that he came up with the best finishes in wrestling. They tell a story of
how they were both on a plane with Dory that was flown by Graham and he
accidentally flew over the airport in Florida
as he was drunk and singing along to a country song. They are then asked what
Graham would have done if he was around in the 90’s and both men state that he
was too old-school to keep up with the times. Funk thinks that he committed
suicide because he knew that he was going to lose everything.

 

 

When asked
about what its like to be the NWA Champion, both state that it was the pinnacle
of the business. Funk notes how you had to wrestle an hour, sometimes and hour
and a half a night and there was pressure to draw more than the guy who held
the belt before you. Funk puts over the NWA committee for doing a great job
picking champions. They are then asked if your life changes after winning the
belt and they both mumble for a few minutes before Funk says that it meant you
were the number one worker in the world.

 

 

They are
then asked if they wanted to go up to New
York in the 1970’s. Flair said no but Funk did want
to go, as he was broke. At the time, he bought the Double Cross Ranch and had
$40,000 in the bank and thought he could retire off of that but it was just
about gone within six months. When asked about Vince McMahon Sr, they both
loved him too and Flair notes how Vince Sr. was actually on the NWA Board of
Directors, despite being a competitor. This then leads to a discussion about
characters with Flair stating how the characters are gone now. He said that he
was recently at RAW and he had too much energy for them. They both then mention
how the WWF never changed their names with Funk joking how he gained a brother
when he went over.

 

 

Flair is
then asked about Johnny Valentine. Flair said he liked him personally but hated
his style of wrestling, noting that he would always sit on his opponent and
nearly kill the entire territory with his matches. He also said that Valentine
never ran the ropes at all.  When asked
about the best when he broke in, Flair said Funk, Race, Murdoch, and Ray Stevens
were his favorites. He adds that Stevens was far ahead of his time. Funk said
that he liked working with Flair then adds how his wife would know when they
wrestled as he would come home with welts on his chest. Flair also says that
Wahoo McDaniel was a big influence on his career then jokes how he is two wives
behind him. Funk also talks about Wahoo and calls him a gun nut, recalling a
story of how Wahoo shot several holes into the car of a fan that was tailgating
him on his way to the arena.

 

 

Both men
then put each other over as being the one of the greatest workers. Funk said
Ric had it all, stamina, perseverance, and that he was a great talker. Flair
says that together they invented hardcore and bring up how Funk almost broke
his neck after he piledrived him through a table that didn’t break. Funk says
that “Hardcore” means you give 100% every night to the people every single
night you wrestled, no matter how big or small the crowd size. He also says
that he was never concerned about a payoff and that the performance is what
counted.

 

 

The next
topic is Dusty Rhodes. Flair says that he loved Dusty so much that he asked him
to call him “Rambling” Ricky Rhodes. He said that he had a blast in Minnesota with him and
Murdoch, as those two lived in a nice apartment with a mule that lived in the
guest bedroom. Both men do not believe that Dusty is a selfish booker. Flair
said he argued with him, like the time he wanted Flair to work the Bunkhouse
Stampede at the end of the show when he was the World Champion. When asked what
made Dusty good, Flair said he had a lot of charisma and could wrestle a
broadway while Funk says that he relied on his promos instead of his in-ring
work. Funk then says how Dusty was a great athlete and played catcher in the
minor leagues. Funk says he helped smarten Dusty to the business while Flair
jokes that he still hasn’t smartened up yet.

 

 

When
comparing the business from the 1980’s up until today, Flair says that the art
of wrestling is totally different but he still loves the product. Flair said in
one year, he worked 288 hour-long broadways then said that Funk did over 300 in
one year.

 

 

The guys
are asked about Roddy Piper. Thy both agree that he was one of the craziest
guys they had ever met. Funk tells a story of how he recently did a shoot the
same day as the company did one with Piper and they told him that Piper’s room
was a complete fucking disaster.

 

 

Up next is
their angle that had Funk put a plastic bag over Flair’s head. Funk said he
almost got arrested for attempted murder in Florida as a result. He then says that the
idea came from Gary Hart and that Jim Barnett lost his mind when it happened.
Funk was asked if he was retired at this point and he joked that his horse was
sick. It gets confusing when Funk is asked if he was ever considered for the
belt and Flair thought he was either passed over or declined while Funk
struggles to comprehend the question. Flair said that his own best tool as a
wrestler was that he could bump. He then goes on to say how they tore the house
down and Funk allowed him to use stiff chops. The interviewer brings up Ronnie
Garvin and Flair said that Garvin beat the piss out of him. Funk says how
band-aids and Neosporin were your saving grace back then.

 

 

Both guys
state how Stan Hansen was the stiffest worker. Flair brings up how he tried to
blade his forehead once but Hansen clotheslined him in the head and the blade
got stuck. Flair then says back then Japan was the stiffest and the guys
today couldn’t last there a week, adding how Jumbo Tsuruta used to drop him on
his head daily.

 

 

The next
subject is Bruiser Brody. Flair said he loved him and that he made a lot of
money. He then says that he was not stiff, just intimidating, then puts him
over for being in good condition. Both also agreed that he wouldn’t have gone
to WCW or WWF if he was alive as he was unable to follow any rules. They then
tell a story of how he dumped a handicapped kid out of his wheelchair during a
TV taping in Atlanta
and he was immediately fired afterwards by Jim Barnett.

 

 

They then
talk about putting guys over and Funk says that both he and Flair always tried
to make their opponent look good at the end of the match, even if it was an
enhancement guy. Flair said he hates the phrase “job guy” and says they are
enhancement talent who busted their ass to make other guys look good.

 

 

They are
asked if there is pressure being the NWA Champion. Flair said that the only
pressure is trying to get to bed. He said that after wrestling daily, usually
for an hour, you needed to have a cocktail. He then says how he saw Sheamus
backstage on RAW laying on the trainers table with ice packs then jokes that
DDP is still in the territory. He then says how DDP would ice himself off and
tape himself up, even when he didn’t bump and it drove him crazy. Funk thought
it was hilarious that a man would ice themselves when they didn’t bump. Ric
then talks about Bret Hart and Bob Orton, saying they were both great on
offense but rarely took bumps. He then says that he once wrestled Bret in a
dark match and that he asked Flair not to chop him hard because the match
wasn’t going to be broadcasted on TV. Flair then brings up the Miz using the
figure-four as his finisher and jokes about how no one has won with that hold
since Jack Brisco was the champion.

 

 

They are
then asked about wrestling today and when they were in their prime. Funk said
that they are drawing more today than they did so who is to say that they are
doing anything wrong. Funk then says that wrestling has involved into a
different product that is controlled by the fans. Flair adds that the guys
today live off the internet. He says that Vince controls everything backstage
and after your segment when you walk through the Gorilla position, he will
either give you a thumbs up if the segment went well or pull you aside if the
segment went bad. Flair then adds that he loves Vince, as he not only makes
money with him but also enjoys the product. He said he will not go to
“Cauliflower Alley” as he does not want to hear people bitch about the current
state of wrestling. Flair also says that the young guys in both TNA and WWE are
very respectful of him and the other wrestlers from his generations.

 

 

When asked
about which talent has what it takes to become the next star, Funk says that
Hennig’s Kid (Curtis Axel) has all the tools. They both put over Dolph Ziggler,
who Flair calls the “epitome of respect.” Funk calls both Ziggler and Axel
“money drawers.” Flair also puts over CM Punk as being respectful. They are
then asked about guys paying their dues today and Funk said that it is harder
for guys today to break into the business as they only pick out a few kids out
of thousands and there are much fewer places to break in compared to when he
first started out. He then jokes that no one has it easy besides the promoter’s
kid. Flair adds that he does not want to do a wrestling school because he will
be taking someone’s money and not being able to get them any work. He then
mentions his daughter, Ashley (Charlotte
in NXT) and thought she could make it to the main roster in a few months as she
was a great athlete. He brings up her NXT debut, which was filmed a few days
before this interview, and how after the match she started to cry in the corner
backstage and asked Ric if her deceased brother Reid saw the match. Ric said
that he broke down after that as well.

 

 

Flair talks
about Japan
and how he couldn’t wrestle over there due to his blood clot. He was supposed
to wrestle with the Great Muta against Tatsumi Fujinami and someone else. He
suggested that Reid work in his place and told them that he was an amateur
wrestler. They thought Reid wasn’t ready but Ric convinced them to let him take
his place. Ric then told his son to take down the other kid and “ride him like
he owed him money.” After that, they told Ric that Reid would need a month in
the dojo before he could go out but he was able to be on the road in five days.
Ric says that Reid was “tougher than shit” and really loved the business. He
also said that Reid was witty and brings up a time when he got into trouble and
told his dad not to worry as Blackjack wasn’t running the territory anymore.

 

 

They are
then asked if the other wrestlers treated them differently when they were the
champion. Flair said that they kissed their asses at times. Funk said that when
they were champs, they refused separate locker rooms and did not bury everyone.
He said that they understood the business and doesn’t understand why others
would look down at the talent who were enhancement talent as they wouldn’t be
where they were if not for those guys.

 

 

Both are
asked about their least favorite territory. Flair said it was Kansas City and Funk agrees with him. Flair
jokingly referred to it as Moscow
then jokes how he would only make about $900 a week there as the shows never
drew anything and how his bar tab would be that much on his first night. He
said that Bob Geigel, the promoter, would have them wrestle at fairs and in
parking lots. He recalls how one time during his match, some kid stole his robe
then ran out in the middle of the street and started to flip off people. He
brings up how Cornette had a saying about these shows that even though you
stole the show, it was only petty theft.

 

 

Now the
guys are asked if they were ever jealous of Hulk Hogan when the WWF expanded in
1984. They both said that they never thought about that. Flair said that Harley
used to call Hogan a “plastic champion” back in the NWA. Flair then adds when
Hogan got to WCW, he did not want to work with Vader or Rick Rude but Flair
would work with him. Flair then states how the worst thing you can give to a
wrestler is creative control. Funk put over Hogan for being a huge draw then
they both argue over a packet of Skoal.

 

 

Speaking of
Harley Race, Flair is asked about what would have happened if he took Vince’s
offer to not show up at the 1983 Starcade show. For those who do not know,
Vince took Harley to dinner the night before the show and tried to persuade him
to not show up for a large amount of cash. Flair said that Harley never would
have left like that.

 

 

They are
asked about the best locker room fight they saw. Only Flair answers and says
that the most ridiculous fight he saw was only for a few seconds but it was the
time Eddie Guerrero tried to take down Kurt Angle. Flair says he didn’t know
the reason but thinks it was just a case of someone trying to create animosity.
According to Kurt Angle in his shoot interview, the fight was a result of Angle
blowing up at Eddie after a few months of matches that Kurt felt he had to
completely carry by himself, unaware of his health problems.

 

 

The
interviewer then asks then about Abdullah the Butcher, specifically about Devon
Nicholson’s claims that Abby gave him Hepatitis C. Funk thinks that it is
ridiculous and if anyone had contracted Hep C from Abby, it would have been him
as he worked with him for years in Japan where they both bled buckets.
They are then asked what they think about the ban on blading and Funk says that
at one point, accidents will start to happen on purpose. Flair adds that the
sponsors the WWE are trying to attract do not want to be associated with that.

 

 

When asked
about the beginning of the end to the territories, Flair said that Jim Crockett
had as much to do with that as anyone due to the fact that he tried to take
them over by himself. He then adds how the Crocketts refuse to talk with each
other to this day.

 

 

Neither man
wants to be a booker or work as an agent. Flair said that it is a thankless
job. Funk then adds how it consumes your life and brings how up he went up to Stamford in the 1990’s
about a position as a booker but after being stuck in traffic and overwhelmed
by the area’s congestion, he said that his horse was sick and he went home.

 

 

Both men
are in favor of the recent attention to concussions with Funk adding how it is
absolutely necessary. They then ramble on for a few minutes as Flair rags on
Funk for only going out for one night with him when they met up for the first
time in four years this past WrestleMania. After that, Flair jokes about the
time Jim Herd wanted him to cut off his hair, wear an earring and call him
Spartacus.

 

 

They ramble
on for a few more minutes and I can barely understand them. The are asked about
what the tag team name would be if they ever became partners and Flair said
“Dumb & Dumber” as each man argues over who is in fact, the dumbest.

 

 

Flair talks
about is blood clot. He said he was at his doctors the same day before his son
passed away. He had no idea it was a blood clot as he felt no pain. He went to
RAW and couldn’t wear socks as his legs were swollen. He then got sent home and
went to hospital and found out that he had a blockage for months and could have
easily died. He says he can no longer wrestle as he is on Coumadin, an
anti-coagulant, but he still wants to work and has been told by HHH that he can
no longer flop around, even if he is not wrestling.

 

 

The
interview ends after a few more minutes of rambling by both men.

 

 

Final Thoughts: I really didn’t care that much for
this to be honest. Flair was fine but Funk dragged things down and added next
to nothing and the last twenty minutes should have just been cut, IMO. The
interviewer, Rob Feinstein, was much worse than usual and just stuck to his
script of questions and could not redirect anything or get the guys to
elaborate. A better interviewer could have gotten more out of Flair, who is
always willing to talk, unlike the soft-spoken Funk. You can tell that this was
filmed very early in the morning as both guys got a coffee delivery a few
minutes into the shoot and appeared half-asleep. It is also telling how both
guys essentially made fun of DDP for taking care of his body as both men are
broken down physically themselves. Both guys seemed nice enough and were
agenda-free but that is about it and if you want to see a good shoot interview
with Flair, Highspots did a three-disc shoot that is about ten hours long a few
years ago. RF Video also did a Flair shoot earlier this year that specifically
focuses on 2009-2013. I wouldn’t really recommend this to be honest, unless you
are die-hard fans of both.