Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dory Funk Sr.

Dory Funk Sr. made his first run through Arizona in the late 1950s as he migrated between Texas and other states. Some of the people he met in Phoenix, Tucson, Yuma or in smaller spot towns were Don Curtis, El Diablo, Rip Rogers (Eddie Graham), Juan Humberto, Don Arnold and Brute Bemis.

Even in this part of his career, he was already known for the development of the spinning toe hold, which forced many into submission. His sons Terry and Dory Jr. would also use the hold as part of a family tradition, the latter of whom forced Gene  Kiniski into submission to win the World title.

While Dory St, remained part of the NWA office for years, from his Amarillo however, he never won their World championship, though Terry and Dory both did.

Dory Sr. didn't win any major titles in his Arizona run, though he had shots at the North American and Arizona crowns.

Back in Amarillo, however, he did lay claim to a bizarre title of sorts when he was branded the World Texas Death Match Championship for his reputed survival of over 200 such anything goes/marathon matches. 

This led to his final Arizona run in 1971, when Rod Fenton started promoting shows (also the aging Fenton's  last hurray).

In February of 1972, he faced rival Ciclon Negro in a grueling Texas Death Match in Phoenix at the Travel Lodge (later Celebrity) Theater. Dory retained his "title" so to speak, by eventually defeating the Venezuelan villain. The two traded numerous falls and were both covered with blood before the thing ended, Funk was the last man standing and declared the winner, with Negro sprawled out on the arena floor, unable to go on.

A few years after that, Funk died from a sudden heart attack on his ranch.

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