Dory Funk Jr.

The Most Competitive Business in the World, by Dory Funk Jr.
(Credit: Dory-Funk Jr)

The crowd was in an uproar. Seventeen thousand people were stomping their feet as they screamed and yelled in support of their young hero from the land of the star of David, Mark Lewin. He was fighting for the championship against the man who called these people a bunch of geeks who lived in a country of nothing but sand and flies, Ray Stevens.

Ray Stevens was the person they loved to hate and loved to watch at the same time. It was only last night that Paul Jones, Ray and I were downtown Sydney in the section of town they call Kings Cross. After Dinner at the Top of the Mark Restraunt, we went up to Last Card Louie Benedito's Pink Pussycat Club. It was one more great night on the town. Ray was dancing with the lead stripper, Sabrina. When he returned to the table, there was a slight tear in his blue silk shirt. One of the girls at the table decided she would like to have apiece of his shirt and tore off a souvenir, as did several other people. The music started again and Ray was back out on the dance floor and now everyone in the place wanted a souvenir. By the time the dance was over, all Ray had left was his collar, tie, cuffs, and cuff-links. He returned to our hotel that night dressed like the true champion he was, wearing a taylor made suit, collar, tie, cuffs, cuff links, and no shirt.

At Sydney Stadium, the dressing rooms were built beneath the stands so the noise during this match was quite loud. I had finished wrestling and was relaxing in the dressing room sipping on a bottle of Fosters Lager kibitzing with the boys. Besides Paul, there was Dominic Dinucci, Dick Steinborne, Larry O'day, Vince Montana, Hercules Cortez, and Mitsu Arakawa. In the other room getting ready for the last match of the night was the top heel in the territory, Killer Kowalski.

My friend, The Big Cowboy, 6'10" Tex McKinzie was setting on the trainers table in the middle of the dressing room. He was fully dressed for his ring entrance with a big ten gallon black cowboy hat, leather vest, and big blue fringed wrestling cowboy boots that can only be gotten from Joe Hall boot company in El Paso Texas. Even though Tex was the main event with a sell out crowd, you could see his heart wasn't in his work.

The main event that night in Sydney Australia was 6' 8" Killer Kowalski, who earlier in his career gained fame as the man who kicked the ear off of Yukon Eric, against the big likable and often comedic, Tex McKinsey. Ray Stevens had been in the territory six weeks, just long enough to get over strong. Mark Lewin had just come in two weeks ago. Mark had a unique ability maneuver himself into the prime position in any territory he came into.

The prime spot to be on a wrestling card is next to last. The people are full of anticipation, awake and ready to be entertained. Next to last is the perfect position to be in to, "steal the show," on the main event. Many times the last match on the card can have a tough time following a great match on the semi-final.

Up until now the territory had been built around a feud between Killer Kowalski and Tex McKinzie. Kowalski was a great heel, though not quite the dynamic looking person he was just a few years ago. He had recently become a vegetarian and had lost a considerable amount of weight. Tex is a big likeable guy and wrestling fans loved him, but had some limitations in athletic ability.

The more the crowd cheered, the longer the face on an already long faced Tex McKinzie got. Soon the roar of the crowd and the stomping of feet was so loud it was shaking the building. It seemed that everyone in the room was looking at Tex McKinzie setting there in silence. A trickle of dust from the vibrations above floated down on the nose of Big Tex. McKinzie.

Finally as if someone had to break the ice, Big Tex McKinzie looked around the room and said in his deep Dale Carnegie trained, Ted Dibiase sound alike voice, "Well fellas, If ever in my life I hoped a match didn't get over it is that one out there. Laughter filled the room with Tex's comment as they all knew how hard it could be to follow a great match like Ray Stevens and Mark Lewin. Just as everyone was laughing at Tex's comments, the door opened and in walked the promoter, Jim Barnett. Everything went silent. Jim was sharp and knew they all shut up because he walked in the room. Jim stood with one hand on hip and in a nasal and cutting voice said, "Well, don't stop talking just because I walked in the dressing room, continue with the conversation." (There was silence) "Go ahead speak up." (There was more silence) Finally, Big Tex couldn't stand the silence any more and he said, "Well Jim, I was just saying if ever in my life I hoped a match didn't get over, it's that one out there." Jim responded, "Ohh godd" then did a pirouette and sashayed out of the dressing room. As the door slammed shut with a loud bang, one more trickle of dust floated down on Big Tex's nose.

I left Sydney Stadium before the show was over to beat the crowd. As I walked up the hill along Elizabeth Street from the old Sydney Stadium toward Last Card Louie Benedito's Pink Pussycat. I could still hear the roar of the crowd and the explosion at the end of the match, then the silence.

I thought about the words of my father when I told him I wanted to become a professional wrestler. "Son, you are about to enter the most competitive business in the world."




Dory Funk Jr. official website


Dory Funk Jr.

Terry Funk

World Championship Wrestling (Australian roster - 1964 to 1978)


The Great Yankee Promoters

The Great Aussie Promoters



Terry Funk official website