Defrost Reviews…Terry Funk vs Jerry Lawler


We are not the lovers of chickens. We are not the son of a jackass. Nor do we have the fans or police or officials or Lance Russell on our side. Could use some money though. And kinda dependent on Youtube for this one in the interest of full disclosure. Time for the review.

CWA 3/23/81 (Mid-South Coliseum)
No DQ Match
AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Jerry The King Lawler vs Terry Funk (w/Jimmy Hart)

CWA 4/6/81 (Mid-South Coliseum)
Empty Arena Match
AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Jerry The King Lawler vs Terry Funk

USWA 1/5/91 (Dallas Sportatorium)
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk vs Jerry The King Lawler

TWA Winter Challenge II (Penn Hall)
USWA World Heavyweight Championship/Fan Participation Lumberjack Match
USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk vs Jerry The King Lawler

3PW A Funkin’ Classic (Electric Factory)
Jerry The King Lawler vs Terry Funk


Before even talking about these two we gotta talk about the greatness of Lance Russell. Lance Russell was amazing at every aspect of his job whether it be Play by Play or doing interviews or being the ring announcer. Lance Russell basically acting as Terry Funk’s proto IMDB page as he came to the ring is one of the greatest things I have ever heard in wrestling. On interviews no one was better at conveying just exasperation with the insanity that was going on around him, and there are fewer things more insane than Terry Funk during the Empty Arena match. A great Russell moment is when Rick Rude smashed out the windshield of Jerry Lawler’s car and all you hear in the background is Russell, rather matter of factly, say, “You know you’re going to have to pay for that.” Awesome. Really the vast majority of wrestling commentary is pretty shitty. When you boil it down there are three great commentators in American Wrestling history. Jim Ross, Gordon Solie, and Lance Russell form some kind of carny holy trinity.


In Jerry Lawler’s long feud with Jimmy Hart’s First Family Lawler had to fend off all kinds of different personalities from Kamala to Andy Kaufman, but there are few people as different as former World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk. Together they would produce something so special that even in 2011 they were still booked against each other and hell even after 9000 retirements and heart attacks they’re probably booked for another go as this piece is being written. That special thing is their empty arena match. It is one of the greatest pieces of work in the history of Professional Wrestling. From Funk ranting and raving before Lawler shows up all the way to the end with the famous MY EYE MY EYE begging for help by Funk after the spike of wood goes into his eye the entire thing is just perfect and there is no way you can spend a better 15 minutes watching anything else that has ever happened in pro wrestling. And it is so simple. Two guys hate each other. One of whom is totally out of his mind, and that’s the guy who doesn’t show up dress in a cape and crown with no one around. Then they just tear into each other. It’s beautiful.


From 1981 to 2003 a Terry Funk vs Jerry Lawler match meant one thing. A brawl. Brawling in the ring, brawling out of the ring, brawling in the crowd, brawling without a crowd. Lawler wearing white to show the blood, Lawler wearing the crown with no one around, Lawler wearing the most 1991 thing this side of Beverly Hills 90210. Doesn’t matter you’re getting a brawl. And unless you’re in Philadelphia and decide that Jerry Lawler sucks and have the whole thing almost devolve into wrestlers vs the fans it was Terry Funk playing the heel. Fucking Philly. Even can point out some future ECW Arena regulars in the crowd stirring the shit. Stunning right? That Lumberjack match in Philly was horrible. Lumberjack matches suck in general. The crowd was very ECW Arena on a bad day. Speaking of ECW pretty sure the ref was John Finnegan. Cactus Jack was on the show. Abdullah was. Tri-State Wrestling looking back feels sorta proto ECW. The best match outside the Empty Arena was their no DQ match in Memphis. It was a wild brawl all around the ring. Lawler wearing white for a double juice match making sure the blood shows up. Always a good touch there. Plus it had one of the better countout endings ever. Lawler viciously attacks Funk with a chair Jimmy Hart had tried to get to Funk and batters him out of the ring with it, and then proceeds to bash Funk’s legs with it over and over until Funk could not possibly stand let alone make it back to the ring. The Sportatorium match is basically a scaled down version of the without the blood or awesome finish and that holds it back. Though it has Jerry Lawler’s amazing technicolor dream singlet going for it.


Their 2003 match is the latest match reviewed here. 22 years after their show down in front of many empty seats. First of all 3PW’s hard camera placement sucks a dick. This match is in post ECW Philly. John Finnegan is the referee. Some ECW Arena regulars are in this crowd too. I think Dave Prazak is doing Play by Play. Indies post Monday Night Wars and before ROH shot to the top of all of them really is something that needs to be looked back on more. Funk comes out and cuts an awesome promo about how WWE, who Lawler works for, sucks. Hogan sucks. He wants everyone to leave to make it empty arena again. He’s going to kick Lawler’s ass. So obviously this babyfaces him up. These two old men go over 20 minutes in the main event and they use actual wrestling in between pie facing and trying to otherwise murder each other. Lawler was 53 and Funk 59 and this is the longest of the reviewed matches. Think about that. Jerry Lawler actually cuts a promo during it. Also drinks a soda. That actually made the match better to be honest. As did Lawler doing the Stone Cold Stunner. Then Funk doing it back. You know what the hell with as gimmicky as the match was it was fun as hell. Probably overrating it. Whatever. Watch this match everyone.

Results and Ratings

CWA 3/23/81
AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Jerry The King Lawler defeated Terry Funk via countout at 14:16 (Star Rating: ****)

CWA 4/6/81
AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Jerry The King Lawler fought Terry Funk to a No Contest when MY EYE! MY EYE! (Star Rating: *****)

USWA 1/5/91
Jerry The King Lawler defeated USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk via Disqualification after Funk attacked the referee. Terry Funk retained the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship (Star Rating: ***1/2)

TWA Winter Challenge II
Jerry The King Lawler defeated USWA Unified World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk via Disqualification at 11:39 after . Terry Funk retained the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship (Star Rating: dud)

3PW A Funkin’ Classic
Terry Funk defeated Jerry Lawler at 22:30 via pinfall with a Roll Up (Star Rating: ****)

Average Rating: ***1/4

Not sure what to do next. I have promised Jericho vs Malenko. So how bout that? Next Time: Chris Jericho vs Dean Malenko

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One thought on “Defrost Reviews…Terry Funk vs Jerry Lawler

  1. I like your review style, Cewsh. Very authentic :). Would love to feature your reviews in our weekly curated email digest that goes out to thousands of people.


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