Height: 1.88 cm (6′ 2″)
Weight: 115 kg (253 lbs)
Trainers: Dory Funk Sr., Lou Thesz
NWA International Heavyweight Champion (2x)
NWA World Heavyweight Champion
JWA NWA SERIES – DAY 10 (OSAKA, 1969)
DORY FUNK JR vs ANTONIO INOKI
I’d say Dory is one of the most underrated talents in the business ever. The man was at the top of cards all over America and in Japan as well. Maybe, it was the fact that he never got over in the WWF that makes people forget him. This match against Inoki is regarded as one of the best bouts of both men careers, so it’s going to be interesting. We have already seen Inoki facing Thesz previously, but, by then, he was already the face of his own promotion. Here, he was still one of many JWA talent, and unlike Thesz, Dory is at his prime here. The match starts in a fast-paced fashion which really shows how great these men are. One thing that I’ve learned from watching these old matches is to not expect speed, but rather technical prowess. Still, here, they are able to mix both. Of course, it’s not like today’s level of athleticism, but you get my point. They use the ropes running around, and that shows how they are excited about the match. Another fascinating detail to pay attention to is how they don’t lose hold of each other. They are constantly in contact with each other, they don’t want to let the other go. These men know that, once they lose their opponent, it’s going to be a difficult situation to get him back. Inoki goes for some successful shoulder tackles, but Dory counters at the third attempt locking him in a toe hold. The way Inoki moves, trying to escape, is just a thing of beauty. At the same time, Dory applies the hold within a unique way. It’s like a dance and a fight at the same time. They apply holds at each other at the same time. The facial expressions are out of this world. They show pain and anger, fear and pride at the same time. These are the best the world has to offer struggling against each other to show who is the best. That is a man in Dory’s corner who heavily interferes in the match as a distraction factor. He looks like Terry, but I don’t know if the timing is right. I’ve done a quick research, and I think it’s Dory Sr. It’s incredible how the crowd goes nuts with everything they do here. They have the audience at the palm of their hands. Dory holds are different from what I’m used to seeing, or maybe that’s just the style of the time. It’s incredible how a simple thing like a different submission hold can make a match more interesting. He starts to work on Inoki’s fingers, but the Japanese legend answers with some stiff strikes. Dory’s back in control of Inoki’s arm, and there’s a police officer trying to calm down the crowd. Are we about to see one of those legendary riots? Outside interference by a blonde guy that I didn’t notice before. He attacked Inoki as Dory brought him close to the ropes. One thing that I’ve always liked about pro-wrestling was having cornermen on both sides. It’s the case here. The blonde guy is Harley Race, by the way. I am still trying to identify the people at Inoki’s corner. I know the faces, but I can’t name them. Dory Sr. tries to interfere once again and the ref kicks his hand. I miss those tough refs. I hate how today’s just get their asses kicked and do nothing about. Except maybe for Red Shoes, he’s one of those tough underdogs. Dory backdrops Inoki and the ref almost goes down with him. The guy at Inoki’s corner looks like that character from the Van Damme movie, the one who talks about bricks. There’s a photographer really close to the ring with an attire that makes him look like an astronaut. It makes sense since we’re in the middle of the space race. I wonder what Kubrick was doing at this moment. I’m sorry for the meaningless comments, but this match is long. Inoki goes for the Octopus, but Dory is saved by the ropes. Dory goes for the Boston crab and Inoki reverses twice. It’s his turn now and he connects. Funk reverses with a pinfall attempt. He goes outside to get some advice from Pa. Do they use Pa in Texas? Inoki applies a very interesting arm hold. This is a very competitive match and shows how both men are on the same level. Harley is complaining at the ringside. He’s young and looks like a college student. The Japanese cornermen are less active themselves. I think it’s a cultural thing. Dory with a knee to the chin. Have you ever notice how big of a chin Inoki’s got. If I was wrestling him, I would definitely focus on it. That’s what Dory is doing right now. Bodyslam by Inoki. He is using the corners to hurt his opponent. Dory Sr. just gets inside the ring laying over the top rope so when his son is about to hit the corner he’s on the way. That turns things around. The crowd is not happy about it. I think the guy at the corner is Yoshimura, but I am not sure yet. It would make sense because I think he was All Asia Tag Team champion alongside Inoki by this time. Race pulls the ref’s leg, no pun intended. We’re more than 40 minutes in, but it doesn’t feel THAT log. Dory is focusing on Inoki’s head, a smart move by the Texas Bronco. If you make your opponent dizzy, he can’t think straight, and that’s lethal in a match like this. Bodyslam by Dory, goes for the pin, kick out by Inoki. Dory takes Inoki to the corner, but this time the ref avoids the outside interference. Inoki with a series of dropkicks, and it’s a nice hope spot. Dory with elbows to the top of the head. Dropkick by Dory, Inoki avoids it. Double underhook suplex by Dory. Nearfall. Both men collapse in the ring, but just for a few seconds. Dory goes to the top rope and dives with his knee on Inoki’s upper back. A slap to the chest is answered with an elbow to the face. Inoki’s in control now, but he can’t capitalize. Both men go over the top rope outside the ring. Dory Sr. is trash talking and Yoshimura looks like he’s finally going to interfere. I think the other man is Oki. Inoki with an airplane spin. The astronaut photographer gets in the way of one of his colleagues. He apologizes and disappears into thin air. Vintage Dory here, with that signature move I can’t name. You know, the one he wraps the opponent leg and bumps. I think we’re getting the spinning toe hold now. That move makes no sense, but it’s cool to see. Rope break, though, and Dory is unable to apply it. The match goes outside. Inoki looks like he is mad. Dory grabs something and hits his opponent with it. Bodyslam on the outside. Inoki grabs Funk’s legs and brings him outside. Vertical suplex by Inoki for another nearfall. They’re trading moves now. Look, a double missed dropkick in 1969. Where are those purists now? Octopus hold connects. Crowd goes nuts. Dory is able to make it to the ropes, though. Headbutt by Dory, both men are down. I think the final countdown is on. Inoki with another Octopus. The bell rings just as Dory makes it to the ropes. They shake hands as Funk retains his NWA belt. Harley raises his hand, what a bastard!
CWF TV (TAMPA, 1972)
DORY FUNK JR vs JACK BRISCO
This tape I found is a sort of rerun of the match. Allegedly, this was the first time the World title was defeated on television. Eddie Graham is on commentary with an announcer that sounds somehow like an outsider. Jack Brisco is on commentary himself. I think we’re having the classic local hero vs outside champion match here, with Dory being booed from arrival and Jack cheered. It’s a very technical match so far, and both Graham and Brisco are giving their takes on the match and that looks like an interesting concept. Dory tries to counter a headlock with a leg breaker, but Brisco won’t break the hold. Dory is focusing on the legs as Jack describes how he prepared to the match. Again, a very interesting concept. Dory does a backdrop and both men are down. As you can probably notice by now, this match is not as interesting as the previous one. I think it’s important to notice that this is a TV match after all, and it’s very nature requires a different kind of action. Dory works Brisco arm as the match proceeds. Forearms by Brisco. Dory takes the match down. Have you ever notice how most of the commentators today are former wrestlers, but we miss that wrestler perspective on a move by move basis? Well, I just notice that based on Jack’s amazing work here as he describes what he does in the ring. Funk pins Brisco against the corner and throws some punches. Jack goes for a pin. Dory kicks out. The match is kind of boring by this point, and, although the commentary team is doing a good job, their monotonic voices are almost making me fall asleep. I am actually back after a week or so where I totally forgot I was watching this match. It might feel like a break here. Brisco holds Funk in a bodyscissors by this point. Boston crab by Dory as Graham mentions Joe Stecher in the commentary. You know the kind of match you’re watching when they mention someone like that. Irish whip by Brisco throwing Dory against the corner. Headlock by Brisco. The way these old matches were worked can go both ways. It’s better for a deeper analysis, but it also bores you to death when they are bad. I know these are two of the best wrestlers ever, but this is a match that doesn’t stand the test of time. The punches they throw are sick, though. I may skip some moves here as I play Total Extreme Wrestling. I am playing this 1933 mod that is really fascinating. Jim Londos is my champion right now. Dory elbows Jack’s lower back. Atomic drop by Funk. German suplex by Brisco. They trade punches and Dory’s thrown over the top rope. The commentary team points out this is a no disqualification match what allows things like that to happen. People may forget, but throwing your opponent outside the ring was illegal through the very beginning of pro-wrestling. Dory’s leg got stuck in the ropes and it looked legit. He had trouble getting out of there. Dory with the spinning toe hold. I still think that is one of the coolest looking moves in wrestling. The referee is down for some reason. Refs have always been easy to knock down, haven’t they? Bodyslam by Dory. He’s going to dive, but Jack gets there before and brings him down. Jack tries to pin Dory down, but the clock goes out. It’s a time limit draw. Well, this was…interesting. I survived through a Jack Brisco/Dory Funk Jr. hour-long time limit draw. I feel like a can conquer the world right now.
AJPW SUMMER ACTION SERIES II (TOKYO, 1974)
DORY FUNK JR vs JUMBO TSURUTA
Before we start here, I want to say that Tsuruta is probably my favorite wrestler ever. His pre-80s stuff is not my cup of tea, though. I hope this changes my mind. Jumbo starts with a series of dropkicks and this is already more exciting than the whole Brisco match. It’s in moments like these that you realize how tall Dory actually is. Jumbo towers through those 90s multimen tag matches. Here, he doesn’t look that tall. I think it’s fair to say that, through the years, wrestlers really got smaller. Although the match is very technical, the pace is a lot faster than in the previous one. A leg lock by Dory and Jumbo sells like no one else. I think nobody in the history of professional wrestling had better facial expressions than him. He looks really young here, so he doesn’t have that menacing look that made him so threatening later in his career. In this match, he is the young prospect facing the established veteran. It’s a whole different dynamic from the matches I am used to. Tsuruta tries to speed things up here. He needs to be careful, though. That got him in trouble twice already. The more experienced Dory knows how to take advantage of a careless youngun. I think that experience is exactly what makes this bout different from Inoki’s. Jumbo debuted in 73, what makes him a real rookie here. It’s impressive how he’s doing well against a true veteran here. By the way, Dory’s just scored the first fall. Jumbo looks upset. He’s got that young man disappointment in his face. Like I said, great selling. Jumbo chops Dory’s chest, but the gaijin gets back on top. Cobra stretch by Funk. I think it was by working matches like these that Jumbo learned how to work that style later in his career. Baba was very smart in his booking. I still think he was the best booker ever. Nobody created as many great stars as old Shohei. Jumbo just scores the second fall, and Dory’s disappointment is different. It’s that veteran grumpiness towards oneself. He shakes hands with Tsuruta, though, as we get to the third fall here. I think out of the matches I’ve seen so far, this is the first time I see someone working a submission from the top. Usually, we have side submissions taking place, what symbolizes both wrestlers being on the same level. Here, Dory is often on top, showing his superiority to Tsuruta. Dory throws Jumbo outside with a flying headscissors. Then, he takes him back with a vertical suplex. That, again, shows the complete control he’s got against the rookie. On the other hand, the power moves from Tsuruta do not look that powerful. They are affected by that lack of experience. You see a star that is too young to shine as much as it should do. In the end, Dory pins by reversing a move from Tsuruta. It was exactly that lack of experience that cost him the match.
AJPW OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE – DAY 1 (TOKYO, 1975)
DORY FUNK JR vs ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER
I expect this match to be completely different from the previous one considering Abdullah’s style. They start with a crown brawl, which says a lot about it. European uppercut by Funk. Abdullah answers with some headbutts. The Butcher bites the Texas Bronco’s forehead. There’s no one in the history of professional wrestling like him. No one ever looked like an absolute threat like he did. He’s bleeding after some chair shots. Knowing about the hepatitis thing makes me cringe. Dory’s in control and elbows and punches the top of the head of his opponent. This is a different Dory. He had to change his game in order to match his opponent here. No long-lasting holds. Instead, he goes for some on-point strikes there. Spinning toe hold, but Abdullah reverses. Elbow drop by The Butcher. Dory goes for the vertical suplex and succeeds. It’s also interesting how he presents himself here. He looks like a real champion, and it’s on top for the most part. Dory hits the ref with a chair shot, and they go outside for another brawl. I think it’s a double DQ. Dory tries to go after Abdullah but it’s held back by Jumbo Tsuruta. Abdullah, who had run to the back, comes back to mock Funk. He punches him in the had, and also punches some random All Japan guy. Dory goes after him as the people ringside try to get things under control. This post-match angle is more exciting than the match itself. This chaotic nature says a lot about The Butcher’s persona.
AJPW GIANT SERIES – DAY 7 (TOKYO, 1981)
DORY FUNK JR vs BRUISER BRODY
There’s never been a more menacing human being in the world of professional wrestling than Bruiser Brody. Dory gets to the ring and starts throwing things at the crowd. I have no idea what they are, but people look excited about. The Immigrant Song plays! Here comes Brody! It’s already exciting. HE’S OUT OF CONTROL, PEOPLE! IT’S BRODY! IT’S BRUISER BRODY! He jumps even Dory even before the bell rings, and we’re into a wild brawl. They go outside. Brody hits Dory on the head with something. It’s chaos out there. He throws Funk back in the ring. Dropkick by Brody. He bites Dory’s forehead as the crowd chants for the Texas Bronco. The match goes back outside. It’s a sea of people out there as Brody carries Dory by the back of his head. Back in the ring and Brody bodyslams Funk. Dory is busted open. There’s blood everywhere. Kick to the midsection by Brody. Knee drop. Right now, he looks unbeatable. The camera focus on Dory’s face. It’s all messy. Brody bites him again despite the blood. He’s an animal. Dory answers with a series of forearms. The crowd goes nuts as Funk takes over. The match is taken outside again. Dropkick by funk. Now Brody is bleeding after Dory driving him face first against the turnbuckle. Spinning toe hold. They get back on their feet. Big hands by Brody. He goes for the knee drop but misses. Funk back in control. It’s incredible how Brody can take the best from his opponents. Let’s give Dory some credit too. He’s not that scientific wrestler here. This is not a wrestling match. This is a fight, and he brought his best. Dory hits a vertical suplex, but knocks the referee out. This gives Brody time to recover. He goes outside and grabs his chain. Dory is able to take control. The ref gets back but Dory punches him. He also hits Buck Robley. The Japanese team tries to stop him. I can see Momota and Okuma among them. Robley holds Dory as Brody attacks him. Terry Funk comes for the save. A wild brawl is taking place. The Funks are working together, and they beat Brody out of there.
HOUSTON WRESTLING (HOUSTON, 1981)
DORY FUNK JR vs BILLY ROBINSON
We’re probably going back to old school Dory here as he faces legendary scientific wrestler Billy Robinson. Listening to the announcer, it sounds like Robinson wasn’t exactly well-known at this point. Dory is in the best shape I have ever seen him. Robinson goes for a British-style offense there. So far, the match has been about holds with no strikes whatsoever. It’s a very realistic match, but it’s not boring at all. Robinson just slaps Dory’s face, and the match has some heat to it. Billy’s style is different from everyone else’s. He is, indeed, very unique. The match goes outside for a second. Robinson comes back to ring and looks upset. Dory rolls out. This tells a lot about these men. Although both have a similar approach to the art, Robinson is more explosive while Dory is more of a patient wrestler. A modified Backbreaker by Robinson shows more about the kind of wrestler he is. This match is fascinating to look at. It’s old school grappling, but there’s a nice dynamic to it. Robinson makes those holds meaningful. Even common ones look painful when he is applying them. A small botch there hurts the perfect wrestling match they had so far, but nothing that can’t be excused. Submissions are countered into pins, pins into submissions. There’s a real grappling masterpiece taking place. Dory goes for the forearms, and Robinson sells like a king. Bodyslam by Funk. Someone in the crowd asks for the Toe Hold. It looks like I am not the only one who likes that move. Dory’s on control now. A Neckbreaker by Robinson looks like things are gonna change, but both men just collapse after hitting each other. Dory goes for the Toe Hold, but Robinson denies. Now Robinson with Abdominal Stretch. That is the kind of move that looks really cool. Boston Crab by Robinson. Another Backbreaker and Robinson hurts Dory’s lower back and his own knee. Funk goes for the Toe Hold again as the time limit count out starts. Robinson goes for a Tackle and tries the pin, but it’s too late. Twenty minutes time limit draw.
AJPW GRAND CHAMPION CARNIVAL I – DAY 21 (OMIYA, 1984)
DORY FUNK JR vs STAN HANSEN
Probably going for another crazy brawl as Dory faces Hansen here. Hansen attacks right away showing no mercy whatsoever. He is even more vicious than Robinson. Dory tries the Spinning Toe Hold very early in the match but is unsuccessful. Well, I have to say this match already has more holds than I originally expected. Dropkick by Hansen, and that reminds me of why he is so awesome. Hansen’s chin lock is more bestial than scientific. He’s just a crazy cowboy trying to hurt his opponent. Dory steps up, though, and faces him like a man. So far, we’ve seen him against a lot of opponents that are completely different from each other, and, every single time, he adapted himself to the game. That shows how great of a professional wrestler is Dory Funk Jr. Even the matches that weren’t that fun, had a flavor to it that you don’t see everywhere. Every time Dory is on control in this match, he slows things down. He is trying to calm the beast in Hansen. That doesn’t seem to be a very good idea. Hansen is a brute, and he attacks like one every time he gets the chance. His holds, unlike Dory’s, are nasty. They are not visually pleasing, and they are not supposed to be. His style is not pretty, and he’s not worried about it. Hansen uses his knees a lot. If you think about it, that’s the nastiest part of the human body, and the one with the potential to cause the most damage. Bodyslam. He goes up and tries to hit a Diving Double Knee Drop. He misses. The match goes outside and, when it looks we’re getting another crowd brawl, Dory brings the bout back to the ring. He hits Hansen’s head against the ring post and busts Stan open. Hansen gets the advantage back and hits a piledriver. He’s wearing the crimson’s mask as he hits a suplex. Dory back in control. Spinning Toe Hold. And, out of nowhere, Bruiser Brody hits the ring and attacks Dory. They remove the protection from outside the ring as Brody piledrives Dory into the exposed floor. Brody and Hansen celebrate and leave. At this point, their reign of terror in All Japan is at its prime.
As I said before, I am not posting any links unless I am completely sure they are 100% legal. However, I encourage you to search for these matches. They are not very hard to find, and you can have a nice time watching and analyzing them.