The Invitation: The Legends Come Home Pt. 1

Sulayman H.Senior Writer IApril 3, 2009

Welcome to the second edition of The Invitation.

I thought of The Invitation as a series that would hype major events in the wrestling world as well as provide a small portion of useful information for the casual wrestling fan.

On this edition, we're going to take a look at this year's Hall of Fame inductees and whether they deserve or do not deserve to be given this prestigious honor.

My aim is to look back on some of these accomplishments of these eight inductees and review their cases individually to determine where they stand when it comes to being deemed a legend in the history of sports entertainment.

I won't go into much detail since there is a lot of history to be covered and well we don't have the time since the Hall of Fame is right around the corner.

Let's get it started, shall we?

Terry & Dory Funk

When I hear Terry Funk's name, I think of a million chairs flying into the ring.

Terry Funk started out with his brother Dory in his father's promotion. After quickly rising in the ranks they joined the National Wrestling Alliance in 1968.

It was Dory who would first find success by winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship in just a year after joining the legendary promotion.

He would hold the title for nearly five years.

It would take his brother Terry seven whole years to capture one of the most coveted titles in sports history. And he did so in Miami, Florida in 1975 when he defeated Jack Brisco.

Their matches as a tag team were classics in their own right as the Funks stormed the NWA.

Terry had already established himself as a brawler and made the term 'hardcore' popular among fans and promotions alike.

Terry's first run in the WWE would be short lived as he would leave right after Wrestlemania.

He returned to the NWA in 1989 to give the people a very heated rivalry; he feuded with the Nature Boy—Ric Flair, and put Flair out of action for a month.

Of course, the Dirtiest Player would respond in kind and would injure his rival at the Great American Bash in 1989 with some help.

At Clash of the Champions IX, they would put on one hell of a show as they made history and even though it was Terry on the receiving end of the Figure Four Lock, that match has earned a place in the memories and the hearts of many fans.

There are links on the page to the other parts to the 5-star match.

After Terry departed from the WWE, his brother Dory would remain in tag team action with storyline brother 'Jimmy Jack Funk'.

Terry Funk had collected for himself many fans and accolades alike. But it was only the beginning for the man who would be known as the innovator of extreme wrestling.

ECW began to gain steam and they did what was most logical at the time: putting the strap on Terry as he went on to defeat Raven in 1997. Later on, he would compete in one of his most gruesome matches to date when he locked horns with Sabu.


Take a look and witness the legend that is Terry Funk.

Terry Funk is a legend, albeit a hardcore one at that.

Bill Watts

Cowboy Bill Watts started out as a wrestler and went on to wrestle for many promotions and feuded with Bruno Sammartino for the WWE Championship, just failing short of realising his dream.

Watts' skills would be better utilised as he would prove his worth in the wrestling territories as a smart and effective booker. He used his insight into the wrestling world to give us such superstars as Cowboy Bob Orton, Sting and Dusty Rhodes.

After a few major and minor setbacks, Watts would sell his United Wrestling  Federation to Jim Crockett.

After he went to work for WCW, he would be met with criticism and controversy that would lead him to resign from his position as Executive Vice President of WCW.

He would later be part of the booking in the WWE, but refused to stay for a long-term career in the company.

If you wanted to see some of the best of the business at the time, you need look no further than Mid-South Wrestling where perhaps the most legendary superstars would be showcased week after week.

Koko B. Ware

Okay, this inductee caught me and the rest of the IWC by surprise.

Since Koko B. Ware found the most success in the WWE, I will avoid talking about his early days in the NWA; although one highlight of his time with the promotion was screwing the very man who will host the Hall of Fame on Saturday: Jerry Lawler.

I wasn't quite knowledgeable about Koko so I had to do a little research about his run in the WWE.

He debuted in 1986 as a bright, fun-loving wrestler with a pet macaw. Needless to say, Koko found success and fame amongst the young fans as the WWE was catering to that specific demographic.

Koko would mostly be a jobber who was used to lose against up and coming stars. He sang the title track of the WWE's 1987 album called Piledriver.

Ironically, Koko would be on the receiving end of the first ever Tombstone Piledriver at Survivor Series '90 where the Undertaker made his debut.

As part of a talent exchange agreement, Koko went to the USWA where he would win the world title twice and the tag team titles once.

He would be known mostly as a fan favorite; he would go on to form the tag team known as 'High Energy' with the late Owen Hart.

Koko left the WWE in 1994 and the rest is history.

After reviewing Koko's case, I can't really say he is Hall of Fame material but I don't call the shots in the WWE.

If you want to take a look at Koko's career, there are many videos that could be found on Youtube.

Howard Finkel

Finkel started out training to be a wrestler but there was a higher calling for the Fink or rather: announcing.

He was announcing for many wrestling shows and since the 80s he was the lead ring announcer. With his one of a kind style of announcing, he became the voice of the WWE.

He rarely took part in matches but one bout comes to my mind.

He is a walking talking record of matches and historic events and is currently working backstage.

He has been announcing for quite some time.

When Vince McMahon was looking to name his greatest creation, Finkel suggested it be called Wrestlemania and the rest is history.

After presenting the career highlights of one Howard Finkel and his long and prestigious career as an in-ring announcer and one of the WWE's longest lasting employees, I have come to the decision that perhaps a case could be made for the Fink.

Of course, he was Vince's man through and through and that is enough to guarantee you a seat in the class of legends.

That's all for this time.

Next time on the Invitation: The Von Erich's, Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

Signing out,


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