Monday, September 4, 2023

A tribute to Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt in ink

Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt. Micron pen (.02 and .03), Faber-Castell PITT "B"-series brush pen and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on Strathmore Bristol Board (8.5" X 11"). Art by Coyote Duran. (Please click to enlarge.)

Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt. Micron pen (.02 and .03), Faber-Castell PITT "B"-series brush pen and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on Strathmore Bristol Board (8.5" X 11"). Art by Coyote Duran. (Please click image to enlarge.)

Growing up, I fell in love with professional wrestling, thanks to my dad, who watched Verne Gagne's American Wrestling Association and Bob Luce's "All-Star Wrestling" on Sunday afternoons. Dad wasn't hep to the WWF (now known as WWE) but sure loved following the exploits of Dick the Bruiser, the Crusher, Larry Zbyszko, Nick Bockwinkel and "Yukon" Moose Cholak, among so many others. I was practically hypnotized by such comic book-esque battles between good and evil, with shiny championship belts up for grabs amid it all.

My dad (who loved the heels. Still does, I reckon) was a big Funk fan, although he must've gotten attached during Funk's really short stay in the AWA. We didn't get much of the other territories in the late-1970s or early-eighties in syndication in Aurora, Illinois. But Dad sure knew who Terry Funk was, along with Terry's older brother Dory Jr.

Terry competed everywhere. including WWE on several occasions (although I didn't think much of the Funks' storyline "brother" Jimmy Jack Funk, portrayed by Jesse Barr. I just thought the added Funk was unnecessary, as well as Dory's change of his first name to "Hoss."). This brand of dedication to the art form is a top reason for Funk's legendary acclaim.

Funk, a Class of 2009 WWE Hall-of-Famer and former NWA world heavyweight champion (an honor he shared with Dory Jr.) passed away on August 23, at age 79.

Just one day later, Windham Rotunda - better known as former WWE champion and WWE Universal champion Bray Wyatt - passed away, at age 36, from cardiac arrest. Rotunda, who was sidelined after a bout with COVID-19 earlier this year, was supposed to make a comeback to the squared circle after having been absent from the ring since last February. The wrestling press was noted in articles stating Rotunda had dealt with a life and career-threatening illness. Many of us were feeling pretty positive that we'd see one of pro wrestling's most creative minds return and wondered what he'd have in store for us, this time around.

Upon further press releases, we all learned that Rotunda's bout with COVID exacerbated a pre-existing heart condition. As much as Funk's death saddened the business and fans alike, Bray Wyatt's passing evoked different emotions, mainly because he was so young. In addition, he was also a father of four young children, two of whom he shared with WWE ring announcer JoJo Offerman.

The tributes rolled in heavily. As a big fan of both gentlemen, I offer up one that pales in comparison to the global plaudits the business and non-wrestling supporters have given. Mine is an ink representation of both Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt (Micron pen (.02 and .03), Faber-Castell PITT "B"-series brush pen and Pentel Pocket Brush Pen on 8.5" X 11"Strathmore Bristol Board), complete with telling expressions.

Originally I was going to make this a greyscale piece but, after examining my progress, I nixed the idea. There was just something so stark about creating something strictly with black ink and making it make sense.

It isn't much, Howlers, but it's how I saw both men. I found fitting photo references and went from there, featuring Funk with a cold, subtle sneer and Wyatt with an equally subtle smile, as he looks toward his legendary predecessor with admiration.

If there's any lesson to be learned from the passing of Terry Funk and Bray Wyatt, it's to make your mark on this world in the best, most positive way you can, kids. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Love your families with all your heart. Make them proud. Always be good.

See you boys down the road.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Commissions? Hit me up at You can also follow me on Twitter @CoyoteDuranon Instagram @CoyoteDuran, on Threads @CoyoteDuran and on Facebook @CDCreationNation.

No comments:

Post a Comment