Wrestling legend Terry Funk recently spoke with Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso to discuss the art of the empty arena matchup in response to WWE running WrestleMania without fans due to COVID-19. He also commends WWE Hall of Famer Jerry The King Lawler for excelling in that stipulation. Highlights of that and more are below.
The empty arena match being his idea:
The empty arena was my idea. Nobody told me what to say, nobody told me what to do. I was my own creator.
Jerry Lawler doing well in empty arena matches because he was a good talker:
I love the wrestling profession. Things weren’t predetermined then like they are now. Maybe a few things were, but the majority of the match was not. Things were different. And with that empty arena match, Lawler was a great performer. He was a good talker in the promos and he could perform in the ring. And God bless him for the loss of his son [Brian Christopher]. I just loved that kid.
Cutting promos without scripts:
You did your own promos. It was spontaneous. They let me go, I was on the loose, and I loved every minute of it.
Thoughts on Paul Heyman:
I think very highly of Paul E. I always have. He was always willing to learn from the right people, and he learned a great deal from me. He had a great eye for talent. I don’t think he’d want me bragging on him, but I’m bragging on him because it’s all true.
Wishing all the WWE performers well during WrestleMania season:
That’s the biggest night in wrestling. I loved wrestling so much, and I think the wrestlers love it now, too. They’re out there right now, they’re all wanting to make the most of what they can for themselves in the ring, especially when that bell rings. There is nothing bigger than that particular night.