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Brawl breaks out at wrestling press conference

Terry Funk should be used to a little pain. In a career spanning more than four decades, the slow-spoken Texan has seen it all in the wrestling ring, including an incident in Corpus Christi in which he was stabbed in the back.
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Terry Funk should be used to a little pain.

In a career spanning more than four decades, the slow-spoken Texan has seen it all in the wrestling ring, including an incident in Corpus Christi in which he was stabbed in the back.

But Friday afternoon at the Prince Arthur Hotel represented a new low for the veteran fighter, who was blindsided and bloodied by an up-and-coming hardcore psychopath aptly named Hannibal, as he addressed the media a day in advance of Saturday night’s Superstar of Wrestling show slated for the FortWilliamGardens.

“You know Terry, it’s a very, very nice award,” said Hannibal, momentarily complimenting Funk on a framed pencil sketch made by a fan.

The pleasantries lasted all of five seconds.

“Actually you look better (in the sketch) than you do in person. Look at you. This guy calls himself a champion, a world champion, and look at how he’s dressed – sweat pants, tennis shoes and this,” Hannibal said, grabbing the lapel of Funk’s navy blue suit coat.

“Just like your typical person from Thunder Bay – no class, no idea how to dress.”

Hannibal reared back and smacked his open palm across the 66-year-old Funk’s face, and a three-minute battle ensued. Funk had the early upper hand, smashing the frame over Hannibal’s head, but the younger wrestler won the war, leaving Funk in a bloody mess and out for revenge – despite the fact that as the special enforcer and referee on Saturday, the former WWE and WWF champion isn’t officially on the card.

“The guy caught me totally by surprise,” Funk said. “I didn’t expect him to do what he did. He slapped me pretty damn silly and I’m still a little darn goofy, but I’ll tell you what, I’ll be all right by tomorrow night.

“I’m supposed to be the enforcer, but I tell you what, I know what to expect. I expect that type of action from him and I promise you people that I’m gonna enforce that match from the ring. But when that match is over, if he wants another match, I’ll damn sure give it to him.”

No doubt the fight scene was contrived – the wrestlers appeared to have graduated straight out of the William Shatner school of acting – but there was enough theatrics to impress a small gathering of fans who made their way into the press conference.

“That was awesome,” said Anthony Klaric, a 6-foot-6 giant in his own right who could probably hold his own against any and all of Saturday’s performers, a list that includes Thunder Bay’s own Vampiro, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner and the Honky Tonk Man himself.

Lanny Poffo, who also happens to be the brother of former superstar wrestler Randy (Macho Man) Savage, said he was disgusted at Hannibal’s actions.

“It’s not typical and I didn’t like it at all,” the 55-year-old said. “I thought it was inappropriate. There are things about the wrestling business that I miss, and things about it that I don’t miss. And this is definitely something I don’t miss … When you start acting like this, this is how wrestling gets a bad name and I’m not interested in participating in this type of press conference.”

Organizer Chris Krumpholz, the local commissioner for Great North Wrestling, caught off guard by the severity of the melee, nonetheless said the shock of the brawl is just the type of thing Thunder Bay wrestling fans have been clamoring for.

“I wasn’t expecting that, was thinking it was going to be a friendly show, but I guess it’s old school, right? One guy’s made a name for himself already and there’s another guy looking to make a name for himself. That’s just the way it goes in the wrestling business.”

Hannibal, who stormed out of the conference room, smashing a table-full of drinking glasses in his wake, will take on Kevin Nash in one of Saturday’s premier matches. Others to watch include Vampiro battling Maritime cruiserweight champion Vinny Glyde and Scott Steiner in a handicap match.

Tickets are still available at the FortWilliamGardens box office. The opening bell is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 17 years and has served a similar role with TBNewsWatch.com since 2009. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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