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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dory Funk Jr. Interview Recap - Speaks On His Retirement Tour In Japan, Training School, Today's Wrestling Product, Differences Between Him And Terry,

Courtesy of Steve Rockamaniac:

Dory Funk Jr. Interview Recap
Speaks on his retirement tour in Japan, training school, today's wrestling product, differences between him and Terry, etc.

SHOW: The Main Event, Sunday Mornings from 10:30am-12:00pm on www.MainEventRadio.com and 1690AM in Montreal.
HOSTS: "Reporter" Ryan Rider and Steve Rockamaniac

Can Be Downloaded for free At: http://www.MainEventRadio.com (February 17th show)

Dory Funk Jr. made an appearance on the Main Event wrestling radio show based in Montreal, Canada this past week. This was his third appearance on the show and it gives us great pleasure to have him on once again. Dory is a true class act both in and outside of the ring and is a former NWA World's Heavyweight champion. Here are the highlights of the interview for you wrestling fans…

On how things have been going since the last time he was on the program [in June 2005]: Things have been going well. We are very pleased with the progress of the Funking Conservatory wrestling school. Since that time I've done a few things at wrestling events around the country. The biggest one is this upcoming trip to Japan, we are actually leaving within hours.

When asked about his decision to retire from the ring: "Well, the decision is not to really hang up my boots once and for all. It will be my last wrestling match but we look at it like a new beginning because I will be able to devout full-time to training professional wrestlers and I am looking forward to doing that here. We're looking forward to a good relationship with All Japan Pro Wrestling. I began there 35 years ago and it also their 35th anniversary. It's quite a thing to be a part of the company and to have my final match in Japan in Tokyo's Sumo Hall."

On the status of his wrestling school, the Funking Conservatory: We're an ongoing operation; we're open all the time. We will even have things going on while I'm down in Japan. It's going to be a really great opportunity to create some of the great stars of the future [now that he will focus solely on training].

Commenting about acclaimed student "Flyin" Ryan 'Air' Mitchell: He actually signed a contract with AJPW and will be participating on the tour. He has signed a contract with them and is expected to do extremely well. I could say all the good things about him. He's about 220 pounds, 6 foot 3 inches tall; his wrestling skills are excellent. I really don't like to compare one wrestler to another but if I were gonna compare I would say his work is very reminiscent of Shawn Michaels who incidentally had a tremendous match on Raw this week against Jeff Hardy, another one of my former students!

About other former students, Kurt Angle and Christian Cage: Both are very aggressive, athletic people. We knew that when we had them at the Funkin' Dojo. I highly recommend them and they've both done a tremendous job. Maybe even they've exceeded my expectations.

When asked about today's wrestling product: Some things haven't changed and some things have changed. The centralization of television has changed wrestling tremendously. The bottom line still is that as a performer, as a wrestler, as an athlete, you have to give the people a little something more than their money's worth. That's always the case, if you give to the people and they enjoy what they're watching, they'll come back again and again. WWE is doing a tremendous job, they are a humongous company and they have great athletes. They go in the ring and perform for the people and the company does well. In the old-school days there were 30 companies with 30 wrestlers in each company…now it's much more competitive to get the spot with the company. There are several places that are financially worthwhile that are basically TNA, WWE, overseas in Japan and to some extent overseas in Europe.

More on the Funking Conservatory: We work with all the major companies. We are not only a wrestling training company but we also market our athletes to all the companies. We are co-ed with equal opportunity for women. You would not believe it, it is beautiful. In my opinion, we have the finest wrestling facility and soundstage and video production facility in professional wrestling. It's air-conditioned plus we have a snack bar. Actually the building we're in is 8000 square feet. We have training facilities for amateur wrestling with two humoungus amateur wrestling mats. We have the six-sided steel cage for training for Mixed Martial Arts. We have a state-of-the-art wrestling ring and sound system. Our students train 4-5 nights a week and we have a show usually every Sunday.

Regarding rumours that he was in talks with WWE about becoming involved with their Florida Championship Wrestling developmental territory: There were some talks taking place and I have to say this that none of the doors have closed. We'll continue negotiations with WWE, TNA, and the Japanese companies. We keep our doors open to anybody which is the best interest to our students and will continue to do that.

Favorite memories from Japan from over the years: Early in the beginning my matches with Antonio Inoki, Giant Baba and later on my trips with my father and brother where I faced the Butcher and Sheik for AJPW in their start-up. I also had many classic matches with Jumbo Tsuruta. Then there are the many matches in America that I will never forget with Billy Robinson, Horse Hoffman, Jack Brisco, just so many opportunities to wrestle great matches.

On the number of matches he has had in over 40 years in the business: 7,000-8,000. You multiply everything out and that's like 60,000 or 70,000 body slams, who knows how many leg locks and arm locks. (He says still feels great though.)

Thoughts on TNA Wrestling (which he often watches live in the Impact! Zone): I think they do a great job. I have five "kids" that I've trained that work there regularly and others that work there part-time. They've got great television production and super athletes, exceptional athletes considering they've got the Olympic gold medalist and five wrestlers training by me.

His response to TNA's new Knockouts division: It's good for the fans. Women have taken their place in all sports. They belong here in wrestling too.

Whether his retirement is for real or if it will he become like his brother Terry with who knows how many "retirements": There's several things about us that most people know. We wrestle very different styles. Terry is also a very great technical wrestler and I could mix it up and become hardcore but basically we wrestle different styles, have different personalities, and in our professional wrestling career have had us doing things as a team and accomplishing many stuff individually. So what has happened with Terry in the past is not necessarily an indication of where I'll go in the future. My intention is to retire from professional wrestling. I look at it as not an ending but a beginning and an opportunity to create great athletes for the pro wrestling business; the superstars of tomorrow.

Trainees that he has high hopes for: We have super hopes for Elvis Sharpe. He's a tremendous athlete, he reminds me very much of Terry Gordy. Shane Chung is a great amateur wrestler; he has been with us for several years. He made a stamp in the United States Navy serving his country but now he is back again. Blain Rage is very reminiscent of Larry Shayne, he does the spectacular; the unexpected. If anybody has the chance, check out our website at http://www.dory-funk.com. All these kids are on there performing in live wrestling events at the Funkin' Conservatory. Also we've got one of the best referees in the business, Claudia Reece, the Claw, and she's also a great wrestler too.

You can listen to the full interview with Dory Funk Jr. on www.MainEventRadio.com's Downloads section. His retirement tour in Japan began today with the first of eight matches. The tour will continue through March 1st when he will have his final match in the Tokyo Dome teaming with Osamu Nishimura to face Genichiro Tenryu and Masanobu Fuchi.