Man has it been a good time to be a wrestling fan, at least as far as books are concerned. Not only have we recently been “graced” with Dusty Rhodes’ autobiography, but now, hot on its heels, we get More than Just Hardcore: The Terry Funk Story.
Now while my contemporaries might pick up the book and look for tales of Funk’s world title victory or his feuds with the likes of Jerry Lawler, Ric Flair, or Dusty Rhodes, the first thing I did when I cracked this sucker open was look for info on Chainsaw Charlie, Funk’s foray into WrestleCrap.
It was the late 1990’s, and Funk’s career seemed to be winding down. (Of course, you could write that exact same line and simply replace “1990’s” with pretty much any date of the last 20 years, and it would be accurate.) He hadn’t been seen on the mainstream wrestling scene in quite some time, and it looked as though he really was going to actually hang up his boots and retire to the Double Cross Ranch.
Meanwhile, Funk’s good friend Mick Foley was in the midst of a feud with Road Dogg and “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, the New Age Outlaws. Although Foley was one of the promotion’s biggest names, he couldn’t handle both men on his own, so after one too many beatings, he promised he would have backup.
There was a buzz in the air after Foley made his announcement, and sure enough, the smart marks in the crowd began to chant “Terry! Terry!” in anticipation of the Funker’s seemingly imminent arrival.
Following a quick beating, Foley retreated, leading the Outlaws up the ramp, where a giant wooden crate sat in the corner. As loud buzzing noise began to whine from inside, and then suddenly, a chainsaw blade began to tear through the plywood!
The crowd was right – Terry Funk was once again back in the WWF, this time being Mick Foley’s partner in crime.
Literally a partner in crime, it seemed, as he showed up with a pair of panty hose on his head!
No, this wasn’t Terry Funk, the announcers explained – it was CHAINSAW CHARLIE!
Like something out of a horror movie, Charlie chased the Outlaws all around the ring, his chainsaw sparking about. You see, despite the fact that the chain didn’t move on the saw, a small grinder was placed inside that made sparks fly all over the place.
(This almost led to disaster on one occasion, as Funk had lifted the device over his head, and gas was leaking out as he attempted to get the sparks to fly. “I knew the gas was on me,” Funk writes in the book, “but I kept trying to get the sparks to go, because, by God, I was Chainsaw Charlie! It was only through a stroke of luck or an act of God that I didn’t explode.”)
And how did Charlie celebrate this glorious debut? By crotching himself on the top rope and bouncing up and down.
Do not expect me to celebrate any occasion in this manner
Charlie would go on to team with Cactus throughout his feud with Dogg and Ass, culiminating in a tag team title match at WrestleMania XIV. It was a dumpster match, and if a guy wielding a chainsaw in a bout in which your purpose was to throw your opponent into a garbage bin wasn’t quite silly enough for you, then consider that the finish involved a FORKLIFT. Although Cactus and Chainsaw won the bout, the result was overturned the following night on Raw, and the tag team titles never again came their way.
Funk would leave the WWF, eventually resurfacing in WCW to become its storyline commissioner. This would lead to more great TV, such as the time when he fought Chris Candido in a stable, and was nearly bucked to death by a pony. In perhaps the sole regret of his storied career, Funk never did get even with the horse.
Of course, the real question that must be posed concerning the disaster that was Chainsaw Charlie: who in the hell came up with the great idea of putting a pair of panty hose over a true living legend’s head? And what was up with that chainsaw?
Obviously, one of the Vinces (Russo or McMahon) were to blame for this, right?
The man who came up with this brainfart was none other than…Terry Funk himself.
From the new book:
“I got ready for my big debut on Raw that Monday night in December, and the plan was for me to come out of a box. Bruce Prichard, one of the backstage guys, was describing to me what to do.
I said, “That’s it? You just want me to come out of the box?”
“Well, yeah,” he said. “Just come ouf ot the box. Do you want to come out as anything?”
Before my brain could even fully process the question, my lips blurted out, “Chainsaw Charlie! Get me a chainsaw, so I can go out of there!”
I can’t explain it. It just popped into my head.
They asked me what I wanted to wear and then got me some Levi jeans and a pair of suspenders. I already had a red shirt, so I kept that. Then they got me a woman’s pantyhose stocking and some baby powder to put on my head, all at my request (what an idiot). I guess I could have just gone out there without anything oover my head, but I wouldn’t have been Chainsaw Charlie with Terry Funk’s head, would I? I’d have been Chainsaw Terry!
I came out of that box with my chainsaw and my stocking over my head, and the crowd, expecting some great surprise, let out a sound that seemed strangely reminiscent of escaping gas.”
Smells like WrestleCrap to me.