INDUCTION: Terry Funk vs. Chris Candido vs. a Horse – No Really, A Live Horse!

27 Submitted by on Thu, 22 June 2017, 20:00

2000, WCW

I don’t know why, but sometimes I still find it hard to believe that WCW has been dead and buried for over sixteen years.  Maybe it’s because I have fond memories of the promotion, especially the early years of Nitro when the company pushed not only Vince McMahon and the WWF but the entire business to be better than it was.  Maybe it’s because I was able to parlay its demise into a couple of successful books (which you can buy here and help out this site).  Or maybe, and honestly this would be the most likely scenario, it’s due to the fact that I can still dig into the archives and unearth more crap to induct even after doing that for over a decade and a half.

God bless you Thunder.  You will always be my favorite wrestling show of all time for this very reason.  You were the dirt worst of the dirt worst, with horrible angles and characters that showed up and disappeared on a regular basis, all wrapped up in delightful production gaffes that were never bothered to be corrected.  Y’all can bellyache and whine about wanting more episodes of whatever on the WWE Network, but the fact that there are zero episodes of Thunder is perhaps the greatest crime Vince McMahon has ever perpetrated.

I mean, c’mon – you’re not going to be getting the entirety of this classic we’re inducting tonight in 1080p off the Roku while sitting on your rump eating Cheetohs on the couch.  That’s just wrong.

The match in question would be a legendary encounter between Terry Funk and Chris Candido.  Funk was by this stage of his career more or less an elder statesman, doing everything he could to elevate the talent around him.  Candido…man, Chris Candido was one of those guys I always thought would wind up bigger than he was.  He was very technically sound, and could cut a pretty good promo.

At times, I’ve often looked at him and wondered if perhaps the original gimmick he was saddled when he first hit the WWF was his undoing, as it was seemingly designed to focus more on his girlfriend, Tammy “Sunny” Sytch, than himself.

Also didn’t help that his first high profile feud was with a guy who was designed from the ground up to be a first class nerd, complete with pocket protector.  Yeessh.

Anyway, at this point the two men were feuding over the coveted WCW Hardcore Title.  What a 1990’s product that was, those hardcore matches.  The theory was that guys hitting each other over the heads with cookie sheets and garbage cans was cool, what made ECW so popular, and thus every wrestling show on planet earth featured them.  So it should come as no surprise that both the WWF and WCW had entire divisions booked around a junky looking belt as its grand prize.

For this encounter, Candido was promising to put Funk out of his misery once and for all, going so far as to dress just like him.  While part of me thinks, “I bet he and Terry are roughly the same size, so he just borrowed those trunks from him”, another, more logical portion of my brain is saying, “No no, this is WCW, so they probably had those custom made just for tonight, likely by a former WWF seamstress they had under a $500K annual salary for whatever reason.”

Candido would proceed to explain that Funk was just like an old horse, and when they outlived their usefulness, you took them out back and put a slug in their noggin.  As much as I hate to say this, that’s foreshadowing, kids!

Funk of course answers the challenge, meeting Candido on the ramp and hitting him with about a half dozen chair shots to the head.  It doesn’t take long for the action to spill backstage as the announce team attempts to explain what may be happening back there.

Or in the case of Tony Schiavone, just kinda shrugs and gives up.  Then he identifies himself as Mike instead of Tony.  You want to know a man who has mentally checked out of a job?  It would be the guy in the middle right there.  And he’s admitted that on more than one occasion.  Can you blame him really?

I mean seriously, what do you expect him to say as these two go behind the curtain and start waffling each other with plastic totes?  Is he supposed to imagine he’s back calling Flair-Steamboat matches?

Through the backstage area they go, with Funk clocking Candido with another chair, and tossing him into the back of a flatbed truck.  Funk then hurries to jump in the driver seat and attempts to start the vehicle and take off.

This being WCW, the truck does not immediately start, so the ref has to stand there with his arms out, looking like a complete moron.

Finally, the truck does turn over and the ref takes off running after it.  Dude, it was sitting right in front of you.  You knew what Funk was attempting to do.  Why didn’t you just hop in the back?

Somewhere, Tommy Young is shaking his head at your incompetence.

Man I miss Tommy Young.  He was great.  In fact, I miss referees having names.  What’s the deal with that, Vince?

After Tony tells us WCW is attempting to dispatch a camera to follow the action, we immediately get a shot of the truck zipping about a mile out in front of the Idaho Center.  For all I’ve bagged on the company for being incompetent, major kudos to them for having the foresight to have a camera positioned there, just in case something like this may happen right at this very location.

Funk stops the truck in what appears to be the stables of the fairgrounds, a move that makes Candido so thrilled he throw a trashcan into his opponent’s skull.  As the pair move ever closer to the corrals, a horse looks on in abject boredom.  Right there with you, kid!

Wait, no, that’s a goat.  Sorry.

Out in the stables for no good reason is a table.  Even Tony calls out the idiocy here, asking, “Of course, why wouldn’t there be a WCW table in the stable?”  This causes Tenay to utter, “A table in the stable?!”  Man these poor guys were doing everything they possibly could to entertain themselves.

After throwing Funk headfirst into the table, he proceeds to throw him headfirst into a big trough of water, until finally…

…throwing him headfirst into a bunch of manure.

“Great,” Tony muses, “now he’ll be able to grow tomatoes in his beard.”

All of this leads up to perhaps the most idiotic idea ever conceived in wrestling (and consider the ground that covers), as Candido unlocks the stable door and the pair continue wrestling inside.

Now keep in mind, this isn’t some prop animal.  It’s a real, live probably 400 pound horse.

And it’s not tied down or anything!

And it goes just as well you’d imagine, with the horse kicking at Funk, plowing right into his arm.  That was bad enough, but seriously, had that thing gone like 10″ higher he could have legit decapitated Terry.

I know I’ve completely overused this phrase on the site in the past 17 years, but WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA????!!!!

Still, it did lead to a classic moment in which Funk cuts a promo as he told the horse he was going to kick his @$$.

This being WCW, it all got bleeped.  Sigh.

Eventually, the two get out of that mess and Candido climbs the stable.

For what reason, I have zero idea.

And it ends basically just like you’d expect, with Funk yanking him down through the table.

Sorry, I mean the WCW table.

At this point, the referee has shown back up, just in time for Funk to get the pin.

Instead, he hits him over the head with a trash can.

Don’t ask, I don’t know.

I do know that The Brain comes up with the best idea – have the horse make the count.

Sadly, that does not happen as Funk grabs a bucket of water and throws it on the poor guy to revive him, which finally, mercifully…

…gets a three count to successfully retain his prized championship.

Man, I feel like I could keep talking about this for an hour.  Lucky for you, I did just that!  Here I am on Wrestling with the Dawg, discussing this match and a whole lot more.  Check it out by clicking rightchere!

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27 Responses to "INDUCTION: Terry Funk vs. Chris Candido vs. a Horse – No Really, A Live Horse!"
  1. Anthony LoGatto says:

    Actually RD, the refs in WWE do have names. Vince just thinks everyone goes to the website under the roster to look them up. Thank God for Wikipedia!

  2. Autrach Sejanoz says:

    For those wondering, the full phrase used by Terry was, “You fucking horse! I’ll kick your ass!”

  3. Sean Bateman says:

    Still a better match than Funk vs Smiley 1 & 2, which the latter has Ralphus competing, combined. *pauses* oh shit. just gave Deal another induction.

    • Another Dave says:

      Is that the one where Terry came out wearing turkeys on his fists or something insane like that?

      Crazy old bastard Terry Funk may be my favorite Terry Funk.

      • Al Lobama says:

        No, that was when Funk was working Dustin Rhodes. Funk said that the chicken was Dustin’s “little brother.” “He’s got a big belly…just like your daddy!” The funny part about that angle was that the first week, Funk did it with a raw chicken, but Turner Standards and Practices told them he couldn’t do that anymore for fear of spreading salmonella, so the second week he was told to do it with a frozen chicken, which injured whatever wrestlers he ended up punching with it.

  4. CF says:

    And Funk never did shout “MANURE! I *HATE* MANURE!” >;)

  5. Hulk6785 says:

    Amazingly, WCW never booked Funk to wrestle the horse.

  6. Sean O says:

    What upsets me the most is the logical follow up match of Funk against Ol’ Soupbone never took place…

  7. Andy PG says:

    Good induction. Loved the pun about the kid.

    Anyway, the problem with Candido is he just didn’t really excite in the ring. He was too vanilla in his matches, relying on his wife-in-all-but-name to carry the heat for him. You’ll see that Mike Bennett has the same problem.

    • Al Lobama says:

      I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of Chris Candido. While you can argue that Sunny had more heat in their WWF days, by this point Tammy Sytch was just going through the motions and Chris was by far the more interesting of the two. Even still, Candido always wrestled with personality. Whether it was Smokey Mountain (the man did an Alabama Jam to a CAT!?!), ECW (where he was a face and heel at the same time during his feud with Lance Storm and somehow made it believable), to his last major run in TNA (where his mentorship of the Naturals and subsequent rivalry with AMW was high point of 2005), the man had tremendous ring presence in whatever he did.

      To give you an example from my own experience, I was an indy show in 2004 where Candido wrestled “Confederate Currency” Chris Hamrick. The two fought around the merchandise tables, where Candido sold getting hit in the head with a stack of Tracy Smothers 8x10s, then made his comeback by stealing a WWE Halloween mask and putting it on, which magically transformed him into the Rock! BOOM – spit in the palm punches! Boom – Rock Bottom! Boom – People’s Elbow! And in the immortal words of Candido himself, “Had I not lost that match I WOULD’VE WON!”

  8. John C says:

    Of course being as unoriginal as humanly possible WCW copied the gimmick of Candido dressing as Funk from ECW in 1997, when Candido was all decked out in The Funker’s garb. How could WCW not have Mike Tenay form an annouce team with the horse and rename it Mike Te-neigh. Where’s Mickie and The Horse-Trolla when you need them?

    • Al Lobama says:

      I don’t think that was less a case of WCW copying ECW, but moreso that this was Candido’s running joke every time he wrestled Funk. I’ve been to at least two different Indy shows where the two wrestled each other, and Candido was wearing Funk’s gear for both of those as well.

      • John C says:

        Probably true, WCW was to lazy at that point to have bothered doing that much extra work to do that.

  9. "The Big Cheese" Paul Kraft says:

    I think this was the moment I finally gave up on WCW.

    • Shunkwagga says:

      Funny thing though, this is just as believeable as Brother Nero vs. a kangaroo.

      • PaternalSith says:

        GOTTA be honest, I think I would gave’em another shot had I heard bout it. BENIOT diving headbutt off a cage is always gonna be my #1 Thunder but this is definitely #2

  10. Al Lobama says:

    Terry Funk did mention this match in his autobiography, and he pointed out that he had insisted the horse be tranquilized when he was told about the stable spot so that it didn’t get spooked by the fighting (the horse wrangler had no intention of doing so before he suggested it). Even then, the horse still kicked him, and Terry mused that if the horse wasn’t doped up the kick would have been stronger and may have killed him.

  11. Al Lobama says:

    The best part of this match for me is when the horse starts kicking. Candido immediately stops selling the piledriver and gets the heck out of dodge. On the other hand, Terry Funk, who was just kicked by a horse and is still very much in danger, stays in “character” and now wants to fight the horse! I don’t know if that’s dedication to your craft or if Funk really is that crazy! Hopefully, I never have to find out for myself!

  12. Christopher Haydu says:

    At least Terry won. After nearly being decapitated, he at least deserved to win the match.

  13. Guest says:

    a move that makes Candido so thrilled he throw a trashcan into his opponent’s skull.

    He throw?

  14. Cpt SuckerPunch says:

    Can anyone blame terry for his reaction? It’s hardcore rules, he probably thought the horse was trying to take him out, steal a pin, and become the hardcore champion! This being wcw, I could totally see that happening.

    Also, when terry hit the ref with the trash can, even though the ref was going to count terry’s pin attempt, I immediately thought, ok great, now chris will use this nonsensical and completely unnecessary ref bump to steal a win with a weapon shot of his own, or whatever…Nope! Terry just woke up the ref he had just knocked out for no reason, and the ref counted 3…What in the blue hell was that?

  15. #OPC says:

    I legit lol’d at the horse kicking Funk, probably the hardest I have laughed at an induction in years.

  16. Si says:

    Coincidentally this week is covered in this week’s retro Wrestling Observer subscriber-only upload (yeah, “can afford $10.99 a month” humblebrag there) For the record: “Thunder opened with a very good match with Funk beating Candido for the hardcore title. They brawled out of the building. Funk put Candido in the back of a truck and drove him to a veterinary clinic near the arena. They started fighting in the stable. Funk ended up bleeding. They wound up in the stalls and there was at least one spot where Funk had his face rubbed in manure and may have been a piledriver into the horse manure. During this segment in an unplanned spot, a horse kicked Funk in the face, which was said to have looked dangerous as hell, but he seemed fine afterwards, although by this point Funk is probably the single best actor in the world at both selling both real and non-existent pain, and in not selling very real pain, whatever the case may be needed for at that moment.”

  17. Turk Butler says:

    Still better than any current WWE product.

  18. ClawsomeMan says:

    And that is why any episode of Thunder is not on the WWE network as of this posting. Yet.

    And using an old wrestling simulator, I made a match where the Horse pinned Terry Funk.

  19. PaintByNumbers says:

    I remember watching this live on TV, and fearing that horse was gonna rear up for a second kick. I have never been more afraid for a wrestler’s life for a match than in that moment. And my after thought was… for an episode of Thunder? YOU WOULD DIE FOR THUNDER, TERRY? YOU’RE BETTER THAN THAT!

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