Dory Funk Jr. joined Chris Jericho for a live episode of Talk Is Jericho to discuss his 50 year career. Among the topics was Dory’s experience working with Andre the Giant. Dory was involved in one of Andre’s final matches, a multi-man tag in Japan.
“I was close to having his [Andre’s] last match, which was a six man tag in Japan,” tells Dory. “Andre had one more match scheduled, it was a non-televised match, and then he left and went home.”
“His health was not good at that time. Japanese young boys—rookie wrestlers—had to help him to the ring at the time. It was a very sad situation to watch Andre at the end of his career.”
Funk also worked with the giant earlier in his career, in 1982 when Andre was one of the top guys in wrestling.
“You make him look like a million dollars,” laughs Dory. “Keeping with my personality I tried to do it different. Wrestling, strong things that Andre can do. You could have a wrestling match with Andre, at least in those days you could.”
“I stuck with the wrestling, because I can’t change my style and become Andre the Giant, or Joe the gimmick man who falls all over, so I got to stay with wrestling.”
Funk tells of the wrestling industry in Japan at the time – there was one major company, Japan Pro Wrestling, but Baba and Inoki had separate TV deals, each with their own network that held their matches. Funk toured with both, competing in both singles and tag-team competition.
Refusing to talk which was “better”, Dory did still discuss the differences in working with their disparate styles.
“Inoki was wrestling action, and the wrestling fans loved it,” said Funk. “Baba was strong style, and wrestling fans loved him, they were split right down the middle.”
“You had to be prepared – if Baba was going to hit you with the big chops and the big foot, Inoki was going to scoop your legs and take you off your feet. Working but shooting, it goes together.”
You can listen to the full podcast below: