• 02/24/2006 (1:19:15 pm)
  • Georgiann Makropoulos

Article in Atlanta Journal-Constitution..

Mike Durham (Johnny Grunge) is having two funeral services.
The second one is Saturday, Feb. 25th and Sunday, Feb. 26th @ 6 PM
Funeral service - Monday, Feb. 27 at 10 AM
He will be laid to rest in Sulphur, LA.
Viewing and funeral service will be at:
 Hixson Memorial Funeral Home - 2051 East Napoleon Street, Sulphur, LA 70663
Call  (337) 625-9171    
Mike Durham: Wrestling fans called him Johnny Grunge

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/22/06
As pro wrestler Johnny Grunge, Mike Durham's signature kiss-off was the bone-crushing Table Bomb, a full-bodied aerial assault that flattened his opponents and rocked the house to a near riot.
With partner Ted Petty, aka Rocco Rock, Mr. Durham was half of the wrestling tag team Public Enemy, a gruesome twosome that took an already over-the-top brand of sports entertainment and cranked it up a notch. Their fan-pleasing antics — they're credited with dragging tables into the ring before anybody else did — made them four-time tag team winners of Extreme Championship Wrestling.
At 6 feet 3 inches and 263 pounds, Mike Durham was half of the wrestling tag team Public Enemy. He died at 40 of complications from sleep apnea. 
In the stuff of wrestling lore, the brawling bad boys once invited fans in the stands to join their victory celebration. So many people piled into the ring that it collapsed. Another time, the wrestlers were nearly buried by chairs thrown at them.
"Public Enemy became the ECW's biggest stars, and they were really like the godfathers of hardcore wrestling," said his friend John Montalbano of Lake Charles, La.
"Mike was just a natural from the first day he stepped onto the mat, and he had such a feel for the crowd. He had 'it.' Whatever star quality is, he had it in spades. He was a natural on the mic and a natural in the ring."
Michael Lynn Durham, 40, of Peachtree City died Thursday from complications of sleep apnea at a friend's residence in Tyrone. The funeral is 7 p.m. today at Horis A. Ward, Parkway Chapel.
After graduating from high school in 1983 in his hometown of Sulpher, La., Mr. Durham worked construction jobs in New Jersey while getting started as an amateur wrestler.
He moved to Peachtree City in the mid-'90s and signed with World Championship Wrestling. In 1996, Public Enemy captured the WCW's tag team championship. They also competed in the World Wrestling Federation.
At 6 feet 3 inches and 263 pounds, Mr. Durham packed a wallop with his favorite moves, the Spinebuster and Flying Legdrop. But years of abuse took a toll. He suffered from asthma and, when wrestling, looked like a walking patchwork of blue bruises.
He got stitches in his head twice, said his wife, Penny L. Durham of Peachtree City. Once, he used the common wrestling trick of slicing himself in the forehead with a hidden razor blade to draw blood and cut himself too deeply. Another time, a fan in the stands beaned him with a bottle.
Outside the ring, his friend Jill Ewing Conort of Sharpsburg said Mr. Durham was like a protective brother to his wrestling friends.
"One of his favorite sayings was, 'We're not here for a long time, we're just here for a good time,' " Ms. Conort said. "But he was the kind of friend you could call in the middle of the night who would always come and get you, no matter what."
After his tag team partner died of a heart attack in 2002, Mr. Durham's career tapered off. In June, he made an appearance at a Hardcore Homecoming that paid tribute to dead ECW wrestlers. He was preparing for a tour in Japan.
Lately, though, he worked odd jobs and spent time watching movies and playing video games with his 3- and 7-year-old sons.
"Mike had to have the stamina to endure because it's not easy being thrown around the ring and breaking tables and jumping from cages," his wife said. "He was still getting hurt all the time, but a lot of them have a hard time moving on. Once a wrestler, always a wrestler."
Survivors include his sons, Michael Durham and Chase Durham, both of Peachtree City; his father, Larry Durham of Lake Charles; and his mother, Linda Veazey of Sulphur.

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