‘Joe Funk,’ also known as Joseph Beland, is a mainstay in the local wrestling scene, just like his dad before him. (Submitted photo)

Surrey’s ‘Joe Funk’ carries on family legacy in All Star Wrestling

Joe Funk has become a mainstay in the All Star Wrestling league after watching his dad for years

There’s often a special connection between a father and son.

Sometimes, that leads to a son following in his father’s footsteps. Chances are that you know someone who might have taken over their dad’s business, for example.

Joseph Beland decided to follow in his dad’s footsteps in a less than characteristic manner.

Beland is better known as ‘Joe Funk,’ the reigning tag team title champion in the All Star Wrestling league. He decided to step into the ring after his father, known as ‘Freddy Funk,’ was a long-time wrestler in the Lower Mainland.

“When I’m in the ring, I derive my character from my dad’s,” said Beland. “I pay a lot of homage to him, It’s a very nostalgic character.”

Freddy Funk started wrestling in 2001 when Beland was nine years old. Despite growing up around the sport, it’s never something Beland ever considered doing.

“It came to a point where I was just grinding with school and work, and I wanted to get into something else,” said Beland. “That’s when I went for my first tryout.”

“The people and the atmosphere was really positive, and that’s when I started pouring as much time into it as possible.”

SEE ALSO: Family-friendly All Star Wrestling turns 10

Despite 14 to 15 hours of training per week, there was 15 months between his initial tryout and his first match.

“It was hard trying to get that first match,” said Beland. “You show up and you have to pay your dues.

“Once I was in there being a part of it, and seeing how real it all was, it really helped me learn the ropes.”

In typical wrestling fashion, it took a well-conjured story to get Beland some wrestling action.

Beland started fighting on a semi-regular basis as a masked character called ‘Wild Card’. Adam Ryder, the prototypical ‘bad guy,’ would ruin every single one of Beland’s matches. The storyline carried on for four months, until Beland’s masked character and Ryder finally got into the ring, in a match where Beland’s face was unveiled to the crowd.

“You could hear how invested the crowd was, and how much they were into it,” said Beland. “This storyline was boiling for so long.”

The Rise of Joe Funk

The storyline with Ryder was essentially Beland’s wrestling break, but it took some time to get there.

“Those first few months were hard,” Beland expressed. “I was fighting maybe once a month. Now, I’m fighting every weekend.”

It took a while for Beland to establish himself in the local wrestling scene, but now’s he found a way to be adaptable with both the moves and the psychology behind wrestling.

Beland has taken his turn with a number of different characters including Wild Card, but he hit home with fans in Cloverdale after fighting as his dad’s prodigy, Joe Funk.

Now, he’s formed a loveable tag team duo with a fighter known as ‘Moondog Manson.’ Together, they form the ‘Funkyard Dogs.’

The fighters are the reigning tag teams champions in All Star Wrestling, and they’ve held the title since August.

However, Joe Funk isn’t always likable.

“In Kelowna, nobody knew who I was, so I pulled off the ‘I should have a title shot because wrestling is bred into me because of my dad’ act. Right away, I was despised,” Beland said.

Since breaking into the wrestling scene more than two years ago, Beland has fought all over the Lower Mainland, the island, and the interior. He even drove up to Calgary and Red Deer for wrestling events in January, 2016.

“It was just a matter of establishing myself as a character and jumping on opportunities,” he said.

Beland isn’t always fighting as Joe Funk. He’s fought as a cowboy and in a dinosaur costume, among other characters.

“From the moment you walk out of the curtain, you have to be in character and just ooze that personality.”

Smashing Preconceived Wrestling Notions

One of the main aspects Beland mentioned while talking about his rise in the ring was the psychology that goes into being a wrestler. His insight quenches some of the hot takes about wrestlers and the sport.

The reality is that wrestling is all on the fly,” he said. You might have to wrestle last minute and wrestle someone who you’re meeting for the first time.”

People tend to scoff at wrestling as entertainment and not a real sport.

While Beland defines it as ‘sports entertainment.’ there’s undoubtedly a harsh physical aspect to the sport.

“Every move sucks, nothing feels good,” he said. “It takes a special kind of person to want to do this kind of stuff.”

While there’s lots of physical training, one of the biggest challenges of being a wrestler is using your athletic ability in the ring while also trying to have the fight ‘make sense.’

“If you don’t have that ring psychology, you’re not going to last very long. If I started a match against a 300-pound guy, I can’t just start throwing him around right away. I have to wear him down.”

Even though many people believe that wrestling is all predetermined,

Beland notes that there’s a huge level of unpredictability, even for those who in the wrestling scene.

“It’s kind of like figure skating,” Beland notes. “You train and you plan all of these moves, but then show up before a match and you get a completely different partner. A lot of improv happens.”

Aside from different partners, there’s always a good chance that something unexpected could happen in the ring.

“Promoters might want you to follow a story, but the reality is that stuff happens in the ring. People get knocked out cold and even if you weren’t supposed to win, sometimes you just have to go with it.”

Funk’s Ultimate Goal

Even though Beland is following in his dad’s footsteps, it surprised his dad more than anybody that he got into wrestling.

“When I told him I was going to contact All Star [Wrestling] and start wrestling, he was shocked,” Beland said. “When he retired and stepped away he thought he was never going to see it again.”

One of Beland’s best wrestling moments was his first fight.

“I debuted out of the same building as my dad. That was a crazy feeling,” said Beland.

Freddy Funk wrestled for more than a decade, but life’s responsibilities limited his ability to travel.

“He was so passionate about wrestling, but because we were kids he didn’t get to travel around. He was stuck in the Lower Mainland.”

“Part of me trying to set it up so he can experience the same thing that I am.”

Beland is doing his best to get his dad out of retirement and back into the ring. They almost fought together earlier this year, but complications from a blood clot forced Freddy Funk out of the match.

“Hopefully, maybe in the next year, we will get to fight together. That’s the dream.”

Joe Funk and partner Moondog Manson will be defending their tag team title in a ‘fans bring the weapons’ match.

“Keyboards, golf clubs, microwaves, it could be anything,” said Beland.

“We won’t know what’s going to be there until right before the match.”

The card kicks off on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Alice McKay building in Cloverdale.



trevor.beggs@surreynowleader.com

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Submitted photo ‘Joe Funk’ gets ready for a recent match.

It took a while for Beland to get regular action, but now he’s fighting every weekend. (Submitted photo)

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