Lab Coat By Day, Tights By Night
NOTE: This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue of the Wellness and Recreation Alumni magazine. By: Inez Nicholson’ 18 Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. pulls down his mask over his sweaty face, exhausted from three matches of uncoordinated, raw wrestling. He is accustomed to wrestling only one or two matches in a night, and he has just been informed that he would be starting a fourth. He wouldn’t be wrestling any old amateur for this next match. He was scheduled to go up against Richie Steamboat, the son of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, a wrestler he had looked up to since getting into the sport in high school. The director of the match approached Funk Jr. asking if he could handle a fight against Richie Steamboat. Funk Jr. admitted that it was his first time being nervous before a match. After putting up a fight against the legend’s son with his father, “The Dragon,” in the stands, the two shook Funk Jr.’s hand in the locker room after the match and he felt ecstatic. Looking back on the night he said, “I thought to myself, I could retire now.” Funk Jr. has wrestled in about 1,200 matches, and in one year alone he competed in 150. But the former personal trainer and strength and conditioning assistant from 2015-16 also balances a different kind of professional attire. By day, he sports a lab coat working in a microbiology lab testing injectable products for MRIs and X-rays to ensure they meet Food and Drug Administration standards. “I wasn’t even that good at micro in school,” he jokes. However, he graduated with a nutrition degree in May 2016. Funk Jr. has no problem switching between Josh Boyd, his real name, and Jimmy Jack Funk Jr., his wrestling stage name. His boss at the lab recently commented to a co-worker, “you know Josh refers to himself as Jimmy Jack?” When he’s not in the lab or in the ring, Josh can probably be found at the local CrossFit gym in Raleigh. He was first inspired to join CrossFit in 2011 after watching the movie “300” and looked up the actors’ training videos online. Around that same time, he went to a roller derby practice that had partnered with CrossFit, and he immediately saw the resemblance between the “300” training. “I found a Crossfit gym, went and tried it out. I went from 360 to 230 pounds and was super lean.” Unfortunately, in June 2013 an old back injury crept up on Josh. He got in a car accident that totalled his car, causing him to get a rickshaw job in downtown Raleigh and get a bike as his main form of transportation. The tension of the constant bike riding forced him to put a pause on his workouts. However, that back injury pushed Josh to help others in the gym. While working as a personal trainer for two semesters, he was always delighted to push his clients toward their goals. Fast forward four years, and Josh is able to throw 260 pounds over his head with ease. In June 2017, Josh competed in a CrossFit competition and his wrestler-esque, performing persona shined while on the Olympic lifting platforms. The emcee of the event apologized for the inside of the venue being so hot. Josh immediately responded, “sorry, it’s because I’m so sexy.” The crowd immediately busted out in a roar of laughter. That lively, onstage character stems from Funk Jr.’s unplanned performances in the wrestling ring. “I try to go for a story, and with that, I am free to improv everything. Most people will sit in the back and go over everything they’re going to do. I have a horrible memory, so I can’t remember any of those pre-planned moves,” Josh said. “I see matches where I see guys who plan everything out A-Z, and they lose the crowd early in the match. If you lose the crowd that early, they’re not going to be with you at the end.” How did Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. get created from Josh Boyd? Funk Jr. said the name was bestowed upon him. “I did my initial training with a guy named Dory Funk Jr., a legend in the business,” he said. “When I started working and doing more training with George South, he nicknamed me Dory. We came up with the name Jimmy Jack Funk Jr. based on a ‘fake’ brother Dory and his real brother Terry had in the World Wrestling Federation in the 1980s named Jimmy Jack. So I’m the fake son, of the fake brother.” “I take everything else one step at a time,” he said.