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Meet the Artist: James Duncan

James Duncan is a busy guy. I know, because I’m one of the people who keeps him busy. Over the last several years, he’s become my go-to for photo book covers: Chris Candido, Princess Victoria, Charlie Kruel, Ella, Wahoo McDaniel, and most recently, Mars Bennett. Every time I send him a new challenge, he amazes me. The work just keeps getting better.

I really appreciate James and all the work he does, so I wanted to tell you more about him. First off, he doesn’t just do wrestling book covers. He’s done covers for non-wrestling books too. And he’s a wizard at creating wrestling fliers. He works for a number of indy promotions in this regard, and his work stands out.

James is also one of the founding owners of Paradigm Pro Wrestling, a Southern Indiana group featured in the new edition of Bluegrass Brawlers. Paradigm is really building a fan base not just locally but around the world through their live streaming. It was where I first saw a few people who are now working with national companies, including Swerve Scott and Ace Austin. James works on the production side, and he’s responsible for everything from logos and graphics to lighting and sound.

When he’s not designing graphics, or preparing for the next PPW show, he’s probably in the editing room. He edits video for Paradigm Pro and a number of other indies including PWF, IWA Mid South, Girl Fight, New Wave Pro, Big Time Wrestling, and KEPW.

James is a talented artist, great to work with, and on top of everything else… he loves wrestling. If you’re looking for any sort of graphics work in the wrestling space or beyond, I urge you to give him a try.

Here’s where you can find James on social media:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

And here are the many covers he’s created for me:


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Girl Fight Gets Royal Approval

It’s been an exciting week for me. I finally had the chance to meet my long time friend and colleague Tamaya Greenlee, and I got to spend time in person with Princess Victoria, Vicki Otis. The two of us wrote her book solely by remote, and Tuesday night’s Girl Fight show in Jeffersonville, Indiana, gave us the chance to finally hang out in person.

Girl Fight made its long-anticipated return to home base with a bang. The seven match card delivered plenty of action from start to finish, and it was great seeing some of my long-time favorites including Charlie Kruel, Ella, and Big Mama. It was also wickedly fun to see long-time fan fave and current champion Billie Starkz play a little heel in her victory over Rachel Armstrong.

Some new faces proved to be show stealers, and Sawyer Wreck was right at the top of that list. The tall Florida girl made an impression simply by the way she took the ring. Her bout with Big Boss Anika was largely played for comedy,  but everything about her work made her look like a future mega star.

Props have to go to Anika as well. The pair looked like a mismatch with Wreck dwarfing the Russian big mouth, but Anika played her role to perfection. I really look forward to seeing more from both ladies.

Mickie Knuckles and Masha Slamovich delivered a No DQ match that was everything you wanted it to be – at least in the Arena, where blood is a no-no. I’ve often said of The Rejects (John Wayne Murdoch and Reed Bentley) that their work looks more like a fight than sports entertainment, and that’s a great way to describe Mickie vs. Masha. The slaps, the strikes, and the hits were very real. Masha’s constant ranting in Russian paired nicely with Mickie’s “I don’t know what the —- you’re saying!” banter.

Mickie even brought Princess Victoria into the action, attempting to slingshot Masha into the Princess’s extended foot. Masha reversed the move, and Mickie ate the foot, taking out my sales banner in the process.

“She really hit me!” The Princess said over her shoulder. “I like her!”

Yes, happy to say, the Princess was enchanted by the entire Girl Fight crew. She happened to come on a night the promotion had long dreamed about; the wrestlers, referees, ring announcer, and commentary team were all ladies for the first time ever. The Princess loved it, and she loved each and every one of the girls.

The majority of the ladies took full advantage of her being there, asking for an receiving critique. The Princess praised the uniqueness of every gimmick (“No two of them are the same!”) and their gimmicks (“Is she selling koozies?”)  What’s more, she was thrilled to see how the promotion and its founder, Mad Man Pondo, truly cared for the girls. She was impressed enough, she’s decided to make an effort to come back June 14 for their next Jeffersonville show.

Girl Fight has a long legacy of giving rising stars a platform. It’s amazing to see that opportunity spread from the locker room to the announce table, and the current roster is as good as it’s ever been. If you’re in the area, you won’t want to miss the next edition in June. And you might just get a second chance to meet Princess Victoria for yourself. 

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Princess Victoria Visits Girl Fight

When Girl Fight returns home to the Jeffersonville Arena on April 12, they’ll be joined by a WWF legend.

Princess Victoria began wrestling in the Pacific Northwest in 1980. With her training partner Velvet McIntyre, she soon made her way across the country and around the world. She was one of the first two ladies to hold the WWF Women’s Tag Team Championship. In her brief career, she wrestled Moolah, Velvet, Wendi Richter, Leilani Kai, and many, many more.

And boy, does she have some stories to tell.

Fans can meet Princess Victoria at Girl Fight April 12 at The Arena in Jeffersonville. Tickets can be purchased in advance (see flier below) or at the door. Princess Victoria will be available for photo ops and autographs, and she’ll also be selling copies of her book and her hand made dreamcatchers.

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Upcoming Events

Spring is on the way, and I have a few events added to my calendar. Here’s where you can meet me starting in April.

Girl Fight Wrestling – April 12 – Jeffersonville, Indiana

Girl Fight returns to the Jeffersonville, Indiana Arena on April 12 with a stacked card featuring Mickie Knuckles, Masha Slamovich, Ella, Big Mama, Sawyer Wreck, and Girl Fight champion Billie Starkz. As if that wasn’t enough to get you out to see wrestling on a Tuesday night, the legendary Princess Victoria will also be in the house signing autographs, taking pics, and selling dream catchers, photos, and books. I’m looking forward to meeting her in person for the first time myself. Should be a great night of action. Visit Girl Fight’s Facebook page for more info.

Bluegrass Wrestling Con 2 – May 7 – Ashland, Kentucky

Thanks to my friend Bobby Blaze (whose books you should be reading!) I will be in Ashland, Kentucky, for the second Bluegrass Wrestling Con. The guest list also includes Sgt. Slaughter, DDP, Jimmy Hart, Ron Simmons, Ricky Steamboat, Shane Douglas, Gangrel, and Buff Bagwell. Visit the official Facebook page for more info.

Imaginarium – July 8-10 – Louisville, Kentucky

Not a wrestling event, but I’ll be attending my first Imaginarium as a guest this summer in Louisville. This is a great event for lovers of fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and more. I’ll be featuring my fiction books including Dead Park Plaza, Die Alan Die, and two new releases, but I will have wrestling books as well. Visit their official website for more info.

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Masters of Pain Caps Off Great Weekend at IWA East Coast

It’s been twenty months since I took a road trip to see professional wrestling, and IWA East Coast broke the Covid-enforced moratorium with a bang this past weekend. The promotion hosted three shows from Friday through Saturday, and the entire weekend was a blast.

IWA East Coast hosted their festivities at Skateland, a roller rink set up inside an old elementary school just southeast of downtown Charleston, West Virginia. The decor along the two story walls surrounding the rink included playful graffiti, billiards tables and accessories, and high up in one corner, a life-size replica of Michael Myers, complete with butcher’s knife.

“To me, this building represents all of West Virginia,” said one local on Saturday afternoon. “You have all this fun stuff, and then, a little bit of creepiness.”

Made sense to me. Earlier that day I made the obligatory one hour trek to Point Pleasant to see the Mothman Museum and statue. Yes, it’s absolutely worth the extra time and your $4.50 admission. (You will spend more in the shop. Trust me!)

Back to the wrestling. The action began Friday night when eight men took part in the Zero G Crown Tournament, including Kincaid, Facade, Gary Jay, Aaron Williams, and Jake Crist. The first round match up between Crist and Williams alone made the trip worthwhile for me, but the entire evening was full of great action.

Third generation wrestler Malcolm Monroe III came into the building as an unknown, but by the end of the evening, everyone was chanting “Three! Three! Three!” Host Mad Man Pondo hyped the kid up in his first major event outside his home state of Michigan. Odds are he’s going to be doing a lot more traveling in the near future.

Fans dumped plenty of hate on Jake Crist, who heeled it up all night long as he sailed through the brackets. At one point the crowd split with a “Let’s go Jake Crist / Dave is better chant.” The former Impact star proved he deserves to still be on someone’s roster, and he took home a giant trophy to add to his resume.

Saturday afternoon, the ladies of Girl Fight took center stage. Fans were treated to two great opening matches featuring Girl Fight regulars Charlie Kruel, Mickie Knuckles, Nikki Victory, and Big Mama.  A lesser known competitor named Shayla Hyde put the Girl Fight fans on notice when she hit a 619 on the Black Widow Harley Fairfax. The crowd popped big, and Shayla scored a huge upset.

Another new face who impressed was young Judi-Rae Hendrix from Lexington, Kentucky. I met Judi on Friday night, when she picked up a copy of Tracy Smothers’ book and told me she was training with Bobby Blaze. Having not met her before, I was surprised to see Hendrix in the main event slot with newly crowned Girl Fight champion Billie Starkz. Hendrix quickly showed she belonged, going toe to toe with Starkz and earning a “This is awesome” chant after hitting the champ with a Canadian Destroyer.

Starkz got the win, but fans definitely took note of Hendrix and her tenacity. This is another young lady to watch in the coming years!

Saturday evening was the Masters of Pain deathmatch tournament, featuring eight of the best deathmatch artists in the world: Shlak, Shane Mercer, John Wayne Murdoch, Akira, Jimmy Lloyd, G Raver, Alex Colon, and Nolan Edwards. To be honest I am not a deathmatch guy, but I have endless respect for the men and women who do these types of matches. I also firmly believe that some of the deathmatch specialists are among the very best wrestlers in the world, period.

I’ve often said you could take John Wayne Murdoch, put him in a time machine, and drop him in Memphis or Mid-South during their hey day. A number of the guys competing with him Saturday night would do equally well in that sci-fi scenario.

The show was fun and frenetic from start to finish, but the match that had everyone buzzing in the building and online was the second round clash between Shane Mercer and Akira. Why Mercer is not signed to a major company is beyond me. His combination of power and athleticism are unmatched on the indies. Mercer and Akira dueled it out in a shower of glass shards and fluorescent lights with big flips and power moves throughout. Akira outlasted Mercer, and afterwards, Mercer took a moment on the mic to honor the student who had just bested one of his teachers.

The evening came to a grand finale when Akira and Nolan Edwards entered a ring filled with fan-made weapons to fight for the Masters of Pain trophy. The boys made use of everything from a door covered in barbed wire to a preschool baseball bat covered in glass Christmas ornaments. That said, it was the garbage can full of light tubes that stole the show. The boys began trading head shots, one after another, faster and faster, as if determined not to leave a single bulb unbroken. The flurry of popping glass had the fans on their feet, stomping and screaming for more. The night ultimately belonged to Akira, who bested his close friend and brother Nolan Edwards to win the tournament.

IWA East Coast plans to bring back Masters of Pain next year. If they do it up like these did this year, I highly recommend fans making the trip. The hospitality is warm and friendly. The local flavor is fun. And as I already mentioned, the Mothman is only an hour away… although Mad Man Pondo swears he heard the creature in his hotel room Friday night.

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Girl Fight: Billie Starkz vs. ELLA!

I can’t believe I’m a week late posting this. I’ve been waiting a long time to see Ella back in the ring. Not only is Ella back, she’s fighting Billie Starkz!

Ella was the only woman never to be pinned in Girl Fight before her hiatus. Can she keep the streak alive against Billie Starkz?

Girl Fight is presenting empty arena matches every week for its wrestling-starved fans for free. All they ask is, if you can, to send a few bucks to the ladies. Here’s where to send a little thank you to Ella and Billie:

Ella:
Venmo: @Elizabeth-Johnson-348

Billie:
Venmo: @Billie-Starkz
CashApp: $BillieStarkz
PayPal: BigStarkzBrand@gmail.com

And don’t forget, Ella also has a novel available on Amazon!

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Ella Screams Into OVW

Ella was on a hot streak in Girl Fight. She was unpinned in all her appearances, a staggering accomplishment in the promotion. After taking more than a year off, she has begun to make her presence known in new places.

Hollywood Haley J had her hands full with the scream queen this week. And I couldn’t be happier to see one of my favorite young stars back.

Keep an eye on Ella. She’s got the talent to go far. Oh yeah, read her novel too!

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The Seated Senton Fanzine

Michael Ewing has been a friend for several years as well as a collaborator. He’s one of my go-to proofreaders and editors. Recently, he decided to launch a print fanzine called The Seated Senton. Tonight, he and Chad French from Midwest Territory joined Ed Bratz and me on Wrestling Bookmarks to talk about the magazine, classic wrestling, indy wrestling, and Aaron Williams

You can watch the video below. To order a copy of The Seated Senton, click here.

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Girl Fight Returns Online

The ladies of Girl Fight are restless.

Tired of waiting for the states to deem it safe to hold live events again, some of the ladies recently reunited to film some brand new matches for their loyal fans. “Dad Man” Pondo has promised to release one match a week, every Tuesday night, on Girl Fight’s Facebook page.

If you’ve been attending Girl Fight shows in recent years, you can look forward to seeing many of your favorite ladies including current champion Mickie Knuckles, Billie Starkz, Charlie Kruel, Hawlee Cromwell, Big Mama, and the much-anticipated return of undefeated Ella.

In celebration if Girl Fight’s return, Eat Sleep Wrestle will be giving away a copy of Charlie Kruel’s book as well as Cousin Elvira’s biography. All you have to do is share the video to your Facebook page after Girl Fight posts the first new match. Everyone who shares will be entered into a drawing for the two books. And yes, Charlie’s book is signed by the psychopath herself.

Support indie wrestling in person and online. Let’s enjoy what we have as we look forward to returning to in-person action in a few months.

Watch the new Girl Fight videos on their official Facebook have which you can find right here: http://www.girlfightwrestling.com