DeKALB – It’s easy to tell who James K. Duck is as soon as he walks in the room by his purple and gold suit. The DeKalb resident known in the wrestling world as Bigtime, is the promoter and owner of Windy City Pro Wrestling.
On Saturday, March 14, WCPW will host a professional wrestling event at Huntley Middle School, 1515 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb. Doors open at 6 p.m. with wrestling starting at 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 and can be purchased at www.officialwcpw.com or at the door.
Duck met with MidWeek reporter Katrina Milton to discuss WCPW, independent professional wrestling and the upcoming event in DeKalb.
Milton: What is your job title at WCPW?
Duck: I am the promoter and owner of WCPW. As the promoter, I arrange sponsorships, set up and create advertising, order all print materials, do contracts for venues and do multiple contracts for each performer. It’s a daunting task and there’s always a lot to do, major points and minutia.
Milton: Who is Bigtime?
Duck: Bigtime is a jaded Hollywood director, tired of the politics of it all and came to wrestling to let out his frustration. At the time I created the character of Bigtime, I was in film school at Columbia College getting my bachelor’s degree in film and video. I grew up watching professional wrestling and always wanted to do it, but was told I was too small because of my height and frame. In 1997, cruiserweight wrestling was catching on and smaller wrestlers from Mexico and Japan had a chance at the national stage.
Milton: What about professional wrestling interested you?
Duck: I was drawn to the larger-than-life personas. You didn’t have to know much about the wrestler to know who they were: Hulk Hogan, the Ultimate Warrior, Jake the Snake, Ric Flair. I loved the wrestling, the interviews, the colors, the excitement of it all. I was instantly hooked. I knew that that’s what I wanted to do. Having a background in film school helped me transition into the world of wrestling a lot easier. I knew the importance of dieting, that tan skin looks better than pale skin on camera, how important it was to accessorize your clothing and get your hair just right. I’m strictly a promoter these days, but I still have the microphone skills and the over-the-top personality. I just don’t need to wear a Speedo to do it anymore.
Milton: What is WCPW?
Duck: WCPW stands for Windy City Pro Wrestling, I trademarked the name in 2015. We have a Chicago-centric promotion, but travel throughout the Midwest: Kentucky, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois. This will be our first show in DeKalb. … What sets WCPW apart is that our wrestlers look like wrestlers. They spend time in the gym, they’ve spent money on their attire. As an independent professional wrestling company, we value our fans. A lot of other indie companies don’t. Their wrestlers show up wearing jean shorts and gym shoes. We want to give our fans the most for their money. We’re professional wrestlers and we want to look and be professional.
Milton: Tell me more about WCPW’s wrestlers.
Duck: At our upcoming show at Huntley Middle School, there will be 15 to 20 wrestlers. We bring in talent from around the United States, not just locally. We have wrestlers from Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Ohio, Georgia. Our wrestlers are from all over the nation. Our wrestlers travel to compete nationally and internationally. One will perform in Alaska for the first time in their career in May, another will be in the UK in May. Many of our wrestlers have performed for WWE’s NXT, IMPACT Wrestling and Ohio Valley Wrestling. We don’t want our roster to look like any others. We want to provide a unique experience.
Milton: What is independent wrestling?
Duck: We are an independent professional wrestling company. WCPW is the equivalent of the minor leagues in baseball and indie bands that play at smaller venues. We don’t have a TV show every week, so it’s important to leave a positive, long-lasting impression on our fans. If we don’t impress them, they won’t come back for a second show. We take our events very seriously.
Milton: How does a smaller venue change the show?
Duck: Our event allows more of an interactive experience with the wrestlers than at a bigger show or venue. If a wrestler is acting dastardly, and a little kid yells out to the ref, he can be snitched on by an 8-year-old in the second row. The show’s result could be changed by what the crowd does, if the crowd cheers or boos. In a sense, the audience members become performers of the show themselves. That’s certainly a power fans don’t always have at a WWE show.
Milton: Why is DeKalb a good location for wrestling?
Duck: For whatever reason, mainstream wrestling companies neglect DeKalb. There have been two wrestling events in DeKalb in the last six years: IMPACT Wrestling in 2014 and WWE last year. DeKalb could definitely be established as a professional wrestling town. It’s a good mix of people: kids, college students, adults, families. When WWE comes to town, it could cost a family $300 to $500 to attend. WCPW is affordable, family-friendly wrestling that costs a family of four as little as $40 and as much as $60.
Milton: Why did you decide to hold the upcoming event in DeKalb?
Duck: A few weeks after I bought my house in DeKalb five years ago, I had a severe asthma attack, went into cardiac arrest and was dead for five minutes. The only reason that I am alive today is because of the wonderful crew of people over at DeKalb Fire Station 2. They kept me viable with CPR until I could be shocked back to life. I spent three days in ICU, and after I left the hospital, I had a new appreciation for life and the idea of making every day count. A few weeks later, I finally trademarked the defunct WCPW name for myself and began building my version of this business. I figure that since I owe my life to some of the fine people of DeKalb, I should give back part of my life to DeKalb and re-launch my company right here in Barb City, so I can bring some joy to others in the form of affordable family sports entertainment. … We hope to return to DeKalb in May. We have an upcoming event in Chicago in June.