About

 

Mike Pankow

Founder/Editor, Windy City Slam

I have been a professional journalist (writer and editor) for the last 22 years and I have been a professional wrestling fan since the mid-’80s.

Windy City Slam is a combination of both my passions. I believe I have made Windy City Slam something enjoyable, newsworthy and insightful.

Most of my professional journalism experience came at the Chicago Tribune, the city’s largest newspaper, where I have been a sports writer and copy editor for nearly 20 years.

I’ve also contributed to an independent website for the UIC Flames men’s basketball team for the better of part of the last two decades. In addition, I have freelanced for publications of different sizes, including the Arizona Republic, UIC Magazine and Illinois Alumni in addition to taking photos for a few local publications.

I was born and bred in Chicago, living within the city limits for 35 years and in the Southwest suburbs for the last nine years. I know Chicago sports fans and Chicago wrestling fans are the most rabid fans anywhere.

Among my greatest experiences as a journalist were the times I crafted stories about professional wrestling, including a piece on Chris Nowinski when he worked for WWE in 2002. Chris was a local kid who graduated from Harvard, then decided to pursue a career in WWE as a contestant on “Tough Enough.” I also wrote pieces on Kurt Angle and William “Refrigerator” Perry prior to WrestleMania 22 in Chicago.

I live in the Southwest suburbs with my wonderful wife, Jen, and Labrador puppy, Obi-Wan.

(Illustration by Jonathan Espinoza ... special thanks for the cool birthday artwork a few years ago!)

 

WINDY CITY SLAM Highlights

--Site went online on August 2, 2018.

--Feature story on former WWE Superstar Chris Nowinski and his mission with the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

--Interview with actor, writer and director Stephen Merchant and story on “Fighting With My Family,” the biopic on WWE Superstar Paige.

--Story and interview with WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley, his wrestling career and ties to Chicago.

--Story on WWE Hall of Famer and current AEW coach Billy Gunn, his career in WWE and IMPACT Wrestling and his son, Austin Gunn.

--Story on WWE Hall of Famer Road Warrior Animal of the legendary tag team, the Road Warriors, and how they came to be one of the best teams in wrestling history.

--Story and interview with ECW legend and House of Hardcore promoter Tommy Dreamer on his career in ECW and WWE and his own promotion.

--Story and interview with AEW star Frankie Kazarian of So Cal Uncensored about the evolution and future of AEW.

--Story on the evolution of AEW with coverage from C2E2 with Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.

--Story and interview with longest reigning Ring of Honor World Champion Jay Lethal, his run in IMPACT and ROH, the Black Machismo character and his relationship with Lanny Poffo.

--Story on WWE legend Lanny Poffo, the brother of WWE Hall of Famer “Macho Man” Randy Savage, which was conducted at STARRCAST I in 2018.

--Story and interviews on Busted Open Radio and longtime host Dave LaGreca, which was conducted at STARRCAST I in 2018.

--Story and interview with Rob Schamberger, WWE artist in residence, during C2E2 about how comic books changed his life and a chance meeting helped him get his gig with WWE.

--Feature story on IMPACT Wrestling star Tessa Blanchard about growing up in a family of wrestlers, her career and her ties to Chicago.

--Feature story on former IMPACT Wrestling star and Chicago native Scarlett Bordeaux.

--Preview story on local promotion Warrior Wrestling, with main focus on IMPACT Wrestling star Brian Cage.

--News story about WWE bringing the 2019 Survivor Series to Chicago with quotes from Seth Rollins.

--Feature story about WWE’s women’s revolution with quotes from Alexa Bliss and The Bella Twins.

--Feature story on local wrestling cosplay group, Too Sweet Cosplay.

--Local stories and photo galleries on various independent shows in the Chicago area/Midwest including Warrior Wrestling, Berwyn Championship Wrestling, Zelo Pro, SSW Entertainment and PROGRESS Wrestling

--Previous to Windy City Slam, editor Mike Pankow did a feature story in the Chicago Tribune on WWE’s Chris Nowinski in 2002, which included interviews with Nowinski and Jim Ross