Today I gave myself an early birthday present (six days left of my 50s, lads): a shadow box to display the T-shirt the UCW-Wrestling boys signed for me last summer. Now it hangs in my hallway between Claudio Castagnoli's blue-sequined ring jacket and my bookcase (bearing a sumo wrestler figurine my friend Barbara brought me back from Japan). Over it there's an antique print of bare-knuckle boxers that another friend Elizabeth gave to me about ten years ago. On the opposite wall there are framed autographed 8x10s of personal favorites like El Generico, Goldberg, Steve Austin, Fabulous Moolah, George "The Animal" Steele, Tony Atlas, Rocky Johnson, Mil Mascaras, and more. It's the world's smallest museum of wrestling.

The T-shirt stayed on after I left Philadelphia, so some of the signatures were added on later by stars I never got to meet. Eli Black signed it twice--hard-to-miss bold black letters looming over the company name on the front and a regular "checkbook" signature on the back. To the left of his name is BodySlam's, and then following clockwise there are then-champ Corporal Punishment, Jonny Deep, Axel, Jack Marino, Twisted Torment (who decorated his initials with a cock-and-balls drawing), Aron, Angel Estrada, James Never Give Up Kid, Seymour, Michael Hannigan, Joker, and Nick Diesel.

In my world, this is treasure. (Thanks, guys.)


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