Wrestling & MMA

Directors talk ESPN fan story on WWE, WrestleMania and more

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Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor surprised one young fan with his gloves during training camp.

Charlotte Flair isn’t the only queen in WWE.

Lindsey Kelk, one of the company’s most ardent fans, dubbed herself “The Queen” in her alter ego, and that has helped her deal with life’s challenges and issues.

“All Hail the Queen” is the latest Fan Stories by ESPN.

Directed by Katelyn Howes and Melissa Johnson, their short film feature tells the story of Lindsey Kelk, a passionate WWE fan from a small mining town in northern England.

Here is my audio interview with the directors where they discuss ESPN’s All Hail the Queen, Lindsey Kelk, WWE WrestleMania, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, film making, their background, this opportunity and more.

Through WWE, Lindsey has overcome the haters to become a successful novelist who practices powerlifting, fully owning and loving her body.

Furthermore, following the rise of highly talented, athletic, female WWE Superstars — such as The Queen of All Eras Charlotte Flair — is the ultimate female empowerment for Lindsey.

Fittingly, she attended WWE’s WrestleMania 35 at Metlife Stadium to see the historic match pitting The Man Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey vs. Flair — the first time females were the main event of a WrestleMania.

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Photo By David Katzinger Courtesy ESPN

“All Hail the Queen” is an inspiring story about a fan that found her voice, strength and confidence through WWE. The film also further exemplifies ESPN’s commitment to high quality and original storytelling.

Here is what Katelyn and Melissa delivered for ESPN -- “All Hail the Queen.”

The directors — a ballet dancer and a basketball player — joined forces on this project. They have worked together on other film projects, too.

From different worlds of athleticism and talent, they share intelligence, a keen eye, storytelling abilities and passion for their work, making a very formidable film making duo.

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Originally from Atlanta, Katelyn graduated with a BFA in Film and TV from NYU Film School. Her athletic and entertainment background is in dance and softball.

Hailing from Syracuse, New York, the 6-foot-6 Melissa stood out on the basketball court. She started her college journey at the University of North Carolina and finished at Ivy League Harvard, competing in hoops with her 6-5 sister, Sarah.

Melissa earned her BA in Philosophy while pursuing film interests.

Here is a story in 2011 about Melissa and her first feature length documentary “No Look Pass.”

Click MelissaJohnsonNoLookPass

About Fan Stories by ESPN

Fan Stories by ESPN is a series of short films that shine a light on ordinary fans with extraordinary stories. The films are meant to celebrate the fans that ESPN serves – their passion, commitment and diversity.

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Jim Varsallone covers pro wrestling, something he’s done since his college days in the late 1980s. Spanning four decades, he currently covers WWE (Raw, SmackDown and NXT), Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, MLW, WOW, FSCW, AEW and the South Florida indies. He also writes MMA -- mostly profile stories and video interviews with American Top Team talent in South Florida. As for pro wrestling, he writes feature stories and profile pieces, updates upcoming show schedules in South Florida, photographs the action and interviews talent (audio and video) -- sharing the content here and via social media on his Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel).
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