Thursday, August 25, 2016

The great chip debate

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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There's been a debate of sorts developing in our home. It came up at the dinner table recently. No, not Clinton or Trump or the Cards versus the Cubs. Instead it's a battle over tortilla chips. Yeah you read that right. 

The dip
It started after I made a batch of creamy salsa tip. It's easy enough, take a jar of salsa and blend it with a brick of cream cheese. It's awesome. But while eating the dip with my wife's favorite chips, Tostitos Cantina Thin and Crispy. I don't dislike these chips, but because of the thickness of dip, I prefer to eat it with my favorite: On the Border Cafe Style. The chips are thick and very tasty too. They can stand up to any dip they're up against. Our daughter sides with my wife, while our middle son is on Team OTB. Our oldest wasn't home for dinner to weigh in on this crucial debate.

I've loved On the Border chips for years now. It's my preferred tortilla chip when having Mexican night at dinner. But I will say the Tostitos Cantina chips are good too. I will crumble them up and mix them with beans, turkey and cheese and eat the combo with a fork.

How about you? What's your favorite tortilla chip for dipping? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

After SummerSlam I'm now an AJ Styles guy

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Not that I wasn't a fan of AJ Styles prior to SummerSlam, but his match with John Cena sealed the deal for me. I don't know a whole lot about his past, I only watched him casually on TNA and when he was in New Japan I saw even less of the Phenomenal One.

When AJ entered the 2016 Royal Rumble, I'll admit I was happy to see him. I wondered though if he'd end up heading to NXT or becoming a part of the main roster. His feud with Chris Jericho was less than I had hoped for and the loss at WrestleMania honestly made me scratch my head in disbelief. I knew he wouldn't unseat Roman Reigns as WWE World Champion, but he brought out the best in the champ. 

Courtesy: WWE
His feud with the returning John Cena was just what AJ needed to take things to the next level. The first victory was tainted when The Club interfered, but the match at SummerSlam was on point. It was my favorite match of the night. The two told an amazing story and I believe the clean pin over "the face that runs the place" made AJ a legitimate WWE Superstar. He's not just a guy from TNA trying to make a name for himself.

Courtesy: WWE
Now to SmackDown Live and the cockiness carried over because he "beat up John Cena." It was brilliant and beating Dolph Ziggler to firmly secure sole possession of the number one contendership is the right move. AJ Styles will be WWE World Champion before the end of 2016. 

Don't get me wrong, I love Dean Ambrose as champion, but the next chapter for AJ has to be a run with the belt. Six months ago I wasn't so sure about that, but now I'm convinced. Speculation has already started that Cena gets his redemption at Mania in April, adding the title into the program makes things all the more interesting.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Shouldering the blame

Giving up the gold
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Even though professional wrestling is scripted, the action is quite real. Yesterday I shared a post about the WWE Superstars injured while in action over SummerSlam weekend. The worst of those injures as we know now is Finn Balor. Less than 24 hours after winning the first WWE Universal Championship, the Demon King had to relinquish the belt.

Point of impact
Courtesy: WWE
Early in the match against Seth Rollins, Balor suffered a dislocated shoulder. It's after Rollins performed a running powerbomb on Balor and tossed him into the ringside barricade. You can see the exact moment, but little did fans know at the time that blow would put Balor out of action for potentially six months. 

Courtesy: WWE
Within seconds of the announcement, many fans blamed Rollins for the accident. But if you look closely at the replay, Balor's body doesn't seem to be positioned right before the blow. I've only wrestled once and it was a low bumping affair, so I don't know how Finn was supposed to actually hit. Despite other injuries seemingly at the hands of Rollins (Sting and John Cena), I still chalk this up to an unfortunate accident. 

Courtesy: WWE
It's unfortunate for a number of reasons. Balor has finally reached the promise land after years of toiling around the world. His championship victory was historic because Balor is the first Universal Champion. He's also (according to Michael Cole and I think he's right) the first WWE Superstar to win the world title (or it's equivalent) in a pay per view debut.

Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery and another shot at redemption when he returns. How cool would it be to see Balor return at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando? It'll be very close to the six months mark. But whatever happens, I hope the Demon King is back stronger than ever before. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

SummerSlam injury updates

Lesnar draws blood
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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SummerSlam weekend was a brutal one for many Superstars. Some may have long term effects on the current storylines in play.

Joe gets medical attention
Courtesy: WWE
Samoa Joe suffered a dislocated jaw during his NXT Championship loss to Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II Saturday night. The injury happened after two Kinshasas to the now former champion. Joe says his jaw was set back in place shortly after the match. He should be cleared to wrestle again in the near future.

Sasha gets dropped
Sasha Banks took a beating en route to losing the WWE Women's Championship. Reports online state she had some nagging injuries prior to her defense against Charolette and was planning to take time off to allow for healing. That's why she dropped the title so quickly. No word if she was further injured during the championship match at SummerSlam.

Brutalizing Randy Orton
Courtesy: WWE

Randy Orton now has 10 staples in his head after the brutal beating he received from Brock Lesnar. The Beast went nuts and knocked out the former champ with a couple of vicious elbows in the main event. No word how long Orton will be out (and don't read the reports that he's been suspended. An old story on has resurfaced today about his second Wellness Police violation in 2012).

Power bombed!
Courtesy: WWE
Perhaps the most concerning from a storyline point of view is Finn Balor. The first WWE Universal Champion suffered an arm injury during his battle with Seth Rollins. Many believe it happened when Rollins power bombed the Demon King on the barricade outside the ring. Balor was seen after the show with a sling, but when he appeared on Good Morning America Monday morning he was not wearing any sort of support. Hopefully if he is injured it will not require surgery and the program WWE has planned will move forward.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

SummerSlam: The go home blog

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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SummerSlam is hours away and I haven't posted my predictions yet. As I mentioned during Facebook Live earlier in the week, I like being WRONG with my predictions. It means the product isn't predictable. I will say this about SummerSlam, it's the best looking card on paper for 2016. I can't wait to wait and wish I was in Brooklyn for this year's event. 

Nakamura wins the gold
Courtesy: WWE
By the way, I thought NXT: Takeover was a solid show, but having not seen a lot of NXT in recent weeks I was lost with some of the characters. But the wrestling and storytelling was superb, which is no surprise. It'll be interesting to see what happens with both Bayley and Samoa Joe as many are speculating the former NXT Women's Champion is now main roster bound. SmackDown Live could certainly use her.

Back to SummerSlam, these are my quick picks, and with four potential main events, I'm curious to see what will close the show. I'd go with Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor because they're crowning a brand new champion and the Demon King's entrance will be hard to top. 

Rollins will be the new Universal champion. However, I like both men involved and would be happy with either coming out on top.

Dean Ambrose will beat Dolph Ziggler, but the story won't end here. A frustrated Ziggler will go back to his heel roots and continue to pursue the WWE World Heavyweight title.

Brock Lesnar will defeat Randy Orton in a back and forth match that will feature kick outs from RKOs and F5s.

AJ Styles will pin John Cena.

Sasha Banks will retain against Charlotte (but I want Charlotte to regain the Women's Championship).

The Club will beat the New Day by disqualification when Big E does a run in.

Rusev will beat Roman Reigns by dirty means. Rusev HAS to retain. This is the only match I'm adamant about ending the way I want it to end.

The Miz will beat Apollo Cruz (or at least walk out still Intercontinental Champion).

Enzo and Big Cass will beat Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Jericho gets pinned and maybe sets up for a series between he and Owens.

Naomi, Becky Lynch and Carmella will beat Natalya and Alexa Bliss. If Eva Marie was still involved I would have given the heel women the win here with Eva scoring the pin. I wonder if they'll continue the no show gimmick, I doubt it because she's been removed from match card due to her suspension. 

Sheamus will get the first win in the best of seven series with Cesaro.

Neville & Sami Zayn will win against the Dudley Boys. I kinda like the development of Neville and Zayn as a team.

American Alpha, The Hype Bros and The Usos will lose to Breezango, The Ascension and The Vaudevillans. It's the usual 50/50 booking by WWE. Plus one of those heel teams needs to get a push. 

For the love of God, please don't let Jon Stewart interfere in any of the matches this year...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Close the gate

President Richard M. Nixon
Courtesy: AP
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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In the early 1970s, five men broke into the office of the Democratic National Committee, which was part of the Watergate Complex. The suspects were tied to then President Richard M. Nixon and the Watergate Scandal was born. You know how that story ends. What I'm addressing today is the media's constant adding of the word "gate" to other so-called scandals.

Ryan Lochte
Courtesy: USA Today
Just this week LochteGate became a thing. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and three others claimed they'd been robbed at gunpoint in Brazil. Turns out they lied. Then there's Tom Brady's DeflateGate scandal. Chris Christie was the focus of BridgeGate and Bill Clinton was a key player in MonicaGate after his affair with Monica Lewinsky and the lies he told as a result. Even lesser controversies received the "gate" moniker, like Janet Jackson's nip slip at the Superbowl in 2004 was called NippleGate.

Watergate complex
I was talking to a coworker the other day who brought up an interesting point. It makes no sense to add the word "gate" to these situations. By doing so it implies that the original scandal, Watergate, had something to do with water. As we've established, it didn't. Watergate is the name of the building complex. 

Sure there are bigger things to worry about, but with the recent "gates" being thrown out there, I thought I'd give it some perspective. The media (yes I'm part of it) needs just report the events and not try to oversell the situation.

NXT Takeover: Sequelitis

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
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NXT Takeover: Dallas is highly regarded as the best Takeover special NXT has done. The tag team, Women’s and NXT title matches all delivered on a rollercoaster of emotions. Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura had what has been heralded as the greatest NXT match ever. With such high praise it’s understandable the Takeover shows that follow will have the deck stacked against them in terms of delivering a spectacular show.

Since Takeover: Dallas and the next special Takeover: The End, NXT has lost several of their key talents to the WWE main roster. Former tag champions American Alpha, former NXT champion Finn Balor and Baron Corbin who all appeared on the last two Takeovers are gone from NXT. So are crowd favorites and newer talents such as Enzo and Big Cass, Nia Jax and Eva Marie. While NXT is in a rebuilding phase and still have well known talent, that talent is still at a level a few notches below the talent that’s departed NXT.

Last year's NXT Takeover: Brooklyn
Courtesy: WWE
It’s not just the loss of talent NXT has to overcome for their latest special Takeover: Brooklyn 2. I think this special will fall short because of sequelitis. Since Takeover: Dallas, Hollywood has delivered 16 weeks of sequels at the multiplex. Most of these films have failed to live up to the expectations established by the previous film. The same flaws I have seen in the theatrical sequels, I see in the line up for Takeover: Brooklyn 2.

Looking at the card for TO:B2, I see a lot of similarities to the failed Hollywood offerings. It’s not that the TO:B2 card is bad, it’s just that compared to the previous events, there’s not much to get excited about, in my opinion. I also realize I’m not the NXT target demographic. I’m pretty confident that if I play the “this is awesome” drinking game, I’ll be drunk 30 minutes into the show.

My biggest issue with this show is that nothing seems to have any meaningful build. Other than the Women’s Title match, which is a rematch, and the Tag Title, everything else seems to be the result of some one saying “these are the people we want to focus on, put them in matches.” I don’t think there’s any real intrigue in any of the undercard matches.

Hopefully, it’ll help if I view this show like the sequels I’ve seen this year. To paraphrase the Gin Blossoms, if I don’t expect too much, I can’t be let down.” The wrestling should be very good even if the storytelling of the show isn’t the greatest.