Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What If Wednesday: Survivor Series 1985

Hogan vs. Piper
Photo courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Doing a little fantasy booking from my childhood today and looking back at 1985, the year Wrestlemania made its debut.  Of course we all know two years later, Vince McMahon introduced the world to his second pay per view idea, Survivor Series.  Since it's the season for Survivor Series, I figured I'd share some thoughts on how I would have put together the first event, based on the WWF roster in the fall of 1985.

I looked at house show results in late October and November 1985 on the History of WWE website. Interesting notes: King Tonga (Haku/Meng) and Dino Bravo teamed up briefly as baby faces, that's why they're on the British Bulldogs team.  I noticed the heel tag team division was quite lacking that year, as you'll see too.  Wendi Richter lost the women's title three days before Thanksgiving, the night this event would have been held, and left the company.  That's why she's not a part of the show.

Hulk Hogan, Captain                       vs.              Roddy Piper, Captain 
Paul Orndorff                                                       Bob Orton
Ricky Steamboat                                                  Don Muraco
Bruno Sammartino                                               Adrian Adonis
Tony Atlas                                                            Hercules

Andre the Giant, Captain                  vs.              Big John Studd, Captain
Hillbilly Jim                                                          King Kong Bundy
Tito Santana                                                          Randy Savage
Junkyard Dog                                                        Terry Funk
George Steele                                                        Jesse Ventura

The British Bulldogs, Captains         vs.             Greg Valentine & Brutus Beefcake, Captains
Uncle Elmer & Cousin Junior                              The Hart Foundation
The Killer Bees                                                    The Moondogs
Mike Rotundo & Danny Spivey                           Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
King Tonga & Dino Bravo                                   Mr. X & The Gladiator

Velvet McIntyre, Captain               vs.               The Fabulous Moolah, Captain
Linda Gonzalez                                                   Donna Christanello
Susan Starr                                                          Leilani Kai
Dawn Marie                                                        Judy Martin
Jean Kirkland                                                      Mad Maxine

Monday, November 17, 2014

Your iPhone Can Improve Your Health

Step it up!

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Admittedly, playing Words With Friends, watching old matches on the WWE Network, and sending out hilarious tweets on Twitter are some of my favorite things to do with my iPhone.  This is the third one I've owned, having the 3, 4, and now 6 versions of the Apple product.  When I got the latest, I noticed a new app already installed called "Health."

I didn't give it a whole lot of thought at the time.  I did open the app and mindlessly glance at some of the features on it.  There are a lot of things you can input keep track of, including blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and body mass index.  I'm a pretty healthy guy, so I haven't really messed with it.

The Health app has the heart

The feature I'm now obsessed with though is the "steps" portion of the app.  It tracks how many steps you take everyday.  The key is obviously having your phone with you at all times, which for me isn't a problem.  I don't have it for every step I take, but it's close. My goal each day is to take at least 10,000 steps.  I have a little game I play against myself now that at the end of each week, my daily average has to be 10,000 or better.  Some days I don't get all 10,000 in, so the last two Saturdays I've found myself taking longer walks with the dog to reach my goal.

Adding steps and staying warm...
I've added more steps to my day by walking to the bathroom on the other end of the building at work.  I've always parked my car in the furthest spot from the building, so that helps too.  I have also ramped up my running, despite it being colder than normal here recently.  I know I'm probably not making a huge difference in my health, but I think being more aware and now obsessive about walking those 10,000 steps each day I am having a positive impact.

As I'm writing this, I'm scrolling through the app and finding all sorts of cool functions that I must now explore.  While this may not be the most accurate or best way to gauge your health, it's certainly a step in the right direction (pun intended).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thanksgiving is Still NOT Dead

Kmart opens at 6am on Thanksgiving
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm going to start this off by saying, I don't intend to upset, alienate or offend anyone.  Usually when someone says that, that's the first thing they do.  So if you're angry with me after reading this, I understand and respect your opinion.  

I wrote about this last year, and my stance has not changed.  Many stores will be open on Thanksgiving again this year, giving early Christmas shoppers a chance to find low prices.  I've never been caught up in the craze, but I respect those who do enjoy the thrill of the bargain hunt.

Social media has already started with the call to boycott stores that are open on the holiday.  I get it, I really do.  But I don't agree with it and here's why.  I think it's hypocritical for us to say "don't shop on Thanksgiving" because store employees have to work.  There are COUNTLESS professionals that have to work on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, Kwanzaa, Arbor Day, and everyday in between. I've never once seen anyone call for a boycott on those goods and services.

Working holidays is for the birds...
But it's a part of life
I'm not looking for sympathy or a pat on the back, but in my adult life I have worked every Thanksgiving except for one.  That was Thanksgiving 2002 and the only reason I was off was because Wednesdays and Thursdays were my regularly scheduled days off at that time.  We ate dinner with family in St. Louis and then loaded the car with two kids under the age of three and drove the five hours back to West Lafayette, Indiana so I could be back to work on Black Friday to cover all the people hitting the stores.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Oh, I didn't mention it earlier, I'm a journalist for those of you not familiar with this blog.  It's not just the people you see on TV who are working.  There are directors, producers, camera operators, and other behind-the-scenes people who are away from their families. Many being paid the same or less than a retail employee.  So if you plan to boycott the stores on Thanksgiving because you don't think it's fair that they're working, then leave the TV off all day.  Parade workers, football players, announcers, crew members and more are working too.
Don't listen to the radio on your way to grandma's house because DJs are working. Hope you filled the tank before you left, as the gas station attendants are working too.  Drive safe, because if you're in a crash, don't call 9-1-1. That would mean you're impeding on the police, ambulance workers, firefighters, and other emergency crews who are missing their turkey dinner.

If you like to catch a movie after dinner on Thanksgiving, stay home this year.  The crew at the theater works every day too.  Let's not forget about doctors, nurses, troops serving overseas, restaurant workers, truck drivers, pilots, flight attendants, train conductors, bus drivers, and even theme park employees.  I could go on and on, but I think you get the point.  I apologize to those I've left out.

Yes it sucks working on the holidays.   If you're able to, adjust your schedule.  We've done it for years now.  I'm fortunate enough that I work early in the morning and have the rest of the day off. Not everyone has the luxury, but maybe you can celebrate Thanksgiving on a Tuesday or a Sunday instead.  

I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing that stores are staying open on Thanksgiving, but businesses are struggling to stay open. Management has to do what they think best works for them.  If enough people stop shopping on the holiday, perhaps this will end. But since we're back at it this year, I don't think it's going to change anytime soon.  Enjoy your holiday, whether you're at work or home and remember those who aren't with us this time of year.  Things could be much worse.

Friday, November 14, 2014

9 Things You (Probably) Don't Know About Me

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

A friend of mine has challenged me to a Facebook game we played last year where you reveal a certain number of facts about yourself that people don't know.  I like the idea, but decided to take it a step further and blog about it (inside joke).  He gave me the number nine, and one thing he wanted to know is what's my oldest t-shirt.

My oldest shirt
1.  The oldest t-shirt that I have and still wear is my Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff shirt.  I got it as a birthday gift in 1987.  I was in 8th grade.  The shirt fits me, but you can read the newspaper through it.  I wear it now as an undershirt to Wrestlemania, however I did wear it under my tuxedo on my wedding day.  My wife hated that and still hates the shirt.

2.  I cannot stand having my hands wet.  Washing them is fine, but after being in the shower, swimming pool, or lake, I have to put on hand cream.  My favorite kind was Care Deeply with coco butter by Avon, but a few years ago they stopped making it.  Now I use something from Walmart which works pretty well.

3.  Honey mustard is my current favorite condiment.

4.  I had to wait two months to get my drivers license because I failed a quarter of Human Anatomy and Physiology my sophomore year in high school.  Of course this all happened days before my 16th birthday.  Once I brought up my grade, my parents took me to get my license.  I passed on the first try with a 72 (you needed a 70 or better).

5.  One time I dropped the F bomb on live TV.  It's been more than 15 years and I'm pretty sure the statute of limitations has expired, plus the evidence was immediately destroyed.  (I'll go into greater detail soon.)

6.  I have never locked my keys in the car.

How I felt during an art history final...
7.  While taking my final in Art History in college I farted out loud and it echoed in my chair.  The sound broke the silence of the classroom and I turned a bright shade of red as I could feel dozens of eyeballs staring at me.

8.  The one and only time I smoked a cigarette was my senior year in high school  I did it out of curiosity and ended up puking right after I did it.  I really had no desire to do it before and definitely not after.

The night Hulk lost
Photo courtesy: WWE
9.  I cried like a baby the first time Hulk Hogan lost the WWF championship to Andre the Giant on The Main Event.

Wanna play along?  Like this on Facebook and I'll give you a number too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wage Hope: The Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer

Wage Hope!
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents Twitter

November 13 is World Pancreatic Cancer Day.  It's a time to raise awareness about this deadly disease by wearing purple.  I hope that it will spark a conversation because quite frankly, more needs to be done in fighting pancreatic cancer.

Right now the five year survival rate is just six percent.  That blows my mind.  It's a hard disease to detect and once it's found it's often too late.  The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network hopes to double survival rates by 2020. They have just over five years to do that.  Raising awareness about the disease and funding research is critical.  Even still, 12 percent is still a long way from 100, but it's a step in the right direction.

The late Patrick Swayze
We've seen well known celebrities like Patrick Swayze, Steve Jobs, and Luciano Pavarotti bravely battle, but ultimately die from pancreatic cancer.  I have a personal connection to the disease.  In late 2001 my Aunt Rita was diagnosed with it.  She put up a good fight, but sadly we lost her in January 2002.  She was only 52 years old.
Grandma, mom, and Aunt Rita in 1980 something
Not only was Rita my aunt, she was also my Godmother.  She was always soft spoken and very loving to both me and my brother. We'd spend time with her and my uncle and cousins every Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and various family birthdays. When we were younger there were camping trips and adventures to Silver Dollar City.

When I hear the news of someone being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I think of Aunt Rita.  I remember the sadness we all felt when she passed away and how I wish there was no such thing as cancer.  But here's the deal, cancer exists.  Sweet, loving, and caring people, even little kids will die from it.  But there are many survivors too.  We have to talk more about all types of cancer and help the men and women working toward a cure.  Without the hope that one day six percent will double and gradually climb, we have nothing.  I encourage you to wear purple on November 13 and support the cause monetarily if you're able.

Here are a few other resources on pancreatic cancer:
Walk With The Dogs
The American Cancer Society
The Purple Page

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Return of the Voice

Jim Ross, good ol' JR
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

No, I'm not talking about the singing show on NBC.  I'm sure it's still on the air, but I don't watch.  What I'm talking about today is the big news that Jim Ross is returning to the world of professional wrestling.  Known by this generation as "The Voice" of the WWE (or wrestling in general really), JR is set to call a pay per view after the start of the new year.

Global Force Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that Ross will do play by play for Wrestle Kingdom 9.  It's set for January 4, 2015 in Japan.  People here in the United States can watch through a variety of cable and satellite options at 2 a.m. EST. According to GFW's website, you can also watch via the Flipps app on iTunes and Android.

Mick Foley & JR
Photo courtesy: WWE
I'm excited that JR is going to be involved with the show.  I've missed him on Monday Night Raw and WWE pay per views.  He brings a level of intensity and professionalism to the industry that quite frankly hasn't been close to being duplicated anywhere else.  His ability to tell a story during a match is unbeatable.  Since he's left the WWE, I've been a regular listener and big fan of The Ross Report on Podcast One

This event is still a couple of months away.  I'll be honest, it's been the most exciting news to come from GFW since Jeff and Karen Jarrett announced the promotion earlier this year.  I truly hope that it's a show that focuses more on wrestling and less on the entertainment.  I don't think anyone will knock Vince McMahon and company from the throne, but I'm still waiting for someone to lay claim to the second in command spot. 

Good luck to JR, the Jarretts, GFW, and NJPW.  Fans have something to be excited about in 2015.  Thank you for that.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Harry Potter's Magic Spell on Universal Studios

Outside Flourish & Blotts
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Harry Potter first entered our lives in 2007.  My oldest son had just started second grade when my wife read him "Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone."  I didn't pick up the books until the last one was released, but got hooked quickly.  We'd read the book and then see the movie.  We got caught up by the time Half Blood Prince was released in theaters and actually saw it on the big screen.

Butterbeer break
Four years ago, our family ventured to Universal Studios in Orlando, where we were in awe of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  A portion of Islands of Adventure has been transformed into Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.  Rides like the Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey, Flight of the Hippogriff, and Dragon Challenge add to the excitement of all the shops, including Honeydukes Sweetshop and Ollivander's Wand Shop.  There are places to get your fill of Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, and Gillywater.  It's the ultimate place for Harry Potter fans.

Waiting for the Hogwarts Express
Earlier this year, the Wizarding World expanded into the Universal Studios side of the part.  Now, you can hop aboard the Hogwarts Express and take it back and forth, assuming you have a ticket to both parks.  The train ride is reminiscent of the movies, it's by far the most relaxing of the five Potter themed rides at the park.

In the bank lobby 
Speaking of other rides, the only other new ride added with the addition is Escape from Gringotts.  Because it's a new attraction, the wait time was between 60 and 90 minutes (in October), although on our last day there, we went straight to that ride when the park opened.  Our wait time that morning was about 40 minutes.  It's a 3-D thrill ride with twists and turns, but not nearly as jostling as the Forbidden Journey ride.  But a little kid did barf on the way out and right in the path of where people were walking.

The dragon 
On top of Gringotts bank is a giant fire-breathing dragon.  Almost like clockwork every 10 minutes, a ball of fire shoots from his mouth.  There are plenty of stores along Diagon Alley, including Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour,  Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, and the Leaky Cauldron.  We ate lunch at the Cauldron, and although pricey, it was delicious.  I had the Bangers and Mash.  The one interesting thing is there are no basic drinks in the restaurant.  It's all Pumpkin Juice, Butterbeer, or Gillywater (which is a bottle of water with a $4.25 price tag).  You won't find a soda on the menu.  After we sat down and started eating, we were offered a complimentary cup of water.

Working her magic

One of the other really cool parts of the whole Wizarding World Experience now is the interactive wands they sell in addition to the usual collector's wands.  These interactive wands can be used at the various store fronts (that have a special marking in front of them) and the holder of the wand can perform some magical task.  A sensor in the window reacts to the sensor in the wand to make things happen.  There's a cake topper that dances around, a tape measurer that comes unrolled, among other things.  It's neat, but again, an added price of about $50 per wand.

Don't touch wands
Compared to most of the other attractions and experiences at Universal, it's obvious Harry Potter and his posse are breathing new life into the theme park.  They've managed to cast a spell on my family and millions of others.  While not on the same level of Disney's magic, the folks who built this portion of the park have done a great job.