Monday, May 23, 2016

WWE releases part 2

Cody Rhodes
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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A couple weeks ago WWE released a handful of talents, ranging from the Brooklyn Brawler to "King" Barrett. Another round of releases has started.  Over the weekend Cody Rhodes requested and was granted his release from WWE.  Embattled Superstar Adam Rose has been 'future endeavored' too.  

Adam Rose
Courtesy: WWE
The Rose release isn't surprising.  He was serving a 60 day suspension for a Wellness Policy violation.  During his time away he was also arrested on domestic charges violence charges.  None of us knows what's going on his life, but I hope whatever hardships he and his family are going through, they get the situation worked out.  Never say never as we could see him back in WWE at some point.

Cody's release was a surprise, but I don't blame him wanting to step away.  He was clearly frustrated with his place on the roster and walking away now gives Cody a chance to perhaps reinvent himself elsewhere or find a whole new line of work.  Again, I wish him nothing but the best.  Here's what Cody had to say about the situation via his Twitter page @PrinceCGR.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Yo, Class of '91, let's kick it!

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Sorry for the cheesy title, but when I think back to my senior year of high school, Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby is one of the first songs that comes to mind.  It's hard to believe it's been a quarter century since the pomp and circumstance that filled the air that warm May night.  About 400 of us donned blue or white caps and gowns and walked that aisle as be prepared to start the next phase of our lives.

The ceremony ended with a giant American flag made of fireworks lighting up as the sun was going down on the football field.  Remember this was when Operation Dessert Storm was coming to an end and the mood that year was especially patriotic. Eager graduates cheered as our parents and other loved ones wiped away tears of joy marking this first major milestone in our young lives.

Evolution of a geek

Most of my high school memories at Northwest are fond ones.  I've enjoyed social media over the last eight years and being able to get reacquainted with old friends.  Connections have been made with classmates that I didn't really hang out with either which is cool. But there's something about meeting in person and catching up (legally) over an adult beverage.

On Saturday, June 18 these middle age lions can roar once again.  Our 25th reunion is happening at LeMay Park.  Bring your spouse and kids and spend the day catching up with old (not really) friends.  A cookout is planned, so bring a side dish, drinks and all your memories from those days of glory.  Hope to see you there.  Learn more here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Oh my stars

Epico & Primo: The Shining Stars
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Webster's defines debut as "the first time an actor, musician, athlete, etc., does something in public or for the public."  On the May 16, 2016 episode of Monday Night Raw 'the voice of the WWE" Michael Cole wrapped up a match featuring Epico & Primo (The Shining Stars) as "What a debut!" 

Los Matadores & El Torito
Courtesy: WWE
The problem here is Epico and Primo have been a WWE tag team for nearly five years. In fact, they're former tag team champions. And before that Primo and his brother Carlito were the tag champs. Up until a few months ago the Colon cousins donned masks an wrestled as Los Matadores.

Primo, Rosa and Epico
Courtesy: WWE
I understand their match on Raw this week was a reboot for their characters. They're now the Shining Stars, but they're still Epico and Primo.  They don't seem all that different from the team that transitioned to bullfighters nearly three years ago.  I shouldn't just pick on Cole, as tweets earlier in the night teased a debut.  I'm sure someone higher on the food chain told the announce team to sell the match the way they did.

The Shining Stars on the beach
Courtesy: WWE
I see why WWE doesn't say Bray Wyatt was Husky Harris or Luke Gallows was Festus.  But when two guys who were tag champs by the same exact names as they're "debuting" as is a bit of an insult to the fans' intelligence.  But hey, that's just My 1-2-3 Cents.  What do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Being released isn't a failure

Damien Sandow
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I recently had WWE Hall of Famer "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan on my podcast.  During the interview he mentioned how tough it is to become a WWE Superstar.  He said there are roughly 100 wrestlers in WWE. That's pretty accurate between the NXT and main rosters.

Each of the 32 teams in the NFL can have up to 53 players meaning there are nearly 1,700 players in the league. Granted they may not all play during the season, but they're a part of the NFL. Major league baseball has roughly 1,200 players.  The NBA roster is thinner at 446, but still more than four times the size of what WWE has.

Brooklyn Brawler
Courtesy: WWE
When WWE released Superstars and Legends, some fans online took to making fun of the situation.  Memes, gifs and other comments circulated on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  Some of the comments implied the men and women who had been fired had somehow failed.  After thinking back to Hacksaw's stats, I couldn't disagree more.  

King Barrett
Courtesy: WWE
Anyone who makes it to WWE or even NXT has to have something special about them.  I think it goes without saying the wrestling aspect has always been above average, but lately WWE has brought an A+ game.  That doesn't mean every performer gets an A+, but I think as fans we should respect the contributions made and the path taken to get to the biggest wrestling company in the world.  Some of these Superstars are new to us, but have toiled in the independents for years and in some cases a decade or longer.

I had made a suggestion on Twitter that WWE turn the so-called "Release Day" into a Network show.  I mean it, but I couldn't explain the premise in 140 characters so here goes. 
This would not be to humiliate or embarrass anyone.  Instead, each Superstar being released would be given the option to be a part of the special.  WWE would make their announcements and then play sound bites from those who decide to be on the show.  It's not meant to "shoot" on WWE.

I see this as a win-win for both sides.   Fans had been tweeting and posting about each release throughout the day.  WWE gets another original special on the Network, fans can hear from their favorites and the Superstars get to say goodbye one last time with the support of the company.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A few wrestling limericks

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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May 12 is National Limerick Day.  As usual, I've decided to add a wrestling twist to the day.  Here are a few of my creations.  Don't grade me, it's been a long time since I've been in school for this kind of thing.

Vince McMahon

There once was a promoter named Vince.
Sometimes his ideas made sense.
But with Roman as champ
and cartoons about camp
He must think most fans are just dense.


He hits the ring like a daredevil
Of course I'm talking about Neville.
I'm a big a fan
of this high flying man
others should get on his level.

Bobby Heenan

Wrestling's best manager is the Brain
some of his guys were insane.
From Bundy and Rude 
to that big giant dude
Their opponents experienced much pain.

Larry Sweeney

We've lost some real greats of the ring
Like Piper and Owen the king
Warrior and Kerry 
and funny guy Larry 
The loss of each one leaves a sting.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

3 times wrestling made me cry

The end of Hulkamania?
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Sometimes emotions get the best of us while enjoying something that brings so much joy. Here are a few times I broke down while watching wrestling.  I'm mostly secure enough to share these tales with you.

February 5, 1988: I was a freshman in high school and watching the Main Event.  Hulk Hogan had beaten all the challengers who'd come his way over the course of his four years as champion.  It seemed like the prime time WrestleMania III rematch against Andre the Giant would have a similar ending and Hogan would have a new challenger to face at the upcoming WrestleMania IV event.  That's how my 14 year old brain operated.

Andre wins
Courtesy: WWE
I was stunned when the referee made a bogus three count on Hogan and awarded Andre the belt.  The Giant quickly handed the gold over to "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.  My disbelief turned to anger and sadness.  Looking back, I'm pretty sure I was sobbing.  I was so loud my younger brother came downstairs thinking I'd endured some legitimate form of trauma.  When I bellowed "Hulk Hogan LOST!!!" in between tears, he laughed at me and told me it wasn't the end of the world.  I still can't believe I had such a strong reaction to the first of many attempts to end Hulkamania...

Stone Cold's toast to Owen Hart
May 24, 1999: We were just 24 hours removed from the tragic death of WWF Superstar Owen Hart when the company went on the air again for a tribute show on Monday Night Raw.  The men and women who worked with The King of Harts told stories and cried in between matches that night.  I held it together through most of the show, only tearing up from time to time.  But when as Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jim Ross wrapped up the show with their memories, I began to cry.  Then "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's music hit.  He walked to the ring, held up a beer and toasted the TitanTron that had Owen's image displayed. He set a can in the ring and then left.  I lost it and cried like a baby for a long time after the show went off the air. It was one of the saddest memories for me as a wrestling fan.

Daniel Bryan and Connor "the Crusher"
Courtesy: WWE
Summer 2014: I don't remember the exact date, but it was when WWE released the video package about eight year old Connor Michalek.  Connor the Crusher was battling cancer of the spine and brain and his prognosis was not good.  I'm actually tearing up right now thinking about it.  There was something about that little boy that captured my attention.  Maybe it's because Connor and my daughter were just a few months apart in age.  None-the-less seeing him get to interact with the men and women he idolized and knowing these were likely his final wishes broke my heart.  I'm glad WWE has shared his story and helped build a foundation to honor this little guy's legacy forever.  Learn more about Connor's Cure here.

Honorable mention: I know I said three, but I couldn't end this post on a sad note.

Randy Savage and Elizabeth reunite
Courtesy: WWE
March 24, 1991: Even though they were married in real life, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Elizabeth reconciled in the middle of the ring after Savage lost a retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior at WrestleMania VII.  I didn't really cry when the two embraced, but I did tear up.  And for that I should probably have my man card revoked forever more...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My attempt at getting crafty with my beer choices

The Craftbeericans
Todd Ellis, Todd Bryant, Tom Harness and Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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By now you probably know I'm part of a YouTube and Facebook Live show called Craftbeericans.  It all started in March after a discussion among friends trying to broaden our respective brands and share a love for craft beer. My friend Tom Harness is a social media guru and owner of Harness Digital Marketing. Todd Bryant is the morning drive DJ at the new Magic 95.1 in southern Illinois and runs a voice over business called Todd Bryant Voice Productions. Todd Ellis rounds out the Craftbeericans with his Plain Brown Media digital creative agency. 

My three friends love their craft beer, but comparatively speaking, I'm new to the game.  That's why I wanted to do this show.  Not only to help myself and my friends expand our brands, but also to learn more about craft beer.  I don't know much about distinguishing what makes a good craft beer based on the ingredients, but I do know what I like. 

Photo by Todd Ellis

We've already recorded a handful of shows as we count down from Episode 99 (just like the song).  We recently had a chance to mingle with a lot of craft breweries here in southern Illinois and beyond at the CarbondALE Brew Fest. The Craftbeericans were live via Facebook throughout the evening, drinking and learning more about what the amazing craft beer choices our region has. 

On location at Big Muddy Brewing
So if you haven't already, like the Facebook page and subscribe to the  YouTube channel.  Also follow @Craftbeericans on Twitter, Instagram and Periscope.  Let us know what kind of craft beer you enjoy and we may include it in an episode. We're always looking for ideas and guests.  Cheers!