Saturday, June 24, 2017

3 Tag team breakups I hated to see

Big Cass kicks Enzo
Courtesy: WWE

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Earlier this week, one of WWE's most popular tag teams came to an end. Big Cass put the big boot to Enzo and in an instant, the longtime partners were through. The action reminds me of when three of my favorite tag teams came to an end.

Sweet chin music
Courtesy: WWE
Perhaps the most famous tag team breakup is the Rockers. In 1992 it was clear Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty were not feeling it anymore. A split had been teased for months, and finally, Shawn had enough and threw Marty through the window on the Barbershop segment. I enjoyed the Rockers as a tag team, but allowing Shawn to launch a singles career is one of the best moves WWE ever made. Adopting the HBK persona and attitude has put Shawn Michaels near the top of many fans' lists of favorites.

Mega Powers explode!
Courtesy: WWE
The Mega Powers were destined to split up. The one time enemies became quick allies when "Macho Man" Randy Savage was being abused by The Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation. Suddenly, with the urging of Elizabeth, Hulk Hogan made the save. The WWF's top two guys became fast friends and tag team partners. The relationship lasted roughly 18 months before the Mega Powers exploded. The buildup and breakup of these two will go down as one of the best angles devised by WWE.

Bulldogs end!
Stampede Wrestling 
Davey Boy Smith and Dynamite Kid are still my favorite tag team of all time. The British Bulldogs teamed for a few years in WWF before heading back to the Stampede area. It was there that Kid turned his back on Davey Boy ending that duo. I never saw this play out on TV but read about it in the Apter mags as a teenager. In the long run, this too worked out well, at least for Davey Boy Smith. He would come back to the WWE a few times, winning the European, Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships. 

I love tag team wrestling. But I know there are times when it's necessary to split up teams and let the singles go on to bigger and better things. It's expected that Big Cass will be the big star of the most recently torn up tandem. Hopefully, Enzo finds success too, I really think he'd make a great manager/mouthpiece for someone.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Rick Martel's Arrogance

The Model
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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In the early and mid-80s, Rick Martel was the personification of 'white meat babyface.' He was the AWA World Heavyweight Champion around the time I started my wrestling fandom. In late 1986 or early 87, he and Tom Zenk headed to the WWF. The duo was known as the Can-Am Connection. They were wildly popular, but Zenk left abruptly and Tito Santana filled the void and the tandem was known as Strike Force.

Strike Force
Courtesy: WWE
They worked well together and even beat the Hart Foundation for the WWF Tag Team Championships. But it was villainous actions of Mr. Fuji that cost the team their titles to Demolition at WrestleMania IV. Then Ax and Smash injured Martel and he ended up on the shelf for quite a while.

By WrestleMania V, Martel and Santana were back together and facing the Brain Busters. There was a miscommunication during the match and Martel left in a huff, leaving Tito to face a two-on-one challenge. He couldn't overcome it and Strike Force lost in their much-anticipated return.

Martel & Slick
Courtesy: WWE
That's when Martel dropped the ultra good guy persona and became an arrogant jerk. He adopted the moniker The Model and picked up Slick as his manager. I still find that to be a strange pairing, but I digress...

The Model
Courtesy: WWE
The Model gimmick included Martel toting around a cologne atomizer filled with his specially created fragrance Arrogance. He would use the cologne to gain the upper hand and win a variety of matches. The most famous incident involving Arrogance was when Martel sprayed it in the eyes of Jake "The Snake" Roberts.

The blinding
Courtesy: WWE
The Snake was blinded for what seemed like months and the two had their pay off match at WrestleMania VII. They wore blindfolds and fumbled around the ring until Jake finally hit the DDT and picked up the win. The Model continued to carry around arrogance and use it on others, but nothing will top the feud with Jake Roberts in my 1-2-3 cents. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trading Maryse for Dallas & Axel

Pep talk by the Miz
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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On Monday Night Raw two relationships seemingly came to an end and a new one developed. Enzo and Big Cass have split as a tag team (a bit prematurely in my 1-2-3 cents) and it looks like Maryse has had enough of the Miz. The "It Couple" has had some trying moments over the last few weeks, in large part due to Dean Ambrose. Reports are Maryse and the Miz are through in part because of the similarities of the gimmick with newcomers Maria and Mike Kanellis on SmackDown Live.

The "It" couple as Cena &Nikki
Courtesy: WWE
Last year when Maryse returned to WWE she gave the Miz's character new life. The couple became Must See TV. Their mocking of John Cena and Nikki Bella was the highlight of that feud leading up to their intergender tag team match WrestleMania 33. Even though the two apparently won't appear on TV together anymore, I haven't read anything about Maryse's future with WWE.

The Entourage
Courtesy: WWE
Now Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel are going to fill the role of support for the Miz. The former Social Misfits are now a part of Miz's Entourage. The duo dressed as teddy bears Monday and offered a beat down on Ambrose to pay back the previous week's attack on the Intercontinental Champion.

That face though...
Courtesy: WWE
While I will miss the magic and chemistry we saw with Miz and Maryse, it's refreshing to see Dallas and Axel getting put in a prime role on Raw. These two have floundered for years with different gimmicks and groups. It's my hope they're able to work well with the Miz and spark new interests from the WWE Universe. Both of these legacies are deserving of something more than what they've done over the past year or so, so I wish them nothing but the best. As for Maryse, I'm sure we'll see more from her in the future too.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Do over: Money in the Bank women's edition

Preparing for MITB Part 2
Courtesy: WWE

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The women of SmackDown Live are getting a second chance to do their historic Money in the Bank ladder match. The first encounter over the weekend ended with James Ellsworth climbing the ladder, grabbing the briefcase and dropping it into the waiting arms of Carmella. 

Returning SDL General Manager Daniel Bryan ruled that Carmella has to hand over the briefcase. The reason: Ellsworth interrupted one of the most important moments in the history of women's wrestling in WWE. The moment will now be "re-lived" on SmackDown Live on June 27.

Ellsworth grabs the case
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
All five of the original participants will compete in the match, Carmella, Tamina, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Natalya. In my 1-2-3 cents, Carmella will win again. It makes no sense to take the case away from her and keep her in the rematch. If she cheated and did things that are "unprecedented", wouldn't it make more sense to keep her out of the second match as a punishment? Or perhaps I'm reading too much into it.

The cynic in me wonders if this was the original plan or if WWE is responding to the backlash online. I heard several complaints that a man interfering in the match was a setback for the women's wrestling movement within the company. I don't necessarily agree with that point of view, but I certainly understand it. Remember, it's all a work, no matter how we get to the end result.

Ms. Money in the Bank
Courtesy: WWE
Carmella is the best suited for the Ms. Money in the Bank gimmick. Her character has come a long way since debuting on the main roster and she and Ellsworth work very well together. The promo she cut on the post-MITB SmackDown Live was her best yet. This is just a minor setback for the couple and I have no doubt Carmella will make a fabulous SmackDown women's champion sooner rather than later. You can bank on that.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

St. Louis Legends WWE forgot

St. Louis Legends
Courtesy: WWE

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I have been hesitant to write this blog, as I don't want to come off as too critical of WWE and I don't want to make the same mistake the company did in overlooking worthy people to be included in the St. Louis Legends segment. I loved the idea and think it's a great way to pay tribute to those who have paved the way. I grew up in St. Louis and watched Wrestling at the Chase and attended shows several times as a kid, so I take this segment a bit more personally than I probably should. 

Larry Matysik and SICW Promoter Herb Simmons
I'm not going to say the men who were recognized shouldn't have been. Instead, I'm going to offer my 1-2-3 cents on how the segment should have gone. Last week I wrote about the decision to keep longtime Wrestling and the Chase announcer Larry Matysik out of the spotlight for this segment. I would have loved for the WWE to not only recognize Larry but also let him call that championship match with JBL, Byron Saxton and Tom Phillips. 

Bruiser Brody
I would have also included a video package featuring the stars who made St. Louis wrestling memorable. WWE's video production is the best in the world. Their team does an excellent job and could have produced a piece that lasted a few minutes honoring those legends. Names that weren't included during the Money in the Bank broadcast like Bruiser Brody, Dick the Bruiser, Bulldog Bob Brown, Gene Kinski, Pat O'Connor, Rufus R. Jones, Mickey Garagiola and Sam Muchnik. These men are in addition to the greats who were ringside and mentioned during the broadcast. 

I never expected a tribute to St. Louis Legends by WWE, but after hearing from SICW Promoter Herb Simmons on Facebook, it would have been awesome of WWE to do something. Again, it wasn't expected, I'm not whining about the situation. What they did was nice, but not complete by any means. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

The 'Something to Wrestle with...' experience

Not a rib...
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Last summer when I heard Bruce Prichard, who I knew and loved as Brother Love on classic WWF programming, was starting a podcast, I was intrigued. I had listened to Wooooo! Nation with Ric Flair and his co-host Conrad Thompson. Conrad brought the fan perspective to the show and asked the questions we all wanted to know. So knowing Conrad was going to be joining Bruce on his show made this a must-listen deal for me.

"Spend my days..."
The format of Something to Wrestle with, Bruce Prichard was like no other at the time. Bruce would tell the story of a Superstar, event or angle as Conrad would ask questions along the way. I loved the show so much I invited Conrad on the My 1-2-3 Cents Podcast last August and he was gracious enough to grant that request. 

"Double cheese, extra onions."

The duo announced they'd be doing a live show in Orlando the night before WrestleMania. I bought tickets for it before securing Mania tickets because I didn't want to miss out on the opportunity. Unfortunately, our Mania plans changed and I had to sell our tickets. But I was ecstatic after hearing Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard was coming to St. Louis prior to Money in the Bank. I already had my ticket for that WWE event, and quickly snatched up a VIP ticket. 

I arrived at the South Broadway Athletic Club right on time for the VIP meet and greet. I stood in line with other fans, but kept to myself, overhearing their stories about past wrestling experiences. I was a little sad none of my friends going to MITB wanted to attend the podcast too. Once inside, I did see some familiar faces and ended up sitting in the front of the room with my friend Jeremy. I also met long time My 1-2-3 Cents supporter Adam at the table.

The set up was great. VIPs could grab a can koozie and then hit the line for the photo op and autograph. The encounter was brief, but I got to thank both Bruce and Conrad for the work they do and extend my gratitude in person to Conrad for being on my show last year. Bruce signed a photo and then I got a pic with the dynamic duo. 

RIP George
There were hundreds of people in attendance. Bruce did lots of impressions and told plenty of stories, focusing on St. Louis history, ladder matches, Money in the Bank and of course a few tales that have never been shared on the recorded podcast. I'm not going to give any of that away, as it would defeat the purpose of Bruce and Conrad doing the live shows. I will say this, I will never view chicken salad the same again and if I ever have a chance to have some of Jerry Jarrett's I'd likely decline. Those of you who were there, well you know, why that is...

Overall the experience was well worth the $50 VIP ticket. They had plenty of tables set up at the venue, so thanks to 590 The Fan and SBAC for that. VIPs were placed in the front, which I appreciate and had a great view of everything, including Bruce's karate demo, the funeral for Jim Cornette's rat George and the calling out of Vince Russo. Bro, I still can't believe he didn't show up.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Father's Day heel turn

Me as heel manager Freddie Blassie
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I suspect there are some non-wrestling fans reading this blog, so let me explain real quick what a heel is. In the wrestling world, the heel is the bad guy. And while I'm probably not really all that bad of a guy, my actions on Father's Day 2017 has me second guessing myself.

As you're reading this chances are I'm either on my way to or already in St. Louis for the WWE's Money in the Bank event. It's a live wrestling show at the Scottrade Center. I'm going (or there) with a group of wrestlers from Stride Pro Wrestling, my buddy from work Weston and of course Chad. When I heard about the event, I didn't even think about it being Father's Day. I looked at my calendar on my phone and there were no events entered in it, so I bought my ticket.

That all went down in late February or early March. Then days later it was announced my favorite podcast, Something to Wrestle with, Bruce Prichard was going to do a live show prior to the WWE event. Since I had to sell my tickets for the Orlando show because we changed our minds about going to WrestleMania, I quickly snatched up a VIP ticket. Then all the pieces fell into place and I discovered it was Father's Day.

Family fun over Spring Break
No one in my family has given me grief over this. My wife and daughter are going to go shopping. I did spend the morning hours at home, getting in an early morning run to keep my run streak alive. It's other people I've told about my plans that have given me a weird look. Some have said, "It's your day, spend it how you want." While others have said, "You're not going to be with your kids on Father's Day?"

I'm guessing as more people learn of my plans they'll fall into either side of my internal debate. The closer it comes to me leaving, the worse I feel about my decision. But plans are made, tickets have been purchased. It's time to hit the road. A family trip is days away and we'll get to bond over a seven-hour car ride then.