Saturday, August 27, 2016

Laying the smackdown on tag team wrestling

Chad & Kevin meeting the Headbangers in 2012
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Before reading any further, you should know this post may contain a spoiler for Tuesday's upcoming SmackDown Live! show. 

Tag team titles
Courtesy: WWE
Since the recent brand split with WWE, it's been announced that SmackDown Live will soon have a new Women's Champion and Tag Team Champions. When Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon made that announcement and Heath Slater interrupted it, there were only six teams announced for the tournament. Bryan told Slater if he could find a partner his team would be entered, which means seven teams. To round things out SmackDown Live needs an eighth tandem. 

I figured they'd piecemeal another team with a couple of single Superstars like Slater and his partner Rhyno or they'd enter Erik Rowan and Bray Wyatt in as the Wyatt Family. But with Bray focusing on Randy Orton, it makes sense to leave the Wyatts out.

The Headbangers
Courtesy: WWE
Word on the street is that former WWE Tag Team Champions The Headbangers are headed to the blue brand, at least for one night. In a post that has since been deleted, Mosh tweeted he and his partner Thrasher were headed to Dallas for Tuesday's show. I don't know if this is a one off to put over Rhyno and Slater or if the Headbangers are back. Seven teams on a regular basis can make a decent division, assuming the injuries and suspensions don't impact the respective Superstars.

Either way, I'm on board with the Headbangers coming back. I thought they were good workers during their time in WWF/E.  A return is no different from when Billy Gunn and Road Dogg reunited a couple years ago and the New Age Outlaws won the titles. I don't expect (or want) any returning Superstars to end up with gold, but having them back on TV and in the limelight for a bit is nice.

Future champs?
Courtesy: WWE
Many fans are probably backing American Alpha (and I'm sure they're destined to win the belts soon), but I think Slater and Rhyno are going to win it all.

Friday, August 26, 2016

How I became a real life Milk Dud

Milk Dud 

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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After nearly 20 years in journalism, I've had chance to interview a Vice Presidential candidate, cover both the President and Vice President and interview countless governors and lawmakers. But along with the "hard" news comes fun times. The most recent was a trip to the Du Quoin State Fair for the first ever Moo Moo Classic.

Moo Moo Classic participants
My coanchor on News 3 This Morning on WSIL, Callie Carroll and I were invited to join radio personalities Critter and Wes Bennett from Withers Broadcasting and Lia & Jon E. from WCIL (River Radio) as well as State Representative Terri Bryant and fair managers Tibretta Reiman and Kevin Gordon in the competition. Each of us took a turn milking a cow for three minutes. No bucket though, we were only given a styrofoam cup to collect the milk.

Fourth place
Other than milking a model cow at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, I'd never touched an udder before. I think I got enough milk to serve as creamer for a cup of coffee. Callie got about the same amount. Meanwhile Tibretta needed a second cup and Critter's cup was more than half full. Long story short, we didn't stand a chance. We finished fourth (of four) and took home the COWsolation prize, a bag of Cow Tails candy. Really though our performance as one person put it was worthy of Milk Duds.

But it was a fun event and we had a good time. It's a great way to kick of the 2016 Du Quoin State Fair. Now give me a funnel cake.

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 WWE.com 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...