Wednesday, August 16, 2017

BANKRUPT: Baron Corbin's MITB cash-in is a bust

The cash-in
Courtesy: WWE

By
Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The odds were in Baron Corbin's favor. Of the 17 men who have won the Money in the Bank ladder match, 13 have successfully cashed-in and won the heavyweight championship. Corbin failed to do that with his cash-in against Jinder Mahal and joins the ranks for John Cena, Mr. Kennedy and Damien Sandow. I put Kennedy in that company because he lost the briefcase to Edge, but I digress...


Cena gets whacked
Courtesy: WWE
Regular readers of this blog and listeners to the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast know I'm no fan of Corbin. My blog before MITB this year was titled: My Pick for MITB is ABC (Anyone But Corbin). But I never expected him to fail in his attempt to cash-in. I also believed he would wait until Nakamura beat Jinder at SummerSlam and then win the title himself.


Pinned!
Courtesy: WWE
It's strange to me that the company was seemingly so high on Corbin since calling him up to the main roster. He won the Andre the Giant Memorial in his debut and then picked up MITB. It appeared they were grooming him for a top dog status. I didn't agree with it, but I had come to accept it. I wonder what happened. My first instinct is he must have pissed someone off backstage. Not just because he lost the opportunity but how quickly and cleanly he lost it. 

Some fans online have said it was too early for Corbin to win the gold. I agree with that assessment, but let's face it, the contract is valid for a year, so he still had 10 months. That's a lifetime in this business. Working with Cena at SummerSlam and adding some opponents like AJ Styles and Randy Orton would certainly have put him in a better position by the spring. But obviously, there wasn't a plan in place for that to happen.


The agony of defeat
Courtesy: WWE
Even though the character hasn't grown on me, I'm sympathetic to the fact that the guy has missed out on a golden opportunity. In my 1-2-3 cents, there is always a chance to grow and develop and turn me into a believer. Now I'm curious to see what happens with him and Cena Sunday at SummerSlam.



Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ric Flair: The GOAT of the wrestling world


Ric Flair
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I know to some people it's weird to be so obsessed with professional wrestling and even more strange to idolize the men and women in spandex. I can't tell you how many times I hear "You know it's fake, right?" I'm not going to defend my fandom here because I've done that before. Instead, I'm going to honor my all-time favorite professional wrestler Ric Flair.

Over the weekend "The Nature Boy" ended up in the hospital. As of this writing on Tuesday he had undergone successful surgery but is not out of the woods yet. Many times we wait until our heroes or even loved ones are gone before we honor them. I didn't want to make that mistake with Naitch.

As a young fan in the mid-80s, I hated Ric Flair like no one else. Outside of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, he was the hottest heel on my TV. When he wrestled my then favorite Kerry Von Erich (who still ranks pretty high with me), I booed loudly. I actually saw the two wrestle in person in St. Louis a year after Von Erich became NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Flair lived up to his "dirtiest player in the game" moniker and go himself disqualified that night, hence retaining the title.



Despite booing Ric when he was in there against my favorites, somewhere along the way I gained a ton of respect for the Nature Boy. I believe it was probably around the time the Four Horsemen were formed and I was starting to develop an eye for the bad guys. There was something about the way Ric Flair talked, walked, dressed and of course wrestled. He was a pompous ass, but I loved everything about it. 


Ric Flair in Cape Girardeau
In 1991 when he defected from WCW and signed with the WWF I was about as happy as I'd ever been with a "fed jumper." I saw him wrestle Piper live at a house show in December of that year. A month later, Flair defied the odds and won the Royal Rumble from position number 3. Not only did he win the battle royal, but also his first WWF(E) Championship.

I was sad to see his first run in WWE come to an end as soon as it did. I enjoyed his work in WCW as well but when he came back months after the company was sold, I popped big time. There couldn't have been a better foil for Vince McMahon in that time period than Naitch. Then when he agreed to wrestle again, it was even better. I was privileged to see him live at WrestleMania 22 and two years later at WrestleMania 24 in what would be his final match with the company.


Flair's final WWE match
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
That night was an emotional one for everyone at the stadium. For decades Ric Flair had entertained millions of fans. He put his body on the line taking bumps many others would decline to take. He bled gallons of blood. Sweated buckets of sweat. Cried a river of tears. And in a matter of three seconds, it was over.


Flair and the Undertaker
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
On a whim my buddy Chad and I got tickets to the send off show the next night on Raw. We watched in awe as many of our childhood favorites and current Superstars came out to pay homage to the Nature Boy. When Raw went off the air, the celebration continued and as much as I'll likely be judged for it, I found myself wiping the tears from my eyes in between my clapping. 

My love for Ric Flair carried over into my wedding plans. In 1997 after my wife and I said "I do," and we entered the reception area, 2001: A Space Odessy blasted as the emcee introduced the new Mr. and Mrs. Hunsperger to the guests. I let out a loud "WOOO!" as we made our way through the door. That was 20 years ago and my fondness for Naitch hasn't wavered a bit.


Wooo!
Courtesy: WWE
I've had opportunities at different WrestleCon events to meet Ric Flair. I regret not doing that when I could have. He remains at the top of my list of Legends I must meet at some point. So while I know Flair nor his family is reading this post, I feel better sharing my feelings about a man I truly respect and hope has a full recovery. 


Monday, August 14, 2017

Why Tony Flood is counting down to 2018

Hunter vs. Flood
Courtesy: Steve Belcher



By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

It's been well established that there is no love loss between Stride Pro Wrestling General Manager Sam Hunter and current Legacy Champion Tony Flood. The two have been at each other's throats since the birth of the company 18 months ago. At one point Flood was fired, but was able to work his way back onto the roster after winning the championship.

At Hot August Night 2, Flood's mouth once again got the best of him. He and Hunter went back and forth on the mic for a few minutes before the GM finally came up with a deal to hopefully bury the hatchet once and for all. If Tony Flood holds on to the Legacy title until December 31, 2017, he will replace Sam as the General Manager. Flood agreed to the stipulation and the two begrudgingly shook on the deal.

Johnny Blade slams Flood
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Moments later, Hunter put Flood in a defense involving his largest challenge to date. St. Louis native Johnny Blade. The big man weighs in at about 260 pounds, more than 50 pounds heavier than the champ. Blade whipped Flood around the ring as many fans had expected. And there were a couple of times it appeared that the Legacy title would changes hands. But Tony Flood is a crafty wrestler. That's a nice way to say he's sneaky.

Flood wins!
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
The tide turned a couple of times throughout and to Flood's credit, he pulled out a school boy and got the win. He really not only wants to hold on to his championship but also wants to become the Stride GM in 2018. Be sure to join us again next month, on Saturday, Sept. 9 to see what challenge Flood faces next.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The common link between Cena, The Miz, HBK and me

You can't see us...
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Quick incorrect answers to what John Cena, The Miz, Shawn Michaels and me (Kevin Hunsperger) all have in common: mic skills, wrestling ability and physique. The Miz and I did have the same haircut for a time (and we're both AWESOME). I got a faux hawk shortly after meeting him in 2010. But he's moved on from that look, while I hang on to it.


John Cena signing a shoe
Anyway, the common link between myself and these three amazing WWE Superstars is we're all left handed. August 13 is International Left Handers Day, so I did some investigating to find out which Superstars and Legends of the ring are southpaws. Only about ten percent of the population is left handed. I really hadn't noticed left handed wrestlers until I searched and found photos of them doing autographs to help put this blog together.


Lefties unite!
Other famous southpaws of the ring include William Regal, Terry Funk, Torrie Wilson, Matt Sydal (who is 10 years and two days younger than me), Torrie Wilson, Carlito, Austin Aries and Sandman. Looking back on Funk's matches, now I can see it too. His punches (which are some of the best in the business) are thrown from the left. 

So other than recognizing International Left Handers Day, there's no real point to this point. Thanks for reading it and sorry if it wasted part of your Sunday. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Wrestling Album

The Wrestling Album
I still have mine


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

August 12 is known as Vinyl Record Day. Since I'm old enough to remember these artifacts, I figured I'd write about one of my favorites: The Wrestling Album. It was released in 1985 during the height of the Rock 'n Wrestling connection. Cyndi Lauper, Rick Derringer and David Wolff were all involved in the product along with all the WWF Superstars at the time.


Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura and "Mean" Gene Okerlund banter in between songs, which are for the most part done by the various Superstars. I bought the album as soon as it was made available in stores. In fact, I remember recording to cassette too so I could listen to Junkyard Dog, Nikolai Volkoff and Roddy Piper sing on my Walkman.


My favorite song on the entire album without a doubt is Land of a Thousand Dances done by all the Superstars. The music video is pretty epic for the song as well, with Uncle Elmer and Piper getting into a shouting match and then the faces and heels all start rumbling. It's actually the first song on the album and leads to the rest of the Superstars getting their chance to sing.

Jimmy Hart
Courtesy: WWE
While there was some outrageous singing on the album, Jimmy Hart's Eat Your Heart Out Rick Springfield and Hillbilly Jim's Don't Go Messin' with a Country Boy are the more talented Superstars to perform. The album provided new entrance music for JYD, Hillbilly Jim and Hulk Hogan. However, Real American by Derringer was originally used by Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. 

Thirty-two years later The Wrestling Album is still entertaining to listen to. Pair it up with the follow up vinyl Piledriver and you're in for some good tunes. Like ice cream bars and LJN figures, I'd love to see the album concept return to modern day WWE.

 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: JR's candy dish

Jim Ross and his candy dish
Courtesy: WWE

By
Kevin Hunsperger

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Since it's SummerSlam season I figured why not take a look back at an infamous moment from the year 2000. I remember it clearly now but had forgotten about it until hearing Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson talk about it on a recent Something to Wrestle With podcast.

Tazz had been harassing good ol' JR, to the point that Jim Ross ended up with glass in his eye after Tazz damaged Jerry "The King" Lawler's rental car. These actions lead to a matchup at the annual summer event.



The night of SummerSlam 2000 there was a candy dish on the announce table. At one point during the Tazz-Lawler match, the referee took a bump and went down. Tazz verbally assaulted JR and warned him he'd choke out the King and then come after Ross. Tazz locked in the Tazzmission finisher and as he and Lawler dropped the mat, JR popped up. The King was out, but he and Tazz were close enough to the ropes that JR was able to crack the former ECW Champion over the head. The dish shattered and glass and candy littered the ring. Lawler pinned his unconscious opponent.  

Despite it being "sugar" glass used in the incident I imagine it still hurt like hell. It was one of the more unique foreign objects I recall being used in a match. 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Magnum TA vs. Disney World


Magnum TA vs. Mickey Mouse


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin


I debated writing this blog because I know it's going to irritate some who read it. Many people who check out My 1-2-3 Cents know I'm a journalist by day. I've been in the world of broadcast news for two decades. So from time to time, I go into reporter mode when it comes to responding to things going on in the wrestling world.


Chances are you've seen the tweets from Tessa Blanchard, the step daughter of wrestling legend, Magnum T.A. She says Magnum and her siblings were denied entry into the Magic Kingdom in Orlando recently. According to the tweet it was because Magnum uses a Segway to assist with walking. More than 30 years ago, TA was severely injured in a car crash. 

Here's where I become annoyed with wrestling fans. Many responded to the tweets by saying fans should boycott Disney. They criticized the move as they thought Disney was targeting one of their favorite stars. However, doing some research on the subject, Disney banned Segways more than a decade ago. In fact, the issue became such a hot topic the United States Supreme Court got involved and ruled in favor of Disney. 

Magnum T.A. with Bill Apter
Admittedly, I don't know all the facts about Magnum's situation. But Disney enacted the ban because they say Segways are too unstable. It's been in place since 2004. Their website doesn't specifically say Segways aren't allowed, however it does talk about just using wheelchairs or Electric Conveyance Vehicles. Chairs can be rented for $12 a day and the ECVs are $50. I've read the ECVs didn't have the controls on the correct side for TA.

None of us were there, we can only base our opinions on what was tweeted by a third party who also wasn't at the park. I'm a Disney fan. I'm a Magnum TA and Tessa Blanchard fan. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding of some kind. We don't know for sure if park officials tried to offer an alternative. Each time my family has visited the theme parks, we've never had any problems. In fact, they have gone above and beyond to make our experiences outstanding, including two times when my mom had to use a wheelchair to get around.

It's natural to pick a side. But really both sides could have likely handled this situation differently. Hopefully, this incident will raise awareness and serve as a reminder of what guests with disabilities need to prepare for before arriving at Disney World or Land.