Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Building the Titus Brand

Titus Brand
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Several months ago Titus O'Neil introduced the world to his brand. At first, I was skeptical of the idea, but I must say even with its moderate success so far, I'm a fan. Titus tried recruiting the New Day in the early phases of his brand building mission. Now it appears Apollo Crews is on board.


Prime Time Players
Courtesy: WWE
O'Neil is a talented Superstar in the ring and on the mic. He and Darren Young, under the management of Abraham Washington, were one of my favorite tag teams at that time. But the Prime Time Players eventually turned good and then split up and reunited and split again. Young got hurt and Titus seemed lost for a time.

Now he's on a solid path and I really hope WWE Creative has a big picture idea of what they're going to do with this angle. One thing that always seems to be missing is a strong mid card. The company tends to focus more on the main event players. 


Titus and his kids
Courtesy: WWE
I like Titus O'Neil a lot. His in-ring persona as a bad guy works, despite his real life good guy reputation. I'm also a fan of Apollo Crews, but both guys have floundered on their own in recent months. Hopefully, this new union will move both guys up the ladder. When it comes to the Titus Brand, I'm buying. 


Monday, May 22, 2017

Please don't hinder Jinder

Jinder Mahal wins the gold
Courtesy: WWE

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

Big night for WWE fans. I woke up this morning to social media feeds celebrating Jinder Mahal's WWE Championship win. I was mildly surprised he beat Randy Orton for the title because I don't bet against Orton usually, especially since he lost to Bray Wyatt a few weeks ago. However, Mahal won not only his first championship in WWE, but his first ever pay per view match (I read that somewhere, but I don't know if it's true and I don't have the time to research it, sorry.)

Mahal's rise to the top of the SmackDown Live roster has been unconventional, to say the least. He was released from WWE in 2014 but came back last year after the brand split and didn't do much to impress me at the time. He had a mini-alliance with Rusev and Lana. I actually liked the pairing, but they broke up and Rusev ended up getting hurt. I'll be the first to admit I was surprised when Mahal won the challenge to become the number one contender.

Mahal vs. Orton
Courtesy: WWE
But I didn't hate the notion by any means. WWE needs youth and freshness to survive. Mahal has both of those qualities. There's speculation he's in his spot because of the company's plans to expand into India. I simply say, "so what?" That could be a factor in the decision, but I find it laughable when some fans say it's the reason why. Others are pissy that he looks so much bigger than before and is not being tested for the Wellness Policy. Unless you're an insider with WWE and have proof, leave those claims at the door.

While I'm happy for Mahal, I must say I fear WWE Creative will hinder Jinder. Chad texted me earlier and said he hopes Orton doesn't regain the championship Tuesday night on SDL. I hadn't even considered that. Taking the belt away now would reek of the crappy reign Jack Swagger had. The company never fully got behind him. The same could be said for Wyatt's quick run. I'm hoping history doesn't repeat itself and Jinder can continue to grow in the eyes of the WWE Universe. This could also mean big opportunities for the Singh 


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Meeting the Butcher

Meeting Abdullah


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

A couple days ago, my buddy Heath Hatton invited me to ride with him to SICW (Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling). He had two matches, a six-man tag and he was a participant in the Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal. We talk about the experience in this week's podcast which drops Monday. 

I was excited about the opportunity to go for several reasons. I'd never been to SICW plus I wanted to meet promoter Herb Simmons, as well as the legendary Larry Matysik who was the voice of Wrestling at the Chase and is involved with SICW. Brody's widow Barbara Goodish was there Saturday night as well as WWE Hall of Famer Abdullah the Butcher. All four were very kind and inviting to me as I stayed in the locker room and chatted with the other wrestlers throughout the show.

At one point, I looked around and it was just Abby and I there watching on the large monitor. It was one of the most surreal moments I've experienced as a wrestling fan. I was watching a match with one of the biggest legends in the business. He was pretty quiet throughout the evening, and me being an introvert I dared not initiate a conversation. But it's a memory I won't forget.

Thank you to Heath for letting me tag along and to Herb and the rest of the men and women on the card for being so inviting to me. It was a great evening and I look forward to making the trip again in the future. Oh and look for a podcast interview with Larry soon. We chatted about setting something up. I'll also have an interview soon with new SICW Heavyweight Champion Chris Hargas. Congrats to you!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Backlash 2017 preview

Orton vs. Mahal
Courtesy: WWE

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


My TV consumption has dropped significantly in the last week or so. Our rabbit chewed the cord to our DirecTV router, so I missed Raw & SmackDown Live and hadn't finished watching the previous week's shows either. So I'm a bit disconnected but have been keeping tabs online. That being said, here are some quick thoughts on Backlash. And sorry I'm neglecting NXT: Takeover, as I haven't tuned into the program in a while either.  Too many side projects going on... but I digress.

Randy Orton will retain the WWE Championship. I don't think the feud with Jinder Mahal is over yet and with rumors swirling that WWE wants to give him a big push I won't be surprised if he wins the belt, but I fear they're also gearing up Baron Corbin for a run against Orton.

That being said, Corbin will beat Sami Zayn. Then I and half the IWC will scowl.

Breezango will win the WWE Tag Team Titles. I can't believe I just typed that, but they seem to be over like rover right now and why not give them a chance?

Kevin Owens will retain the U.S. Title against AJ Styles. Had they not hot potatoed the belt with Owens and Jericho recently, I would have figured Styles for the win. I still think AJ will win the match, just not the belt.

Nakamura will beat Dolph Ziggler. But I could see this ending with Dolph winning to throw a swerve at the fans and piss off most of the IWC. (For the record, I'm a big Dolph Ziggler fan still.)
Luke Harper will beat Erik Rowan in a 50/50 booking match.

The Welcoming Committee will beat Naomi, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, hopefully after Charlotte turns on her partners.

Tye Dillinger will beat Aiden English.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Abdullah the Butcher's fork

Abdullah the Butcher & his fork


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

One of the most sadistic men to step into the squared circle is Abdullah the Butcher. The more than 400-pound Sudanese mad man made a career out of slicing and dicing his opponents. His usual weapon of choice was something we all use every day: a fork.




With a name like "the Butcher", you would expect a violent temperant. Abdullah provided that for decades as he carved up the foreheads of opponents like Bruiser Brody, Dusty Rhodes and Carlos Colon. Gallons of blood spilled in countless rings, not just from Butcher's opponents, but from his own head. It always looked so painful and the scars that were left behind remain. Of course, barbed wire, chairs and other weapons played a role in these infamous feuds for the Butcher.


Hogan gets forked
Until I started doing some background searching for this blog, I didn't know Hulk Hogan was also "forked" by Abdullah the Butcher. The two battled it out in Japan in 1982 and as you can see, The Hulkster (before he was the Hulkster) bled like a stuck pig that night. And one of the few men bigger than Abdullah, Andre the Giant also got a taste of the fork as well.

My fork tie at Hall of Fame 2011
In 2011 I paid homage to Abdullah with my wardrobe choices that night. I secured a fork to my tie for the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Fellow Hall of Famer Terry Funk inducted Abdullah that night and I believe it was the first time I'd heard the Butcher speak at a wrestling related event. He always had such a mystique about him, but he's really a gentle giant, or so it seems.



Abdullah the Butcher will be a guest this weekend at the SICW show in East Carondelet, Illinois. That night features the Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal. 



Thursday, May 18, 2017

3 Stars who need to come back to WWE

Morrison, Rhodes, Hogan
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

There are reports that 5 Star Wrestling has offered CM Punk a million dollars to be a part of an upcoming summer tour. That's a lot of money and who knows if Punk will actually do it, but the notion got me to thinking about what Superstars I'd like to see make a return to WWE. After all, the company has mended fences with the likes of Bruno Sammartino, The Ultimate Warrior and Kurt Angle. Who knows, one-day Punk may come back to be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame, but I highly doubt we'll see him wrestle there again. So who would I like to see come back? 


Morrison in action
Courtesy: WWE
John Morrison was one of the most underutilized guys on the WWE roster. He went from a tag team guy, winning the championships with both Joey Mercury and the Miz to being a fairly well-accomplished singles star, winning both the Intercontinental and WWECW Championships. However, he never seemed to get over that hump so many Superstars get stuck at. I didn't realize he left WWE nearly six years ago. He's doing great in Lucha Underground and with some acting projects in Hollywood. Morrison (Johnny Mundo) still looks amazing and works his ass off in the ring. He definitely left before WWE really started the push for the current product. He could easily come back and work his way into the main event picture.


Cody & Goldust
Courtesy: WWE
Cody Rhodes has only been gone a year but I miss seeing him on a weekly basis. He's honing his craft and only getting better working indy shows as well as TNA and Ring of Honor. I'm loving the "American Nightmare" gimmick. I liked the Stardust character and even the idea of having Cody on one show and Stardust on the other. But he's established he doesn't need the character to get over. Sometimes leaving and finding oneself and allowing the company to see what they've missed out on is needed. Drew McIntyre comes to mind as the most recent example.


The Hulkster
Courtesy: WWE
Hear me out on this last one. Hulk Hogan is a legend in the business. While I don't agree with, nor defend what he said, it's hard to deny the Hulkster's legacy. I don't want him back full time necessarily or even to wrestle. Right now, I'd be content with some guest appearances on big shows and reentry into the WWE Hall of Fame. There's been more buzz that Hogan will return. It's time. He made a mistake and apologized. 

Who would you like to see come back to WWE? There are plenty of other names out there that can be added to this list.


Hulk Hogan merchandise  

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

These boots (or shoes) are made for wrestling

Cena's sneakers
Courtesy: WWE

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

A post by a friend on Facebook recently helped to inspire this blog. I don't want to call anyone out, as this person was simply voicing his opinion, something I do daily here with My 1-2-3 Cents and other forms of social media. His post was "wearing tennis shoes or basketball shoes in the ring is so disrespectful." 


Cena's shoes again
Courtesy: WWE
Again, I'm not judging him for voicing an opinion, but it did get me to thinking. My first thought was John Cena. He's not worn wrestling boots his entire time in WWE, or at least I don't think he has. I'd say it's hard to argue that he has ever been disrespectful to the business. Shane McMahon too. He wrestles in sneakers. And what about the men and women who don't wrestle in shoes at all? 


Me & my Nike shoes
Courtesy: Jason Wilkey Photography
I should note when I wrestled, I also laced up a pair of tennis shoes. I did this because I am not a wrestler, but was just having a match so it wouldn't have made sense for me to have boots. Also, I wasn't about to spend the cash on boots for a one time deal. 


Sable & her "puppies"
Courtesy: WWE
At the end of the day, wrestling is entertainment. Sometimes as fans we take it too seriously. I'm guilty of this too. But remember, there has been live "sex" show in the ring. Women have danced topless in the ring. Then there's the beer drinking, crotch chops and makeout sessions that happened in the squared circle.


IRS vs. The Undertaker
Courtesy: WWE
I don't know the point of my rambling. I understand and respect the opinions of those different from mine. But the absence of wrestling boots on a character in a show is far from disrespectful. Should there be a dress code? Costumes and gear are what makes characters and gimmicks different. Wrestling in a shirt, tie and suspenders worked for the IRS character. That's just My 1-2-3 Cents...