Thursday, November 19, 2020

5 Modern Day Opponents for Undertaker


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

There has been a lot of talk that this weekend the Undertaker will get a final sendoff at Survivor Series, the event that he first appeared on some 30 years ago. I still can't wrap my brain around the idea that Undertaker has been an active part of the WWE roster since my senior year in high school. Obviously, his appearances have scaled back over the past decade, however, here are five Superstars I'd like to see lock up with the Undertaker.

5. Keith Lee - The big guy is new to the WWE roster but not new to the ring. I feel like Lee has a huge upside and is only going to continue to thrive. A match with the Undertaker would have given him that all-important rub and I think he could totally hang with the Undertaker. 

4. Finn Balor - The current NXT champion put this out on social media recently. Full disclosure, it was that tweet that actually gave me the idea to write this blog. Balor is an amazing talent and grossly underutilized. Imagine the entrance for Demon and the Deadman. Wow! 

3. Daniel Bryan - I know Bryan teamed with the Undertaker and Kane several years ago. But to my best recollection, the two never had a match against each other. Bryan remains one of my favorite Superstars on the roster and I feel like a match between these two would be one for the ages. 

2. Karrion Kross - I haven't put my finger on it exactly, but there is something special about Kross. Of course, there was no control over it, but his injury was really disappointing. Once he's healthy and ready to return, the sky is the limit for Kross. And if he were to cross paths with the Undertaker, I think it would be nothing short of amazing. 

1. The Fiend - Duh. I know Undertaker battled Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31. But Bray has come a long way since then and the Fiend character is one of the hottest properties in all of wrestling right now. There has been plenty of speculation and thought that the Fiend may interrupt Sunday's celebration of Undertaker's career. It would be the ultimate passing of the torch for the Undertaker to do the honors for the Fiend and a new generation of phenom is unleashed. 

What are your thoughts? Who would you add to the list? Let me know!

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Scariest of All-Time Part 31: The Undertaker

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Of course, I wanted to end this series on a high note, and I don't know that they come any scarier than the Undertaker. When he first appeared in WWE (30 years ago next month),  I thought he'd be a flash in the pan. There was no way a dead man gimmick was going to go very far.

But man, was I wrong. While I wouldn't add him to my top 10 favorites, he is definitely one of the wrestlers I respect and admire. He has put himself through so much over the years, and just with his loyalty and consistency alone, he's in the conversation of all-time greats. 

I loved the early stuff. Even though it was borderline cheesy at times, the presentation was so memorable. Stuffing his opponent in a body bag as Paul Bearer stood by with the urn was great. Casket matches eventually became a thing, and then the first set of Buried Alive matches. The Undertaker was part of the first Hell in a Cell match as well. 

I could write for days about the Undertaker and what he's meant to the business. We all know it. I am just glad WWE is honoring him all November long for his 30 years as that character. Despite its evolution (which helps characters survive), the Undertaker has a permanent spot in WWE history.

Side note: I didn't do a separate feature on Paul Bearer but very easily could have. Bearer and Undertaker together was one of the best manager/wrestler combos. And even apart, Bearer evolved the character and made it work with Mankind, Kane, and Vader. Kudos to him for that. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

Scariest of All-Time Part 30: The Fiend


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Without a doubt, the Fiend is my favorite thing happening right now in wrestling. I have always been a fan of Bray Wyatt, dating back to the early days on NXT as Husky Harris. Then when he and his family arrived on the scene a few years later, I was even more impressed.

Now with the Firefly Funhouse and the new characters, another dimension has been added to the cult favorite. Adding Alexa Bliss to the formula has also been enjoyable and I'm curious to see where things go from here.
My only criticism of the Fiend is that I would have kept the two personalities separate. Bray Wyatt hosts the Firefly Funhouse and The Fiend is a separate entity who comes out to wrestle on special occasions. I think I'd even do it where Bray wrestles in the sweater and pants from time to time too. 

But regardless, I still find this story a compelling one. It's a credit to the talent of Wyatt to pull off yet another character that has connected with the WWE Universe. When that music hits and the red light comes on, you know you're in for something special. As Puppet Mr. McMahon would say, "This is such good shit!" 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Scariest of All-Time Part 29: Jacksyn Crowley


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know a whole lot about indy wrestler Jacksyn Crowley. But I can tell you I like what I've seen of him in Cape Championship Wrestling. He is the company's current heavyweight champion, having beaten his brother Otis and Cash Borden in a triple threat match over the summer.

I have seen Jacksyn in action a couple times in my trips over to CCW. Most notable was an amazing contest between him and Ace Hawkins. The action was intense that night and the two stole the show. I'm pretty sure he's been spotted at the AEW Arena (I know that's not the right name for it) and I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some TV time in the ring somewhere someday. 

Just take a look at Jacksyn. He presents himself in a way that sends a chill down the spine. However, the fans love him. While his look is scary, his ability is far from it. He's clashed with other greats including Marko Stunt, Austin Lane, and Dexter Roswell. I encourage you to watch his work and see for yourself. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Scariest of All-Time Part 28: The Wyatt Family


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The Wyatt Family is one of my favorite factions in recent years in pro wrestling. The unit's leader, Bray Wyatt, put off a mystic that hasn't been seen before. Of course, add the other members' size and strength, Luke Harper, Erik Rowan, and Braun Strowman, and you have an unstoppable unit.

The Family added little things to ramp up the intimidation factor like the sheep masks, the lantern, and even the sledgehammers that the Bludgeon Brothers carried. When they went head-to-head with the Shield, it was one of my favorite thing happening in that time frame. I wasn't thrilled when they added Randy Orton. However, Daniel Bryan's addition was something I enjoyed. 

Unfortunately, Harper and Rowan have left the company. The mystery cage Rowan carried fell more than flat. And Harper is back to being Brody Lee, now the leader of the Dark Order in AEW. Strauman has created his own niche, and Bray Wyatt is doing new things (spoiler, more on my thoughts of the Fiend coming soon). 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Scariest of All-Time Part 27: New Jack

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

One look at New Jack and it's obvious this is a guy you don't want to f*ck with. His forehead is a reminder of just how brutal the pro wrestling business can be. But anyone who knows New Jack knows not only can he take a lot of punishment, he can dish it out as well.

If you haven't seen the Dark Side of the Ring episode dedicated to New Jack, I highly recommend it. We learn more about this controversial wrestler. He has sliced and diced many of his opponents, surely eliciting a response of fear from those who have never been in the ring against him.

Just recently New Jack was in southern Illinois for a new company called Anna Fight Underground. He didn't wrestle that night as I believe he was recovering from an injury. But decades after his debut, New Jack is still making appearances and fans want to see more of him.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Scariest of All-Time Part 26: Bam Bam Bigelow


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

One look at Bam Bam Bigelow and you knew he was a badass. With tattoos up and down his arm and more famously on his scalp, Bigelow was one of the scariest guys to set through the ropes. Early on in his career, he wrestled as Crusher Yurkov, a menacing man from Russia. 

When he arrived in the WWF during the summer of 1987, he came in with a lot of fanfare. He turned down the offers of all the heel managers to reveal Oliver Humperdink as his manager. While he wasn't scary as a babyface, he was quite impressive during that first run. I had actually picked him to win the WrestleMania IV tournament (I was a hopeful 15-year-old at the time). 

By the time he returned to the company in 1993 he was a much different character. The Beast from the East lived up to his name and dominated the competition. He joined forces with Luna Vachon and the usual duo showed us just how scary they could be.  Bigelow eventually joined the Million Dollar Corporation and even main evented WrestleMania 11 against Lawrence Taylor. 

Bigelow sadly died in 2007. As far as I'm concerned he was one of the all-time best big men in the ring.