Friday, June 22, 2018

Stride Pro Wrestling set to return Aug. 4

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The heat is on this summer and things are going to get really hot on Saturday, August 4. That's when Stride Pro Wrestling returns to the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. (Please note, work is being done at the mall now and if they are not ready for us to be back there an alternate location will be announced.) 

We're coming off the heels of the big Stride Goes Steel event in Pinckneyville where we raised thousands of dollars for the Pinckneyville High School football team and Athletic Department. The card for August 4 is still in the works, but I can confirm Jay Spade has enacted his rematch clause and will face Tony Flood for the Stride Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Title that night.

Wraith will also defend the Legacy Title against Arron Brooks. Will we see the return of Brookspool or does Arron have another alter ego in mind? And the tag team scene is heating up and an unlikely match pits the DR Party against the Midwest Monster Hunters. The winners here will become the number one contenders to Ax Allwardt and Heath Hatton's tag team titles. 

Click the pic for this week's podcast

As we get closer to the date more details will be released here and on the Stride Pro Wrestling Facebook page. Be sure to follow along. Thanks for the support and enjoy your summer.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Selfie Day: Pro wrestling style

Wait, what?!?

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

June 21 isn't only the first day of summer, it's also Selfie Day. Don't be a hater though. I personally find selfies to be fun. Sure, they can be obnoxious too and in some cases dangerous. But overall selfies don't bother me. I decided to share some selfies involving the stars of Stride Pro Wrestling and friends of the My 1-2-3 Cents page. (Please note, not everyone sent a selfie, but I included them anyway.)

Stride guys before a school assembly
Luke Gallows & Lane Austin

James Ellsworth
with Hunter & Jamie Woodworth

Harley Race at the Miami Airport

Hunsperger & Hatton 

My 1-2-3 Cents friend Ken Murphy &
his son
at a WWE Show

Double J Jeff Jarrett

Steel Cage selfie

Jose Magnifico 

My wife & Tom Harness
with the Stride Snapchat filter

Locker room shot

New champion?

Tom & me

Volkoff & Iron Sheik circa 2014

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Click the pic for this week's podcast

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The eagle has landed

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

June 20 is American Eagle Day. The eagle, of course, has been the iconic symbol for our country. The majestic bird has played a role in the world of professional wrestling too.

Courtesy: WWE
In 1988 when Hulk Hogan lost the WWF Championship to Andre the Giant on The Main Event, he came to the ring with the 'Winged Eagle' belt. It was the first time fans got a look at the championship. You may remember Andre surrendered the belt to Ted DiBiase who was promptly stripped of the title and Randy Savage won it at the WrestleMania IV tournament. The winged eagle was a staple for about a decade, being replaced by the "Big Eagle" championship. That was "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's belt until the "Broken Skull" custom belt became a thing. I actually had a chance to wear a replica winged eagle belt prior to the Raw after WrestleMania 32 in Dallas.

Jay Spade
I don't know for sure if the eagle design is the inspiration for the Stride Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Title, but that's the current look for the belt. This second incarnation of the title is an upgrade from the original belt design. Jay Spade we the first Stride eagle belt holder. He has traded the title a couple of times.

Soaring Eagle and Jack Swagger
Courtesy: WWE
The Soaring Eagle was also a part of WWE when Jack Swagger showed up with the 'All-American American' for a few months in 2010. The stint didn't last long and the Eagle's last appearance on WWE TV was a pinfall loss to Hornswoggle. And Sam The Eagle from the Muppet Show also appeared on Raw the night the Muppets served as special guest hosts.    

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Stride guests ca$hing in

Daniel Eads (in the suit)
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I know the title is a bit of a stretch, but I'm glad you're checking out today's blog. I'll be focusing on indy wrestlers making appearances on WWE television. 

Aaron Relic & Jay Hatton
Courtesy: WWE
In 2012, I saw this happen for the first time when both Heath Hatton and Ace Hawkins (now both members of the Stride Pro Wrestling roster) had gone from All American Pro Wrestling to WWE Extreme Rules. The duo famously faced Ryback in a match where "2 is greater than one!" was coined. 

Later that same year both Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn signed with NXT after wrestling each other at AAPW's Main Event show. I still pinch myself knowing that I called that epic match that night. 

Myles Murphy on 205 Live
Courtesy: WWE
In recent months, some of the talent on Stride's roster has had a look from WWE. In March, former Stride Pro Wrestling tag team champion Joey O'Riley battled Jack Gallagher in a highly competitive match on 205 Live. O'Riley went into battle that night as Murphy Myers and as far as I'm concerned showed his value as a professional wrestler that night on the worldwide stage.

Daniel Eads at NXT Takeover
Over this past weekend, a less regular member of the Stride roster popped up on WWE TV. Daniel Eads, who has wrestled a few times for Stride (most recently at Stride Goes Steel) appeared on camera during the main event of NXT Takeover: Chicago II. He was in a suit and came out after Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Eads has a ton of talent and I have no doubt he'll be signed by WWE at some point. I don't know any particulars about his visit over the weekend, but I'm sure he also had a chance to wrestle in front of the decision makers. He's a great guy and I'd love for him to get an opportunity on that worldwide stage too.

What a difference two months can make...
The last mention for this post is James Ellsworth. Granted, he's not a "Stride Guy", he did a guest spot with us in April. He's also been on a Cape Championship Wrestling show too. Yes, it was because he'd already worked with WWE, but I still find it cool that someone that was on a fundraiser show with Stride two months ago was back in a WWE ring and playing a huge role in a championship storyline. A few of us went out to dinner with Ellsworth after the Stride show and we all had a chance to just sit and talk (even longer than expected because the service was so slow). 

I love that indy guys are getting a chance to shine in front of more people. Not everyone has an end game of being a part of WWE. But to those who do, keep fighting to make it there. Who will be next to appear? You never know. I don't want to turn this on me, but most of you know I'm hopeful to one day be a part of a kickoff show panel discussion on WWE Network. My hope is renewed. 

Click the pic for this week's podcast

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day: Pro wrestling style

Bonding with my son at WWE show in 2009

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've written before about my origins in becoming a pro wrestling fan. Quick recap, I went to my first match in December 1984 at age 11. My dad took me and my brother, along with some friends, cousins and uncles. Hulk Hogan beat Brutus Beefcake in the main event. Pro wrestling became a great way to bond with my dad through the years.

I still have the ticket...
We went to several more house shows through the years and even a closed-circuit broadcast of WrestleMania IV in 1988. I was 14 years old and had no idea what to expect as we sat on the floor of the Kiel Auditorium and watched WrestleMania on a big screen. In 1996 I took my dad to a WWE house show on Father's Day. He wasn't as into wrestling as I was at that point, but we still enjoyed an evening that was capped with Shawn Michaels beating Goldust in the main event for the WWE Championship.

House show in 2009
When I had kids of my own I naturally hoped they'd too get bit by the wrestling bug. My oldest never showed any interest in it. But my middle son Mason enjoyed the action for a few years. We attended a house show in Cape Girardeau during the summer of 2009. His favorites included John Cena and Randy Orton. I know, but remember he was only eight. In 2012 he went to the Royal Rumble with me and my buddy Weston White. It's the first and only pay per view he's attended. It wasn't too much longer after that he lost interest in wrestling and focused on baseball, football and basketball.

Roger Matheus slams my daughter
My daughter, who is four years younger, picked up where her brother left off. She'd watch Raw, SmackDown and the pay per views with me on WWE Network. But as she got older, she too lost interest in pro wrestling. However, she did get involved in an angle with Stride Pro Wrestling back in May. I think she had a good time prior to Roger Matheus plucking her from her seat and power slamming her in the ring.

We watch Raw 1000 together with party hats on
Yeah, I'm sad my kids don't share that passion for pro wrestling like I do. But as a parent, you realize your kids will develop their own interests and develop their own personality along the way. Who knows, maybe I'll have a grandchild one day who wants to watch Raw or go to a house show with me. Please note, I'm in no hurry for that though. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Dear Cody: I want to be 'All In'

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I know it's a long shot, believe me, I do. But one thing I've learned in life is you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. (Thanks Wayne Gretzky for that truth.) So I've decided to post a public plea to Cody Rhodes and his team involved with September's 'All In' event in Chicago.

If a ring announcer hasn't been secured yet, I want to officially throw my name in the ring. I have more than 20 years of experience as a broadcast journalist. Fourteen of those years I've spent as the morning co-anchor at an ABC affiliate located in Illinois. 

AAPW days
In 2011, I was hired to do play-by-play commentary for All American Pro Wrestling Collision. That show aired on the same ABC affiliate at which I still work, as well as on YouTube. The company changed names in 2013 to Pro Wrestling Collision and I continued my duties at the announce table through its short run.

After a nearly three-year hiatus from the pro wrestling scene, I returned to the business in 2016 as the ring announcer for Stride Pro Wrestling. It's a title I still hold. Here in Stride, I'm known for my over-the-top suits. My 'Bobby Heenan' jacket has been my trademark, however, I have several Opposuits/Shinesty suits that I wear, including Star Wars and a summer-time flamingo print. I will soon have a custom suit that I'll be wearing in the ring too.

Winning in the cage
I love and respect pro wrestling. I have been a fan since late 1982. I've been fortunate enough to serve indy wrestling as a referee and a guest manager. I have even been in the ring to compete on two different occasions. Again, I know this is a long shot, but I'd have more regret not making this plea than doing it and not hearing back or getting told no. Thanks for your consideration and good luck with the show. (PS: don't let my lack of photo editing skills influence your decision.)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Old school opponents for the Old School Warrior

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I remember the first time I saw Ax Allwardt wrestle. It was 2006 and was part of an AAPW show. He and his obnoxious (but awesome) manager Gaylord Stephens stood out to me the most. Ax was dubbed the Old School Warrior and he lived up to that moniker, coming out to Carry On My Wayward Son by Kansas. Even though he was a bad guy, I enjoyed what Ax did in the ring. He remind me of the classic bad guys when I was a kid watching wrestling. 

So those memories have inspired a blog today on which 80s WWE Superstars Ax would have been good in the ring against. First up, the most beloved WWF Champion of that era, Hulk Hogan. Imagine Ax and his chain coming to the ring at Madison Square Garden and going toe to toe against the Hulkster. I see Ax, Gaylord and the benefactor of this duo J. Wellington Beauregard using the chain to clothesline Hogan after a ref bump and then Ax piledriving Hogan in the middle of the ring and covering the champ. Of course, there's no ref to make the count though and Hulkster rallies and hits Ax with the big boot and pins his foe. 

The other big babyface in the 80s was the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. Because Ax reminds me of Harley Race in some of his moves, a match between the former Stride Pro Wrestling heavyweight champion and the Dream would be awesome. This time though, Ax, Gaylord and J. Wells get caught with the chain as Ax wraps it around his fist and busts open Rhodes. The referee calls for the bell and Ax gets disqualified. As he's putting the boots to Rhodes after a postmatch piledriver, the Four Horsemen join the fray until the Road Warriors and Magnum TA make the save. 

Now that Ax and his longtime rival Heath Hatton have buried the hatchet and become the tag team champions here in Stride Pro Wrestling, imagine this duo facing Hercules and Paul Roma, Power & Glory. Hatton and Allwardt are a good guy version of this team. It would become a battle of the chains very quickly. Hatton would hit the Superman Punch on Roma and in his dazed and confused state would fall victim to a boot to the gut and a piledriver from Ax. 1-2-3 Power & Glory succumbs to the Stride Pro Wrestling tag team champions.

Who would you like to see Ax Allwardt face off against from the 80s or early 90s? Weigh in here or on the Stride Pro Wrestling Facebook page