Monday, October 16, 2017

Decisions, decisions

Maximum Overdrive & Deter Roswell w/J. Wellington Beauregard

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Professional wrestling fans can be fickle, but so can those involved in the business. Managers can change their preference in the blink of an eye, even within their own stables. Remember in 1989 when "King" Harley Race battled King Haku at the Royal Rumble. Both men were in the Heenan Family and when Haku emerged the victor, he left with Bobby Heenan and Race was soon gone from the company. Heenan pulled a similar stunt with years earlier between Rick Rude and Paul Orndorff.

But this blog is about J. Wellington Beauregard. He's the current manager of the Stride Pro Wrestling tag team champions Ax Allwardt and Scott Phoenix. In addition to managing Maximum Overdrive, J. Wells also managers the DR Party. Since this arrangement happened, there's been hints of dissension coming from Allwardt.


During Saturday night's Stride show at the Illinois Star Centre Mall, tempers flared. Roswell was teaming with Maximum Overdrive. To start things off Phoenix offered his digits to Roswell's mother. This didn't sit well with Dexter or his parents. And through the course of the match, the champs kept Roswell from tagging in. Clearly frustrated, Dexter tagged himself in. This set off Ax who argued with J. Wells outside the ring. Roswell found himself getting pinned by all three members of the opposing team (Joey O'Riley, Aaron Brooks and JD Wilk). An interesting note, when Phoenix tried to break up that pin, he was stopped by Ax. This lead to more arguing between the champions. I must admit I got so caught up in the war of words and nearly missed announcing the winners.

Courtesy: Dalton Kennerly
Moments later, Dexter slapped Ax who was set to piledrive the DR Party leader. That's when Brian Richards, the enforcer of the party, attacked Ax. But it didn't take long for Richards to find himself on the receiving end of Ax's finisher. 

Clearly, Beauregard has some serious fence-mending to do amongst his team members. Not only is Allwardt at odds with the DR Party, but he is not quite on the same page with Phoenix either. Maximum Overdrive continues to reign as tag team champions. Now they'll defend against the DR Party on Saturday, November 4. My advice to J. Wells is to leave with the one who brought you to the dance.   

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Stone Cold, Cena & Farmer
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

There's no secret among Stride Pro Wrestling fans that there is some bad blood between Farmer Billy Hills and myself. Well, I didn't think the situation was as bad as it appears to be. In September, I did an interview with Farmer and crossed the line with my questioning of his ability. He shoved me pretty hard as a result and I wrote a few blogs, calling him a bully. 

"Farmer" and Lane Austin
I wanted to clear the air and apologize for that publicly. So for the Halloween Stride Pro Wrestling show, I dressed up like Farmer as a show of respect. It was my way of extending the olive branch and apologize for my previous comments in the ring and through this blog. However, it seems my efforts backfired and Farmer is more upset now than he was before. He didn't attend the show but responded over social media.

"Kissing my ass isn't going to work. And also the easiest way to piss me off." -- @FBH05 on Twitter

In happier times
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
So I've got my work cut out for me. I will hopefully be able to talk with Farmer at the next Stride show. It's set for Saturday, November 4. Farmer will be there and we should be able to discuss matters like two grown men. I tried telling him that just like the fans dressed like "Stone Cold" and John Cena that I was merely paying tribute to him.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

3 reasons to attend Stride Pro Wrestling tonight

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Of course, there are more than three reasons to come out to the Illinois Star Centre Mall for tonight's Stride Pro Wrestling show. Supporting indy wrestling is so important. The wrestlers you'll see tonight live and work in southern Illinois. By coming out to this show (or any indy show) helps put food on their table. It gives them a sense of purpose as they pursue a dream and it keeps you, the fan, entertained for a couple of hours at a pretty affordable cost ($10 for adults and $5 for kids).

Those are the general reasons to support indy wrestling. But for some specifics on tonight's show, look no further.

1. Jay Spade gets a second chance at winning his first singles championship in Stride Pro Wrestling. He and Roger Matheus will tangle in a best-two-out-three falls match. The two had an epic match last week in Pinckneyville. The rematch will be nothing short of amazing. What Spade lacks in size and power, he makes up in heart. Matheus has been the most dominant force in Stride. That vicious streak has only increased since winning the title in May. One man wants the gold, the other doesn't want to let it go. It's gonna be a fight for the ages for sure.

2. Tag team chaos will ensue. The defending Stride Pro Wrestling tag team champions Maximum Overdrive will face three worthy contenders. AT Brooks & Joey O'Riley, JD Wilk & Jose Magnifico and the DR Party will all get a shot. Here's the rub. Ax Allwardt & Scott Phoenix are managed by J. Wellington Beauregard. But so are the members of the DR Party. Who will J Wells choose? He's in a dilly of a pickle for sure.

3. It's always a fan-friendly experience. The men and women on the Stride Pro Wrestling roster spend time talking with fans before, during and after each show. Pics and autographs are always an option. And tonight we're celebrating Halloween. Come in costume and see what your favorite Stride star will be dressed like too.

Don't forget, doors open at 6 p.m. Bell time is 6:30. We're located near Dillard's at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. (Card subject to change.) 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fun Fact Friday: Jay Spade

Jay Spade
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Jay Spade has been a friend of mine for quite a while. We first met in All-American Pro Wrestling and have stayed friends as he wrestled for Pro Wrestling Collision and now in Stride Pro Wrestling. Spade is currently the number one contender to the Stride Championship and faces Roger Matheus for the belt one more time. That match is Saturday, Oct. 14 at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. So before he goes back into battle, I wanted to share a few fun facts about Stride's most popular underdog.

Spade's guitar

1. Jay Spade is a big fan of music. He plays the guitar each Sunday at his church. Perhaps this weekend he'll play with a new accessory around his waist.

2. Spade has helped train some of the up and comers at the Stride Pro Wrestling school. But before that, he did a segment with Colt Cabana on YouTube 'teaching' him how to wrestle.

3. We all know the Big Bossman and the Mountie were law enforcers in the ring. But outside the ring, Spade has some real-life experience helping police. He wanted to be a cop and when he was 16 he rode around with Illinois State Police for the liquor commission. As a minor, he would try to buy alcohol at stores and bars to make sure the businesses were staying compliant. 

Bonus fact: He received a full ride theater scholarship to attend Rend Lake College.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A rant about wrestling 'insiders'

Courtesy: Getty

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Bring the pepper, because I'm about to get salty with this blog. I apologize in advance for I know this is going to rub some readers the wrong way. But I've finally reached that point in the week when enough is enough and I'm gonna let off some steam.

Since Tuesday morning dozens of wrestling fans with an 'insider' at WWE have claimed to know that Neville has left the company. There are plenty of stories out there circulating as to what lead to his alleged frustration and walk out on Monday night. However, the two sides that truly know for sure, WWE and Neville, are not talking. At least not publicly.

And before you claim that your 'inside source' told you what happened that night, save it. To borrow the phrase from Bruce Prichard, there is way too much rumor and innuendo in the wrestling community. I really don't understand why everyone feels the need to be in the know all the time. What happened to being surprised with angles and storylines? Instead now fans post info they read somewhere or heard from someone else and claim it as news.

I know people who have legitimate insider sources in WWE. Not one of those people has posted a word about the Neville situation. In fact, they've not bragged about having someone in the know either. In my 1-2-3 cents, it's the wanna wrestling journalists who are trying to increase page views, comments or likes on their posts who claim to be in the know. Just because a WWE Superstar or other employee follows you on Twitter doesn't make them your 'insider.' I have an extremely hard time believing these employees would jeopardize their employment to provide a fan with any kind of information, especially one they've never met.

Courtesy: WWE
Just like the rest of you, I'm curious to see how the Neville situation plays out. Has he really requested his release? Will WWE grant it? Or is this all just a big work? Maybe I'm wrong, it's happened before. If the rumors are true, I can accept that. But reading the "news" and then running with it and claiming it as information you got from someone on the inside is one of my biggest pet peeves about wrestling fans. 

Sorry for the bitterness of this post. Tomorrow is Friday and I'll have some fun facts for you about one of Stride Pro Wrestling's brightest stars. Stay tuned for that. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Brandon Espinosa returns to Stride Pro Wrestling

Espy vs. AT Brooks
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
It's been more than a year, but after some late night negotiations, Stride Pro Wrestling General Manager Sam Hunter has inked a deal to bring back Brandon "Espy" Espinosa. The former MWR Missouri Champion will be in Marion this Saturday night. He will face another St. Louis wrestler in Justin D'air. 

Justin D'air
I'm eager to learn more about D'air as this will be the first opportunity I'll have to see him in action. The Neon Icon has quite a pedigree though, wrestling for several promotions in Missouri and Illinois. However, I'm also excited that Espy is coming back. I had to miss the show he wrestled on for Stride in June 2016. But I did get to see him battle "Farmer" Billy Hills in Cape Championship Wrestling last summer.

My first experience with Espy came in All-American Pro Wrestling. He and Ace Hawkins were one of the best tag teams on the indy scene at that time. The duo was extremely popular and had some of the most epic matches in AAPW history against Team Overkill of Matt Cage and Christan Rose. One of my favorite matches remains the ladder match between the two teams at AAPW Zero Hour. The battle lasted nearly 20 minutes and Espy and Ace came out as champions. Even though their team name was Minor Threat, they were major players and top-tier talent.

My AAPW birthday bash in 2012
Courtesy: Jason Wilkey Photography
Another one of my favorite memories from AAPW didn't involve a match at all. Executive Producer and Promoter Chris Hagstrom surprised me on my birthday (we had a taping that night) with a birthday cake. The babyfaces on the roster all joined me and Chris in the ring and sang happy birthday. Espy was front and center for that celebration too. It made this aging commentator feel special for sure.

Don't forget, bell time Saturday night is 6:30 at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. Come dressed in a Halloween costume as we celebrate the holiday too.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Hell in a Cell 2017 predictions

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've talked before about not being a big fan of the Hell in a Cell as a pay per view event. I love the match and in my 1-2-3 cents, it's a time to settle a score. Not every rivalry needs to end up there and instead of it being a yearly mandate, it should be a more organic and natural progression to the match. I still like the idea of Halloween Havoc replacing HIAC as a yearly event, but I digress. We're hours away from this year's HIAC, so here are my quick picks.

Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin will beat the Hype Bros and the heel turn of Zack Ryder will be complete.

Bobby Roode will defeat Dolph Ziggler. I like both of these guys and still believe Roode's Glorious gimmick is better suited for a heel. 

Natalya will retain against Charlotte Flair. I like the idea of building more of a rivalry between these two. I want Natalya's run to mean something and not just be a transitional champion. 

Rusev will beat Randy Orton. He needs the win.

AJ Styles will beat (I hope) Baron Corbin. AJ, of course, doesn't need the U.S. Championship. I can't imagine Corbin's alleged 'dog-house' time is over yet, but stranger things have happened.

Shane McMahon will beat Kevin Owens in the Hell in a Cell falls-count-anywhere match. I've gone back and forth on this, but with the falls-count-anywhere stipulation, more McMahons can interfere and help Shane win and get redemption for his family. 

The New Day will retain against the Usos in the second Hell in a Cell match. I like both teams, but I'd rather New Day move forward as champs.

Shinsuke Nakamura will win the WWE Championship from Jinder Mahal. I've grown bored of Mahal. I'd like to see what WWE does with Nakamura as champ and hopefully, this puts the wheels in motion for a program with AJ.

What are your picks? Weigh in here or on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page.