Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Tag Team Troubles... Again


The Usos
Photo courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Once again the tag team scene in the WWE is struggling to stay alive.  Three great teams have been sidelined recently due to injuries.  While I wish all three Superstars who are hurt the best in their recovery, I'm also concerned about how the absences will affect what seemed to be a rebounding division.

In April Jey Uso suffered a dislocated shoulder which required surgery.  Doctors say his road to recovery will be six months, which would put him back sometime October potentially.  


Kidd's surgically repaired neck
Courtesy @KiddWWE 

Tyson Kidd, who had recently formed what I consider the best team on the scene today with Cesaro, just underwent major neck surgery after suffering an injury in a match against Samoa Joe.  Kidd tweeted out a pic of his surgically repaired neck and explained the road to recovery will be long.  Speculation is that he'll be out for up to a year.   I feel bad for Kidd as I would argue he's one of the most underrated talents in the WWE.  Since forming the team with Cesaro, I felt like both men were finally getting some solid support from the team backstage.  It's a setback for sure, but I hope Kidd comes back stronger than before and ready to dominate again, hopefully with Cesaro.



Harper & Rowan
Photo courtesy: WWE
Erik Rowan and Luke Harper have finally reunited as a team.  The two were back together briefly before Rowan suffered a torn bicep and will likely be out until the end of 2015.  I really thought the reunion of the two would lead them to a run as tag team champions in the near future.  I hope when he returns, the opportunity to team with Harper again is there.


Ryder & Rawley
Photo courtesy: WWE
On NXT, a new duo has formed with Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley.  I like their spirit and energy and I wish the team nothing but success.  I really hope WWE focuses on developing a few more teams as it looks like three major ones on the roster will be on the sidelines for months to come.  Good luck to Uso, Kidd and Rowan on the road to recovery. You're already missed. The Prime Time Players, The New Day, LuchaDragons and Los Matadores need more competition.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Insane Inflatable 5K

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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My family recently headed to Evansville, Indiana for the Insane Incredible 5K.  Instead of writing all about it, I figured I'd let the video show you the fun.  The area with the giant beach balls was my family's favorite and my sons waited for me to arrive there before ambushing me.  This event is a great time and very family friendly.  Enjoy the show.


















Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Are You Listening?



By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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For 29 weeks now I've been doing a wrestling podcast on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network.  The show is also on iTunes, Stitcher and Poddirectory.  Each week I've had a new show drop (one week there were two shows) and people still seem surprised when I tell them I have a show.  That tells me that social media isn't as social as I thought, because like this blog I share my podcasts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Reddit.

I'm slowly gaining listeners, but honestly the process is taking longer than I anticipated.  For example, I have a great interview up right now with WWE Hall of Famer and wrestling legend Mick Foley.  As of this post, less than 60 people have heard that show.  Maybe I shouldn't be admitting this, but I thought Episode 27: Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy would quickly outpace my most listened podcast featuring an interview with current WWE Superstar Sheamus.  That show by the way is just over 100 listens and is my most listened.  Indy star "Gentleman" Jervis Cottonbelly is a close second.


I'm writing about my podcast not to complain, but to hopefully drum up some interest.  I have several interviews available.  Besides Sheamus, Foley and Cottonbelly; I've done podcasts with Kamala, Jeff Jarrett and "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton.  Nigel McGuinness and other indy stars like Heath Hatton, Pokerface and "Golden Boy" Greg Anthony have all been on too.




I try to have an interview every week.  When I can't get a wrestler on the show, Chad and I provide some analysis.  We've talked about WWE Network shows, eulogized "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and handed out our annual Centy Awards.  

If you haven't listened and are a fan of wrestling, give it a try.  If you have listened and don't like it, let me know what I can do differently.  I'll be honest, this is a hobby that I'm hoping to take to the next level.  I would love to do more blogging, vlogging and podcasting.  Thanks for the support as always.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Rest in Peace "Nature Boy" 3.0

Rest in peace Buddy Landel
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The wrestling world is mourning once again this week, as "Nature Boy" Buddy Landel has died.  He was just 53 years old.  Reports indicate he had been involved in a car a few days earlier, and was found unresponsive Monday.  No other details have been released as of this writing.

I remember Landel from his days in the NWA under the management of JJ Dillion.  This was prior to the Four Horsemen and the other "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.  Both men used the moniker, but of course Buddy Rogers was the originator of the name.  Flair beat Landel, who was talented in my opinion, but stayed on the midcard for the most part.  I loved his corkscrew elbow drop.  He had the trademark bleach blond hair and fancy robes too.

Landel vs. Bob Holly during his brief WWF run
Photo courtesy: WWE
Landel bounced around to various independent promotions, including a pretty successful run with Jim Cornette's Smokey Mountain Wrestling.  That led to matches with WWF Superstars like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart as the two companies worked together briefly.  Landel also wrestled for a short time for WWF and against Ahmed Johnson at In Your House: Seasons Beatings in December 1995.  That contest lasted under a minute with Johnson winning.  I'm pretty sure Landel faded away from the WWF at that point.  He did wrestle at least one other time in 1999 against Triple H in an enhancement match.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Landel's family, friends and fans.  Rest in peace, Nature Boy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WWF Dream Matches for Dusty Rhodes

Dusty in the WWF
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I have been thinking a lot about Dusty Rhodes over the last few days.  By the time I had started watching wrestling, he was a well-established name in the business.  Dusty was the NWA's top baby face taking on everyone from Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard and Nikita Koloff.  Then in 1989 the unthinkable happened.  The American Dream moved north and took up residency in the WWF.  While Dusty battled big names like Randy Savage, Ted DiBiase and "Ravishing" Rick Rude; there are a few more WWF Superstars I wish he would have had a chance to wrestle in his short run there.  



Curt Hennig was coming into his own as Mr. Perfect about the same time Dusty arrived in the WWF during the summer of 1989.  Several months later, with the help of Bobby "The Brian" Heenan, Mr. Perfect won his first Intercontinental title.  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad Kerry Von Erich won the championship at SummerSlam '90, but I think Dusty would have been a great opponent too.  Perfect's ability to sell and Dusty's animated way of wrestling would have produced some great matches that also brought a high level of entertainment to the show.



At Wrestlemania 6 we got our first real taste of baby face vs. baby face when Hulk Hogan defended the WWF championship against IC champ The Ultimate Warrior.  In the months leading up to that showdown, I would have loved to seen Hogan defend against Dusty.  Arguably the two the most popular guys in the business at the time, the two faces could have made money.  But this was in an era before weekly live television and monthly pay-per-views.  Plus, Vince McMahon wasn't putting on a lot of these types of matches. 



We all know Dusty was a big guy.  But an even bigger guy was Andre the Giant.  The two did wrestle each other in 1980 in Japan.  They were 10 years younger and much more agile during that contest.  But the mark in me would have loved to seen the Dream deliver a couple of Bionic Elbows to the legendary giant.  By the time Dusty arrived in the WWF though, Andre was well past his prime and wrestling mostly in tag team matches with Haku or losing to the Ultimate Warrior in 30 seconds or less.



Who would you have liked to seen Dusty wrestle during his WWF days?  Others on my short list include Von Erich, Warrior and Roddy Piper.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Remembering the Dream


RIP Dusty 


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Just got the horrible news that "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes has died.  He was 69 years old.  Apparently he fell at home and  according to an article on TMZ, he had several complications that eventually claimed his life.


Bionic Elbow
Courtesy: WWE
Dusty is one of the first wrestlers I remember seeing on TV.  He graced the cover of numerous wrestling magazines, many times wearing a crimson mask or preparing to drop his famous Bionic Elbow.  His feuds with the likes of Ric Flair and the various forms of the Four Horsemen, and the Koloffs were legendary when I first started watching the NWA.  


Dusty vs. Flair
Courtesy: WWE
Dusty stood out for so many reasons.  He didn't look like a typical wrestler.  His forehead looked like a road map, scarred from years of bloody and brutal battles in the ring.  He tipped the scales at more than 300 pounds.  And his voice, so unique and probably the most imitated in the business.  Whenever anyone on a wrestling podcast tells a Dusty story, they do it in the Dream's voice.  


The champ!
Courtesy: WWE
I have so many memories of Dusty that I could write for days.  We all know he was special will leave behind a legacy of great matches, promos and of course his two sons Dustin and Cody.  I watched the Dream win the NWA World heavyweight title three times.  He was a tag team champ, U.S. champ, and multiple time winner of the Bunkhouse Stampede. His resume includes countless other title victories. Dusty was the king of promos too.  His "Hardtimes" one was recently replicated by Maria Menounos at the WWE Hall of Fame red carpet special.




Some of my favorite moments include the match between Flair and Nikita Koloff and Dusty came out to save The Nature Boy when the Russians attacked.  It was an unlikely partnership that ended quickly when the Horsemen hit the ring and broke Dusty's leg.  He'd eventually align with Koloff and form the Superpowers, winning the annual Crockett Cup tournament.  I also have a vivid memory of Ronnie Garvin sucker punching the Dream and turning heel and the Road Warriors planting a spike into his eye on the Superstation TBS.  


The Dream in the WWF
Courtesy: WWE
Because I was a WWF mark growing up, seeing him arrive in New York was a real dream (pun intended) come true.  I was too naive to realize the gimmick was a rib on Dusty.  He embraced those polka dots and cheesy vignettes like a pro.  Remember the butcher shop?  "You can't beat my prices, but you sure can beat my meat!"  




Dusty's time in WWF was short, but he had some classic matches against Big Bossman, Randy Savage and Ted DiBiase.  One of his biggest victories in the company came at Wrestlemania 6 when he and Sapphire teamed up and beat Savage and Sherri Martel.  Elizabeth was in the faces' corner.  Sadly now, all five people involved in that match are gone.


WWE Hall of Fame induction
Courtesy: WWE
Dusty helped groom both Dustin and Cody for the ring.  In 2007, he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  He worked to train the men and women at FCW/NXT.  In one of his last appearances on TV he delivered a Bionic Elbow to Dean Ambrose.  Earlier this year, he was on Raw trying to convince his sons to reconcile.  The storyline ended soon after.  

Long live the Dream.  He may be gone, but his legacy goes on forever.  He was definitely more than just a common man.

  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Money Is On...


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Who I WANT to win Money in the Bank 2015 and who I THINK will win Money in the Bank 2015 are two different things.  But I will say this, I really don't have a problem with any of this year's competitors becoming "Mr. Money in the Bank."  Yes, even Randy Orton. I guess  I'm mellowing as I get older.  Be sure to let me know who you've got this year too.

THINK
1.  Roman Reigns - This is partially because of the Internet buzz, but also because I don't think the WWE has written off Roman Reigns.  I wouldn't mind seeing him repackaged somehow, but overall, I like the guy.  He's continuing to develop both in the ring and on the mic and I think he's going to eventually click with fans.  I don't feel like we're being force fed him anymore, plus the WWE has a year to convince us he deserves a title run.

2.  Sheamus - I like the heel version of Sheamus much more than his babyface character.  Buzz online had him winning the Intercontinental title at Elimination Chamber, so since that didn't happen, maybe a run at the top is coming for the Celtic Warrior.  

3.  Randy Orton - He's been then, done that with both the championship and a tenure as Mr. MITB.  While I'd rather see a fresh face in the title picture, I wouldn't hate it if Orton had another shot at glory.

4.  Dolph Ziggler (he's actually who I WANT to win this year) - I'm still bitter that Ziggler never got the proper title run a couple years ago when he cashed in against Alberto Del Rio.  Injuries played a factor in that, but I also think a lack of confidence and support from the suits contributed to Dolph's lackluster and way too brief run.  The guy has the skills, the work ethic and the popularity.  He just needs the opportunity.  Give Dolph the ball, he'll run with it forever.

5.  Kane - I put him here ONLY if creative has him become the Big Red Monster and quit the Authority.  Kane has been around consistently for nearly 18 years.  The character has evolved many times and I think he's ready to come full circle.  I know there aren't many years left for the big guy in the ring, so one last hurrah would not bother me.

6.  Neville - If you know me, you know I'm a Neville mark.  He's my favorite guy on the roster right now.  But I don't think he's going to win Sunday.  He will be impressive and provide some daring high spots, but I don't think he's ready for a WWE World championship run.  I know the winner has 12 months to get ready, but I like the idea of someone potentially cashing in immediately after clutching that case.  Neville will be there sooner rather than later.  I have no doubt about that.

7.  Kofi Kingston - Of everyone in this match, I'd say I'm the most surprised he's in it.  That's no disrespect to him.  I love the work he is doing now with Xavier Woods and Big E in The New Day.  I also like the buildup to MITB with the group saying if Kofi wins, they'll all have a crack at the title.  But let's face facts, WWE has pushed and pulled back Kofi so many times, he's the personification of a yo-yo.  I like him and respect his abilities in the ring.  I just don't think he's got a very good shot at winning this seven man ladder match.