Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What If Wednesday: Edge Doesn't Retire

Edge retains the title at Wrestlemania 27
Photo courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

When I attended Wrestlemania 27 in Atlanta back in 2011, I had no idea when Edge retained the World Heavyweight Title that it would be the last time we'd ever see the superstar wrestle.  A week later on Raw, sighting a serious neck injury, Edge retired as the champion.  It was a noble move, one that surely was difficult, but I'm glad Edge put his health and future first.

But what if the Rated R Superstar would have stayed active? Obviously, I'm writing this under the assumption that Edge is healthy.  I think that he would have continued his feud with Alberto Del Rio, having defeated the Mexican superstar at Mania.  I believe the two would have traded the championship throughout 2011, helping Del Rio reach his "destiny".

With that idea though, I don't think that Christian would have had the opportunity to win the World Title.  In turn, that would have put the championship reigns of Mark Henry and Daniel Bryan in jeopardy.  Instead of Randy Orton getting the program with Christian, Edge would have regained the title from Del Rio and then dropped it to Mark Henry.  Daniel Bryan would have still been able to cash in his briefcase and win the belt too.

Christian and Edge about to do some damage on Del Rio's car
Photo courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
I'd also like to think that Edge and Christian would have reunited at some point for another run as tag team champions.  The division in late 2011 and early 2012 was far from impressive, so I think this dynamic duo would have helped rejuvenate things and allow the next great team to step up and accept the torch.

Edge would likely still be active today (September 2014) at the age of 40.  I would imagine he'd probably be out of the World Heavyweight Title picture by today's standards, but still near the top of the pack.  He'd be helping groom the next generation and get them ready for a five second (or longer) pose.  His induction into the Hall of Fame would be postponed until after he officially decided to call it quits.  

If you have a suggestion for What If Wednesday, post it here or on our Facebook page.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Visiting the 9/11 Museum

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Over the summer, my wife and I took a short trip to New York City for a wedding.  Besides seeing the Statue of Liberty and walking through Times Square, we both wanted to visit the 9/11 Museum. It had just opened and we wanted to see the tributes to thousands of men, women, and children who died that day.

Writing about the experience will not do it any justice.  Seeing the artifacts left behind and hearing the voices of the passengers on the planes and in the Twin Towers brought us to tears.  I suggest if you have the chance, visit the museum.  There are a few areas where photography is allowed, so here are some of my pictures.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What If Wednesday: Sting Is the Third Member

Sting on the night the nWo formed
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Recently on the WWE Network program The Monday Night War (available for $9.99 a month), former WCW President Eric Bischoff said the original plan was for Sting to be the third member of the nWo, along side Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.  But as Hall said in the documentary, that idea simply would not have worked.

Even 13 years after its demise, Sting is still remembered as the franchise for WCW.  He's the only major star in the company to have never worked for WWE.  Greats like Ric Flair, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, and Terry and Dory Funk ended up on Vince McMahon's payroll. The decision to make Hulk Hogan that third member of the trio and founding father of the nWo was the only way to go.

For Life!
Photo courtesy: WWE
The stable was formed on the idea that Hall and Nash were still working for WWE when they appeared on Nitro back in the summer of 1996.  That third member HAD to be a former WWE guy.  Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart were all under contract in WWE, but any one of the three would have fit the bill nicely too.

Back to Sting, fans weren't ready to boo him.  He was still extremely popular.  Hogan and the Hulkamania concept had worn thin with the fans.  The character was stale and passe and needed a change.  His heel turn was organic.  Sting as a bad guy just wasn't going to work, the fans wanted him to save the company.

Hogan vs. Sting
Photo courtesy: WWE
Like Hogan's character, Sting ended up evolving too, going from the "Beach Bum" to the "Crow."  In terms of the first couple of years of the Monday Night War, keeping Sting as the hero and making Hogan that third member of the nWo worked out for the best.  I don't think the nWo would have been the same or as successful with the real Sting as a member.

If you have a suggestion for a What If Wednesday, let me know.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Middle Age Ain't So Bad

Ready, set, GLOW
2014 Glow Run
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Before we start, yes I'm aware that "ain't" isn't a word, but it's my blog and I'll use bad grammar if I want to.  (And I just ended a sentence with a preposition).  

Anyway, when I turned 40 a year-and-a-half ago, it really didn't bother me.  In the months leading to the big birthday, I blogged and vlog my feelings about entering a new decade. Truth be told, hitting 30 was harder for me. 

Not long before I turned 40, I started running.  More accurately jogging fast.  Well kinda fast.  I entered a few 5Ks and my only goal was to run the 3.1 miles without stopping to walk.  It was something I could never accomplish as a teenager when I ran cross country.  Then nearly two decades passed and I could probably count how many miles I ran on both hands.

My first half marathon
February 2014
I recently ran in a 5K in my town.  For me, this was just another race.  I've done several 5Ks and even a half marathon.  I just aim to get in under 30 minutes when I run a course like the one here in Carterville.  But I had a strong desire to finish in the Top 3 of my age group (40-44) and get a medal.  I never earned one in my cross country days, so I'm probably over compensating for that.

As the gun sounded at this most recent race, I looked around at the wide variety of runners and walkers.  I'll be honest, I was motivated to beat some of the younger guys at the event.  I didn't realize just how motivated I was.  When my app (Runkeeper) gave me my first update at five minutes, the voice told me I had run 0.62 miles. Usually I'm between 0.52 and 0.56 miles at that time. I was moving like I'd never moved before.  

The weird thing is, I thought I'd wear myself out as the humidity was thick enough to cut with a knife that night.  But I chugged along.  I ended up finishing in 24:56, with a pace of 7:59 per mile. I finished fifth out of 20 in my age group and 35th out of about 245 runners.  I was more than pleased with my performance, and even though I didn't get that top three medal, I achieved a personal goal. That to me has proven to be more important than a medal collecting dust.

I was also impressed that night that the overall male and female finishers are over the age of 40.  The male runner is 51, the female is 48.  They've shown me that hard work and dedication pay off and I hope to improve my own performance.  The 2014 Carterville Twilight Glow Run has rekindled my running spirit as I continue to move toward my goal of 600 miles by the end of the year and look ahead to another half marathon in 2015.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

I Yam What I Yam

Popeye & me
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Every September, the town of Chester, Illinois celebrates the world's most famous cartoon sailor man Popeye.  The comic book character turned big screen icon was created by Chester native Elize Segar in 1929.  The hero and his cast of characters were based on residents in the southern Illinois town.

For 35 years now, Chester has celebrated with the Popeye Picnic.  In 2006, organizers introduced The Character Trail.  Each year a new statue is added to the mix.  This doesn't include the original Popeye statue that greets folks as they cross the Mississippi River from Missouri into Illinois.

I have selfies with most of the statues, I'm missing Poopdeck Pappy and Cole Oyl.  There's something about these larger than life figures that I can't get enough of.  This year, the group will unveil Professor Watasnoozle, so the next time I go through town, I'll add him and the two others I'm missing. When it's all said and done, there will be 30 statues around Chester. You can read more by clicking here

Alice the Goon 

Sea Hag (not pictured: Bernard the Vulture)

Castor Oyl (not pictured: Whiffle Hen)
Family pic with Wimpy

Olive Oyl, Sweet Pea, and Jeep

Going toe to toe with Bluto

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

My Favorite Rosebud

Matt "Money" Cage joins the Party Posse (vest with black pants)
Photo courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've had the privilege to meet several talented men and women in the world of independent wrestling.  Some of them have taken their skills to the next level, making to the promised land of the WWE.  Even if it was a one shot appearance, it's quite an accomplish to make it onto WWE television.  There are wrestlers who toil for decades and never get that opportunity.

Matt "Money" Cage recently had that chance.  He was a part of Monday Night Raw on Labor Day 2014.  Cage was a member of Adam Rose's "Party Posse" as he danced his way to the ring and then joined Rose for his post match celebration.  The appearance was brief, but it made an impact on the fans of Cage.

Rose & Cage
Photo courtesy: Jason Wilkey
I met Matt for the first time in late 2011.  He and Christian Rose became the AAPW tag team champs in Cage's debut with the company.  Team Overkill took tag team wrestling to a new level, not just in AAPW, but in other independent companies too.  I always appreciated the hard work Cage put forth in each of his matches.  It was always a pleasure to call the action when he was in the ring, whether in tag team action or a singles match.  To this day, one of my favorite indy matches is the ladder match between Cage and Rose and Brandon Espinosa and Ace Hawkins.

Cage in action
Photo courtesy: Pro Wrestling Collision
It is my sincere hope that this appearance for Cage is more than just a one shot deal and the door is open to more opportunities for this extremely gifted wrestler.  His ability in the ring and on the microphone have more than earned him a shot with WWE.  I hope in the very near future I'm tuning in to watch him on NXT for just $9.99 a month.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Beat the Clock, Or Beat the Timekeeper

8th grade Lions in action 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

My lack of knowledge about most sports has been well documented in past blog posts.  Honestly, besides watching an occasional St. Louis Cardinals game or going to Rent One Park for a Southern Illinois Miners game, I don't watch professional sports.  

Play ball
My middle son Mason has been playing baseball since about the time he could throw a ball.  Each summer we travel around the region to watch him play.  This year, he's added football to the mix, so just as I was understanding baseball, I have a whole new game to comprehend.

At his most recent game at home, I was asked by another parent to help run the clock in the press box.  I was very reluctant, confessing immediately that I know NOTHING about football.  I was told not to worry about it, and was given a crash course on when to stop the clock and when to let it run.

More action
 I thought I was doing okay, watching the referees cues and listening closely to the others in the booth.  There were a few complaints, but then at one point I felt like half the stadium wanted my head on a plate.  The funny thing is, it wasn't just the home crowd that was yelling, our opponents were mad too.  I'm still trying to figure that out...

The funniest part to me was in the closing minutes of the game, an older woman (a player's grandmother) stood up and turned around and screamed to the box, "GET SOMEONE ELSE TO RUN THE CLOCK!!!"  I took it all in stride, giving her a thumbs up and saying "thanks for the support.", but with the tinted windows, I seriously doubt she saw me.

I listened to my friends who knew it was me up there laugh about it after the game and other parents grumbling.  I haven't told many people, but I was invited back to do it again when we play at home in two weeks, but for my own personal safety, I've declined the offer.  Who knew folks took 8th grade football so seriously...