Saturday, May 23, 2015

Remembering Owen Hart

Owen Hart
Courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Sixteen years ago tonight, I was sitting in my bedroom watching (actually listening to) the WWF Over the Edge pay-per-view.  I didn't order the show, but back then you could watch on what I called "scramble vision."  The audio was perfectly clear, but the screen was distorted.  It worked for me because Jim Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler painted the picture of what was happening in the ring.

Owen as the Blue Blazer
Courtesy: WWE 
During the show, JR announced there had been an accident involving Owen Hart, who was playing a character called The Blue Blazer.  He was supposed to be lowered from the rafters high above the ring at Kemper Arena in Kansas City.  But part of the costume got stuck in the rig and Owen plunged into the ring, dying a short time later.

I hopped on AOL Chat and discussed the tragedy with other fans.  This was long before social media so we had to rely on the updates from JR during the show.  It was a horribly sad time, including the next night on Raw when WWF Superstars, Divas and officials memorialized the man known as the King of Harts.  

I saw Owen wrestle a handful of times in person.  The most memorable was Father's Day 1996 at a house show in St. Louis.  My dad and I had floor seats and I'd get up and snap pictures with my point and click camera as the wrestlers made their way to the ring. (I can't find those pics now.) Owen climbed to the apron to a chorus of boos and looked right at me and the portly guy next to me and shouted "Shut up, fat boy."  I had actually been cheering for Owen, because I liked him much more than his opponent that night, Savio Vega.
Bulldog (with a pig mask) & Owen in 1996
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
That fall, the WWF came to Cape Girardeau.  I had pretty good seats that night too when Owen and Davey Boy Smith defended the tag team titles against the Godwins, the Smoking Gunns, and the New Rockers.  Owen and Bulldog won the match.  The two of them were one of my favorite tag teams.  They simply clicked.  I think Owen is in a small class of great tag team wrestlers like Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson.  He was a great partner to no matter who he stepped in the ring with. Jeff Jarrett, Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Koko B. Ware, Yokozuna and The Rock all come to mind.

Owen vs. Faarooq
Courtesy: WWE (Drop Toehold website)
Speaking of the Rock, I watched Owen and Rocky Maivia do battle for the Intercontinental title at a house show in St. Louis in February 1997.  Rocky won by DQ. Months later, Owen won back the belt by beating Faarooq at the Badd Blood pay-per-view.  I was there for that one too.

I know Owen is in a better place now, but he left this world way too soon.  Continue to rest in peace. You are still missed today.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Somebunny is Not Who They Claim to Be

Theo & George or George & Theo


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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For several months my daughter has been asking for a bunny.  In September, she got a hamster for her birthday and embraced caring for it.  She researched on YouTube and watched video after video on the subject.  Because she was so dedicated to the Ralphie, over Easter break my wife and I discussed it and agreed she'd earned herself a bunny too.

It so happened about this same time, my wife had a coworker with TWO rabbits she was looking to give to a good home.  After some discussion and figuring out free is the right price, we decided to welcome Theo and George into our home in April.  The bunny brothers hopped in and out of their multilevel habitat built by their previous owner.  They roamed Brooke's bedroom, but with the freedom came the problem of spraying.


Still can't tell them apart
After one episode too many of this, we decided the best option was to have Theo and George neutered.  My wife made the arrangements with a local animal hospital and recently dropped them off for their "procedure" on her way to work.  Since I'd be home when it was over, I was the point of contact for picking them up.  

A couple hours after the drop off my phone rang.  It was a vet tech who explained that they would not be able to do George's neutering because as they prepped the bunny for surgery, they discovered he is a SHE.  That's right, we had a boy and girl bunny this whole time.  I opted to not have her spayed as the whole reason for the neutering was the issue of spraying. 



My oldest son made a good point as I explained to them that George (now Georgie-Ann) is a girl.  "What if she's pregnant?  You know rabbits do it like.... rabbits."  I don't know if they checked for babies, I can only hope that these two were on their best behavior and didn't partake in any furry fornicating.  But if they did, we may be having a sale on bunnies very soon.  

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What's Old Is New

The new Col. Sanders and Hamburglar
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Over the last couple of weeks, fast food giants KFC and McDonald's have announced the return of vintage mascots.  Col. Sanders, the man who started Kentucky Fried Chicken 75 years ago, will be used again in advertising as will the mischievous Hamburglar for McDonald's.


Hamburglar in the 1970's
I have mixed reactions to these iconic characters from my childhood returning.  Yes, I am a fool for old school.  But I think the new Hamburglar is a bit too creepy, even for a bad guy.  I haven't heard any positive comments on this updated version of the fictional thief.  He's a far cry from his cartoonish former self.  He really does look like a criminal.  If Mickey D's wants my attention with a classic character, I'd make the argument to bring back Grimace.  He was always my favorite, even more so than Ronald McDonald himself.  


Vintage Colonel
The new Col. Sanders is being played Saturday Night Live alum Darrell Hammond.  I think the company hit the nail on the head with this selection.  The real Col. Sanders died more than 35 years ago, but the company hopes change its image and bring in new customers with the iconic figure.  The ad campaign rolls out Memorial Day weekend.







I'm no marketing expert, but as a consumer I think it's great that they're reviving characters from my childhood.  I don't eat a lot of fast food, so no matter what gimmick is used, it's not going to persuade or prevent me from eating at their establishments.  I do hope this continues to motivate other companies to revive other blasts from the pasts.  Maybe Herb will be back pitching for Burger King.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Reunited and It Feels So...

The Shield "returns"
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Some surprises came out of the WWE Payback show, at least to me.  I'll get into the undercard in a minute, but since I titled this as such, I figured I'd touch on the brief, but awesome reunion of The Shield during the main event.  Obviously going into the the fatal four way I knew that Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns had once been a part of the most dominant trio in recent years.  But it never occurred to me that they would all work TOGETHER during the course of the match.

Crash landing
Courtesy: WWE
Because of my work schedule, I was fast asleep (actually I was still tossing and turning) by the time the WWE World Heavyweight Title match started.  When I logged into Twitter hours later, I saw pics and gifs of the "one-time only reunion" between Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns.  It made me look forward to coming home and watching the former Shield members take out Randy Orton with the triple power bomb.  

Nope
Courtesy: WWE
I loved it.  I know the way the current storyline is going it doesn't make sense to reunite the trio for good.  But for those few moments, I thought it was awesome.  I liked how Rollins seemed to think the band was back together and when Ambrose and Reigns tore into him and Kane it was a nice break from what I'd expected during the match.

Did he quit?
Courtesy: WWE
Another minor surprise, although I had written in my previous blog my predictions and they mostly matched up, there were no title changes.  I feel like that's a rarity these days, but I don't have any proof that it is.  I'm curious to see where the Rusev angle will go next, as I do believe they botched up over emphasizing that the Superstar must say "I quit."  Clearly Rusev did not.  I imagine the story will unfold on Raw with Rusev "firing" Lana, which will be odd to see these two without each other.

New Day... rocks
Courtesy: WWE
I thought New Day did a great job getting heat during the tag team title match.  I still love the combo of Cesaro and Kidd and those uppercuts that the Swiss Supermen threw were incredible.  This story could continue, but I do think the tag team ranks need some fresh faces in the hunt for gold.  Speaking of which, I was surprised to see Axelmania and Macho Mandow lose in their first outing as a team.  I really am impressed with both men's impressions of the legends, but Axel's "Hogan" routine is spot on as far as I'm concerned.  I guess this means The Ascension is here to stay.  

Busted open
Courtesy: WWE
Dolph Ziggler getting busted open was ugly.  It took ten stitches to sew him up.  There's plenty of speculation online as to whether he did that himself or if it happened the hardway.  It seemed a bit too bloody too fast for a blade job, but I'm just a fan.

I hope Bray Wyatt's win over Ryback helps him continue to climb the ladder (perhaps right into Money in the Bank).  And despite some online criticism, I think Naomi is a great athlete.  I'm still not sure she's next for a run as Divas champ.  Time will tell for all these things and the future of the Intercontinental title will be told in a couple of weeks at Elimination Chamber.  We'll break it all down soon here and on the podcast.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

I Moustache Him a Question...

Tanning the 'staches 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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If you live in southern Illinois, there's a pretty good chance you've seen pictures of my buddy Tom Harness floating around on social media.  He's the guy in the moustache suit.  He recently picked it up from a site called Shinesty.  In addition to the moustache one, Tom has an ugly Christmas suit that he wore in December to spread holiday cheer.


Time for a brushing
Childers Orthodontics 
So the big question, why is this guy donning the suit and posting pictures on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook?  It's simple.  Despite what some may think, Tom isn't crazy.  He's just a dedicated guy helping promote the upcoming HerrinFesta Italiana.  It's an annual event here that celebrates the Italian heritage of the southern Illinois town of Herrin.  There's plenty of games, rides, food and music during the celebration over Memorial Day weekend.


Here's your sign...
Tom and his company, Harness TechED have been tasked with promoting the event.  While posting pictures of the games, rides and performers (like REO Speedwagon, Third Eye Blind and Cole Swindell) would be the route most folks would go in promoting the event, Tom takes it to a whole new level.  He visits businesses, restaurants and ribbon cuttings in the weeks leading up to the big weekend to help spread the word.


Yes, this is in the bathroom...
It works too.  We met for lunch recently at S&B's Burger Joint in Carbondale.  Tom was in his suit and no less than a half dozen (maybe more) customers and employees stopped at our table and asked what was with the suit.  When Tom explained, people smiled.  Some chuckled. But it always ended on a positive note.  That's not been the reception everywhere, as I know Tom has had to do some defending of the suit.




I think it's great and if more people showed the kind of passion and enthusiasm for things they believed in, the world would be a much better place.  I do not have a suit like Tom's, but spoiler alert, I have contacted Shinesty about doing a Lucha mask variety.  The person who received the message liked the idea and said he's sharing it with the boss.  Who knows, maybe Tom will have another "weirdo" in a suit joining him to get the word out about events in southern Illinois.

*This just in, Tom has agreed to sell the suit for a donation to his daughter's school which is holding a big fundraiser.  I know how much he loves that suit and the fact that he's giving it up shows you what his daughter's school means to him too.  Bravo, Tom.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Payback 2015 Picks


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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We're days away from another WWE pay-per-view/Network event.  I'm not exactly sure the proper phrase anymore, but as we know Payback returns this weekend.  The show has had some good build up, and even with several rematches, I'm looking forward to some great performances.



 The kickoff features the newly formed duo of Macho Mandow and Axelmania against The Ascension.  I have no idea where WWE is going with Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel, but I'm enjoying the homage to Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan.  Plus it's another tag team to get behind in a somewhat weakened division.  The Mega Powers 2.0 will win this one and eventually implode like they did more than 25 years ago.



Bray Wyatt will step into the ring with Ryback.  I'm looking forward to this match.  I feel like both men are still growing and headed to superstardom.  Ryback has been hot and cold since being repackaged a few years ago.  I've always liked Wyatt, even as Husky Harris.  He's got something special and I think it's important for him to shine Sunday night against Ryback.  



Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus will have a rematch.  I really have enjoyed Sheamus much more as the heelish bully since returning from his injury earlier this year.  I was surprised Sheamus lost the Kiss Me Arse match at Extreme Rules.  I can't see him going down in defeat two events in a row, so I pick him to win this time, setting up for a rubber match at the next show.  I don't mind repeat matches when they involve guys giving it their all.



Neville takes on King Barrett in a rematch from the King of the Ring finals and the kickoff from Extreme Rules.  Each man has a victory.  The company seems to be fast tracking Neville to big things (perhaps an Intercontental title run) so for that reason and because I'm a huge Neville mark, I hope he wins.  I won't be disappointed though if the King reigns.



The New Day will defend the tag team titles against former champs Tyson Kidd and Cesaro.  I like both teams.  I think Kidd and Cesaro's reign came to an end way too soon.  They're my favorite current team and I feel like WWE needs to stay behind them.  Again, I'm not going to be disappointed with whoever wins, but I believe the champs will retain.



Rusev will try to win the U.S. title back in an "I Quit" match against John Cena.  Both men have their submission finishers.  I think Cena will win, Rusev and Lana will split and hopefully he won't end up in no man's land as a result.  I like the concept of the U.S. Title Open Challenge Cena has been doing.  There's still some mileage to get out of that angle.  I can't wait to see who is eventually put into that role of winning the challenge.  

For my thoughts on the 4 Way, check out this week's 3 Count over on YouTube.




Friday, May 8, 2015

Snapchat Challenge: The Simpsons

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger
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The Snapchat challenge takes us to Springfield this week.  The goal quickly became the most obscure characters from the long running series, at least mine were out there.  This one was a lot of fun.  How will we top it?  Find out next week.