Monday, March 30, 2015

Seth Rollins Makes History Three Times in the Same Night

Cashin' in
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the Wrestlemania recap podcast here

I'm going to encourage you to check out our Wrestlemania review show over on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network.  The link is above, or you can find it here as well.  My overall grade for Wrestlemania 31 was a B-.  The ending gave the show a few extra credit points in my book.

Seth Rollins did make history three times in that one match.  He's the first WWE Superstar to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase during a match to make it a triple threat encounter.  This was the perfect way to get the title off Brock Lesnar and make him continue to look strong.  Chad didn't like the triple threat element, but as the rules state, the holder of the contract can cash in at ANY time.  I loved it.

Rollins curb stomps the champ
Photo courtesy: WWE
Secondly, Rollins becomes the first man to use the briefcase at Wrestlemania.  It's been talked about for years, but no one has ever come out and done it on the grandest stage of all.  I thought two years ago Dolph Ziggler was going to do it, but he elected to wait until the next night on Raw.

New champ
Photo courtesy: WWE
Finally, Rollins becomes the first WWE World Heavyweight Champion born AFTER the start of Wrestlemania.  He was born in 1986.  Wrestlemania of course started a year earlier in 1985.  Truly this is a good sign for the "youth movement."

I'm disappointed Rusev lost the U.S. title.  But Rollins as World champ, Daniel Bryan as Intercontinental champ and Cesaro and Tyson Kidd with the tag team titles all make me happy and indicate a step in the right direction.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Axxessing Wrestlemania Weekend

Wrestlemania 22
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to My 1-2-3 Cents the Podcast here

Our first Wrestlemania adventure happened in 2006.  It was number 22 in Chicago.  At that point Axxess was basically a big tent set up outside the Allstate Arena with a variety of memorabilia from the past.  Hillbilly Jim hosted a brief event, but there wasn't much to it.  The event was free though.  I suppose you could argue for the fans with the package deals (like us) you had a meet and greet session with different Divas and Superstars.  But you had to have that special ticket for it.

From what I remember, the situation was the same at Wrestlemania 24.  Then at 25 in Houston we heard about Axxess.  We ventured to that venue early that Sunday to check it out prior to Mania, but it was sold out.  So when it came time to go to Wrestlemania 26, we bought our tickets early.  Before we even got to the event Friday night, we were contacted by WWE about taking part in a focus group.  It was a neat experience and we got tickets to come back to Axxess on Sunday because we had spent so much time with the group.

Axxess is fun, but because we've gone every year since 2010, a lot of the things remain the same.  I've read this year that they've add the Elimination Chamber cage to it.  That would be cool to see up close.  I'm hoping next year to see it as well as the newly unveiled Ultimate Warrior statue.  I decided since we can't be there this year, I'd share some of my favorite pics from years past, so take a look.

Vince's limo

The champ is here!

Money Inc. action figures

Undertaker's graveyard

Tiffany with Money Inc.

The Heenan Family in Vince's office

Beth Phoenix

Blassie & Wizard with Andre

Scanning the QR Code, really...

Vince & Jesse

So close

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat


Meeting the NXT gang

Sheik hates Hulk

Bruno Sammartino

Friday, March 27, 2015

Battling for Respect

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the My 1-2-3 Cents Podcast here

WWE announced that it's moving the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal to the kickoff position for Wrestlemania 31.  Before the creation of the Network, I would have been more bothered by this decision.  But now since so many people will be watching Wrestlemania on Channel 999, I'm not as irked.

I am curious, because WWE makes the distinction, does it affect the entrants' payday?  I know that's an issue that CM Punk had brought up after the Network was first announced.  I also can't help but to wonder does that move affect the "streaks" of those within the company.  WWE mentioned the other day that Kane, Randy Orton and John Cena are all in second place for the most consecutive appearances on Wrestlemania.  Kane should have more, but he worked a pre-show (or kick off) on Sunday Night Heat before Wrestlemania 19.

Cesaro last year
Photo courtesy: WWE
I'm not trying to be nit picky either, but I still feel like the battle royal is still an afterthought.  I like that they're honoring Andre the Giant, but I think for me to truly embrace this event it needs to have a more meaningful purpose.  Besides a larger than life trophy, what is the winner going to gain from winning this battle royal?  A title shot seems too passe between the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank.  Plus, as  I mentioned before I think it's fair to say the majority of the participants have been MIA on Raw and SmackDown for the most part.  Until his recent success with the tag team championships, last year's winner Cesaro floundered throughout 2014. (He's also a part of the kick off show this year)

Hideo wins!
Courtesy: WWE
Since I don't have any better solutions at this point, I will not further criticize the battle royal.  I am glad that one NXT star is getting a shot at the event.  Congratulations to Hideo Itami.  I am truly curious to see who will win and what the victor's reward will be over the next 12 months.  

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blame it On Roman Reigns

Brock and Reigns face to face
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Click here to listen to My 1-2-3 Cents on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network.

I'm a fan of the 80's and the group Milli Vanilli.  Obviously I'm a wrestling fan.  I also like Roman Reigns and the Rock.  Brock Lesnar and Daniel Bryan too.  I mean no disrespect with any of this, it just came to me one night as something funny to do.  Hope it gives you something to smile about.

Blame it on Roman Reigns...
Blame it on Roman Reigns... 

Fans said they don't need me...
They booed and they cried...
I won the Royal Rumble...
But they still hurt my pride.
Now the IWC wished
That had Daniel Bryan
in the main event of Wrestlemania...
But Bray tossed him away...
Now Wrestlemania just don't look the same...
Gotta blame it on something...
(Gotta blame it on something)
Gotta blame it on something...

Blame it on Roman Reigns  
Cause I won it all...
Blame it on The Rock, we both stood tall...
Whatever you do don't put the blame Vince...
Blame it on Roman Reigns, yeah yeah...
You can blame it on Roman Reigns...

Not gonna tell the fans that I'm sorry...
That Daniel lost out...
Now the IWC will just pout...
Fans take it so serious, lets have some fun...
I'm in the main event of Wrestlemania 31...
But fans just hate that fact...
Gotta blame it on something
(Gotta blame it on something)
Gotta blame it on something...

Blame it on Roman Reigns, I'm just like the Rock...
Blame it on Paul Heyman, he'll help me beat Brock.
Whatever you do don't put the blame on Vince...
Blame it on Roman Reigns, yeah yeah
You can blame it on Roman Reigns...
Cos Roman Reigns don't mind...
And Roman Reigns don't care
You got to blame it on something

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Raw is... Entertaining???

Sean: A one time Hulkamaniac 
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

After facing reality that no matter how rash of a decision I wanted to make, I just wasn’t going to be able to make to WrestleMania this year, I decided that if I couldn’t make the 5 hour drive to San Jose, I’d make the one hour drive downtown to see the last Monday Night Raw before WrestleMania. Knowing that  attending a show alone isn’t the most enjoyable experience, I decided to ask my 
friend Sean to tag along. Sean hasn’t watched wrestling since Hulk Hogan was a cartoon character. I wanted to see how a non-fan related to the show that I am often very critical of these days. Sean agreed and on Monday night we had a more enjoyable WWE experience than I would have expected. 

Because the show was actually entertaining (maybe it was due to be in the arena instead of watching on TV) I didn’t get to question Sean to get deep analysis into the show. Instead, we just sat back, watched the show and enjoyed the ride. 

Hulkster, Snoop Dog and Axel
Without a doubt the highlight of the night was a surprise appearance from The Immortal one, Hulk Hogan. Sean was enjoying the in-ring antics of Snoop Dogg, as were the kids in front of us who kept holding up their “Keep Calm Snoop is Here” sign, when out of nowhere, “Real American” started blasting through the speakers. Sean and I looked at each other and for a split second I let go of my 
great dislike of the Hulkster and marked out like a small child reacting to John Cena. I’m curious where Axelmania goes from here but for one night it wasn’t about criticizing the booking. 

Rusev rules
The second highlight for Sean was Rusev’s destruction of John Cena. First off, I have to point out at the last Raw I attended which was in August 2014 before SummerSlam, I saw Rusev vs. Jack Swagger. Wasn’t thrilled that the booking of both guys hasn’t advanced that far in seven months to where I was watching the same match again.  The match not withstanding, the destruction of Cena was a nice sight.  Though the WWE cynic in me is now afraid Super Cena will prevail at WrestleMania. For Sean, it was flashback to his childhood when he would cheer Ivan Drago in his match against Apollo Creed. 

Everything else on the show was just kind of there. Thankfully though the crowd was into almost everything. Even Zack Ryder got a huge “woo woo woo” chant during his match.  There was one segment the fans weren’t into though. Unfortunately for WWE, that segment was the face off between the two guys fighting in the main event of the biggest stage of the year. 

Lesnar taunts Reigns
If Raw’s crowd was any indication, come WrestleMania, the audio team better have a loop of Roman Reigns cheers on standby.  There were definitely more “Let's go Lesnar” chants in the Staples Center than any cheers for Roman Reigns. The tug of war to end the show did not go off very well with the fans. Now that Brock Lesnar has announced he is sticking with WWE, I wonder if the Roman Reigns project becomes more like the 1995 Shawn Michaels project instead of the 1994 Diesel project. 

While I’m still not entirely sold on WrestleMania, after Raw, my interest is up a couple of notches. As for Sean, I don’t think he’ll be coming over to watch WrestleMania on Sunday. He said something about his girlfriend from Australia coming into town, but he did say that he did contract a full-blown case of Hulkamania.  Hopefully a couple shots of penicillin will take care of that before his skin starts to turn orange.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

My Mania Moments

Ringside (for the pic) at Wrestlemania 22
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the My 1-2-3 Cents Podcast here

I have had the good fortune of attending eight of the last nine Wrestlemanias.  My buddy Chad and I went to Wrestlemania 22 in Chicago back in 2006.  It was the first one for both of us.  The annual trip has become our version of a bromance getaway.  This year, due to some unforeseen circumstance$, I decided not to make the trip to Levi's Stadium.  But instead of bellyaching and complaining about not being there, I'm remaining grateful for the shows I've seen and gearing up for Wrestlemania 32, where I hope to be front and center again.

There have been title changes, retirements and a very special streak ended at the Wrestlemanias we've attended.  I'm going to start with the whole experience of Wrestlemania 22. Looking back on it, there's nothing in particular that night that stands out to me, but it was my very first Wrestlemania in person and as they say you never forget your first.   The atmosphere was electric at the Allstate Arena.  Attendance was just over 17,000.

We've got spirit....
We dressed like the Spirit Squad and some fans actually thought we were members of the infamous group of cheerleaders.  We had also purchased the package deal which included lots of WWE swag, including the chair from the event (I still have it) as well as autograph sessions and meet and greets with different Superstars and Divas.  It was on that trip that I felt like my life as a wrestling fan was complete.  I had no idea I'd return seven more times.

Flair's last WWE match
Two years later Wrestlemania 24 invaded Orlando.  It was a much warmer climate and the event was held outdoors.  I worried it would rain, but lucky for us it didn't.  The special part of that night for me was getting to see Ric Flair's final (WWE) match.  He lost to Shawn Michaels and per the prematch stipulation he had to retire.  I grew up idolizing Flair so it was important to see this match.  We stuck around and went to Raw the next night for what was the greatest tribute to a living professional wrestler I've ever witnessed.  It was an amazing weekend.

Undertaker after the Streak ended

I've talked before about the length of the Undertaker's streak.  It started my senior year in high school.  I'd watched it grow each year on pay per view and finally in person. Through college, marriage and my kids hitting their teen years. I never thought it would end, so you can imagine my shock when Brock Lesnar pinned the Deadman at Wrestlemania XXX.  It was the first time in two decades that the Undertaker had lost at the biggest event of the year.  The ending of the Streak even netted main stream media coverage.  It was a big deal and I'm fortunate enough to have been in the SuperDome for it.

Farewell, HBK

Shawn Michaels has a long legacy with Wrestlemania as well. He and Marty Jannetty wrestled as the Rockers at Wrestlemania V.  Despite a few years away recuperating, HBK came back and competed in several more Manias before the Undertaker ended his career.  I believe Shawn had 17 actual Wrestlemania matches under his belt and getting to see his last one in Phoenix meant a lot.  As did watching Edge wrestle for the last time.  But I don't think anyone in Atlanta expected his title defense at Wrestlemania 28 to be his swan song.  

The Rock's return
Before going to Wrestlemania 22 in 2006, I hadn't attended a live WWE event since 1997's Badd Blood: In Your House. Rocky Maivia wasn't quite The Rock yet, but was working with the Nation of Domination at that event.  Fast forward to 2012 when The Rock signs on wrestle John Cena at Wrestlemania 28.  It was the first time I'd seen The Rock as the megastar step into the ring.  Even though I was critical (at that time) of a part timer coming back, it was awesome getting a chance to see him wrestle in person.

These are just a few of the magical moments for me at Wrestlemania.  It's been a wild and memorable ride.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wrestlemania: One Hit Wonders

By Kevin Hunsperger 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Listen to My 1-2-3 Cents the Podcast right here!

As we're gearing up for Wrestlemania this week, I'm taking a time to reflect on past events.  We have plenty of coverage of Wrestlemania 31 right here, but I wanted to go back to the start of it all and remember a few "one hit wonders".  Don't get me wrong, one hit wonders are not a bad thing with this blog.  These are just a few of the men and women of WWE history who I can remember competing in just one Wrestlemania and winning.  I did not count celebrity appearances, otherwise we'd be here all day.

Kerry Von Erich pins Dino Bravo
Photo courtesy: WWE
My first pick is one of my all-time favorites, Kerry Von Erich.  His one and only Mania came in 1991 at Wrestlemania VII.  As the Texas Tornado, Kerry did battle with Dino Bravo in the second match on the card.  It was short and sweet, but the former Intercontinental and NWA World Heavyweight champion overcame the Canadian strongman, pinning him in just over three minutes.  Sadly less than two years after this match, both men were had lost their lives. Like most fans, I often wonder what would have become of Kerry's career.  He had so much talent, and I don't think a run as WWF heavyweight champion would have been out of the question.

Sapphire, Dusty Rhodes and Elizabeth
Photo courtesy: WWE
Kerry wasn't the only former NWA  champion to wrestle at a Wrestlemania.  There are countless others, including "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.  He teamed up with Sapphire to battle "Macho King" Randy Savage and Sensational Queen Sherri at Wrestlemania VI.  With the support of Savage's former manager, Dusty and Sapphire beat the royal duo.  It was a strong showing for the Dream in this new feud with Savage, but the King would end up coming out on top when the war was over.  Sapphire too needs to be included as this match was her debut with WWE and only Wrestlemania match.

Alundra Blayze pins Leilani Kai
Photo courtesy: WWE
Alundra Blayze will be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame this year and 21 years ago she defended the WWF Women's Championship at Wrestlemania X.  In a throwback to Wrestlemania, Blayze defeated former champion Leilani Kai.  This match was also pretty quick, ending in just over three minutes.  Blayze's time in WWE was short too, but she helped to reestablish women's wrestling within the company having some classic battles with Bull Nakano.

The Steiners and "Mean" Gene
Photo courtesy: WWE
I thought Scott Steiner had competed in singles competition at Wrestlemania after the WCW buyout, but I'm wrong.  His only match at Wrestlemania happened in Las Vegas at Wrestlemania IX.  He and brother Rick beat the Headshrinkers.  I remember this being a pretty good match as both teams had had some intense battles in their days in the NWA.  I do wish the Steiners would have fit better into the WWE lineup back then, but this was just not meant to be a long term deal.
The Funks beat Junkyard Dog & Tito Santana
Photo courtesy: WWE
When I started to write this I was going to include Dory AND Terry Funk based on their one match at Wrestlemania 2.  Then I remembered Terry reemerged in WWE in 1998 to team with Cactus Jack under the name Chainsaw Charlie.  So just Dory gets the one hit wonder status as he and Terry beat Junkyard Dog and Tito Santana in the Los Angeles portion of Wrestlemania 2.  His time in WWE was mostly forgettable, but the legendary former NWA champ has a Wrestlemania victory to his credit.

Goldberg battles Brock Lesnar
Photo courtesy: WWE
More than ten years ago Goldberg finally had his Wrestlemania moment beating Brock Lesnar in a dismal match at Wrestlemania XX.  The fans at Madison Square Garden turned on both men after reports surfaced neither would be continuing their careers with WWE.  The saving grace of this match was special guest referee "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.  He delivered a pair of Stone Cold Stunners when the contest was over.

I know I'm missing some, but these are a few of my favorites and the ones who immediately came to mind.  Who are your favorite "one time wonders" of Wrestlemania?