Thursday, April 17, 2014

There Goes the Neighborhood

The legends...
Photo courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I have been waiting for Legends' House to debut since hearing about the plans for the show two years ago.  I've always been a fan of shows like The Real World and The Surreal Life and I've course I love wrestling, so this seemed to be perfect for me.


Mediation time
Photo courtesy: WWE
I tuned in for the premiere on the WWE Network, and I was not disappointed.  Eight legends, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Howard Finkel, Pat Patterson, "Mean" Gene Okerlund, Tony Atlas, Hillbilly Jim, and Jimmy Hart are living together in the series.  Actor and self help guru Gary Busey makes an appearance on the show to help the legends meditate.  While some of his tactics are out there, he does maintain that positive mental attitude.  Although an argument developed between Hacksaw and Atlas, and I'm still not sure why they were fighting.

I know "realty" TV is far from realty, so I suspect things with Legends' House won't all be natural, but it's entertaining.  Tony Atlas is great. He and Rocky Johnson were one of the first tag teams I remember watching as a kid.  I'm glad to see his life is back on track, and his laugh is one of the most comical I've ever heard.


Photo courtesy: WWE
Piper is probably my favorite so far in the house.  I enjoyed his talk with Busey and how wrestlers are never "off" in terms of their character when meeting with fans.  The flashbacks and highlights from previous wrestling events help give fans a better look into these legends as they relive the good ol' days.  We learn more about the toll years in the ring and on the road took on these men.  They really do put their bodies on the line, and for that I'm appreciative.  

Two thumbs up for WWE Legends' House. The season looks like it's going to be awesome.  I hope this becomes a regular show on the Network.

The Meme Event Contest

I made this one on the Grumpy Cat Photo Bomb App
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

It's contest time here at My 1-2-3 Cents, and we're looking for creative people out there.  Welcome to The Meme Event (trademark pending).  It's a chance for you to share your humor with fellow wrestling fans.  There are several different websites and apps out there that help generate memes.  You decide how you want it to look.  But there are some rules...


Found this online
1.  You must create the meme.  It doesn't have to be your picture, but don't just find an already made meme and enter it into the contest.

2.  It has to be clean.  My 1-2-3 Cents is a PG site.  Kids do watch the videos and read the posts, so keep that in mind.

3.  Email the picture to me by May 1.   My email address is kevinhunsperger@gmail.com.  The photos will be uploaded the next day to our Facebook page.  


Another example
4.  The photo with the most likes will be declared the winner.

5.  Voting will close on 12:01 am CST on Monday, May 19.  Yes, that May 19.

6.  You can enter more than one meme.  The pics will be posted without names.

If you have questions or comments, let me know.  Look me up on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.  Thanks for participating.  Please share this blog.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Way Back WhensDay: The Dingo Warrior

Vintage Dino Warrior
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Before the Ultimate Warrior signed with the WWF in 1987, he was known as the Dingo Warrior in World Class Championship Wrestling.  Before that, he and Sting went by their real names, Jim Hellwig and Steve Borden.  They were the Freedom Fighters and dressed alike, but wore no makeup.  Here's a clip from Memphis.



Gary Hart & Dingo Warrior
Because this was a regional terrority, I had never seen the Freedom Fighters.  I remember reading a little about them, but it was really that Dingo Warrior persona in WCCW that I started following.  When he first came in to WCCW he was a heel and managed by the evil genius Gary Hart.  The two worked well together, as Hart was a great mouth piece for the men in his stable.  Dingo Warrior had what would become the widely known war paint design even back then.  He wore the tassels too, but was no where near as intense.  The hair wasn't long and flowing like most fans might remember and at one point he even had a mustache.


Dingo Warrior 
He and Hart would eventually split, as a guy like the Warrior was someone fans loved to support.  Back then it was the era of the big, strong guy and obviously Warrior fit that mold to a tee.  Kerry Von Erich, "The Modern Day Warrior" was the next closest to fit that mold, but was recovering from a motorcycle crash.  The company needed a new hero. 


Warrior & Von Erichs
Dingo Warrior feuded with former friends "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer and Matt Bourne while teaming with the popular Lance Von Erich.  The two wore the tag time titles in World Class.  Warrior would also team up with up and comer Steve Simpson.  As you can hear, his promos were much different in those early days.



Dingo Warrior vs. Matt Bourne
As a singles star, Dingo Warrior won the World Class Texas Heavyweight championship.  His charisma and energy didn't keep him in Texas long, as he caught the eye of the folks in New York and would quickly sign with the WWF.  The quest for superstardom meant leaving behind the title. It didn't take long for Dingo Warrior to become the Ultimate Warrior and then a household name and the legend we all know and love today.  

Rest in peace Warrior.  



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Ultimate Return

Ultimate Warrior saves Hulk Hogan
Photo courtesy: WWE 
By Kevin Hunsperger 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The WWE is celebrating the life and career of the Ultimate Warrior with Warrior Week on the Network. I thought I'd take a minute to share a few of my favorite returns by the Warrior.

I had always been a fan of his work and when he chased Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa, and Gen. Adnan from the ring at SummerSlam 1991, I had no idea he wouldn't stop running.  This was long before the Internet, so fans had no idea what really happened to the Ultimate Warrior.  He simply disappeared from TV.

The Ultimate Return
Fast forward nearly eight months to the main event of Wrestlemania VIII.  Hulk Hogan was battling Sid Justice.  Papa Shango got involved, causing Justice to get disqualified.  As the Hulkster was being attacked, that familiar beat boomed throughout the Hoosier Dome.  Then the muscle man with the war paint and tassels came charging to the ring.  When he hit the squared circle, he and Hogan cleaned house.  The Ultimate Warrior was back home!

Savage vs. Warrior SummerSlam 92
Photo courtesy: WWE
It seemed appropriate to bring Warrior back as Hogan was fading off into the Hollywood sunset again. Randy Savage had turned babyface and was the new champion, but there weren't too many other top good guys on the roster.  Warrior and Savage played nice together, despite Warrior beating the Macho Man a year earlier and sending him into retirement.  The two ended up facing each other at SummerSlam 92, in a face vs. face championship match.  Warrior won by count out and he and Savage formed a team called The Ultimate Maniacs.  I don't know the reasons why, but Warrior would exit once again, just ahead of the Survivor Series pay per view.

Warrior vs. HHH
Photo courtesy: WWE
Warrior remained out of the spotlight for years, before making another comeback in 1996.  He stormed the ring again at a Wrestlemania, but this time as the announced opponent of Hunter Hearst Helmsley.  He made quick work of the blue blood, pinning him after a couple of minutes of action.  Warrior again didn't stay long though, spending just a few months in the company.  He wrestled guys like Goldust, Vader (a match I saw live in St. Louis), and Jerry "The King" Lawler (who was his last opponent in a WWE ring).  

Man in the mirror
Photo courtesy: WWE
Another comeback came in 1998 when Warrior signed with WCW to feud with Hogan.  I wasn't as excited about this return, as I thought the 1990 encounter between the two should have been left alone, but I understand why they redid the match.  None-the-less, I enjoyed seeing Warrior back on TV.

Warrior & his daughters
Photo courtesy: WWE 
Warrior's final comeback came when the legend signed a deal to appear in video game WWE Y2K14.  Months later, it was announced he'd be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame.  Luckily I was in attendance for the ceremony and his appearances at Wrestlemania 30 and Raw the day before he died.  

Rest in peace Warrior, thanks for being an inspiration to so many.  Always believe.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Burying the Hatchet

Vince & Warrior
Photo courtesy WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Over the past year or so, I think the WWE has given us lessons in forgiveness.  It was first demonstrated in 2013 when the company announced they'd come to terms with legend Bruno Sammartino to induct him into the Hall of Fame.
Vince, Bruno, & Triple H
Photo courtesy: WWE

For years the two sides were at an impasse, as the former champion refused to be inducted.  Presumably, Triple H in his corporate role, was able to smooth things over with Bruno and he took his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.  At Wrestlemania 30 weekend, the WWE unveiled a statue in honor of the legend.  It's good to see them working together again.

In summer 2013, WWE announced the Ultimate Warrior would be a part of the Y2K14 video game.  It was the first time the two sides had worked together in nearly two decades.  Soon after that, Warrior was announced as the first member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2014.  This was great news to me, as I had been waiting for years for this to happen.  Rumors ran wild that he was going in at Wrestlemania 26 in 2010, but it never happened. Warrior will go down as one of the most popular and charismatic stars in the history of wrestling.  He deserved to have a spot in the HOF.


Unlike Bruno though, the WWE had not tried to establish a relationship with the Warrior.  In 2006, the company released a DVD called "The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior."  I watched it and was saddened to hear all the jabs and cheap shots taken against the former champ.
Hulk Hogan, Pat Patterson, Ultimate Warrior

Again Triple H extended the olive branch and the two sides made amends.  Warrior seemed to gain closure as he addressed the WWE Universe and his colleagues during his induction.  Over the course of Wrestlemania weekend he and Hulk Hogan apparently buried the hatchet.  Same goes for Jake "The Snake" Roberts, Kevin Nash, and others.

Sadly Warrior died days later.  In the wake of his death, other wrestlers have come forward and apologized for how they had treated Warrior.  Bret Hart said he was too hard on him, calling Warrior a good guy.  Iron Sheik admitted he loved Warrior and his words toward him were a work.  I'm still shocked and sad, but I'm glad Warrior was able to get this resolution in his life before dying.
Wrestlemania main event 30 years later
Photo courtesy: WWE 

On a much lesser level, we saw another example of forgiveness at Wrestlemania 30.  I'm sure it was more storyline driven than personal, but it was nice seeing Hogan, Roddy Piper, Mr. T, and Paul Orndorff all shake hands and put the past behind them.  By all accounts, Piper had legit heat with Mr. T for years.  I don't know if all is really forgiven or if they just smiled and played nice for the camera, but I'm hoping the backstage segment at Mania was genuine. 

Forgiveness is easy to say, but much harder to practice.  WWE and some of its greatest legends are setting an excellent example.  I truly think we could all learn from it. 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

What a Week

21-1
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I think the week of April 6, 2014 may go down as one of the most historic in professional wrestling.  Some of it good, some of it bad, but none the less, professional wrestling, specifically the WWE has been in the main stream media several times over the past seven days.

SUNDAY:
It all started Sunday at Wrestlemania.  The Undertaker's wining streak at the yearly event came to an end.  I'm still surprised by this, and posted a YouTube video earlier in the week.  


Me when the Streak started
Here's why it's a huge deal to me.  Just think about how long the Undertaker has been wrestling and winning at Wrestlemania.  When he wrestled at his first Mania in 1991, I was a senior in high school.  I'm now 41 years old.  That streak has followed me through college, three different TV stations, three kids, and my entire my marriage.   When I think about it in those terms, it really does blow my mind.  To say he's had 21 victories doesn't really put that emphasis on the amount of time that's behind the record.

Another significant moment out of Wrestlemania of course was Daniel Bryan finally getting his revenge on the Authority and Randy Orton and winning the WWE World Heavyweight title.  His reign is now seven days old and is almost seven times longer than his first two reigns as WWE Champion.

Karen Jarrett
MONDAY:
While not as talked about as the events of Wrestlemania and other WWE happenings, I think the announcement of Jeff and Karen Jarrett's new Global Force Wrestling will have an impact (pardon the pun) on the business.  Personally, I'm curious to see how things pan out.  More announcements are planned in the coming weeks.  So far all we really know is that the Jarretts are starting a wrestling company and they're on the hunt for talent.  Follow @GFWWrestling on Twitter to stay in the loop.

Raw had some pretty cool moments.  I was there, and I think that always makes it more fun.  The crowd loves Daniel Bryan and that's even more obvious in person.  Cesaro announcing he's a Paul Heyman Guy came out of left field.  I like this development,  as we all know Brock Lesnar won't be on every week, and right now the world needs Paul Heyman. Speaking of Heyman, his promo on Raw was one of the best I've heard from him and it helped sell me on the ending of the Streak.

Paige challenges AJ Lee
Paige winning the Divas title was a surprise as well.  She's just one NXT talent to debut on Raw, as Alexander Rusev beat Zack Ryder in his first match on Raw.  Plus they showed promos for the soon-to-be arriving Bo Dallas and Adam Rose.  It's an exciting time for WWE's younger talent right now.

Warrior makes his way to the ring
TUESDAY: 
Tragedy struck when the Ultimate Warrior collapsed and died at the age of 54.  Days later, I am still in shock.  I was fortunate enough to see him get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Saturday night and was in the crowd for his speech at Raw.  Those words seem haunting now.  Warrior, rest in peace and thanks for all the memories.

Eric Young, new champ
Photo courtesy: TNA
THURSDAY:
I don't really follow TNA like I should, but I do want to note that Eric Young has captured the TNA title.  Many are criticizing the move, comparing the quest for gold to Daniel Bryan's.  Since I haven't seen what they've done with Young, I don't think it's fair for me to comment.  I do wish TNA the best of luck and hope that they can become a competitive force in the wrestling wars, as I think GFW is going to be gunning for them.

Brie & Daniel
Photo courtesy: WWE
FRIDAY:
Maybe not major news, but congratulations to Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella on their marriage.  It's been a great week for the WWE World Heavyweight champion.  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wrestlemania XXX Recap

Inside the SuperDome
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

My usual post Wrestlemania high didn't last as long this year, in part because of the untimely passing of the Ultimate Warrior.  Then add a 10 hour road trip home from New Orleans, and a 1:30 a.m. wakeup call for work and you get one tired and sad writer.  But enough excuses, it's time to look back at Wrestlemania 30, which I believe is the best Wrestlemania I've attended.

Chad and I have traveled to eight Wrestlemanias over the last nine years.  We've been to 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 30.  Each experience was fun for different reasons, but I think Wrestlemania 30 will standout for years to come for a number of reasons.  Let's take a closer look at the Wrestlemania moments of the evening:

Drink up!
Legends Unite:
Kicking off Wrestlemania with Hulk Hogan seemed more like a Raw moment, but his speech helped pump the crowd, even if he called the Super Dome the Silver Dome.  Then the sound of breaking glass and the appearance of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin pumped up the crowd even more.  The Rock coming out was the cherry on top, as I watched in awe these three icons interact.  The toast at the end of the segment was nothing short of awesome, as I wonder if we'll ever see these three together in the ring again.  Bonus, because of our seats, as the Legends walked past us, I was able to reach out and touch the Rock's arm.  I know I should probably not have been so excited by this, but it was indeed a mark out moment for me.

The winner!
Super Cesaro: 
Up until the end of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, I had The Big Show picked to win.  Not because I wanted him to or thought he deserved the honor, but because he was the biggest man in the event and the parallels have been made between he and Andre.  I love the concept of the battle royal, getting many Superstars on the show and paying tribute to one of the greatest Legends in the history of wrestling.  Kofi Kingston's near elimination was pretty cool. I thought he had gotten hurt and that's why the camera was on him because from where we were sitting it looked like a nasty spill over the top rope.  I was glad to see Kofi keep his streak of unique near eliminations alive.  But the true Wrestlemania moment came when Cesaro scooped up the Big Show and slammed him over the top rope.  It was a flashback to 1987 when Hogan slammed Andre to win the main event of Wrestlemania III.

Prematch stare down
RIP The Streak:
I'm not gonna lie, I thought the Streak would live on forever.  I had actually contemplated making a $50 bet with an old friend from high school that the Undertaker would win. I'm glad now that I didn't.  Another confession, I haven't been that into the Undertaker, ever.  I like the guy, don't get me wrong.  His matches from the past were very good.  But in recent years, I've just not been overly impressed.  I know I'm in the minority when I say that.  Finishers done on the opponent, several near falls, and finally the victory.  Don't hate on me for that, as I do respect the Undertaker and his contribution to wrestling.  But I was not fully engaged in the match with Brock, but looked up from my phone as Lesnar delivered the final F5.  When the ref's hand hit the mat the third time and the bell rang, I immediately thought Paul Heyman called for the bell and Taker had kicked out.  Then they flashed the 21-1 graphic on the screen and Heyman and Lesnar left the ring.  Like the 75,000 others in the Super Dome, I was shocked.  I did not cry though, nor scream bullsh!t.  I didn't leave either.

21 and 1
I was disappointed at first, but I think it makes perfect sense now.  The ending of the Streak garnered national media coverage.  Heck, a radio station from my hometown called me and interviewed me about it.  After sleeping on it, I had a different perspective and after Monday's Raw where Heyman introduced Lesnar as the 1 in "21 and 1", I loved the idea even more.  I don't know what the future holds for the Undertaker, but his legacy will not be tarnished by his loss at Wrestlemania 30.  I just hope they keep this momentum going for Brock and the loss was for nothing.



Triple H vs. Bryan
Yes! Yes! Yes!:
Taker's streak ending likely overshadows Daniel Bryan's victories at Wrestlemania 30, but it no doubt was another great moment that night. For years, I think Wrestlemania has lacked those definable moments, but this year there were several.  Bryan's initial win over Triple H in the opener sent him on a path of domination into the main event.  The match was really good, as I think both men put on one helluva show.  

I've said it before, I'm not a fan of Batista or Randy Orton, but both men put their bodies on the line for the sake of entertaining the millions watching this WWE World Heavyweight title match.  The Batista Bomb/Reverse RKO was phenomenal and Orton's crash landing on the monitor had many fans wincing in pain.  I wondered for a moment if he was going to be able to continue.  To his credit, Orton got back in their and fought an epic battle against his two foes.  

The new champ
Bryan overcame the odds of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon returning to ringside and the bogus actions of a corrupt referee to win the title.  Even though Bryan has held gold before, this victory seemed especially sweet.  I'd say 90% of the Super Dome was chanting YES! at the end of the match as confetti showered the crowd and Bryan.  It was a long and winding road, a slow burn that ultimately paid off in a big way for the WWE Universe and the new champ.  I don't know what the plan was before CM Punk left, but I don't care.  I'm happy to see Bryan win the big title at the biggest Wrestlemania to date. 

The Shield 
I've rambled long enough.  I was glad to see the Shield remain intact and look strong in defeating three WWE Legends in Kane, Billy Gunn, and the Road Dogg.  John Cena's victory was unexpected and I think unappreciated by a majority of the crowd.  It is what it is as far as I'm concerned.  AJ Lee's victory was clever, I liked it a lot and felt sorry for the Divas as they made their way to the ring moments after the Streak came to an abrupt end and fans took out their anger on the ladies in the ring.  

It was a solid show, the best Mania I've attended in person. Props to the WWE talent, producers, and all the men and women who make the magic happen and don't get recognized for it.  I'll write more about that soon.