Friday, July 1, 2016

Famer Friday: The Honky Tonk Man

IC champ
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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It's way too early to start speculating about the Class of 2017 for the WWE Hall of Fame, but here I go. When I first started doing the Famer Friday posts it was to advocate for the men and women of the mat wars that I feel deserve to be inducted. Then I changed it up to reminisce about current inductees. Today I'm back to someone I think should go in sooner rather than later.

The Honky Tonk Man was one of the first bad guys in wrestling that cheered. When he first appeared on WWF TV in 1986 he was a good guy. I barely noticed him and actually thought he was kind of goofy. Apparently millions of others felt the same way and soon HTM became a cool, cocky and bad heel. He was paired with manager Jimmy Hart.

Swinging at Savage
Courtesy: WWE
The two were perfect together and Honky took the Elvis impersonator gimmick to a whole new level. Not only did he shock me when he beat Jake "The Snake" Roberts at WrestleMania III, but also when he pinned Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat for the Intercontinental title. I thought for sure it was a fluke win and the Dragon would soon reclaim the gold. That didn't happen and HTM fought off challenges by "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake. He went on to become the longest reigning IC champion of all-time and still ranks among my favorite former champs.

Arm wrestling contest
There's another reason I like Honky Tonk Man. He is the first wrestler I ever met in person. It was 1997 and I was out with a reporter at the TV station KMOV in St. Louis. HTM was playing the role of good will ambassador for WWF and handing out tickets for the upcoming In Your House: Badd Blood pay per view. We chatted briefly before I beat him in an arm wrestling "match" to win a free ticket. It was an awesome experience.

Fifteen years later I met him again at WrestleCon in Miami. This time I was dressed like Vince McMahon and Chad was Jesse "The Body" Ventura. It was a much shorter encounter, but fun none-the-less. Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing HTM for my podcast. He says he has a good relationship with the company and thinks he'll one day go into the WWE Hall of Fame. I'm hoping it happens in the near future.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tarzan will help us find our abs

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Weight stats:
January 1: 193.6 pounds
June 30: 185.4 pounds 

It's hard to believe 2016 is half over. By my calculations, I should have at least a three-pack by now. But sadly I don't. The year started off strong as I suspected it would, and then I got caught up in life and stopped making the gym and healthy eating  a priority. 

Alexander Skarsgard as Tarzan
So Chad and I are going to start the Tarzan Challenge in July. It's a six week program created by trainer Nick Hounslow. The great thing about this is the workout can be done from home. I need that because in addition to the blogging streak I've created with My 1-2-3 Cents (this is day 35) I have also picked up new clients for my freelance writing business. Working out at home will save me about 35 minutes of travel time a day, but I do plan to still hit Gold's Gym from time to time. I'm also running daily (hit day 61 today). And before you say it, I know I'm not going to look like Tarzan at the end of six weeks.

I like craft beer and I can not lie...
My diet has to change. I write about this each month, but sweets are my kryptonite. While cutting them out completely isn't likely going to happen, I'm imposing stricter limits. I've never done much fast food so that's not a concern. But I will still continue to be a part of the Craftbeericans. Drinking craft beer will become my "cheat days".

Since writing these monthly updates I've been approached about signing up for different nutrition and supplement programs. I'm not ready for that at this point. Thank you to all who have taken an interest and offered me the opportunity to join your program.

WrestleMania bros
I hope I'm not annoying people with these posts. It's about two middle aged dudes trying to improve their lives and hopefully inspire some others along the way. I also look forward to the day I can tell people who keep asking "find those abs yet?" "Yes, yes I have."

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wrestling with Logic: Shooting blanks

Courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter
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I didn’t have a Wrestling with Logic last week due to there not really being anything to nitpick. Those weeks are few and far between. This week’s topic goes back to something we’ve discussed her several times; the little details.

At the beginning of RAW, Seth Rollins took center ring to talk about the triple-threat match at Battleground. During his promo, Seth mentioned he wasn’t supposed to talk about Roman Reigns’ suspension but since it was live TV and he had a live microphone, he was going to talk about Roman embarrassing the WWE.

As soon as Seth started to talk about Roman’s suspension, the production team put Roman’s apology tweet up on the Titantron. If Seth wasn’t supposed to talk about Roman, why was there a graphic already made and ready to be displayed? So once again, WWE’s desire to plan out every aspect of their shows takes away from unpredictability or intrigue.

A lot of people like to talk about how shocking CM Punk’s “pipe bomb” promo was as to what it takes to be a good promo in WWE. While Punk’s promo was most likely just as pre-planned and approved beforehand just like Rollins’ promo, the difference is WWE allowed Punk’s promo to come off as spontaneous. Had WWE production put up images of people Punk talked about during his promo or shown highlights of John Cena, Vince McMahon or ice cream bars, the impact of Punk’s words would have been nullified.

Steve Austin recently talked about the lack of realism in WWE at the moment and I couldn’t agree with him more. Realism comes down to the little details. If WWE wants to continue overproducing their product, that’s their choice. They just have to accept that doing so makes their programming as edgy as a Leave it To Beaver rerun.

John Cena Surprise

The John Cena Surprise
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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In general many of us are too negative. Cynicism and sarcasm rule our days. We're guilty of it here at My 1-2-3 Cents through some of the podcasts, blogs and YouTube videos. I am making a real effort to find the 'bright side' of things. This isn't to say I won't still voice my opinion and share 'My 1-2-3 Cents' when I don't like something, but I'm hoping good vibes and positive posts will encourage others to do the same.

I came across this video by Cricket called #JohnCenaSurprise. Spend 3:45 and watch it. The reactions from the unsuspecting fans are priceless. Nearly all of them made me laugh. All of the encounters put a smile of the person's face, which was the goal.

Cena gets bashed consistently by the Internet Wrestling Community for being 'Super Cena'. Some argue he's been around too long and hasn't shared the spotlight. After watching the John Cena Surprise it's even more clear why he's been THE MAN longer than anyone else in WWE's history. He's every man. He's willing to give back and spend time with the fans. Cena's appeal and reach is amazing.

So the next time you wanna complain about someone or something, think about using a different approach. Try to make more people smile and if you can make them laugh that's even better. More love, less hate.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Naming my monkey is driving me bananas

Name me...
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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A couple of weeks ago I started a contest to name the My 1-2-3 Cents monkey. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram friends and followers all weighed in. I narrowed down the choices to the four that seemed to be the most logical. 

I want to establish my brand and the monkey is going to become a big part of my marketing effort. My hope is to get on the site Pro Wrestling Tees by the end of the year with a variety of monkey shirts. To do that I need 5,000 Twitter and Instagram followers combined. I'm about 1,800 away from that as we speak. (Cheap plug: follow @kevinhunsperger on Twitter & @kevin_hunsperger on Instagram).

Long term plans include other merchandise featuring the monkey. My thought is if he has a name, it'll be even easier to brand. But here's my problem, even after talking with marketing and social media specialists who are not wrestling fans, fellow fans and just a random Snapchat sampling, I can't seem to seem to make up my mind. So I'm turning to you all again.

Gorilla Monsoon
The two finalists are Jitter (based off his appearance and the fact that the podcast I do is on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network) and Monsoon (named after the late, great Gorilla Monsoon).  I have reservations about both for various reasons. But I want more input from you.

So should the monkey be named
a) Jitter
b) Monsoon
c) None of the above, start over
d) Don't name the monkey

You can comment on this post, message me on Twitter (@kevinhunsperger) or on the       My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page. There's also Instagram and Snapchat too (hunsperger). Thanks for playing (again).

Monday, June 27, 2016

HOPE is my favorite four letter word

Tom, Roxi and Kevin
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Over the weekend I encountered one of the most humbling experiences of my life. I was
asked to co-emcee the Relay for Life of Williamson County for the American Cancer Society. My buddy, Tom Harness and I did our best to encourage those in attendance to donate and help support the projects in this area and the research efforts happening on a grander scale.

Isabella singing
Photo courtesy: Wes Bennett 
The evening started with a song by a young girl who has bravely fought a brain tumor the last two years. Six year old Isabella Borgens moved everyone to tears with her rendition of "Fight Song" to kick off the 2016 Relay for Life. Survivors and caregivers then walked the first lap of the night.

Courtesy: Melissa Lanelle
Throughout the evening I met and talked to many survivors and people still fighting the disease. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not care what race you are, what religion you practice or how old you are. Men, women, children, rich, poor, gay or straight. Anyone can be diagnosed.

Veterans' lap
Besides their cancer diagnosis, the people I met Saturday night had something else in common: HOPE. Each one of them smiled and spoke with such positivity it was encouraging. As new treatments and advancement are made, we know the phrase "you have cancer" is no longer a death sentence. There were plenty of fighters to prove that. 

Courtesy: Tom Harness
During the chalk lap, I took a moment to honor my mom who is in remission from bladder cancer. She received her last treatment more than three years ago and continues to be closely watched by her doctors. She fought very hard, stayed positive and had a lot of people praying for her and her doctors. I also remembered three friends who had their lives cut short by this dreadful disease.

The rain didn't dampen the spirit of the luminaria ceremony. Hundreds of paper bags with the names of survivors or people who have died served as a reminder of why we were all there Saturday night. I remembered my Aunt Rita and Uncle Dan who each died of cancer.

Courtesy: Tom Harness
Even though storms coming through ended the evening earlier, I learned that HOPE goes a long way. This disease is horrible and even though some people do die from it, there are many who don't. More birthdays are being celebrated, thanks to the support given to programs like Relay for Life. Learn more here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My wrestling resume

AAPW Commentary team in 2012
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I'll be up front from the start. My soul purpose for this post is to catch the eyes of Jeff Jarrett as his company Global Force Wrestling makes a stop near my home in southern Illinois. I want to be a part of the show and this post will aim to convince him of that.

Meeting Jeff Jarrett
I met Jeff Jarrett a couple weeks ago when I interviewed him for the TV station I work for, promoting the event on July 1 at Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois. I've also talked to him twice on the phone for the My 1-2-3 Cents Podcast. But I'm more than just a fan with a wrestling blog, podcast and YouTube channel.

Billy Gunn & Kevin Hunsperger
April 2005
In 2005 I got my first taste of the business. Ian Rotten asked me to be the ring announcer for the IWA: Mid-South April Bloodshowers show at the Herrin Civic Center. Billy Gunn wrestled Tracy Smothers that night and prior to that faced me on News 3 This Morning in a video game contest from hell. Ian had me back a couple other times, probably because I worked for free.

In 2010 I debuted as a referee for an event in McLeansboro for USCW. It was a challenging, but fun experience. Then about six months later I was asked to be on the commentary team for All American Pro Wrestling. This was an exciting opportunity because the show aired on WSIL-TV, the ABC affiliate in southern Illinois. That summer I also "managed" Velvet Sky at the TNA Basebrawl event in Marion. I'm not saying she beat Winter because of me, but I'm not saying my presence didn't hurt.

Courtesy: Jason Wilkey Photography
A storyline in AAPW developed where I had to get in the ring and wrestle. On January 14, 2012 I wrestled and defeated Mike Masters in my one and only match. It was one of the greatest nights of my life. The AAPW commentary gig transitioned into one for Pro Wrestling Collision. I did a guest spot at the Du Quoin State Fair in 2014 for USA Championship Wrestling. Finally in 2016, I became the ring announcer for Stride Pro Wrestling.

Stride Pro Wrestling 
I'm not looking for a paying gig on Friday, July 1 at Rent One Park. I just want to be a part of the action. Mr. Jarrett, give this long time wrestling fan a chance. You won't be disappointed.