Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Really? Really!

Photo courtesy:
By Chad Smart
It appears The Miz is going to shift his focus from regaining the WWE title to try and beat some respect into Alex Riley. While I think this feud could produce some good matches and will help elevate A-RI, I have some issues with the way the feud is progressing.

Disclaimer.  I have not watched Raw for the past four weeks with the exception of the CM Punk/Rey Mysterio match and Kharma explanation from the May 30 episode.  All I know about the Miz/Riley feud is from reading recaps of the show. I’ve told Kevin to read this and make sure it was accurate. So if you’re reading this, then I should have all the details at least 95% correct.

My first point of contention with the feud is how the Raw GM hired Alex Riley back to Raw after The Miz fired him from being his personal assistant. To me this shows there was no forethought on the part of the WWE creative department when planning out the Draft picks.  Either the firing of Alex Riley wasn’t something on the drawing board four weeks ago, or the brand extension isn’t even worth pretending it matters.  When Alex was drafted to Smackdown, did he not sign a contract to be on a property of the show? If so, then how could  the Raw GM sign him away without giving someone to Smackdown in return? Then again, how many times did Alex Riley ever show up on Smackdown since the Draft?  Maybe he never signed his Smackdown contract because he had the contract with The Miz. Not that I expect WWE to ever acknowledge this little detail.

Miz and A-Ri during more awesome times...
The other point of contention is how ever since he was fired, A-RI has gotten the upper hand on The Miz every time they’ve thrown down.  This is the same Alex Riley who for the past nine months was always getting beat like a rag doll at the hands of John Cena. Now all of a sudden he can get the better of The Miz, a former WWE champion. Someone will probably defend it as The Miz being the cowardly heel and Riley is now the plucky baby face who has been abused. He’s the Virgil to Miz’s Million Dollar Man. That may hold some weight, but it still doesn’t seem right.  There needs to be a growth period. You can’t take a guy from step 1 to step 5 and simply bypassing 2, 3 and 4.

I think Alex Riley has a future in the business and is someone to keep an eye on, but I think he’s being rushed into a position he isn’t ready for at the moment. To go back to the analogy, look at how fast Virgil fell after winning the Million Dollar Championship. If WWE creative aren’t careful, the same trajectory could await A-RI. Of course that also depends on if management sees dollar signs when they look at Riley or not.

What are your thoughts? Is Alex Riley going to be a player in the years to come, or will he be traded to Superstars before the end of the year? 

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Oh, Baby!

Photo courtesy:
By Kevin Hunsperger

Last week I wrote about Kharma's meltdown in the ring on Monday Night Raw and how I felt like it was an epic fail on the WWE's part.  Despite hearing lots of rumors about the reasons why, Kharma herself confirmed it on the Memorial Day edition of Raw.  She is in fact with child, and it is apparently a high risk pregnancy, so Kharma will be off TV for the next year.

I hope the WWE doesn't "future endeavour" her.  In the few short weeks Kharma had an onscreen role with the company, she changed the Divas division.  I know that's a somewhat bold statement, but she seriously re-energized my interest in that division.  I think it was the prospect of her getting into the ring and wrestling the likes of Beth Phoenix, Natalya, and Gail Kim (again).

Her character was headed in the direction of being a monster.  She instilled fear in the other Divas and tore through them.  There was a huge intimidation factor there.  I just hope this announcement and her time away doesn't kill any of the momentum she had.  Clearly now, when she returns she'll be a face.  Again, I'm not sure how I feel about that either, as I mentioned in last week's post, I think the WWE is missing that "monster heel" type character right now, and Kharma was great for that role.

Should the WWE have stayed away from the real life story here and just had Kharma laid out in the back and written off TV for a year?  That could have been done, and I'm not sure why they didn't go that route.
How will the fans react when she returns?  I've already read on some message boards that she'll never be back, that she's done.  I certainly hope that is not the case.  I look forward to seeing some in ring action for Kharma.  I think she's got "it" and will go even further in the business than she already has.

My other question, Brie and Nikki Bella are a part of the "anti-bullying" B A Star campaign the WWE is promoting.  Yet, weren't their actions on Raw rather bullyish?  (I think I just made up a word, but you know what I mean)  And I realize this is wrestling, but why have two spokespeople for this campaign out there doing the exact opposite of what they're preaching in the PSA's?

A few other tidbits from Raw:

While I don't like the whole blowing over of why the Raw GM signed Alex Riley back to the WWE, I like the push he seems to be experiencing right now.  However, I will remain loyal to the Miz.

Good to see Evan Bourne get a win, but is it going to amount to anything down the road?

I figured Dolph Ziggler would beat Kofi Kingston, that seems to be the formula in all non-title affairs.

I like, no love, the fact that Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole are not bickering during each segment on Raw. It's nice to hear them actually call a match, though I do miss Jim Ross.

The heel R Truth is growing on me and is more entertaining than the "What's Up?" dancing version of him.

Glad to see Zack Ryder getting a little love on Raw again.  Though we want to see him in the ring!

That's it for now.  Please subscribe here.  "Like" us on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to the YouTube channel.  My latest Broski of the Week submission is up.  Woo, woo, woo! You know it!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oh Mickie...

Mickie James, Me, and my daughter
By Kevin Hunsperger

My job as a TV news anchor and reporter has allotted me some opportunities to get up close and personal with several wrestlers through the years.  Many times, they stay in character so I don't really get to know their real personality.  Believe or not, the men and women in the ring are not exactly the same when they're not on camera.  Such was the case when I met the Miz about a year and a half ago.

I recently had the chance to meet Mickie James, the current Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion.  She was the guest at a USA Wrestling event in Carrier Mills, Illinois.  It's a very small town a couple hours south of St. Louis.  I was completely impressed with Mickie's professionalism and how she treated the fans while she was in town.

Earlier that morning, I did a phone interview with Mickie about her appearance. (thanks to Bert Prentice for setting that up).  She then drove up from Nashville, which was about a 3 or 3 1/2 hour trip.  She did this on her own time.  The event was free to the fans, USA Wrestling was collecting money for flood victims in the area.  For those not familiar with southern Illinois, we've had historic flooding in many communities and people have lost everything.  So the wrestlers walked the crowd at the match as well as at the carnival going on (it was Carrier Mills annual Catskin Days) collecting donations.

Mickie meets her fans
Mickie also posed for pictures in the ring with fans for a $5 donation and signed autographs for a contribution to the flood fund.  She collected no money from this appearance.  I was just completely impressed that she took the time out of her busy schedule of wrestling and writing and performing music to support a small town that she'd probably never even heard of.

I've been to other independent events before that have brought in big name stars.  Those guys have always pocketed all or almost all of the money collected from autographs and photos taken.  It was refreshing to see someone on the A list of wrestling be so willing to give back to others in need.  She was polite to the fans, smiling at them, offering up hugs, and saying kind words to them.  That's cool too, because I've seen some wrestlers snub the fans who are there to see them, by simply ignoring them or just being mean to them.

Someone on Twitter said I was sucking up to Mickie.  Maybe I am.  I just felt like letting people know that performers are people too, they're not always about being in the spotlight or having the attention focused on them.  Mickie James, in my opinion, did a noble thing by visiting this region and helping raise more than $530 to donate to the local Red Cross.

I was able to interview Mickie that night too.  I am working on putting together a couple of pieces on YouTube.  Be sure to check back soon for that.  Also, "like" us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Thanks!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wrestling with Disasters

Photo from WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger

Let me start off by saying this post is in no way intended to be disrespectful to anyone who has lost their life or home or loved ones in the recent string of tornadoes or any other natural disaster for that matter.  Regular readers know that I work in the news business, and we've been covering a lot of weather related stories lately.  It got me to thinking there's a connection to the world of wrestling.  It's just the way my brain works...

The Natural Disasters: Earthquake and Typhoon formed a team appropriately known as the Natural Disasters.  Before these two joined forces The late John Tenta was Earthquake when he first arrived in the WWF back in the late 1980's.  Typhoon was Tugboat, but changed his moniker after he became a heel.

This may have been the biggest team in wrestling.   At least they were as far as I can remember.  If I'm wrong, please let me know.  When the Quake left WWE for WCW, the brain trust there tweaked his name and he became Avalanche.  He would later change his name to the Shark.  Typhoon became known as the Shockmaster in a brief WCW run.  I think the Shockmaster was a play on earthquake and aftershocks, but I don't know that for sure.  I think really more people were shocked by his debut.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here.

From WWE
The Texas Tornado: Kerry Von Erich came spinning into the WWF in the summer of 1990 under the name "The Texas Tornado".  This was a time when Vince McMahon was tagging most of his superstars with a trademarked nickname.  Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat simply became "The Dragon", Davey Boy Smith was known as only "The British Bulldog".  You get the picture.

As the Texas Tornado, Kerry had a fairly quick rise to the upper mid-card in the WWF after winning the Intercontinental title at SummerSlam 90.  Even after he lost the title, he was still one of the companies top faces.  He had always been one of my favorites, so seeing him on the national stage made me happy.  I just questioned the name change and the fact that they almost completely ignored his heritage in the business.  Times were different back then.  Sadly, Kerry died in 1993 of a self inflicted gunshot wound. He was only 33 years old.  I often wonder where his career would have taken him, had he not died.

From WWE
The Hurricane: Shane Helms or Gregory Helms became the crime fighting Hurricane Helms and eventually was simply known as the Hurricane.  He held a handful of titles in WWE, including the tag team titles with Kane and Rosey.

If my memory serves me correctly, the WWE dropped the Hurricane name and gimmick in 2005 around the time of Hurricane Katrina, a disaster that killed nearly 2,000 people.  He went back to just being Gregory Helms.  It wasn't until 2009 the gimmick reemerged.  He was eventually released from the WWE in 2010.

These are the most memorable weather related wrestling gimmicks.  At least the ones I can think of.  Although I did meet a female indy wrestler named Rain.  And TNA now has Winter, formerly known as Katie Lee Burchill and Madison Rayne.  While we're on the subject of cold stuff, I guess you can throw Glacier in there too, right?  Don't forget about Al Snow, although that was more of his last name and not an actual gimmick.  And I think back in the day there was a tag team known as Thunder and Lightning, wasn't there?

Matt Thunder
Another independent wrestler on the southern Illinois scene is "The Wrestling Meteorologist" Matt Thunder.  I wonder how he would have held up against Earthquake and Typhoon.  You'll hear more from Thunder in the coming weeks.  Chad and I are soon starting a new feature with wrestlers around the country, so stay tuned for the details.

It seems like most wrestlers today have more conventional names.  We're no longer in the era of silly, fun, or goofy gimmicks and names.  Just something I've noticed and finally took some time to write about.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Stop Bullying Me

Photo from
By Chad Smart

If you’ve watched WWE or TNA programming over the last few weeks, you’ve probably seen each company has a new anti-bullying campaign.  WWE’s campaign is called, Be A STAR (Show Tolerance and Respect), while TNA’s is called, Eliminate the Hate. While it’s admirable both companies have created these bully awareness campaigns, I can’t help but shake my head in and sigh whenever I see the commercials.

TNA's Eliminate the Hate
I’ll save you readers from wasting time responding taking me to task for writing what about I’m to say by admitting I can be heartless and cruel, and maybe I don’t understand the severity of today’s bullying. All I know is when I was growing up; I was picked on and teased along with thousands of other kids across the country. Bullying is a part of life. Does it suck? Should people be kinder to everyone? Sure. But that does change the fact no matter what you do or say, the insecure bigger kid is always going to try and make himself/herself feel better by picking on a smaller weaker target. The problem I have with these campaigns is they are part of a growing problem in society where instead of teaching kids to stand up for themselves or do anything to make them stronger and build character, society keeps wrapping a giant security blanket around them to insulate them from the harsh realities of life. I could go on, but this is a wrestling blog and I should tie this more to wrestling and less to my societal views of a growing dystopia.

"Piggy" James
So bringing this back to wrestling, what is my problem with these anti-bullying campaigns, you ask? Am I the only one who finds it odd that organizations whose primary form of viewer entertainment revolve around people fighting are trying to get their fans to be nicer to one another. Wasn’t it just like year when LayCool were making fun of “Piggy” James for being fat? Weren’t Goldust, Chuck and Billy and Orlando Jordan seen as weirdoes and freaks for their alleged non-heterosexual personalities? Haven’t the majority of non-American wrestlers (or American wrestlers portraying other nationalities) seen as evil and a threat to the American way of life?  Even without the standard bullying mindset as a catalyst for a feud, which is more prevalent in a wrestling storyline, guys wanting to see who the better wrestler is or guys who hate each other wanting to decimate their opponent? 

If wrestling is built around violence and personal attacks is it not a bit hypocritical for WWE and TNA to sell their anti-bullying messages 30 seconds before promoting a match up where people are fighting for no other reason than because they don’t like each other?  Sure they can talk about how the wrestlers don’t really hate each other and it’s just entertainment and blah blah blah. But that would be like at the end of a Cheech and Chong movie having Cheech and Chong talk to the audience about not doing drugs. They’re sending mixed signals to the audience. And yes, I realized I just dated myself by referencing a duo that hasn’t been relevant since Ronald Regan’s first term in office. Guess I should have went with Harold and Kumar. Hopefully you get the point.

Maybe it’s just me. I have an odd way of looking at things sometimes.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WWEpic Fail

Photo from
By Kevin Hunsperger

One of my favorite things about Raw and SmackDown! over the last few weeks has been the development of Kharma.  For those living under a rock, she was once the Knock Outs champion "Awesome Kong" in TNA.

For weeks now, she has come out to the ring and interrupted divas matches.  Each time she's flattened one of the women in the ring.  The last couple of times, they've teased some kind of relationship with Kelly Kelly.

My curiosity was piqued when Kharma did not make an appearance Sunday night at Over the Limit.  However, I was glad to see her arrival Monday on Raw.  But what I don't understand is why the breakdown in the ring?  She's yet to have a match on TV and the character has already suffered some damage.   Remember, this is my opinion, if you disagree please leave a comment.

Of course, we don't know what's going to happen next with the angle.  There's no telling what the meaning of the "breakdown" was.  Maybe the writers have a grand plan.  It just appears that they had a lot of potential with a monster Diva in the company, but now they've teamed the beast.  This seems to happen with all the monster type characters the WWE has had in the past:  Vladamir Koslov, Great Khali, Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry.  You get the picture.

I guess truly only time will tell with Kharma, but I would have rather seen her menacing character continue.  Share your thoughts here or "like" us on Facebook and let us know what you think.  I'd appreciate it if you'd subscribe on YouTube as well.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Putting a Foot in Your Mouth

Picture from
By Kevin Hunsperger

The Kiss My Foot match wasn't the only thing about Sunday night's "Over the Limit" pay per view that left a bad taste in my mouth.  Overall, I was very disappointed with the event.  I'd say it felt more like a mediocre episode of Raw.

Not one title changed hands, and I'm not really complaining about that.  One thing I've talked about before is giving champions some time as the champ.  However, I really, really wanted both the Miz and Christian to win.  Or at least one of them, and we didn't even get that.

Picture from
Admittedly, I did not watch the entire event.  With a 2:30 a.m. wakeup call, I watched up until the world title match.  From what I've heard about it though, it was the match that stole the show.  I'm not sure where they'll go next with this program.  Is it over?  Will Christian turn heel?  Will he ever get a legitimate run as champ?  I certainly hope so.

I'm not even going to waste my time commenting on the Cena-Miz match.  Let's just leave it at I'm very disappointed with the outcome.

The one feud I think we may be finished with now is the Michael Cole-Jerry Lawler one.  At least I hope we are.  I felt like these two got way too much airtime for their program.  Guys like Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, and John Morrison have been sitting on the sidelines while a Hall of Famer and an announcer "feud" in the ring.

I will admit bringing in Bret Hart last night was an unexpected surprise.  It's always good to see the Hitman, in my opinion and to have him twist Cole up like a pretzel is even better.  The one thing I can't stand (or understand) is the whole foot in the mouth thing.  Looking at that picture makes me gag.  I hate feet in the first place.  I can't stand looking at them or smelling them, and I can not imagine having one in my mouth like that.  Especially after being in a sweaty boot all night.  Gross.

Not a whole lot of other surprises on the show.  I will say I figured CM Punk and Mason Ryan would beat Kane and the Big Show.  Chad suggested Alberto Del Rio would run some kind of interference.  I thought it might happen.  I did find it funny when Booker T asked if anyone could stop Kane and Big Show.  I thought yeah, just last week didn't David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty beat them in a non-title match?

Kharma at Extreme Rules (from WWE)
Probably my biggest question of the night, where was Kharma?  She's been coming out for weeks now attacking Divas and last week she had that whole little angle with Kelly Kelly and we got nothing.  I'm curious as to why not, and interested in seeing what her future holds with the company.  Right now, Kharma is honestly one of the highlights of watching Raw and SmackDown!

I'm curious to know what you thought of the show. Comment here or like us on Facebook and leave your 1-2-3 Cents there.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ring of Honor Sold

By Chad Smart

At their show in Chicago Ridge on May 21, Ring of Honor announced the Sinclair Broadcasting Company had bought the independent wrestling company.  From what I’ve read it appears ROH will begin having a weekly television show on Sinclair owned TV stations and possibly syndicated in areas where there are no Sinclair stations beginning in September. In addition, the TV show will be available online so fans who don’t get the show on TV in their area can still watch it. While I don’t think WWE or TNA should be shaking in their boots right now, it could be a move that potentially changes the landscape of wrestling if Sinclair is serious about making ROH succeed.

Ring of Honor recently celebrated their ninth anniversary. They had their first show a few months before TNA did their first pay per view. While TNA was first out of the gate with PPV and a weekly TV show, ROH’s game plan was a throwback to the old territory days.  ROH focused more on running a loop of towns and building an solid fan base.  While TNA started running before they learned to walk, ROH was content with learning to crawl before walking.
For the past two years, ROH had a weekly show on HDNET. While the show was usually praised by the fans who watched it, HDNET didn’t have the penetration needed to significantly improve ROH’s live events attendance or DVD sales. I believe the new deal with Sinclair, and possible syndication, will give ROH a bigger audience than HDNET offered. ROH will have one advantage over WWE and TNA in that potential viewers will not need cable or satellite packages to view the show. All Sinclair stations are available as over the air signals.

Photo from
As I said in the intro, I don’t think WWE or TNA should be worried about this deal right now, but they also shouldn’t take this announcement lightly.  Actually, I change that thought. WWE shouldn’t worry, but TNA and ROH should be concerned about what the outcome of this deal leads to down the line. Currently ROH’s roster is mainly guys who have been on the indy scene with the exception of Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, the current ROH tag team champions.  If Sinclair wants ROH to draw an audience, and have the money to spend, I can see them trying to land some bigger names.  Either guys who were recently in WWE or TNA wrestlers who have grown tired of playing second fiddle to the current ex-WWE flavor of the month.

On the flip side of the coin, if ROH’s business starts to pick up, I wouldn’t find it that surprising to see WWE throw some money at guys like the Kings of Wrestling, El Generico, Haas and Benjamin or other top talent in an attempt to knock ROH down a peg or two. They say history has a way of repeating itself.

Photo from:
The one element I’m most curious to see play out over the next year is how, if at all, ROH’s product changes. I’ll admit, I’m not really an ROH fan. I haven’t bought an ROH DVD since 2006 and the last show I attended was in 2009 in Houston over Wrestlemania weekend. My biggest complaints with ROH is their production values and lack of variety.  Bad lighting and poor audio would make some DVDs a chore to sit through. While the matches featured good wrestling, they all felt the same. Lots of stiff hard hitting moves and guys kicking out of finisher after finisher made matches that could have been great seem like watching a match straight out of a video game. From reading reviews of shows online and on wrestling message boards it seems the average ROH fan considers any match that lasts at least 30 minutes and has 25 finishers a 5 star classic. To me, any time a guy kicks out of more than two finishers it exposes wrestling as being less than legit. It’s why I don’t rank the Undertaker/Shawn Michaels and Undertaker/Triple H matches from the last three Wrestlemanias as being great. They were nothing but paint by number Indy matches. I’m getting off topic.

When ROH was doing their HDNET shows, they would tape two months of shows in one weekend. I don’t know if that’s the plan with the Sinclair show or not. One change that appears to be in place is to not hold the tapings in the same location. The HDNET show, with the exception of one weekend of tapings, was taped at the old ECW Arena in Philadelphia. The first Sinclair taping is at the Field House in Chicago Ridge. I think taping in different venues is a good idea. It’ll make each show different and the same fans won’t show up for every taping.

Back to what I started to say before in regards to the ROH product, will they continue to keep the main focus on the athletic element or will they start to incorporate more typical wrestling storylines into the product?  Is Sinclair going to stick behind them for the long term or are they wanting a homerun after the first bat?

Photo from:
Come September a lot of older wrestling fans will get to relieve some of the excitement of their youth. Twenty five years ago, there was WWF, NWA and AWA to choose from on a weekly basis. Fifteen years ago there was WWF, WCW and ECW.  Now there’s a choice of WWF, TNA or ROH. Are we on the cusp of another wrestling boom period? Only time will tell. 
Here’s a list of stations owned by Sinclair which should be airing the ROH weekly show.
WTTA Ch. 38 in Tampa
WUCW Ch. 23 in Minneapolis
WPMY Ch. 22 in Pittsburgh
WNUV Ch. 54 in Baltimore
either WLFL or WRDC in Raleigh
Either WUXP or WNAB in Nashville
WSTR Ch.64 in Cincinnati
Either WCGV or WVTV in Milwaukee
WMYA Ch. 40 in Asheville/Greenville/Spartanburg
KMYS Ch. 35 in San Antonio
Either WTTO, WABM or WDBB in Birmingham
WTVZ Ch. 33 in Norfolk
Either KVMY or KVCW in Las Vegas
KOCB Ch. 34 in Oklahoma City
WMYV Ch. 48 in Greensboro
WNYO Ch. 49 in Buffalo
WFGX Ch. 35 in Mobile
WDKA Ch. 49 in Cape Girardeau
WNYS Ch. 43 in Syracuse, NY
WMMP Ch. 36 in Charleston, SC

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Match Made in Heaven

Photo from
By Kevin Hunsperger

When it comes to wrestling couples, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better one than "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth.  The two were married in real life when Savage introduced her as his new manager.

It was the summer of 1985.  I remember watching Wrestling Challenge and Superstars and all the managers were vying for Savage's contract.  Mr. Fuji, Jimmy Hart, Freddie Blassie, Bobby Heenan, and Johnny V all wanted to represent the Macho Man.  Then in what could be described as a surprising turn of events, Savage introduced an unknown woman as his new manager.  Here's a clip of it from YouTube, courtesy of the WWE.

Back then, having a female involved in a managerial role was pretty rare in the WWF.  World Class had been doing it, as had the NWA.  With the exception of Cyndi Lauper's brief stint with the company, Liz was the first female manager in the WWF(E).  Someone please correct me if I'm forgetting someone else.

Photo from
The two remained married even after their TV relationship dissolved.  Savage picked up Sensational Sherri as a manager.  The two were the royal couple of the WWF.  They were together on air for about two years before Savage turned face again and was saved by Liz at Wrestlemania 7.  Sherri had been kicking Savage while he was down after losing a retirement match to the Ultimate Warrior.

Savage and Sherri worked well together, but obviously didn't have the chemistry he and Liz did.  Sherri though was able to get aggressive since she was a wrestler.  She'd take bumps for Randy, something Liz couldn't do.  She was tough.  The two even teamed up to face Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire at Wrestlemania 6.  The match was mediocre at best.  Rhodes and Savage would have had a better match on their own I think.

But as I mentioned, Savage and Liz reconciled after Wrestlemania 7 and the two had a TV wedding.  I've written briefly about that before.  Click here if you want to know more about that.

Ironically enough, the two ended up divorcing briefly after their SummerSlam wedding.  However, if my memory serves me correctly, they remained an onscreen couple, at least briefly.  The two would reunite in WCW years later.  Liz and Lex Luger would eventually hook up on screen and behind the scenes.  Sadly, she died in 2002 or 03 of an apparent drug overdose.

Besides the initial introduction of Elizabeth and their reconciliation and wedding, one of the defining moments this couple's time together was Savage's title win at Wrestlemania 4.  The two together in the middle of the ring with Liz on Savage's shoulder with the title on her own shoulder.  I would venture to say it was the highlight of both of their careers.  As a 15 year old mark, I was quick to jump on the Macho Man's band wagon.  I liked him before as a heel, but his value increased in my young eyes when he aligned himself with Hulk Hogan.

Another fond memory of this couple would be the buildup to the Savage-Ric Flair Wrestlemania 8 title match.  "Before she was your's, she was mine, wooooo!"  I loved the angle.  Of course I was fully behind Flair back then, loving the heel character more than the kinder, gentler Randy Savage.

But of course, good triumphs over bad, and the first couple of the WWF had reason to celebrate again.

No matter what new couples the WWE throws our way, I don't know that they'll ever be able to top the Macho Man and Liz.  The two have reunited again in that big ring in the sky.  Godspeed to both of them.

Friday, May 20, 2011

RIP Randy Savage

My Macho Man action figure from 1986
By Kevin Hunsperger

May 20, 2011 is truly a sad day in wrestling.  One of the all time greats has died.  "Macho Man" Randy Savage apparently suffered a heart attack and crashed his SUV into a tree.  He was only 58 years old.

Media outlets (including TMZ, Fox Sports, and MTV) are reporting the crash happened in Largo, Florida.  Savage's wife was in the SUV and suffered minor injuries.  His brother, "Leaping" Lanny Poffo says Savage had a heart attack behind the wheel.

Twitter and Facebook are already buzzing with tributes to the former world heavyweight champion.  My heart is very heavy as I write this.  As some of you know, I work at a TV station, and just this morning, we were talking about Macho Man.  In fact, my producer, who is a wrestling fan too had played Savage's famous "Pomp and Circumstance" theme during a commercial break and ran video of Macho Man on the green screen behind me.  I mimicked Savage's movements during the break and belted out a loud "Oooohhhhh yeaaaahhhh!  Dig it!"  This was just hours before the accident.

I have a lot of great memories of Macho Man.  But with as many live shows I've seen, I only got to see him in person one time.  He wrestled Razor Ramon in the fall of 1992 in Cape Girardeau.  It was the main event of the house show.  Ramon won the match  I believe via countout.  This was obviously towards the end of Savage's WWF career.  His early days with the company were outstanding.

Courtesy WWE
Several moments really standout to me.  His Intercontinental title match against Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania 3 has withstood the test of time nearly 25 years later.  His face turn with Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation attacking he and Elizabeth only to be saved by Hulk Hogan was another favorite moment of mine as a kid.  Of course, probably his biggest moment was winning the WWF title at Wrestlemania 4.  Savage beat Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, the One Man Gang, and Ted DiBiase all in the same night to claim the company's top prize.

Then there was the Main Event when Savage turned on Hogan and the MegaPowers exploded.  This led to Savage dropping the title back to Hogan.  His heel run and time as Macho King were memorable due to the coronation ceremony and the flashy "royal" garb he wore from then on.  Savage would retire, reconcile with Elizabeth, and get bitten by a cobra all in the same year.  He went on to win the WWF title a second time, beating Ric Flair in a classic match at Wrestlemania 8.  Savage lost the belt back to Flair, feuded with a handful of others before leaving for WCW, where he also won the world title.
Photo from WWE
Savage made a brief appearance in TNA back in the mid 2000's and retired from the ring before doing some acting.  He was also known by the main stream media as the spokesman for Slim Jim's.  I believe he has a place in history as one of the top stars of all time.  He was a favorite of many and loved by fans worldwide.

I hope with the passing of the Macho Man, Vince McMahon puts whatever existed between the two of them to rest and does the right thing by inducting Savage into the Hall of Fame next year.  It's something the fans wanted while Savage was still alive, now it's too late.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Over the Limit Predictions

Photo from WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger

Another pay per view is on the horizon for WWE.  This time, Over the Limit.  It features several matches we've already seen on the previous two PPVs, but with some twists.  Others we've seen played out on SmackDown! and Raw.

I did some tongue and cheek predictions on my YouTube Channel.  Please check that out and be sure to subscribe to it as well.  Thanks.

I'll be a bit more focused and serious in the blog though.  Let's start with the WWE championship match. John Cena and the Miz are going at it AGAIN, this time in an "I Quit Match."  I can't imagine Cena saying those two little words.  I almost always have that opinion though with the baby face in the match.  I figure that Cena will win this one, even though he really doesn't need the win.  But I think they're preparing for some kind of program with he and Alberto Del Rio.  A Miz win would be, well awesome, but where would it take the Miz?  There's no other faces on Raw that he hasn't already had a run with that would be considered championship worthy.  Of course maybe Rey Mysterio.  But he's been the champion before, at least if Del Rio is pursuing the title, he's never held it before and it is something somewhat fresh.  That's really the only reason I'm picking Cena, because of a lack of challengers for the Miz, especially with John Morrison on the shelf for several weeks.

I think Randy Orton will also end up retaining.  Why would they have him drop the World title this quickly after winning it?  I'm serious.  I know that Christian literally lost it on his first title defense days after winning it.  Remember, I'm writing what I THINK will happen, not what I WANT to happen.  If it were up to me, Christian would have never lost the title in the first place.  But we can't change that fact. I wonder if a heel turn is in order for the former champ.  I'd like to see him become a big thorn in Orton's side and get a second, longer reign as World champion.  It may happen, but I doubt it will Sunday night.

RTruth's heel turn has been interesting.  While he's not as annoying as he was with the "What's up?" yelling, he still gets on my nerves.  It seems like he's getting a little bit of a push, and even though he and Rey Mysterio are about the same age, I think he will end up going over Rey and preparing for another battle with Morrison when he returns in the next few weeks.

The Jerry Lawler-Michael Cole feud is like a train accident.  As much as you don't want to watch, you do. Lawler deserves better than this, and with the added stipulation of the Hall of Fame ring now in their "Kiss My Foot" match, I feel like this is an angle from TNA.  Cole has gotten the upper hand at the last two PPVs, therefore I think the King will end this feud with a much needed win (and ass whipping for Cole.)  But then how do these two go back to working with each other on Raw?  In my opinion, they shouldn't.  You know my thoughts on Cole's future.  But I don't know that anyone is listening.  (I think he should be a manager)

Mason Ryan and CM Punk are the latest duo thrown together because the WWE forgets they have tag team champions.  Will these two have what it takes to beat Kane and the Big Show?  I think they do.  I actually like the prospect of the Nexus team.  But no matter who wins the match, the writers MUST focus on developing a tag team division.  No more fly by night contenders, please.

Wade Barrett needs to defend the Intercontinental title against Ezekiel Jackson.  Barrett hasn't been champion that long, but he needs it.  And they need to start booking him better.   A win over Zeke will put him in a better place, but he needs to start scoring wins over bigger names on the roster.  Right now both these guys are on midcard island.  Barrett has the skills to make a break for the top.  Let's do this right guys.

Only six matches have been announced.  I figure they'll add one more, maybe a Divas match.  Maybe Kofi will defend the U.S. title.  Maybe Kharma will finally have her in ring debut.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Remembering the Bulldog

The British Bull"hog"
By Kevin Hunsperger

It's hard to believe it's already been 9 years since the passing of "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith.  He was only 39 years old when his heart gave out on May 18, 2002.

Davey Boy was one of my favorites, but he was also a part of my all time favorite tag team, the British Bulldogs.  He and Dynamite Kid brought something new to the WWF back in the mid 80's when they arrived in the company.  Davey Boy was without a doubt the power house of the duo, but he could certainly work a great match too.

After reading "Hitman" by Bret Hart, I've learned some things about DBS that I had heard read online in the past.  I know life on the road is tough.  The training, the traveling, the injuries.  All that pressure takes a toll on a person.  Sometimes these superstars aren't strong enough to beat the demons they face.  According to Bret's book, Davey used steroids and other drugs.  That coupled with his intense training and work in the ring likely cost him his life.  He's another wrestler gone way too soon.

But I'd rather focus on the good memories I have of DBS.  As you can tell from the picture posted, he obviously had a sense of humor.  That was at a house show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.  He and Owen Hart were defending the tag team titles in a fatal four way.  The Smoking Gunns, the New Rockers, and the Godwins were their opponents.  It was a few days before Halloween in 1996, and since HOG & PIG were there, I'm guessing Davey Boy decided to don the pig mask.  Even though he and Owen were the heels, I cheered loudly for the two of them.

Davey was one of those wrestlers I always cheered, whether he was a heel or a face.  I liked his work in the mid 90's, after he turned on Diesel and feuded with Bret Hart and started teaming with Owen.  Jim Cornette was their manager.  I really felt like at one point DBS would go on to win the world title, but that day never came.

I was stoked when he won the Intercontinental title from Bret at SummerSlam 92.  I think that match will hold up as one of the all time great IC title matches in the history of the company.  It's also one of the best SummerSlam matches ever.  Maybe the best.

Davey Boy jumped from WCW and WWE several times in his career.  His last run with the WWE was a brief one and saw him in more of a role of putting guys over.  He was on the losing end of his program with the Rock, and then was partnered with the Mean Street Posse briefly.  I'm not exactly sure why that came about.

Photo from: WWE
Another one of my favorite memories was watching he and Dynamite win the tag team titles from Brutus Beefcake and Greg Valentine at Wrestlemania 2.  Ozzy Osbourne was in their corner and proclaimed after the victory "The British Bulldogs forever!"  Sadly that wasn't the case and the two eventually split up when they returned to Stampede in 1989.

I'll always have those memories of Davey Boy's days in the WWE and WCW.  Now I look forward to watching his son, David Hart Smith carry on the family name.  I just wish the WWE would come up with something better for this young man.  I still believe he has a lot of potential.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@my123cents), and subscribe on YouTube.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Photo from
By Kevin Hunsperger

For some reason the WWE can't seem to keep any kind of team or group together for more than 18 months or so.  We've seen in recent weeks LayCool split up.  Ezekiel Jackson was dumped from the Corre a couple of weeks ago.  And now it appears that Michael Cole and Jack Swagger are finished.

I just wonder if this is a ruse of some sorts for Sunday.  But assuming it's not, I don't like the idea of these two "feuding", especially if it means any more wrestling from Cole.  The "broadcast journalist" would make a great manager for Swagger.  Or if they want to split them up, Cole could perhaps find another wrestler to get behind and manage against Swagger.

I don't like that so many friends end up feuding.  Tag team wrestling is truly a forgotten art that needs to be revisited.  It looks like the makeshift team of CM Punk and Mason Ryan are now working together.  They're getting a shot at the gold Sunday.  I don't ever remember these two even teaming up before.  Now, they're the number one contenders to the tag team titles.  This shows you the dire need for a revitalization of the tag team division.

I'd be willing to wager that if Punk & Ryan (who I'm not opposed to seeing as a team) win the belts Sunday, Michael McGillicutty and David Otunga will split from them and issue a challenge.  Then the "new" Nexus will be finished too.  Of course I'm putting the cart before the horse, but I'm going with what's been presented to us for the last 3 or 4 years.

Seriously, the WWE in my opinion needs to build up the tag teams.  Work on more alliances.  And stop creating make shift one night only tag teams.

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Not All Wrestling Companies Are the Same

Photo from
By Chad Smart

As I mentioned in my last blog, WWE and TNA have pushed me past my breaking point with their reluctance to push new stars and storylines that have logic gaps so big they make Armageddon look plausible. I have so far kept to my vow to not watch Raw, Smackdown or Impact for the past couple of weeks. Though I did watch most of Sacrifice.

While WWE and TNA may have turned me off to the current mainstream-wrestling product, there is another company that has me eagerly awaiting their next round of monthly shows. That company is based in Eastern Pennsylvania and is called, CHIKARA.

In an attempt to cleanse the negativity from the my123cents blogs, I’ve decided to try and spread the word about CHIKARA so that if there’s anyone else out there who may be feeling the same way I am about wrestling in general, they will know there is a promotion who understands the fundamentals of storytelling and solid wrestling.

CHIKARA is in their 10th season, yes season.  Until a few years ago, CHIKARA ran shows from February through November.  December and January were the off-season months.  As the company has grown, so have the number of shows which now include the season kickoff in January and the season finale in December.  Having a season is one of several unique features about CHIKARA.  Because they view each year as separate somewhat self-contained season, there is usually one large over arcing storyline told throughout the year with several small storylines mixed in as well.

Don’t start thinking these storylines only exist in the span of whatever season they take place in though. CHIKARA is probably the only wrestling company whose memory stretches back to their beginning. One of my friends who is also a CHIKARA fan once commented CHIKARA is the LOST of wrestling promotions. Sure you can jump into any show and be entertained, but there’s a lot of back-story and subplots that you won’t fully comprehend with only a one show viewing. Unlike LOST, CHIKARA hasn’t lost focus of where they’re going. Not only does the company do a good job with keeping their history alive during each season, the commentators never neglect to inform the viewer of past feuds or events that have significance to the ongoing match. The reason storytelling is important to CHIKARA is due in part to CHIKARA founder, "Lightning" Mike Quackenbush being an avid comic book fan. A lot of CHIKARA DVD covers are homage’s to comic book covers, and a lot of the storytelling aspects are derived from different comic book stories.

CHIKARA’s acknowledgement of history is only a small part of why I enjoy the company. Their roster is made up, I believe, of mostly guys who have gone through the CHIKARA Wrestle Factory training school. There are no big names on their shows except during the King of Trios tournament, unless someone really impresses and they decide to bring them back for a few shows. Even then the biggest name they’ve had do multiple shows with an ongoing story line has been Glacier. The unknown factor of the majority of the roster is appealing because you get to see wrestlers grow into personas and watch them become better wrestlers. I can understand this might not appeal to everyone. A lot of people probably don’t want to see rookies earning their stripes and would prefer to see seasoned guys who rarely mess up. For me there’s something about seeing someone debut and watching them mature that helps form a connection to the person. It’s like discovering some unknown band or musician and watching them go on to achieve stardom.

Since CHIKARA is influenced by the Lucha Libre style of wrestling there are a lot of masked wrestlers and wacky gimmicks. When I’ve tried introducing friends to the CHIKARA roster, I’ve gotten a lot of "are you serious" looks and comments from them when they first see some of the wrestlers. I don’t know if any realm outside of CHIKARAland would be fitting for a trios team called the Colony which is comprised of Soldier Ant, Fire Ant and Green Ant.  Or the Osirian Portal team of "the Funky Pharaoh" Amasis, Hieracon (who wears a mask that looks like an bird) and Ophidian (who’s mask resembles a cobra and has been known to hypnotize his opponents.) Over the years the outrageous characters have kind of fallen by the wayside, though some of the older "stars" may make an occasional appearance, now the roster is made of solid wrestlers who just happen to not be your generic 6’2" 240 pound guy with a six pack and tribal tattoos.

Darkness Crabtree (from
Before telling more about the promotion, I’ll share my CHIKARA story.  I discovered CHIKARA in 2005 right before their annual Tag Team Grand Prix tournament. Tag Team Grand Prix was discounted after 2006 when CHIKARA crowned their first Campeones de Parejas. The following year the now traditional King of Trios tournament took the place of Tag Team Grand Prix. Back to 2005, I was intrigued by this promotion I’d never heard of before. When my original vacation plans fell through, I was scrambling to find something to do for a week in May. As fate would have it, CHIKARA was running their monthly weekend of shows the same time I had an open schedule. After mapping out a route, I made the 15-hour drive from southern Illinois to Reading, Pennsylvania. After a few hours of sleep, since I had driven though the night, I headed out to The Riverside in Reading for a night of CHIKARA action. I think the Riverside is similar to a Legion Hall or Elk’s Club. That night there were maybe 30 people in the crowd. Twelve of who were from the local home for the mentally impaired. While it may not have been a large crowd, the action and entertainment of that night cemented by ne- found obsession with CHIKARA.

I attended another show the next night in Emmaus, Pennsylvania in a similar sized building. There was a slightly larger crowd that night and the atmosphere in the place I would put up against any WWE/WCW/TNA show I’ve been to with the exception of Wrestlemania. In the span of 48 hours I was hooked on CHIKARA. For the remainder of 2005, I bought all the major CHIKARA DVDs. From 2006-2009 I bought EVERY DVD. During the summer of 2009 when my DVD collection had grown to around 750 discs, I started to examine my life and decided to get rid of anything deemed unnecessary in an attempt to live a more minimalist lifestyle. A goal I’m still trying to achieve. This life choice resulted in getting rid of over 550 DVDs. Sadly, I ended up selling all my CHIKARA DVDs. It’s a decision I’ve been regretting over the recent months.

Part of the decision to sell the DVDs was due in part to the direction of CHIKARA in 2010. The big storyline of the year was the invasion of a group called Bruderschaft des Kreuzes (Brotherhood of the Cross). When the BDK were unveiled at the end of 2009, I was excited at the prospect of the following year. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the BDK dominance quickly became very similar to the NwO invasion and I lost interest in CHIKARA.

Recently my interest has been revived and I’ve been wishing I had some of the older shows to go back and watch. Part of my resurgence is because of my lack of interest in WWE and TNA and wanting to see good wrestling. And part of renewed interest is because CHIKARA is a fun and entertaining promotion. I ordered the King of Trios DVDs and was not only impressed by the CHIKARA roster, but feel Sean Waltman who returned to his 1-2-3 Kid persona for the weekend had three of the best matches I’ve seen him wrestle since 1999.

I’ve been thinking about this blog for the past few weeks trying to figure out what I wanted to say and how to say it in less than 10,000 words. One of the main points I wanted to try and get across is why CHIKARA ha the effect on me that it does. The simple reason is, CHIKARA is fun. Watching CHIKARA takes me back to when I was a kid watching wrestling. Maybe it’s because I don’t know anything about the behind the scenes activities. I don’t know if the seemingly typical backstage drama goes on in the CHIKARA locker room. Nor do I care. When I watch a CHIKARA show, all I’m focused on is what’s happening in the ring. Thankfully, the in ring action grabs my attention and doesn’t let go until the end credits roll. I don’t know if Mike Quackenbush does all the booking and writing himself or if there’s a CHIKARA writing staff. All I know is whoever is responsible is doing something right.

Fire Ant
Another aspect that I enjoy about CHIKARA that both WWE and TNA could learn from is CHIKARA is a family friendly company. There is no foul language during the shows. There are no story lines that would be considered risque and yet CHIKARA manages to put on entertaining shows with feuds that captivate the audience. For everyone who complains about WWE being PG and missing the Attitude Era should really check out CHIKARA and realize PG doesn’t hinder good storytelling.

Currently CHIKARA has the Campeones de Parejas and Young Lion’s Cup. The Young Lion’s Cup is a yearly tournament consisting of guys under the age of 25. The winner of the tournament defends the cup until the next tournament. The Campeones de Parejas though, only get defended when a team has earned a title shot. In order to get a title shot, a tag team must earn three points, which is three consecutive victories. If a team has 1 or 2 points and loses their next match they go back to 0 points. I like this concept because it makes the titles look important and builds up the team who is challenging for the championship. There are no random title matches thrown on a card just to get it on there. By having a system in place where challengers have to earn the right to get a title shot, it makes the title matches mean something.

Starting with this weekend’s shows, CHIKARA is kicking off the 12 Large Summit to crown their first singles champion. Twelve members of the roster, who were voted into the tournament by the roster, will compete in a round robin tournament throughout the year with the champion being crowned on November 13th. I eagerly await this tournament and foresee my DVD collection growing again.
My biggest complaint with CHIKARA is that the only way to really follow them is to buy their DVDs. I wish they would jump on board the growing trend of doing Internet PPVs or establish a video on demand service to watch their shows online. But if that’s my only complaint with the company, I think I can live with it.

While I’ve said quite a bit, I don’t think I’ve said enough to really get across how awesome CHIKARA is and why you should be checking them out. If you want to check them out, their official website. Their YouTube channel is. And you can get CHIKARA DVDs by clicking here.  If anything, I’d recommend checking out their weekly Podcast A Go Go to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world of CHIKARA.

If you want to keep up with my123cents, we have a Facebook page. Follow us on Twitter @my123cents and check out videos on YouTube.