Saturday, June 11, 2011

In This Corner...

Escorting Velvet Sky to the ring (photo from SI Miners)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a wrestling manager.  I knew that I would never be able to cut it as a wrestler.  I don't have the athleticism or physique to get in the ring and perform.

I've had a couple of opportunities in recent years to ring announce, ref, and even do some color commentary.  On June 10, I got the ultimate opportunity.  I was in the corner of TNA Impact Wrestling Knockout Velvet Sky.  Although it was a brief experience, it's one I'll never forget.

Let me start from the beginning.  A couple of months ago, TNA announced plans to hold a Basebrawl event at Rent One Park (home of the Southern Illinois Miners, in the Frontier baseball league)  As soon as the show was announced, I made contact with the folks at Rent One about getting a TNA star on the morning show I anchor.  In the past I've interviewed Billy Gunn live on the air, as well as Sid Vicious and Jerry Lawler on the phone.

D'Lo Brown in the house!
It wasn't until Wednesday that I found out who would be coming in.  It was D'Lo Brown, a former star in both TNA and the WWE.  Now he is an agent for TNA.  I've got to tell you, D'Lo was absolutely awesome.  We spoke briefly before the show and he was really cool.  I think sometimes wrestlers are leery about doing media interviews, but they are pleasantly surprised to learn the guy doing the interview is a die hard wrestling fan.

I know the product, and I think that helps make them comfortable.  Plus, I'm not going to ask silly questions or act like a mark.  At least I try not to!  D'Lo did great and told me to look him up at the stadium that night.   I had won a local radio contest to get the shot at being a manager.  D'Lo let me pick who I would manage, and I went with his suggestion of Velvet.

I made a video for the contest to get the chance to be a manager for the night.  My Facebook friends wanted me to head to the ring as Professor Wrestlestein.  But once I got to the show, I was asked not to dress up.  They didn't want me taking any attention away from Velvet, Angelina Love or Winter.  I was cool with that, but somewhat disappointed.  But it was their show, I was just there as a guest.

Our match was the second, and I waited in the "backstage" area on the field before the show started.  Cookie, Robbie E., and Eric Young kicked off the event.  I got to meet Dave (or Earl) Hebner as I waited for the ladies to show up.  D'Lo arrived with them on a golf cart and introduced me to Velvet.  He explained to her that I was a local news anchor and she started to tell me what I needed to do out there.  D'Lo interrupted and told Velvet I was a big time wrestling fan.  I think that put Velvet a bit more at ease too.  But honestly, my heart was pumping and I was so nervous.  I just didn't want to look like a tool in front of a crowd that big.  It's different than looking like a tool on the news, because those people aren't there yelling at me in person.

Hello!
We ran through the inflatable dome together and I walked around the ring as Velvet did her provocative entrance.  The fans ate it up.  And I'm not bragging here, but there were some loud "Kevin Hunsperger" chants from the front row.  Of course it was a group of guys from the AAPW group here in southern Illinois.  Other viewers of our morning show were also calling my name.  That was a great feeling, despite the fact that I felt I looked very lame out there.

This was the write up from the PW Insider on the match: "Velvet Sky w/ Kevin Hunsperger defeated Angelina Love w/ Winter. Kevin won the "Be a Manager" contest from ESPN Radio. He's an anchor for WSIL TV. The ringside fans seemed more interested in chanting for Kevin, as he's a well known personality, at least in the section I was at. I believe the ending saw a failed interference attempt form Winter, which led to Velvet rolling Angelina up for the win."

Keeping Winter at bay (photo by Jim Olsen)
Basically all I did was go after Winter when she attacked Velvet.  Of course there was no contact made, as I was the baby face and baby face guys don't hit women.  I also played the role of cheer leader, pounding on the mat and starting a "Let's Go Velvet!" chant when my gal was down.  After she picked up the win, we went back stage and did an interview with the local ESPN station.  Again, it was surreal experience, and something I have always dreamed of.

I went back to my seat with the rest of the My 1-2-3 Cents posse.  My friends crack me up as they were taunting and yelling at the guys in the ring.  They even had a "We Hate Kevin" chant.  Gotta love friends.  Chad and I had a chance to go back stage again and meet several stars and get pictures taken.  Other than managing Velvet, my other highlight was getting in the ring after the show with Kurt Angle and having a picture taken.

Representin' the 3 I's...
I know in the past we've taken shots at TNA and the management of the company.  I will say this about Friday's show.  They make the evening as fan friendly as possible.  Considering this was a house show, they had a lot of meet and greets and chances for fans to get up close and personal with the stars.  The only time I've seen anything like that with the WWE was at Wrestlemania Axxess, which costs a heck of a lot more than the TNA event.

This is the tip of the iceberg, I'll do a video response a bit later.  Thanks for reading.  Check out all the photos from Friday night on My 1-2-3 Cents on Facebook.  Follow us on Twitter.  And subscribe to the YouTube channel.

2 comments:

  1. Way to go, Kevin! You lived the fantasy of every male TNA fan.

    Was there a particular reason D-Lo recommended Velvet? Just wondering.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks! It was a dream come true. I'm not sure why D'Lo recommended her. But like I said, it was awesome.

    ReplyDelete