Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Stars of 2012

Three stars on the rise...
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Since it's the last day of 2011, I guess it's safe to post my pics for rising stars of 2012.  Last year when I did this, (actually I posted it on January 3) I picked three superstars who I thought would rise to the top.  Drew McIntyre, John Morrison, and Daniel Bryan.  You can read the detailed blog here, but clearly I was off on my picks.  I couldn't tell you the last time I saw Drew on TV.  Morrison is now "gone" from the WWE after months of jobbing and rehabbing from an injury.  Bryan is now the World heavyweight champion, but people are already speculating when he's going to loss the title.  So let's look ahead to 2012.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rey Mysterio (from WWE)
Dolph Ziggler is my pick for 2012, hands down.  The guy has the look, he's got the talent, and he's got the drive.  To steal from Lex Luger, Ziggler is truly the total package.  At least he is in my view.  Now I don't think he'll walk out of Monday night Raw on 1/2/12 with the WWE championship, but I think this opportunity is going to take him to new heights in 2012.  He had a successful 2011 as U.S. Champion.  Some people argue he should dump Vickie Guerrero as his manager, but I think the opposite.  I like this pairing.  My hope was that Dolph would win the Royal Rumble and face CM Punk at Wrestlemania, but it appears that is not going to be happening, especially since the two are meeting on Raw in two days.  So I think Dolph will win Money in the Bank later this summer, and perhaps cash in before the end of the year. He has come a long way from the Kerwin White's caddy, and a member of the ever peppy Spirit Squad.  #Heel

Cody Rhodes (from WWE)
Cody Rhodes is already a star in my view in the WWE.  However, I think in 2012, he is going to rise to the next level.  He's currently the Intercontinental champion, but I really believe this year, Cody will take it a step further.  He's come a long way since his debut in the WWE back in 2007, where I figured he'd probably spend most of his time with the company on the midcard.  But in 2011 something clicked, and Cody came out of his shell.  I figured of the three mainstays in Legacy, he would be the least likely to succeed.  I thought Ted DiBiase would be in Cody's position now.  I've enjoyed the maturation and the development of his character.  While he's still not as charismatic as his famous father, he's definitely got talent and a lot of potential.  I'm hoping if we don't get a world title run from him in 2012, we at least see him hanging more with the main eventers.

Heat Hatton vs. the Convoy (from Adam Testa, AAPW)
Heath Hatton is a name many of you are not familiar with, but I think by the time 2012 closes out, more of you will know who he is.  Heath is an up and coming superstar with All American Pro Wrestling.  He spent most of 2011 as a co holder of the AAPW tag team titles and wrestling in other independent groups around southern Illinois.  Now Heath is taking his talents to the next level.  In addition to the indy dates he has in Illinois, Heath is working with the folks at Ohio Valley Wrestling.  For those of you who don't know OVW was the developmental territory for the WWE and is now being used by Impact Wrestling.

Hatton vs. Shane Rich (from AT)
I've watched Heath develop over the past 12 months and become a better wrestler and a better person too. He's dedicated improving in the ring, training all the time and it's paying off for him.  He's defended the AAPW tag titles by himself on more than one occasion in 2011.  He's also wrestled more than once on the same card.  Heath is also there to help set up the ring.  Bottom line, he's paid his dues in 2011, and in 2012 I think he's going to get the recognition for it.  He'll continue to shine in AAPW, but I think he's going to take it to the next level and by this time next year, more of you will know exactly who Heath Hatton is.  Check him out on AAPW Collision.

Just for time sake, I'm going to keep this at three guys.  However there are plenty of talented individuals in the indies, on Impact Wrestling, and the WWE.  I think Kharma could have a really good year, as well as Primo & Epico, and James Storm.

Thanks to all of you for reading My 1-2-3 Cents this year, you've helped make this blog a success.  Continue reading and share us with your friends.  Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and don't forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel.  More videos are coming in 2012.  Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

In Memory...

@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

As 2011 comes to a close, it's time to look back at those we lost this year.  May they all rest in peace.

photo courtesy: WWE
photo courtesy: Chikara Pro
photo courtesy: Percival A. Friend

photo courtesy: iOffer
photo courtesy: Lourdes of Evolution
photo courtesy: the Turnbuckle Post
photo courtesy: Ultimate Sports Talk
photo courtesy: Wikipedia
photo courtesy: the Wrestle Zone
photo courtesy: IMDB
photo courtesy: Pro Fight Data Base
photo courtesy: Facebook
photo courtesy: The Guardian

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Winner Is...

By Chad Smart & Kevin Hunsperger
@my123cents on Twitter

Movies have the Oscar.  Television has the Emmy.  WWE has the Slammy.  We here at My 1-2-3 Cents have the Centy.  Yes, we've decided to come up with some year end awards to present for the best and worst in professional wrestling, aka sports entertainment.  We'll each weigh in on the category as to why we picked the winner.  Some may be duplicate thoughts, but Chad has a much more extensive knowledge of the independent scene, so this could be interesting...

Wrestler of the Year:
Eddie Kingston
Chad's Pick:  Eddie Kingston. The first Chikara Grand Champion has to be Wrestler of the Year. This was harder to choose than I expected. While I expect Kevin to pick CM Punk, I think Punk had a good last 5 months of the year while Kingston had a solid full year. And I'm a Chikara mark so I am obligated to pick one of their wrestlers for this category.

 Kevin's Pick:  Chad knows me oh so well.  I do pick CM Punk for Wrestler of the Year.  Punk in my opinion helped change the game in 2011.  I'll be the first to admit, I'm a bandwagon fan of his.  It wasn't until he started the Straight Edge Society that I started taking notice of him.  He had a good year and I hope it continues in 2012.

Michael Cole made us all cringe
Channel Changer of the Year:
Chad's Pick: Michael Cole. Hands down the "Michael Cole as heel commentator" is one of the worst ideas the WWE brain trusts have ever thought put on TV.  How anyone in charge can't see or not understand how damaging Cole is to the overall product is beyond me. His constant burial of now World Champion Daniel Bryan tells fans they shouldn't take Bryan serious. With WWE seemingly shifting attention to a new generation, all focus should be on creating and establishing new stars not telling the WWE Universe the Superstars getting airtime aren't worth being on television. Dishonorable mention would also go to Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan. 1997 called. They want their lead heels back. 2011 is not the time for heelish authority figures who shouldn't ever be in a wrestling match.

Kevin's Pick:  Gotta agree 100% on this one too.  Michael Cole may be the most annoying personality in the history of Monday Night Raw.  I blogged about my dislike for his commentary several times this year and his hand in the constant burial of Jim Ross.  If he's the voice of the WWE, I vote for a big case of larnygitis in 2012.  I also think Hogan and Bischoff could be on this list.  The whole father-son feud between Eric and his boy Garrett makes for unentertaining television.

Promo of the Year:
Chad's Pick: Eddie Kingston's Road to High Noon promo. While I had already made plans to order Chikara's first Internet PPV as soon as they announced the date, the Eddie Kingston promo Chikara posted a few days before the show guaranteed I was going to order the show twice. This promo did exactly what it needed to do. It stressed how important the match Eddie was having against Mike Quackenbush was to Eddie personally and how much winning the Grand Championship would mean to Eddie. This is honestly the only promo I can remember that gave me chills each time I watched it. While CM Punk's Kickoff to the Summer of Punk promo was also really good, in the world of "If it's on TV it's been approved by management," the promo lacked the organic realness of Kingson's promo.

Kevin's Pick:  Having only watched a little of Chikara, I don't know much about it.  But I thought Kingston's promo was real and from the heart.  But in an effort to stop constantly agreeing with Chad, I'm going to go with the Summer of Punk Promo.  Sure it was scripted, but I haven't heard so much buzz about a single promo by a WWE star in years.

Angle of the Year:
Chad's Pick:  While the follow up was botched, it's hard to deny the Summer of Punk redux wasn't the most talked about event of the year. WWE had a storyline that had fans genuinely interested in and unsure what was going to happen next.  Unfortunately, WWE didn't get the post title win time to build and make Punk's return really impactful. 

McGuire vs. Allwardt (courtesy Adam Testa)
Kevin's Pick:  Excellent points made by Chad, but I'm going to do some self promotion here and say the current storyline between AAPW Champion Edmund "Livewire" McGuire and Ax Allwardt has been very entertaining.  These two have taken their hatred for one another to a new level.  There have been back stage attacks, in ring attacks, and even an incident in the parking lot.  It all comes to a head at AAPW Main Event on January 14th.

Randy Orton (from WWE)
Most Hated:
Chad's Pick:  Randy Orton. For the life of me I can't figure out the appeal of this guy. Actually Most Hated is probably to strong and gives Orton too much credit. He's more like Most Useless Waste of Space. Orton is a  John Cena in training. Guy who gets beat up a lot but ultimately wins in the end. I really do want someone to logically explain to me his appeal. And his tattoos are stupid. In a Most Hated in a Fun Way it has to be Icarus. The guy has been on the ChikaraChikara roster. How he can stay so hated on a roster where fans appreciated everyone is a testament to his heelish talent.

Kevin's Pick:  Michael Cole.  You can read my reasoning in the Channel Changer of the Year.  Again, I feel he'd do a better service as a manager, just keep him away from commentary.  Bottom line, he's obnoxious.

Most Under appreciated:
Chad's Pick:  Until the past month I would have said the TNA Originals. But it appears TNA may actually be starting to give them the spotlight. I guess I'll say the WWE tag team division. Though I don't know if it's under appreciated or just under used.

Natalya at the Royal Rumble (from WWE)
Kevin's Pick:  Natalya.  I think there are a lot of good choices here, and I like Chad's suggestion about the tag team division.  I feel like Nattie got screwed out of the Divas title at the Royal Rumble by dropping it to Eve and has really not gotten her traction back since then.  I like her alliance with Beth Phoenix, but Natalya seems to be on the losing end of a lot of her matches.  She's one of the best female wrestlers the company has ever had, they need to let her shine more.

(from ROH)
Most Overrated:
Chad's Pick: Davey Richards. As much as I don't see the appeal of Randy Orton, the fandom of Davey Richards completely baffles me. I went to a PWG show back in January with a friend who had gone to a show with me back in 2007. My friend doesn't follow wrestling and hadn't seen a show since the few shows he saw in 2007. When Davey Richards came out to a chorus of cheers, he was stunned. "Isn't this the same guy everyone booed and called an oompa loompa?" he asked. I don't get the appeal the Strong Style form of wrestling. As much as I like watching wrestlers pretend to hurt each other, I greatly dislike seeing wrestlers actually hurting each other. When Richards won the ROH World Title, he allegedly didn't know the match was over and couldn't remember the last half of the match due to a concussion.  Given the number of concussions in wrestling and the lingering effects they can have one a person, wrestling promoters should encourage a style that is less harmful on wrestlers not more harmful.   Outside of his personal wrestling style, compared to Davey Richards, Randy Orton looks like Ultimate Warrior on the charismatic scale.  I was happy when Davey said he was going to retire at the end of 2010. I wish when wrestlers talked retirement they would actually stick to it. 

Kevin's Pick:  Alberto Del Rio.  All sizzle and no steak as far as I can tell.  The WWE wants us to buy into him, but I'm still not sold.  He may have won the Royal Rumble, Money in the Bank, and two WWE championships, but Del Rio still hasn't impressed me yet.  Now that they've paired him with the Bella Twins, I wonder if management thinks he's not over either. However, I've read that Vince McMahon is high on him, so I'm sure we'll see more of a push for the Mexican aristocrat in 2012.

Zack Ryder vs. Dolph Ziggler (from WWE)
Breakout Star:
Chad's Pick:  I'm not really sure I want to go with him, but Zack Ryder is the only wrestler I can really think of for this category. I'm still on the fence on if his cult popularity can be sustained by his in ring skills or if he's going to be a flash in the pan. Plus, I think WWE has mishandled Zack by taking him from guy not on TV to US Title in such a quick fashion. I will give Zack credit for creating his own destiny. 

Kevin's Pick:  Good choice, but I'm going with Dolph Ziggler.  He shined in his series earlier in the year with Edge and proved he can be a main event player in my book.  Dolph had his ups and downs throughout the year, but he won the U.S. title and held it for nearly six months which is quite a feat.  He also did a couple of double duties on WWE pay per views this year.  I still think 2012 is going to be an even bigger year for Ziggler.

Only in Wrestling:
Chad's Pick:  Santa Playa and Hornswoggle the Elf.  Viewers of WWE's TLC PPV got to see one of the lamest and probably borderline racist and other ISTs promos with Teddy Long dressed as Santa Claus and Hornswoggle as an Elf. I really want to know who came up with the idea and who decided it should be shown on TV. I don't think you'd see anything like this anywhere else except for maybe on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or South Park.

Snooki with the win (from WWE)
Kevin's Pick:  I'm going to go with the surge of non wrestlers stepping into the ring.  I don't know if it's really a surge, but specifically I'm talking about Snooki and Ronnie from the Jersey Shore.  Each made their wrestling debuts this year.  While I know wrestling is more sports entertainment these days, would you ever see the Situation suit up for the New York Giants?  Or how about JWoww playing for the WNBA?  Of course not.  And what's worse is when these "celebrities" go over in the match.

Show of the Year:
Chad's Pick: Chikara's High Noon. Chikara made their Internet PPV debut and put on a stacked show from top to bottom. While Money in the Bank had the Match of the Year. I don't remember much of the undercard. High Noon on the other hand was the culmination of stories that spanned a year or longer. High Noon was what Wrestlemania used to be. The crowning of Chikara's first Grand Champion was ten years in the making and lived up to the hype.

Kevin's Pick:  I didn't see a whole lot of pay per views this year, so it may not be totally fair for me to make a pick here.  However, I felt like Money in the Bank was the best of what I saw.  

Ophidian (from Chikara)
Star on the Horizon:
Chad's Pick:  Ophidian. While Ophidian had a losing record after his partner Amasis was injured early in the year, I think 2012 will be his breakout year. Ophidian attacking Amasis at High Noon after Amasis announced his injuries were so severe he wouldn't be able to ever wrestle again was the stepping stone for Ophidian's singles career. I am curious to see what Ophidian does during Chiakara's Season 11.

Kevin's Pick:  Cody Rhodes.  I'm not sure if he qualifies or not, as he already is a star.  Maybe I should have switched he and Dolph Ziggler on the breakthrough performer.  Regardless, Cody definitely stepped up his game in 2011 and as far as I'm concerned has outshined his fellow Legacy members (Orton and Ted DiBiase)  I see big things for the son of the American Dream.  Only time will tell if he fulfills his destiny (sorry Alberto)

Female of the Year:
Del Rey & Kharma, from Shimmer
Chad's Pick:  Sara Del Rey. The Queen of Wrestling had a remarkable year after breaking free from the BDK and coming up just short in Chikara's 12 Large Summit. Now that's she demolished Jakob Hammermeier, I expect her to try and make a run at becoming Chikara's first female Grand Champion.

Kevin's Pick:  Kharma.  Her time with the WWE was brief, and I still think she'll be back, but has there ever been so much buzz about a Diva before her first appearance?  I loved the vignettes the WWE put together and how Kharma came in and destroyed all the women who got in her way.  I'm really curious to see where the angle was headed, but Kharma has been on the shelf, preparing to deliver a baby.  I expect big things from her in 2012 and I hope she and my choice for honorable mention, Beth Phoenix have some type of program against one another.

So, what do you think?  Who would you have awarded with a Centy?  Post your thoughts here or on Facebook, Twitter, or even YouTube.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Wrestling Year in Review

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

This is more of a personal year in review.  I'm going to talk about some of the highlights of 2011 for me in terms of wrestling, and quite honestly there are so many.  I'd have to say this was the best year for me terms of wrestling.  It was the first full year that this blog has been up and running and as of this entry, we're at more than 104,000 page views since September 2010.  The My 1-2-3 Cents YouTube channel is also picking up steam, something that I'm proud of and vow to work harder on in 2012.

The most popular aspect of the YouTube channel is all the One on One Wrestling interviews I have posted.  In 2011 alone, I've interviewed Mickie James, D'Lo Brown, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, and Hacksaw Jim Duggan.  All of them were awesome to talk with.  There's no way to pick just one specific highlight from doing these interviews, so collectively I would say having the opportunity to sit down with all of them throughout the year has been an amazing experience.  I will say that my interviews with Lex and Nikita (they were at a local church together) went more than 20 minutes.  Much longer than I had anticipated because I knew they were both busy, but I thank all these legends who took the time to talk with me.

Another highlight of 2011 was getting the chance to serve as a "manager" to Impact Wrestling Knockout Velvet Sky.  It was part of the summer Basebrawl event at our local ballpark.  I won a contest on ESPN Radio.  She wrestled Angelina Love that night, who had Winter in her corner.  I basically wondered around outside the ring and prevent Winter from interfering.  It's something I never imagined I'd get the chance to do, and while I didn't look like Bobby Heenan or Jimmy Hart out there it was a great time.

The My 1-2-3 Cents Posse
Attending my fifth Wrestlemania was a lot of fun this year too. Chad and I were joined in Atlanta by our fellow My 1-2-3 Center Travis.  Travis and I flew down together and ran into Mean Gene Okerlund at the airport.  He agreed to let us get a picture with him.  Very cool considering it was a busy airport and he probably had other places to be.  Of course the posse dressed the part of Wrestlemania as well.  We went as the Heenan family, I was the Brain.  Chad played the Red Rooster and Travis dressed as the Brooklyn Brawler.  One thing that sticks out to me about that day wasn't so much Mania, but earlier in the day we attended the WrestleReunion event a few blocks away and Terri Runnels spotted me in the crowd and asked to have a picture taken.  That was plain awesome.  Travis and Chad had moved ahead in the room, but when she got a glimpse of them, we posed for another shot.

The Ryder Revolution really took off this year too with Zack Ryder creating a YouTube channel in an effort to get over with the fans.  Clearly it worked, as he is now the reigning U.S. Champion.  As he was rising to the top, he asked viewers to submit videos to become the esteemed "Broski of the Week."  I'm proud to say that I'm Episode 22's BOTW.  Woo, woo, woo! You know it!  While there's no cash prize involved, it's one of those things that just makes you feel good.

Me and my broadcast colleague Chris Hagstrom
While all those events were awesome this year, I'd have to say the biggest highlight was being asked to be the color commentator for All American Pro Wrestling.  I've talked about it a lot on this blog, but having the opportunity to be a part of a local independent wrestling show is something I've dreamed about for years.  Now I'm living that dream.  AAPW Collision is going strong and showcasing the talents of a lot of local wrestlers.

Yep, I'm wrestling on January 14
Something else I'll be doing in the new year, which will likely be a highlight for the 2012 blog is wrestling in my first match.  The Masterpiece Mike Masters has challenged me, and I've relunctalently accepted.  I'll be sharing more details about that in the coming days, but I can tell you if you live within a driving distance of Marion, Illinois, it'll worth the drive.  Besides the hard working stars of AAPW, internationally known wrestlers PAC, El Generico, and Colt Cabana will be coming to town.  It's Saturday, January 14.  Click here for ticket info!

Of course without you readers, this blog wouldn't even exist, so once again, I thank you for your readership and look forward to writing more stories in 2012.  Your feedback (good and bad) is always welcome too.  Don't forget, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

12 Days... Heenan's Gift

The real Dream Team
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Every year Prime Time wrestling had a Christmas special.  In it, Bobby Heenan usually ended up looking like a fool.  And he did it all so well.

In a previous 12 Days... post I shared one with Roddy Piper beating up a Santa clad Heenan because the Brain was letting the secret out.  In this clip, Heenan and cohost Gorilla Monsoon decide to exchange Christmas gifts.  But Bobby thinks he's getting hoodwinked and destroys his gift, only to be surprised that Gorilla had good intentions for his cohost.

When I go back and these old clips I really miss those days.  Heenan and Monsoon were the bomb dot com back then and worked so well together.  So for this final day of Christmas, enjoy this clip.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days...A Stunning Christmas

Stunner! stunner! stunner!
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Sometimes when Santa shows up on a wrestling show he's there to spread Christmas cheer.  But in most cases, as you've seen from the 12 Days... blogs, Santa is usually there to cause some kind of trouble.  Such was the case back during the Attitude Era of the WWF.  I'm not sure of the exact year here, but I'm guessing it was 1998.

This footage as I understand it aired after Raw went off the air.  Santa was in the ring and expecting Sable to come out and sit on his lap.  An official told St. Nick that the diva wasn't coming out and a little kid came into the ring instead.  The boy said the man in the beard wasn't the real Santa to which the faux Father Christmas kicked the kid out of the ring.

That's when we cue the sound of shattering glass and Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out to talk to Santa...

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hanukkah Heroes: Day 4

Dean Malenko (from WWE)
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Halfway through the countdown of top 8 wrestling personalities.  Today's entry has become such an integral part of the WWE behind the scenes they named a wrestler after him. Its the "Man of 1,000 Holds" Dean Malenko.

Benoit, Douglas, & Malenko
Dean, son of legendary wrestler Boris Malenko and brother of Joe Malenko, who was a talented wrestler in his own right, first appeared on my radar when he was part of the original ECW.  As part of the Triple Threat with Shane Douglas and Chris Benoit, Dean would hold the ECW Tag Team titles as well as the TV title. Probably his most famous match from ECW was the Two out of Three Falls match with Eddy Guererro on both guys' last night in ECW before they moved on to WCW.

The Horsemen
In WCW, Dean helped make a star out of a debuting Rey Mysterio Jr. and had one of the best feuds of 1998 with Chris Jericho. Eventually Dean would re-team with Chris Benoit as members of the Four Horsemen.  Backstage politics would eventually lead to Dean, Chris, Eddie and Perry  Saturn leaving WCW and making the jump to the WWF during the Monday Night Wars.

While Dean had some success in the WWF, his career was cut short by neck injuries.  Dean transitioned into a backstage role as an agent helping other wrestlers plan out their matches.  After ECW folded, Mike Bucci (known as Nova in ECW) debuted in the WWF as a workout guru named Simon Dean. This was a rib on Dean Malenko as his real name is Dean Simon.

Malenko continues to work in the agent role and makes the occasional cameo on WWE programming helping to break up a fight or randomly appearing backstage.

The wrestling menorah is halfway lit. Who's next on the list? Come back tomorrow and find out. In the meantime, Like us on Facebook, read our tweets on Twitter. And get some eggnog ready for when we stop by your house while we're out caroling. 

12 Days... Feliz Navidad

Santa takes a beating
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

It never seems to fail that almost every time Santa Claus is involved in a wrestling story line, either the jolly ol' elf is going to get hurt or inflinct some kind of pain on someone.  It's like during a wrestling wedding,  you just know something is going to go wrong.

Such was the case back in 2006, when Konnan and other members of the Latin American Exchange called out Santa Claus.  The three stable members were boasting in the ring when St. Nick came out.  Then Konnan went off on Santa for neglecting to bring members of LAX the toys they wanted as children.
But this was no ordinary Santa.  He was rather skinny and young looking.  In fact, you might say he was a Runt.  After a brief beatdown by the heels, a group of faces makes the save.  Despite the commentary from Mike Tenay and Don West, this clip is not too bad.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Night of Champions!

From WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Don't confuse this post with a preview or review of the WWE summertime pay per view by the same name.  Oh no.  Instead, I'm talking about the picture to the left.  All of the WWE champions came together for this shot.

For some reason, this picture just speaks volumes to me.  Is it a sign of things to come in the WWE or is this just a group of transitional champions, holding the place for John Cena, Randy Orton, and Triple H to step back in?  I really hope that's not the case.  After reading the ratings recap of Raw from December 19, it looks like the new formula lost ratings.  But one week with a drop doesn't mean the company should abandon ship on this new idea.

The WWE has long needed new blood and fresh talent in the deep end of the pool.  Now they've got the wrestlers in place, it's important they let them swim.  Daniel Bryan could very easily fall into the same category of world champions like Jack Swagger, Sheamus, and even more recently Alberto Del Rio.  My hope is that the company is firmly behind him on this reign and it's not just a knee jerk reaction.  My hope is that we'll be seeing Bryan defend the world title at Wrestlemania this year.  What an incredible journey he's had so far.

I like the fact that the WWE is working on grooming Epico and Primo in the tag team ranks, but besides them and of course Air Boom, the only other regular team I can think of is the Usos.  I've talked about this since starting this blog more than a year ago, it's time to focus on more tag teams and give Evan Bourne and Kofi Kingston some legitimate competition.

The Ryder Revolution finally came through and the Long Island Iced Z has won his first singles title in the WWE.  I'm glad to see that his hard work getting himself over caught the attention of the powers that be.  Zack is a deserving superstar indeed, I just think they could have let this one develop a little more.  He went from virtually only appearing on Superstars to feuding with the U.S. Champion.  And speaking of Dolph Ziggler, I still see big things in his future and will write more about that soon.

Beth Phoenix is the ultimate Diva right now.  She's on top of the world and that's the way I like it.  I am still hoping for some kind of program with Kharma once she returns from maternity leave.  For now though, I'd like to see the Glamazon continue to dominate the women's division and hold onto the title.

Cody Rhodes has impressed me a lot since his debut in the WWE several years ago.  He's breaking out of the shadow of his famous family and is holding his own in the ring.  Cody is a great performer and I think the best has yet to come for him.  His work as a heel has been downright awesome.  I believe he'll be another one to keep an eye on over the next 12 months.

Finally, the CM Punk.  I'd like to think that his influence is behind some of these changes.  He's coined himself the Best Wrestler in the World, and I'll admit I'm a believer.  At the same time, I'll tell you when he first arrived in the WWE, I wasn't impressed with him.  It wasn't his in ring work that bugged me, I just couldn't buy into his character.  But like Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, and John Cena, I truly believe the WWE is letting Punk be more like the real Punk.  It's refreshing when guys can tweak their own personalities and not be saddled with some preconceived gimmick and be a "character".  Of course that doesn't work for everyone, but guys who have that "it" factor tend not to need some silly gimmick.

So not that anyone from the WWE will actually be reading this, but if by some off chance someone does, please keep this momentum going.  Change is good.  It may take other fans some time to get on board, but I believe in the long run, this "new" era is going to be good for business.

What are your thoughts?  Weigh in here or on Facebook or Twitter.  Thanks for reading.

12 Days... Hitman Holiday

Bret Hart & Santa Claus
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Back in 1992, Bret Hart was the newly crowned WWF World heavyweight champion.  He had beaten Ric Flair for the title and made his first pay per view title defense at the Survivor Series about a month later.  His opponent, Intercontinental champion Shawn Michaels.

After Bret beat Shawn (with the sharpshooter, I believe) Santa came into the ring to celebrate the victory.  It even snowed inside the arena afterward.  This was the dawn of a new era in the WWF.  Following the celebration, Santa and Bret headed to the locker room and cut a promo.  Bret told the jolly old elf what he wanted for Christmas, and he ended up getting it several months later in the form of Yokozuna.  Sadly though, Santa still hasn't delivered that wish of peace to everyone.  Maybe next year.

Here's the Hitman's wish.

Hanukkah Heroes: Day 3

Joey Styles & Joel Gertner
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Number six on our list of the top 8 Jewish wrestlers really isn't a wrestler. While he did wrestle a few matches in his career  he was known first for his ring announcing skills, then as a quasi-manager and finally as a commentator. Today's inductee is none other than "The quintessential studmuffin, the man whose wit is more tongue in cheek than a lesbian orgy, Joel 'The man whose phone number is on your girlfriend's speed-dial, because she loves the way I star sixty-nine her' Gertner."

Joel rose to prominence in the original ECW where after starting as ring announcer he wound up as the Dudley Boys personal hype man until they left ECW for the WWF. After the Dudley's departure, Joel moved to the commentary table alongside Joey Styles during ECW Pay Per Views. If memory serves me right, Joel usually wound up getting muscled out of the booth by Cyrus by the end of the first or second match. Basically Joel would show up deliver a clever barely work safe rhyme and then be bounced to the back. 

Gertner in the original ECW
After ECW folded in 2001, Joel made a couple of appearances for TNA in 2002 and wasn't seen again until One Night Stand. Not sure what Joel is up to these days. His services are missed in today's wrestling landscape. I think TNA should bring him in as Immortal's personal ring announcer. Or WWE could bring him in to feud with Ricardo Rodriguez.

Come back tomorrow to find out who's next up on the Hanukkah Hero list. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. My123Cents make the holidays better. We're the Internet equivilent to spiked eggnog. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hanukkah Heroes: Day 2

Chad meets Kelly Kelly
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

The second installment of the Top 8 Jewish wrestlers brings some sex appeal to the My123Cents page. Number 7 on the list is former WWE Diva's Champion, the girl so nice they named her twice, Kelly Kelly. 

K Squared made her wrestling debut in the WWE version of ECW in 2006. Kelly was only 19 when she first appeared on ECW.  At first, Kelly played the role of an exhibitionist who performed a striptease during the weekly ECW show. Each week she would start her striptease and shortly into her performance her "boyfriend" Mike Knox would come out and stop her. Kevin and I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly at an ECW show in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I got her to autograph a Kelly Kelly shirt I had made for the show.

Kelly Kelly as champ (from WWE)
Kelly had a brief reign as Diva's champion earlier this year and looks to be staying in the title hunt. I have to admit that last year, Kelly Kelly would have probably made my top five of most improved wrestlers. While I don't know why she has started yelling like Monica Seles during her matches, I have to compliment her with her seeming willingness to improve on her in-ring skills instead of resting on the laurels of her beauty. 

Only six more Jewish wrestlers to announce. Who will make the cut. Get it? Make the cut? It's a bris joke. We like to stay classy here at My123Cents.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook. Come back tomorrow for number 3 on the Top Jewish Wrestler list. 

12 Days: Joe vs. Christmas

Samoa Joe takes out the tree
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Christmas 2007 and Samoa Joe was not happy with the powers that be at TNA.  Or at least that's how the story line went.  I actually remember watching this segment during Impact, but it honestly doesn't seem like it was four years ago already.

I'm going mostly by memory, but I think Jim Cornette was playing the GM role on the show, trying to woe Joe to stay with the company.  Joe was frustrated and felt mistreated and was looking for a reason to leave.  Then Matt Morgan, who had some kind of "executive" role in the company too (storyline) and threw a lavish Christmas party.  In the clip you're about to watch, you can see one of the Bushwhackers (sorry I could never keep them straight) in the background.

Joe confronts Morgan about the party and then takes out his frustrations on the innocent decorations.  Click this link to check it out.  For some reason Blogger isn't letting me load videos like normal.

Hanukkah Heroes: Day 1

Barry Horowitz (from WWE)
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

With the holiday season upon us, most of our readers are probably building ginger bread houses, hanging lights, singing carols and waiting on the jolly fat guy to come down the chimney. I'm talking about Santa Claus, not Bastion Booger.

While Christmas celebration preparations are in full effect, there's another holiday going on that we here at My123Cents would like to celebrate in our own way. Over the next eight days, in celebration of Hanukkah, we're going to celebrate the top eight Jewish wrestlers. I will let you know right off the bat, nowhere during the next eight days will you see the name Goldberg. Well, I guess you just saw it. But that's it. Goldberg is not in the list of top Jewish stars.

Without further ado, coming in at number 8 on the list is the master of the self pat on the back, Barry Horowitz.

Barry Hororwitz started his career in the Florida territory as Jack Hart. While wrestling for Florida Championship Wrestling, "Jack" was managed by legendary managers Percy Pringle and Oliver Humperdink. Not at the same time of course.

Skip vs. Barry
After wrestling in Florida and a brief stint in Memphis, Barry Horowitz joined the Global Wrestling Federation for two years until the promotion folded. In Global, Horowitz won the Light Heavyweight title twice. Once by beating Jerry Lynn. After Global Wrestling folded, Barry moved on to the WWF.

Barry was a perennial jobber in the WWF until the summer of 1995 when he scored an upset victory over Bodydonna Skip. With the surprise victory, Barry and Skip feuded for a couple months leading to a match at SummerSlam.

White and nerdy
During this time, Barry developed a personality outside of the ring and became a taped up glasses and pocket protector wearing nerd. Michael Cole would have had a field day ripping into Mr. Horowitz for his lack of social popularity. Shortly after the feud with Skip ended, Barry formed a friendship with Hakushi who had recently turned face. Other than getting an official t-shirt and being in the 1996 Royal Rumble, there was no long term major gains from Barry's surprise win over Skip.

While he may never make the WWE Hall of Fame (unless they take my suggestion and add a Jobber wing), we here at my123cents celebrate the career of Barry Horowitz and give him a pat on the back.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Let us know what's on your Christmas or Hanukkah wrestling wish list.