Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Wrestlemania Experience

By Chad Smart

Following up on Kevin’s blog about Wrestlemania, I wanted to write something about the experience of being there live. If you’re a wrestling fan, even if you’re not a huge WWE fan, I highly recommend you try and make it to at least one Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania 27 will be Kevin and mine’s 5th Mania and we’re already planning the trip to Miami next year for Wrestlemania 28.


Flair says goodbye
The first Mania we attended was 22. It was in Chicago, which was a (somewhat) short drive from the southern part of Illinois where Kevin and I lived so it just made sense to go. We skipped 23 due to me moving to California two months prior to the big show. When rumors started swirling Wrestlemania 24 would be Ric Flair’s swan song, we knew we had to be there as Flair was one of the biggest reasons we had become life long wrestling fans. We didn’t plan on attending 25, but after some debate we decided since it was a milestone event we should be there. Unfortunately I think we discussed the historical significance more than anyone in WWE did, as the show didn’t really seem that memorable. Other than Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat making a return to the ring, the only other matches that stood out were the Undertaker/Shawn Michaels encounter and the title match between Triple H and Randy Orton. The latter match is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Since Wrestlemania 26 was in Phoenix, a 5-hour drive from Los Angeles, and Kevin had never been to LA it seemed only logical that we’d keep the streak alive.

Honestly, I felt Wrestlemania 26 was very subpar. I was largely bored during the second half of the show, as I didn’t really care about any of the matches. As we were walking out of the arena, it was discussed we’d take a year off and reevaluate going again in 2012. Around October or November of last year our friend Travis’ wife emailed us to see if Travis could join us this year since they were expecting their first child in May and this may be the last opportunity Travis had to travel alone for awhile.  Kevin and I both responded we weren’t going but if something changed we’d let Renea know. After spending time with both Kevin and Travis over the holidays talking wrestling, I had the urge to make the trek to Atlanta. Not so much for Wrestlemania, but for everything that surrounds the weekend. A few emails were sent back and forth, and with very little arm-twisting we had three tickets and three flights to Atlanta booked.

One of the biggest attractions of the weekend is the Hall of Fame ceremony. I’d say this is probably a bigger draw for me personally than Wrestlemania. Listening to the stories told and seeing guys who sacrificed their bodies and sometimes-personal lives for the enjoyment of the crowd while rarely getting respect other athletes generally receive is often an emotional experience. This year, I’m really looking forward to hearing Abdullah the Butcher speak about his career. And I’m hoping he brandishes a fork and stabs John Cena.

Tiffany gets audited by Money, Inc.
Last year was the first year we took part in the Fan Axxess event. Axxess is set up for fans to get autographs from WWE Superstars, Legends and Hall of Famers. There’s also memorabilia on display and various activities and photo opportunities.  Have to give credit to WWE for creating Axxess and giving the fans a chance to get up close and personal with the Superstars. I don’t know if any other sports league has something similar during their All-Star weekends.

There are also several other wrestling shows that take place during the weekend. We’ve attended a few ROH shows before, but this year due to wanting to see some of Atlanta, we’re not going to any of the other shows. Though the ROH shows do have pretty stellar line ups. If you’re at home Friday night or Saturday afternoon the ROH shows are available on Internet pay per view. I think both shows can be bought to $20 total.  Go to www.rohwrestling.com for more information.

Beside Wrestlemania weekend being a time for Kevin and I to see each other and hang out, we also get to see friends we’ve met at previous Wrestlemanias and try to meet new friends from all over the globe. Sadly this year most of the friends we’ve met won’t be there. I don’t think Gary or Tim are coming from England. And the Australian contingent will be without their lead Aussie Diva, Jackie. Somehow we’ll still have to find a way to have a good time. Hopefully they’ll be in Miami next year.

The last aspect of the weekend that I look forward to every year and is the geekiest thing we do is our Mania costumes. I’ve had a strange fascination with dressing up at wrestling events. From the Hurricane at No Mercy 2001 to full Sharkboy outfit at an early NWA:TNA show (big props to Randy for not pretending he didn’t know me that night) dressing up at a wrestling show to me is like geeks dressing up at Comic-Con. For Mania 22 we dressed at members of Spirit Squad. I was surprised we ran into about 6-7 other people in Spirit Squad gear. The best part of was walking around Target before the show while three teenage girls followed us before finally asking if we were the real Squad.  That’s right; Dolph Ziggler and I could be twins. Twins in the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Danny Devito sense of the word.

Hogan-Piper 2010 style
Wrestlemania 24’s costume was pretty last minute, as we couldn’t figure out what would be cool. We ended up deciding to go as Hornswaggle. Then we never spoke about it after the show. For 25 there was only one option. We had to pay tribute to where it all began and that meant Hulk Hogan and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper.  As I said, we put more thought into the 25th anniversary then WWE did. Last year we decided to go as a classic tag team. And while the Jumping Bomb Angels did have awesome denim jackets, we felt going as an Asian team could be seen as racist. Plus, they’re females and I’d already worn a kilt so we kept looking. We finally settled on former tag champs, Money Inc. The costumes were such a hit with other fans, even current ROH Tag Champion Chris Hero gave us props when we ran into him after the show, that we knew we’d set the bar pretty high.

When we decided to go to Wrestlemania this year with the addition of Travis, we started kicking around ideas of a three-person group.  There was much debate with names from the last 30 years of wrestling kicked around. But ultimately we decided on what I think was the most unique and interesting suggestion. What did we decide? If you want to know, you’ll have to follow My 1-2-3 Cents on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter (@my123cents) and find out on Sunday.

So while Wrestlemania 27 doesn’t have me all that excited, I am excited for the weekend and the memories I’ll leave with from Atlanta. If you’re going to be there, let us know. We’re always up for meeting fans and making new friends.

Happy Birthday, Wrestlemania

This is how it all started...
By Kevin Hunsperger

Twenty-six years ago today sports and entertainment had a baby. A huge bouncing baby named Wrestlemania.  It was an event that changed the course of wrestling.

Even though the NWA had come up with the closed circuit concept first with Starrcade, I think it's safe to say that Vince McMahon took the idea to a whole other level.  Wrestlemania mixed the world of wrestling with entertainment.  Celebrities like Cyndia Lauper and Mr. T were major players in the event which led to a ton of main stream media coverage.  That's exactly what Vince wanted.  People were talking about wrestling and it wasn't so taboo anymore.

For me, Wrestlemania is a huge deal.  And it all goes back to that first event held on March 31, 1985.  Six days earlier, one of my best friends was killed in an ATV accident.  I was 12 years old at the time.  That whole week was filled with grief and sadness and a lot of confusion.  By Sunday of that week I had cried so much and ridden an emotional roller coaster I was ready for a distraction.  That distraction came in the form of Wrestlemania.

A friend of the family invited us over to his house to watch the big event.  I had been following wrestling for about a year and a half at that point and was up to speed on all the story lines leading into Mania.  I had watched "The War to Settle the Score" and wanted so badly for Roddy Piper to get his comeuppance.   Back then I was a mark for the baby faces and cheered when Hulk Hogan and Mr. T emerged the victors.  I booed when Iron Sheik and Nikolia Volkoff beat Mike Rotunda and Barry Windham in what I considered the biggest upset of the night.  I was also aggravated by the cheating Greg Valentine, until Tito Santana came out to the ring and convinced the ref the "Hammer" had cheated to beat the Junkyard Dog.

I believe Wrestlemania helped me through the grieving process.  That probably sounds weird to some, but really I was able to focus on something other than my sadness and get lost in the action on TV.  In the years that followed I made every attempt to either watch Wrestlemania on pay per view or find someone who had recorded the event and borrow it.

All through high school and college I dreamed of the day I'd attend a Wrestlemania.  Finally, I had it figured out.  My goal was to drink a beer at Wrestlemania X, which was days after my 21st birthday.  But alas, this was before the internet and I had no idea how to really get tickets.  So instead, I drank a beer and watched the show on a VHS tape that a friend of my dad's had recorded.

We've got spirit...
Fast forward a decade and I met someone who was just as nuts about wrestling as I was.  Chad and I started discussing going to Wrestlemania at some point.  In the summer of 2005, the WWE announced those package deals for Wrestlemania 22 in Chicago.  Since we both lived in Illinois at the time, it seemed logical we should go.  We secured the tickets and went and had a blast.  We dressed like the Spirit Squad that year with another friend.

After that, I was content and told my friends and family I could die a happy man.  But it also gave me a taste of the excitement and I wanted more.  We took a break and didn't go to Wrestlemania 23, but were back in the thick of things for Mania 24 in Orlando.  Then we made it a tradition (a bromance as my wife calls it) and have been back every year.

This year however we had planned to skip the event.  My wife actually convinced us to go, although it didn't take a lot of arm twisting.  Since we're doing the blog and the YouTube channel, it only makes sense.  So while the Wrestlemania cards have been less than thrilling in recent years, it's more about the atmosphere and hanging out with other fans.  This year, we're joined by our friend Travis, so we've added a geek to the squad.  

If you're going to be in Atlanta, look for us.  We won't be hard to find.  Trust me on that.   

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Not "Fit" For the WWE?

JBL vs. Finlay at Wrestlemania 24
By Kevin Hunsperger

After a decade with the WWE, the powers that be in Stamford have released Dave "Fit" Finlay.  While I normally don't comment on each "future endeavoured" superstar, I feel the need to write about this one.

The word on the street is that Finlay was canned over an incident at a WWE house show over the weekend.  Apparently, the Miz interrupted the National Anthem as part of the story line.  I don't believe the Miz was legit stopping the singing.  Anyway, members of the National Guard (a WWE sponsor) were in attendance and because Finlay was the agent in charge of the show, he took the fall.

First of all, I love my country.  I stand each time the National Anthem is sang or played.  I salute the flag.  I support the Constitution and plan to visit Mount Rushmore one day.  You get it, like most of you, I'm proud to be an American.  I'm not offended by the fact that someone interrupted the singing of the National Anthem.  I'm more offended by the fact that people whine and complain about the interruption.  And the fact that someone was fired over this is even more ridiculous.

Here's a thought, you're attending a wrestling show.  The bad guys come out and do things to rile up the crowd.  As far as I'm concerned, when you buy a ticket, you're giving the performers the authority to do things to piss you off.  To offend you.  To make you boo them.

So if you're offended by what happened at that house show, I say this: get over it.  It's entertainment.  If you weren't entertained by that, wait five minutes for something else to happen.  A man has lost his livelihood because of this.  Okay, rant over.

Team "O": Overrated & Overhyped

Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart

Over the last two months, the WWE Universe has worked itself into a frenzy over the possibility of John Cena and The Rock settling their differences in a wrestling ring. I’m in the minority though as my interest in this "feud" dwindles more and more each week. I think part of the problem is this feud violates my number one rule for "storylines I don’t want to see in wrestling," it’s based on real life.

For me, wrestling is escapism entertainment. I appreciate the larger than life personas and the athleticism wrestlers exhibit in their matches. What I don’t like is when behind the scenes attitudes; personalities or incidents get put in front of the camera. Didn’t like it Road Warrior Hawk’s addictions led to him falling off the Titantron. Didn’t care when WCW did the New Blood vs. Millionaires Club to address how guys were being held down. And currently don’t care to watch the Jeff Jarrett, Kurt Angle, Karen (Angle) Jarrett story going on in TNA. So when John Cena comes out and whines about The Rock deserting the fans by walking away from WWE for seven years, I tune out.

I understand the appeal of a Cena/Rock match. It’s the modern day Rock/Hulk Hogan match. Seeing the top stars from different generations go at it is alluring. Heck, WWE just came out with videogame based on that concept. It’s the reasoning behind the war of words that doesn’t interest me.

After Cena talks about The Rock walking out, The Rock responds by mocking Cena’s catchphrase and clothing. Why does the Rock care about either of that? The Rock made his name, achieved his goals in wrestling then left to try a new career. Meanwhile, The Rock’s absence opened up a spot for John Cena to slide into and become the face of WWE. If anything Cena should be thankful The Rock left.
As for the Rock being critical of Cena’s personality, that’s more a reflection of the current WWE product. There’s been a significant change in the WWE’s business model since The Rock was one of the most popular stars. While Cena has been a plucky baby face for the majority of his time on top and Rock was more of a tweener during his time on top, both guys are generally embraced by the wrestling audience so why would they be feuding anyway?

Throw in Cena’s rebuttal from the 3/28/11 Raw and I’m even more confused as to the purpose of the feud. Cena’s defense was so what if his fans are kids and he wears colorful shirts. I’ve seen some lame reasons for wrestlers to feud, but at least they had reason. What this boils down to is;

Rock: I’m cooler than you. You’re lame
Cena: You took your ball and went home. I entertain the fans every night.
Rock: Did I mention how cool my 5 catchphrases are? Pop culture insult.
Cena: I don’t care if the fans cheer or boo me. I’ll give them my all.
Rock: I’m doing this because I’m not shooting a movie.
Cena: Why don’t you love me, Daddy Rock? Why can’t you say you’re proud of me?

If Rock isn’t going to wrestle, why is having a verbal feud with anyone? Rock could have come in, put over the current product and wrestlers… I mean, superstars, hosted Wrestlemania and walked away again. Fans would have been excited and happy Rock came back at all. Not to mention, Rock and Cena’s verbal back and forth has cast The Miz into role of guy who comes out to remind people he’s there. Not exactly the position the champion should be in going into the biggest show of the year.
Going back to the Rock not wrestling, what will be accomplished if after Wrestlemania, Rock heads back to the Hollywood hills? The groundwork has been laid for a match that never happens. Not to mention the fact it’s been seven years since Rock wrestled his last match for WWE. While he seemed fluid and natural in his movements when he was wrestling, can he really step right back into the ring and pick up where he left off?

Again, I understand the appeal of the feud. I just don’t think it was well timed and the reasoning behind it is lacking in my opinion. Or maybe I’m just upset The Rock is doing this instead of making Tooth Fairy 2. So many unanswered questions from the first movie.

I hope that come Sunday when I’m sitting in the arena and the crowd is going wild, I can send my cynical side out to the concession stand and enjoy whatever happens just for the pure excitement of it all. And if not, well you can follow my snarky tweets on Twitter. Search for my123cents.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This is the Biggest Show of the Year?

Photo courtesy: WWE.com
By Chad Smart


I was going to do a semi-Raw recap and debate if the segments would have made me more likely to order Wrestlemania 27 if I wasn’t already going to the event. But I was bored by the show so I guess that means the show didn’t make me anxious for Wrestlemania.

Since my original idea was ruined, I had to come up with another idea. Since this is the week leading up to Wrestlemania all my blogs will have something to do with Mania which means some of the ideas I have floating around in my head have to wait until next week to escape. With no other good ideas at the moment, I figured this is as good as any to do my Wrestlemania predictions.

Corre vs. Kane/Big Show/Koslov/Santino: Nothing like a last week addition to the biggest show of the year. This feud has been brewing on Smackdown over the last month. Has the Corre ever won any big matches? Tag team titles and I-C title matches on TV don’t count. Barring WWE actually coming up with a post-Wrestlemania plan for the Corre, expect plenty of air trombones to be played in Atlanta.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus: Sheamus just won the title last week. Can’t see him dropping the title back to Bryan this soon. I expect the Bella Twins to remember they don’t like Gail Kim, which leads to Bryan being distracted and Sheamus taking advantage to hit a big kick for the win.

LayCool/Dolph Ziggler vs. Trish Stratus/Snooki/John Morrison: Snooki with her arms raised in victory will get more press than Snooki with her shoulders on the mat. Plus Trish is from the Attitude Era so she’s a bigger star then LayCool. If Team Snookered doesn’t win expect Morrison to take the fall.

Triple H vs. Undertaker: Shawn Michaels getting involved in this match would be one of the lamest scenarios imaginable. If this is really about the last two outlaws battling for bragging rights then the match should have no distractions or interference.  On the True Story of Wrestlemania DVD Triple H says no one should beat Taker. If the streak were to end is Triple H the man who should do it? While the streak has become a major part of Mania, to my cynical view it makes Undertaker’s matches less intriguing because there hasn’t been a genuine threat to the streak since Randy Orton.  Taker will go to 19-0 at Wrestlemania, fans will go wild, and I’ll be counting the number of replica belts in the crowd.

Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio: Still don’t think Del Rio is ready for the role of top guy. Since Christian doesn’t appear to be getting added to the match, I’d like to see he and Brodus Clay handcuffed to each other to prevent outside interference, which of course would still lead to outside interference.  The Royal Rumble winner hasn’t won the title at Wrestlemania for the last 3 years. If Del Rio doesn’t win does that negate the huge push he’s gotten since showing up last year? I expect Christian to inadvertantly cost Edge the title.

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio: This could be the show stealer if given enough time. Cody needs the win to help establish him as a potential contender. If Cody loses he should try a feud with Ted Dibiase. That would at least guarantee one of them would get a win.  Cody should pick up the victory after loading up the mask and head butting Rey.

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton: On Raw, Randy easily laid out Punk then when he went to punt Punk into the second row, Randy’s leg buckled due to the attack Punk laid on him last week. How does that make me excited for their match? Punk can’t beat up an injured man and the injured man is too hurt to stand but he’s going to wrestle. In the words of The Miz, really? Really?  Orton has punted the New Nexus back to Tampa over the last month and a half. Punk needs the win to keep the feud going. Expect Punk to get the victory after nefarious actions.

Michael Cole vs. Jerry Lawler: Probably the match with the biggest build up. What does that say about the show?  Anything less than Jerry Lawler laying a severe beating on Cole will seem like a let down. Expect Steve Austin to give Jack Swagger a Stunner and Lawler and Austin to share some Steveweisers after the match.

The Rock vs. John Cena with special corner man The Miz: Seriously, why is the Miz even showing up in Atlanta? This has all the makings to join Triple H/Chris Jericho from Mania 18 and Triple H/Randy Orton from Mania 25 as least interesting title matches at Wrestlemania.  Sure the match will have the crowd into it because they’ll be waiting for Cena and Rock to mix it up. I’ll be counting the number of kids wearing Cena gear vs. the number of adults wearing Rock gear. Miz should win, but what would Wrestlemania be without Cena standing tall with the belt at the end? I mean, besides Wrestlemania 24.

After typing this, I realize it sounds like I’m not excited for Wrestlemania. To be honest, I’m really not. I’m sure it’ll be a good show, but there’s nothing really exciting on the show. But the trip to Wrestlemania has become more about the atmosphere and spending time with friends than watching Wrestlemania. In that regards, I’m sure the weekend will be a good time. 

LOD Goes HOF

Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger

Finally, the Road Warriors are heading into the WWE Hall of Fame.  It's a long overdue honor for one of wrestling's greatest duos.  

The Legion of Doom aka the Road Warriors worked under the direction of "Precious" Paul Ellering, who I'm glad to hear is also being inducted with Hawk and Animal.  As a kid I read all about the Warriors in Pro Wrestling Illustrated and watched their matches in the AWA.  They were the baddest dudes on the block.  They had an intimidating look and kicked ass every time they were in the ring.

They tore through the competition in the AWA and won the tag team titles.  As a preteen, I was shocked when the unlikely team of Steven Regal (not William) and Jimmy Garvin beat the Road Warriors for the belts.  They of course has help from Michael Hayes, but none the less, these two bethemoths were knocked down a peg or two by a couple of well, wussies.
It wasn't long before the Road Warriors and Ellering headed to the NWA and dominated there as well.  They won the tag titles and beat the likes of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, the Midnight Express, and the Powers of Pain.  Again, I was surprised to see them drop the belts to another unlikely duo, this time Mike Rotunda and Steve Williams.

The Warriors left Atlanta and headed north for the WWF in 1990.  They would go though without Ellering.  I'm not sure why that was.  But they would face the so called LOD ripoffs, Demolition.  Besides not having Ellering in their corner, the Road Warriors also changed their name to just the Legion of Doom. They were no longer referred to as the Road Warriors.  And they exchanged their BA black shoulder spikes for orange ones.  More PG family friendly I suppose.  

Hawk vs. Typhoon
The LOD eventually won the tag titles in the WWF too, making them the first and only team to hold the tag straps in all 3 feds in the 80's and 90's.  A pretty remarkable feat. They lost the belts to another new team, this time Money, Inc.  

Ellering did join them briefly along with a dummy named Rocko.  I never quite understood the path they were led down after that.  Eventually Hawk would leave and Animal teamed briefly with the now Kona Crush formerly Demolition Crush.

The Warriors would reunite and return to both WCW and WWE off and on including an attempt to add Droz to the group.  Hawk would die in 2003, bringing an end to one of the all time greatest tag teams. Animal made a comeback in 2005 trying to reform LOD with John Heidenreich. It was an epic failure.  You just can't imitate great teams of the past.  Animal still wrestles in Japan.

I'm glad I'll be there to see these 3 men get their due and become immortalized in the WWE Hall of Fame.  What a rush!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Party Like It's 1999

By Chad Smart

Tonight on Raw they’re advertising The Rock being there live, Undertaker and Triple H having a face to face and I wouldn’t be surprised to see either Trish Stratus or Steve Austin make an appearance to hype their involvement at Wrestlemania 27. Did I find a used DeLorean and travel back to the week before Wrestlemania 17?

While I am in the minority of not being ecstatic about all the Attitude Era wrestlers being involved in Wrestlemania this year, I understand this is the last stop on the road to Wrestlemania and WWE needs to throw out all the big names in a last ditch attempt to convince fans to buy the pay per view. How they’re used on Raw will be the true test.

It seems Triple H and Undertaker have only come up with one promo to base their match around.
I’m going to end your streak!
No you’re not.
Your streak ends in Atlanta.
Rest in peace.

While they had a good match at Wrestlemania 17, that was one hip, one quad, a couple biceps and a rotator cuff ago. Will they use the No Holds Barred stipulation to have a large brawl to cover up the shortcomings of being able to not chain wrestle?

Trish Stratus is teaming with Snooki at Mania. I,… lets move on.

The big anticipation is what’s going to happen when we finally see The Rock, John Cena and The Miz together for the first time. As an armchair booker I think they shouldn’t have done the Cena "live via satellite" bit last week and saved it for The Rock this week. The roof will be blown off when Rock comes out, but how much higher would it be blown if the Rock was on the Titantron in front of his belt rack at home and all a sudden the background disappears revealing a green screen behind him. Then his music hits and he comes out to the ring to confront Cena. I’m guessing at least one fan’s head would explode like in Scanners.

My big concern is what is planned for Rock at Mania. What exactly will he do as host? Is having him on Raw going to take away some of the excitement of seeing him at Wrestlemania for some of the fans. I think WWE should have kept him off Raw and told fans; "Hey you want to see Rock and Cena stand nose to nose? Order the pay per view." Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Given the lack of wrestling the past couple of weeks, I won’t expect any 10-minute technical masterpieces tonight. There will be a lot of talking and Michael Cole will be annoying. CM Punk will do something dastardly to Randy Orton. Alberto Del Rio will not have listened to Rebecca Black and once again confuse Monday for Friday and show up on a show he’s not on the roster for and no one will stop him. Zack Ryder will continue to walk around backstage aimlessly because apparently the creative department can come up with and idea for orange goblin from the Jersey Shore but not for a broski who actually has talent.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Raw will entice you to order Wrestlemania?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Someone's Missing



Actually there are several people missing.  We’re a week away from Wrestlemania 27 and looking at the current card, there are a lot of guys, who just two months ago would have seemed like sure bets to having a match, sitting on the sidelines. I still expect one or two matches to be added before next April 3 gets here. Until those matches are actually announced lets look at the guys who as of today will be in Atlanta hanging out at Axxess and not trying to achieve their Wrestlemania moment.

THE CORRE: Wade Barrett won the Intercontinental title from Kofi Kingston on the 3/25/11 episode of Smackdown.  Why couldn’t that match have been saved for Wrestlemania? Am I wrong for thinking titles should be defended at Wrestlemania? It’s the biggest show of the year; championships should be given the spotlight in which to shine.

Speaking of championships, Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater are Tag Team Champions without challengers. I don’t know if they’re feuding with Big Show/Kane or if that’s an all encompassing Corre feud, but it’s another match that would make sense to have at Wrestlemania.

Big Zeke is also without an opponent.  There are rumors of a Corre vs. Kane/Big Show/Santino/Koslov or Kane/Big Show/Khali/Diesel match happening. I think the first option is the most likely given the history of Santino/Koslov and Gabriel/Slater.  Again I ask why hasn’t this match been made official? Granted it probably won’t lead to people who weren’t going to buy the show to changing their minds, but it would be nice to have the match given some promotion instead of just thrown out there.

NEW NEXUS: Randy Orton took care of apparently doing the job John Cena started by getting Nexus off the WWE main roster. I could write a whole piece about how WWE dropped the ball with Nexus. A Nexus vs. Corre match would have made sense with CM Punk leading the new group against their former teammates. Instead, Punk decided after two years it was time to seek revenge on Randy Orton for costing him the WWE title.

CHRISTIAN: He’s beaten the number one contender for the World Title two weeks in a row. He’s been in the mix of the Edge/Alberto Del Rio feud for the past five weeks. Why hasn’t he been added to the match in some capacity?   If he wasn’t going to be added to the match, why have him beat Del Rio?  At this point, I’d settle for Christian and Brodus Clay being handcuffed together to prevent each other from interfering.

DREW MCINTYRE: He’s the chosen one. Wait, I thought Jeff Jarrett was the chosen one?  Oh well. After a year where Drew was seemingly being set up as one of the young stars to get a chance to break through the glass ceiling and become a main eventer. That seems like a thousand years ago as he has floundered for the past few months trying to get the attention of Kelly Kelly.

KOFI KINGSTON: Kofi lost the I-C title to Wade Barrett 9 days before Wrestlemania. What could have been his best chance to get onto the show has now been lost. Unless they throw a re-match with Barrett onto the show, Kofi doesn’t have any other sensible matches to be plugged into.

ZACK RYDER: The most entertaining guy on the roster. If you don’t believe me, check out his youtube channel. Why he doesn’t get more airtime is a mystery to me.

As of this writing, that is all the B-level wrestlers still without a match at Wrestlemania. There’s always the possibility of the pre-show battle royale for these guys. Really, most of those guys should just be thankful they’ll get to be in attendance to see Snooki make her Wrestlemania debut.  

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I See No IC Title Match

The old WWF Intercontinental title
By Kevin Hunsperger

We are 8 days away from Wrestlemania, arguably the biggest day in wrestling, and no Intercontinental title match has been announced.  Friday night on SmackDown! Wade Barrett won the belt from Kofi Kingston.  I don't know if they're waiting to do a last minute announcement or if there won't be a title match on the card.

This is disappointing to me.  Look at the lineage of the IC title. It was once considered the WWF's second most important belt.  The holder of it was the number one contender to the world title.  Heck, 21 years ago at Wrestlemania VI, it was Intercontinental Champion the Ultimate Warrior who beat World champion Hulk Hogan.  That's how much value was placed on the belt.

Think back to other Wrestlemania IC title matches.  Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage stole the show at Wrestlemania III with their title contest.  Roddy Piper and Bret Hart had a great showdown at Wrestlemania VIII, and Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels tore the roof off Madison Square Garden when the hooked up in a classic ladder match for the Intercontinental title.

Now think to recent years.  JBL and Rey Mysterio went about 30 seconds in their IC title match at Wrestlemania 25.  At last year's Wrestlemania Drew McIntyre was the champ, but didn't defend the title.  At least he was on the show and a part of the Money in the Bank match.  The same can be said about Wrestlemania 24 when Chris Jericho wrestled in MITB and didn't defend the belt.

You get the picture.  A title that was once revered and held in high regard now seems to be an after thought.  But you could probably argue that most titles these days are treated like a prop and have little prestige.  I guess there's still time to add an IC title match, it's sad to me that the card isn't completely in place already though.

Oh well, we'll see you in Atlanta in 8 days.  Peace out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mission Accomplished

Photo credit: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger

March 23, 2001 is either remembered as one of the greatest days in wrestling history or one of its darkest days.  It depends on which side of the fence you're on, I suppose.  For that night 10 years ago was when the Monday Night Wars officially ended.  Vincent Kennedy McMahon had won the battle and the war.  He purchased his competition World Championship Wrestling for next to nothing.

I had been on vacation the week leading up to the big night, and didn't have computer access.  So I was totally shocked when Vince appeared on Nitro live via satellite.

As a WWE (back then WWF) mark all my life, I was happy to see that it wasn't Vince who had been bought out.  I immediately began to think about all the "dream matches" that would be created with this new acquisition. Would we finally see Goldberg vs. Stone Cold? Sting vs. the Rock? Kurt Angle vs. Bret Hart (I know WCW had released him, but I was dreamin' here.) Wrestlemania XVII was just two weeks away, and if I remember correctly, the card was pretty much locked in place.  But can you imagine how epic that Mania would have been had the whole purchase of WCW would have been booked better?

Instead of getting the cream of WCW's crop like Sting, Ric Flair, Goldberg, the nWo, and Scott Steiner, we got a lot of guys from the midcard.  No offense to those guys, but it wasn't exactly what most of us were wanting with an "invasion" angle.  Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page were probably the two top stars to sign on immediately with the WWE.

The angles that followed were disappointing.  Dallas Page as the stalker of Undertaker's wife was lame.  The defection of Stone Cold Steve Austin sucked even more.  Of course being the arm chair booker, there are many different ways I would have worked the angle.  I think most of us would.

I highly suggest the book "The Death of WCW."  It's a great read that looks back on how the company thrived and dominated before crashing and burning.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I was glad to see Vince take over initially.  But obviously not having competition is a bad thing.  Storylines fell flat and revolved more around the members of the McMahon family than the WCW and ECW wrestlers (now Superstars) who were now a part of the company.  Fast forward 10 years.  Despite the attempts by TNA, the WWE still really doesn't have any competition.  Has the product gotten worse?  That's debatible.  I don't think that's necessarily the case.  The worst thing I'll say about the WWE now is their lack of pushing new stars.  It's improved slightly in the last several months, but the Road to Wrestlemania has focused a lot on guys who either aren't regular wrestlers on the roster (Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler) or guys (and gals) who left the company years ago (the Rock and Trish Stratus)

I'm starting to ramble on to another topic.  We've already discussed it, so I won't hit it again.  Thanks for reading.

Writing on the Wall...

Please note this post contains a spoiler from Friday Night SmackDown!  If you don't want to know what happened on the show, read a different post from My 1-2-3 Cents.  Thanks!


Can he climb the ladder of success anymore?
 By Kevin Hunsperger

Kofi Kingston has been on a bit of a losing streak lately.  And that's not a good thing when you're the Intercontinental champion.  He lost to Alberto Del Rio at the Elimination Chamber pay per view, and then in a rematch on SmackDown!  Kofi did the job to King Sheamus (is he still a king?) on SmackDown.  And at the latest SmackDown! tapings he dropped the IC title to Wade Barrett. 

Normally, I wouldn't think much of that, but couple it with the fact that ALL of his merchandise on WWE Shop is now greatly reduced, I'm wondering if the former U.S., IC, and tag team champion is about to be "future endeavored."

I hope not.  When he first appeared on ECW a few years ago, I wasn't really in to him.  I thought the Jamaican gimmick sucked quite honestly.  But the more I watched him, the more I felt like Kofi connected with fans.  He works well in the ring.

While he's not the best on the mic, he makes a great upper midcard face.  Kids like him, he's got a lot of energy, and he can work in the ring.  I was really disappointed when they all but killed his push to the top in the program  he worked with Randy Orton.  Kofi would have added a new dimenision to the main event scene, not your typical "cookie cutter" main eventer. 

But maybe I'm just reading too much into things.  Of course though, when Wrestlemania ends, the WWE typically lets go of lots of folks.  And with the roster full of NXT alumni I would assume those not written into a compelling storyline will find their way to the unemployment later, and later on TNA.  Adding the rookies on Tough Enough and guys who haven't had much going on are in danger too.  I'd suggest David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd, and JTG have their bags ready...

Thanks for reading, and check out My 1-2-3 Cents on Facebook and YouTube.  Subscribe and comment and tell all you friends too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Second W is Silent

By Chad Smart

Every so often you’ll come across a story that you think can’t possibly be true. Over the weekend I read one such story. The story has been out for four days and so far there has been no retraction or correction so I’m going to go ahead and believe the story as truth. So believing the story is true, it gives an insight into why the current WWE product isn’t exactly setting the world on fire.  The story I’m talking about can be read in detail at TV Week’s website

 
The quick recap of the story is TV Week published a story with the headline stating Drew Carey was being inducted into a wrestling Hall of Fame. A publicist for WWE then wrote an email to the writer of the article demanding TV Week change the headline because WWE is not a wrestling company, but rather a “global entertainment company.”  Huh?

Unless something has changed since 2002, WWE stands for World Wrestling Entertainment. When the word, wrestling, is in the name of the company wouldn’t you figure that company is in the wrestling business? I understand the company as a whole does more than just wrestling, but claiming you’re not a wrestling company is ludicrous. Yes, there’s WWE Films and the magazine department and well, I’m not really sure what other departments they have. But the majority of their fans are into the company because they put on wrestling shows. 

I don’t know why Vince McMahon (and by extension his employees) feel wrestling is a four-letter word. Actually I can. I understand most people look at wrestling as something only ignorant, redneck, low-income, people who think it’s “real” watch, but instead of running from the term, wrestling, shouldn’t Vince and Co. do more to try and re-brand the word as something more sociably acceptable?  Granted, most people have a pre-conceived opinion and won’t give wrestling a chance. Those are the same people who refer to any wrestling as WWF even though that name has been extinct for 9 years. Most of the time, however, when WWE does try to promote itself as something other than Hee Haw’s bastard cousin, they do so with such heavy handedness it becomes more self-parody instead of promotion.

What frustrates me most about this is not so much WWE’s disdain to be associated with wrestling, but the fact TNA could use this as a jumping off point to try and reach out to WRESTLING fans. If TNA could focus, come up with a game plan and stop looking at their Word A Day Calendar from 1997 they could conceivably capture a segment of the audience that isn’t ashamed to be a wrestling fan. The ironic part is TNA doesn’t even have the word wrestling in its name.

Oh well. No matter what type of company they are, we’re a little over a week away from the trip to Atlanta and the spectacle of Wrestlemania. Or was Kevin right and it shall henceforth be known as Entertainia? 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Let's Get Forked

Abdullah the Butcher looking for dinner
By Kevin Hunsperger

Holy fork!  Abdullah the Butcher is going into the WWE Hall of Fame.  I must say when I first heard Wrestlemania was going to be in Atlanta, Abdullah, Ron Simmons, and Arn Anderson became my immediate guesses as to who would be going into the HOF.  I'm glad I was right about at least one of them.

My memories of Abby are from reading about his gory, bloody matches all over the world on the pages of wrestling magazines in the 1980's.  I watched him after he signed on with World Class Championship Wrestling.  Abby was a menacing force.  400 plus pounds with a forehead that looked like a road map.

His feud with Bruiser Brody was very memorable during his days at World Class.  The two would brawl up and down the aisle, usually going to a double disqualification or countout.  At that point in his career, Gary Hart was leading the way for the Sudanese madman.

a blast from the past
Abdullah truly lived up to his violent name.  He carved his opponents up with a fork, many times hiding the object in his girth.  I remember him running across the ring and jumping into the air to deliver a crushing elbow smash on some poor jobber.  The man was fast for as big as he was.

He also wrestled a lot in Japan and of course in Puerto Rico.  When my brother and I were kids we had the AWA action figures.  Remember those?  Well, there was a Carlos Colon vs. Adbullah the Butcher two pack.  We used fake vampire blood to give Abby and Carlos the appropriate look.

I also remember his run in WCW in the early 1990's.  Who can forget him getting electrocuted in the Chamber of Horrors match at Halloween Havoc 91?  Abby wrestled both with and against Cactus Jack.  Too bad Mick Foley is in TNA now, he would have been great to induct the big man.  My guess is that Carlos Colon will do the honors.  The only other guy who would have seemed fitting to do it is the late, great Brody.

While we're in Atlanta I was hoping to check out Abby's restaurant, but a lack of time and the fact that we're not going to have a car will prevent that.  Maybe he'll be at Axxess on Sunday handing out samples.

Joey Styles mentioned in a Tweet Abby wrestled in ECW too.  I don't have any memory of that.  I'll have to do some surfin' when I'm done here.  Anyway, what do you think of the Class of 2011?  I think the addition of Abdullah just made things a lot more interesting, and I mean that in a good way!

New Name, New Look

Photo from: Bleacher Report.com
By Kevin Hunsperger

Remember a couple of weeks ago when Husky Harris got punted in the head by Randy Orton on Monday Night Raw?  Apparently the kick knocked some sense into the rookie, and he's changed his name.  Again.   At least for now.

Husky returned to the Florida Championship Wrestling ring over the weekend with a new look and a new moniker.  He's now known as Axl Mulligan.  For those who didn't know, Axl is the grandson of WWE Hall of Famer "Blackjack" Mulligan and the son of Mike Rotunda (IRS).

I actually like his real name, which is Windham Rotunda.  How many superstars can say they have the same name as a legendary WWF tag team?

While I applaud the fact that he is embracing his heritage with taking his grandfather's name, I don't quite understand the mask.  As you can see, it looks a bit like something Hannibal Lecter would sport.  Not quite sure where the gimmick is headed...

Husky Harris' profile remains on the WWE Raw Superstars website, and Axl's hasn't emerged on the FCW talent page, yet.  Not sure if that means anything or not.  Personally, I liked Husky Harris.  I'd say other than CM Punk, he's my favorite member of Nexus.

The name change goes back to something I posted earlier today about Alberto Del Rio embracing his past as Dos Caras, Jr.  I wish more of these guys who have a legacy in the business, would get booked that way.   What do you think?  Should legacy superstars be promoted as such or do they need to find their own niche under a different name?  It worked for Barry Windham.

Thanks for reading.  Follow us here and on Facebook.  And don't forget to subscribe to My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube.

He Has a Past...

Photo credit: Weston White
By Kevin Hunsperger

Saturday afternoon as I watched Friday night SmackDown! on my DVR something hit me.  Probably something that I had thought about, but not really thought about, if you know what I mean.  Michael Cole said the cage match between Alberto Del Rio and Christian being Del Rio's first.

I knew prior to his experience in the WWE, del Rio had wrestled in Mexico under a mask.  He was known as Dos Caras, Jr. son of the legendary Dos Caras.  What I didn't realize was that Del Rio started wrestling almost 11 years ago.
The more I read, and watched on YouTube, the more intrigued I became with his past.  Then I asked myself the obvious question.  Why isn't the WWE using any of this in the promotion of Del Rio? I think that's my problem with him being in the main event (or one of them) of Wrestlemania. 

We've only seen this guy in action since the fall.  He's thrown that arm bar hold on top guys like Rey Mysterio and Christian and picked up some key wins, but what else has he done?  The WWE continues to cram him down our throats by having him appear on Raw and SmackDown in the same week.  He's been in matches with Edge and John Cena.  He even won the 2011 Royal Rumble, but many still haven't bought him as the number one contender for the World championship.

Dos Caras, Jr.
I think part of the reason for that is we don't know enough about Del Rio.  I like how they're giving us a little more history on Sin Cara before he actually gets into the ring.  Of course, I've had to do my own research on him too. 

Did you know Del Rio has a history in MMA?  You can see him in his Dos Caras mask mixing it up.  There are videos of him wrestling and fighting on YouTube.  The WWE could have and in my opinion should have used this footage when they were building him up. 

I understand the character Del Rio plays is more of an aristocrat.  I would have booked him as a luchador proud of his hertiage, there to help Rey Mysterio.  Then have him do a heel turn and adopt this "I'm better than you" gimmick.  At least we would know a little bit more about this guy.

Would I be able to accept Del Rio-Edge as a Wrestlemania quality match if the WWE had done a better job building up Del Rio?  Sure.  Would adding information about his past make him seem like a more credible contender to the world title?  I don't see how it could hurt. 

That's the confusing thing about the E.  Sometimes they use a wrestler's past history to play into the storyline and develop the character: the Rock, Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase, and Cody Rhodes immediately come to mind.  The history of others goes ignored.  Jessie (he is the son of Terry Gordy), Brian Christopher (until recently the WWE never really acknowledged he's the son of Jerry Lawler), and of course Alberto Del Rio.

My point, if you're going to build a star of the future, you have to show us their past if they have one in the ring.  But I'm just a fan with an opinion.  What's your 1-2-3 Cents?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Remembering "Hump"

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger

Sad news this morning.  Online reports, including a tweet from WWE ring announcer Howard Finkel, indicate that "Sir" Oliver Humperdink has died.

Younger fans will likely not remember "Hump."  But I have plenty of fond memories of him.  I remember reading about him first in the "Apter magazines" when Humperdink worked in the Florida territory.  It wasn't until 1987 when he came to the World Wrestling Federation that I'd actually seen him on TV.

Humperdink was Bam Bam Bigelow's "surprise" manager, after all the heels had been vying for his contract.  Bigelow and Humperdink were the only face manager-wrestler faction in the WWF at the time.  Paul Orndorff soon joined the group after he left the Heenan family again.

I believe that Humperdink was brought in as a face to replace Capt. Lou Albano who had recently left the company.  The two were very similar looking.  While Humperdink didn't really get over with the WWF fans, I always enjoyed his flashy wardrobe.  There's something about the managers of the 80's, the always had that sense of flare.

Hump's time in the WWF wasn't long, and he headed to the NWA to once again manage the "Beast from the East."  He also managed the Wild Samons, and then changed his look and persona as "Big Daddy Dink", a biker like gimmick when he managed the Freebirds.

He left the business in 1992, and made appearances from time in time.  In recent years, Humperdink's health declined and he had been battling cancer.  Oliver Humperdink was 62.  May he rest in peace.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Firing Up the Tag Team Division & Other SD Thoughts

Kane & the Big Show's pyro at Mania 22
By Kevin Hunsperger

Friday Night SmackDown! offered us some insight into some possible new life in the tag team division.  Kane and the Big Show reunited to take on Corre members Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater.  The match didn't last long before the remaining Corre members hit the ring and ran roughshod on the faces.

I'm not sure if this is just to set up to a four on four match at Wrestlemania (I've read rumors that we're going to see that match, but it's not been confirmed) or if this is a legit reunion and a step in creating some new (or old) tag teams.  Personally,  I hope it's the reformation of the tag team.  While they may not be the greatest duo ever formed, Kane and the Big Show are seemingly lost in the shuffle now and the tag team ranks needs a make over.  Adding them back into the mix can make things interesting over the next few months.  Because lets face it, they'll probably be feuding with each other by the time Survivor Series rolls around.

I'll admit it now, I missed SmackDown! last week because I was out of town and never had a chance to catch up with it on DVR.  So I missed Cody Rhodes' promo and the fact that he's ditching the "dashing" gimmick.  I'm not so sure though why he wrestled Trent Barreta in a suit.  Seemed kinda weird to me, can't imagine it's very comfortable either.

On my DVR it was teasing the reunion of Edge and Christian against the Corre, but clearly we didn't get that.  I think they could have waited on the Christian-Alberto Del Rio match, especially since they did it in a cage.  I'm wondering where this feud goes from here.  Is it over?  Does Christian get into the World title match to create a 3 way contest (that's my hope), or does he ever get a match at all?  If he's not in the world title match, I wouldn't mind seeing him and Kofi Kingston battle it out for the Intercontinental title.  Speaking of Kofi, it seems like he's doing a lot of jobs lately.  And all of his merchandise on Shop WWE has deep discounts.  Hope this isn't a sign of something bad in his future.

I'll say it again, I'm enjoying Michael Cole doing his commentary in the "Cole Mine."  But I'd really like to see him leave the announce team and become a manager for Jack Swagger (and Alex Riley).

Is Brodus Clay the Clay Aiken of Season 4 of Tough Enough?  He finished second and he see him more than winner Johnny Curtis.  Just sayin'...

In case you missed it, Hornswoggle made a video at my house the other day.  Head to My 1-2-3 Cents over on YouTube to check that out.  Subscribe and tell you friends too.  Also, visit us over on Facebook and "like it".  Chad and I have a ton of pictures from our various wrestling experiences posted.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Book It, Dano

By Chad Smart

Living in Los Angeles and working in the television industry, I get to see stuff most people don’t. I see episodes of shows weeks or months before they air. I can get scripts of movies that just got sold. I can use connections to get into Comic-Con for free. But tonight, I stumbled upon something that bests any other perk or experience I’ve experienced in my career. As I was walking out of the building at the end of the workday, some papers fell out of the backpack of the guy in front of me. He didn’t notice the papers so I went to pick them up and return them. When I picked them up I noticed the relatively non-descript cover page. It was a standard white piece of paper with a title typed in Helvetica in the center of the page.

Rules for Writing a Wrestling Program (version 3. Copyright 1997)
By
S. Mark Carter
Instead of returning the papers to the unknown guy who dropped them, I started scanning all the words like Jim Carrey in the Number 23. It was like someone had handed me the solution to the mystery of life. Finally I could understand all the nuances of the wrestling programs I’d been watching for the past 15 years. While I thought about keeping this powerful knowledge to myself, I realized it would be wrong to do so. I must share what I read with the general public. So read on and I hope you feel the same sense of wonderment as I felt when my brain first processed these magical grouping of words.


Every show must start with a 15-minute promo: This is an important component to crafting an engaging program. Unlike other live sporting events, wrestling doesn’t get the benefit of a 30 or 60 minute pre-show to hype the competitors, therefore before there can be any in-ring action, the audience has to be brought up to speed on what they’ll be seeing over the course of the show. While the ringside announcers can inform the viewers at home what is going to happen or why guys are in the ring with each other, the live audience isn’t privy to this information. Since they will be the one leading the cheering which tells the home viewer if the current action is good or bad, it is important the live audience knows what to expect so they can prepare themselves to be excited or plan a bathroom break.

Wrestling only happens on Mondays. There are no other days in the week: Since a live wrestling show only takes place once a week all other days of the week must be ignored. This is done as a measure to make sure the audience doesn’t miss any important events in a story. If Wrestler A attacks Wrestler B for no apparent reason on the show, Wrestler B must wait until the following Monday to seek revenge. Even if both wrestlers are on a house show over the weekend, B will not do anything to prevent A from making it to the Monday show. When the Monday show comes around, B can start the show off as part of the opening promo to remind the audience he was attacked and issue a challenge to A.

This also applies to any miscommunication between wrestlers. For example, if in a tag team match one member of the team accidently hits the other member, they will not discuss the matter until the following week when they’re in front of the camera.

Fans only care about main event wrestlers: The audience isn’t tuning in to see guys that have no chance of winning the World Title. In most cases, the main event talents don’t arrive to the building until halfway through the show so something has to be done to entice viewers to keep watching until the main event guys show up. It’s the job of the announcers to mention the main event guys at least once every 15 seconds. The repetition of hearing the main event wrestler’s name will remind the viewer something better is coming up. Also it’s been scientifically proven if a name is said enough, the person listening will sub-consciously believe they’ve seen the person being mentioned. Therefore the more times the announcers can mention someone higher up on the card not involved with the match currently taking place the viewer will think the match is more important than it really is because of science.

Shows need cliffhangers: The goal of a show is to get the audience to come back the following week. The best way to accomplish this to make sure the ending of the show leaves the audience questioning what just happened. No matter who is wrestling, if they’re feuding or if the match is simply a meaningless match between two guys, the show should never end with a clean decision. If there is a clear winner then something needs to happen after the match to put an aura of confusion in the air.

That’s all I can share for now. There’s still a lot in the pages I have. I think it’s an interesting look into the producing of a wrestling show. I know I learned a thing or two. What do you think? Would you like me to share more?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck of the Irish

Meetin' Horny at Wrestlemania 26 Axxess
By Kevin Hunsperger

Happy St. Patrick's Day.  I've decided to do a video, so go to My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube for more on that.

The video focuses on my thoughts on Hornswoggle, but something I failed to mention in the video was the whole angle with him being the "son" of Vince McMahon and then the reveal being he was actually Finlay's boy.  I felt like that whole angle was thrown together.  From what I've read (so take it for what it's worth) Mr. Kennedy was actually supposed to be the bastard child, but that plan was scrapped when Kennedy was suspended.

I'm not hating on the little guy, I just felt like the angle could have played out much better.

Drew McIntyre & Sheamus with dates after HOF
Since it is St. Paddy's day, props to Sheamus for winning the U.S. title Monday night.  I've mentioned before I hope they're going to put him in that monster heel role again.  The creative team seems to have squandered opportunities with the big man in past.  Here's to hoping this title reign is better organized than his WWE championship runs.

Who can forget wrestling's favorite Irishman, Vince McMahon?  After all without his vision wrestling wouldn't be where it is today.  Good or bad, right?  I'll share more thoughts on McMahon for a future post.

Thanks for reading and watching.  Don't forget to check out My 1-2-3 Cents on Facebook too.

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dancing & Cooking with Jericho!

"Hulk" confronts "Jericho"
By Kevin Hunsperger

I'm giving my brain a break from all the serious wrestling talk and having some fun today.  As some of you know, I anchor a morning newscast in southern Illinois.  Once a month we invite a Family Nutrition Program expert on our show to cook a couple of simple recipes.

Since the station I work for is an ABC affiliate, we dedicate a cooking segment to one of the celebs from Dancing with the Stars.  For example, last go around we made Salmon Loaf in honor of Bristol Palin.  We also did a Retro Chef Salad for Brady Bunch mama Florence Henderson.  You get the picture.

So when I found out Chris Jericho was a part of this season's cast, I asked Joy, our FNP, to come up with something for him.  In my opinion, she came up with something pretty good.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you CHRIS JERICHO recipe.  Each letter of Jericho's name is an ingredient in this dish. By the way, it is very good.  Try it sometime.   Also, click here for a special message from Y2J himself and see how me made this tasty dish.

C hicken (one pound & cut into pieces)
H ot sauce (1/2 cup)
R otini (2 cups, uncooked)
I talian tomato sauce (one 15 oz. can)
S oup (one 13 oz. can of cream of celery)

J alapeno Cheese (1 cup)
E ggs (2 boiled and grated)
R ed beans (1 1/2 cups)
I talian seasoning (1 teaspoon)
C orn (1/2 cup)
H oney (1/4 cup)
O nions (1/2 cup)

Make marinade by combining hot sauce, honey, & Italian seasoning.  Place chicken in the marinade, cover for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge.

Make sauce with Italian tomato sauce & cream of celery soup.  Add rotini, eggs, red beans, corn, & onion to the sauce.

Drain marinade from chicken & add pieces to the other ingredients.  Stir well.  Bake in a covered casserole dish at 350 for 1 hour.  During last 5 minutes, add jalapeno cheese & let melt.  Serve with a green salad and ice water.

It's pretty easy to create.  Try it and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Didn't I See That Last Week?


Super Cena reporting for duty, sir.


After watching any of the weekly wrestling shows or pay per views, I’ll go online and read other people’s thoughts to see if the general opinions are positive or negative.  One that becomes clear is my opinion of the show is usually about 165 degrees different than everyone else. I know you can’t really take Internet opinion seriously because die-hard WWE fans are going to be more forgiving for any horrible segments on Raw or Smackdown while criticizing every frame of TNA Impact.  And the opposite is true of TNA fans. I remember back during the Monday Night War days when WCW was popular, they could do no wrong while WWF could do no right. After the rise of Steve Austin and The Rock, suddenly WWF could do no wrong and WCW could do no right. It’s a vicious cycle. Right now with WWE preparing for Wrestlemania 27 and TNA putting on an atrocity of a main event at Victory Road it’s understandable online fans are more supportive of WWE programming.

The Miz
After watching the 3-14-11 Raw and reading fan’s opinion of the show, I was struck by how out of sync I apparently am with general fan’s way of thinking. I found the show to be plodding and uninspired with the only redeeming factor being the Miz-Rock. According to the online views, Raw was one of the best episodes ever. As I tend to do in my spare time, I started over analyzing why I don’t share the same sentiments as others. Here are the results of my highly scientific process.

One of my biggest complaints with the current WWE product is repetition. Every week it’s the same old same old. How many weeks have the Rock and John Cena verbally attacked each other only for the Miz to attack Cena by the end of the show?  How many times has Sheamus lost a match? I understand the concept of building to a pay per view match, but the way it’s currently done I get burnt out on the match before it happens. What I’d like to see (and by no means am I going to suggest anything I say from here on is the proper way to book a show. This is simply my opinion.) is for the writers to learn a way to cycle the wrestlers in an out. Instead of having the same guys are the show week after week, rotate them so one week Sheamus and Daniel Bryan gets some airtime and the next week Ted Dibiase and R-Truth get time to lay the ground work for a feud. If two wrestlers start a feud the day after a pay per view, why do they have to fight at the next pay per view? Especially if that show is only 2-3 weeks away. Give them time to get the fans interested and hungry for the match.

JR asks "why?" too.
Looking at the past few weeks of Raw, each week we’ve gotten Cena/Rock/Miz, Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole, Alberto Del Rio who isn’t even a member of the Raw roster and the ongoing CM Punk/Randy Orton feud. The Punk/Orton feud makes sense for each episode because Orton has been taking out each member of the New Nexus on his road to a match against Punk at Wrestlemania.  Of course, just because it makes sense doesn’t mean it’s entertaining. Nexus have never been booked to look strong in matches and Orton is quickly becoming the new Super-Cena like character so there’s no real drama in his matches.  So we get all these segments week after week with the same guys saying essentially the same thing and doing the same actions, why do I need to watch every week? I can take a week or two off, come back and not feel like I’ve missed anything.

What the del is he doing on Raw again?
Meanwhile guys like Zack Ryder, Ted Dibiase, R-Truth, Primo and others are never seen. One of my criticisms with the Wrestlemania 27 card is the lack of current star power and how there hasn’t been any new star, besides The Miz, created in the last year. I don’t count Alberto Del Rio because I don’t get the appeal and I feel he’s being shoved down the audience’s throat whether they like him or not. He’s the new Randy Orton. When the shows only focus on the same 6-7 guys for months at a time then no one is ready to step up when one of those guys gets injured or leaves. A lot of the booking seems to be focused on the now instead of the future.

Booking for now is as good as any way to segue into TNA’s booking. TNA in a way writes Impact as the opposite of Raw. A lot of times feuds and storylines don’t connect with fans because it’s hard to know what’s going on. Wrestlers will start a feud and then disappear for weeks at a time for no rhyme or reason. Crimson was a big part of the show before the second coming of THEY. As I watched Victory Road, I asked myself what happened to him. The same can be said about the Samoa Joe/Pope feud. They’re on the show one week and then there’s no mention of them for 2-3 weeks and then all of a sudden they’re back. TNA writing often appears to be the work of an ADD riddled kid on a sugar high. 

storylines that make an emotional connection with the fans while showcasing the talents of the entire roster instead of only the wrestlers who are currently popular.  Since Vince McMahon had stated WWE is in the entertainment business, and Vince Russo prefers to be called a writer instead of a booker, I’d recommend everyone writing for WWE and TNA watch the first season of Justified as an example of what I’m talking about. It’s possible to have an overall story arc while cycling characters in and out of the show. Of course this assumes the writers know where they want to be 4-5 months down the road and not just what’s going to happen at the next pay per view. Which is a whole other blog topic.

That’s my current thoughts on the weekly wrestling programs. I keep hoping for change, but currently Raw, Smackdown and Impact are getting some of their best ratings so I won’t hold my breath expecting next week’s shows to be any different than last week’s shows. If I want something different, I can always check out any of the independent promotions.