Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm No JR, And I Shouldn't Be

AAPW broadcast team, Kevin & Chris (courtesy: Adam Testa)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

July 30, 2011 one of my childhood dreams came true.  I got to call a wrestling show that will be broadcast on television.  It was an exciting experience and I look forward to doing it again next month.

I am proud to say that I am part of the broadcast team for All American Pro Wrestling.  It's an organization based in southern Illinois and has been around for five years.  Recently, the group secured a time slot on local television (WSIL TV 3)  The new show, Collision, will start airing on September 3 and will be seen in southern Illinois, southeast Missouri, western Kentucky, and northwest Tennessee.  It will be the first time in decades that professional wrestling has graced local TV in this market.

My broadcast partner, Chris Hagstrom approached me with the idea of doing the show several months ago and asked if I'd be interested in being on the team.  Of course I was.  This was something I'd always wanted to do.  I'm just glad everything worked out and it's going to be on the fall schedule.

AAPW champ Edmund "Livewire" McGuire w/Sam Smith
Two shows were already taped, and I was out of town for that and wasn't able to do the commentary live that night.  So Chris and I met and did it.  That was the first time I'd ever done anything like that.  I am a news anchor and reporter, but doing play by play is totally new to me.  Fast forward to July 30, and we were there live with the crowd and able to call the action before our very eyes.  I think I was able to get more involved in stories being told in the ring and hopefully help explain to the fans watching what was going on.

I'll be honest, in the weeks leading up to the show I was very nervous.  I wasn't sure exactly what my style should be.  I'm still not sure.  I watched several old matches with Gorilla Monsoon, Jessie Ventura, Gordon Solie, Jim Ross, and Joey Styles.  They've all got different roles and different styles when it comes to calling matches.  I knew I didn't want to be like any of the current wrestling broadcasters.

Calling it like I see it. (Courtesy: Adam Testa)
I think Chris and I did a good job of focusing on the action in the ring.  There was no shilling, which I think is a good thing about independent wrestling.  We can actually focus on the WRESTLING.  Of course though, I'm no JR, I have a lot of work to do, but I've decided I don't want be like JR.  Or Solie, or Styles for that matter.  I want to come up with my own niche.  It's going to take time, but I think it's possible.  I can't wait for the shows to start airing so I can get feed back from all of you.  I think all too often in just about every form of entertainment and sports, participants try to emulate or recreate something or someone from the past.  So instead of being the new JR, I want to just be Kevin Hunsperger.

Courtesy: ROH
So, once the show is on the air (remember, it's September 3) I want to hear what you guys like about it.  What you like about the commentary.  I'll pass along suggestions to those in charge.  And if you're in the area, come out for our show on Sunday, August 28.  ROH Champion Davey Richards will be on hand that day at Black Diamond Harley Davidson.   I'm hoping to be able to get an interview with him for the blog and the YouTube channel.

Thanks for reading this.  Leave comments here, on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unnatural Gimmicks

"The Natural" Butch Reed
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter
(The photos in this post are courtesy WWE)

The world of professional wrestling has had some pretty out there gimmicks.  Sometimes they work (I'd say Goldust is a good example of that), others leave the fans asking "Why?"  Today, a just a small sample of guys who got saddled with some ridiculous gimmick, that probably ended up hurting their stock.

Not so natural...
"The Natural" Butch Reed actually inspired the title and the writing of this blog.  I remember watching just plain ol' Butch Reed on World Class Championship Wrestling, Central States, and Midsouth Wrestling.  He was a bad ass.  A tough guy who could get it done in the ring.  I'm pretty sure Slick was managing him in Central States prior to their jump to the WWF.

But then when he arrived there sometime in 1986 he had bleach blond hair and was going by "the Natural".  Of course this was "unnatural" for a number of reasons.  Some say it was a tribute to Sweet Daddy Siki.  While the gimmick didn't necessarily hurt Reed as a wrestler, I don't think it helped to get him over with the fans.

He basically hovered on the midcard, feuding with Tito Santana, former world champion "Superstar" Billy Graham, and the Magnificent Muraco.  Reed beat Koko B. Ware at Wrestlemania 3, but didn't have any other significant wins during his run (at least in my recollection) He lost to Randy Savage in round one of the WWF Title Tournament at Wrestlemania IV.

Of course this was all in a time when WWF pushed the babyfaces and the heels were just kind of there.  With only a couple of pay per views a year and no Raw or SmackDown! it was tough to have more than just the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Ultimate Warrior at the top of the card.  In this era the WWF gave a damn about the tag team division.  Maybe Reed could have been paired up with a partner and dominated those ranks.

Ron Simmons became Farooq
Which leads me to his eventual tag team partner in WCW, Ron Simmons.  Farooq became his persona in the WWF when he arrived in the company in 1996.  Simmons had a run in WCW and ECW.  He even held the WCW world title briefly in 1992.

In the WWF he came in dressed like some sort of American Gladiator with a bad attitude.  I did not care for this at all.  Ron Simmons was a natural athlete, much like Reed.  He had plenty of name recognition back in his earlier days, but at this point in the game, Vince McMahon was into changing everyone's name when they arrived in his company.

APA to the rescue
The Farooq character evolved through the years, dropping the Black Power gimmick and becoming more of a bad ass, thug for hire type guy.  He and Bradshaw (JBL) teamed up as the Acolytes, then simply the APA.  While I didn't necessarily hate the original Farooq gimmick, I thought the costume was insanely bad.  And I do think the character was below Simmons.  They could have focused on his athletic background and made him one of the top stars in the company.  But that would have probably been boring. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Ron ever held a singles title in the WWE, just the tag titles with JBL.


The Stalker
The Stalker was another one of those gimmicks from the mid to late 90's that I didn't understand.  Barry Windham was a well established star by this point in his career.  He had already been a WWF tag team champion with Mike Rotunda.  He wrestled in the NWA/WCW and held several titles there.  Windham was a member of the 4 Horsemen.  He wrestled some great matches with Ric Flair.  The son of a WWF legend Blackjack Mulligan.

But when he returns to the WWF in 1996 (I think) he becomes some hunting fanatic with his face painted and lumbering around in camo.  It just didn't work for him.  He was basically a face version of the early 90's Skinner character.  While I'm on the subject, I didn't care much for "The Widowmaker" gimmick either.  I think mostly because they never really pushed him in that persona.  Like I said, I loved Barry's first run with Rotunda, and his time in WCW.

The New Blackjacks
Shortly after the Stalker gimmick flopped, he and JBL formed "the New Blackjacks" tag team.  Again, a fail as far as I'm concerned.  I'm not a fan of recreating the original.  Windham would eventually leave the WWF and return to WCW as just plain ol' Barry Windham.  Yes, he was plain, but sometimes I like plain vanilla ice cream over some crazy concoction that takes away my original desire to eat ice cream.  I think you guys get the point I'm trying to make.

Of course, these are just 3 of many, many "unnatural" gimmicks.  We could write a couple of books on the subject.  But I want to hear your thoughts.  Which gimmicks do you deem unnatural to the wrestler who was doing them?  Post here or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.  And don't forget to like or subscribe to those pages too!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Layin' the Smurf Down!

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Yeah, I'm going there.  For people who know me, besides my love of wrestling, I'm quite fond of Smurfs.  I remember when the cartoon came to NBC along with the toys, lunch boxes, and tshirts.  I was in third grade and became instantly hooked.  It's an obsession that never left.  In fact, I still have all those little rubber Smurfs, along with the drinking glasses sold in Hardee's restaurants in the early 80's.

Anyway, since today is the premiere of the Smurfs Movie, I decide to tie my two loves together.  So, I'm casting wrestlers past and present to play Smurfs.  I'm basing my decisions on personality and appearance in most cases.

Randy Savage (Retired) as Papa Smurf:  This was actually the hardest one for me to cast.  After consulting with Chad, I decided to go with the retired "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  My decision was mostly just based on appearance.  After he left the ring, Savage let his hair and beard go gray.  He really does look kinda like Papa Smurf, don't you think? Personality wise, Savage was a leader for a long time in the ring and in the locker room.  So we'll give him credit for that too.  I wonder if Papa could do an elbow drop?

  Trish Stratus as Smurfette: Both are strong, beautiful, and independent.  What more can you ask for in a lady, right?  I picked Trish over Kelly Kelly because like Smurfette, I think when the going gets tough, Trish could hang with the guys better than Kelly Kelly can. When the chips were down and the Smurfs were in danger, Smurfette stepped up to help.  Trish exhibited the same qualities when she was in the WWE.  And she's the opposite of Smurfette who went from dark hair to blond.

John Cena as Hefty:  There were plenty of choices for wrestlers who could have played Hefty.  If you watched the cartoon, you'll remember he was the strong Smurf who always seemed to save the day.  Or often times he did.  It's much like the John Cena character on Raw.  Super Cena is a legit powerhouse and is always overcoming the evil doers in the WWE.

The Genius Lanny Poffo as Brainy: This one was a no brainer.  The Genius character could have very well been a tribute to Brainy Smurf back in the late 1980's.  Poffo had always read his poetry, even as a babyface.  But when he turned heel, he got more smug and arrogant about it.  Just like Brainy.  He was always reading from his book of quotations, and usually ended up making the others in the village mad and getting his butt kicked.  Just like Lanny.


"Adorable" Adrian Adonis as Vanity: If the bows and ribbons fit... Vanity could have also been played by a number of other wrestlers through the years including Gorgeous George, Orlando Jordan, or The Model Rick Martel.  I chose Adrian because I felt like he was really under appreciated during his run with the WWF.  Clearly his gimmick was just like Vanity's.  They both enjoyed lace and flowers and mirrors.  While neither character was ever officially out of the closet, there were plenty of assumptions made that each was gay.

Doink the Clown as Jokey: Both of these characters seem made for each other too.  Each pulled a variety of pranks on their peers.  Doink of course started off evil and eventually turned face, tricking the WWF's biggest villians.  Jokey did the same thing when it was time to save his fellow Smurfs from their nemesis Gargamel.

 Shockmaster as Clumsy: This may be the meanest pick of the bunch, but in my opinion the funniest.  If you've never seen Shockmaster's debut, I suggest clicking here and watching it on YouTube.  He tripped and feel and pretty much killed his character immediately.  As far as Clumsy goes, he was my favorite Smurf when I was a kid.  He was down to earth and likable.  I'm not so sure the same can be said for Shockmaster.  But again, it's that one trip that lead to this choice.

Randy Orton as Lazy: Okay, this one is probably more mean than the Shockmaster one.  It's not that I think Randy Orton is lazy at all.  Rather when he's on TV, I want to go to sleep.  Sorry, I find him boring and really one dimensional.  Randy works hard, I'm just not overly found of him or the alleged attitude he has outside the ring.


Triple H as Handy:  It's not so much that I've ever seen Triple H build anything.  And I really hope he doesn't end up destroying the WWE dynasty.  I picked Trips to play the role of Handy because of the sledge hammer of course.  Also, Handy was the hardest working Smurf in the village.  Some could argue that Trips is one of the hardest workers in the WWE with both his work inside the ring and now as an executive with the company.  (Note, this is a butt kissing attempt to get a job with the WWE in case Triple H is actually reading this post.) 


Bad News Brown as Grouchy:  Was their a more angry WWF (or WWE) superstar than Bad News Brown?  The dude was always in a bad mood.  Just like our boy Grouchy.  Although deep down, Grouchy had a soft heart.  I think had Brown stuck around in the WWF, we would have seen him soften up with a face turn.  I'm just guessing though, but it seems that even the baddest of the bad guys eventually have a change of attitude while in the E.


R-Truth as Harmony:  Jillian Hall could have just as easily been put in this role.  Whenever Harmony tried to make "music" it sounded horrible and drove the other Smurfs nuts.  It's the same thing when R-Truth does his "What's Up?" rap.  That's been the best part of his heel turn.  No more (c)rap.
Bastion Booger as Greedy:  I couldn't really think of anyone for the role of Greedy and kept coming back to Bastion Booger.  For those who watched the cartoon, you know that Greedy loved to cook, but he loved to eat even more.  Obvisously that's why they called him Greedy.  I seem to remember an angle or a stunt with Bastion where he consumed mass quantities of food on Raw or Superstars, so that's why I went with him for this role.


And finally... Vince McMahon & Battle Kat as Gargamel & Azrael:  I really don't think Vince wants to eat his wrestlers.  But I do think he'd like to turn them into gold (or green), just as Gargamel planned to do.  And of course, Battle Kat was already cat like so it only make sense to make him Azrael.  How many of you actually remember Battle Kat?  Anyone?


Vince has played that evil character so well in the past, feuding with his superstars and with those he created.  It's very similar to Gargamel feuding with Smurfette after creating her.  It may be a stretch.  I had considered Papa Shango because of the wizard/magic stuff that he did back in the day.


I hope you enjoyed this.  It was a lot of fun coming up with this list.  But also very time consuming.  I think I covered most of the major Smurfs.  It turns out everyone I casted has a connection to the WWE.  That wasn't intentional.  I basically went with who came into my thoughts first.  Who would you cast?  Leave your comments here or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Saying the "B" Word

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Earlier this week, the WWE released a DVD of their choices for the Top 20 Superstars of the 21st century.  While I agree with most of the choices, there is one name missing from the list.  Chris Benoit.  Yeah, I said it.  Now I am not surprised by this omission, but I am disappointed.

Here are the guys who made the cut. Chris Jericho, Edge, Triple H, JBL, Kane, Kurt Angle, The Rock, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Trish Stratus, Jeff Hardy, Big Show, Eddie Guerrero, Shawn Michaels, Booker T, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Batista and John Cena.  Chad shared his thoughts on why The Rock and Stone Cold don't belong on this DVD.  You can read that blog by clicking this link.

I agree with Chad on that issue.  But I don't know if we agree on the Benoit issue.  It's not something that we've had a lot of discussion about.  I've already written a piece about my thoughts on Chris.  I was a big fan of his and like everyone else, I wish the tragic events from June 2007 never happened.  But they did.  So do you erase everything he did?  

JBL vs. Chris Benoit at Wrestlemania 22
I was happy to hear Ric Flair mention Chris Benoit by name during Flair's 2008 Hall of Fame induction.  This was less than a year after the murders/suicide and the first time we'd heard those two words uttered by a WWE employee in a public forum.  However, the powers that be dubbed out Benoit's name for the Ric Flair DVD that was released later that year.

One thing that did surprise me was the fact that Chris made the WWE Encylopedia.  It was released in 2009, two years after the incident.  There's actually a pretty big photo of the former world champion along with several paragraphs talking about him.

WWE Chairman Vince McMahon said a couple of years ago (2 years removed from the tragedy) "It's not right to pretend he didn't exist. It's one thing to include him as part of a historical perspective, which I believe is OK, and it's another thing to promote him, which is not OK. The situation is very similar to that of O.J. Simpson - despite his controversy, O.J. was still a part of the NFL scene. You can't deny that he existed."

Wrestlemania XX, from WWE
But by excluding Benoit from DVD's and even the promo video from the first Money in the Bank, aren't they denying his existence?  Then there's leaving him out of the recent Wrestlemania history DVD.  The main event from Wrestlemania XX featuring Benoit, HHH, and Shawn Michaels was a classic.  I know it's a gray area, and pretty controversial as well.  I also question my own beliefs because I wonder if this were a wrestler I didn't like, how would I react?  I hope we're never faced with that situation again.

The point of this post is, I do believe that the other 18 men on the DVD are the best of the 21st century.  Like the previous post stated, we are not taking anything away from Austin or the Rock, but let's face it, Rocky was gone for most of that decade.  Austin wrestled very sporadically.  I'd put Benoit in there along with Rob Van Dam.  

Chris & Daniel Benoit
Again, I'm not excusing what Chris Benoit did to his wife Nancy and their son Daniel.  But as a wrestling fan, it's hard to watch him completely erased from the archives of WWE programming.  I also wonder if there is a fear over legal action from the Benoit family or Nancy's family is preventing the WWE from doing any more than they do.  It'll be interesting to see if we ever hear the "B" word again on WWE programming or see him in the Hall of Fame one day.

As always, thanks for reading this.  Leave your thoughts here.  Or head over to Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube and share your opinion.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

#1, Really? Really?

Courtesy: PWI
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Let me start this off for all the new readers, I am a big fan of the Miz.  I think he is one of the best overall performers in the WWE right now in terms of wrestling and mic skills.  You have to consider both of those elements to truly be a superstar these days.  The Miz has that "it" factor as far as I'm concerned.

That being said though, I'm a bit surprised to see that Pro Wrestling Illustrated has named him #1 in it's annual Top 500 ratings for 2011.  The magazine has been rating wrestlers for 21 years now.  I have issues of the first several years.  Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Sting, Shawn Michaels, and Steve Austin were in the top spot in the early years.

Randy Orton, Triple H, John Cena, and AJ Styles have been number one most recently.  Some names that never made the top spot: "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Ric Flair, Edge, the Undertaker, and the Rock.  Since this rating system started in 1991, I can almost see why Savage and Flair weren't number 1.  But both men did have reigns as WWF champion in 1992.  And they each held the WCW world title in the late 90's.

The 2011 issue isn't out on stands yet, and so far PWI has only announced the Miz as #1.  He's certainly improved a lot over the last year.  But to qualify him as the #1 wrestler in the world, I question.  Of course I know I'm getting caught up in the technicality that wrestling is predetermined.  This isn't "real".  I know I get it.  Maybe I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill.  Again, big fan of the Miz.  Just not sure why he's been named the best.

Look at his world title reign.  He struggled in his feud with Jerry Lawler.  I wouldn't have had a problem with that if it was 1985.  Lawler is an announcer primarily (at least in the WWE) and the fact that he had come up with wins over a young, up and coming champion really bothered me.  The way he won the belt was also "questioned" by the WWE, cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase and taking advantage of an injured Randy Orton.  Did he have one credible title defense outside of the match with John Morrison on Raw?

Me & the Miz in 2010
Even though he got the win over Cena at Wrestlemania, it was marred by interference by Alex Riley and the Rock.  Since losing the title back to Cena, he's had his ass handed to him by A-Ry and was pinned by Roddy Piper on Raw recently.  (I know that was with A-Ry as the special guest referee).  I also understand this was AFTER the editors made their selection.

I'm not sure if the magazine bases this honor on the calendar year or the accomplishments so far of that year.  By those standards, I would (as much as I hate to say it) go with either Randy Orton or John Cena.  Based on the last month or so, I'd put CM Punk as #1, but I'm kind of a mark like that.  Again, don't get me wrong, the Miz is one of my favorites, but to put him at the top of the mountain, I just struggle with that.

So who would you put at the top?  Does my argument against the Miz make sense?  Miz, if you're reading this, it's nothing personal.  One day I think you will deserve the honor of being #1.

Comment here, on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Getting (Myself) Over

My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

If you watched any of Tough Enough for this past spring, you heard the trainers telling the men and women wanting to follow in their famous footsteps that they had to do something to get themselves over.  It was almost a weekly sermon (or so it seemed).

Zack Ryder has probably used that mantra to his advantage more than anyone else on the active roster.  His Z True Long Island Story is a YouTube sensation to say the least.  Daniel Bryan has jumped on board too, and is now on YouTube as well as Zack's former partner Curt Hawkins.

So as a wrestling fan and a blogger who is trying to be taken seriously (seriously being a relative term here), I'm dedicating this post to a little cross promotion.  I'm attaching some of my favorite videos from the My 1-2-3 Cents YouTube Channel (many of them have hardly been watched) in an effort to get myself over.  This site gets roughly 200 hits a day, so I thought it can't hurt.

On the YouTube channel, you'll find several different wrestling characters I've created.  I did that because my first round of videos weren't getting watched at all.  A friend (who is not a wrestling fan) suggested doing something a little wacky to get noticed.  It's kind of worked, but I still don't have a lot of views. So please watch and tell me what you like and what you don't like.  I'm looking for honest feedback.  On a positive note, I was Broski of the Week in Episode 22.  WWWYKI!

I also want to thank you for reading the blog or watching the YouTube channel.  I also encourage you to subscribe to both and tell your friends about us.  Wrestling has been a hobby for nearly 30 years,  and outside of my family and friends (some anyway) it's the greatest joy in my life.  Pathetic, maybe.  But it's how I feel.

So please, check out these vids, and thanks again for your support.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Greatest Stars of the 21st Century

From WWE.com
By Chad Smart
@ChadSmart on Twitter


I made a comment on the My1-2-3 Cents Facebook page during Raw that I don’t think was interpreted the way I meant it. So I’m going to try and clarify it here. The comment was based around the commercial for WWE’s new DVD “Greatest Stars of the 21st Century.” I will admit I have not seen the DVD. I was going to wait until I saw it to write this, but it’s not a DVD I’m going to go out of my way to see so by the time I would have seen this topic would be past it’s freshness date.

The comment I made was, “Should Stone Cold be featured on the DVD since his in-ring career was mostly over by 2002?”  In no way need I mean to imply Stone Cold wasn’t worthy of being considered in the Greatest Stars category. My query was does a two-year active wrestling stint qualify him for inclusion as greatest for an entire decade. Would Austin be considered a Greatest Stars of the 80s even though he only wrestled in 1989? I agree with his inclusion on the Greatest Stars of the 1990’s. Since he was a semi-major player in WCW in the early ‘90s and then the run at the top of WWF in the late ‘90s. Steve Austin is truly a star of that decade. 
However, even with his run at the top during 2000-2001, I don’t feel he should be included on the new DVD. Again, not taking anything away from Austin’s accomplishments.

My dislike for Austin being on the DVD may also be rooted in a problem with how WWE treats wrestlers who made a name for themselves in the post-attitude years. As I wrote in a past article,  WWE has the tendency to make current stars look inferior whenever a former star is around. True the current stars may not be as big of a draw as the former stars and they never will be if they’re treated on-air as second rate.

Austin in 2007
I looked over the chapter listing for the DVD and it does seem to include several guys who rose to main event status during the first decade of the 21st century. I simply think Steve Austin (and the Rock as well) shouldn’t be on the DVD as they were already stars and their time inside the ring was limited. That’s all I meant with the comment. Not saying Austin wasn’t a part of the decade. But showing up randomly and stunnering guys who were trying to get over with the crowd, doesn’t make him a “greatest star” in my eyes. Actually that made me dread every time he showed up. But that’s another rant.

I hope this has cleared up any confusion my comment made. Again, not downplaying the significance of Steve Austin’s career, just limiting the focal point of said career.

If you agree or don’t agree let us know on Facebook or Twitter. Come up with suggestions for the YouTube channel. And tell your friends about us. We have big plans in store and no one should miss them. 

CM Punk is the Fonz Because He Jumped the Shark


"The Champs Are Here" from WWE.com

@ChadSmart on Twitter

One week? One week! Really? That’s how long it took WWE to ruin the hottest angle of the year. Okay, I’m being a bit overdramatic. Ruin is a strong word. They can maybe still pull this off, but they’re going to have to do a lot of damage control.

As Kevin, Travis and I have commented on the Facebook page, WWE should have saved Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena for SummerSlam. Build up a title match between two of the biggest faces in the company instead of using Mysterio as a 90-minute transitional champion. Plus, putting the belt immediately back on Cena makes the “new” WWE look just like the old WWE. What is there to get excited about? After Cena wins the title at SummerSlam then have CM Punk come out and confront Cena about being a paper champion because Cena didn’t beat the real champ. Don’t have this confrontation a week after Punk leaves. This is another example of the ADD booking style that has taken over wrestling in the last 15 years. No company seems to have the patience to tell a compelling story. 

Punk at Comic-Con from WWE.com
There are two other points I dislike surrounding the Punk/Cena story. First one is the lack of mentioning of CM Punk interrupting WWE’s Comic-Con panel. WWE could have mentioned this and showed footage of it to keep Punk’s name out there. (Not like the fans had forgotten him anyway given all the chants throughout the night on Raw) CM Punk could have started posting videos on youtube calling out Mysterio for not having beat Punk for the title. Since WWE is all about social media now, these videos would have been a good way to draw viewers to the WWE website or their YouTube channel. Almost anything would have been better than how WWE continued the story last night.

My other point of contention, and why I feel Punk’s return was rushed was because of the recent twitter comments between Cena and The Rock. Either Sunday or Monday, both guys made it known Rock would be at Survivor Series.  My cynical side tells me WWE wanted to get past Punk/Cena so all focus could be on Cena/Rock come November. Even though Survivor Series is three months away and Wrestlemania is another four months after Survivor Series, John Cena can’t be bogged down with a more interesting feud.

From WWE.com
I hate to be THAT guy who complains about everything but all interest WWE had built up over the last month was almost entirely destroyed in five minutes.  I am still on the fence about attending SummerSlam. While I’m still semi-interested in seeing Punk vs. Cena even though history has told me SuperCena will prevail, I have zero desire to see Christian vs. Orton round 20 or Cee-Lo Green. Here’s hoping WWE has something up their sleeve to make reignite the flames of passion to get me to care about the world title again.

Give us your thoughts and LIKE us on Facebook. Check out the Twitter feed. See what other members of Old School Warrior's family show up on YouTube

Monday, July 25, 2011

Comic Relief

Photo courtesy: WWE.com
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know by now that WWE champion CM Punk crashed the WWE Q&A session at Comic-Con Friday.  At first I thought the idea was kinda lame, but after watching it again and reading some of the other comments about it over the weekend, it makes a lot of sense.

I love how they are still playing up the angle that Punk is no longer an employee with the company.  Triple H trying to convince Punk to come back to the WWE and defend the title is great.  He's not begging, but he's making it known that there is still a spot open for him on the roster.  Of course we all know things aren't going to be that easy when it's time for Punk's return to TV.

I hope they continue to let this simmer for a bit longer.  Tonight's Raw will be a real test to see where this angle goes next.  It's gone from a focus on Punk and Cena to Vince McMahon being fired, to now the new regime.

It's hard for me to predict what's going to happen next, mostly because the Punk character now is so anti establishment.  He's made fun of the entire McMahon family, even calling Triple H the "doofus son-in-law."  I can't wait to see how they lure Punk back into the fold.  I'm also trying to figure out who's going to turn here.  Punk is getting over with the fans right now, but so is Triple H.  Punk has so much momentum and has picked up so much steam in the last month or so, I can't imagine him going full out heel again.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  This angle is exciting because it's not the typical paint by numbers program the WWE has offered us over the last few years.  They need to keep building on this momentum and work on more compelling storylines that the fans can get behind.

Your thoughts?  Post them here, or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ca$hing In...

Photo from WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Wrestlemania 28 is still months away, but we already know that the Rock and John Cena will be in the main event that night.  And as of Friday night, we know that Daniel Bryan is going to be wrestling for the World heavyweight title.  At least that's what he says...

I'm more than a little skeptical that this is going to happen.  Don't get me wrong, I hope it does, but I have big concerns that it will.

The WWE seems to have a way of screwing things up when it comes to Daniel Bryan.  This is just my opinion of course.  Remember when the Nexus angle first started and they fired him because of choking Justin Roberts with his own tie?  Of course I'm not sure if that was a legitimate firing or if it was just part of the angle.  I'm pretty sure they really did release him though.

Then the WWE brought him back.  But the dude got destroyed week in and week out on Raw.  Shockingly, they put him over the Miz for the United States title.  He had some decent matches with Ted DiBiase and Dolph Ziggler and went over each time.  It appeared they were making him a solid member of the roster.  Then he drops the belt to Sheamus and once again becomes the whipping boy.  Heck, his match with Sheamus at Wrestlemania 27 not only got dropped to the "pre show" status, but it was converted into a battle royal.

From WWE
Now, Bryan seems to be back on track for a push.  But again, I cautiously optimistic of his future with the Money in the Bank case.  I can see them booking him into a match (with Cody Rhodes most likely) with the case on the line and him losing it.  Of course this would be an epic fail.  If they are going to keep the case with him and keep the stipulation of him cashing in at Wrestlemania, they need to start RIGHT NOW on building him into a world title contender worthy of the Wrestlemania main event.  After all, this is a guy who (along with Shemaus) got bumped from the biggest show of the year to make room for the likes of Snooki and LayCool to wrestle...Where are those three now?  Exactly.

The WWE has about 8 months now to mold Bryan.  That's plenty of time in the world of wrestling.  I'm hoping with the momentum from the CM Punk-John Cena feud and the Vince McMahon "firing" will carry over to the entire product and the development of more main event stars in the company.  We want wrestling, and Daniel Bryan is the guy to help lead the way.

Your thoughts?  Post them here, on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fantasy Friday: Brody vs. Undertaker

@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For more than a century, professional wrestling has had men of all shapes and sizes compete in that squared circle.  Fat men, thin men.  Muscular men, out of shape men.  Little men, big men.  Perhaps two of the best big men of all time are "King Kong" Bruiser Brody and the Undertaker.  

Unfortunately they were a generation or more a part in terms their time in the ring. Undertaker was just starting out around the time of Brody's death.  But these two did actually meet in the ring when they both worked for World Class Championship Wrestling.  The Undertaker donned a mask and wrestled as "Texas Red."  

It was a sloppy encounter, and one of Taker's first matches.  I dispute the date on this YouTube video though.  The Internet is a great resource for information, but there are conflicting reports on the Undertaker's actual debut.  At the end of this match they flash a graphic for Eric Embry appearing on the show, as well as Steve Simpson.  If my memory is correct, neither man was a part of WCCW in 1984.  



Brody obviously went over in this confrontation.  As most of you probably remember, the Undertaker was basically a big man jobber until he hit it big in the WWF in 1990.  Although as the Punisher in WCCW he had some success.  His stint in WCW was less than memorable.

By the time the Undertaker had debuted in the WWF, Brody had been dead for more than two years, the victim of a locker room stabbing.  Brody was also about 20 years Undertaker's elder, so if the two had ever met again, Brody would have been on his way down the ladder, with Taker just starting his climb to the top.

Even though Brody never wore the NWA, AWA, or WWF world heavyweight titles, the big man did pick up gold in other territories and around the world.  Clearly he was an international star and wrestled big names like Ric Flair, Harley Race, and Verne Gagne back in the day.  He reminded me a lot of Andre the Giant, in that he did not need a belt to prove his worth in the ring.  I recently wrote a post about Brody on the anniversary of his untimely death.  

Undertaker in the last 20 years has proven he may very well be the best of the big men to even step into the ring. Even with his body breaking down before our very eyes, he's able to put on an exciting match (albeit somewhat predictable)  Imagine mid 80's Brody facing mid 90's Undertaker.  As Gorilla Monsoon would say, "this match would be the main event in any arena."

Taker and Edge at Wrestlemania 24
While I think Brody was always an incredible worker, I'd give the slight edge in this battle to the Undertaker.  Although more likely if this match were to happen, it would go to a double disqualification, but in the world of Fantasy Friday, we have to pick a winner.  So, I'm going to give the Undertaker the win, but this is by far the closest Fantasy Friday match I've booked.  

What are your thoughts?  Who would win this epic fantasy battle?  I'm curious to hear.  Post your ideas here or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Have You Seen This Bro?

Photo from True Long Island Story on YouTube
By Chad Smart
@ChadSmart on Twitter


Now that CM Punk is gone, it’s time to turn attention back to another favorite of the my123cents crew, Zack Ryder. In case you’ve been watching Raw this year, you have probably only seen Zack twice. Once in a match where he didn’t get an on air introduction and then a few weeks ago when he came out after New Nexus defended the tag titles. Zack came out, said, “woo woo woo” and left. It looked the start of a storyline where Zack would find a partner and challenge for the tag straps. That was a month ago and there hasn’t been any mention of it ever happening so it looks like Zack should go hang out with the driver of the white hummer and DDP’s benefactor in the land of unfinished angles.

Kevin & Zack at Wrestlemania 26
While Zack hasn’t been on TV, he has built up a following with his weekly YouTube show True Long Island Story. Kevin and I have written about the show before, and Kevin was the episode 22 Broski of the Week. Based on the success of the show wwe.com (allegedly*) sold out of the Zack Ryder shirt. WWE is releasing a new Zack t-shirt featuring a caricature of Zack’s head that slightly resembles a troll doll on the front and Zack’s catchphrase on the back. Obviously WWE sees the potential to make money off of Zack Ryder, so the question is why doesn’t he get any TV time?

For the better part of the last 15 years those working inside the wrestling industry have said the Internet wrestling fans should not be listened to because they make up a small percentage of the overall fan base. This may have been true in the early days of the Internet, but now with the saturation of homes with Internet access and even with the number of smartphones in the market, I think it’s safe to say at least 75% of wrestling fans most likely have some kind of online interaction involving wrestling on a weekly if not daily basis. Doesn’t WWE make a big deal about how many fans they have on Facebook and how many hits the WWE website gets compared to other companies? So wouldn’t it make some sense to take the opinions of the Internet Wrestling Community into consideration every so often?

The Ultimate Broksi (from True Long Island Story) 
If Zack Ryder is averaging 100,000 views per episode of True Long Island Story, and his T-shirt is selling out even though it’s not available at arenas, isn’t the potential there for his popularity to explode if he was presented to the mainstream audience? So then why hasn’t WWE management gotten him onto TV? The old excuse, “creative has nothing for you” can’t really be used because Zack has a built in gimmick and could easily be inserted anywhere on the show. He could be paired up with Curt Hawkins again to challenge for the tag titles. How many people even remember he and Hawkins are former champions? He could be thrown into the mix with Dolph Ziggler, Kofi Kingston and Evan Bourne to make the U.S. Title scene more interesting. Or, based on the history of TLIS, have John Cena take him under his wing as a new protégé. This would keep Cena out of the title hunt and give Zack the rub needed to help him overcome mid-card hell. Seeing how WWE is in need of new main event talent, it surprises me how they still seemingly refuse to try and create new stars.

Could Zack Ryder be the next big thing? Maybe, maybe not. How many people would have predicted Rocky Miavia or The Ringmaster would have become the biggest stars of the past twenty years? You never know how things will work out until you try. I think it’s time WWE tries with Zack Ryder. If it fails so what? There are another 50 guys on the roster who are waiting for their chance. Maybe one of them will be the guy to lead the next wrestling revolution. 

*I’m taking Zack’s word for it. I never tried to order one.

Lots of daily questions and ponderings on the my123cents Facebook page. Thinking of doing a Twitter meet up. And there’s always someone new on the YouTube channel. So much to see, so little time. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A New Era or SSDD?

Happier times, Vince's Walk of Fame Ceremony
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

In case you're wondering SSDD is Same Stuff (this is a PG blog) Different Day.  Monday, July 18, 2011 may very well have marked the start of a new era in the wrestling (sports entertainment) business.  I say may have because I want to see what happens in the coming weeks with the "future endeavouring" of WWE CEO Vincent Kennedy McMahon.

We all know the real life story of the McMahon clan by now.  Triple H is Vince's son in law and for years there has been talk of him taking over the reigns when Vince decided to hang it up for good.   As of right now, the WWE Corporate site has not mentioned any change in leadership within the company.  That being said, I tend to believe that Triple H will merely become a figure head character on TV.  Hopefully this will result in the termination of the Anonymous Raw General Manger.  In all likelihood, Triple H is being groomed by Vince to one day take over.  I just can't see McMahon ever truly retiring, at least not yet.

I like how they tied in the CM Punk-John Cena angle to launch this potential new era.  I really hope the that the focus is not taken off of this storyline.  Technically right now, CM Punk is STILL the WWE champion.  I don't ever remember saying Punk was stripped of the title.  He just said there would be a tournament to crown a new champ and we saw how that ended.

Storyline wise, I don't see Triple H rehiring Punk either though.  After all he insulted the entire McMahon family including the "doofus son-in-law".  Would it make sense for H to bring Punk back?  I must say this is the most compelling storyline the WWE has done in a long time.  They need to let this simmer and not rush it like they did the Nexus creation.  Let's face it, this is the best the WWE has done in a long time.  Even the company's worst critics would agree with that.

Courtesy: WWE
I've always liked the evil Mr. McMahon character.  But he has gotten stale, so it's a good thing he's going away again.  I would have liked to seen where his "exploding limo" angle was going to go four years ago. Maybe this will be the angle to one up that one.

I'm also going to wait to judge Triple H.  He's a great performer.  Not one of my favorites by any means, but I respect what he does in the ring.  Now we need to see what he can do in the office.  Again, I don't think he's in total control, but like it or not, one day he will be.

So was July 18th a true "game changer"?  Only time will tell.  Weigh in here or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Trips in Charge

Photo from WWE.com
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

After buzzing from the high of Money in the Bank (a natural buzz of course), I was eagerly awaiting the start of Raw Monday night.  I had hoped that  the writers wouldn't bungle up the single most interesting angle in the WWE in the last couple of years, heck maybe even more.  They kind of delivered, but didn't totally drop the ball.  At least not yet.

I liked the idea of having a tournament on Raw to crown a new champion.  To me, it put some emphasis on the importance of the WWE championship.  For years, it seems like the titles are treated like a prop with little value.  I agreed with most of the participants involved, but was a little confused why Evan Bourne wasn't in there.  He was the only Money in the Bank participant to not be in the tournament.  Or a better question, why wasn't Dolph in the MITB match Sunday?  I guess we'll never know.

John Laurinaitis back in the day
One other note before I get into more of the action, it still blows my mind that Johnny Ace is Vince McMahon's right hand man.  I can remember he and Shane Douglas sporting their mullets and riding skateboards to the ring back in the NWA.   It's been an amazing journey from him I suppose.

The biggest surprise to me for the tournament was Kofi Kingston beating Alberto Del Rio.  I think a lot of people thought ADR would go all the way.  It would have been an interesting plan for the guy with the briefcase to also be the reigning champion.

The announce team doing the John Cena Twitter updates were more annoying than the actual Tweets.  I'm all about the social media aspect, but when the King and Michael Cole talked out it, it just didn't see realistic.

Sorry "Silent Rage" needs to be muted.  I'm not impressed one bit.  But I will give him time.  So far,  he's not captured my attention.

By the way, I love Vince McMahon's jacket.  Reminds me of something Jesse Ventura would have worn back in the day.  I was disappointed they decided to "postpone" the finals.  But as Chad mentioned on Facebook, why not strip CM Punk of the title in 30 days for not defending the belt?  That whole 30 day rule has been a gimmick around for years.

The interaction between Cena and Vince made sense to me.  I liked how he told Vince he'd walk onto another show, brother.  Triple H coming in and explaining to Vince the concerns the board has was also logical and acceptable to me.  While some have speculated that this may be the end of the Vince McMahon as the head of the company, I'm not buying it yet.  I think everything we see on WWE program is done with the approval of Vince himself.  I don't think he's planning to retire.  He's said too many times in the past that he'll never quit the company.  However the tears were a good touch.  But the "I love you, pop." almost made it seem too hokey.

photo from WWE.com
My only real problem with this angle now is that the McMahon family is once again in the middle of the spotlight.  It reminds me of the invasion angle when Stephanie and Shane McMahon were all a part of it too.  It should have been about creating the greatest dream matches, but instead it got watered down.

So the questions now, will Triple H continue to wrestle and be the chairman of the company?  Will Vince hold any position with the WWE?  Will he show up on Impact Wrestling?  (That's a joke)  Where does all this leave CM Punk?  Will Trips try to sign him back to a contract?  And what would motivate Punk to return?  Will the title tournament really finish next week, or are all of Vince's decisions now null and void?

The next few weeks (or longer) SHOULD be interesting ones.  I feel like the WWE has finally spurned some interest in the product again.  There are plenty of unanswered questions that I can't wait to learn the answers to.

What are your thoughts?  Post here, or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.