Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No Chants in Hell

The Steiners & Foley at WrestleReunion
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Ok, I’ll admit, that was some lame word play for the title. I couldn’t think of anything else I’ve written before about my dislike of fans chanting, “WHAT!” during wrestling shows. Over the weekend, I was present at two live events, PWS Superstars and PWG Kurt WrestleReunion 3. After the PWG show, I went and watched WWE’s Royal Rumble with some friends. One thing I realized after watching the three shows is there are several chants wrestling fans partake in that I would be quite content if I never heard again. A little disclaimer; something I noticed about myself during the shows is I tend to watch wrestling shows the same way a critic watches a film or listens to music, I stop being a fan and focus on the little details. I also tend to over analyze things. As if long time readers of the blog haven’t noticed. So take what I’m going to say with a grain of salt and realize after ten hours of wrestling, I was starting to get a little punchy.

LETS GO WRESTLER A! LETS GO WRESTLER B!

The dueling chant is fine when you have two highly popular wrestlers, but lately it seems fans chant for every wrestler. Very few wrestlers on an independent level, unless they get silence from the crowd, get a negative reaction from the crowd. Therefore it’s not uncommon for every match on a show to get a “Lets go Jimmy! Lets go Chris!” chant. I understand fans want to cheer and if they’re not real familiar with the guys in the ring, or if the guys don’t have catchphrases to chant, a spirited dueling chant is a good stock chant to use. Unfortunately the dueling chants come out multiple times during a match. So after a four-hour show, hearing the same chant 20-30 times, it gets a little old. Fans need to remember it’s okay to boo wrestlers.

WOOT WOOT

If there are any Juggalos reading this, this one’s for you. I’ve got nothing against the “Woot. Woot,” and have been known to say it myself on occasion. Again though, when you say it every thirty seconds during a four hour show and don’t say anything else, it gets really annoying. Either think of something else to say or just take a break from saying anything for a few minutes. I have to give props to the Juggalos I was subjected to over the weekend. During the PWG show for some reason, the Juggalos started chanting, “who’s going chicken hunting? We’re going chicken hunting.” Those are lyrics to an Insane Clown Posse that I actually have on my Ipod. I don’t know why they chanted it, but it amused me. Then they went back to “Woot woot” and I got annoyed.

Triple H vs. Undertaker WM 27
THIS IS AWESOME

Okay, going back to what I said earlier about not watching wrestling as a fan and more as a critic, I don’t want to say I watch more wrestling than the average fan, but I do tend to watch quite a bit of wrestling besides just WWE. Because of this I am somewhat accustomed to seeing the same match structure over and over. I think this is why I don’t consider Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels from Wrestlemania 26 or Undertaker vs. Triple H. from Wrestlemania 27 are THAT good and are actually overrated. During the PWS and PWG shows any match that consisted of guys doing lots of moves and counter moves mixed in with several “finishing” moves that should have but didn’t end the match got a “this is awesome” chant. While the matches were good and the wrestlers didn’t blow any moves, the matches themselves were all laid out the same. I’ve tried to think of a good analogy and really couldn’t. The best I could do is, chanting “this is awesome” at every match that had good back and forth action would be like saying Star Wars and Howard the Duck are both awesome movies because they follow the same structure of story telling and hit every beat correctly.

Perhaps it’s a minor nitpick, but when everything is “awesome” then nothing is really “awesome.” Maybe instead of chanting, “this is awesome,” fans should chant, “this is standard above average display of wrestling skill.” That’s just a suggestion for vocal displays at future shows.

WHAT

This goes without saying but “What” is the most annoying chant to ever be chanted. It’s popularity made me take Steve Austin out of my top 10-wrestler list due to making it popular. If you’re near me at a show and chant this, you become the target of my continued hope I can someday make people’s head explode like the movie Scanners.

Do you have a chant you think should be put to rest? Or do you want to tell me to “lighten up Francis” and just enjoy wrestling the way it’s meant to be enjoyed? Whatever your opinion, let us know on the My123Cents Facebook page. And if you haven’t “liked” the page yet, do so. We just gave away a couple of prize packs and will be holding more contests in the future.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My First Rumble

Shemaus wins the 2012 Royal Rumble
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I've been to five Wrestlemanias and will hit my sixth in 62 days in Miami.  I've been to live Raws (I witnesses "Rosie O'Donnel" vs. "Donald Trump", and I've been to the first ever Hell in a Cell match at Badd Blood '97, but in the 25 year history of the Royal Rumble, I had never been.  That all changed last night.

Luckily for me this year's event was in St. Louis, my hometown.  I live about 2 hours away, so when it was announced months ago, I made plans to attend.  My 10 year old son was also stoked and wanted to go as well, since my Wrestlemania trips have been named "Bromance Weekends" with My 1-2-3 Cents partner in crime Chad.

The Rumble event was great.  Top to bottom we had a blast.  My son, Mason and I went with my friend and coworker, Weston.  Our seats were pretty good too, despite the morons in front of us and in front of them who kept standing, especially towards the end of the Rumble.  But I digress...

We arrived in St. Louis early to experience the DiBiase Posse Party.  It was pretty cool.  Ted was mobbed by fans as he signed autographs and posed for photos.  There was a television crew there with a mic flag that said "Crash" (I think).  We're not sure if that's something that will be a part of the WWE Network or what was going on.  At one point we were just feet away from DiBiase, but Mason wouldn't get any closer to him for a picture.  Hope he doesn't have the regrets I had when I was younger about bailing on meeting King Kong Bundy...  I did however get a quick video of DiBiase so you can see what the party is all about.



The dark match saw Yoshi Tatsu pin the "One Man Southern Rock Band"Heath Slater.  Weston tried getting a Wendy's chant started, but it fell on deaf ears.

Bryan escapes
The show started with Daniel Bryan defending the world championship inside a steel cage against the Big Show and Mark Henry.  Oh, let me preface this blog by saying I haven't read any other reviews of the show, so I don't know if there have been any news nuggets added from overnight.  Anyway, the match wasn't too bad.  Show squashed Henry early on, taking him out of action for a bit.  I had heard last week that Henry was hurt, so I wasn't sure if that was part of keeping him in the match, yet keeping him safe too.  Bryan did the coward try to escape ASAP strategy.  It works for him.  I like what they're doing with his character.  Ultimately, he scaled the cage again, but Show caught him and held on to him with one arm.  Bryan eventually got free and hit the floor and retained.  I was impressed with Big Show's strength.  But he was clearly disappointed he lost another bid to be the champ.

There was an unannounced 8 divas tag team match that saw champion Beth Phoenix team up with the Bella Twins and Natalya.  The heel quartet beat the face team of Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox, and Tamina.  The match wasn't horrible, but many fans used it as a chance to go to the bathroom or hit the concession stand.  Beth won for her team after hitting the GlamSlam on K squared.

Kane destroys Zack, again
John Cena and Kane brawled and fought in a pretty good see-saw battle.  The crowd in St. Louis clearly hated Cena.  There was the "Let's Go Cena" "Cena Sucks" (I think that's the chant) going on throughout the match.  Since my 10 year old and 6 year old both like Cena, I joined in on the pro Cena side of things.  The match ended in a double count out.  Kane took care of Cena backstage, then attacked a wheelchair bound Zack Ryder, rolling him into the ring and Tombstoning him.  Eve tried to stop it, but Kane wouldn't let up. Then when Cena ran back to the ring, to save Eve from doom, the fans booed him again.  That I didn't get.  Even when he's playing the hero to a popular Diva, Cena gets heat.  Anyway, Kane chokeslammed Cena and then left the ring without hurting Eve.  I'm predicting a Kane-Ryder match of some kind at Wrestlemania.

Funkasarus Brodus Clay beat the struggling Drew McIntyre in a pretty quick match.  It was another bonus match on the card.  I had hoped this didn't mean Clay wouldn't be in the Rumble, but it did.  I was really hoping to see him in the match.  Maybe next year...

Punk's tribute to Macho Man
CM Punk beat Dolph Ziggler finally, despite two ref bumps and John Laurinaitis serving as a special guest referee.  However, I thought he was going to be the only official in the match.  The match between these two was outstanding.  I've said it before, I'll say it again, Ziggler has so much potential.  I hope they keep him near the top of the card this year and he doesn't end up lost in the shuffle.

The Royal Rumble match itself was pretty entertaining.  There were some entrants that baffled me.  I'm not sure how I feel about all three commentators getting into the match.  Although with the surprise entrance of Kharma (who was my mark out moment of the night), it made up for Cole being in there.  I liked how she came out and went after him immediately.  My other two favorite moments from the Rumble were KofiBourne in AirBoom, more on that in another post).

Socko meets the Cobra
Besides Kharma's few minutes in the Rumble, another memorable moment for me was the Cobra vs. Socko with Santino and Mick Foley.  It was comedy for sure, but in a match like the Rumble, you need some comedy relief too.

The crowd in St. Louis of course popped when Randy Orton came out.  I'm so glad he didn't win.  I really thought the Miz was going to take it all.  Then I figured Jericho would get the nod.  Sheamus' victory was not totally unexpected.  I'm not let down, nor am I super pumped either.  I'd say I'm indifferent about it.  It'll be interesting to see if he goes after Daniel Bryan (and if Bryan is still champ by Mania).  You'll remember last year the two were supposed to face off for the U.S. title in a lumberjack match that got demoted to the dark match and then became a battle royal.  Funny the difference a year can make...

Jericho hangs on... for now
My dream scenario was actually for Punk to enter the Rumble (since it was open to ANY superstar) and win.  Then go on to face Bryan at Mania and unify the titles.  I kinda felt like all the surprise entrants took away from guys on the undercard who could've been in the match, specially Brodus and McIntyre.  I'm also wondering where the other Uso brother was.

Quick fun fact, since 2005, the final two men in the ring at the Royal Rumble have been involved in WWE or World title matches at Wrestlemania (the exception, in 2011 with Santino and Alberto Del Rio).  So with that track record, I wonder if we'll see a Chris Jericho title match at Mania this year as well...

But overall, I loved the Royal Rumble.  It was really cool seeing it live and in person.  It's an experience I'll never forget, and I hope my son doesn't either.  These are the bonding moments that I remember having with my dad.  Now the Road to Wrestlemania is in high gear.  Can't wait for Miami!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Royal Rumble: Mega Powers, Mega Problems

Mega meltdown (from WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For 25 years, the Royal Rumble has provided plenty of great memories for wrestling fans.  Over the last week, I've shared some of my favorites.  Looking back all of them are "old school" memories.  The only exception being Chris Benoit's win from 2004.

In 1989, Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were ruling the world as the Mega Powers.  But as they say, all good things must come to an end, including the Mega Powers.  The two were destined to split and feud, and at the Royal Rumble that year, Hogan "accidentally" eliminated the Macho Man from the match.  This of course sent Savage into a rage, who slid back into the ring and confronted his partner.  Miss Elizabeth rushed to the ring to diffuse the situation, and it worked, at least for a bit.  Hogan and Savage eventually were finished with each other and battled it out at Wrestlemania 5.

Here's a look back.  This is also a sequence of another infamous rumble moment involving the Warlord and his quick exit.

Chikara Season 11

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


January 28, 2012 is finally here. Today is the day I’ve been waiting for for two months. Ever since season 10 ended with Chikara’s first iPPV High Noon, the anticipation for the next season was slowly growing by the day. Tonight at 7pm in Easton, Pennsylvania season 11 kicks off with a line up that if Chikara was WWE this would be great Wrestlemania card.

Jigsaw (photo by Andy Hedrick)
In a match of veteran vs. rookie, Chikara stalwart Jigsaw battles Kobald of the Batiri. I haven’t seen Kobald in many singles matches so this could be his proving ground. After defeating El Generico in the High Noon pre-show, Jigsaw has his sights on an eventual match for the Grand Championship. While this probably won’t be match of the night, it should still provide plenty of action and show once again the level of talent that comes out of the Chikara Wrestle Factory.

I don’t know how else to describe the meeting between Hallowicked and Archibald Peck than to say it’s a true styles clash. “Marchie” Archie who marches to the beat of his own drummer is attempting to get back on a winning streak after his lost to Colt Cabana at High Noon. Peck’s majorette, Veronica, has pretty much told him either he starts winning or she’ll find someone else to escort to the ring. I’m curious to see how this plays out.
 
HammerTim vs. 3.0
Similar to Kobald’s, his Batiri partners Obariyon and Kodama find themselves in a tag match with two of Chikara’s most successful and popular wrestlers, Fire Ant and Soldier Ant of the Colony. This should prove as another example of how good tag team wrestling could be when done properly.

Another tag team match that could be off the charts is 3.0 vs. Tim Donst and Jakob Hammermeier, or as I like to call them, HammerTim. With Chikara making their Canadian debut in two months, I would expect 3.0 to take this victory putting them on the path to 3 points and eventual tag team title shot in their home country.

Green Ant challenges his trainer Mike Quackenbush in their third match up. Quack beat Green Ant in the previous two matches but after defeating the largest member of the Chikara roster, Tursas at High Noon Green Ant feels he has greatly improved and wants to test himself by battling the man of 1,000 holds.

The final two announced matches are battles of former tag team partners. The first features Osirian Portal members Ophidian taking on Hieracon. At High Noon after the Portal’s leader Amasis announced his retirement, Ophidian attacked his former partner ripping off the funky Pharaoh’s mask. Ophidian has vowed to do the same thing to Hieracon. I’m not expecting much of a technical masterpiece in this one. I think Ophidian is more concerned with collecting the birdman’s mask and sending Hieracon back to where he came from more than winning the match. Hopefully this will be the first step to Ophidian really establishing himself as a singles wrestler this season.

Team F.I.S.T. back in the day.
In a match almost two years in the making former F.I.S.T. mates collide. Icarus turned his back on friend and partner Gran Akuma back in 2010 feeling Akuma had gone soft. Johnny Gargano was brought in as a replacement and currently he and the third member of F.I.S.T., Chuck Taylor hold the Campeonatos de  Parejas. Much like the Ophidian match, I don’t know how much of an actual match to expect from this encounter.  This feud could last for the better part of the season so I’m not expecting a clean victory. With Johnny Gargano currently on the shelf with what could be a very serious injury, maybe Icarus will try to off Akuma his spot back in F.I.S.T.

In addition to the announced matches, Mr. Touchdown will make his debut and I believe there will be a promo or something with Chikara Grand Champion, Eddie Kingston. For anyone not familiar with Chikara, this is a near perfect show to use as an introduction. For longtime Chikara fans, this is almost a dream card. I can’t find anything to complain about or wish was different. If this is how Season 11 is kicking off, I am very excited to see what happens throughout the rest of the season. Hopefully the DVD of the show gets released in a quick manner.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Royal Rumble: A Giant Exit

Andre leaves the Rumble
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger

Another one of my favorite Royal Rumble moments comes from the 1989 event.  It involves Andre the Giant.  And since today is the 19 year anniversary of his death, I thought I'd share it with you.  By this point in his career Andre was a broken man.  He was nearing the end of his career and had just entered into a feud with Jake "the Snake" Roberts.

Andre plods around the ring for a while avoiding being eliminated from the match.  He tossed a few guys out, including "Rugged" Ronnie Garvin and Roberts.  Jake eventually returns to the ring after several minutes and slides Damian into the ring.  The story line at the time had Andre deathly afraid of snakes, so once he got a look at the reptile, he jumped over the top rope, eliminating himself from the competition.

It happens in this clip, it just takes a little while to get to it, but it's worth the wait.  Enjoy some old school rumble.

PG Attitude: Part 3

Austin vs. McMahon
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


For the conclusion of my comparison between the Attitude Era and the current PG rating WWE aims for, I’m going to list some of the reasons I dislike the Attitude Era and why I don’t think it was as great as most people seem to remember.

I’m not going to deny the popularity of the Attitude Era or the stars that rose to fame during that time. Similar to how country music became popular due to the success of Urban Cowboy, and then quickly faded back into the background of pop culture, I think the Attitude Era happened to all the stars being aligned perfectly for a short period of time and then when wrestling became passé the majority of the new “fans” moved on to the next cool thing. The Attitude Era didn’t create wrestling fans. An analogy might be made that the Attitude Era is similar to the grunge or even boy band phase of popular music.  A fad that connects with a lot of people for a short period of time until something new comes along. I’m not saying there aren’t any fans who started watching during the Attitude Era still around.  I am willing to bet though the percentage of fans that became true wrestling fans during this time is pretty low. I should also clarify in my opinion there is a difference between wrestling fans and WWE fans. Wrestling fans have the sickness and will seek out and watch any wrestling they can find. WWE fans feel if a guy isn’t on the WWE roster the wrestler obviously isn’t any good and only WWE is worth watching because all the other wrestling shows take place in smaller venues in front of a handful of fans.

Now that I’ve stepped fully onto my soapbox, getting back to the subject at hand, the first two examples of why the Attitude Era wasn’t great are the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin won the Royal Rumble in 1997, 1998 and 2001. In 1999, Austin was the last man eliminated by winner Vince McMahon. Austin did not compete in the 2000 Royal Rumble due to being out of action with an injury.

The 1997 victory wasn’t originally supposed to happen. Vince Russo, then known as WWF Magazine writer Vic Venom, appeared on the live WWF Saturday morning program Livewire and said the Shawn Michaels would regain the WWF title and Bret Hart would win the Rumble to set up a Wrestlemania rematch.  Vince McMahon then asked Russo why he gave away the results on live TV. Russo, who wasn’t part of the creative team, said he didn’t know the results but that was the predictable outcome. Plans were then changed to give Austin the victory and postpone Bret getting a title shot at Wrestlemania by setting up the main event for the February Pay Per View in a four-way match between the last four men in the Rumble.  Even though 1997 is a year before the Attitude Era really began, I’ve included it here for the point I’m getting around to making.

Austin-McMahon at the 1999 Royal Rumble
Even though Austin didn’t win the 1999 Royal Rumble, the match was all built around his feud with Mr. McMahon. Austin and McMahon started the Rumble as numbers one and two. Going off of memory here, after brawling for a few minutes, Vince tried to get away from Austin by running all over the arena. While they were fighting outside the ring, the ring filled up with mid-card acts that everyone knew didn’t have a chance of winning. During this time, the cameras kept cutting back to Austin and McMahon thus making the Rumble match seem unimportant. Finally after they returned to the ring towards the end of the match, there were several main event talents in the match. The match eventually ended, I believe, when the Rock’s music hit distracting Austin long enough for Vince to toss Austin over the top rope and earning a shot at the WWF title at Wrestlemania.  Vince would go on to lose his title opportunity to Austin at February’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Pay Per View.

Essentially, during the Attitude Era, the Royal Rumble only had one winner. Royal Rumble 2000 is the anomaly due to Austin’s injury. Who knows if Austin would have been champion going into the Rumble or if he’d be trying to earn another main even spot at Wrestlemania had he been healthy.  Speaking of Wrestlemania, the main events during the Attitude Era shine another light of the flaws of the Attitude Era.

Austin-Rock Wrestlemania 15
I’m going to first say I think Wrestlemania should be the culmination of storylines. Wrestlemania should be the previous year’s climax. Maybe I still have an old school mentality and treat Wrestlemania the way I did when there were only four Pay Per Views, but I truly believe Wrestlemania should be something special. For that reason, I was irritated when Undertaker and Shawn Michaels fought on two consecutive Manias, and really don’t want to see ‘Taker and Triple H fight again this year. Look at the main events from Wrestlemania during the Attitude Era; Wrestlemania 14: Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin. Wrestlemania 15: Rock vs. Steve Austin. Wrestlemania 2000 (16): Rock vs. Big Show vs. Triple H vs. Mick Foley.  Wrestlemania 17: Rock vs. Steve Austin. Again, Austin was injured during 1999-2000 so he missed Wrestlemania 16. I was going to include Wrestlemania 19 as that also had Austin/Rock, but I figure that could be seen as more of an ending to the Attitude Era so it made sense for the two biggest stars of that time to fight each other. Even though it was the third Wrestlemania match between them.

The point I’m trying to get to is the Attitude Era was built around Steve Austin and while there were some other side players (HHH, Foley, Rock) the majority of the attention was given to Austin. I have two critiques about that. The first is even though Austin was seriously injured prior to becoming world champion, WWE rode him as long as he could go without an eye for the future when Austin would be done wrestling. It didn’t help them with The Rock becoming an in demand actor and retiring from wrestling sooner than anyone would have expected. Mick Foley “retiring” in 2000 also took away a main even star. Again, not saying there weren’t other stars or guys ready to step up.  And I won’t deny the popularity of Austin or say he didn’t deserve the top spot. I will say, given the number of characters that became popular during the Attitude Era, WWF did a poor job of elevating talent and establishing several main event talents.

Cena's first WWE title win (2005)
Flash forward to 2012. John Cena has been the face of WWE for seven-eight years. John Cena has been in the main event of seven Wrestlemanias. The only opponent he’s faced more than once is Triple H, once in a one on one match and once in a triple threat match along with Randy Orton. During the time Cena has been on top, there have been no repeat Royal Rumble winners.  While there is still a problem of “stop and go” pushes with some of the younger talent, WWE has at least tried to put more than 2 or 3 guys in the main event picture over the past few years.

Sure there are some flaws in my comparisons. WWE has two brands now instead of one as they did during Austin’s heyday. That leads to more wrestlers getting airtime. I’m sure people will also say “Stone Cold” was a better character than John Cena therefore the Attitude Era was better. Well, I guess that is just a matter of personal taste.

I could also include how the Attitude Era led to the trend of short title reigns, crash TV and hotshotting matches and angles for the sake of ratings. Most of the things people complain about in the current wrestling landscape, besides the PG mindset, have their roots in the Attitude Era.

Guess this is another prime opportunity to mention if you think PG is the reason why WWE isn’t good, go watch AAPW or Chikara and you’ll see that all PG means is the show will be fun the entire family, not just a small section of the crowd.

Thoughts? Comments? Share them with us on our Facebook page.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Royal Rumble: First In, Last Out

#1 winners
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger

In the now 25 year history of the Royal Rumble only 2 men have drawn number 1 and won the event.  Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit.  Michaels did it in 1995 and went on to face Diesel at Wrestlemania 11. He came up short in his bid.  Benoit did it in 2004.  He went on to beat Michaels and Triple H in a Triple Threat match at Wrestlemania 20.

It's not an easy accomplishment to outlast 29 other competitors.  I guess for the sake of augment, you could throw Vince McMahon into this category too.  He was the second man in the ring at the 1999 Rumble.  Technically number two is in the match the same amount of time as number one.

I know I probably shouldn't applaud the efforts by Chris Benoit, but I marked out when he eliminated the Big Show from the match and won the title shot.  Two months later he and Eddie Guerrero celebrated in the ring at Madison Square Garden as both men were the two top champions in the company.  It's sad neither is still here today.

A heel Shawn Michaels tossed out the British Bulldog to pick up the first of his two Royal Rumble victories.  It was a hard fought contest and many thought he'd been eliminated, including Davey Boy Smith who turned his back to celebrate.  Shawn skinned the cat, one foot touched the floor, and he was back in the match.  A double axe handle from behind was all she wrote for the Bulldog.

Enjoy the highlights of both men's unique accomplishments.

PG Attitude: Part 2

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

Last blog looked at the one element from the Attitude Era that is missing in today’s wrestling product that I think needs to make a comeback. This time, I’m going to point out a few items that came to prominence during the Attitude Era that need to be done away with for the betterment of the product.

During the Attitude Era, or Monday Night War period to be more exact, due to competition the trend of putting Pay Per View caliber matches on free TV started to be the norm. Not only in the main event slot, but the entire show was filled up with matches that would have normally been saved for a paying audience. The role of the Jobber was phased out with their spot taken over by guys on the low end of the mid-card. Guys who may get the occasional win and therefore had name value, but you knew they would never hold a major title. This trend continues today and I feel it’s part of the reason for declining Pay Per View buy rates.

Ziggler vs. Punk...again (WWE)
Take the Royal Rumble for example. Scheduled for the undercard is a WWE Title match between CM Punk and Dolph Ziggler. These two have fought in four matches in the last five weeks on TV with Dolph winning three times. Why would I want to pay money to see them fight again? WWE has added Johnny Ace as the special referee and have built up speculation he’s out to screw Punk out of the title. I guess this is supposed to add intrigue, but why would I want to pay money to see a title match end in a screw job? If there is no clear-cut winner it means there will more than likely be a rematch at the next Pay Per View. More on that in a moment. After Wrestlemania 3, Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant weren’t in the ring together until the first Survivor Series eight months later. Because they hadn’t fought each other, when they stepped into the ring for the first time the crowd was on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what was going to happen. Wrestling bookers/writers need to learn how to build up matches without putting guys in the ring with each other every week. I’m guessing someone will point out how television is different now with live weekly shows so the booking has to be different. I’ll address that theory in Part 3.

Henry vs. Big Show...again (WWE)
Going back to Pay Per View rematches, simply put, they need to stop happening. Just recently, Big Show and Mark Henry fought on three consecutive Pay Per Views. That’s about $130 from the paying costumer’s wallet. In addition to that rematch, including the Night of Champions Pay Per View, which happened before the first Henry/Show match, there were at least three other matches that happened more than once on the four consecutive shows. Not counting Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania because of their history and prestige, in the last year, only the Money in the Bank and Night of Champions shows had better buy rates than in 2010. Money in the Bank was helped by the intrigue of whether CM Punk would win the WWE Title and leave the company as champion. Other than those shows, less people are buying the Pay Per Views. WWE management and cynics will argue the rise in illegal streaming is to blame for the lower numbers. I tend to disagree. I think for the most part, people who watch online are people who wouldn’t normally pay for the show anyway, but if they can watch it for free and they have nothing else to do, then why not watch.

The bigger problem is having to consistently pay to see the same match or matches over and over. Not only from one Pay Per View to the next, but also the same match the fans just saw on Monday or Friday for free. Writers need to learn how to build up a match without simply putting the two guys in the ring together. A few months ago I was watching some old NWA wrestling. I can’t remember who the wrestler was; for sake of argument lets say it was Stan Hansen. Stan beat up a jobber than did an interview segment talking about an upcoming match with Dusty Rhodes. By the time Stan was done speaking, I was interested in seeing the match with Dusty. Had Stan and Dusty fought and then Stan talked about a rematch, I probably wouldn’t have been as interested. But because the match with Dusty was something I hadn’t seen, there was an aura around the match.

Thought I had more points. Oh well. The next installments will be deal more with personal reasons instead of business ones on why I don’t think the Attitude Era holds up well and shouldn’t be seen as the glory days of wrestling.

We’re always interested in your feedback. Let us know what you think on our Facebook page.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Royal Rumble: Tough Guy Takes All

Hacksaw wins! (from WWE.com)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

As I continue my look back on my favorite moments from the Royal Rumble, I can't forget the very first event.  It was only a 20 man battle royal, but the same premise was in place.  And in 1988, the Royal Rumble was shown on free TV (USA carried it, so it was free if your parents had cable like mine)  Guys like Harley Race, One Man Gang, Junkyard Dog, Ultimate Warrior, and the Hart Foundation all competed that year.  Warrior was not yet the major player that he would later become, and I had him as my pick to win the Rumble.

However, I was wrong.  Hacksaw Jim Duggan overcame the 19 others to win the inaugural event.  He overcame a two-on-one final three (Bravo and Gang were the other two) to pick up the victory.  And since the WWF title was up for grabs in a tournament at Wrestlemania IV that year, Duggan technically got a shot at the belt since he was a member of the 14 man tourney.

Now, as we prepare for the 25th anniversary, I'd like to see the WWE Hall of Famer get a spot in this year's event.  We know he won't win, but it would be cool to see it as far as I'm concerned.

PG Attitude: Part 1

Attitude vs. PG (from Baltimore Sun)
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


The Question of the Day on our Facebook page today asked what fans miss about the Attitude Era that makes them feel the current WWE product is worse now than during that time. I asked this because it seems on a daily basis between the Facebook page and other wrestling blogs or message boards someone is bemoaning the current state of WWE and wishing they’d lose the PG mentality and develop an Attitude. Personally, as I look back, I am not a fan of the Attitude Era and at first thought this was going to be a blog about how bad the Attitude Era was and how the current product, while not great, isn’t THAT bad. But the more I started thinking about it and formulating the different points I wanted to make, I realized there were several elements of the Attitude Era missing in today’s shows that would help make the shows better.

One of the biggest elements I attribute to fans missing the Attitude Era is the lack of star power. Currently there is no larger than life persona like The Rock or “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. John Cena has been the face of the company for almost seven years. While he is the biggest star within the wrestling bubble, his popularity hasn’t really transcended to mainstream appeal.  The lack of a mega star isn’t something that can be blamed solely on WWE. After Hulk Hogan’s drawing power diminished and he left for WCW, it took five years for “Stone Cold” and Rocky Miavia to step in and fill the boots he left behind. One also has to remember that both guys had to take charge and create their personas otherwise they may not have become the stars they are today if they’d waited on the WWF creative team to give them a star making scenario.

Austin 3:16 is born
If I’m not mistaken, Austin’s usage of the phrase, “Austin 3:16” was an adlibbed moment during his King of the Ring coronation after beating Jake Roberts who at the time was being presented as a born again Christian. “Austin 3:16” wasn’t developed by a marketing team or a writer. It just happened. Not to mention the fact that if the Kliq hadn’t staged the “curtain call” event at Madison Square Garden for Kevin Nash and Scott Hall’s last appearance, Triple H would have won King of the Ring instead of Austin. Had that happened who knows if “Stone Cold” would have gotten the chance to become the beer drinking hell raiser fans loved.

While finding the next big Superstar isn’t a simple task, I do feel WWE currently hinders wrestlers by scripting promos. Wrestlers should have the freedom to get the points across in their own manner instead of trying to memorize lines written by someone else. This assumes that everything I’ve read about WWE scripting promos is true. If you look at some of the best promo men from the past, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Austin, Rock, Hulk Hogan, all of them got over by being themselves. WWE needs to have the wrestlers display some individuality so fans can relate to the person.

Funkasaurus (from WWE.com)
Speaking of personality, something that has been missing but looks to be on the comeback is the lack of characters.  For the past several years it seems most of the wrestlers WWE has tried to make into stars all fit a particular type. Short hair, six-pack abs, bland personalities were the norm for body types. Personalities were either sarcastic, chicken heels or cheesy pandering faces. Everybody was interchangeable. I know several fans have spoken out against Brodus Clay’s new character, but in my opinion, the Funkasaurus helps separate him from just another big guy. The gimmick may be detrimental to Brodus ever achieving main event status, but I think that all depends on how he is used.  A few years ago, fans were claiming Dolph Ziggler was a stupid name and gimmick and he would never get over. Now he’s fighting for the WWE title. There needs to be more unique character traits besides, Big Pale Ginger, Big Englishman, Lanky Tattooed Guy Who Hears Voices and Lanky Tattooed Guy Who Makes Shoot Comments.

The fans love CM Punk (WWE)
Along with personalities, catch phrases are missing from today’s product. The lack of sing-a-long chants for the crowd results in them having to chant, “What” during every promo so they can feel they’re part of the show. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but I can think of no other reason why fans still chant the most obnoxious chant of all time. Seriously though, fans want to be a part of the show and they do that by chanting.  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any current standard catchphrases besides The Miz’s, “I’m Awesome.”  Well, I guess there’s, “You can’t see me,” but how often does Cena use that in a promo? WWE needs to but the fun back into wrestling.

After thinking about it, the only thing missing from the Attitude Era that I’d like to see brought back is more individuality and wrestlers who don’t appear to be going through the motions or trying to remember a script. In the next installment, I’ll discuss the traits of the Attitude Era I don’t miss or wish weren’t still part of the wrestling landscape.

Don’t forget to like us on FacebookFacebook page. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Royal Rumble: Hitman Gets Stunned

Austin waits for his moment
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Continuing to look at some of my favorite moments from past Royal Rumbles, and today's submission is from the 1997 event.  At the time we didn't know it, but it would be Bret Hart's last Royal Rumble.  Of course he may still return and be a surprise entrant at some point in the future, but it won't be like things were in his heyday.

Hart had eliminated Stone Cold Steve Austin and focused his efforts on (fake) Diesel.  However, Mankind and Terry Funk were brawling outside the ring and the referees missed Austin getting dumped out.  He took advantage and came back into the match, eliminating Undertaker, Vader, and Hart.

Hart was understandably upset and I think this was one of the first seeds planted in his heel turn that year.  The bad guy had cheated to win and the fans loved it.  Bret hated it, even resented it.  But this was the start of a new era in wrestling.

This would end up resulting in a four way battle between Austin, Taker, Vader, and Hart the following month to determine who would face the world champion at Wrestlemania 13.  Undertaker would eventually get the nod and go against Sid.

Enjoy

Monday, January 23, 2012

Let ECW Rest in Peace

The Franchise & ECW are born
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


It was announced over the past week that Shane Douglas would be running an ECW reunion show on April 28 in Philadelphia. So far in addition to Douglas, Jerry Lynn, The Gangstas, Tracy Smothers and Raven have been announced for the show. My big question is why is this show happening?

Don’t get me wrong. I was a huge ECW fan back when the original ECW was around. I still consider Heatwave ’98 to be the best live show I’ve ever attended. I felt the first One Night Stand was a proper send off to the original ECW and really didn’t mind the WWECW even though it seemed to be done as a way for Vince McMahon to get crowds to stop chanting E-C-W.  My issue is simply there were already One Night Stand and a few Hardcore Homecoming shows featuring talent signed to TNA that gave ECW a proper demise. Then after WWE shut down WWECW, TNA had Hardcore Justice for reasons I still don’t understand. At this point ECW is like a killer from a bad direct to video horror film series. It doesn’t know when to stay dead.

Raven back in the day
ECW was a product of its time. What worked in the ‘90s isn’t going to be as relevant in today’s market. Take Raven for example. He epitomized the grunge movement at the time. Now 15 years later, he is more like Wooderson from Dazed and Confused. The guy who refuses to grow up and still hangs around the places high school kids frequent. Back when the Dudley Boyz started putting people through tables, the audience went crazy because it was something new. Now tables are used for transition moves instead of having any impact.

Add in the fact all the ex-ECW wrestlers are older and those who haven’t stayed active aren’t in the best of shape and I have to again wonder what is the point of this new ECW Reunion.  With all the independent companies out there, is there even interest in bringing ECW back? Would the ECW fit in with the current style of wrestling?

I’m guessing there are plenty of fans who stopped watching wrestling after ECW and WCW folded who would like to see the companies come back, but much like the old head bangers who wanted glam rock to return during the era of grunge, I feel most of those fans are people who are more trying to hang on to their youth and are afraid of moving forward. These same fans are the ones who want WWE to go back to the Attitude Era without realizing other than some foul language and T&A, the main thing separating the current WWE product from the Attitude Era is the larger than life persona’s of The Rock and Stone Cold. Time marches on and wrestling has to evolve or die.

Shane Douglas today
Had ECW not gone out of business in 2001 and was still around, I have a feeling the promotion would have evolved and would bare little resemblance to the ECW people fondly remember. That’s why I feel Shane Douglas and the other ECW alums need to realize simply putting the same old stars in the ring won’t enable success beyond one show. Shane has said he plans to have some new talent on the show and has plans to spin this off into a new promotion. I’m skeptical because I think once he hears the cheers from the fans, he’ll forget the new plan and rely on the old memories. I hope I’m wrong.

Whether the show succeeds or fails, I feel the final nail in the ECW needs to be hammered in and the body laid to rest. ECW had a good seven-year run. Let us remember the good times and not soil the memories by trying to recreate the past.

What do you think of the latest ECW revival? Are you interested or should ECW be put out to pasture? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Royal Rumble: Demolished!

Ax vs. Smash at 1989 Royal Rumble
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

My attempt is to post a few of my favorite moments from past Royal Rumbles in the days leading up to the 2012 event.  With 24 of them in the history books, this shouldn't be hard to fill six days worth, right?

There are many great memories of the Royal Rumble.  As I've mentioned before, it's my favorite speciality match in wrestling, or at least in the WWE.

One of my favorite moments goes back to the first year the Rumble was on pay per view back in 1989.  The first two entrants in the match... the WWF tag team champions, Demolition!  I was like 15 years old at the time and marked like a fool.  That's because back then we didn't a whole lot of friends/partners doing battle against one another.  Now it's become cliche.  For two minutes though, Ax and Smash beat each other up, until Andre the Giant made his way into the matchup.

Take a look back at this opening segment from the 1989 Rumble.

Your Wish Is My Command

Kevin, Kurt Angle, and Chad (Basebrawl 2011)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I started My 1-2-3 Cents more than a year ago as a way to express my opinions about the current state of wrestling.  I also did it as a way to stroll down memory lane and share some of my thoughts and experiences in the business.  Along the way my buddy Chad got on board with the idea and a partnership was formed.

Over the last 16 months we've blogged about everything from WWE, TNA, Chikara, ROH, AAPW, and all points in between.  We've tried to stay positive and offer constructive criticism about the way things are going in the wrestling world.  But until today I realized we've never really asked you, our loyal readers what you want to hear about.

Readership of this blog has really taken off in the last half of 2011, and I thank all of you for that.  So I want to make this as interactive a process as possible.  Some of you post comments, and I (we) really do appreciate that.  I leave them all up, even the ones that are critical of what we're saying.  The only ones I do delete are the spam comments, and that's just because I don't want all that junk taking the space of things of value.

So that being said, what would you like to hear from us in 2012?  Any particular promotion you want to learn more about?  I know Chad is planning to talk more about Chikara, and I may actually be attending my first Chikara live event in the spring.

What drives you to wrestling blogs?  Why do you read this one?  Have you checked out the My 1-2-3 Cents YouTube channel?  What do you think?  We also have all kinds of cool pics, links, and our question of the day on our Facebook page.  So help us serve you better in the New Year and share your thoughts on all things wrestling (or sports entertainment) related.

Thanks again!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Royal Rumble: All In

Savage (c) & Hogan in the 89 Rumble (WWE)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

In the early days of the Royal Rumble pay per view, the world champion was a part of the match too.  At least that was the case in 1989 and 1990 (Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan).  The first world title match was at the 1991 event when the Ultimate Warrior defended against Sgt. Slaughter.  Then in 92 as we've discussed, the title was on the line in the Rumble match.  A year later, the winner of the Royal Rumble became the number one contender to the world title and was given a shot at the belt at Wrestlemania.

It's been that way ever since.  I know with the current stipulation of having the title match as the "prize" for the Rumble, it would make little sense to have the world champions in the battle.  I liked last year how they had Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler both enter the Rumble match after coming up short in their bids for the title earlier in the evening.  Of course in 2011, there were 40 entrants and they needed to come up with something to get that many wrestlers involved.

Elimination Chamber 2011 (WWE)
I liked Chad's suggestion in a post earlier this week of giving the Rumble winner a shot at the Elimination Chamber and making it so they're the last man to enter that match.  With this premise, you could just as easily add the champions into the Rumble match too, so they could compete for the opportunity to have an easier ride at the next PPV.  Not to take anything away from the superstars in the WWE, but adding four more quality stars to the Rumble match (the champions and their challengers) would only strengthen the Rumble match itself.  This year, you'd have five extra guys to throw in, considering Daniel Bryan is defending against the Big Show AND Mark Henry.

Another scenario I've seen pitched online (I think it was former WWE writer Dave Lagana of I Want Wrestling).  Let the winner of the Rumble earn the right to face the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.  I'm not sure if I like that scenario, as I think there are less guys with a legitimate shot of ending the streak as there are winning the world title.  Can you name anyone at this point other than John Cena who could pose a real threat to the streak ending?  Triple H has tried it twice before and will presumably get another shot this year, but that the subject for another blog down the road.

Hogan (c) & Warrior at 90 Rumble (WWE)
I guess the point of this post is to take it back to the old days again.  Throw the champs into the Rumble.  Change the title match stipulation.  It would at least eliminate the predictability of it all and could leave more than three or four options of winners.

Your thoughts are always welcome.  Please post them here or on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Royal Rumble Needs a New Prize

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter


With the Royal Rumble less than two weeks away, I think now is a good time to lay out my opinion, or my123cents if you will, regarding the stipulation of the Royal Rumble winner getting a title shot at Wrestlemania.  In the most succinct manner, the stipulation needs to go the way of WCW, GTV and the "who killed Mr. McMahon" storyline. The guarantee title shot has run its course and hinders the predictability of the Rumble match.

Yokozuna won the first RR title match at Mania in 1993
When the stipulation was added to the Rumble in 1993 it was a way to erect a bridge on the “road to Wrestlemania.”  At the time there were no Pay Per Views between Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania so the match between the winner and the champion could be announced and WWE could start promoting it as a draw for Wrestlemania. Now that Elimination Chamber happens between the two Pay Per Views, along with there being a World Champion and a WWE Champion, the buildup to Wrestlemania suffers a mild pit stop on the road.

Often after the Royal Rumble is over there are a few weeks of intrigue as the winner waits to announce which title he is going to challenge for at Wrestlemania. Once that announcement is made, the focus shifts to building up a match at Elimination Chamber to determine a challenger for the other major title. In addition, the current champion is put into a title match at Elimination Chamber, which means there is a (slim) chance the winner of the Rumble won’t get to challenge the champion he picked.

2011 Royal Rumble
Besides the additional stop, the other problem with a Rumble winner getting a guaranteed title shot is it eliminates about 25 guys from being possible winners. Do any fans actually think Santino, Primo or Jinder Mahal will win the Royal Rumble and go on to main event Wrestlemania? I would speculate that even without knowing who is in the Royal Rumble match this year the winner will be one of five men. Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Sheamus, The Miz and John Cena are the only real possible winners I can think of for this year. Actually, I don’t see Cena winning because he already has a match with The Rock in place and it doesn’t need a title to add heat to the match. The Miz has an outside chance. I really couldn’t think of anyone who would make sense to win other than Orton and Jericho. Even if WWE tried to surprise us and have someone like Ted Dibiase or Alex Riley win the Rumble, someone like Orton or Sheamus would then challenge them for their Wrestlemania title shot at Elimination Chamber so someone worthy of being in a main event actually is in the Main Event.

2011 Rumble
With the extra stop and the predictability factor, it’s time for WWE to come up with a new reward for winning the Royal Rumble. Maybe a glazed ham or one of those giant checks would be a suitable prize. I would suggest giving the winner a spot in the Elimination Chamber with the bonus of being the last man entered into the match. Then I would make the first Royal Rumble winner with this stipulation be an underdog contender to show anyone can win.

What are your thoughts on the Rumble winner title shot? Share your opinions on our Facebook page. Don’t forget that if you’re heading to this year’s Royal Rumble we are giving away prizes for anyone who gets a My123Cents sign on TV. So make something big and attention grabbing. Also, when we reach 200 followers on Facebook we’ll give something away. So tell your friends to like us.