Wednesday, March 27, 2013

As Good As Gold

"The Golden Boy" Greg Anthony
One To Watch
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I bought my first issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 1984.  I can still remember it, heck I still have it.  It was the December 1984 issue, Barry Windham was on the cover and my idol Kerry Von Erich was the centerfold.  For the next 11 years I bought the publication.  I've still got them.

Last year something cool happened.  PWI featured my friend and colleague in the business, Chris Hagstrom.  At the time Chris was the executive producer of All American Pro Wrestling, a company I was doing play-by-play for.  It was awesome to know that all our hard work had paid off and AAPW was being mentioned on the same pages as WWE, TNA, and Ring of Honor.

In the most recent issue of PWI, another friend in the business stepped into the national wrestling spotlight.  "The Golden Boy" Greg Anthony graces the pages of PWI.  The magazine did a feature on Anthony, who is a competitor with Traditional Championship Wrestling.  He's a part of their "One to Watch" segment.  Golden Boy is no stranger to PWI, as they ranked him at number 434 in the most recent PWI 500.

"Golden Boy" in action
Photo courtesy: Jason Wilkey
Big props to Anthony, who has worked very hard to get where he is today.  I know The Golden Boy doesn't look like you're typical wrestler, but inside that ring he's like his catch implies, "good as gold."  I had the opportunity to work with Anthony in AAPW.  I always enjoyed him in the ring, as he was a throwback to the old school legends.  His work on the mic was always on par too.  I always enjoyed being in the promo area when it was time for the Golden Boy to do his work.

Getting pied
AAPW Fan Fest 2011
Anthony always took time to give me advice with my delivery as a commentator and helped me prepare mentally for my professional wrestling debut.  He also took a pie to the face (actually dozens) during a Fan Fest event.  I'm proud to say I got to pie him as well.

I haven't seen the Golden Boy in more than a year, which is unfortunate.  I'm not able to travel as much as I'd like to and watch other independent promotions, but I'd highly recommend if Greg Anthony comes to your town, check him.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

All Tied Up

Nerd alert?
Do you like the tie?
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For more than 15 years I have worked in the world of TV news.  Most of that time I've been front and center on WSIL TV's News 3 This Morning.  Almost every weekday morning for the last 8 and a half years I've suited up with a tie.  Today, I decided to try something different.  After finding a pretty cool (in my opinion at least) bow tie at Kohl's, I thought I'd try it.

I have colleagues and friends who have pulled off the bow tie look.  It's no longer geek, or at least I thought so.  I'll be the first to admit, I probably debuted the new look a little too early.  After watching a "how to" video on YouTube, I figured I'd try it myself.  After several failed attempts, I finally got the hang of it, kinda.  That was Monday afternoon.  Tuesday morning, it took me 20 minutes to finish what I started.  Far from perfect, but I thought it looked alright to go on the air.

I thought I'd get some feed back from the Facebook world, after posting a pic on both my personal and professional pages.  I don't know if my friends are being more generous, but overwhelmingly on my personal page my friends have said they like it.  The viewers of News 3 This Morning for the most part, seem to hate the look.  Some said it was too nerdy looking, with viewers comparing me to the likes of the late Senator Paul Simon and Pee Wee Herman (I know you are, but what am I?)  Others thought the tie wasn't tied right.  Yeah, I'll admit that, I should have worked more on it before the show.  I even had a couple say I was too handsome for a bow tie.  That one flattered me.

No tie for this guy
Not since my decision to go tie-less on the air has my look solicited so many comments.  I love the feedback.  I will continue to practice tying my new bow tie and hopefully I can get it to look more acceptable.  But who knows, maybe I'll buy an ascot next...

In all seriousness though, thanks for your feedback.  I'm not offended by the comments, I'm actually flattered that many people are weighing in.  I'd love to know what you think.  Post a comment here or drop me an email.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Maybe It Should Have Been Censored...

Uncensored 1995
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Turning back the hands of time, and  heading back to March 1995.  WCW held its first Uncensored pay per view.  This was before the Monday Night Wars were officially in place, as Nitro was still about six months from debuting, but WCW definitely was ready for a war.

The company had signed big names like Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Jimmy Hart, and Brutus Beefcake from WWF the year prior.  The main event of Uncensored featured a horrific strap match between WCW champion Hogan and top contender and former champ Vader.  Ric Flair was in Vader's corner for the contest, and long story short ended up costing his man the match.

For some reason, and maybe because it was uncensored, Hogan was allowed to drag Flair to all four corners of the ring and win the match.  It was an encounter filled with mystery men, sneak attacks, and general non-sense.  Flair had been involved in Savage's match against Avalanche earlier in the night.  This time though the Nature Boy was in drag.  Yes, Flair attacked Savage dressed like a woman.

Hogan haters unite
Uncensored 1996
Photo courtesy: WWE
Indeed this was a ridiculous night of wrestling action, but the following year may have taken the cake.  The main event featured Hogan and Savage teaming up in Doomsday Cage Match against the Alliance to End Hulkamania.  Really that could have been millions of people, myself included, but on that particular night, the alliance included the likes of Flair, Arn Anderson, Meng, the Barbarian, Lex Luger, Kevin Sullivan, Z-Gangsta (Zeus), and The Ultimate Solution.  The two baby faces overcame the odds and beat the gang of eight heels.

Dustin Rhodes vs BTBully
Uncensored 1995
Photo courtesy: WWWE
Year after year though WCW presented a craptastic pay per view in March with Uncensored.  I never enjoyed the event, but hey what do I know?  Hey without it, we may have never gotten Goldust, since Dustin Rhodes was fired after his King of the Road match with the Blacktop Bully.  So something good did come out of the event after all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Stopping a Charging Bull

Pro Wrestling Collision staff and wrestlers help Fester
Photo courtesy: Pro Wrestling Collision
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

To say things got out of hand at the last Pro Wrestling Collision taping would be an understatement.  There were sneak attacks, cheap shots, and even a verbal attack on a five year old girl.  It was crazy.

Perhaps the most surreal moments of the night was waiting the behemoth Bull Bronson lay waste on Collision referees, security staff, and senior ring announcer Bob Fester.  Bronson had previously attacked "The Serial Thriller" Shane Rich.  After refusing to stop the punishment, refs and security tried unsuccessfully to calm down Bull.  Then in a bold move, Bob, a man I have the utmost respect for, attempted to soothe the savage beast.  Blinded by rage, Bronson took a swipe at the 60+ year old Fester.  Bob immediately dropped to the floor and had to be helped back to his feet.

I'm glad that Pro Wrestling Collision owner Chris Hagstrom decided to suspend Bull Bronson.  The safety of everyone had really become a factor.  In a show of support to Bob, my broadcast partner Jerome Cusson has decided to sit out of this weekend's taping.  His full explanation can be read right here.  It's a move I respect and support, but as they say, the show must go on.  Hagstrom will join me in the booth Saturday night and has assured me that security will be increased to ensure the safety of the fans, wrestlers, and staff.  I appreciate the move and look forward to calling a night of solid action.

Here's a preview of what you'll see.  Tickets are just $10.  Join us in Carbondale Saturday night.  It's a big night as Matt Cage follows up on the verbal smackdown he laid on Heath Hatton and his family at the February show.  Hatton's title is on the line, as well as his pride.

The Submission Squad joins us to challenge tag team champions Ace Hawkins and Brandon Espinosa.  The No Limits Title will be defended Saturday night too, as Joey O'Riley puts the gold up against his friend and former tag team partner, Jay Spade.  This will also be the debut of Spade in Pro Wrestling Collision.

Justice, Shane Rich, El Matadoro, and Ax Allwardt are also slated to appear.  No doubt it'll be an emotionally charged and memorable night of independent wrestling action.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

End the Streak

20 & 0
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my12cents on Twitter

I’ll admit I’m not a fan of The Undertaker coming back for matches at Wrestlemania. Ever since “the streak” became a focal point of Wrestlemania, only the match against Randy Orton had me thinking Undertaker was going to lose. Now Taker takes most of the year off, comes back for the match at Wrestlemania, performs his signature moves, rolls his eyes back in his head while sticking out his tongue while the video screen updates with the new number in the win column. YAWN. 

When the rumors starting floating around saying CM Punk would be Undertaker’s opponent at Wrestlemania 29, I questioned what WWE hoped to accomplish with the match. Had CM Punk not lost the WWE Title to The Rock, I could understand a Streak vs. Longest Title Reign in 25 years build up, even though we’d already seen Taker win the World Title at Wrestlemanias 23 and 24.  Still, there would be something on the line in the match. After Punk lost two pay per view matches to The Rock and a match to John Cena on Raw, I felt putting him into another no-win match wasn’t the most sensible decision to make. Not to mention the manner in which WWE initially set up the match. It all seemed like “we don’t really have anything else for these guys to do so lets put them into a match against each other.”  Then something happened.

Punk mocks Taker
Photo courtesy: WWE
The death of Paul Bearer, while saddening and unfortunate, may have been the best thing to happen for the Punk/Taker match.  The death gave Punk ammunition to use during promos and helped humanize Undertaker. While I still feel Undertaker should have retired after Wrestlemania 28 since 20-0 was a good round number to end the streak, I am now of the opinion the streak should end this year.

While Paul Bearer hasn’t been in Undertaker’s corner at Wrestlemania since Wrestlemania XX, the fact he can’t be in the corner this year could be used to make Undertaker appear weaker than normal. Since it’s a pretty safe bet John Cena will avenge his loss to The Rock from last year and, even with the retirement stipulation, Triple H will most likely avenge his loss, having Taker fail to make CM Punk pay for his disrespecting Paul Bearer, would make Wrestlemania a tad bit more interesting. 

CM Punk doesn’t need to be the person to end the streak, yet it would give him something to brag about whenever he needs to get the crowd riled up. As much as I don’t think the streak should be broken, if there were any time to break it, that time would be now. I don’t know how many more matches Undertaker has left in him. I do know I’m tired of the streak and the sporadic appearances of the Undertaker. If CM Punk were to beat the Undertaker, I would imagine the crowd would go crazy and WWE would get one of the most vocal reactions from an audience that for all likely purposes could be in a frozen silence if the weather doesn’t get better in the next two weeks. Plus, Twitter and Tout would be burning up with reactions from fans at home.

The Undertaker’s matches at Wrestlemania have become stale. It’s time to shake it up and the best way to do that is to end the streak. I’m either crazy or a jaded fan but that’s how I see it. I know I’ll be sitting in the stands chanting, END..THE..STREAK (clap clap clap).  Who is with me?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Feuding Over Movies: Where's David Otunga?

David Otunga in "The Call"
Photo by WWE Studios
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

Based on events over the past couple of weeks, The Miz and Wade Barrett are feuding over which WWE Superstar is in the better movie or which one is the better actor. Or maybe they’re feuding over what is the better movie snack. For those that aren’t aware, The Miz is the lead actor in the latest WWE Films direct to DVD movie The Marine 3. Wade Barrett plays Henchman #4 in the theatrical release Dead Man Down starring Colin Farrell and Terrance Howard.  Neither man should really be crowning himself the next Dwayne Johnson based on these projects.

Wade Barrett & The Miz argue
Photo courtesy: WWE
I have not seen any of the Marine movies so I can’t really comment on The Miz’s performance. Though, I will say, bragging about being a star in a movie that may already be in the discount bin at Wal-Mart isn’t saying much.  I did see Dead Man Down and thought it was good, but too slow paced.  The big shocker though is that the newest addition to the WWE Films library is also one of their best. 

The Call, starring Halle Berry opened this past weekend and placed number 2 at the box office with an estimated $18 million. While the previews had me thinking this would be an uninspired paint by numbers action movie, it turned out to be a pretty tense thriller.  The bigger surprise was the actor playing the partner of the main cop, who knew David Otunga was a good actor? I initially didn’t recognize him because he wasn’t wearing a bowtie or holding a thermos of coffee.

Otunga serves as backup
Photo courtesy: WWE Studios
Now don’t start thinking Otunga stole the movie, as his role was only slightly bigger than Wade Barrett’s role in Dead Man Down. Even so, if there’s going to be a feud over who’s the better C-level actor in WWE today, then David Otunga should come out on RAW tonight and demand an Intercontinental title shot at Wrestlemania. 

There have been some feuds started over odd happenings (Edge/Booker T. fought over a Japanese shampoo commercial, Chris Jericho/Kane fought after Jericho spilled coffee on Kane) but I think feuding over who is the better actor in a movie few people know about and less people saw has to be up there with some of the flimsiest reasons to fight. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Playing Second Fiddle

Secondary champions
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

With the world watching and waiting for Wrestlemania 29 to unfold, I think many fans have noticed the undercard is more than lacking at the moment.  As of this post, Wrestlemania is 24 days and right now there are only four matches.  The Rock vs. John Cena, Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger, The Undertaker vs. CM Punk, and Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H (we're still awaiting Triple H's official response, but I think we all know he's going to accept).  Rumor has it another match will be announced on SmackDown! and without giving it all away, I can tell you who ISN'T a part of it...

Intercontinental champion Wade Barrett,  United States champion Antonio Cesaro,  tag team champions Tell Hell No, and Divas champion Kaitlyn have yet to be announced for the biggest show of the year.  I'm disappointed by this, but not surprised.  Part of me wonders if they'll all even be a part of Wrestlemania this year.  Let's examine the past few years...

Epico, Primo, & Rosa
Photo courtesy: WWE
Wrestlemania 28:

The tag team titles were defended on the pre-show with Epico and Primo beating the Usos and Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel.

U.S. Champion Santino Marella at least made the show, but the title wasn't defended as he lead a losing team representing Teddy Long against a team representing John Laurinaitis.

The Divas title wasn't defended either, but champion Beth Phoenix was in a tag match with Eve against Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos.

The IC, WWE, and World heavyweight (18 seconds) titles were all defended on the show.

Bryan vs. Sheamus
Photo courtesy: WWE
Wrestlemania 27:

The pre-show match was the U.S. Title match that had been announced as happening on the show, but didn't.  Heck, it really didn't end up being a pre-show match either as Sheamus and Daniel Bryan brawled with the lumberjacks, setting up a battle royal that ended up being won by the Great Khali.

No Divas title match nor did the champion Eve wrestle on the show.  Instead it was Snooki and Trish Stratus (a celebrity and a retired Diva) getting the spotlight.

IC champion Wade Barrett and tag team champions Heath Slater (he held gold!) and Justin Gabriel were in an eight man tag match with Corre member Ezekiel Jackson against Santino, Kane, Big Show, and Kofi Kingston.

Drew McIntyre in MITB
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
Wrestlemania 26:

The Miz was the U.S. and tag team champion.  He and the Big Show beat John Morrison and R-Truth.  No U.S. title match though.

The IC champion was Drew McIntyre.  He wrestled in the Money in the Bank match that year.  I can kinda understand that, but I'm have an old school mentality, and would like to see my champions defending their titles on the biggest show of the year.

Maryse was the Divas champ and a part of the 10 Diva tag team match that took Vickie Guerrero to new heights.

You get the picture here.  I know the roster is bigger than it was in the early days of Wrestlemania.  The WWE has also put more focus on the Undertaker's streak and adding guest celebrities to matches than some of their secondary champions.  I understand their desire to get main stream media attention and continue building on the legacy of the Undertaker, but I really wish guys like Cesaro, Barrett, and Bryan would get a chance to shine too. If the Divas title gets defended at 29, it'll be the first time that title has been on the line since Wrestlemania 23.  I know it's early in the planning stages, and in just over three weeks, we'll know who will step on the biggest stage of them all.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Facing 40: Be An Ironman

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For five years now, men in southern Illinois have had a chance to get a better handle on their health at the Southern Illinois Men's Health Conference.  Each year, men from age 18 up into their 90's have made the conference a part of their schedule.  For $45, men get breakfast, lunch, and a battery of potentially life saving medical screenings.  There are blood draw for things like diabetes, cholesterol, and heart disease risk assessment.  Men can also have their hearing, vision, and skin checked by a handful of professionals.

Blood pressure screening
That's all in the first part of the morning.  The day also includes three breakout sessions.  Each one of those sessions has four to five classes to chose from.  This year men can learn more about handgun safety, healthy grilling, and being a better father.  There are also traditional sessions on prostate health, lung cancer, and heart disease.

It's Never Too Late
Dr. Edwin Wolfgram
Things wrap up with a lunch and keynote address from former Ironman champion Dr. Edwin Wolfgram.  He's competed in several Ironman competitions while in his 70's.  Now in his early 80's, Wolfgram still takes part in triathlons.  He'll remind men on Saturday, March 23 that It's Never Too Late.

The conference is a labor of love for me.  Months of planning are spent getting speakers in place, sponsors on board, and the media to cover us.  I've been the cochair since the inception of the event, and I'm proud to be a part of it.  It's a great way to reach out to hundreds of men in our region who might not normally see a doctor.  I know for a fact that we've helped some of our participants catch a medical condition that they were able to get a followup with their physician.

Free massages too!
This is where I give my confession.  I've been using the conference for the last five years as a replacement for seeing a regular physician.  Luckily, each year my cholesterol numbers have come back normal and I've not had any other conditions to worry about.  But now that I'm Facing 40 (6 days and counting) I am in the hunt for a regular doctor too.  It's something we encourage with the conference, so I need to practice what I preach.

Ladies, if you're still reading, encourage the men in your life to sign up.  Men of all ages are invited to attend.  There will be prizes given away and we'll also honor my colleague with the conference Tom Corpora as the fifth recipient of the Champions Award.  If you have any questions, head here for more details or just ask me.  You can also call (618) 985-9210.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Stand By Your Woman

Jim Carey, The Kat, & Jerry Lawler
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

There's not a whole lot of wrestling history this week. At least not stuff to blog about.  There are several death anniversaries, but I'd rather this post be a bit lighter.  So what I came up with was Paul Heyman replacing Jerry "the King" Lawler as color commentator on Monday Night Raw.

The story was that the WWE had fired Lawler's wife at the time, the Kat.  Out of protest, Lawler left too.  At that point, he'd been with the E for almost a decade and his departure was a bit of a shock to me.  This of course was in the dying days of WCW and the start of the invasion angle which Heyman played a big role in.

Paul Heyman & JR (note the XFL hat)
I must admit, as much as I liked Lawler up until that point, Heyman brought something new to the table.  He didn't rant and rave about "puppies" and played the role of the heel announcer perfectly.  I can't say enough good things about Heyman as a manager or as an announcer.  He's one of the best ever.  Period.

Lawler eventually returned later that year and his marriage to the Kat dissolved.  It seemed like a huge gamble to me for a legend like that to walk out of the soon to be only wrestling company in the United States.  Of course Lawler has always had Memphis as a backup, but I would assume being a part of a global force is much more appealing.  In my opinion, I believe the King is a lucky man that Vince McMahon hired him back after he left.  We've seen in the past that sometimes the boss holds a grudge.

None-the-less, all's well that ends well.  Lawler has not left the table since (except his brief and understandable absence after his heart attack) and now Heyman is back in the fold.  I hope Paul sticks around, because as I mentioned, I'm a huge fan of his work.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

RIP Paul Bearer

Rest in Peace Paul Bearer
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

I was saddened this morning to learn that William "Paul Bearer" Moody had passed away.  Just the other day I watched a bit of a shoot video with him and Jim Cornette.  Just 48 hours ago, fans on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page brought up the idea of Bearer return to Raw with the Undertaker.

I know he'd had some health issues over the years, including morbid obesity and surgery to help correct that problem.  He also had gall bladder trouble.  Sadly, his body has given out and a legend is gone much too soon.

Rick Rude & Percy Pringle
My first memories of Bearer date back to his days in World Class Championship Wrestling.  He was the rich and pompous Percy Pringle or Percival Pringle III.  Pringle managed guys like Matt Bourne and Buzz Sawyer, but I think his most notable charge was an up and coming "Ravishing" Rick Rude.  Pringle played his role well, interfering in his men's matches and leading them to gold.  Rude was the World Class heavyweight champion for quite some time and many of his wins came after Pringle got involved.  I still remember when my favorite Kerry Von Erich was wrestling Rude for the title and Pringle whacked Kerry with a cane and allowing Rude to score in my mind the biggest upset of the year.

I was happy to see Pringle make his way to the WWF in 1991.  He had a new look and sound, but continued to put his expertise on display.  As Paul Bearer he managed the Undertaker for years, taking the Dead Man to new heights as well.  When he turned his back on 'Taker at SummerSlam 96 and aligned with Mankind fans were shocked.  A year later when he brought "his son" Kane to the WWF, Bearer helped breath new fire in his story against the Undertaker.

Through the years in WWE, Bearer had many men in his stable.  I think his pairing with Undertaker is my obvious favorite, but I enjoyed the work he did with Kane too, especially early on.  His talk show "The Funeral Parlor" was also memorable with his unique voice and macabre look.  While the show wasn't my favorite of all time, it certainly was memorable and found its niche on Superstars. The Ultimate Warrior being locked in the coffin was probably the most infamous angle done on that set.

Kane and Paul Bearer
Photo courtesy: WWE
The last time we saw him on WWE TV I believe was when Randy Orton put him in a freezer last year leading up to Kane's match with Orton at Wrestlemania.  I think storyline wise this was the third time the character had been killed off.  It almost seemed to be a rib that the mortician kept dying on TV.

I asked our friends on the Facebook page today to share their favorite memories of Paul Bearer.  Here's what folks are saying.  Thanks for reading, and Rest in Peace Paul Bearer.

  • Martin Endersby When he introduced Kane to the world. Some classic over the top in-ring interviews with McMahon then. Also when Jake DDT'd him on The Funeral Parlour. 
    9 hours ago via mobile · Like
  • Adam Hackbarth I remember the first time he came out as Paul Bearer. I was all, "WTF!? That's Percy Pringle!"
  • Mike Logsdon Mine is more personal. I took my son to SmackDown a couple of years ago in Bloomington, IL on the night he returned to help Undertaker fight then champion Kane. My son was only 8 years old but I am so glad he got to see the return of one of the very best. RIP
    8 hours ago via mobile · Like · 3

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Part Timer Mania

Brock, Triple H, and Undertaker: Part Timer Mania
Photos by WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

I’ve been sitting on this mini-rant until Triple H, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker were officially announced as taking part at Wrestlemania. Looking at the last five Wrestlemanias, there are on average 28.4 wrestlers in matches on the actual pay per view. This number is slightly inflated as it includes Money in the Bank matches from Wrestlemania 24, 25 and 26 which had 7, 8 and 10 participants respectively. Wrestlemania 26 also featured an 8-Diva tag match while Wrestlemania 27 featured an 8-man tag featuring the Corre and Wrestlemania 28 had the 12-man tag Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy match. For the sake of my argument I’m not counting the 25-Diva battle royale from Wrestlemania 25. Wrestlemania 29 doesn’t look to feature a MITB or huge multi-person tag match. So if we reduce those matches to simple one on one match, the number of wrestlers in matches on the show drops to an even 20.

We know that The Rock, Triple H, Brock Lesnar, and The Undertaker will wrestle at Wrestlemania. I’m going to make the assumption Chris Jericho will also take part in the show. If the 20 participants average holds up, that means 25% of the show will comprise of part time wrestlers. Meanwhile guys who are on the road 50 weeks out of the year, wrestling 3-4 times a week will be reduced to backstage skits or, if they’re lucky, maybe a pre-show battle royale. Maybe I’m in the minority but the over abundance of guys who only show up for big shows is a big reason why I have next to zero interest in Wrestlemania this year. It isn’t just the part timers; it also has to do with how they’re being used on the show.

Rock faces John Cena...again
Photo courtesy: WWE
The Rock is facing John Cena in a rematch from last year. I’ve mentioned several times here and on From the Rafter’s Radio how much I dislike rematches at Wrestlemania. Besides the rematch factor, this match seems to only be happening so John Cena can get his win back from The Rock. For some reason, the biggest name in the company over the last decade can’t have the blemish on his record that he never beat someone. This is a very similar situation to when WCW brought in the Ultimate Warrior for Hulk Hogan to avenge his loss at Wrestlemania 6. It’s pointless and in the end will mean very little. Instead, I would have preferred to see The Rock work with someone else who could have gotten a rub from being in the ring with The Great One. Personally, I would have gone with Daniel Bryan as The Rock’s opponent, as they could have played off The Rock’s insult from Raw 1000. Also, The Rock wouldn’t have been champion.

Triple H wants Brock Lesnar...again
Photo courtesy: WWE
Triple H wanted to fight Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania so they could “finish what they started at SummerSlam.” Again we have another rematch. Granted it wasn’t from a Wrestlemania. Still, the last time both men were on a pay per view they fought each other. As far as finishing what they started, I think Brock finished it by beating Triple H and the fans put the nail in the coffin by chanting, “you tapped out” at Triple H after the match instead of giving him a favorable reception. On a personal note, I was at SummerSlam so again, I don’t like that I’m paying more money to see a match I’ve already seen. If Brock Lesnar is only going to make a handful of appearances a year, why waste them fighting another guy who only shows up every few months? Shouldn’t WWE try and maximize the usage of the part timers and help build the status of their full time wrestlers?

Undertaker returns
Photo courtesy: WWE
The Undertaker finally pulled his Shredder style robe out of the closet and made his return to RAW on the 3/4/13 show after an 8-month hiatus. CM Punk won a Fatal 4-Way match to earn the right to face the Dead Man at Wrestlemania. With both Triple H and Undertaker fighting again, what did WWE mean by billing last year’s Wrestlemania match was “End of an Era?” Unless CM Punk pulls off one of the biggest upsets in Wrestlemania history, the longest reigning champion in the past 20 years will have lost three straight pay per view matches to part time wrestlers. I know I’m being the typical complaining, oversensitive Internet wrestling fan, but something doesn’t sit right with me when I think about Punk’s record in 2013. I would have preferred Undertaker to retire “the streak” at 20-0 and ride off into the sunset.

As I mentioned earlier, I fully expect Chris Jericho to be involved in some fashion but for the life of me I can’t think of whom he’ll face. In fact, we’re less than five weeks away from Wrestlemania and the only other matches that seem to be hinted at are The Shield vs. Randy Orton/Big Show/Sheamus and Ryback/Mark Henry. Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Damian Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett, Antonio Cessaro, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, and R-Truth have no storylines going which could lead to logical matches. I left off any tag teams from the list (minus Team Hell No) because tag teams much like Divas, don’t matter. It’s hard for WWE to come up with compelling matches for guys who work all year, but can easily find matches for wrestlers who only wrestle once or twice a year. Guess it makes sense. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.

WWE has five weeks to get me interested in Wrestlemania. Right now I’m more excited for the Shimmer show the day before and I haven’t watched a Shimmer show in probably six years nor am I familiar with most of their roster. Am I in the minority? Are you excited for Wrestlemania? Do you prefer to see the part time wrestlers or would you rather see other wrestlers get their shot at making history? I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Let us know how you feel on our Facebook page.

Monday, March 4, 2013

My Mom's Battle

My family at Christmas 2012
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

For more than two months, I thought not talking about it would make it go away, but like most problems in life that is not the case.  Five days before Christmas my mom learned she has bladder cancer.  This was less than a month after her mother, my grandmother, died unexpectedly after a heart attack.

My mom noticed blood in her urine about a month before the official diagnosis.  A battery of tests found no problems, until finally the doctors scoped her kidneys and bladder.  The worry wart in me had a gut feeling that was the problem.

Doctors tell her it's Stage One, so if you have cancer that's the stage you want it to be.  While it is aggressive, so is the treatment.  Mom is about halfway through it, it's called BCG. After the second treatment she had a pretty bad reaction.  I talked to her after today (the third round) and she seems to be doing better comparatively speaking.

As a medical reporter, I have talked to countless people facing a cancer diagnosis.  Every single one of them impressed me with their drive to fight.  My mom is no different.  She's the strongest woman I know, facing a lifetime of health problems and heartache.  If anyone can beat this disease, it's my mom.

Of course when we hear the word cancer, our first thought is death.  But like I said, after talking with patients and survivors and doctors; cancer is not a death sentence any more.  I'm sharing this story because I believe there is strength in numbers.  The more people who pray, send good vibes, and positive energy; all the better.

No doubt this road will be a difficult one, but my mom has a loving husband of nearly 42 years by her side.  She has two sons and daughters-in-law who love her, and five grand kids who adore her to the moon and back.  Of course there's lots of other family and friends and now hopefully you sending your positive energy our way.

This is also the reason I've picked the American Cancer Society as my charity of choice for sales from the Kevin HunsBurger at CrossRoads Coffee Company in Carterville.  The burger is $10 and two bucks goes to the ACS.  Thanks for reading and thanks in advance for the support.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Facing 40 (Minus 1): DDP Yoga 30-Day Update

DDP Yoga
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents

Technically this is the 36-day update from when I started doing DDP Yoga, but 30 days sounds more official.  I started DDP Yoga with the same goals as most who use the program. I wanted to lose weight, get in shape and become healthier. I’ll admit that given my track record with these goals, I was skeptical if I’d make it to the 30 day mark, or if I’d get bored and distracted after one or two weeks. There were a few days during the third week that I hit a wall and had to force myself to continue on with the workouts. Thankfully that mental wall was quickly demolished.

So here we are with the first update. First, I want to get the “negative” out of the way. When I decided to start getting healthy, I wanted to lose 20-25 pounds. I’m not really overweight. I’m more skinny fat, as Triple H would say. So I don’t have a lot of weight to lose as much as I need to build some muscle definition. Also, because I have a bad hip, due to not having the upper part of my right hip bone, losing excess weight would reduce the stress put on the hip which would hopefully then lead to less hip and lower back pain. With the annual Wrestlemania trip coming up at the start of April and DDP appearing at WrestleCon, I set the goal to lose the 20-25 pounds by the time I arrived in New Jersey. Figured ten pounds a month wasn’t setting the bar too high.

Last night, I did my first weigh in since the day I started. My starting weight on January 25 was 194 pounds. My current weight as of February 28 is 188.  Instead of hitting the ten-pound goal, I only lost six pounds. At first I was disappointed that I hadn’t hit the goal but the more I thought about it, I questioned why I was disappointed. It wasn’t like I hadn’t lost any weight. I reminded myself I’m not running a sprint. This isn’t like The Biggest Loser where I have three months to lose as much weight as possible and then hope I can keep it off when the cameras stop rolling. If I continue on the same trajectory all it means is it’ll take me four months to get to the goal weight instead of two. Pretty sure I can handle sixty extra days.

Order it!
The other factor to consider is I didn’t set out just to lose weight. I wanted to improve my life and overall well being. Over the past 30 days, I’ve noticed I am sleeping better. I used to go to bed around 11 and would be awake at 2 and every hour after that until finally getting up for work. Now I sleep soundly until 6:30. I spend a lot of time during the day sitting at my desk at work. 

Over the past six months or so, I had noticed whenever I would get out of my chair, I would stand slightly hunched over with pain shooting through my lower back. In the last few weeks that pain is gone and I can stand up straight. If these positive changes are what happen after only a month, I can’t wait to see what happens over the course of the next year.

In addition to the body benefits which come from DDP Yoga, when you follow @DDPYOGA on Twitter, read the forums on the DDP Yoga website or follow people like Ben Miller (benfromdonatemyweight) and Slim (slimtronic5k) on YouTube, you take on a new positive outlook towards life.

For anyone on the fence about trying DDP Yoga, I would say get off the fence and own your life. It’s an addictive program that will have you looking forward to the next work out instead of dreading it. I can’t recommend it enough.

More information can be found at If you sign up, tell them My 123 Cents sent you. Probably no one will know what that means but we could use the extra publicity. If you have any questions hit me up on Twitter or click on my name in the header to email me.