Thursday, February 28, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Lex Takes a Leap

Luger vs. Sting
SuperBrawl II
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Strolling down Memory Lane this week and we head back to February 29, 1992.  Leap Day, and "The Total Package" Lex Luger was WCW champion.  He defended the title that night against on-again-off-again friend Sting.  It was WCW's second annual SuperBrawl pay per view.

Sting ended up pinning his former partner and winning the gold belt.  The torch had once again been passed to Sting, setting him up to become WCW's true franchise and poster child.  Luger, little did most fans know (this was before the Internet), was leaving the company.  But instead of signing to wrestle for Vince McMahon's WWF, Luger inked a deal to become a part of McMahon's newly created World Bodybuilding Federation.

It was a bizarre move.  I remember hearing about Luger's departure and his signing with McMahon.  I can't remember all the details specifically, but at some point, Lex was hurt in a motorcycle accident and effectively couldn't compete in the WBF.  By the time he healed, I think the WBF had already gone belly up.

The Narcissist
Wrestlemania 9
Photo courtesy: WWE
Without a place to pose down, Luger was introduced nearly a year after leaving WCW at the 1993 Royal Rumble.  Bobby Heenan presented "The Narcissist" to the world.  The gimmick fit Luger to a tee in my opinion.  He played the arrogant heel flexing his biceps and staring at himself in the mirror.  A harem of beautiful women followed him to the ring holding mirrors for Lex to flex to and adore himself.

We all know how this story ends, Luger ended up becoming an All-American patriot after body slamming the 600 pound WWF champion Yokozuna on July 4, 1993.  After a failed bid at the championship and floundering in the tag team ranks, Luger headed back to his home of WCW in 1995.

While he's been panned by critics, I've never had a problem with Luger's work inside the ring.  He's had personal issues through the years and seems to now be clean and sober and working hard to put his past behind him.   I had the pleasure of interviewing Lex and Nikita Koloff in 2011.  They both seemed genuine and sincere.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oh Baby!: A Surrogacy Story

This is a file photo
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

I've been reminded recently how precious life really is and how important children are.  Some of you may have read this on my other blog, but this is an update of sorts too.  After posting the original two-and-a-half years ago, another woman in our area has decided to become a surrogate mother and help a couple bring a child into this world.  That is awesome.  Now, here's our story.

My wife Lisa and I have been blessed with three (relatively) happy and healthy children.  With the exception of a blighted ovum, all of Lisa’s pregnancies have been wonderful experiences.  I know that is not the case for everyone.  We have friends and family members who have and continue to struggle with infertility.  In fact, that’s how we ended up where we are today.

In 2005, our daughter (and third child) was born.  Lisa and I both wanted a third baby, and I was quite honestly hoping for a baby girl.  My wish was granted.  After that, we both felt like our family was truly complete.  About 18 months later I got a vasectomy to “seal the deal” among other things.  All the while, Lisa and I had talked about her one day carrying a child for another couple.

At first, I thought it was simply talking and it wouldn’t go much further than that.  In the fall of 2007, Lisa had contacted an agency in the Chicago area that matches the woman who wants to be a surrogate with couples looking to have a baby.  We met with the woman who runs the agency in St. Louis on a Friday night in October.  By November, we were meeting a couple looking to have a child.

I’ve blogged about that experience in the past.  So here’s the Cliff’s notes version.  Lisa carried and delivered a healthy baby boy in January 2009, providing that couple with a second child.  This little one has no biological connection to Lisa.  She was “just the oven”, as we explained it to our kids.

Because she has had four successful, problem free pregnancies, Lisa was sure she wanted to do another surrogacy.  Besides providing a couple with a child, the compensation for doing so is a bonus, I’m not going to lie.

Once she made the decision to carry again official, the agency contacted Lisa about another couple that was eager to meet us (yes, I’m part of the equation too, however I pretty much just sit back and help when I’m needed)  Anyway, in April 2009 we met the couple for lunch in Springfield, the half point for each of us.  Immediately we knew these people were loving and caring and wanted so much to be a mommy and a daddy.  They must have liked us too, because Lisa still had  a couple of months before the doctor would even clear her for the transfer and they wanted her to be their “belly mama.”

The process itself is quite complex.  The surrogate (and her husband) speak with a psychologist, so do the IPs (intended parents).  Then there’s a battery of blood work and other tests that are run to make sure everyone (even the “belly daddy”) are healthy.  Because the couple, in this case, lives up north, this required travel to Chicago for the transfer and testings.

The first transfer this time around was not successful.  It broke our hearts (yes, I’m invested emotionally in this too) to tell the IPs that Lisa wasn’t pregnant.  But everyone in this process was determined, and a short time later doctors did another transfer.  And this time it worked!  Very well, I might add.  Lisa was carrying twins.  Soon this wonderful couple would be blessed with two bundles of joy.

Again, Lisa’s pregnancy was going well.  The twins had nice, strong heartbeats and were active.  Things were pretty much flawless until about 30 weeks into the pregnancy.  The baby boy apparently wasn’t content with where he was sitting and decided to do some moving around.  Little did we know at the time, but that’s the move that sent Lisa into labor.

She was about 9 1/2 weeks (cue the Mickey Rourke jokes) out from delivering, but these babies didn’t seem to care.  Also, the IPs were bound for Europe when I called and told them Lisa was at the hospital, but the doctor said it could be weeks before the babies arrived.  Long story short, 3 1/2 hours later, the babies were here.

Lisa delivered via C section, something new for her.  I was in there with her and can’t tell you how good it was to hear baby boy come out screaming and crying.  A minute or two later, his sister arrived, but she wasn’t making any noise.  That worried me, but in a matter of seconds, she too was crying.

The IPs landed in London, and literally turned around and got back on a plane for another 8-hour flight.  They arrived safely and have been enjoying their babies ever since.  The twins are still in NICU, but they are getting stronger every day.

Update:  Both families remain in contact with us.  The first family still sends flowers on each birthday of their child.  We just got the four-year bouquet a couple of weeks ago.  We also get a Christmas arrangement from the second family and photos of their family each year.

I am so very proud of my wife.  Over the course of 18 months, she provided two wonderful families with three children, and her sacrifices have also helped our family.  I love her.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Finish Him

CM Punk vs. John Cena
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

First off, this is not going to be about Ryback. No, this is going to be about the John Cena vs. CM Punk Battle For Wrestlemania match from the 2/25/13 episode of RAW. A match that is getting a lot of praise from wrestling fans because of its epic feel and solid action yet if examined closely reveals one of my biggest complaints with modern wrestling. To be fair, the match was good and had it happened on a pay per view, I doubt I’d felt ripped off in having paid to see it.

The biggest problem I had with the match was the number of “finishing” moves used by both competitors and how after a 30 minute match both men moved like they had just gone through pre-match stretching exercises instead of a grueling fight. I understand that in today’s wrestling scene, especially on the independent level, it’s not uncommon for wrestlers to kick out of numerous finishers to elicit a reaction from the crowd. Just because something has become the norm doesn’t mean it’s right. This new match template is also the reason why I don’t consider The Undertaker’s last four Wrestlemania matches to be as good as everyone else claims. When it takes five finishers to keep a wrestler down for a three count, I feel it makes the moves less impressive and reduces them to just another move. Back in the day when Jake Roberts hit the DDT you knew the match was over. Now the DDT is a transition move to set up the next attack.

Photo courtesy: WWE
Getting back to the Punk/Cena match, the other issue I had was the way they kicked out of every pin fall. Even after twenty minutes and numerous pin attempts, both wrestlers would kick out with force. Nothing in their actions reflected the intense battle Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler kept telling us Punk and Cena were going through. Even after Punk gave Cena a pile driver, a move banned by WWE due its dangerous nature, Cena turned his body nearly 270 degrees to kick out. If Cena wanted the audience to believe the pile driver was a legit finisher he should have barely gotten his shoulder an inch or two off the mat just before the three count.

I know this sounds like nitpicking, or typical Internet wrestling fan complaining for the sake of complaining, and I’m probably in the minority of fans who care about such things, but it’s the little things that separates mediocrity from greatness.

I don’t want to sound like I didn’t enjoy the match because I do think it will probably go down as one of the best TV matches of 2013. I just feel that the psychology of the match was missing a bit due to the over the top nature of getting to the finish. Or maybe I’m just complaining because I have zero interest in seeing Rock/Cena “Twice in a Lifetime” at Wrestlemania 29 and would have preferred either another Punk/Rock match or the Rock/Punk/Cena Triple Threat.

Was Punk/Cena a great match or did it have flaws? Where do you want to see Punk go now as the Road to Wrestlemania continues? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Facing 40: Food Crime & Punishment

My little cup of Heaven.
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

Forty will be here for me in less than a month.  With the date looming closer, I've honed in a bit more on my fitness and nutrition goals.  Saturday night however, I had a big indulgence.  It turns out it was much bigger than I thought.

After a great night of wrestling with Pro Wrestling Collision, many of us headed to Steak N Shake for a late night (early morning at that point) snack.  I got the guacamole burger, baked beans, and to help my sweet tooth cravings a Double Chocolate Fudge shake.  I knew getting this was not the best idea in terms of nutrition, but at the time I didn't care.  The chocolate ice cream was mixed with hot fudge and topped with whipped cream, chocolate chips, and a cherry.  (at least there was a fruit involved, ha)

Today, to cure my curiosity I decided to look up the damage done.  Just the shake had 1,140 calories, 156 grams of sugar, and 39 grams of fat (including one gram of trans fat).  I was shocked.  But I was determined to at least burn off some of those extra calories.  I hit the treadmill at the gym and just started running.   I knew with my time constraints today I wouldn't be able to burn all 1,140 calories, so I aimed to do at least half.  After 4.6 miles, I burned 600 calories.  I also spent the day detoxing food wise, drinking my green smoothie and avoiding anything with sugar in it today.  No diet soda either.

I spent about 10 minutes eating that shake and it took me 38 minutes to burn off just over half the calories I consumed.  Looking at it that way makes me wonder if it was worth it.  Then I remind myself that is a once a month indulgence, but I do still need to stay vigilant about watching what I eat and exercising adequately.  Oh yeah, next time I'll order the small too.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Doc is In

Dr. D David Schultz
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

I was originally going to write today about the War to Settle the Score which helped launch the WWF into a world wide powerhouse.  The anniversary of that match between Roddy Piper and Hulk Hogan is this week.  If you don't know or remember, it aired on MTV and was the original road to Wrestlemania.

Something else happened on this week in history.  The footage of Dr. D David Schultz slapping the snot out of reporter John Stossel aired on ABC.  I can still remember watching that episode of 20/20 in my parents' room.  I was captivated by what was happening.  Stossel was exposing the sport that up until that point I thought was completely on the level.  (I was only 11 at the time)  I've written about the incident before (click here to read it), but I wanted to talk more about the Dr. D.

Dr. D lays the smack down
Go back and watch some of Schultz's promos and interviews.  The more I watch the more I see the man we know today as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.  He was wrestling's original redneck.  Schultz's comments were often crude, brash, and sometimes even racist.  Even back in the early days of the WWF and its global expansion I am surprised he was able to say some of the things he did, as the Hulkamania era was about to sweep the business.

Even after being released from the WWF as a result of the slapping incident, Schultz defended the honor of the wrestling on the talk show circuit.  His tirade on the Morton Downy, Jr. Show is one for the ages.  He had nothing to gain at that point, but made it clear that wrestling was not fake.  Some of the things he said have obviously now been proven to the contrary, but you've got admire his passion for a business he loved, even if it stopped loving him.

I think it would have been awesome to see Austin and Schultz team up during the height of the Attitude Era, even if as a manager/wrestler role.  He would have been a better fit than the Million Dollar Man was for "The Ringmaster."  And while we're at it, let's get Dr. D in the Hall of Fame.  He deserves it just for the slap alone as far as I'm concerned.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rockin' the WWE Title

The Rock and his new belt
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

By now, you've probably had a chance to view the new WWE Championship that was unveiled on Monday Night Raw on February 18.  There had been talk of a new belt for months, in fact me and my buddies from From the Rafters Radio spoke with belt designer Andrew Lazarchik from Wildcat Belts who confirmed plans were in place.  While he knew the process was underway, another company took care of the design.  You can read more on the WWE's website.

The new design
Photo courtesy: WWE
But I digress.  I don't hate the design by any means.  I actually like it better than the spinner belt.  Some fans have pointed out it looks like a championship ring that one can wear around the waist.  I tend to agree with that.  Here's my nit picky comment about the belt, I don't like the personalized Brahma Bull plates on the side of the belt.  One would assume that they'll either replace it with the WWE logo once the Rock loses it.  If not, I don't want to see some sort of symbol from the champion on the belt.

Look closely, it says Rick Flair
Photo courtesy: WWE
I wasn't a big fan of the Smoking Skull belt, the Brahma Bull belt, or Jeff Hardy's customized TNA World title a few years ago.  I liked it when things were simple.  The original title that Hulk Hogan held and even the "Winged" title that Randy Savage won.  I'll go so far as to say I'm not crazy about them putting the name on the titles.  Back in the NWA/WCW days Ric Flair's big gold belt actually says "Rick Flair." Thanks to Chad for pointing that out. Spelling counts guys.

What do you guys think of the new belt?  Will the Pepsi logo replace the bull if Punk wins or a bowl of Fruity Pebbles if Cena wins?  Just kidding.  Weigh on our Facebook page.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Logic? Never Heard of It

CM Punk is ready for battle
Photo courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

I’m going to try and keep this short because once again I’m going to complain about a topic we’ve discussed several times since My 1-2-3 Cents started.  Also, since I’m trying to make 2013 a more positive year, I don’t want to write negative blogs. That said, watching the Rock vs. CM Punk match from Elimination Chamber made me want to bash my head against a wall.

On the last episode of RAW before Elimination Chamber, Paul Heyman got Vince McMahon to agree to the stipulation where if Rock got disqualified the WWE title would be awarded to CM Punk. You’d think Heyman got this stipulation added because he had a master plan to help CM Punk regain the title that had been taken from him unjustly. You’d think that, but you’d be wrong based on the events that happened during the match.

Before the match started, I was fully expecting The Shield or Brad Maddox or maybe even Brock Lesnar to come down and attack Punk thus getting Rock DQ’d and making Punk champion. This would then lead to Vince McMahon or Vickie Guerrero, or Booker T or Teddy Long or maybe Hornswaggle or anyone else on the WWE payroll that can magically restart matches to come out and say Heyman and Punk couldn’t manipulate the system in such a cheap manner. The match would be restarted under protest of Punk and Rock would go on to retain the title. Logical but annoying, no?

Punk goes for the pin
Photo courtesy: WWE
Instead, the ending of the match involved the referee being distracted by Heyman and having Punk throw Rock into the ref knocking the ref to the floor. A second ref comes out to take over officiating the match until he gets his leg clipped putting his out of action and missing a pin count. Finally after a Rock Bottom, the second ref calls into position and makes the count for a Rock victory.  I’m expecting Heyman and Punk to force the original referee to make a delay DQ call tonight on RAW and the events will lead to Punk being added to the Rock/John Cena title match at Wrestlemania. Otherwise the longest reigning WWE champion in the modern era will be going into Wrestlemania in a possible non-meaningful match.

Once in a Lifetime Part Deux
Photo courtesy: WWE
The biggest issue I have with how the match played out is the lack of logic. Go back to the match at the Royal Rumble. The stipulation was in place that if the Shield interfered, CM Punk would be stripped of the title. Even though it would cost him the title, the Shield interfered in the match.  At Elimination Chamber, the Shield could interfere and help Punk regain the title yet they were nowhere to be seen even though they had been victorious in their match less than an hour earlier and would presumably still be in the arena.  Why didn’t they interfere? Why did Heyman have the stipulation added if he wasn’t going to take advantage of said stipulation? 

I’m curious to see what happens on RAW only because I want to know if WWE can possibly make my interest in Wrestlemania any lower than it is right now. Whatever happens, I won’t be expecting it to be logical or enthralling. And I’m definitely not looking to six weeks of Rock/Cena elementary school level insult promos building to their title match.

Hail to the Champ

President Carter vs. Mr. Wrestling II
Courtesy: Pro Wrestling Illustrated (I think)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Sorry for the lame title, I really struggled to come up with something and this was the best I could do.  Pathetic, I know.  Anyway, since it is Presidents' Day and I've done the authority figures blog in the past, I decided to let the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook friends weigh in too.

By the way, the picture I posted is of former President Jimmy Carter with Mr. Wrestling II.  Legend has it, Carter was a big fan of Mr. Wrestling II.  He went so far as to invite the wrestling legend to his inauguration, but Mr. Wrestling declined when he learned he had to take his mask off.  Interesting story I thought.

Anyway, the question I posed today on Facebook was "Which Commander-in-Chief would make the best wrestler and why?"  Here are some of your responses.

Greg Mehochko:  Teddy Roosevelt.  C'mon... "the Rough Rider" says it all.  Or Taft.  But only if he took his shirt off a la Big Daddy V.

Sam Hamblin: FDR.  He was the longest reigning President of all time, and we know touting those numbers are important.

Steve Reiter: I thought of the same two Greg did.

Matthew Griffin: Taft.

Adam Testa:  This dude.  The reasons will be obvious once you watch the video. (Video not appropriate for young audiences)

Michael Lugowski: Reagan.

Josh Hansen: Andrew Jackson.

Rusty Smith: Reagan had the mic skills and so did Clinton.

Erik Stensland: LBJ.  Fierce competitor, loves to win the battle.

Monday Mayhem: News of the Day

John Cena & the Rock
Wrestlemania 30 Press Conference
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Admittedly, My 1-2-3 Cents is not a wrestling news website.  However, I came across several items today and instead of writing several different blogs, I figured I'd put them all in one.  For most fans, this "news" is actually old at this point, but humor me in reading until the end.

Wrestlemania in the Big Easy:  The cat was let out of the bag on this one a couple of weeks ago, but the WWE made it official today (February 18) that Wrestlemania 30 (XXX) is coming to New Orleans.  The event will be held Sunday, April 6, 2014 at the Super Dome.

My reaction:  Two things come to mind, please don't let the power go out.  And please don't give us Rock-Cena III (thrice in a lifetime).

Rock retains, looks toward Wrestlemania 29
Photo courtesy: WWE
Rock Retains, Faces Cena at Wrestlemania 29: The Rock retained the WWE title at Elimination Chamber Sunday night, which means as of right now (1:34 p.m. CST on February 18) he'll defend the championship against John Cena.  This will be a rematch of last year's hotly promoted "Once in a Lifetime" match between the two.  Of course with the circumstances of Rock winning the title and Cena winning the Royal Rumble, the WWE is able to make these changes seem "legit."  I should also mention that Jack Swagger has won the right to face Alberto Del Rio at Wrestlemania.

My reaction:  I've ranted before about not liking Wrestlemania rematches, especially in back-to-back years.  There are rumors that CM Punk will be added to the mix to make it a three-way for the title.  I don't know if the WWE had planned on Rock-Cena II all along or if they reached a point last year that they realized they still haven't pushed anyone to the main event.  Either way I think it's not a good sign for the current product and I wonder where things will stand six months to a year from now after the Rock has (presumably) returned to Hollywood.  I'm going to digest the Swagger win a little further before commenting on it.

KOA to make Collision debut
Photo courtesy: Pro Wrestling Collision
Sweet Deal for Pro Wrestling Collision: Indy wrestling stars Sugar Dunkerton and Aaron Epic, who wrestle as the team KOA, make their Pro Wrestling Collision debuts this Saturday.  The two will be at the taping at the Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale.  Bell time is 7 p.m. on the 23rd.  Tickets are $10.

My reaction: Regular readers know I work for Pro Wrestling Collision.  I'm excited to see a couple of up and comers on the indy scene wrestle here in southern Illinois.  Another admission, I don't know a whole lot about KOA.  I do know Sugar's work in Chikara where he was a member of the Throwbacks and FIST.  I'll be doing my homework this week so I can call the action that these two stars are going to be a part of.  Like Pro Wrestling Collision on Facebook to get more updates on Saturday's show.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

You Don't Know Jack

Zeb Coulter & Jack Swagger
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Jack Swagger is back.  (He's been back on WWE TV for a couple of weeks, I'm finally writing about it.)  The former World Heavyweight and U.S. Champion has a new look and a new mindset.  He's even got a new manager, Zeb Coulter.  Longtime fans know Zeb of course is Dutch Mantell, who worked for the WWE years ago as Uncle Zeb and managed the likes of the Blu Brothers and Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw (JBL).

Personally, I love the addition of Zeb to the roster.  I have long believed that the WWE has needed to add more managers.  It's a throwback to the 70's and 80's when managers were a big part of the product.  This is a side tangent, but I'd like to see others join Paul Heyman and Zeb on the outside of the ring.  During the Attitude Era and beyond managers fell by the wayside in the WWE.  I really hope this is a signal of a resurgence.  (crossing my fingers)

Jack Swagger's Patriot Act
Anyway, back to Jack.  He's gone through some changes in appearance and with his character, but I've noticed he still has the same theme music.  I think in order to complete his change, new music is essential.  It won't make or break the character, but I think it'll definitely help convey the message that this is not the same Swagger we've known for years.

I like his aggression and the mean streak that seems to be pushed by the presence of Coulter.  The WWE is taking a page out of real life to develop these characters, as I feel like Swagger and Coulter represent the feelings that many in this country have.  They've just amped it up a bit.

There's no telling where exactly they're heading with this, but his addition to the Elimination Chamber match is hopefully a good sign for this gifted athlete.  The one big obstacle I see with the chamber match Sunday is three men in it are making big returns, (Swagger, Chris Jericho, and Mark Henry) so unfortunately the wind is going to be removed from the sails of at least two of these guys.  While I don't expect Swagger to win the match, I'm hoping he goes in there and has a chance to shine with the other former champs.  He's the youngest in the match and may have the most to prove against the cream of the WWE crop.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Facing 40 (Minus 1): Positive Change

By Chad Smart
@chadsmart on Twitter

I’ve been struggling with this blog for the past few days. I’ll get to the reasons why in a few paragraphs. First, a quick recap of why we there are non-wrestling related blogs on my123cents. 

(In best TV announcer voice) Previously on my123cents, Kevin started a series called “Facing 40” where he reflected on his mortality as he closes in on the big 4-0 in March. His initial purpose was to talk about healthy lifestyle changes he was making in his life. After reading his blogs, I realized I should probably follow his lead and make some changes of my own.

The first step I wanted to make was to seriously commit to working out more and trying to shed some excess weight. Through a conversation with a co-worker, I ended up ordering DDP Yoga DVDs.  When I ordered the DVDs, I hoped they would help get my body in shape. What I didn’t expect was for DDP YOGA to be the catalyst for a potential complete life changing experience.

While I was waiting on the DVDs to arrive, I started searching YouTube for videos of other people using DDP Yoga to see how high I should set my expectations for success. What I ended up finding were two YouTube users chronicling not only their weight loss, but also other ways they were making their life meaningful and helping to give back to their communities.

The first was a guy named Ben who runs this website.  For every pound lost, Ben is donating a pound of food to a local food bank.  Check out his website and his video blogs to learn more. What’s better than helping others while helping yourself?

DDP Yoga
The other person is a guy who goes by the YouTube handle of Slimtronic5k.  Looking at his video uploads; I noticed they were either labeled, DDPYoga or TheNext40Days.  At first I only watched the Yoga videos as I was interested in seeing if the Yoga was working. Finally curiosity got the better of me and checked out the Next40Days videos. What I found was something that cut straight to the heart and weighed heavy on me to make real changes to my life this year.

In simplest form, the Next 40 Days is a program where for 40 days you set a goal or make a sacrifice. After the 40 days are up, you move on to a new goal or sacrifice. You can find out more about Slim and his wife’s 40 Days at their website, The Next 40 Days.

After finding that website and watching the videos, I decided to try and come up with my own goals for the rest of the year.  I think I’ve got some good ideas, but I’m still struggling to fill out two of the 40-day slots on the schedule for the rest of this year. Even though I’m still trying to think of something to put into those slots, I still wanted to get this blog out for two reasons. 

The first is the hope that by spreading the word it will inspire someone else to make a positive change. As I look around and look at society as a whole, I can’t help but think we would all be better served by more positivity and less negativity in the world. The second reason is accountability. By putting this out into the world, I’m making a pledge which people can call me out on if I fail to stick with these plans.
Here is what I have listed right now.

Jan 31-March 11 - DDP YOGA: Starting off simple. Commit 40 days to the program that started this snowball effect of change. In addition to working out, also trying to abstain from fast food and eat healthy.

At Wrestlemania weekend with the Headbangers
Photo courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
March 12 - April 21 – MORE SOCIABLE: I am not a people person by any stretch of the imagination. Working in a field where networking and socializing are keys to future employment, I really need to work on my social skills. This 40-day period also coincides with the weeklong trip to New Jersey/New York for Wrestlemania 29. With over 50,000 people converging on the area for the week, there should be plenty of opportunities for social interaction.

April 22 - May 31 – WRITING: February 22 marks my sixth year of being in Los Angeles. In that time I have yet to do any writing. While I never set out to be a professional writer (and if you’ve read enough of my blogs that fact should be pretty obvious) I would like to accomplish either writing a film or television script.

June 1 - July 10 – TRY TO LEARN SPANISH: I would really like to be multi-lingual and feel the first step is learning a language that I hear on a daily basis.

July 11 - August 19 –NO TV: I don’t watch a lot of television anyway. However, cutting out TV will hopefully allow more time to read the books I bought two years ago when Boarders went of business or continue writing or learning a foreign language.

August 20 - Sept. 28: TBA
Sept. 29 - Nov. 7: TBA

Nov. 8 - Dec 18.  - CHARITY WORK: Figure putting this one at the end of the year would make sense due to the holidays. If I’m in Los Angeles for Thanksgiving, I’d like to volunteer at a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving dinner. Then with Christmas, sure there will be numerous opportunities for other charitable work.

I am open to any suggestions for the two unclaimed spots. One of the ideas was the Acts of Kindness that Slim and Laura have listed on their schedule. I may work this in, but I also think this is something I could be doing in life anyway. We’ll see what happens. If I make it to August and still haven’t thought of anything, besides being really bad at thinking of positive changes, I’ll probably add some really basic and simple ideas.

I don’t know if this has had any affect on you as you read it. But if you’ve been thinking your life could use a change, or want to try and have a positive effect on your community, I encourage you to either give this plan a shot or come up with something on your own.

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break
At least I'll be feeling something

‘Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
Without Your all consuming passion inside of me
                  “The Motions”-Matthew West

If you have any suggestions, or comments, please share them on our Facebook page.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Throwback Thursday: It's a Massacre

St. Valentine's Day Massacre (1999)
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Valentine's Day 1999 was an interesting one in the WWF.  The Vince McMahon-"Stone Cold" Steve Austin feud was at a fever pitch. A month before, McMahon had screwed Austin at the Royal Rumble, by eliminating the Rattle Snake as Shane McMahon distracted the former champ.

So as you can imagine Austin had revenge on his mind and wanted a spot in the main event of Wrestlemania.  He and the chairman settled their differences inside a steel cage.  It was on the one and only St. Valentine's Day Massacre pay per view.  The two beat the hell out of each other until the closing minutes of the match when the mat split open and a newcomer to the company emerged.  It was Paul Wight (the former Giant of WCW and now Big Show)  Wight manhandled Austin and threw him around the ring like a rag doll.

The strength of the giant was so great that when he threw Austin into the cage, the side panel came loose and broke away from the rest of the cage.  Austin held on for the ride and simply dropped down to the arena floor, winning the match and a title shot at Mania.

A beaten and bloody McMahon
Photo courtesy: WWE
I loved the ending to this match.  It ranks among my all time favorite cage match conclusions, I think in part because it was an unexpected "Holy sh!t" kind of moment.  I knew the Giant was leaving WCW and heading to the WWF, but I had no idea how he was going to make his grand entrance.  Come to think of it, later that year another WCW refugee made a big, impressive debut in the WWF (Chris Jericho)

Despite the big debut, I feel like shortly there after the Big Show fell short.  He wrestled Mankind (who was the WWF champion at the Massacre) at Wrestlemania a month later.  I thought for sure he'd be some sort of dominant beast, but instead lost by disqualification and Mick Foley went on to referee the main event.  In the grand scheme of things it made sense, but at the time I wanted more out of the Show.

Goldust battles Bluedust
Other notables on the Valentine's Day Massacre PPV, Mankind and the Rock went to a no contest in a Last Man Standing contest. I had forgotten the two knocked each other out with chairs and no winner was ever declared in the match.  Rock would eventually win the title back though.  And for some reason, this match stuck with me too.  Goldust defeated his former protege Bluedust (the Blue Meanie).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Facing 40: I Am What I Am

Popeye would love it
Spinach, carrots, and banana smoothie
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger on Twitter

In the final weeks until my 40th birthday I've decided to make another change in my life.  I blogged about cutting back on the diet soda and it's actually going much better than I thought it would.  I had a one a day habit and then three or four on Fridays.  I'm not ready to completely quit as I look forward to my vanilla Diet Coke from the soda fountain at CrossRoads Coffee Company each Friday.  (It's the home of the Kevin HunsBurger too.)

Anyway, I digress.  Years ago I read in Men's Health Magazine that spinach is a super food.  I'd eat it raw, but I hated every minute of it.  I want to get the vitamins and nutrients from this veggie, so in recent days I've started making a smoothie from it.  I'd tried this in the past, trying to get the right combo of fruits and vegetables, but never could nail it.  Earlier in the week I think I hit the jackpot.  I throw some raw spinach, carrots, and a banana in the Magic Bullet with a little bit of water and I have my mid morning snack.

I get stares and questions from my coworkers.  My favorite being "why are you drinking baby poop?", but in all honesty it's not that bad.  I dare say it's actually good.  It's a way to get some extra veggies into my diet and replace some of the fruit.  While fruit is good, too much can be too much sugar in the diet.

Will this new smoothie concoction be a permanent staple in my diet?  It will be for the time being, especially now that I've put it out there for the world to see.  I may not be as strong as Popeye as a result, but I do feel better at the end of the day and that's the point.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Will 2013 Be a Breakout Year for TNA?

TNA Stars at the Hall of Fame Ceremony
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

I’ll admit that Kevin and I don’t give TNA the fair amount of coverage we should on the blog. Part of the reason is because most of the feedback we get from readers centers on WWE. That is understandable since WWE is the number one wrestling promotion and most casual fans associate all wrestling as being WWE wrestling. The other main reason for the lack of TNA coverage is when we talk about other wrestling promotions; Kevin usually talks about Pro Wrestling Collision because he’s associated with the company while I usually discuss Chikara because that’s my favorite promotion. I often feel bad we don’t write about more companies, but then I watch cat videos on YouTube* and forget about writing anything for a few days.

Most of the blogs I write are based around concepts I think will get at least two or three comments. That’s another reason why I tend to write about something that is popular or mainstream. However, if I would write more about happenings in the wrestling world that excite or interest me, I would write ten blogs about TNA to every one blog about WWE. 
Honestly, while there are certain aspects to WWE programming I like at the moment, I haven’t been able to watch a full episode of RAW in over a month. On the other channel, while not a perfect show, I am more intrigued about what will happen on Impact on a weekly basis.

Recently, TNA President, Dixie Carter made some announcements that change the landscape of TNA Wrestling. Personally, I think these changes are long overdue but at the same time I’m curious to see if they’ll pay off in the long run.

The first dramatic change was going from 12 pay per views a year to only four live shows.  TNA has taped three shows for future PPV airings, and plan to tape either three or four more in March. These taped shows will run during months that don’t have a live show and will be more or less stand-alone shows.   This is a move I have been waiting to happen for at least five years. I wish WWE would also follow suit. Twelve pay per views is too many. By going back to four main shows this should allow TNA writers to build storylines and feuds to the point of wanting to see the match instead of rushing something together in 2-3 weeks. Also it should mean no last minute or unannounced matches added to the pay per view. As an old school fan who remembers when there was only the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series in WWF and Starrcade, SuperBrawl, Great American Bash and Halloween Havoc in WCW, I gladly welcome TNA scaling back to just Genesis, Lockdown, Slammiversary and Bound For Glory. I’ll also admit that I am more likely to order these shows as shelling out $40 every 3-4 months is a lot easier on the wallet than paying every month.

In the last day or two there has been rumors that Lockdown (the next TNA PPV) will only feature the top matches inside a cage instead of having the entire show take place inside the cage as has been the norm since Lockdown’s inception. Again, this is something I’ve been wishing for since the first Lockdown. There was a time when cage matches had meaning. The cage was used as an ender to a violet feud or was used to keep people from interfering. Now cage matches are used as props on a roulette wheel or as an excuse to see a wrestler perform jaw dropping aerial move. In addition to not understanding why guys who weren’t even feuding were placed into a cage match, having every match in the cage took away the prestige of the Lethal Lockdown match. If this is the direction TNA is going with this year’s Lockdown, I fully support them.

Perhaps the biggest news of the last two weeks was Impact leaving the Impact Zone and taking the show on the road. My biggest fear is TNA management will think they can sell more seats than they actually will and thus book large arenas. In my perfect world, TNA would be content to think of themselves as a modern day ECW and book smaller, more intimate arenas. My favorite ECW arena was the Madhouse of Extreme in Queens, NY. If TNA could find someplace like that and realize a rabid, raucous crowd of 1000-1500 fans can make for a better show than a 20,000-seat arena full of fans that only care about the World Champion.

Chad & Jeff Hardy
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
Will these changes help TNA? Will the audience grow over the course of the year? I don’t know. If TNA keeps on the path they’ve been on for the past 8 months or so, if fans would watch with open eyes and leave their blind hatred based on something that happened eight years ago aside, I would think business should grow. TNA isn’t perfect.  Aces and Eights haven’t won a meaningful match. The Knockout Tag Titles are still in limbo. Hulk Hogan is still scaring fans away by saying he wants to be TNA World Champion and the X-Division is treated like a red-headed stepchild. Overlooking those flaws, which could easily be fixed, there is a lot of good wrestling, good characters and freshness in TNA. I will gladly take Jeff Hardy as champion over David Arquette 2k13 headlining Wrestlemania any day. Changing venues will make Impact seem fresher, but the writers and wrestlers still have to deliver. Hopefully they’re up for the task.

What are you thoughts? Will these changes help TNA? Are you more inclined to watch TNA because of the changes or will you be watching Community?

*I don’t actually watch cat videos.