Friday, August 30, 2013

Fill in the Blank Friday: Goldberg

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

 Goldberg seems like a random topic to be blogging about, but I read an interview with him from earlier this week, and thought this might be somewhat relevant.  I honestly don't recall the source of the interview, but in it, Goldberg said he's not scheduled to be a part of Wrestlemania 30 next year, but did not rule out the possibility either.

I'm fairly certain Goldberg and the WWE are on good terms, and I wouldn't be surprised if he came back at some point for a brief appearance.  Personally, I've never been a huge fan, but I know a lot of people would find value in a Goldberg return, especially since he's a part of the legends on the soon-to-be released WWE 2K14 game.

Goldberg
Photo courtesy: WWE
He said if he wrestled at Wrestlemania 30, he'd like it to be against The Undertaker or "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.  Goldberg also dismissed Ryback, a man a lot of people compare him to today, saying he (Goldberg) has more talent in one finger than Ryback has in his entire body.

So, this week, you fill in the blank with your thoughts on the former World Heavyweight Champion.

1.  When Goldberg first debuted in WCW he was unstoppable.  People still talk about his unbeaten streak, which was ended by Kevin Nash.  Instead of Nash holding that distinction, _____________ should have given Goldberg his first loss.

2.  Goldberg's best feud and/or match came against __________________.

3.  If Goldberg does make an appearance at Wrestlemania 30, he's opponent should be against ________.


Thanks for playing.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Birthday Scavenger Hunt


Clue #1
Birthday Scavenger Hunt

My daughter's birthday is right around the corner.  This year, we decided to get her a trampoline.  She's big into gymnastics, so we figured it would be a good tool to help her with her training.  I'm aware of the dangers involved, so please if you're thinking about raining on our parade, don't.

My parents were recently in town and since we were going in on it together and I knew what a pain in the butt putting together a trampoline would be, we got it for her early.  To make it more fun, we decided to come up with a scavenger hunt for Brooke to find her new gift.  

Since I'm the creative genius in the family :), it was up to me to come up with the clues.  So during the three and a half hours my dad and I spent putting the trampoline together, I came up with this... not exactly clever, but it did the trick.

   
Clue #2
Birthday Scavenger Hunt
       Today we are celebrating the day you were born.
     Go to the freezer and find the corn.

(in the freezer)
     Your gift isn't here, but try to stay nice.
     If you use it wrong, you might need some ice.
     From here go to your bathroom sink.
     When this mission is over you'll need a drink.

(in the bathroom)      
     This isn't your gift either, but do not fear.
     Go through the back door and let out a cheer.
Surprise!

She went from clue to clue, reading each one out loud, wondering exactly what it was she was getting herself in to.  At times, I think she was nervous about it and clues went right over her head, but she had a good time on this mission.  She had been asking for a pogo stick for months now, since we told her last year she wasn't going to get a trampoline (mom caved on this, not me.  I always wanted one.)

Jumping for joy!
The pure look of joy and squeal in her voice when she put it all together is a memory that will last me a lifetime.  She's turning 8 this year, and I know there won't be many more chances like this, especially since she's our baby.

This isn't the first time we've done a scavenger hunt.  In 2011, we did a photo version with our oldest son.  We took he and his friends to the mall and gave them a list of things to take their picture in front of.  Since my son is an avid Harry Potter fan, everything we came up with was something out of the books.  That too was a lot of fun, and watching the two teams compete for the most photos in the allotted time was memorable.


Now to start planning the actual party.  I'll write up something about that once everything is wrapped up.  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Chocodiles

Old school Chocodiles
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my12cents on Twitter

Hostess recently brought back some of their more popular snack cakes, including Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Donettes.  One thing that hasn't returned after the company's emergence from bankruptcy is the Chocodile.

As a kid, this was hands down my favorite of the Hostess treats.  Who could not love a Twinkie covered in chocolate?  It was the merging of two great cakes (the Twinkie & Ding Dong or Ho Ho) into one delicious treat.  There was a lot of school lunches that ended with a Chocodile.  I also remember coming home from middle school, eating a Chocodile and watching Fat Albert cartoons (that's kind of ironic now that I think about it.)  I even surprised my mom one year on her birthday by putting a candle in a Chocodile and singing Happy Birthday when she got home from work.

Mmmm....
While Chauncey Chocodile was a fun mascot, but he was no Twinkie the Kid.  I don't know exactly why the Chocodile for the most part has become extinct, but I'd love to see a comeback on store shelves. I've come across some websites that sell the treats, but I'm not sure how I feel about that.  They're also still available on the West coast, but if anyone from Hostess happens to stumble across this, please bring back the Chocodile everywhere.  There's a whole new generation of youth who have been deprived this confectionery creation.

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the occasion Twinkie (although I do miss the chocolate ones too, remember those?), cupcake, or Ding Dong.  Keep in mind, moderation is the key.  Happy snacking.



Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Orton vs. Bryan: Slow Down

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I like the rivalry that's brewing between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan.  Chad and I agree that the WWE should save the big title match between these two for Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble.  The rematch that's developing has the potential to be a great main event for one of the "Big Four" pay per views.

But as of right now, Orton and Bryan are set to meet at Night of Champions.  Sure the WWE can probably stretch this feud out to the Hell in a Cell pay per view, but I think past October, things are going to get stale since we will likely see confrontations between the two twice week on Raw and SmackDown!

I would have liked to see Triple H hand pick Orton's next opponent, while making Bryan start over and climb the ladder back to contention.  I'm thinking with the main event roster thin right now, Christian would have been a good choice for a mini-feud with Orton.  Bryan could of course start off against someone on the midcard, and worked his way through the gantlant match with the Shield.

RKO!
Photo courtesy: WWE
I'm just coming up with this off the top of my head.  I'm sure the WWE has a better plan in place and I need to just be patient and see, I just don't want Daniel Bryan to slide into obscurity if he's not going to be the one to go over at the end of this feud.  Plus, I want to see Bryan in the main event of a big PPV.  I also think storyline wise, if Triple H is really that heated with Bryan, why allow the rematch so quickly anyway?

Again, just playing Tuesday Morning Booker (afternoon at this point).  I'm sure big things are on the horizon for Bryan.  I just really hope they are this time.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Wrestling Legacy: Blessing or Curse?

The DiBia$e$
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Ted DiBiase, Jr. has announced he is stepping away from the WWE.  He released a YouTube video letting fans know what his plans are for the future.  Right now, he wants to focus on being a dad.  As a father myself, I commend him on his decision to put his family first.  I want to first and foremost wish him the best of luck, and really hope to see him back in the ring again when the time is right.



DiBiase is of course one of a long list of wrestling legacies.  His father was one of my favorite heels of the 1980's, proving everybody has a price.  When I learned the son of the "Million Dollar Man" would be headed to the WWE several years ago, I looked forward to seeing what DiBiase Junior had to offer.

New Million $ Man
Photo courtesy: WWE
His first angle came as a pompous, spoiled rich kid who "bought off" Cody Rhodes. The two won the tag team titles after Rhodes turned on his partner Hardcore Holly.  It was DiBiase's first match on the main roster of the WWE, which is not a bad way to start off a career.  I loved the duo of Rhodes and DiBiase as they were known as Priceless.  They had a chemistry that really worked and in an era where tag team wrestling was being overlooked, they did a great job making the titles relevant.  Eventually the two stars would join a more established third generation wrestler in Randy Orton and the trio became known as Legacy.  The faction didn't last long and like all good groups in wrestling imploded.

DiBiase floundered as a result.  He tried reviving his father's old Million Dollar Man gimmick and even carried the gold and diamond encrusted Million Dollar Belt, but the character went no where fast.  I actually liked what they did with him and Maryse, but it fell flat.  He got hurt and ended up being used very sparingly as a result.  I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I saw him wrestle.  We did run in to him in the parking lot of the 2012 Royal Rumble.  He was hurt then too, but checking out a DiBiase Posse tailgate party.


Rhodes, Orton, DiBiase: Legacy
Ted DiBiase seems like a great guy (I've actually interviewed him and his father on separate occasions).  I felt like his in ring work was good too, but he lacked the charisma that his father possessed back in the day (and still does for that matter).  I think a lot of times fans (myself included) see a legacy join the ranks and expect them to live up to their famous father's reputation.  It's only happened in a handful of cases, as far as I'm concerned, that the son or grandson has become a bigger star.  A few names that come to mind: Randy Orton, the Rock, Bret Hart, Kerry Von Erich, "Mr. Perfect" Curt Hennig, and Barry Windham.  It's still way too early to tell if Natalya, Cody Rhodes, Richie Steamboat, Bray Wyatt, and Ashley Flair will be more successful than their dads and grandfathers.

I think for that to happen, they must not rely on their heritage to be their only means of getting over.  That also means the writers and creative team need to have good ideas for these young men and women.  The fans must also consider these superstars based on who they are and not who their fathers were 20 years ago.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fill in the Blank Friday: Randy Orton

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Earlier in the week I talked about not minding the current angle with Randy Orton as the WWE Champion and the "screwing over" of Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam.  After five days of digesting all of this, I still hold that stance.  You've seen Chad and I blog and vlog about it before, neither of us are huge fans of the Viper.  But I look at it this way, at this moment in WWE he's the one who makes the most sense to be in this role.  I still believe Bryan will get his revenge, and hopefully not immediately drop the title back to John Cena.

So because the cash in and victory at SummerSlam is one of the most talked about things in wrestling this week, Randy Orton is today's Fill in the Blank Friday subject.  Answer in the comments section and thanks for your participation.

Orton wins the gold
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
1.  Randy Orton seems to the be most logical choice for the heel in this storyline.  But if I could pick any other Superstar to take Orton's place it would be ______________.

2.  Orton's WWE Championship victory now makes him a double digit heavyweight and WWE champ.  His best title victory came against _________________.

3.   Randy Orton is one of many legacy wrestlers on the current WWE roster.  __________ is the best CURRENT legacy star in WWE.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

When I Grow Up...

I once wanted to be the real Scooby Doo. LOL
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When I was in second grade, I had my first revelation about what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I can still remember proudly announcing it on the playground that my goal in life was to be... Scooby Doo.  Yes, the animated Great Dane.  Not the guy who voiced the famous cartoon dog.  Not the person who drew Scooby or even the one wrote the scripts for the show.  I wanted to be a cartoon dog.

Proud owner of Kevin's Pets
It wasn't much later in that same year that I came to the realization that that simply wasn't going to happen.  I don't remember the exact moment when it hit me, but I decided to switch gears and focus my future on owning a pet shop.  My mom made an apron with "Kevin's Pets" on the front when we had career day at school.

By fourth grade, my focus shifted again.  I wanted to be a rock star.  However, I had no musical experience except for those fancy little recorders we had to play during music class.  I couldn't (and still can't sing) and I ended up dropping out of middle school band in seventh grade.  As elementary school was wrapping up, I declared my intentions to become a writer.  I wanted to write books and actually found a lot of enjoyment in writing short stories.  I still like writing, I just wish I was a better storyteller.

High school me, DJ wanna be
Finally in high school I got a bit more focused on what I wanted to do.  I still wish I would have worked more on writing and gotten involved with the school newspaper, but hindsight is 20/20.  My junior year I took a new class called Current Events.  In it, we learned about the stock market, resume writing, and even had a mock job interview.  This is where one of the most embarrassing moments in my high school career happened.

During my interview, which was in front of the entire class, I told the teacher playing the role of the employer that I wanted to be a disc jockey.  Things were going well up until the point he said, "Let me hear your radio voice.  What would you say on the air?" I froze.  I hadn't thought that far ahead.  I could feel a cold sweat starting.  My mouth got dry and my throat tightened.  In my best "DJ" sounding voice, I sputtered a bunch of nonsense as quickly as I could.  I created some goofy name like "Crazy Kevin" or something like that.  It was horrid.  I could hear chuckles from behind me as my classmates obviously were laughing at me and not with me.  The teacher looked at me and said, "You've got some work to do on that." but was not overly critical.

It really wasn't until I got into college that I actually took some initiative and started writing for the Capaha Arrow, the student newspaper at Southeast Missouri State University.  I also volunteered at the student radio station and helped run cameras for an upper level video class.

I think all these aspirations helped lead me to the path I finally ended up on.  I love my job as a journalist and I enjoy being a part of a fun and successful news team at WSIL.  I guess I didn't turn out too bad, considering I wanted to be a cartoon dog at one point in my life.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Colorforms

Smurf Colorforms
Photo from mentalfloss.com
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Now days, kids have hand held video games, tablets, and iPods to keep them occupied.  The art of play and use of imagination is skipping a generation.  But this blog isn't about that, it's about one of my personal favorites from my childhood: Colorforms.

The toy dates back more than 60 years.  It surprised me to learn that Colorforms are actually still being made, and there's even a website for the toy.  Click here to learn more or how to order them.  Long story short, Colorforms were characters, shapes, and other objects made of vinyl.  They came in a box, that included a flat board with some sort of "scene" on it.  You could stick the vinyl pieces all over the board and come up with different scenarios, because the pieces didn't permanently stick.

Dress the Muppets
Photo from muppetwikia.com
I'd spend hours playing with Colorforms.  I remember having several different sets, including Scooby Doo, the Smurfs, and the Muppet Show.  My brother was more into the action hero sets and had things like the Incredible Hulk, the Super Adventure crew, and GI Joe.  It was always entertaining to have Hulk enter the Smurf village, or Scooby go toe to toe with Batman.

I'm glad to see the product is still going strong.  They're revamped and come in 3D form.  I wish now that I'd known these still existed, I think my kids would have loved them when they were younger too.

Miss Weather
You can find them in southern Illinois (or anywhere online) at My Favorite Toys.  Just click here to find their website.  They have sets in the $12 range that include Miss Weather Dress Up and Silly Faces.  There's also a retro version for sale at $29.95

Check out the video below for a complete history told in a fun and entertaining way.








Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Viper vs. The Goat

Daniel Bryan gets the RKO
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Daniel Bryan got the sweet taste of WWE Championship gold briefly at SummerSlam 2013.  That taste was knocked out of his mouth after a blindsided Pedigree by Triple H and a pinfall victory for "The Viper" Randy Orton.  Now, the Apex Predator is back at the top of the mountain.

Initially, I thought the decision to put the WWE title back on Randy Orton was going to bother me, but really it hasn't.  I think we all knew when he won the Money in the Bank briefcase at this year's installment of the pay-per-view, that it would be a matter of time for him to recapture the championship.  And he's been out of the title picture for a couple years now, he's a easy to hate on, which is also a plus for this story.

Yes, I am disappointed the Daniel Bryan lost the title so quickly.  But I have to admit, I like the way this story is unfolding.  Bryan has found himself at the top of the roster in terms of babyfaces in the company.  He has been getting crazy pops lately, but now with John Cena out for four to six months and Sheamus sidelined for just as long, I view this as a real chance to develop Bryan's character further and endear him even more to the fans.

Steph vs. Bryan
Photo courtesy: WWE
He's the lovable underdog, but clearly has the talent.  I dare say he's the best in the WWE right now.  I loved his exchange in the ring with Stephanie McMahon during the Raw following SummerSlam.   Sure, it's a reminder of the past "authority figure vs. top babyface" storylines, but I am digging this.  Orton and his alliance with the McMahons, although somewhat inconsistent (but Triple H explained he buried the hatchet, and really who else is there on the roster to fill the role right now?), does make sense as I think people love to hate the Viper.  I think bringing in the Shield as well was a nice touch.  It's refreshing to see guys who have toiled on the undercard be used in some of the main storytelling.

I can't wait to see what the next step is on this journey for Daniel Bryan, because I do believe the company has something big in store for him.  Of course, if Cena returns and ends up being the one to defeat Orton, you can bet, I'll share "my 1-2-3 cents" then too.  But for now, I'm going to remain positive and enjoy the ride.


Monday, August 19, 2013

SummerSlam 2013: YEESSSSS!!!!......NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Outside the Staples Center
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter


For the fifth straight year, WWE’s “biggest show of the summer” SummerSlam was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. For the second year in a row, I attended the show.  When tickets went on sale back in February/March, I was preparing for the annual My123Cents Wrestlemania trip and wasn’t really that excited about what was going on in the WWE Universe so I opted not to get a ticket to SummerSlam. Over the last six weeks, WWE went and did something I wasn’t expecting. They made SummerSlam feel like a must see show.  

After spending a week trying to find a reasonably priced ticket on one of the secondary ticket selling websites, I lucked out and logged into the Staples Center website shortly after they released a few more tickets for the show on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately it meant I was paying even more than what I had wanted to pay because the seat was fifth row on the floor and that fell within the premium seating section. It did mean I was going to get a collectable chair though, so that was a plus.

I’m not going to do a match-by-match review of the show as I’m guessing most people reading this are aware of the results. In case you don’t know what happened, here’s a quick rundown of the show.

Bray Wyatt defeated Kane in a Ring of Fire match.
Cody Rhodes defeated Damian Sandow
Alberto Del Rio retained the World Title over Christian
Natalya Neidhart defeated Brie Bella
Brock Lesnar emerged victorious against CM Punk
Dolph Ziggler and Kaitlyn defeated Big E. Langston and AJ
Daniel Bryan won the WWE Title from John Cena
Randy Orton cashed in the Money in the Bank briefcase and defeated Daniel Bryan to walk out of SummerSlam as WWE Champion.

Nice sign, but in the way
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Before I get into my thoughts on the show itself, I need to rant a bit about fan behavior.  As I mentioned, I was sitting fifth row on the floor. Normally I don’t like to sit on the floor and the fifth row is my cutoff point for floor seating. Based on past experiences, anything behind the fifth row and you wind up looking at the back of heads more than in-ring action.  At several points during SummerSlam, everyone would stand up during matches. Usually it was when action spilled to the outside of the ring or during sequences that could have logically led to the end of the match.  After about 30 seconds of people standing, two guys somewhere behind me would shout, “sit down.” 

I had recently read a few online articles and some message board postings about standing vs. staying seated at concerts. My feeling on the subject is the same for wrestling shows; you’re there to have a good time and to get into the show. If there’s nothing-exceptional going on then stay seated. If the action is intense and emotionally captivating then stand up, cheer, and show the wrestlers you care about what’s happening. If you normally don’t stand up during shows and/or don’t like it when people stand then don’t buy a seat on the floor. Buy seats in the stands so you can see over the people who are enjoying the show. 
While I won’t condemn fans for enjoying themselves at shows, I will criticize fans that bring signs and feel the need to hold them up for an entire show. I was seated behind a guy who had the clever idea to write “Marry Me Bellas” on a piece of poster board. I would say on average at least 10 seconds out of every 90 seconds he would hold the sign up. The average was more frequent whenever he would catch a glimpse of our section on the TitanTron.  Whenever he held up his sign, all I could see was a piece of white paper. I tolerated if for the first half of the show. After the Nattie/Brie Bella match, I could see him getting ready to hold it up after the video hyping CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar was over. I tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he could lay off holding the sign up as much. He asked if he wasn’t holding it high enough and I told him he was blocking my view. He looked upset not because he was ruining the show for someone else, but because someone was ruining his right to hold up a sign.  Had his sign been relevant to the match inside the ring, I would have reacted differently. Or if he would have held the sign up only at the beginning of the match and then waited until the next match started to hold it up again.  I have nothing against signs. I have taken signs to shows before but I’ve always been conscious of my surroundings and tried to not ruin other fans experience. If you take a sign, be aware that you’re not the only person in the arena. Don’t be a jerk.

My last rant has to do with fans behavior during certain matches.  I was at RAW the night after Wrestlemania 29 and experienced one of the most vocal crowds in recent times. During a match between Sheamus and Randy Orton, the crowd vocally turned on the match and chanted for just about everything known to man with the exception of the two wrestlers in the ring.  That was an organic moment.  During SummerSlam fans tried to do the same thing during the Nattie Neidhart, Brie Bella match and thankfully it didn’t catch on like it did at RAW. The problem I have is instead of chanting to show their non-interest in the match, it felt more like “hey we saw another crowd do this, lets do it too and be cool.”  If you can’t be original, it’s best to sit in silence if you don’t like the match. Not reacting will send a louder message than parroting another crowd.

With the complaints out of the way, lets take a look at the show.  Overall, I would say SummerSlam was a better show than Wrestlemania 29. I could be blinded by my bias of being a Daniel Bryan fan and never wanting to see The Rock in a WWE ring.

Erick Rowan or Chad Smart? You decide
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Out of all of the matches, not counting the Diva’s match because 1) I barely saw any of it and 2) WWE has conditioned me to not care about Diva matches, the only match I feel was a bit disappointing was the Ring of Fire match.  I thought Luke Harper and Erick Rowan’s actions outside the ring were clever, the match though just never seemed to click. I did buy a replica Erick Rowan sheep mask, so at least I got to show my support for deranged cult.

Punk flies
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
All the other undercard matches were entertaining. Christian failing to win the World Title was disappointing, as I’d rather see him as champ than watch Alberto Del Rio do anything.  Brock Lesnar and CM Punk put on a great match.  While I feel this match was rushed in the story telling aspect, both guys brought it and had the crowd eating it up.  The only complaint, and it’s not really a complaint, is the lack of appearance by Curtis Axel.  Since the match was non-DQ, why did Paul Heyman’s latest talent not try to help Brock beat down Punk? I’m glad he didn’t, as overbooking is a serious flaw in today’s wrestling shows.

Victory...for a moment
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Speaking of overbooking, when Triple H was announced as the special referee in the John Cena/Daniel Bryan match, I expected a screw job ending. Truthfully, there were several long stretches during the match where I didn’t even realize Haitch was there. Thankfully, they let Cena and Bryan have all the focus on them and prove why one is the best wrestler in WWE while the other one gets unnecessary “you can’t wrestle” chants. Similar to the Brock/Punk match, Cena and Bryan had the crowd in the palm of their hands and played them like a fiddle.  One aspect I liked about the ending of the match is that it ended with a non-established finishing move.  I think that added surprise and excitement to Daniel Bryan winning the WWE title.

The Viper strikes
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
I’m split on Randy Orton cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase. On one hand I can understand the reasoning having Bryan lose the title so quickly will make him more of a fan supported baby face and fans will pay to see him get revenge.  On the other hand, the crowd died when Orton won the title. I don’t believe you always have to send the crowd home happy, but why trivialize Bryan’s victory celebration.  I am curious as to how Triple H will justify his actions and apparent siding with Orton given that three years ago Orton tried to give Trip’s wife and father in law brain damage by punting them in the head. Or am I not supposed to remember that far back?

Overall, SummerSlam was an enjoyable show. If you didn’t see it, I would recommend ordering the replay or getting the DVD when it’s available. Kevin and I have started making tentative plans for Wrestlemania 30 and dare I say WWE has got me interested and looking forward to what lies ahead in the next six months?  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Fill in the Blank Friday: SummerSlam

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

SummerSlam 2013 is stacking up to be an exciting event.  There are plenty of heated rivalries as we head into the summertime classic.  From Damien Sandow battling his former best friend Cody Rhodes, to Kane seeking revenge on Bray Wyatt, to the WWE championship showdown between Daniel Bryan and John Cena, I believe this year's pay per view has the potential to be one of the best.

Because of that, it's the subject of this week's Fill in the Blank Friday.  Just comment below and let me know what you think about the following statements.

Photo courtesy: WWE
1.  _____________ will walk out of SummerSlam 2013 at the WWE heavyweight champion.

2.  In the battle of "The Best" vs. "The Beast", I believe _______________ will be victorious.

3.  I stated that I thought SummerSlam 2013 had the potential to be one of the best.  Right now that honor goes to SummerSlam __.

BONUS...

4.  If the WWE ever came up with a nickname "Mr. SummerSlam" for a Superstar, it would be given to _____________.

Thanks for playing.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Out of the Closet, Into the Spotlight

Darren Young
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

By now, you've likely read that WWE Superstar Darren Young has told TMZ that he is gay.  The website sent out an email overnight spelling out the details and linking to a video of a conversation Young had with a photographer at the airport.  You can click here to see the interview.

In the hours that have followed Young's coming out, his peers and superiors, as well as fans have praised the superstar's bravery. I too will echo those sentiments.  I have several openly gay friends, who kept their sexuality a secret for years though, because they were afraid of how friends and family would react.  Young being in the public light has even more people judging him.

Courtesy: WWE
Some may ask the question why does it matter, or why should we care?  My response: I have no doubt that Young's decision to go public has impacted someone who is struggling with their own sexuality.  I believe when celebrities come out publicly it helps chip away at the stereotypes and negativity associated with homosexuality.  When teenagers and young adults stop killing themselves because they're being tormented by bullies just because of their sexual orientation, or gay men and women stop hiding their true selves because of the backlash at home or work, then these public outings will stop being a big deal.  I know it wasn't easy for him to do this, but I think there are millions of people who appreciate what Darren Young has done.

The WWE has issued a statement to, supporting Young.  You can read it here.  I applaud their support too.  I won't get into the politics of the situation, but I think most of you will know where I'm coming from.

I do wonder though why the TMZ reporter/photographer approached Young in the first place.  The cynic in me (and lots of others, I assume) suspects this was something that was in the works.  I have no doubt that Young really is gay, but the timing of the reveal is a little suspect.  None the less, the real story here is that Darren Young has made a courageous move by coming out.  I will be curious to see how this will develop and if the WWE turns it into some sort of storyline.

Last year I did a YouTube video on gay wrestling gimmicks.  Check it out.  As always, thanks for reading and watching!




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Astrosniks

Just a few Astrosniks
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Regular readers of this blog know of my obsession with the Smurfs.  About a year or so after the little blue guys made their debut here in the United States, McDonald's Happy Meals started featuring a similar creature.  They were little green martians called Astrosniks.

The green guys wore purple suits, and just like the Smurfs, each had its own personality and subsequent name.  I remember collecting many of them as a child and having them interact with my Smurfs (and California Raisins from Hardee's).  However, unlike my Smurfs, I somehow let the 'Sniks get away.  To this day I have no idea what happened to the collectible little toys.

Not Smurfs, but international Astorsniks
Photo from: figuritasdesergio.blogspot.com
Even though we here in the USA only saw Astrosniks with the Happy Meals, the toys date back to the 1970's and started in Germany.  According to my research, that line of Astrosniks were different colors than the green ones we had here.  Although I remember a gold colored robot Astrosnik and a female one, as well as a dragon that was presumably the little aliens' pet.

I don't know that Astrosniks ever developed into anything more than those little plastic figures.  Maybe the public wasn't ready for something to compete with the Smurfs, Snorks, and other out of this world creatures.  Or perhaps, the company that created the Sniks (Bullyland) had no desire to take them beyond the toy.  Regardless, these little green toys had a big impact on my childhood as I'm sure many of you remember playing with the Astrosniks too.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Isn't That Special?

Triple H lays down the law
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

It's probably been addressed somewhere, but I have to ask because I haven't seen a definitive answer.  First, the Chief Executive Officer of the WWE, Vince McMahon, announces that Brad Maddox will be the special guest referee for the main event of SummerSlam 2013.  Within a matter of moments, Triple H, the company's Chief Operating Officer, entered the ring and delivered a pedigree to Maddox.  He then declared himself the special guest referee.  An angered McMahon waved his hands and exited the ring.

This is the part I don't understand.  Most (and maybe that's the key word) corporations are run by the CEO.  The COO would be the second in command, but clearly that wasn't the case in this latest installment of Raw.  I know applying logic to wrestling sometimes shouldn't even be attempted.  I suppose that is the case in the power structure/struggle currently going on in the WWE.

Cena, Triple H, and Bryan
Photo courtesy: WWE
With Triple H (as of Tuesday afternoon) still the ref for SummerSlam, I have to wonder if there's going to be some sort of LA Screw Job.  I really hope this match remains on the up and up (as much as a wrestling match can be) and McMahon doesn't get involved too.

I don't like repeating rumors, but I've heard this one several times and I hope it's not true.  This current battle between McMahon and Hunter is leading to a Triple H-"Stone Cold" Steve Austin match at Wrestlemania.  The two would be battling for control of the WWE with Austin working for McMahon.  I think most of us can agree this should not happen, and like I said as of right now it's merely a rumor.

My other concern with Triple H as the ref is that it's going to overshadow what is likely to be an excellent match between John Cena and Daniel Bryan.  It's no doubt Bryan's biggest match to date and could potentially be one of Cena's best outings.  This pissing match between Vince and Trips really doesn't need to take the forefront.  Of course there's also the Randy Orton Money in the Bank briefcase factor too, but I've already been negative enough in this blog.

My vow today was to write a positive post, but I have failed at that.  I'm in a pissy mood anyway, so this just feels good to do some more venting.  Way Back WhensDay will be positive tomorrow, I promise.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

As my week away from work is coming to a close, I decided to share with you all what I did on my vacation.  Typically I don't take a whole week off from work at a time, as I usually spread it out and take a few days off here and there.  But this summer, my niece and nephew and parents were spending a week here with us, so I wanted to have some quality family time.

In the past when they've all been here, I've had to get up at 2 am to go to work, which has limited my time with everyone.  Because our kids have activities over the final week of summer break, my parents decided it was best to come here, so we were able to do some fun things and all five cousins were able to spend some quality time with their grandparents.

A Smurfy night out
The weather during the week was less than ideal for outdoor activities, as there was a lot of rain.  Monday we didn't let that dampen our spirits as we headed out to see the Smurfs 2, in 3D.  Even though I'm an avid fan of the Smurf franchise, I didn't hold high expectations for the movie.  I was pleasantly surprised, but best of all, the kids seemed to enjoy it too, even my 3 year old nephew who had fallen asleep in the car on the way and woke up about 30 minutes into it.  He also refused to put on his 3D glasses.

Tuesday was spent at the new Junior High School, picking up schedules and walking around the building.  My daughter had dance class and one son had marching band practice.  We caught a late dinner at Boondocks in Carbondale.  Once again, it was a great meal.

Dragon slayers at "Castle Park"
Wednesday the rain finally broke for a bit and we were able to head over to Jeremy "Boo" Rochman Memorial Park.  It's also known as Castle Park, and if you're ever in southern Illinois (Carbondale area specifically), I highly recommend visiting.  The park is a tribute to Jeremy Rochman who died years ago in an accident.  His family built the park in his memory.

There's a huge castle, complete with secret passages, a dungeon, and a giant bell.  The park also has several dragons, knights, gargoyles, and just about anything else medieval you can imagine.  My nephew had a blast, but even my pre-teen son and niece loved it too.  My daughter loves the park as well, as she lead her cousins to all the sites.  My dad and I spent some time chasing the kids around, but soon found ourselves sitting in the pavilion decorated with suns.

Nice bass!
Thursday after baseball practice and another downpour, we ventured over to the pond near our house with fishing reels in hand.  It was the first time my nephew had been fishing and it didn't take long for him to pull a bluegill out.  He caught three total that day, and I can still hear him saying "Unca Kebin, I got one."  He was so excited.  My seven year old daughter had the catch of the day, a giant bass.  Everyone caught several fish that afternoon and even though we released them back into the water, we will have memories to feast on for years to come (I know that's a cheesy line, but it felt right)

The Root Beer Saloon
Alto Pass, IL
Friday was probably the wettest day of the week.  We headed south to Alto Pass to check out the Root Beer Saloon.  We've lived here for almost 10 years and have never been, so this was an adventure for all of us.  True to their word, the saloon specializes in root beer.  We all ordered a round of root beer floats and enjoyed the ambiance of stuffed ducks, snakes, and other critters.  Photography inside is limited, so you can see what it looks like on the outside.  We wanted to visit the Bald Knob Cross of Peace as well, but when we finished our floats, it was pouring down rain to the point where it was hard seeing out of the wind shield.

The Hunspergers meet the Robertsons
Photo courtesy: Gorilla Grid Media 
Friday night, my wife and I were fortunate enough to attend the Quack Attack fundraiser at Carterville High School.  It was a speaking engagement with Jase and Missy Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Before the talk, we were able to get a picture with the Robertsons.

Jase did most of the talking and shared stories of his faith and family.  He also talked about his passion for hunting.  At the end, two of their children, Reed and Mia, joined their parents on stage.  Missy and the children sang an amazing rendition of Amazing Grace.  It was a fun evening and a great way to wrap up the week.

On Crab Orchard Lake
But wait, there's more.  Saturday we finally had a day without rain.  We'd promised the kids all week that we'd take the boat out, and since my parents were leaving with my niece and nephew Saturday evening, we had to squeeze in a few hours of boating.  We took advantage of the sun and warmer weather and hit Crab Orchard Lake.  We spent some time playing on one of the beaches before towing the kids behind on the boat on our newly repaired Hot Dog floatation device.  We even hauled our dog Juno out with us too.  She's still not so sure about being out on the water, but I think she enjoyed herself.

So that's it in a nutshell: my staycation.  I needed a break from work and it was great spending some quality time with not just my wife and kids, but my parents and niece and nephew.  Oh yeah, and I broke two personal records running during the week, one on Monday and another on Friday.  I'm gearing up for the Warrior Dash again in September.   Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Fill in the Blank Friday: Daniel Bryan


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I think it would be hard to argue that right now, Daniel Bryan is the most over guy in the WWE.  In a matter of weeks he will have the biggest match of his career when he faces John Cena for the WWE Championship at Summer Slam.  I'd love to see the title change hands that night (and not have Randy Orton cash in his Money in the Bank contract), but I'm not holding my breath.

He has taken every thing the WWE has thrown at him and run with it.  Daniel Bryan is without a doubt someone I thought would end up getting lost in the shuffle.  For right now, it appears he's going to continue be one of those to watch, which is good as far as I'm concerned.

Photo courtesy:
WWE
That being said, Bryan is the topic of this week's Fill in the Blank Friday.  Just put your responses in the comment section here.

1.  Daniel Bryan has had a number of top notch matches in his career.  Sticking with just his WWE matches, his best match has been ___________________.

2.  Bryan was a big star on the independent scene long before coming to the WWE.  His best match outside the WWE was against ________________.

3.  Assuming Bryan wins the WWE Championship and holds it until Wrestlemania, the perfect opponent for him at Wrestlemania 30 would be against ________________.

Thanks for playing.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: School Lunch Boxes

My first lunchbox was Pete's Dragon
(This is not my actual lunchbox)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Back to school time is here, and that of course means shopping for school supplies. I can tell you something missing from the stores is the classic lunch box. Today's boxes are more like insulated bags, which are okay and serve the purpose, but for children of the 70's and 80's, nothing beats one of those old school metal lunchboxes.

My first lunch box in kindergarten was Pete's Dragon.  For those who don't know it was a cheesey Disney film from 1977.  It was a combination of animation and live action.  A year later when I started school, I did so with that metal box clutched in my hand.  Along with my sandwich and chips and Hostess snack, there would be juice or chocolate milk inside the Thermos.

Scooby Doo lunchbox
Each year meant a new batch of lunch boxes and each year it was based on more items from popular culture.  In second grade for example, I had a blue plastic Scooby Doo lunch box.  On one side was Scooby and Scrappy Doo at a haunted house, and on the other side was the Flintstones.  Third grade was when my love for the Smurfs started and I had the plastic lunch box to prove it.


Return of the Jedi lunchbox
By fifth grade, the last year of elementary school, Return of the Jedi was the big thing.  So I had a Jedi metal lunchbox.  The thing I loved about those metal lunch boxes was the fact that each side, top  to bottom had different artwork on it.  There were at least six different scenes from your favorite movie or TV show.  The other cool thing about these boxes is they reflected the times.  I remember my brother had a Dukes of Hazard lunch box one year.

As time went on, and we stopped carrying the metal lunch boxes, my dad made use of them.  He still has several of them holding different odds and ends from his tool chest in our basement.  Those old boxes took a lickin' too.  I remember throwing them around and banging the dents out of them.  Unfortunately, I wasn't as lucky with that plastic Scooby Doo box.  I remember the end of the school year I tossed it across the classroom to its usual spot in the back of the room and watching it bust into pieces.

Hulk Hogan lunchbox, brother!
So while I'll like the characters on my plastic lunch boxes, there's something to say about the durability of the old metal ones.  If it was socially acceptable, and they still made them, I'd carry a metal lunchbox to work today.  In fact, my wife bought me a Hulk Hogan plastic lunch box years ago at a yard sale and I did carry it to work for a while.  I guess you're never too old.

What did you carry your lunch in back in the day?