When I was a kid, I thought I was much cooler than I ever was. I was in dork denial. I'm not sure when I finally came to terms with this fact, but it's made adulthood much easier.
My obsession with wrestling is one of the things that factor into my dorkiness now. You probably know by now that besides my family, wrestling is the thing I'm most passionate about in life. It's the inspiration for this blog in the first place.
Every year my buddy Chad and I go to Wrestlemania, which is the Super Bowl of wrestling. It's held in a different city each year and without fail, we dress up like a wrestler, manager, or announcer from the past. I've been everyone from Vince McMahon himself to "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase to Hulk Hogan. While we've been photographed and videotaped by countless other wrestling fans in attendance, I have no doubt many more have made jokes about us. We've come to accept that. It comes with the territory and honestly, we have a good time doing.
Outside of wrestling events, I've donned some pretty ridiculous costumes in my community. I'm not even talking about Halloween. Each time though, it's been for a good cause. I recently was asked to be a member of the Village People for a fundraiser for Hospice of Southern Illinois. I was given the biker role, and luckily the kind folks at Black Diamond Harley Davidson loaned me more than $300 worth of leather for the night. As uncomfortable as I was dancing, I had a fantastic time and of course I wasn't the only one in costume, which made things easier.
Do Your Best Man
When I was the Cub Master of the local Cub Scout Pack, I had a couple different characters I dressed up as to help make the monthly Pack Meetings more fun. Do Your Best Man was an obscure superhero who visited our meeting one night. He didn't have a cape, but he did sport a mask to protect his identity. The boys seemed to enjoy that night and had a good laugh at my, I mean DYBM's expense.
Another meeting the boys got to meet Professor Scoutenstein. He brought a Cub Scout Time Machine to the meeting and helped the scouts step into the future to their next rank in the pack. The Professor was a close friend to Professor Wrestlestein who had earlier that year competed for a chance to manage TNA Knockout Velvet Sky. Although Wrestlestein couldn't make it, so I stepped in to do the job. When I made Chicken a la Jericho for the 100 Men Who Cook fundraiser, I sported my fake muscles, blond wig, and apron and did my best to be Y2J himself. I don't know how many people at the event got who I was supposed to be, but it was fun anyway.
Don't have a cow, man
The Polar Plunge for Special Olympics, I've been Bleeker from Juno, Harry Potter, and a cow complete with utters. My dressing up in crazy costumes goes back to my college days. For some reason, I would from time to time put on that cow costume and attend fraternity meetings. Since we were required to wear a tie, I would be sure have one on. It wasn't hard matching a tie with the black and white cowhide.
Under the Sea...
One other moment that lives in infamy on Facebook is from the Alpha Xi Delta Rose Pageant. I was selected by my fraternity brothers to represent Sigma Nu in this drag queen pageant. There are no photos (at least that I've ever seen) from the actual contest. But I did dress up like the Little Mermaid for the pre-show contest the night before. As you can see, I'm wearing a ball of red yarn on my head, a bra with paper seashells over my pecs, and green plastic wrap around my legs to create the tail. I literally had to hop around because it was impossible to walk.
So there you have it, just a few of my dorkiest moments caught on camera. Most for a good cause, but all for fun. Life's too short to take yourself serious all the time.
On January 28, legendary rock band Mötley Crüe announced its retiring at the end of 2014. The band has been together for more than 30 years, forming in 1981. Vince Neil, Tommy Lee, Mick Mars, and Nikki Sixx have been the primary members through the decades.
I was ten when their album "Shout at the Devil" was released, and it was really the first time I took notice. It was hard not to notice the four guys with hair teased up high, makeup, and spandex. It was the MTV era and their videos were on all the time. I'll be honest though, I wasn't really into them with that first album. My brother was a fan and played the music all the time. Eventually, I got hooked to it too.
Theatre of Pain
In 1985, when I was in middle school, Mötley Crüe released "Theatre of Pain." My brother owned this album too, and we'd play it often. Even though I'd never smoked, I always enjoyed the song "Smoking in the Boys Room." The music video was even more memorable. I remember they stopped playing it at school dances as they were afraid it would encourage some sort of rebellion. "Home Sweet Home" was another popular hit on that album and one of my favorite songs by the Crüe.
By the time 1987 rolled around, I was in high school and "Girls, Girls, Girls" was released. This song and music video are burned in my memory and for obvious reasons. At least the video is. I'll never forget that song either though, because it was during my freshman year that we had a jukebox in the school cafeteria. Every day during lunch, a classmate of mine would put his quarter in and he'd play "Girls, Girls, Girls." I'm not exaggerating, this happened daily for the entire school year. That was 27 years ago and I can still see him walking up to the jukebox and rocking his way back to his seat at the lunch table.
I think 1989's "Dr. Feelgood" probably produced the most favorites for me. "Without You" being at the top of the list, not just as one of my favorite Mötley Crüe songs of all time, but one of my favorites in general. "Kick Start My Heart" and "Don't Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)" are a couple of other great songs from that album.
Mötley Crüe today
Through the years the band has had its up and downs. Drummer Randy Castillo, who had replaced Lee, died of cancer in 2002. He was replaced by the band's only female member, Samantha Maloney. Eventually all the original members would reunite and that brings us to today. Mötley Crüe has a 72 city farewell tour starting in July. Alice Cooper will be with them as well. They'll be in St. Louis in July and I am seriously considering going, just for a little nostalgia if nothing else.
Holy cow, I nearly forgot that in 1998, Mötley Crüe performed on Monday Night Raw and introduced the wrestling world to their "roadie" Test. I can't believe I almost missed an opportunity to connect a blog with wrestling and the WWE. My bad...
The WWE is two for two in its announcements of Hall of Fame inductees for the Class of 2014. First, the Ultimate Warrior, and now Jake "The Snake" Roberts. It's an honor that has been a long time coming for Roberts. His career has had plenty of ups and downs, and I'm glad he appears to be in control of his life and is taking his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.
My first memories of "The Snake" date back to his days in World Class Championship Wrestling. I had heard of him before, likely from the Apter magazines of the mid-80's. He showed up in WCCW as an evil, cold blooded figure, teaming up with Gino Hernandez and Chris Adams as that duo had been waging war with the very popular Von Erich family. I cringed the day Jake pinned Kerry Von Erich during a six-man tag team title match to win the belts for his terrible trio.
Jake wasn't in WCCW for long, at least I don't remember him being there for a long period of time. I watched him on Mid South and UWF programming before he headed to the WWF in early 1986. He was the same cold and calculating man, only with a more updated look. He wore tights with snakes on them, along with snake skin boots. Something else new for Jake, once he finished his opponent off with the DDT, he'd wrap a large python named "Damien" over their lifeless body. He was pure evil in that first year or so in the company.
Eventually, he turned good, but still used Damien after matches. He scared the life out of top villains like Andre the Giant, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, and The Honky Tonk Man. Jake feuded with all of those guys and plenty more including "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase, Bad News Brown, and Rick Martel, but he may have met his match in Earthquake. In 1991, the big man delivered his Avalanche to Damien as Jake was tied up in the ropes. 'Quake then cooked up the snake and served "Quake Burgers" the next week on Prime Time Wrestling.
That move marked the beginning of the end for Jake's days as a good guy. He turned on the Ultimate Warrior and then unleashed a cobra during "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Elizabeth's wedding reception. He smacked Liz later on Superstars and let that same cobra sink his teeth into Savage's arm.
We met Jake! Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
Jake would eventually leave the WWF and return a few years later, a changed man. He wasn't as fast on his feet or diabolical like he'd been before. I think years of drugs and alcohol had finally caught up with him. He faded away and probably nearly died on more than one occasion. Chad and I met Jake at WrestleCon 2012 and he was in great spirits. He has a very funny sense of humor, I picked up on that in the few minutes we talked with him. I think he was just about to start getting his life in order at that point.
Happily, he reached out to Diamond Dallas Page, or Page reached out to him and saved the Snake's life. I'm glad he did it, as Roberts clearly has a new lease on life. I think getting clean and sober saved Jake's life and has given his career a fresh start.
I'm excited to see Jake "The Snake" Roberts get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this spring. His work in the ring and on the mic are incredible and I think others in the business could learn a thing or two from him. Trust me...
I want to start off by saying I really don't want to write negative blogs, ragging on wrestlers, wrestling companies, or show results. There has been a lot of negative reaction to the 2014 Royal Rumble, some calling it the worst ever. I'm not happy with the results, and I think that's a sentiment shared by most fans reading this. It just seems like the WWE stopped listening to its Universe.
I will wait to see what the big picture produces, but based on what we saw, it felt like the show was booked around Triple H's band of friends. The New Age Outlaws win the tag team titles in the pre-show. I've said it time and time again, I don't mind legends coming back, in fact, I enjoy it. But I hate it when they are given a championship. I felt the same way when Bret Hart came back four years ago and beat The Miz for the U.S. Title.
Kevin Nash in the Rumble
Photo courtesy: WWE
Randy Orton retains the WWE World Heavyweight Title. This didn't surprise me, and I'm not a huge fan of Orton's, but I also hate the idea of playing hot potato with the newly created championship. Kevin Nash makes a surprise appearance in the Rumble. I would have rather seen Jake "The Snake" Roberts or just about any other Superstar on the roster in that position, but for full disclosure purposes, I have NEVER been a fan of Kevin Nash, Diesel, Oz, or any other character he's played. I think many expected Daniel Bryan to make an appearance, and I felt bad for Rey Mysterio when he came out as number 30 and the fans booed.
Finally, Batista wins the Royal Rumble match and earns a title shot at Wrestlemania XXX. I knew when they announced his return a few weeks back that they'd go with Batista. And if you really look at the competitors in the Royal Rumble, besides CM Punk, could you have legitimately seen anyone else main eventing at Wrestlemania? That's not a knock on the talent in the ring, but as the creative team and the decisions they've made.
Roman Reigns dominates
Photo courtesy: WWE
Clearly the crowd was behind Roman Reigns, and while he set a new record and had a great showing, he came up short. I firmly believe though that in the 68 days leading up to Wrestlemania, they could have turned him into a viable contender for the championship. That doesn't mean he has to win it, it just means that fans think he can. Between his performances at Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble, the creative team already had a head start. Wrestlemania could have truly been the cherry on top for him, and who knows, maybe something will still come of all of it.
My friend Adam made several really good points on Facebook after the show. This is part of what he said, "The Pittsburgh crowd wanted Reigns at the end, and while they're only one crowd out of many, there's not a high demand to see Batista in the main event of WrestleMania from too many circles. Fans invest in people through time, building a connection to their favorite stars, and then see them pushed aside to bring back a past star and thrust him immediately into the spotlight. "
I totally agree, and even though the WWE did the essentially same thing with the Rock, I feel like he and Batista are on two different levels. I wasn't crazy about that idea either, and I don't know that it really netted the WWE any new fans or brought anyone back to the show. Plus, when Batista left four years ago, he was a villain. John Cena had sent him scurrying out of the company. Now fans are supposed to get behind him because he's made his return?
I already have my ticket Wrestlemania, so I'm going regardless. I am optimistic that a good story will be told in the next nine weeks, and everything we saw Sunday night at the Rumble will make sense. Please don't let us down, WWE. Again, I'm not hating on anyone, just sharing My 1-2-3 Cents.
By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Since its inception in 1988, the Royal Rumble has provided plenty of memorable moments. Narrowing it down to just ten was hard to do, but these are some of the ones that stick out to me the most. The WWE always does a good job with this pay per view. So here we...
Photo courtesy: WWE
1. Be Fair to Flair (1992): More than 20 years later, this is still my favorite Royal Rumble. The entire match was entertaining to me. I loved it back then, I still love it today. The Superstars involved, included established greats like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Roddy Piper. The Undertaker, Sid, and Shawn Michaels were all future greats with the company. When Flair, who was the third man into the ring, won the match, Bobby Heenan went crazy on commentary. I think he's interaction with Gorilla Monsoon also helped sell the importance of the match. As you may remember, this was the first and only Royal Rumble to crown a new WWF/E champion.
Austin "screws" Bret
Photo courtesy: WWE
2. Hart Attacked (1997): Bret Hart had eliminated "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and focused his efforts on (fake) Diesel. However, Mankind and Terry Funk were brawling outside the ring and the referees missed Austin getting dumped out. He took advantage and came back into the match, eliminating Undertaker, Vader, and Hart. The Hitman was understandably upset and I think this was one of the first seeds planted in his heel turn that year. The Rattlesnake was the heel at the time, but the fans ate up the elimination and were behind Austin. Despite Austin's win, he would lose the opportunity to face the champion, Sid at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker ended up in the main event that night and Austin would have to wait another year.
Benoit beats the Big Show
Photo courtesy: WWE
3. Benoit Takes All (2004): Years of hard work in the business finally paid off for Chris Benoit in 2004. The Rabid Wolverine drew number one that year and went the distance, last eliminating the Big Show. Benoit wasn't the first to do this, as Shawn Michaels drew number one at the 1995 Rumble and went on ti win that event too. But I've always been a bigger fan of Benoit's than Michaels, and that's why this win is on my list. Benoit went on to face Triple H and Michaels in the main event of Wrestlemania XX and won the World Heavyweight Title. Despite what happened years later, I still consider this a great Rumble moment.
Ax vs. Smash
Photo courtesy: WWE
4. Demolished! (1989): The first time the Royal Rumble was on pay per view it featured 30 WWF Superstars. The first two to kick things off that night were the tag team champions, Demolition. Ax and Smash axed and smashed one another for the first two minutes of the match. To my knowledge this is the only time a tag team has started the rumble off as numbers one and two. The rules of the rumble: every man for himself was put to the test that night. Andre the Giant eventually made his way to the ring as number three, and the champs had a new target.
Kharma scares Cole
Photo courtesy: WWE
5. Ladies Night (2012): Kharma was the Diva who never really had a chance in the WWE. I was so happy to hear she had signed on, but shortly after her vignettes started airing, it was announced she was pregnant and taking some time off. I don't think she ever wrestled while she was with the company, except for the 2012 Royal Rumble. I was at the Scottrade Center when her music hit that night. She scared Michael Cole (yes he was in it) over the top rope and threw Hunico out, but was eliminated quickly by Dolph Ziggler. She had just delivered the Implant Buster to him.
Spiderman John Morrison
Photo courtesy: WWE
6. Spider Man Has Nothing on Morrison (2011): John Morrison put his parkour training to the test when he propelled himself to the barricade after being thrown over the top rope by William Regal. Morrison pulled himself up, scaled the barricade and jumped back to the ringside steps before reentering the ring. It was an excellent display by a highly athletic competitor. One misstep and this could have quickly turned into a big fail. Well done. Now if only the WWE would bring back Morrison.
Photo courtesy: WWE
7. Mega Powers Mega Meltdown (1989): Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage were ruling the world as the Mega Powers. But as they say, all good things must come to an end, including the Mega Powers. The two were destined to split and feud, and at the Royal Rumble that year, Hogan "accidentally" eliminated the Macho Man from the match. This of course sent Savage into a rage, who slid back into the ring and confronted his partner. Miss Elizabeth rushed to the ring to diffuse the situation, and it worked, at least for a bit. Hogan and Savage eventually were finished with each other and battled it out at Wrestlemania V.
Kofi uses his head
8. That's Using Your Head and Hands (2012): I was in the crowd for this Rumble moment as well. From our seats it didn't translate as well as it did on TV, but it was cool none-the-less. The Miz had tossed Kofi Kingston over the top rope, but Kofi landed on his hands. He then walked on his hands to the nearest set of steps and got back in to the match. It really was an awesome move that required great strength and balance. Remember the rules, both FEET must touch the floor.At the 2013 Rumble, Kofi used a ringside chair like a pogo stick to stay in the competition. He's on the list of competitors for the 2014 Rumble, so I'll be curious to see what, if anything he does to top the last couple of years.
Photo courtesy: WWE
9. It's a Tie (1994): Bret Hart was looking to regain the WWF Championship. Lex Luger had been feuding with champion Yokozuna since body slamming him 6 months earlier. So it only made sense that both Superstars win the Royal Rumble. The two went over the top rope and hit the arena floor at the same time. It's the first and only time for something like that to happen. Both Luger and Hart each got a shot at Yokozuna at Wrestlemania X. Hart though won the championship that night and Luger was never the same in the WWF after it.
Rock & Show
Photo courtesy: WWE
10. Rockin' the Show (2000): The Rock arguably was the most popular guy on the roster at the time of this Rumble. Austin was still on the shelf after being "run over" by Rikishi, so the Rock was carrying the torch for the company. He and the Big Show ended up as the final two, and as Show went to dump Rock over the top, but the giant went over first and hit the floor, securing a spot at Wrestlemania 2000 for the Rock. However, the main event quickly turned into a fatal four way, seeing champ Triple H defend against Rock, Big Show, and Mick Foley. Looks like that Rumble match didn't mean much for Rock after all.
January 23, 1984 wrestling changed forever. Hulk Hogan pinned the Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden and began a phenomenon called Hulkamania. That single action set the wheels of change in motion for wrestling and started the evolution of sports entertainment. You can argue 'til the cows come home, but Hogan's victory that night is one of the most significant things to ever happen in wrestling. Now, 30 years later, here are my 30 favorite moments in Hulkamania history.
Hogan & Andre Photo Courtesy: WWE
1. The Slam Heard 'Round the World, Wrestlemania III, March 29, 1987: I was 14 years old when Hogan wrestled Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania III. I knew the two had faced off before, but I didn't care. This seemed to be the most significant match in Hogan's three year run as WWF Champion. It also was the most serious threat (at least in my teenage eyes) to the Hulkster's reign. I'm still impressed he scooped up the big man and dropped the big leg, pinning the unbeaten giant to retain the WWF championship.
2. Larger than Life, WWF House Show, December 27, 1984: This was my first live wrestling experience. It was a WWF House Show in St. Louis, Missouri. Hogan headlined, pinning Brutus Beefcake. I was 11 years old. Seeing Hogan up close and in person was amazing. He really was larger than life.
3. Hulkamania is Born, Madison Square Garden, January 23, 1984: I was new to wrestling when Hogan battled the Iron Sheik that winter night in New York City. I had no idea then, what kind of impact the title change would bring. Long gone were the Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammaratino days of the WWF. There was a new kid on the block and he was going to lead the way of change for the business. Love him or hate, it's hard to deny Hogan's victory that night changed things forever. 4. The Birth of Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania, March 31, 1985: Being the champion, it only made sense for Hogan to main event the first ever Wrestlemania. It proved to be a star studded affair that saw Hogan pin foe Paul Orndorff after a backfire cast swing by Cowboy Bob Orton. Hogan and Mr. T won the match, and a new friend in Orndorff who was dumped by Roddy Piper and Orton.
Elizabeth, Hogan, & Savage
5. Mega Powers, Activate, Saturday Night's Main Event, October 3, 1987: "Macho Man" Randy Savage was being assaulted by the Honky Tonk Man and the Hart Foundation, when Miss Elizabeth ran to the back. I had no idea who she'd return with, but I marked out like crazy when she was pulling Hogan's arm and leading him to the ring. I got goosebumps when the Hulkster saw what was happening and assured Liz he'd help. The Mega Powers formed that night, which was a huge boost for Savage's career too.
Warrior & Hogan Photo Courtesy: WWE
6. The Ultimate Torch Pass, Wrestlemania VI, April 1, 1990: This seems like it would be more of an Ultimate Warrior moment, but I think this was significant as it really did appear Hogan was ready to fade off into the bright lights of Hollywood. For whatever reason it wasn't meant to be, and the Hulkster eventually returned to his spot at the top of the WWF. 7. Double Trouble, The Main Event, February 5, 1988: The Hulkster lost the WWF Title for the first time that night, due to a screw job by Ted DiBiase, Andre the Giant, and Earl Hebner. This match was live in prime time on network television. I watched in shock that night and shed more than a few tears. Oh and yes, I was nearly 15 years old at the time...
8. The Rock 'N Wrestling Connection, The War to Settle the Score, February 18, 1985: This was the kickoff for Wrestlemania. Hogan faced Roddy Piper on MTV that night. The WWF had been on the network before with Cyndi Lauper and Wendi Richter leading the way. Hogan's match with Piper ended in a disqualification and drew Mr. T and Paul Orndorff into the fold. This also led to the cartoon series, action figures, and other merchandising and main stream cross overs. I'd still say Piper is one of Hogan's greatest rivals of all time.
9. Mega Meltdown, The Main Event, February 3, 1989: Hogan and Savage had enjoyed more than a year of tag team bliss. But it all came crumbling down when the duo faced the Big Bossman and Akeem on the second installment of The Main Event on NBC. Even though the Mega Powers won the match, Savage went nuts, battering Hogan with the WWF belt. This set up the main event to Wrestlemania V, where Hulkamania once again reigned supreme.
10. For Life!, Bash at the Beach, July 7, 1996: Notice this is the ONLY WCW mention in this blog. I wasn't a big fan of WCW Hogan. I guess I'd grown tired of him by this point. This night marked the end of Hulkamania as we knew it. After 12 years of soaking in the cheers of the crowd, Hogan turned heel, joining the Outsiders Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. The trio formed the New World Order and took wrestling to a whole new level and ramped up the whole Monday Night War between WCW and WWF.
11. Occupied!, WrestleCon, April 6, 2013: While attending the Chikara show at WrestleCon during Wrestlemania 29 weekend, I got a chance to see Hogan up close again. He was signing autographs at the convention and had come over to the wrestling side to use the restroom. I was in line to do the same, and I say in line because security had blocked the door, only allowing the Hulkster in restroom. Eventually we got to go in, and Hulk and I passed each other at the sink. Good to know he has good hygiene.
12. Rocked!, Wrestlemania X8, March 17, 2002: Hollywood Hogan had recently come to the WWE, nearly a year after Vince McMahon purchased WCW. Still a heel, Hogan took on the ultra popular Rock. During the course of the match, the fans rallied behind Hogan, and his corner mates Hall and Nash didn't like it. They turned on Hogan, promoting the Rock to make the save and during the black and white Hogan back into the yellow and red Hulkster.
13. Ready to Rumble, Royal Rumble 90 & 91, January 19, 1990 & January 21, 1991: I'm counting this as one memory. Hogan became the first Superstar to ever win back to back Royal Rumbles.
Bossman vs. Hogan Photo Courtesy: WWE
14. He's a Boss, Man, Saturday Night's Main Event, April 18, 1989: One of Hogan's biggest rivalries during his second reign as champion came against the Big Bossman. The two faced off in the big blue steel cage, which saw the Hulkster suplex the former correctional officer from the top. Of course Hogan won the match, and impressed many fans with the bold maneuver.
15. Salt in the Wounds, Wrestlemania IX, April 4, 1993: Hogan came out to right the wrong done to WWF Champion Bret Hart. Yokozuna had just won the match and the title with the help of Mr. Fuji and his salt. Foolishly, Fuji immediately challenged Hogan, which the former champ accepted, ducked a handful of salt and leg dropped his way to another reign as champion. Sure Hart got the shaft, but Hulkamania was alive and well again, at least for a few months...
Hogan in the Hall of Fame Photo Courtesy: WWE
16. Livin' in the Hall of Fame, April 2005: After many ups & downs, Hogan gets inducted. 17. Hulkamania Dies, Survivor Series 1991: Hogan dropped the title to the Undertaker, huge upset. 18. Rage in the Cage, SNME, January 187: Hogan & Orndorff "tie" in a cage match. 19. Ultimate Survivors, Survivor Series 1990: Hogan & Warrior stand tall at the end of the show. 20. Priceless!, Wrestlemania IV, March 1988: Hogan costs the Million $ Man the WWF Title. 21. Piledriven, WWF Superstars, April 1986: Orndorff turns on Hogan after a year of friendship. 22. Tuesdays with Hulk, Tuesday in Texas, December 1991: Hogan regains the title from 'Taker. 23. Real American, Wrestlemania 21, April 2005: Hogan saves Eugene for Muhammad Hassan. 24. No Justice, Wrestlemania XIII, April 1992: Hogan beats Sid by DQ, Warrior saves the day. 25. Not Ready for Prime Time, SNL, March 1985: Hogan and Mr. T hosted Saturday Night Live. 26. Two for the Road, Wrestlemania II, April 1986: Hogan beats King Kong Bundy in a cage. 27. No Holds Barred, The Movie & The Match, 1989: Personally, I liked the movie. 28. Employee of the Year, Wrestlemania XIX, March 2003: Hogan beats McMahon, gets revenge. 29. One More Time, Backlash, April 2002: Hogan beats Triple H for his final WWE championship. 30. Livin' on the Edge, SmackDown!, July 2002: Hogan's first tag team title run with Edge.
One of the theme songs of the 1970's is YMCA by the Village People. And on Saturday, January 25, I join a group of men here to dance to this hit tune all for a good cause. It's the fourth annual Hospice of Southern Illinois Red Carpet Gala. The theme this year is "The Way We Were." Dozens of people will be hitting the stage and performing various acts from the 70's and 80's.
Those who know me, know that I can't dance. I'm not a big fan of it either, but this is for such a good cause, I'm putting my insecurities to the side and plan to have a good time. We've been practicing since November, and thanks to the generous folks at Black Diamond Harley Davidson, I have an awesome biker costume for the night.
The group I'm working with has taken some of the classic moves from the song and added a few twists to it. While I think we will provide some comic relief for the night, there will be many talented men and women on the stage Saturday night too.
I'm excited to be a part and flattered that I was asked. Other commitments have kept me from participating in past galas. If you live in the area, I hope that you'll come out and have a good time and support Hospice of Southern Illinois. They do so much for people in our community and rely on donations to provide that end of life care and other services to people in southern Illinois.
Click here for ticket info. Again, the show is Saturday, January 25. The pre-show starts at 4:45 p.m. Dinner is at 6 and the show starts at 7 at the Pavilion of the City of Marion. I hope to see you out there, I'll be the fool on stage dressed like a biker with a giant, awful looking mustache.
Like my reading preferences, I tend to listen to a lot of wrestling podcasts. Since I've revamped my running and am hitting the trail for longer periods of time, listening to a podcast makes the time go by so much quicker. In my opinion it's better than music. When I have a chance to drive my wife's car, I can plug in my phone and listen through the radio. It makes road trips (on my own) so much better. So here are the shows I listen to, but note, they're not all wrestling related.
Dollars & Roses: Make Money Blogging:The hosts of this podcast are my friends, Jeff and Mandy Rose. In fact, Jeff is the one responsible for the creation of My 1-2-3 Cents. As an avid blogger, Jeff encouraged me to try a wrestling blog almost four years ago. So it's only natural I continue to follow his advice. Jeff and Mandy know what they're talking about and provide transparency each month with their financial reports. They've shown time and time again you can be successful at blogging, you just have to work hard at it.
I want this blog to be successful and make money. I'll be honest, I have made some cash, but nothing near what others are making. After listening to a couple of their shows over the weekend, I'm going to be tweaking and making some changes to the current page. My plan is to start making those changes in the next couple of weeks. Some the ideas are simple, while others are a bit more complex. But I'm fortunate to have friends like Jeff and Mandy, who are both successful bloggers and now podcasters. If you've wanted to start your own blog or if you want to improve the one you have, check them out at Dollars & Roses. Even after Mandy's recent blog about her first wrestling show, I still consider her a friend.
Pro Wrestling Ponderings:I'll admit, I don't get to listen to the PW Ponderings crew as often as I'd like to. I met Jerome Cusson, one of the founders of the site, two years ago when he was covering All American Pro Wrestling's Main Event here in southern Illinois. Jerome and his team work hard covering the very best of independent wrestling. If you're a fan of wrestling and want to explore what's going on on the indy level, I highly recommend visiting PW Ponderings and checking out the articles. But listen to the interviews too. They talk to some of the best and brightest on the local scene and who knows, one day that guest may be the next big thing in the WWE. Jerome and I also did commentary briefly for Pro Wrestling Collision.
The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cabana: I don't know this for sure, but I believe Colt Cabana revolutionized the whole podcast concept, especially for the world of wrestling. For those who don't know him, Colt is an indy wrestler, who spent a brief period of time in the WWE as Scotty Goldman. He's also CM Punk's best friend, and the WWE Superstar has dropped Colt's name more than once on WWE programming. Colt's show is great because he talks wrestling and life with his friends in the business. It gives listeners a chance to hear the voices of many talents they might not normally hear from. But Colt recently landed a pretty big interview when he talked with WWE Hall of Famer, The Living Legend Bruno Sammartino.
Colt takes a comedic approach most of the time, but the conversation does not just revolve around wrestling. Listeners get a chance to learn about the men and women Colt is interviewing beyond their love of spandex and baby oil. The other thing I like about Colt (and I'm going to name drop and tell you I've met him on more than one occasion), is that he's running the show and his marketing, bookings, and merchandise sales all from his studio... apartment. (Listen to the show and that will make more sense) Check out his website here.
The Steve Austin Show: Unleashed: If you're a fan of the Rattle Snake's, you really should take the time to listen to Austin's podcast. His shows drop twice a week, and have included plenty of memorable WWE Hall of Famers and Legends like Ric Flair, Jerry Lawler, Bret Hart, and Jim Cornette. The stories are great, and many times, Austin will break up the interview into two-one hour shows. Just like I enjoy hearing about the lives of indy wrestlers and how they're doing, I also love hearing the stories of stars from my childhood recount their time in the business and offer advice for the next generation.
So those are my four picks, those are the podcasts I primarily listen to. Another show I plan to start listening to is Talk is Jericho with wrestling great, Chris Jericho. Now that I'm caught up with most of my other shows, I'll start listening. One of my goals for 2014, is to figure out how the whole thing works and start one of my own.
January 19, 2004 I started a new journey in my career. After spending nearly four and a half years in West Lafayette, Indiana at WLFI, it was time to move on to something new. I grew up near St. Louis and went to school at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, so moving to the region had always been a goal of mine. I had talked with past news directors at all three TV stations in the market on more than one occasion.
Finally, in October 2003 I had a chance to interview with the news director at WSIL, Mike Snuffer. There was no formal interview set up, I just called and said I'd be in the area and wanted a few minutes to meet with him. I had a couple of co-worker friends from WLFI working at WSIL at the time, so they kept me in the loop. I thought the interview went well, but about a month later Mike emailed me and told me he'd hired someone else for the position. He encouraged me to stay in touch, as he anticipated more openings after the first of the year.
Then in early December, Mike emailed me again, telling me the woman he offered the job to accepted an offer elsewhere. He wanted to see an updated tape, which I sent it to him immediately. On December 26, 2003, he called me to offer me the job (general assignment reporter).
Covering a big fire in Carterville
When I joined the team, I had no idea what life would be like for me here at WSIL. I was given the opportunity to fill in on the anchor desk, and by August 2004, the news gods were on my side and I was asked to become the co anchor of News 3 This Morning.
I've had so many amazing co workers and friends here. In my nearly ten years on the morning show, I've had six different "permanent" co anchors and countless fill-in anchors. There have been four weather people, nine producers, five directors, three graphics operators, and 33 associate producers. I promise they haven't all left because of me.
Besides have great co workers and friends, I've met some of the most inspirational people while sharing their stories with the public. Some of the moments that stick out in my memory include meeting Sean and Natalie DeMello. Their young son Evan was in need of a heart. The four year old finally got the organ transplant, but sadly died from complications of the surgery. I remember talking with his parents before the operation and after, and their optimism and upbeat attitude, even after losing their son made an impression on me.
I met the DeMellos because at the time I was also the health reporter at WSIL. That position allowed me to meet many people with a variety of medical conditions. Some of those people are no longer with us, but their stories were important to tell and may have saved other lives in the process. Bobbi West, Cheryl Collins, and Deanna Heal are just a few of those who have passed away. I appreciate their families staying in touch and allowing me to share their stories with the region.
An American Hero
In 2005, I interviewed the family of Wyatt Eisenhauer, shortly after the Perry County native was killed in Iraq while serving our country. His family's strength that afternoon as they recalled their hero was truly inspiring. I've stayed in touch with them, as they continue to honor and pay tribute to others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. The Eisenhauers remind us all that freedom isn't free.
There are have been plenty of fun moments too over the last decade. I've interviewed "Happy Days" star Marion Ross, "The Incredible Hulk" Lou Ferrigno, and more professional wrestlers than you can shake a stick at.
My job also led me to getting into the ring and having a match. I've whacked a grown man with a metal folding chair live on the air. I've been the sparring partner for an MMA fighter, and I've been zapped with a taser. People still ask me about the tasering incident, and honestly, it hurt in a way I can't really describe other than to say it was shocking.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on forever here, but people would get bored. I know I'm forgetting people and stories too, and if that I'm sorry if I left you out. Thank you all who have watched and supported the last decade here. Words can't express what it means to me and my family.
January 19, 2014 marks my 10 year anniversary at my job WSIL TV in Carterville, Illinois. It has been a blast, and I'm working on an actual blog that I will post Sunday. I wanted to share some photo memories of the last 10 years. Unfortunately many of the early days weren't captured on camera, as smart phones and social media weren't around. Thanks to all for the support.
Adding some makeup
Carried to the desk by former Producer Mike Roth
Epic artwork by Aaron Thompson
I'm really listening to Clint
Firing the cannon at John A. Logan College
Dress like the HR Manager Day (Sandy Mann)
The Grinch tried to steal News 3 This Morning
Lindsey Mastis, Dispatcher Ken Johnson, & Samantha Davies
Santa Kevin, Sophie, and Elf Emily
Viewer, griller, and author Jim "Rhino" Reincke
Payin' my harmonica
The Man of Steel and Superman
Live at the new SIU Stadium
Pro wrestler Curly & Curly, Jr.
Caught in an armlock
Kristin Crowley & Mini Me
The return of the Twinkie
Eating a giant Gummy Bear
From the Land of Misfit Toys
Goodbye, Ross (at Crossroads Coffee)
National Squirrel Day
Pullin' up my drawers
More undead guests
Something on a stick day
2011 Polar Plunge
I'm taller than Emily
Ross Wece, my long lost son
Interviewing then Lt. Governor Pat Quinn
The old Carterville school
Happy Days star Marion Ross
Jann Carl & Rodney Miller: Small Town Big Deal
5 am start time
Producer Weston gets his kicks
Live at the big Carterville fire
Snow White, Goofy, and Dopey
Interrupting a promo
News with Muppets
Turkey Day fun
Producer Weston as me
Wild Wednesday Zebra Day
Meteorologist Ashley Smith, Emily, & Me
Supporting Robin Roberts
My new boxers
Bret Beherns and I got ink
Ross stealing my phone
Wear pajamas to work day
The ultimate multitasker
Hug an Anchor Day
You like me, you really like me
Yes, I'm kissing Weston's cheek
Jalah Gray, Shriner Dale McGee, me, and Ashley Smith
Kristin's last day
Jim Gentile and Miss HerrinFesta
Who has two thumbs and is awesome?
The Kevin HunsBurger at Crossroads
The flamboyant Four Horsemen
Chicks dig the Sexy Panther cologne
Caught in the Torture Rack
Vintage newsroom: 2005
Staci Bynum, Samatha, Debra O'Neil, & Chad Smart Photobomb