Saturday, December 31, 2016

16 favorite pics from 2016

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Before we say goodbye to 2016 I wanted to continue a tradition here on the blog. I usually do my 12 favorite pics of the year (one each month), but this year I've decided to do 16 for 2016. Thanks to all who have supported my endeavors through the years. 2017 is shaping up to be amazing. I'm looking forward to growing the My 1-2-3 Cents brand. Happy New Year! (These are in no particular order)

Mother's Day 2016
Hoffman, Hunsperger & Klaus families

Hospice Gala photo booth with the Harnesses

Homecoming 2016

Licensed driver

Mom after a chemo treatment, still smiling

Crab Orchard Lake

Meeting Neville (again)

Family watching Ethan perform

We're not the Droids you're looking for

Competition time

First Titans game

Trump vs. Trump

Makin' magic

Sharp dressed Craftbeericans

First Stride Pro Wrestling show

Garden of the Gods

Friday, December 30, 2016

In memory (2016)

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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2016 saw the passing of several wrestling legends and innovators. May they all rest in peace. The website Wrestler Deaths has more details on the men and women of the ring we've lost through the years.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

16 good things that happened in 2016

Birthday at Disney and stopped by the Stormtroopers
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Many people are looking back on 2016 as a horrible year. Yes, there were a lot of negative things that happened this year, but I'm choosing today to look at the glass as being half-full and remembering 16 instances that were good either for me personally, my community or our country. These are in no particular order.

1) In March I got to spend my 43rd birthday at Disney World. More specifically at Animal Kingdom and Disney Hollywood Studios. It's hard to think of a better place to be on your special day. That trip was part of the Mostly Hunsperger Spring Break when we traveled to Disney to watch our oldest son perform with the Pride of the Lions Marching Band.

Hanging out with Neville and Kalisto for a second
2) A month later Chad and I returned to WrestleMania. We took the year off in 2015 and looks like we'll be doing the same in 2017. The trip to Dallas this year was particularly eventful for me because we went to an autograph signing with Superstar Neville and he remembered me by name from a couple of other times we'd met. I did mark out pretty hardcore that day.

3) The Crafbeericans were born. We review different craft beer and are counting down from episode 99. Please watch and subscribe on YouTube. Also look for us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@Craftbeericans)

Stride Pro Wrestling

4) Stride Pro Wrestling made its debut. In March we held our first show. I'm honored to be a part of this great group of local wrestlers. Shows are typically the first Saturday of each month. Join us January 7! More details can be found here.

5) The Cubs won the World Series. I'm St. Louis born and bred, but I give props to the Cubs for breaking the curse. That victory alone brought so much joy to so many people, how can you not be happy for the team and their fans?

Skiing in Michigan
6) My family skied for the first time. We recently returned from a pre-Christmas vacation to Crystal Mountain Resort in Michigan. My wife and I decided to go with the "experiences" over "things" route for Christmas this year.

Project Red Heal gang
7) I was part of several different great fundraisers. A group of my friends helped raise money for the Women's Center in Carbondale during Project Red Heal. I cooked up some craft beer mac and cheese for The Chef's Challenge to benefit St. Francis CARE and Gumdrops. And Tom and I co-emceed The Williamson County Relay for Life and judged a chili cookoff to benefit several local groups. Tom also raised more than $5,000 with that Ugly Christmas Suit.

Suited up
8) Speaking of ugly suits, I ventured into the world of OppoSuits and bought my first. It's a Stormtrooper suit and in the month that I've had it, it has started many conversations.

9) The Southern Illinois Men's Expo evolved from the Men's Conference. We had a successful event and I'm looking forward to the 2017 version. I'm also honored to be voted as the new president of Women for Health and Wellness here in southern Illinois. Yes, you read that right...

Holiday World
10) My niece and nephew visited over the summer and not only did we engage in the Pokemon Go Craze, but we also got to spend the day at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari. It was great quality time with them and my parents.

11) Kevin Owens and AJ Styles made it big on the main stage of WWE. Both won heavyweight championships on their respective shows after years of toiling in the indies and lesser known companies.

12) Women's wrestling has become top notch in WWE. At WrestleMania, the company did away with the Divas belt and name and recognizes the talented women in the business as Superstars, just like their male counterparts. Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Bayley are just a few of the women making a difference.

Gary Vee

13) Gary Vaynerchuk opened my eyes to a whole new world in terms of social media, marketing and entreprenuership.  I can't do the man justice here, so please search him on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Look for Gary Vee. He's incredibly inspiring.

14) As I try to grow my own brand, I've had some amazing podcast guests in 2016. WWE Legends like "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, The Honkytonk Man and Bushwhacker Luke has all be a part of the show this year. I just wrapped up a conversation with my guest for Episode 112 which will drop on January 9th. I'm happy to say it was with Dan "The Beast" Severn. 

15) Speaking of the branding side of things, I'm on a great blogging streak. This blog marks my 217th consecutive one here on My 1-2-3 Cents. But I've also been blogging for clients on various topics. Things are going well, and since I brought up streaks, my running streak remains intact too. I have run at least one mile every day since May 1, 2016. Before the streak started I participated in the River to River Relay. It was a great day and my biggest running event of the year. I am still hoping to add another marathon to my accomplishments in the near future.

Stranger Things
16) The family all dressed up for Halloween. Well, all but one teenager, but what are you going to do? This year my wife and I dressed like characters from Stranger Things. We had a blast.

So there it is, 16 events that maybe didn't impact the world, but they had a positive effect on my well-being. 2017 will no doubt have challenges too, but my goal is to stay positive and move forward. It's the best choice in any situation really.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

There's something about Carrie

Leia saves Han Solo in Return of the Jedi
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Many are still mourning the unexpected death of actress and writer Carrie Fisher. She, of course, is the woman who brought the Star Wars character Princess Leia to life in the 70s and 80s. Even today's generation is enjoying the character with last year's release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens and next year's Star Wars Episode VIII. Earlier this year Star Wars co-star Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 died as well. 

Leia and Han Solo in The Force Awakens
Social media lit up in the moments following Fisher's death. I had been following her health since last Friday's announcement that she'd had a cardiac event aboard an international flight. Like many of you, I too hoped for the best, but sadly Fisher joins a long list of celebrities we've lost in 2016. 

Fisher's star on the Walk of Fame
The way some of us mourn the passing of our favorite stars draws criticism on social media. It's only natural to feel a sense of loss with someone we've connected with, even if we've never met that person in real-life. There's no need to judge or mock the way a person mourns. 

Critics may point out flaws in the some of the stars we lost this year (and in year's past). This has been spoken of slightly with Carrie Fisher but was rampant when wrestling Superstar Chyna died earlier this year. She too had addiction issues and in some instances garnered less sympathy because of that. I did a vlog on that issue shortly after Chyna's death.

Postcards from the Edge
But back to Carrie Fisher. No doubt she'll go down in history as not only a great actress but writer as well. Her book Postcards from the Edge became a movie. Besides Leia, I'll fondly remember Fisher for her roles in When Harry Met Sally and The Blues Brothers. 

Han Solo & Princess Leia circa 2006
The Leia character will be her true legacy and continue to inspire little girls for generations to come that girls can be just as heroic and tough as our favorite guys in the movies. There's also that night my wife and I paid tribute to Han Solo and Princess Leia for our 70s themed New Year's Eve party 10 years ago this week. Rest in peace Carrie Fisher and May the Force be with You.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

How the Goldust teddy bear segment SHOULD have gone

The bear incident begins
Courtesy: WWE

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

On the post-Christmas edition of Raw, WWE produced a segment featuring R-Truth, Goldust
 and Bayley. You've probably seen it by now, but if not, here's a quick recap. Bayley pays homage to the late, great "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes by presenting his son Goldust with a teddy bear dressed in the Dream's trademark black gear with yellow polka dots.

What happened next brought criticism from some fans and members of the Rhodes family, including former WWE Superstar Cody Rhodes. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson entered and ridiculed the gesture. Anderson snatched the bear from Goldust's hands and then ripped off its head. Yes, it was a low blow, but I understand Creative is trying to put heat on the heels and make Anderson and Gallows look like jerks. 
Anderson pins Goldust
Courtesy: WWE
It's what followed that irritated me. Because fans and family members are hypersensitive to situations like the one at hand, Goldust and R-Truth should have beaten the crap out of The Club with Goldust getting the pin and avenging the earlier act of aggression. Instead, Anderson and Gallows not only won the match, but Goldust is the one who was pinned. (Yes, Goldie got some good shots, but still...) 

Because of their position in the company right now, it's highly unlikely there will be a follow-up. However, for the sake of keeping the peace and in true American Dream fashion, the opposite of what happened should have occurred. I'm not critical of the original act, it's the follow-up that bugs me the most.

Monday, December 26, 2016

2016 Centy Awards

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
If you haven't listened to the 2016 Centy Awards podcast yet, you can read our thoughts in today's post. Chad and I started doing the awards in 2011 as a way to honor (and ridicule in some cases) the men, women, and storylines in the world of professional wrestling. 

Wrestler of the Year:

Kevin's pick: Charlotte Flair. Picking a female as Wrestler of the Year is a first here at the Centy Awards. Charlotte has proven she's one of the greatest with her four championship wins since joining the main roster in 2015. Her undefeated singles streak on pay per view is something we've never seen before either by a man or woman.

Chad's pick: "Broken" Matt Hardy. If you’d told me at any point in the last ten years I’d be picking Matt Hardy as wrestler of the year and not be ironic, I would have thought you crazy. But here we are at the end of 2016 and I firmly stand behind this pick. Then again 2016 has been a crazy year. The “Broken” character started as cringe-worthy but quickly became one of the many reasons to tune into Impact Wrestling. Teaming with Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy), the 2016 version of the Hardy Boyz have probably shown the most character development in their 20+ year career. I can honestly say I am eagerly awaiting Final Deletion. Most Hated:

Kevin's pick: Inconsistency. First, it was with the Shane McMahon-Undertaker match. Shane lost and was supposed to disappear from WWE. Now he's the Commissioner of SmackDown Live! I have no problem with that, but why have the stipulation in the WrestleMania match? Also, when are we gonna get the scoop on Triple H helping Kevin Owens win the Universal Championship?

Chad's pick: Impact Grand Championship. For all the positives Impact Wrestling did in 2016, my least favorite was creating the Impact Grand Championship. At first, I was interested due to the Grand Championship taking place of the King of the Mountain title. If wrestling fans are never subjected to another King of the Mountain match, they’ve still suffered through too many KOTM matches. My problem with the Grand Championship is the usage of rounds. I understand wrestling in rounds is popular in Europe where TNA has a sizable audience but in America, the only rounds in wrestling are the drinks you have while watching wrestling. Most Underappreciated:

Kevin's pick: Kevin Owens. I don't mean by fans, I think WWE is underappreciative of the current Universal Champion. He seems to be in the shadow of Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. I'd love to see a couple of convincing title defenses. But over the next few years, he'll continue to grow in WWE and be one of the all-time greats.

Chad's pick: Impact Wrestling. Long time readers of My 1-2-3 Cents know I have a love/hate relationship with Impact Wrestling. While I used to be a huge fan of TNA, the poor booking and business decisions they have made over the past ten years very nearly drove me away from the company. Something happened in 2016 that I don’t think any wrestling fan saw coming, Impact Wrestling got a focus and stayed the course to pretty logical booking and a focus on (with the exception of the Hardyz) new(ish) younger talent. Unfortunately due to a poor track record, a lot of fans haven’t witnessed the re-re-re-rebirth of Impact Wrestling. Most Overrated:

Kevin' pick: GOLDBERG. This isn't so much a slam against Goldberg as it is WWE writers. When Michael Cole called Goldberg "the greatest champion in WCW history" didn't sit well with me.

Chad's pick: Initially I wanted to go with Shinskue Nakamura but my disinterest in Nak has been discussed on here before so I thought I’d go in a different direction. Having seen him in the Cruiserweight Classic and a few appearances in Chikara, I still don’t understand the appeal of Zack Sabre Jr. Going back to the Impact Grand Championship rules, maybe Sabre Jr. is only appreciated if you enjoy European style of wrestling. Breakout Star of the Year:

Kevin's pick: "Broken" Matt Hardy. See Chad's description for why he picked Hardy as Wrestler of the Year. I just wish TNA would monetize and pretty promote this storyline/character. It's always been their downfall.

Chad's pick: Juan Francisco De Coronado. Chikara's last true heel disbanded the United Nations this year and in my opinion, really came into his own. Show of the Year:

Kevin' pick: SummerSlam. AJ Styles vs. John Cena stands out to me on this show. It's what made AJ a SUPERSTAR. Yes, he was great before that, but now he's truly hanging with the GOATs. Finn Balor and Seth Rollins had an outstanding match as well as Charlotte and Sasha Banks.

Chad's pick: NXT Dallas: The End. Being in attendance for the show helps make this show be more memorable than it may have been if I was just watching on TV. Star on the Horizon:

Kevin's pick: Renee Young. An unconventional pick, but I think Renee is one of the most underutilized talents in wrestling. She does a great job on Talking Smack, the pre-shows and WWE's Snapchat. I'd love to see her join one of the commentary teams in the next year or two.

Crummles and Defarge
Courtesy: Chikara Pro
Chad's pick: Crummles & Defarge are names few people are probably familiar with right now. They are a new tag team who showed up during Season 16 of Chikara. Their gimmick is old-timey beggar/chimney sweeps though they don’t carry brooms. They’re different from WWE’s old-timey team the VaudeVillians. While they haven’t lit the Chikara tag team scene on fire yet, give them a couple years of seasoning and I see big things in store for the team.
Female of the Year:

Kevin's pick: Eva Marie. I guess I'm seeking heat for this pick. Since I named Charlotte Wrestler of the Year, I went with Eva Marie for Female of the Year. Her reasoning for not getting into the ring each week was one of the most entertaining storylines of summer. I hope she's back in the ring sooner rather than later.

Chad's pick: Charlotte. Undefeated in singles matches on Network Specials. 37 Time Women's champion. Enough said.

Conrad Thompson & Bruce Prichard
Best Use of Social Media:

Kevin's pick: Conrad Thompson (@HeyHeyItsConrad). Conrad is the co-host of The Ric Flair Show and Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard. I had the pleasure of interviewing him for the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast earlier this year. Conrad interacts with listeners of his shows on Twitter like no one I've seen before. He's a great guy too as he and Bruce raised money for the American Cancer Society. I can't say enough good things about Conrad and Bruce and their show.

Chad's pick: Donald Trump (@realDonaldTrump). He is a WWE Hall of Fame inductee so I’m counting him. And I don’t pay attention to most wrestler or celebrities on social media. This includes the President-Elect. I only know what Trump is doing on social media because 95% of people on my social media feeds get upset, complain and throw derogatory in Trump's direction while 2% think Trump is making America great again. Biggest Fall From Grace:

Kevin's pick: Rusev. 2016 was an up and down year for the Bulgarian Brute. League of Nations could have been a great thing, but the concept fell flat. Then he regained the U.S. Championship and had a decent run until crossing paths with Roman Reigns. Here's to hoping 2017 sees Rusev climbing back to near the top.

Chad's pick: My wrestling fandom. While I watch RAW, Smackdown, Impact, Lucha Underground on a weekly basis and the monthly Chikara shows when they are posted on Chikaratopia, I don’t pay that close attention to the shows. I couldn’t tell you why Randy Orton is a member of the Wyatt Family. Don’t know the majority of the story lines in Lucha Underground. I enjoy the shows but there’s something about wrestling today that just doesn’t stick with him an hour after a show is over.

Heath Hatton visiting Dalton
All Out of Bubblegum Award is something I came up with earlier this year to honor the memory of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. It goes to someone who has displayed courage, bravery and determination outside wrestling storylines.

This year the award goes to Heath Hatton from Stride Pro Wrestling. He is a friend of mine and has gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others. Heath has put in countless hours on benefit shows and traveled to visit Dalton about a week before he died. He's an all-around good guy and a great performer in the ring.

Do you like our picks? Who would you award in 2016? Share your thoughts here or on Facebook.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Hunsperger family Christmas 2016
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Regular readers of this blog know that earlier this year I started a blogging streak. Christmas Day marks day 214. Since it is Christmas I decided to share a little holiday spirit.

Skiing in Michigan

I am grateful that I got to spend the past week with my family and not have to worry about getting up at 1:30 a.m. The break has been amazing and I got to knock two things off my bucket list: visiting Michigan and going downhill skiing. 

Christmas Tsum Tsums
My mom's health has been a big concern this year as she is battling cancer for the second time. Last month we learned that the chemotherapy has contained the disease to the bladder and next month surgeons will remove the infected organ. Spending the last few days at home with my family has been very important to me. For me to be able to do that my friends and coworkers had to hold down the fort. So thanks, guys.

A dip for the Ugly Christmas Suit
I can't go without recognizing my buddy Tom Harness, the Ugly Christmas Suit Guy. This year he raised more than $5,000 in his suit for a group called The Promise. They provide for those in need in southern Illinois. Tom worked tirelessly since Giving Tuesday to raise money, food and awareness for The Promise. Mission accomplished. Thanks to all who gave and to Tom for putting himself out there once again and reminding people what the spirit of the season is all about.

From My 1-2-3 Cents and the Hunsperger family, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Thanks for your friendship and support.