Friday, September 30, 2016

I'll never be Super Dad and that's okay

Super Dad? Not even close
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I decided to ask the people who read this blog what types of topics they'd like to see covered outside of the usual wrestling posts. Parenting has been a popular pick, so today I'm tackling the issue. You may see more blogs on the subject in the near future as I'm working on some new ideas for the future of My 1-2-3 Cents. Stay tuned for those details.

Growing up my parents were mine and my brother's biggest supporters. My dad coach soccer teams year after year and he served as a leader in Boy Scouts going on countless campouts and hikes with the troop. My mom was a den mother, served as the president of the PTO and volunteered at several other functions. In high school, they attended my brother's wrestling matches and football games. They cheered me on at cross country meets (including the 2.5 hour trip to Sikeston each year), track meets and school plays. 

Spring Break in Gatlinburg, TN
When I had kids it was my plan to be just as involved in our kids' lives. And thanks to the schedule I work, I'm able to attend just about every activity the kids do. Despite them being embarrassed if we cheer too loud, my wife and I wouldn't miss these opportunities for anything. But having three kids that are part of teams and clubs sometimes someone gets shuffled to another parent. That's where the "It takes a village" concept really helps.

But does that make us Super Parents? Of course not. While we are active in our kids' lives and spend as much time as possible with them, there are plenty of times we would not be awarded Parent of the Year trophies.

  • We cuss in front of our kids. Sometimes the F-bomb even gets dropped.

  • We've had cake, ice cream and even candy for dinner at times.
  •  All three kids have their own smartphone and are on social media. In fact, my 16-year-old has a better phone than both of us. Sometimes we text each other from down the hall. 

Lucha Dad & Lucha Daughter
  • I've made the kids dress up and participate in some of my silly antics. Most of the time they're good sports. The teenagers are no longer required to do this.   
  • Laundry doesn't always get folded and put away in a timely matter. Ironing is a great rarity here.
  • The kids don't make straight As (or Bs). They drop the ball on the field, hit a sour note in the band or miss a step in a cheer competition. We don't dwell on these moments. They're learning lessons and we move on. I recently heard the phrase "You win some, you LEARN some." It's a good strategy to use in life.

The Hecks
Courtesy: ABC
I'm sure I'm forgetting other less-than-perfect parenting moments around here. But you get the point. I wanted to share this because there's no such thing as the perfect parent. Many times people on social media and bloggers like to present a picture-perfect view of their lives. I like to compare our family to the Hecks on the ABC comedy The Middle. Enjoy the time you have while the birds are still in the nest and no one can say we're not doing that.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Give them a chance

The hopefuls...
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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WWE announced earlier today 38 athletes have been invited to tryout at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando. Nineteen men and nineteen women are getting this sometimes once in a lifetime opportunity to be a part of the biggest wrestling company on the planet.

Shayna Baszler
Courtesy: UFC
Among the elite athletes are independent wrestling icon Eddie Kingston, Shayna Baszler, who is UFC fighter Ronda Rousey's teammate, and women's wrestling standout Princess Kimber Lee (who appeared on the first My 1-2-3 Cents podcast of 2016).

The article by WWE states this is the largest class of female athletes to receive this opportunity. In addition to the 19 women who want to be Superstars one day, there's also a female referee. Other than special guest spots, this would mark the first time the company has hired a woman to ref (as far as I can remember).

Eddie Kingston & The Colony
Chikara in 2012
I don't know much about Baszler, but if she's serious about getting into the business, I look forward to her getting the opportunity. I'm most excited for Kingston, who has busted his ass on the indy scene for years. He's tougher than a two dollar steak and has the look and skill set that works with WWE's New Era. I've had a chance to see Kingston in person when he was Chikara's first ever Grand Champion. 

Princess Kimber Lee
Courtesy: Chikara
Princess Kimber Lee is another one to watch. She will make a great addition to the women's division. If you listened to my interview with her, you'll remember she's the first female to win the Chikara Grand Championship. It was a groundbreaking moment in wrestling history and Kimber Lee has proven she can hang with the women as well as the men in the ring. 

Heidi Lovelace
Heidi Lovelace is in Orlando for an opportunity too. She is also a former champion in Chikara, holding that company's Young Lions Cup. She continues to do well for herself on the indy scene and I'm looking forward to seeing more of her work. 

Cedric Rougeau & Jacob Fatu
Legacies are also getting a tryout. Don't expect to call Cedric Rougeau the Mountie, Jr. He's a MOUNTAIN of a man, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing in at 300 pounds. Rougeau will fit that big guy mold like a glove. The son of the Tonga Kid hopes to follow in his father's footsteps. The "Samoan Werewolf" Jacob Fatu is a part of the legendary Anoa'i Family. 

There's no word on how many of these talents will stick around. My hope is the ones mentioned here are among the first to go to the next level. The future is bright for WWE and NXT. Best of luck to everyone involved. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WrassleRoos are as much fun as they sound

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Nearly a year ago I had Jonathan Bowles from WrassleRoos on the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast. It was a popular episode and even my friends who aren't wrestling fans were intrigued by this line of clothing. As you can see in the picture, WrassleRoos are comparable to Underoos from the 70s and 80s. 

My WrassleRoos shirt
I have a WrassleRoos shirt that Chad bought me at a convention in Los Angeles last year. I get comments on it many times when I wear it. It's the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff and Roddy Piper in animated form from Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N Wrestling Cartoon. Despite finding them very, I had never tried the underwear. TMI alert: I'm more of a boxer-brief guy, but when a clearance sale was announced earlier this month, I decided to snag a few pair.

I ordered the ones with "Macho Man" Randy Savage stars, the Ric Flair "RF" and the luchador masks. I also tried to get the Junkyard Dog "Thump" but they were sold out in my size. I'm obviously not in any shape to model the underwear for the camera, but trust me when I tell you they are fun to wear. The price was right too, at $4.99 on clearance it's a savings of about 11 bucks a pair. 

WrassleRoos are comfortable too. It's been years, probably decades since I've worn briefs, but when I put on those red Ric Flair skivvies on I let out a "Woo!"  It really is like being a kid again with the Underoos. I'm excited to see what new designs are coming up. That clearance sale is still going on some items, you can check it out here or get some of the other current WrassleRoos that are available. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Man of Tomorrow is a star today

"The Man of Tomorrow" Daniel Eads
Courtesy: Missouri Wrestling Revival
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The Man of Steel calls Metropolis home. Every year folks around the country gather there for the Superman Celebration. But THE Superman of the wrestling world is making a stop in southern Illinois this weekend.

"The Man of Tomorrow" Daniel Eads makes his Stride Pro Wrestling debut Saturday, October 1. He takes on up and comer Bryan Richardson. While Eads is no veteran, he has definitely been around long enough to become one of the top indy stars in the Midwest and beyond. I've had the chance to see Eads wrestle before and he's proven to me that the future is now with his ability in the ring.

Eads vs. Heath Hatton
My 1-2-3 Cents
Last fall I saw Eads in action in person for the first time. We chatted after the match for a My 1-2-3 Cents podcast and he told me then that he wrestles to give kids hope. Whether he wants to be a hero to the fans, he knows that he's looked up to and for that, I respect what he does. His attitude outside the ring makes him a true champion. 

Eads in control
My 1-2-3 Cents
Eads will go far in this business because he has the ability inside the ring. He has the looks to take his game to the next level. And he has that positive mental attitude that is essential to be a winner in life. I have no doubt he will be on the NXT roster within five years. 

But before that happens, we find out if Bryan Richardson will be the kryptonite that spoils The Man of Tomorrow's Stride Pro Wrestling debut. Come out Saturday night and find out for yourself. It's a family friendly venue and you'll be supporting local and regional wrestlers in the process.

Monday, September 26, 2016

I'm CRUSHED that Rusev lost

The new champ
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Clash of Champions has come and gone and my predictions were mostly spot on. I picked Rusev to retain the U.S Championship against Roman Reigns, however, I knew in my heart that it was not meant to be. Years ago I learned don't bet against John Cena or Randy Orton. Now I think we can add Reigns to that class.

I'm extremely disappointed in this loss for Rusev, even more so than when Cena first beat the Bulgarian Brute for the title in 2015. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Roman Reigns, but it feels like WWE is still trying to cram him down the throats of fans, whether we want to accept him or not. His World Title runs were less than stellar and then being suspended right after losing the belt didn't help endear him to the fans.

Rusev crush!
Courtesy: WWE
But rather than run down on Reigns, I'm going to build up Rusev. When he invaded the main roster in 2014 with Lana, I had high hopes for the duo. I was not disappointed as Rusev ran through the competition before finally capturing his first U.S. Title reign later that year. He seemed unstoppable until he met John Cena.

After spending some time rebuilding from his WrestleMania 31 loss to Cena, Rusev finally got back on track and started a second reign as U.S. champ. WWE is currently lacking a full-time dominate bad guy. Rusev was the perfect monster to fill that role. However, the crowd was clearly behind him in this battle against Reigns. I loved the reaction when Lana pulled the referee out before the three-count after the Spear. 

Courtesy: WWE
The loss to Reigns will hurt, but only time will tell how much. So before I completely dismiss the decision to take the gold off Rusev, I'll wait and see what's going to happen in the interim. The company may have bigger and better things on the horizon for Rusev. He simply can't be lost in the shuffle. He's too talented to have that happen.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Cesaro NEEDS to win the Best of 7 series

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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When the Best of 7 series between Sheamus and Cesaro was announced several weeks ago, I predicted Cesaro would win the series after starting off as the underdog. Tonight, in just about 90 minutes the, the finale happens on Clash of Champions. The series is tied up, three matches a piece.

It was originally stated the winner would get a shot at the WWE Universal Championship at some point. Not knocking Sheamus, but he's been the champ a few times before. While I don't dislike, I think it's time for some new faces in the title hunt. That's been the way it's been going since the "New Era" started in the weeks that followed WrestleMania 32.

Cesaro has toiled for years in WWE and much longer before even signing with the company. It's time for the company to finally go all-in on the guy. He's over with the fans. He has the talent. Cesaro not only needs to win this Best of 7 series, but also the Universal Championship. 

Courtesy: WWE
Win or lose, I'll still be a Cesaro guy. He's more than deserving to be on the top tier of either brand. If he's verbal skills are what's holding him back, fix that by bringing in a manager. Wooo! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Clash of Champions picks

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I'm trying to keep my blogging streak alive and am now experiencing no internet at home so I'm writing this on my phone. It'll be short and sweet. Here are my picks for Clash of Champions.

Kevin Owens will retain the Universal Championship. This is the only match I'll be happy with either man winning. 

Rusev should retain the U.S. Championship, but I won't be surprised if Roman Reigns wins. 

The New Day over The Club. 

TJ Perkins retains the Cruiserweight Championship against Brian Kendrick

Charlotte over Bayley and Sasha Banks 

Sami Zayn over Chris Jericho

Nia Jax will beat Alicia Fox 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Life in a small town

Pride of the Lions
Carterville, IL 
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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More than 12  years ago my family relocated to Carterville, Illinois when I accepted a reporting job at WSIL TV. At the time it was just me and my wife and our two sons, ages four and two. Almost two years later our daughter was born and by then I'd been named the coanchor of News 3 This Morning. Our oldest was in kindergartner and I really felt for the first time since embarking on my journey into journalism that we'd found a place to call home.

The football team
(87 is a member of #TeamHunsperger)
Fast forward and we now have a junior, sophomore and 5th grader. All three kids are active in school which has meant making friends and developing what we hope are lifelong relationships with their peers. For those who don't live in southern Illinois, Carterville is a growing community of about 5,500 people. That's a thousand or so more than when we first moved here. It's a tight-knit environment with a lot of pride.

My daughter and her bestie in the parade
It's Homecoming week here at the high school and every day a different theme has been planned. Friday featured the big parade through downtown and the football game. Thousands of people will come out and cheer on the Lions as we battle the Anna-Jonesboro Wildcats. 

The Junior Class wrecks the parade
Earlier in the day moms, dads, grandparents and older and younger siblings, as well as grade school and junior high school students, lined the main street through downtown to watch the parade. Firefighters and police officers proudly lead the way. The homecoming queen court followed along with the Pride of the Lions Marching Band, cheerleaders, pom squad and football team. Each class worked hard on a float to fit the Disney theme and other sports teams including volleyball players, golfers and cross country runners participated.

I really love seeing all the support for these young people in our community. As a parent with kids in the parade, it was even more meaningful. Sometimes living in a small town can have its drawbacks, but overall I wouldn't trade the experience. I know if I miss something that one the members of #TeamHunsperger is doing, another parent is there to catch it on video or in a pic. It takes a village and I'm proud to call our's Carterville. This really has become our home.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Imitation is NOT the sincerest form of flattery

Courtesy: Disney
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The latest Disney film hasn't even hit theaters yet and its merchandising wings have already been clipped. If you haven't heard by now, the company has pulled Halloween costumes, pajamas and shirts that feature the character Maui in the film Moana (due out in November). The full Associated Press article can be found here. When I first saw the article I thought it was something put out by the satrical site The Onion, but it's legit.

Quick history lesson: Maui is a revered figure in Polynesian history. Some Pacific Islanders view him as an ancestor. In the film, he's voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Wrestling fans know of The Rock's Samoan and African American heritage. So far Johnson hasn't said anything about this issue.


Some people are offended by the costume and the appearance of the character in the movie. One woman, Chelsie Haunani Fairchild said it's offputting to have a child wear the skin of another race.
"Polyface is Disney's new version of blackface. Let's call it like it is, people," Fairchild said in a video she posted on Facebook.
Disney was quick to respond. As I mentioned, not only did they pull the costumes and clothing, they added this statement. 
"The team behind Moana has taken great care to respect the cultures of the Pacific Islands that inspired the film, and we regret that the Maui costume has offended some. We sincerely apologize and are pulling the costume from our website and stores."
Fairchild says she accepts the apology, but is still offended and it doesn't change what Disney did. I'm obviously not Polynesian so what I have to say really doesn't matter. But I don't see how this costume is making fun of anyone. Some say the tattoos on the arms, legs and torso have a very significant meaning in the culture and that's what crossed the line. I respect that, maybe Disney should have used generic tattoos to illustrate that. But Fairchild clearly thinks it's because the skin color of Maui shouldn't be worn by people who don't match his.

WWE once sold a similar costume of its popular Superstar Rey Mysterio. Even if you're not a wrestling fan you can probably gather that Rey is Latino. I don't recall hearing any outrage over that costume from the Latino community, and it's still being sold online today. 

Disney has done a great job diversifying the ethnicity of its characters over the last couple of decades. We've seen a Middle Eastern princess, an African American princess, a Native American princess, an Asian princess, etc. All of these princesses were marketed to children and Halloween costumes and other accessories followed. 
Is it because Disney didn't include skin tone in those dresses? Would it have been better if the Maui costume was just a leaf skirt and shark tooth necklace? Or what if Disney was donating a portion of the profits from the costumes to cause that supports the Polynesian culture? The cynic in me suspects there would be less offended people if they were profiting off the film and its merchandise too. 
Long story short, if you're offended by the costume, don't buy it. Don't go see the film. You have every right to be upset. I respectfully disagree with your point. Today's society spends more time looking for reasons to be offended than finding things to be grateful for. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Describe yourself in 3 fictional characters

Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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There's a new thing trending on Twitter and Instagram this week. Creating a collage of the three fictional characters that best describe you. I don't have the time to research how or why this is a thing, but I thought it was fun and did make the time to create one of my own.

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
I chose Pee-Wee Herman because I'm a big kid at heart. I still like watching cartoons and wearing footie pajamas. I've been captivated with this null since watching his big adventure on the big screen and the TV series that followed on Saturday mornings on CBS. The innuendoes he makes along with his naivete remind me of me sometimes, although I'm probably a bit more vulgar...  (insert your own Kevin/movie theater joke here)

I AM Oscar the Grouch
Which leads me to Oscar The Grouch. I debated between him and Grumpy of Disney Dwarf fame. Years ago when my family took our first trip to Disney as a massive unit, I was given a Grumpy tee shirt. However, I feel like Grumpy is grumpy ALL the time. At least Oscar has some tender moments. Plus I'm a pack rat and a bit of a slob (I think that's reflective of my creativity, at least that's what I tell myself) and many years ago I dressed up like Oscar, complete with the metal trashcan. It was pretty epic. 

I'm so vain...

I round out my trio with Vanity Smurf. The Smurfs were such a huge part of my childhood I wouldn't feel right about not picking one. I was going to go with Papa, but he's smarter than me. Brainy is a little too annoying for me and I'm nowhere near as strong as Hefty or helpful as Handy. While I don't spend as much time gazing at myself in the mirror I do take more than enough selfies. So Vanity makes sense. Plus on more than one occasion my sexuality has been called into question, just like people wonder about that vain little guy.

So who's on your list? How would you describe yourself with three fictional characters? And did I get my list right? Who would you have made my picks?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Day still rocks

Courtesy: WWE

Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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This is probably going to be an unpopular opinion among some readers of this blog, but I hope The New Day retains the WWE Tag Team Titles this Sunday at Clash of Champions. For nearly 400 days Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods have held the bronze belts. Granted they don't need the titles anymore to "be over", but I've enjoyed the way New Day has changed the face of tag team wrestling.

What do I mean by that? New Day's blend of comedy and wrestling talent has put a new focus on tag team wrestling. Since winning the titles more than a year ago WWE has made it a point to make tag team wrestling matter. Over WrestleMania weekend, the trio's merchandise topped sales of every other WWE Superstar. That speaks volumes as I don't ever remember a tag team having that distinction. Now with the official sale of Booty O's cereal, the Funko Pop figures and next month champs get Pop Rocks named after them. It's a good time to be part of the New Day.

Gallows vs. Big E
Courtesy: WWE
Despite all the merch, New Day doesn't NEED the tag team titles to continue to be over with the fans. But having some stability in the championship department is something WWE has lacked over the last several years. I won't be surprised if Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows win the titles at Clash of Champions this weekend. I will be disappointed, in part because unlike many others, I haven't been swept away by The Club. I never followed them closely overseas and while I'm happy to have them in WWE, I'm not ready for New Day to drop the belts.

Can New Day carry on and eventually beat the REAL record for the tag team championship reign of Demolition? Only time will tell. The number to beat is 478.

Monday, September 19, 2016

If these balls could talk

Not my CEC, but you get the picture
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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First, take your mind out of the gutter. This post is not about those balls. This is a kid friendly post about Chuck E. Cheese's. I worked at the pizza place during most of my college years. I've written about a few experiences there and actually developed a following among CEC fans. So to throw them a shout out, I'm blogging about the mysterious ball crawl or ball pit. 

The ball crawl as you probably know is a large enclosure filled with hundreds (maybe thousands) of colored balls. Kids under a certain height take pleasure in playing in this pit. The balls are thrown about, swam through and jumped upon for hours on end. As you can imagine with hundreds of kids cycling through the pit each week germs and other gross things are sure to follow. Yes, kids pee in the ball pit. 

Having a ball
To fight the funk, the ball pit and the balls it held were cleaned and maintained on a regular basis. After closing some of us were left to collect each and every ball and put them into a net bag. The deformed or broken balls were tossed into the trash. Those bags were loaded onto a truck and taken to the car wash. The balls were then power washed and left to drip dry over night.

While the power washing was happening other employees stayed at the restaurant and scrubbed the insides of the empty pit. A bleach and water solution was used on the floor, slide and tubes that were a part of the attraction. During this process, we would find all sorts of things. The most frequent find was mismatched socks. There would be game tokens, coins, toys and candy as well. On a rare occasion, a dollar bill or two would be recovered. We employed the "finders keepers" mentality on these late nights. The next morning the crew coming in would refill the pit and take note if more balls needed to be ordered to maximize the young guests' experience. 

So now you know what goes in to making the ball pit a magical place for those who jumped into it. These attractions are becoming more rare in large part because of the sanitary issues involved.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Be fair to Flair

Two of the greatest
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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John Cena has made his intentions known, he wants to tie Ric Flair's long standing record of being the World Heavyweight Champion 16 times. Growing up in the 80s, "Nature Boy" was the guy I loved to hate. He would lose the title and then regain it. I can remember him surpassing Harley Race's seven reigns, never dreaming Naitch would double that in the years to come. He eventually went from the guy I loved to hate to my all-time favorite wrestler.

Courtesy: WWE
Flair said on the most recent episode of podast, The Ric Flair Show, that he's not worried if Cena wins the gold again and ties his record. He doesn't think it'll tarnish his legacy. I admire Flair for saying that. I agree, tying the record won't hurt Flair's legacy. But I'm old school and like the guys from my past to stand tall in the record books. Yes, I know it's a predetermined business and at the end of the day it probably doesn't amount to a hill of beans to most. But some fans (like me) take this stuff seriously.

The champ is here!
Courtesy: WWE
I don't think Cena is going to beat AJ Styles for the championship anytime soon. The earliest I see that happening is WrestleMania. It could be a big celebration, but does tying a record warrant a party? Cena is 39 years old. Flair hadn't even come to WWF until age 42 and still won the title there twice and a couple more times in WCW. So there's time for Cena to break the record, which I anticipate will happen at some point.

I don't want it to happen, but if Ric Flair is cool with it, who am I to complain? Also if someone is going to set a new record or even tie I can't think of anyone better than Cena to do it.