Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The third man in the ring

Courtesy: Jacob Ferrell
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

As I've been promoting Stride Pro Wrestling shows via social media and this blog for the last several months, there's been one guy I've completely failed to mention. So today, I have a quick shout out to Lane Austin. Not only is Lane Stride's senior referee, many times, he's the only official on hand.

When I was a kid, the referee was often an important part of the match. I knew the of each ref from both the NWA and WWF. These days, that third man in the ring is often just a prop. I'm not sure I could name more than a couple of ring officials now. 

Champ Heath Hatton & Lane Austin
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
But everyone who comes out to Stride Pro Wrestling shows knows Lane Austin. He's been at each event and has taken a fair share of abuse from the men and women of the ring wars. From being criticized for not counting fast enough to actually assaulted with a chair by former champion Ax Allwardt and speared by current champ Heath Hatton, Lane has seen a lot over the past year.

Lane & "Big" Roger Matheus
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
He's maintained law and order, for the most part, trying to soothe savage beasts who are much bigger than him. Most of the time Lane does this job with a smile on his face. He's not just a prominent face in Stride Pro Wrestling, but he's got reffing gigs all over the area. And he's no slouch either, Lane works out hard to stay ready for the rigors of the job.

Me & Lane
I've been in the stripes one time and it was not an easy task. So before you boo the ref, remember he's in there trying to call the action the best way possible. I salute my future tag team partner "Luscious" Lane Austin and encourage you to come out and see he and all the other stars of Stride Pro Wrestling this Saturday night at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Glaming up the Hall of Fame

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

It's been announced one of my favorite female wrestlers is going into the WWE Hall of Fame. "The Glamazon" Beth Phoenix will take her spot with the Class of 2017 on Friday, March 31 in Orlando. She joins Kurt Angle, The Rock 'n Roll Express, Teddy Long and Diamond Dallas Page in this year's ceremony. I'm sure others will be announced soon too.

Courtesy: WWE
Phoenix emerged in WWE when the Barbie Doll, non-wrestler look was taking over the women's division. In fact, they were called Divas and it's safe to argue most were there to advance their careers in other avenues. Beth stood out and excelled. I enjoyed the work she and Natalya did. I eagerly anticipated a Beth Phoenix-Kharma feud, but it never happened. 

Meeting Beth in 2008
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
It's hard to believe Beth left WWE nearly five years ago. I'd love to see her do a comeback like Mickie James is currently doing. While I liked her better as a villain, I'd love to see her and Charlotte have a match, along with Becky Lynch and even Nia Jax. I had the good fortune to meet Beth at WrestleMania Axxess weekend in Orlando ahead of Mania 24. She was Divas Champion, but that's the year she teamed with Melina in the Playboy BunnyMania lumber jill match against Maria and Ashley. 

Beth & Edge at the Hall of Fame
Courtesy: WWE
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but this ceremony will mark the first married couple inducted into the Hall of Fame. Beth and Edge (inducted in 2012) are married and have two children together. Beth held gold four times in WWE and is one of just three women to have competed in the Royal Rumble match (Chyna and Kharma are the others). Congrats to Beth Phoenix for taking her rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame.

Speaking of Chyna, I'm sure some will argue that she should be going in this year. I do believe Chyna is worthy of the HOF and she will be inducted sooner rather than later. But let's celebrate the accomplishments of The Glamazon and one of the best in the business. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Stride Pro Wrestling: One year later

I made the poster!
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

It's hard to believe we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of Stride Pro Wrestling. The company will mark the occasion Saturday, March 4 with a huge show at the CMA Dojo inside the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. This week I'll talk more about the matches on this blog as well as on the Stride Pro Wrestling social media accounts. Here's a look at Stride Pro Wrestling by the numbers.

Ax Allwardt vs. Heath Hatton
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Stride Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champions:
Ax Allwardt
Heath Hatton

The Midwest Mafia
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Stride Pro Wrestling Tag Team Champions:
Damage Inc. (Frank Wyatt & "Homicidal" Steven Davis
Team Triple X (Jay Spade & Joey O'Riley)
Midwest Mafia ("Hitman" Jake Capone & Red Daniels)

Jerry Travelstead
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Stride Pro Wresting Legacy Champions:
Jerry Travelstead

Red Daniels & Frank Edwards
Graduates of the Stride Pro Wrestling School:
Red Daniels
Frank Edwards
Scott Phoenix
Dexter Roswell
Brian Richards

Daniel Eads
Photo Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Guests of Stride Pro Wrestling:
"Cowboy" Bob Orton
Madman Pondo
Daniel Eads
Brandon Espinosa

What will year two hold for Stride Pro Wrestling? Join us on Saturday, March 4 as the adventure continues. 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Beer, bots and biceps

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Earlier this week I posted a blog about the upcoming Southern Illinois Men's Expo. The event happened Saturday morning and was a huge success. We offered men around the region FREE health screenings, including blood draws for cholesterol, vision, dental, blood pressure and foot problems. 

Fire is good
Our panelists talked about the importance of nutrition and exercise and answered questions for the men in attendance. Physicians were on hand for one-on-one talks with men on a variety of topics. We learned about the benefits of drinking beer in moderation and how to home brew. Southern Illinois Miners COO and manager Mike Pinto heated things up with this talk "Taking Charge of Your Health." Yes, a handful of participants ate fire!

Crown Brew Coffee Co.
I can't thank our vendors, exhibitors, screeners, volunteers and sponsors enough. Our professional staff (Lisa and Ariella) did an amazing job throughout the process. I know I've probably forgotten someone and that's I'm not specifically naming names (besides Lisa and Ariella). 

Found my abs
They were at JFortune Photography
I am drained but in a good way. This expo/conference has been a labor of love for me since 2008 when the first committee came together and decided it was time to help make men more aware of their own health. Now as president of the Women for Health and Wellness board, we are moving forward. Look the for SI Women's Health Conference in September and big changes in 2018. Join our mission to make health and wellness a priority for EVERYONE in southern Illinois. 

Double trouble
Oh, I guess I should address the suits too. My buddy Tom Harness (Harness Digital Marketing) has a collection of OppoSuits. We decided a while back to get the Star Wars suits and use them to brand ourselves when we do events together. It was a bonus that an R2 was there from the St. Louis R2 Builders Club

Friday, February 24, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Johnny V's cigar

Johnny V and his cigar

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm starting a new weekly feature here to talk more about foreign objects. Probably better known as international objects in this day and age. We, of course, all remember Jim Cornette's tennis racket, Jimmy Hart's megaphone and Mr. Fuji's cane. For this series, I am going to look at some lesser known objects used throughout the course of wrestling.

In 1985 one of my favorite tag teams was Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo. The U.S. Express had won the WWF tag team titles for a second time that summer and was defending them against Brutus Beefcake and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. The Dream Team was a new duo at the time and still under the direction of both Jimmy Hart and "Lucious" Johnny V. Turns out the stogie-smoking Valiant would be a game changer in this contest.

The Dream Team
Courtesy: WWE
Toward the end of the match, Beefcake was handed Johnny's lit cigar. The future barber proceeded to use the cigar as a weapon and rubbed it in the face of Windham. The action was impactful enough to render Windham unable to continue fighting and he was pinned to the mat and new champs were crowned.

I don't know that any other title ever changed hands due to a lit cigar. Nor do I recall Valiant ever using any other sort of weapon during his time as a manager. But there are plenty of other unique objects that have been used to gain the upper hand in wrestling. What is your favorite? Stay tuned each Friday.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

A few bursts of inspiration

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm not making excuses, but kind of. This week is a crazy one for me as I work on a couple of big projects. But I don't want my brand to suffer as a result, so I've sought out some quotes from people I find inspiring and wanted to share their words with you. I truly believe 2017 will be a banner year for My 1-2-3 Cents. Thank you to everyone who reads, shares and supports all my endeavors.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

3 wrestlers I wanted to see in person

Andre the Giant & Bruno Sammartino
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I went all in with my wrestling fandom around age 10. My younger brother and dad had been attending matches regularly as the NWA would hold cards in St. Louis on a regular basis. My first live experience was in December 1984. There are a few Superstars I wish I could have seen wrestle in person.

The closest I came to meeting Andre
Andre the Giant wrestled Bruiser Brody at one point and my brother and dad were there. This was long before I had even considered watching wrestling, so I missed out. I was hoping he'd be on the card in '84, but he wasn't. I attended a few more WWF house shows before Andre retired, but he was never featured. One time I had considered going to a show in December 1987 where Andre and Rick Rude teamed up against Hulk Hogan and Paul Orndorff. I was in high school by then and really don't know why I didn't bug my parents for tickets. The closest I've come to Andre is posing with his statue at WWE Axxess during WrestleMania festivities.

"Bruno" and me
The same goes for Bruno Sammartino. Bruno was still somewhat active when I started watching. He feuded with Randy Savage and Roddy Piper briefly before hanging up his tights and focusing on commentary. Of course, when Bruno was in his prime and the WWWF Champion, I wasn't even a thought. I do consider myself lucky to have been at Madison Square Garden the night Bruno was inducted into the WWF Hall of Fame. It's my only MSG experience, but I certainly hope it's not the last.

Wendi Richter
Courtesy: WWE
Wendi Richter quickly rose to the occasion when she arrived in the WWF in 1984. She was different than the other women of that era, like Moolah, Judy Martin and Leilani Kai. It's fair to say I had a crush on Wendi. Unfortunately, her tenure with the company was short-lived. But like Bruno, I was on hand for Wendi's WWE Hall of Fame induction. I consider myself fortunate in that regard.

Which Superstars are on your list of having wanted to see perform live? Share here or on the My 1-2-3 Cents social media pages.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Wrestling mysteries that were never solved

Owens wins
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

This blog is probably going to end up being more cynical than I planned, but I really don't have much to say about Raw from Monday (I haven't finished the show) and I am really making an effort to be more positive with my posts. This will stray from that, but I'll be back on course tomorrow as the blogging streak continues. Today I am looking at a few mysteries in wrestling that never seemed to be solved.

Why did Triple H help Kevin Owens win the WWE Universal Championship? There is still time to answer this, and I think had Seth Rollins not gotten hurt we might be an answer to that question in the near future. Sometimes as fans we get impatient and want to know details as they start to unfold. As we learned in 2013/14 the slow burn is worth the wait. And yes I know allegedly the original plan was not for Daniel Bryan to go all the way to the top at WrestleMania XXX.

The McMahons vs. Austin
Courtesy: WWE
Who was pulling the briefcase during The McMahons vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin? This ladder match was for the title of CEO of the WWF. The briefcase that hung above the ring could only be reached via a ladder and when Austin climbed to the top, the case suddenly got yanked away. This eventually allowed the McMahons to regain control, climb the ladder and retain control of the company.

Hummer collision
Courtesy: WWE
Who was in the white Hummer that nearly destroyed Kevin Nash? Before WCW folded, Nash was involved in a storyline with Randy Savage. Savage drove a limo that Nash was inside and parked it before someone in a white Hummer slammed into the luxury car several times. The Macho Man told viewers it was his new bodyguard that we would meet later, but guess what, we never did. 

GTV is always watching
Courtesy: WWE
Who was behind G-TV? WWE fans watched as someone had set up a camera backstage and was spying on Superstars and Divas. The feed was played for months, but we never learned the mastermind. Bruce Prichard recently revealed it was supposed to be Goldust, but he departed the company before the payoff. 

These are just a few things I've questioned as a wrestling fan. What storylines never had a resolution that you're curious about?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hall of Fame self-high 5

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Diamond Dallas Page is the next inductee announced for the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The timing seems perfect as I just finished watching the documentary The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts. I believe Page is the reason both Jake and Scott Hall are still alive today. I had a lot of respect for DDP before the film, but that respect has boomed.

DDP w/ Curt Hennig & Diamond Doll
Courtesy: WWE
I remember DDP in his early days as a manager in the AWA. I always wondered why he wasn’t a wrestler. He certainly had the look and could talk on the mic. Then in WCW he managed Hall as the Diamond Studd and eventually put his manager duties to the side and stepped through the ropes to wrestle.

Regular readers of this know I am a wrestling fan, but always sided with WWE during the Monday Night Wars, however, the night Page appeared to be joining the nWo and instead gave Hall a Diamond Cutter after putting on the t-shirt was one of my favorite moments of the angle. That move alone helped propel DDP to another level.

DDP won the WCW World Title
Courtesy: WWE
He wrestled briefly with WWE after the buyout of WCW in 2001. Personally, I don’t think WWE creative utilized the former champion to his maximum potential, but he shined none-the-less. I was happy to see him make spot appearances in the Royal Rumble and other events. I knew it would be a matter of time before he’d finally get the call for the Hall of Fame.

Page’s work outside the ring also deserves recognition. He could easily be the Warrior Award winner at some point too. Not only did he save Jake and Scott, he’s working with Vader now as he fights for his life. Other wrestlers have benefited from the DDP Yoga plan and countless “regular” people have had success too. I myself have used and enjoyed DDP Yoga. Congrats DDP, this is a well-deserved honor.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Take charge of your health

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

One of my labors of love returns later this week. The Southern Illinois Men's Expo evolved from the Southern Illinois Men's Conference which first debuted in 2009. The year before a group of men came together and started working on a conference under the guidance of Women for Health and Wellness, Inc. That group had a Women's Conference and Teen Women's Conference that had been around for years prior to the inception of the men's event.

Dr. Dan makes a Team RWB Pancake
In 2016 we decided to drop the conference angle and give it an expo feel.  The event relocated to Black Diamond Harley Davidson's Entertainment Center. We had Dr. Dan the Pancake Man on the main stage. There was grilling info, beer to sample, pushup challenges, drones, doctors on call and a panel discussion on fitness and nutrition. There was also life-saving blood draws, health screenings and fitness tests all for $15.

This year we're changing things up again. Yes, all the screenings and health aspects are sticking around. But in 2017 the event is absolutely free. Our main event speaker is Southern Illinois Miners COO and manager Mike Pinto. He'll talk about taking charge of your health. Doug Brinkley of the SI Brewers will have a demo on making beer, while Dr. Jeff Ripperda will discuss the health benefits of beer (there really are some).

Haute Wheels Food Truck will be selling lunch that day. Some vendors and exhibitors will have items for sale too, that's the only money you'll spend. Again, admission is free so enjoy the day with us. Come at 7 a.m. for the fasted blood draw and stick around for a day of fun activities and events.