Friday, March 31, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Doink's fake arm

Doinks in action with the arm
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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WrestleMania Week is in full swing and once again I'm keeping that theme with today's FOF. It's my favorite moment from WrestleMania IX. I don't know if that says something about me as a fan or the rest of the card that day from Caeser's Palace.

The match was Doink the Clown vs. Crush. Crush was the orange and yellow Kona Crush and not the darker bad ass Crush or Demolition Crush. Doink was an evil clown who was actually more over with the fans than the WWE probably intended him to be at the time.

Near the end of the match, Doink got caught in Crush's vice grip. As he flapped his arm's wildly, referee Joey Morella got hit and knocked down. Crush released the hold and Doink tried getting away. But he found himself again locked in the former tag team champion's finishing hold. That's when things got fun...

Courtesy: WWE
A second Doink got into the ring, carrying a fake arm. Doink II whacked Crush across the back, which caused him to release the hold again. The original Doink grabbed Crush's arms and held him as the arm was smashed into the big man's head a couple of times. The new Doink disappeared in time for Morella to regain consciousness and make the three count for Doink.

"It was an illusion!"
Courtesy: WWE
The two clowns then posed together in the ring, in mime-like fashion. The original shouted the phrase "It was an illusion!" implying he was the only clown in the ring. That phrase made an impact on my wife (girlfriend at the time) as she was not a wrestling fan at the time, but perked up and watched the ending of this match. She would randomly use the phrase in the weeks after WrestleMania IX. It was kinda awesome.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

WrestleMania facts you probably don't care about

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Since it is WrestleMania Week, I'm keeping up with daily blogs about the biggest event in the world of sports entertainment. Most wrestling fans already know the facts I'm about to share, but I have several non-wrestling fan friends who read the blog, so maybe they'll learn something new.

  • WrestleMania 2 is the first and only WrestleMania to broadcast from three different cities (New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.) It's also the only Mania to be held on a Monday night.
  • The Undertaker has pinned every member of Evolution at Wrestlemania. He beat Triple H at Wrestlemanias 17, 27 and 28, Ric Flair at 18, Randy Orton at 21 and Batista at 23 (for the World Title).
  • Speaking of Undertaker vs. Triple H, they've wrestled each other three times at Mania. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin & The Rock have also been WrestleMania opponents three times.
  • Ole Anderson and Brian Pillman are the only two members of the famed Four Horsemen of the NWA & WCW to have never been a part of WrestleMania. The group's legendary manager was an executive for WWE for a large portion of the 90s and backstage. But he also recognized after the group went into the WWE Hall of Fame in Miami five years ago.

    "Mongo" at Mania 11
    Courtesy: WWE
  • If you're wondering about that previous statement and how the heck Steve "Mongo" McMichael was ever involved, check out the main event of WrestleMania XI. Mongo is part Lawrence Taylor's All-Pro Team to keep an eye on Million Dollar Corporation members who were ringside.
  • WrestleMania VIII is the first time the main event did not feature the WWF Champion. Hulk Hogan beat Sid Justice by disqualification that night. Ric Flair dropped the championship to "Macho Man" Randy Savage earlier in the night.

    Randy Savage & Elizabeth at WrestleMania IV
    Courtesy: WWE
  • Savage holds the record for the most matches at a single WrestleMania. He wrestled four times at WrestleMania IV, beating Butch Reed, Greg Valentine, the One Man Gang and Ted DiBiase to win the WWF Championship.
  • Nikolai Volkoff, the British Bulldogs, the Nasty Boys, Yokozuna, Chris Benoit, John Cena and Mickie James each won their first WWE championship in their WrestleMania debut.

    Triple H at WrestleMania 2000
    Courtesy: WWE
  • Triple H is the first bad guy to win the main event of WrestleMania. It happened at WrestleMania 2000 when he beat The Rock, The Big Show and Mick Foley to retain the WWE Championship. It's only happened twice since. The Miz beat John Cena at WrestleMania 27 and Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase and won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 31.
  • Some never-to-happen WrestleMania matches include "Shiek" Tugboat vs. Hulk Hogan (WM7), Dustin Rhodes vs. Hulk Hogan (WM9) and Roddy Piper vs. OJ Simpson (WM12). These are according to Bruce Prichard.
There you have it, some useless WrestleMania trivia. I looked up all the things I wasn't too sure about, so everything should be verified. But if I screwed something up, let me know. Happy WrestleMania Week.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Music to our ears or a sour note

Lawrence Taylor along with Salt 'n Pepa at WrestleMania 11
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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WrestleMania has always been about wrestling, duh. But entertainment has been a huge part of the annual spectacle too. Whether it's performers doing America the Beautiful, singing/rapping a Superstar's entrance music or performing a mini-concert, fans are used to seeing music's brightest stars share the stage with their favorite wrestlers.

This year it's been announced Pitbull, Flo Rida, Stephen Marley and LunchMoney Lewis will be performing this year. Granted, I am way outside the WWE's target demo these days (I only know two of the four men listed) I still find this a bit unsettling as a wrestling fan. Believe me, I get it that WWE wants mainstream press with WrestleMania each year. They also want to entice casual fans to tune in and hope a small concert will hook in those extra folks. But that being said, I've never been a fan of these performances. Let me explain...

It's not because I don't know the players involved, or I'm not huge fans of the two I do know. Bon Jovi, Huey Lewis and the News or the late great Michael Jackson himself could have performed during Mania and I would have the same point. I'm there for the wrestling and the storylines. I'd much rather guys like Neville and Austin Aries get a chance to perform in front of a full stadium than one that's a third of the way full as fans trickle in during the kick-off show. 

Snoop Dogg & Sasha Banks at WrestleMania 32
Courtesy: WWE
Believe me, I've been there before. Getting into AT&T Stadium last year was a nightmare as 100,000 of us were trying to make it to our seats. Chad and I missed two of the opening matches in the fray. Later on the card, Snoop Dogg (newly inducted into the Hall of Fame) rapped his cousin, Sasha Banks' entrance to the ring. Those types of performances I don't mind.

Kid Rock & friends
Courtesy: WWE
I used Flo Rida's concert at WrestleMania 28 as a chance to hit the restroom. No disrespect intended, but I'd do the same thing this year. I liked Kid Rock's performance at WrestleMania 25. He sang as the participants in the Divas Battle Royal made their way to the ring. When the performance kills two birds with one stone, I don't mind it. But when the show is its own thing, I don't like it.

Ray Charles performs America the Beautiful at WrestleMania 2
Courtesy: WWE
I know my words won't change anything in the future. But the discussion came up on a recent Facebook post by a friend (Matthew Dudley) so I figured I'd address it here. Others feel this way, while there are plenty more who love the concert feeling comparing it to the Halftime Show at the Super Bowl. I get the analogy, but fans aren't missing any football action because of it...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Post Andre the Giant battle royal success

The trophy
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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WWE introduced fans to the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXX and I was in the crowd watching live. I figured The Big Show or Sheamus would be the winner. I was pleasantly surprised when Cesaro tossed Show over the top rope to win the event and the enormous trophy with Andre the Giant perched on top.

Cesaro and the big trophy
Courtesy: WWE
In the weeks and months that followed the victory I expected big things for Cesaro. Sure he had already held the U.S. Championship, but I thought the win would line him up for a run with the Intercontinental Championship or in my fantasy land of booking, a series of matches against the newly crowned WWE World Champion Daniel Bryan. Instead it seemed winning the battle royal was a curse as Cesaro went on a pretty big losing streak, missing opportunities against the secondary champions and other Superstars on the card.
Finally in early 2015 Cesaro and Tyson Kidd formed a pretty awesome tag team and won the championships. They held the belts twice before Kidd ended up getting injured. Cesaro toiled on the mid-card with little success before getting hurt himself and spending some time of television. I popped like everyone else in the crowd at the Raw after WrestleMania 32 when The Swiss Superman returned. 
He had a promising run coming back, but was still unable to capture singles gold. Then Raw General Manger put he and rival Sheamus together and the duo pulled off a big win, ending the New Day's record breaking tag team title run. Their title reign was short lived though, but they remain in the hunt and go for the gold (or copper) this Sunday at WrestleMania 33. 
Baron Corbin in 2016
Courtesy: WWE
Another Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, Baron Corbin gets a shot at gold in what will be his second WrestleMania match. Winning the trophy at 32 was a huge accomplishment for his debut. The followup hasn't been shabby for the former NXT star. He's getting a crack at Dean Ambrose's Intercontinental Championship. I'm still not sold on Corbin, but I do believe he will unseat Ambrose Sunday. It gives me anxiety to think he'll be 2 and 0 at WrestleMania and could be building a streak before you know it...

Big Show celebrating at Raw
Courtesy: WWE
The Big Show is the other Superstar to win the battle royal. He's actually competed in all three and is set to appear again in this year's. That's probably a big indication that WWE Creative has nothing much for Big Show who has become more of an attraction in the last few years anyway.
Braun will win this year
Courtesy: WWE
I never expected Show to go on to win gold again, but I figured since he won the Battle Royal in 2015 they'd at least do something to showcase him. WrestleMania 33 was supposed to feature the (not so) much anticipated battle with Shaq. Now it appears they're grooming him to pass the torch to Braun Strowman who I have no doubt will win Sunday's battle royal. With that win I predict an even bigger push than he's seen, simply because he's a "big bastard" and we know how Vince McMahon feels about those kinds of Superstars.
So while two past winners are going for championship gold at WrestleMania and one is looking to pass the torch, I still find the battle royal interesting. Yeah it's filler to get everyone on the show or at least almost everyone, but I don't really have a problem with that. It is the biggest night of the year and Superstars all deserve a moment to shine.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Missing from Manias past

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Ric Flair, Sting, The Road Warriors, Dusty Rhodes, Harley Race, Terry & Dory Funk, Jr., Kerry Von Erich and the Steiner Brothers. All guys at one point I would have never imagined wrestling at WrestleMania. But each of these men had at least one appearance on the WWE's biggest event of the year. Here are some others I would have loved to see step on the grandest stage of all.

Brody vs. Abdullah the Butcher
Courtesy: WWE
Bruiser Brody is one of my favorites from childhood. When I first started watching wrestling, I remember him well on Wrestling at the Chase and in World Class Championship Wrestling and eventually the AWA. One of the first live events I attended was main evented by Brody and Ric Flair. Brody won by disqualification. How cool would it have been to see Brody come into the WWF in the early years of WrestleMania?

Although had that happened I could see Brody being built up to the point of getting the title match against Hulk Hogan and then conquered by Hulkamania by the end of the night. That wouldn't have been a bad thing either, but something Brody would not likely have been keen on. Of course in different eras, it would have been great to see Brody vs. Mankind or Brody vs. the Undertaker at a Mania too.

The Midnight Express
Courtesy: WWE
One of my favorite tag teams of all time is the Midnight Express. While I liked Dennis Condry and Bobby Eaton, my pick for this blog is Stan Lane and Eaton, along with manager Jim Cornette. The British Bulldogs, The Hart Foundation and The Rockers would have all been worthy Mania opponents for the Express. Jim Cornette would later appear on WrestleMania events with the men he managed, but fans missed something in not having Eaton and Lane in the WWE. Now that the Rock 'n Roll Express is going into the Hall of Fame, I hope Midnight Express is on the shortlist to be inducted.

Courtesy: WWE
Kharma's time in WWE was short, way too short. Her only match (at least official match) came at the 2012 Royal Rumble. She was a part of the 30 Superstar contest. I was there, so I'm grateful for having had the chance to see her in action. But I think a huge opportunity was missed with her. A Beth Phoenix-Kharma match for the Women's Championship would have been amazing. While I don't see the chance ever happening, she'd be a great opponent for any of the women on the roster today as well. I wish thing could have gone differently for Kharma both personally and professionally.

So who never made it to Mania that you would have liked to see on the show? Comment here or on the My 1-2-3 Cents social media pages.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The best of WrestleMania

Money Inc. at WrestleMania 26

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I've been fortunate enough to attend 9 WrestleManias in person. My buddy Chad and I started going in 2006, with WrestleMania 22. We sat out the next year, but resumed the schedule, attending 24-30. We took a break again for 31 and then made the trip to Dallas in 2016. We are not going this year either. (But my hope is to be back in New Orleans for 34.)

I thought I'd share a few of my favorite memories for those past trips, or WrestleManias to be more exact. There are fun times had that have nothing to do with Mania as well.

Flair's last match
Ric Flair's retirement match was held at WrestleMania 24. We were there in Orlando for Naitch's final match in WWE. Despite the fact that he stepped back into the ring to wrestle for other companies, I still hold that match against Shawn Michaels as my favorite WrestleMania match I've seen in person. 

Bryan celebrates

When Daniel Bryan finally overcame the odds and won the WWE World Title at WrestleMania 30, it felt like the start of a new era. His match that opened the show against Triple H was amazing. But then to go into the main event and beat Batista and Randy Orton for the gold was something special. I hold both of those matches in high regard too.

The Beast conquers Undertaker
That same night Brock Lesnar shocked the world and ended the Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania. It was a moment I never thought would happen. You could feel the life escape the Superdome that night as fans gasped in horror. 

Edge's last match
At the time I didn't give it much thought, but the fact that we witnessed Edge's last match at WrestleMania 27 is something pretty special. A career full of injuries took their toll and he surrendered the belt and retired shortly after his defense against Alberto Del Rio.

Hanging out before Mania 22
Nothing in particular for my final "best moment" other than the whole ambiance of being on hand at WrestleMania for the very first time. It was at the All-State Arena in Chicago and the last of the arena Manias. There's an indescribable amount of energy and electricity when in the crowd at any WrestleMania, but since this was the first, it was nothing short of awesome.

A few others to mention, Shawn Michaels' retirement match against the Undertaker, Legends like Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat coming back to face Chris Jericho and getting the chance to see The Rock wrestle live (I'd only seen him as Rocky Maivia). 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Look to my right and I see the Hollywood sign...

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Did you sing that title? It's from Miley Cyrus' hit Party in the USA. Seven years ago today I boarded a plane bound for Hollywood. Burbank to be exact. I was going to meet my buddy Chad ahead of WrestleMania 26, which was being held in Phoenix. I got to spent a couple days in LA and then we drove to Arizona for all the wrestling geek stuff.

Our first stop on the way to Chad's place was In & Out Burger. I can't remember the name of the burger we had, but Chad told me to order it that way. It and the fries came topped with Thousand Island dressing. A detail Chad didn't tell me and something I am not a fan of, but I ate anyway and it was actually pretty tasty. 

Then we visited the famous Hollywood cemetery and looked at the final resting spots of actors and actresses. Yes, it's probably a bit morbid but I found it very fascinating. We walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame and then headed to Madam Tussads. I love that place because you can pose and be goofy with all the wax figures. The evening wrapped up at Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles. Yep, I had fried chicken and waffles together for the very first time that night.

The trip was a lot of fun. Now that my kids are older, I'm sure they'd love to take a trip to Hollywood too. And Uncle Chad would love to have us all. Here are some more pics.

Vince McMahon's star

Alfred Hitchcock

Simon Cowell

The Rock

Charlie Chaplin

Carrie Underwood

Friday, March 24, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Jimmy Hart's motorcycle helmet

Jimmy Hart circa WrestleMania VII
Courtesy: WWE

Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For years, "The Mouth of the South" Jimmy Hart came to the ring carrying a megaphone. On more than one occasion that device would serve as a weapon and help his Superstars win matches and in some cases championships. But for some reason at WrestleMania VII when Hart showed up with the Nasty Boys he was sporting a motorcycle helmet.

As an 18-year-old fan and nearly a decade of fandom under my belt, I had a feeling that helmet would come into play. Much to my surprise though it was the megaphone that made its first appearance in the match. But it backfired and the Hart Foundation gained the upper hand again. Brian Knobbs was the victim of a Hart Attack and as Jim Neidhart covered the Nasty Boy, the referee was distracted getting Bret Hart out of the ring. 

The helmet is used
Courtesy: WWE
Jimmy Hart quickly tossed the helmet to Jerry Sags who blasted the Anvil with it. Knobbs rolled on top of him and three seconds later there were new tag team champions. As a fan, I always questioned why the refs never questioned actions like this. At one moment the babyface is in control and then when the referee turns back around, the good guy is laid out. But after that's what makes wrestling so much fun. 

Remember this?
Courtesy: WWE
I don't remember now if the helmet was a one off for Hart or if he continued to wear it through the Nasty Boys' title run. I suppose we can throw in Hulk Hogan's classic helmet from the late 80s too when he battled Bad News Brown. Those were the days...

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Let's talk about sex (tapes)

Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Sex tapes seem to make or break celebrities. It's been like that for quite some time. Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee became even more famous. And sex tapes are responsible for giving the world celebrities like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. Now a few WWE Superstars find themselves at the center of a sex tape scandal.

Xavier Woods
Courtesy: WWE
Recently a video with former Divas Champion and NXT Women's Champion Paige was released. She is seen doing very personal and private things with former referee Brad Maddox and current Superstar Xavier Woods. It's been reported WWE does not plan to punish Paige nor Woods. Maddox no longer works for the company. I think the decision to not punish the parties involved is a good one. Paige's phone was either stolen or hacked and the videos and images released without her knowledge.

Paige and Alberto
Courtesy: TMZ
Paige's fiance Alberto Del Patron has withdrawn from an upcoming appearance at WrestleCon. His statement “Due to the invasion of our privacy I need to be home with the person that needs me more at the moment and our family. Thanks for your support and I’ll be seeing you the next time.”

There have been countless memes and jokes made about the situation online. Now that the news is about a week old, and WWE has had live events since the situation will come to pass. I do expect taunts and chants at WrestleMania next week and on the Raw that follows. 

Paige in NXT
Courtesy: WWE
I'm not going to lie, I've chuckled at some of the memes I've seen. But sometimes we fail to remember that celebrities are real people. Paige is deeply hurt by this leak and her family is legitimately worried about her well-being. Whoever chose to hack and share the information needs to be held accountable and prosecuted for the act. I realize sometimes these things are done intentionally to garner attention, however that is not the case with this situation.

Then one could argue too, if you don't want those types of images stolen, don't have them in the first place. Hindsight is 20/20. Be more thoughtful of other people's feelings before judging them and sharing the hate. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Facing the boss's son

Shane goes airborne
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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There have been some negative vibes on social media after speculation turned to AJ Styles facing Shane McMahon at WrestleMania. While I agree, a Styles-Bray Wyatt match for the World Championship would have been awesome, there's nothing wrong with facing the boss's son on the biggest night of the year.

Crashing onto Undertaker
Courtesy: WWE
Last year when Shane returned to Monday Night Raw and found himself placed into a Hell in a Cell match against the Undertaker, there were plenty of haters too. But Shane once again proved himself as a great performer who wasn't just calling in the match. At age 46 he did death-defying stunts that men half his age couldn't handle. He loves the family business and it's always shown.

In all likelihood, the match at this year's Mania won't be up for Match of the Year, but I have no doubt both Shane and AJ will rise to the occasion. This match should also give Styles an even higher profile within the company in the post-WrestleMania months ahead. In fact, I won't be surprised if he's champion by the end of the year. X-Pac, Kurt Angle nor the Undertaker suffered from having been in the ring against Shane O'Mac on a pay per view event. 

Shane listens, AJ complains
Courtesy: WWE
Wrestling fans are sometimes quick to poo-poo an idea or match without giving it a chance. I've fallen into this category too. But I am actually looking forward to this match and ultimately wish I was going to be in Orlando to see it in person.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Being 40-something isn't old

Facing 40 (2013)
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Twenty years ago I thought 30 was old. Then I turned 30 and my thoughts quickly changed. In fact for me turning 30 was much harder than turning 40. I spent my 20s establishing my career and my family. When 30 was looming I still had a lot I wanted to accomplish. Because I hadn't reached those goals I viewed myself as a failure. 

Right before my 31st birthday, I made a big move in my career. We uprooted our family which had been planted in Indiana and headed to southern Illinois. On paper, the move was lateral, but I quickly started to climb the ladder at WSIL-TV and became the morning co-anchor. About a year after that our daughter was born. By then I was nearly 33 and felt accomplished. So by the time 40 rolled around, I had no worries.

Eyes on the prize
Now that I'm in my mid-40s, I have my eyes on new prizes. Building the blog, podcast and my presence on social media are all on my new to-do list. Some days I feel like time is slipping away and I'm never going to reach the top of the mountain. Then I'm reminded of others who were well into middle age before they made their impact. Here are some of the inspiring examples I found.

Col. Harland Sanders
We all know KFC and Colonel Sanders. Like many people, I assumed the Colonel had been a long time fixture in the fast food wars. I was wrong. He was 65 years old when his blend of 11 herbs and spices made him a household name. Sanders actually used his social security checks to franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken. 

Grandma Moses in action
Grandma Moses was even older. She became one of the best-known folk artists of all-time and didn't even start painting until age 78. Sam Walton didn't open his first Walmart until he was 44 (the age I just turned last week).

Self-high five for DDP's first world title win
Courtesy: WWE
And finally a wrestling connection to all this. "Diamond" Dallas Page's in-ring career didn't start until age 36. He won his first world championship at 43. He's now one of the most loved and respected figures in the world of sports entertainment.

While I know we're all going to die one day, I also know being middle aged doesn't mean giving up. Too often people hit a point in life and think it's too late or lack the motivation to keep climbing. I just have to work harder to prove myself. I'm patient, I'm hungry and I'm determined.