Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Legacy title is 'flooded' with contenders

The champ & his contenders
Photos courtesy: Steve Belcher


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

Since the creation of the Stride Pro Wrestling Legacy Championship in late 2016, many men on the roster have staked a claim to the gold. Jerry Travelstead won the belt for the first time in an outstanding ladder match against Tony Flood in November. Jerry, like the rest of Stride Pro Wrestling fans and management, was hoodwinked when Alejandro Fabuloso won the championship. Turns out it was Flood under a luchador mask. 


Tony Flood
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
As Flood has run his mouth for months, mostly against Travelstead and Stride GM Sam Hunter, Hunter has decided to see how good the champ is. He'll defend the Legacy Title against three other men. (The match was originally a five-way affair, but JD Wilk has been injured.) Flood faces not just Travelstead, who has been a constant thorn in his side, but also Dexter Roswell and former tag team champion Joey O'Riley.


Flipped
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
This match will be an interesting one. Travelstead and Roswell have both come a long way in their training and are developing into fine talent in the Stride ring. Flood and O'Riley are seasoned veterans of the indy scene. And as we've seen before all four men are pretty fearless when it comes to pulling off high-risk moves. 


Alexxa & Tony Flood
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Outside factors to be aware of include Roswell's fellow members of the DR Party and Flood's wife and women's star, Alexxa. She's proven on more than one occasion to be the deciding factor in Tony's matches. O'Riley's usual tag team partner Jay Spade will be on the show but has his hands full with problems of his own. T-Dog may be well served to bring the Shaniac to be in his corner, but I think her match at Brave the Storm was a one time deal.

None the less, I'm excited the Legacy Championship exists. It's giving guys on the roster another option in their quest for gold. Can Tony (and Alexxa) survive this fatal four way? Find out Saturday, June 3 at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. Bell time is 6:30 p.m.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

JD Wilk sidelined with an injury

JD Wilk vs. Dexter Roswell
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

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

In the world of professional wrestling, injuries are inevitable. We've seen great careers come to an early end due to the wear and tear the business puts on the body. Whether it's in the WWE or on the independent scene, the men and women of the ring are putting their bodies on the line each time they climb through the ropes. 


The Dream Chaser
Courtesy: JD Wilk
Rising star in Stride Pro Wrestling and Cape Championship Wrestling JD Wilk knows this reality all too well. He separated his shoulder in April and took a couple weeks off to recover. But unfortunately, he re-injured himself and has announced via his Facebook page that he is taking the rest of 2017 off to recover. 

"Back in the ER again....re separated my shoulder and with this happening it kills me to say that I will be stepping away from the ring for the rest of 2017. Looking to get it properly healed and come back stronger. Nothing will stop me from chasing my dream!"


Wilk goes soarin'
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
I have no doubt Wilk will be back in action in 2018 and stronger than ever. He is a positive force backstage and that energy carries over in the ring. He debuted with Stride in December and consistently improved each time he wrestles. Wilk is a student of the game and will undoubtedly go places once he's healthy. 


Wilk pins Roswell
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

His feud with the DR Party was really heating up too, as Wilk pinned the group's leader Dexter Roswell at the Brave the Storm show earlier this month. He was to be a part of a five-man challenge for the Stride Pro Wrestling Legacy Championship, but the injury will keep him out of that matchup. Now Tony Flood defends against Roswell, Jerry Travelstead and Joey O'Riley this Saturday night at 6:30 at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. 

Best wishes to JD as he gets stronger and makes an impact once again in the world of independent wrestling. He's the "Dream Chaser" and I for one hope he catches that dream in the new year.



Monday, May 29, 2017

A salute to veterans who wrestle


Roger Matheus & Nathan Brag
Courtesy: Steve Belcher


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

Today is Memorial Day, and I realize it's a time to remember the men and women who died while serving our country. I honor and respect those who are no longer with us, but I also want to recognize all veterans with this post. I come from a family filled with veterans, including my grandfathers, Harry Bresler, Sr., Melvin Hunsperger and Ken Biby, Sr. My dad, Michael Hunsperger, uncle Melvin Hunsperger and father-in-law Dale Klaus all served too. I have many friends who are veterans as well, including Tom Harness, Jeff Rose and Paul & Abby Bueza. 

Roger Minton aka Roger Matheus
Courtesy: Roger Minton
Since My 1-2-3 Cents is a wrestling blog, I'm going to use today's post to thank some of the wrestlers I know who have or are serving our country. Current Stride Pro Wrestling heavyweight champion Roger Matheus (Roger Minton) is an Army veteran who spent time in overseas. Matheus credits his military training for leading him into Mixed Martial Arts and eventually professional wrestling.  

Benjamin Abney aka Nathan Brag
Courtesy: Benjamin Abney
Nathan Brag (Benjamin Abney), who is a member of the DR Party, is currently serving the United States of America as a member of 31B Military Police of the National Guard. Regular attendees at Stride Pro Wrestling events may have noticed Brag hasn't been at the last few shows. That's because he's had training for his National Guard duties.

Courtesy: WWE
There are several other wrestlers who have served our country. Road Dogg, Jesse "The Body" Ventura, Dutch Mantel, Randy Orton, Steven Cutler, Kenneth Crawford, Freddie Blassie, Macey Estrella, Kevin Nash and everyone's favorite patriot Sgt. Slaughter all have military backgrounds. 

While I know thank you is not nearly enough, it's all I've got. I appreciate the service by all these men and women and the thousands of others who have protected our freedoms.




Sunday, May 28, 2017

New location, same great action

Stride Pro Wrestling Facility
Illinois Star Centre Mall



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

Stride Pro Wrestling has been on the move. In May we hit the road and put on a fundraiser show in Pinckneyville. The April show was the last for Stride at the CMA Dojo at the Illinois Star Centre Mall. Stride returns Saturday, June 3 at the mall, but in a new location.


You can catch the action at the Stride Pro Wrestling Facility. It's located near the Pirate Pete's entrance at the mall. Or if you come through where Fujiyama is located and keep walking straight through, you'll run right into the new facility. 

Stride's new commentary team
Courtesy: AAPW
The setup is much different than the previous two spots at the mall. There is plenty of space for the wrestlers to climb the top rope and soar through the air. The other mall locations had low ceilings. The plan right now calls for fans to be seated around all four sides of the ring. And starting in July we'll have a live commentary station set up as Gaylord Stephens and I will be calling the action on the new YouTube channel.

Be sure to join us this Saturday night. Bell time is 6:30. If you have questions about finding us, head to Stride's Facebook page and leave a message or post your question here. Then a week later, we are going to Summersville Grade School in Mt. Vernon for a big fundraising event. See ya there.



Saturday, May 27, 2017

Before the show starts

Helping get ready for TLC
Photo courtesy: Tom Harness

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

Life in the world of independent wrestling is an interesting one. I suppose even on the big stage it's an exciting time too. But I've never worked for WWE or WCW or TNA (except for a one off as a guest manager), so I'm going to talk about my experiences.

Setting up the ring
When I was working with All American Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Collision, things were much more physical. A handful of arrived on the morning of a TV taping and set up the ring. That included the guard rails around the ring, the chairs and preparing the locker room area and "promo room." After assisting with the recording of promos and vignettes, it was showtime. 

The ring packed up
We'd do commentary for two shows and supplemental videos for YouTube. After the tapings ended and the fans cleared the building, it was time to tear down the ring, load it up in a truck and return it to storage. Same with the guardrails. This process made for a LONG day as we usually arrived for set up by 8 or 9 a.m. and wrapped things up around midnight. Then it was off to Steak 'n Shake for a burger and big ass milkshake to unwind from the night.

Running through the card
Courtesy: Tom Harness
With Stride Pro Wrestling the labor is less taxing. We're in a unique position of having a permanent home, so the ring is in place. The students and trainers at the Stride school help with setting up the chairs. The biggest thing I do before the show is talking with the wrestlers I'm about to announce and make sure I've got their weight and hometown correct. We go over any interview segments I may conduct in the ring and figure out what points we'll be driving home. When the show ends, I help pick up trash and fold chairs, but the process is quick and painless.

Starting in July, I'll add commentary duties to my schedule for the new Stride Pro Wrestling YouTube channel. I'm looking forward to this next step in the development of the independent wrestling company. Look for more big announcements here and on social media in the coming weeks. 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: J. Wellington Beauregard's clipboard

J. Wellington Beauregard & his clipboard
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

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

Foreign objects have been a trademark of managers for decades. Jimmy Hart had his megaphone. Jim Cornette had his tennis racket. And Paul E. Dangerously lugged around a huge mobile phone. More often than not, the opponents of these manager's charges fell victim to said object. The same can be said about Stride Pro Wrestling's J. Wellington Beauregard.

Roll up
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
He carries around a clipboard with a large legal pad attached to it. Beauregard claims he's taking notes during matches, but at the recent Brave the Storm show (which will soon be up on the new Stride Pro Wrestling YouTube channel) the board was used for less than trustworthy reasons. J. Wells' duo, tag team champions Maximum Overdrive, were battling 'Stone Cold' Plumster and James Storm (yes that James Storm) in a non-title match. At one point during the match, Storm was blasted by the clipboard.

Ax with J. Wells
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Ax Allwardt went for the pin, but it takes more than that to keep the former Impact Wrestling champion down. Storm and Plumster rallied and came back for the win. The clipboard has come into play in other matches through years. As long as there are "notes to be taken" you can bet Beauregard will get extra use out of the clipboard. Will have to wait and see if it will be a factor Saturday, June 3 when the champs face off against El Magnifico and Eugene Drip. 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Goldust's second act

Goldust has a new attitude
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

It's hard to believe that nearly 22 years ago Dustin Rhodes shocked the world and made his debut as Goldust. The character was one I immediately embraced, waiting each week to see a new vignette by the bizarre one. Without a doubt, Rhodes' career was given a breath of fresh air and the Goldust character was well ahead of its time in 1995.

Cody & Goldust
Courtesy: WWE
Goldust would come and go through the years, enjoying success in more recent years in tag team action. Goldust and his brother Cody Rhodes captured tag team gold before Cody made the transformation into Stardust. But like all good things, the duo came to an end and Cody exited WWE. That's when Goldust found a new partner in R-Truth and as the Golden Truth, the two had decent chemistry but just seemed to exist on the roster.


A couple weeks ago, Goldust turned on his partner and on Raw was featured in a promo that was a throwback to those early days in the company. I don't know how long this ride for Goldust's second act is going to last, but I intend to enjoy every moment of it. The gimmick is my favorite of any in the history of wrestling. And his theme song remains in my top five of all-time.

Goldust circa 1996
Photo by My 1-2-3 Cents
There are some guys cast into roles and you can't imagine anyone else doing it. Dustin as Goldust is on that level.  I have nothing but respect for what Dustin Rhodes has done in his career as both "The Natural" and Goldust. Here's to hoping for newfound success along with the new attitude. I for one will never forget the name of.... Goldust!


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

My MITB pick is ABC

MITB 2017 participants
Courtesy: WWE

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

Money in the Bank is right around the corner and I'm pretty excited because I will be in the crowd that night in St. Louis. It'll be even more fun because I missed WrestleMania this year and I'm going with a group from Stride Pro Wrestling along with my long lost pal Weston. Chad and his nephew will also be there, so it's going to be a fun night. I'm also hitting up the Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard show earlier in the day. But I digress...

I have not picked a winner yet for MITB, I think it's too early to do that. As we know U.S. Champion Kevin Owens, Nakamura, AJ Styles, Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn are the combatants. My title says ABC, which means Anyone But Corbin. It pains me to say that because I have really focused on trying to be more positive with my posts in recent months. But I do not understand the love for Corbin from within the machine. 

Corbin talks, I don't listen
Courtesy: WWE
I have nothing but respect for anyone who becomes a WWE Superstar. But that doesn't mean they're all going to be liked by the fans. Corbin falls into that category for me. His character hasn't connected with me. That's not to say it never will, as there have been past Superstars I didn't like but then became a fan of later. Brock Lesnar, Billy Gunn and Albert/Tensai are just a few. 

Once MITB gets closer I'll expand more on my thoughts of a winner. I hope the rumors of a Baron Corbin push are just that and he does not ascend to the top of the ladder and grab that briefcase on June 18. But if he does, I'll get over it. I survived the Diesel years after all. 


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Building the Titus Brand

Titus Brand
Courtesy: WWE

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

Several months ago Titus O'Neil introduced the world to his brand. At first, I was skeptical of the idea, but I must say even with its moderate success so far, I'm a fan. Titus tried recruiting the New Day in the early phases of his brand building mission. Now it appears Apollo Crews is on board.


Prime Time Players
Courtesy: WWE
O'Neil is a talented Superstar in the ring and on the mic. He and Darren Young, under the management of Abraham Washington, were one of my favorite tag teams at that time. But the Prime Time Players eventually turned good and then split up and reunited and split again. Young got hurt and Titus seemed lost for a time.

Now he's on a solid path and I really hope WWE Creative has a big picture idea of what they're going to do with this angle. One thing that always seems to be missing is a strong mid card. The company tends to focus more on the main event players. 


Titus and his kids
Courtesy: WWE
I like Titus O'Neil a lot. His in-ring persona as a bad guy works, despite his real life good guy reputation. I'm also a fan of Apollo Crews, but both guys have floundered on their own in recent months. Hopefully, this new union will move both guys up the ladder. When it comes to the Titus Brand, I'm buying. 


Monday, May 22, 2017

Please don't hinder Jinder

Jinder Mahal wins the gold
Courtesy: WWE

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

Big night for WWE fans. I woke up this morning to social media feeds celebrating Jinder Mahal's WWE Championship win. I was mildly surprised he beat Randy Orton for the title because I don't bet against Orton usually, especially since he lost to Bray Wyatt a few weeks ago. However, Mahal won not only his first championship in WWE, but his first ever pay per view match (I read that somewhere, but I don't know if it's true and I don't have the time to research it, sorry.)

Mahal's rise to the top of the SmackDown Live roster has been unconventional, to say the least. He was released from WWE in 2014 but came back last year after the brand split and didn't do much to impress me at the time. He had a mini-alliance with Rusev and Lana. I actually liked the pairing, but they broke up and Rusev ended up getting hurt. I'll be the first to admit I was surprised when Mahal won the challenge to become the number one contender.

Mahal vs. Orton
Courtesy: WWE
But I didn't hate the notion by any means. WWE needs youth and freshness to survive. Mahal has both of those qualities. There's speculation he's in his spot because of the company's plans to expand into India. I simply say, "so what?" That could be a factor in the decision, but I find it laughable when some fans say it's the reason why. Others are pissy that he looks so much bigger than before and is not being tested for the Wellness Policy. Unless you're an insider with WWE and have proof, leave those claims at the door.

While I'm happy for Mahal, I must say I fear WWE Creative will hinder Jinder. Chad texted me earlier and said he hopes Orton doesn't regain the championship Tuesday night on SDL. I hadn't even considered that. Taking the belt away now would reek of the crappy reign Jack Swagger had. The company never fully got behind him. The same could be said for Wyatt's quick run. I'm hoping history doesn't repeat itself and Jinder can continue to grow in the eyes of the WWE Universe. This could also mean big opportunities for the Singh 


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Meeting the Butcher

Meeting Abdullah


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

A couple days ago, my buddy Heath Hatton invited me to ride with him to SICW (Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling). He had two matches, a six-man tag and he was a participant in the Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal. We talk about the experience in this week's podcast which drops Monday. 

I was excited about the opportunity to go for several reasons. I'd never been to SICW plus I wanted to meet promoter Herb Simmons, as well as the legendary Larry Matysik who was the voice of Wrestling at the Chase and is involved with SICW. Brody's widow Barbara Goodish was there Saturday night as well as WWE Hall of Famer Abdullah the Butcher. All four were very kind and inviting to me as I stayed in the locker room and chatted with the other wrestlers throughout the show.

At one point, I looked around and it was just Abby and I there watching on the large monitor. It was one of the most surreal moments I've experienced as a wrestling fan. I was watching a match with one of the biggest legends in the business. He was pretty quiet throughout the evening, and me being an introvert I dared not initiate a conversation. But it's a memory I won't forget.

Thank you to Heath for letting me tag along and to Herb and the rest of the men and women on the card for being so inviting to me. It was a great evening and I look forward to making the trip again in the future. Oh and look for a podcast interview with Larry soon. We chatted about setting something up. I'll also have an interview soon with new SICW Heavyweight Champion Chris Hargas. Congrats to you!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Backlash 2017 preview

Orton vs. Mahal
Courtesy: WWE

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


My TV consumption has dropped significantly in the last week or so. Our rabbit chewed the cord to our DirecTV router, so I missed Raw & SmackDown Live and hadn't finished watching the previous week's shows either. So I'm a bit disconnected but have been keeping tabs online. That being said, here are some quick thoughts on Backlash. And sorry I'm neglecting NXT: Takeover, as I haven't tuned into the program in a while either.  Too many side projects going on... but I digress.

Randy Orton will retain the WWE Championship. I don't think the feud with Jinder Mahal is over yet and with rumors swirling that WWE wants to give him a big push I won't be surprised if he wins the belt, but I fear they're also gearing up Baron Corbin for a run against Orton.

That being said, Corbin will beat Sami Zayn. Then I and half the IWC will scowl.

Breezango will win the WWE Tag Team Titles. I can't believe I just typed that, but they seem to be over like rover right now and why not give them a chance?

Kevin Owens will retain the U.S. Title against AJ Styles. Had they not hot potatoed the belt with Owens and Jericho recently, I would have figured Styles for the win. I still think AJ will win the match, just not the belt.

Nakamura will beat Dolph Ziggler. But I could see this ending with Dolph winning to throw a swerve at the fans and piss off most of the IWC. (For the record, I'm a big Dolph Ziggler fan still.)
Luke Harper will beat Erik Rowan in a 50/50 booking match.

The Welcoming Committee will beat Naomi, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch, hopefully after Charlotte turns on her partners.

Tye Dillinger will beat Aiden English.


Friday, May 19, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Abdullah the Butcher's fork

Abdullah the Butcher & his fork


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

One of the most sadistic men to step into the squared circle is Abdullah the Butcher. The more than 400-pound Sudanese mad man made a career out of slicing and dicing his opponents. His usual weapon of choice was something we all use every day: a fork.




With a name like "the Butcher", you would expect a violent temperant. Abdullah provided that for decades as he carved up the foreheads of opponents like Bruiser Brody, Dusty Rhodes and Carlos Colon. Gallons of blood spilled in countless rings, not just from Butcher's opponents, but from his own head. It always looked so painful and the scars that were left behind remain. Of course, barbed wire, chairs and other weapons played a role in these infamous feuds for the Butcher.


Hogan gets forked
Until I started doing some background searching for this blog, I didn't know Hulk Hogan was also "forked" by Abdullah the Butcher. The two battled it out in Japan in 1982 and as you can see, The Hulkster (before he was the Hulkster) bled like a stuck pig that night. And one of the few men bigger than Abdullah, Andre the Giant also got a taste of the fork as well.

My fork tie at Hall of Fame 2011
In 2011 I paid homage to Abdullah with my wardrobe choices that night. I secured a fork to my tie for the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony. Fellow Hall of Famer Terry Funk inducted Abdullah that night and I believe it was the first time I'd heard the Butcher speak at a wrestling related event. He always had such a mystique about him, but he's really a gentle giant, or so it seems.



Abdullah the Butcher will be a guest this weekend at the SICW show in East Carondelet, Illinois. That night features the Bruiser Brody Memorial Battle Royal. 



Thursday, May 18, 2017

3 Stars who need to come back to WWE

Morrison, Rhodes, Hogan
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

There are reports that 5 Star Wrestling has offered CM Punk a million dollars to be a part of an upcoming summer tour. That's a lot of money and who knows if Punk will actually do it, but the notion got me to thinking about what Superstars I'd like to see make a return to WWE. After all, the company has mended fences with the likes of Bruno Sammartino, The Ultimate Warrior and Kurt Angle. Who knows, one-day Punk may come back to be enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame, but I highly doubt we'll see him wrestle there again. So who would I like to see come back? 


Morrison in action
Courtesy: WWE
John Morrison was one of the most underutilized guys on the WWE roster. He went from a tag team guy, winning the championships with both Joey Mercury and the Miz to being a fairly well-accomplished singles star, winning both the Intercontinental and WWECW Championships. However, he never seemed to get over that hump so many Superstars get stuck at. I didn't realize he left WWE nearly six years ago. He's doing great in Lucha Underground and with some acting projects in Hollywood. Morrison (Johnny Mundo) still looks amazing and works his ass off in the ring. He definitely left before WWE really started the push for the current product. He could easily come back and work his way into the main event picture.


Cody & Goldust
Courtesy: WWE
Cody Rhodes has only been gone a year but I miss seeing him on a weekly basis. He's honing his craft and only getting better working indy shows as well as TNA and Ring of Honor. I'm loving the "American Nightmare" gimmick. I liked the Stardust character and even the idea of having Cody on one show and Stardust on the other. But he's established he doesn't need the character to get over. Sometimes leaving and finding oneself and allowing the company to see what they've missed out on is needed. Drew McIntyre comes to mind as the most recent example.


The Hulkster
Courtesy: WWE
Hear me out on this last one. Hulk Hogan is a legend in the business. While I don't agree with, nor defend what he said, it's hard to deny the Hulkster's legacy. I don't want him back full time necessarily or even to wrestle. Right now, I'd be content with some guest appearances on big shows and reentry into the WWE Hall of Fame. There's been more buzz that Hogan will return. It's time. He made a mistake and apologized. 

Who would you like to see come back to WWE? There are plenty of other names out there that can be added to this list.


Hulk Hogan merchandise