Monday, July 24, 2017

Reuniting the Shield

The Shield
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I was asked for a recent podcast what I thought about the Shield reuniting. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have already been hanging out on Raw and I believe have had a run on the house show circuit as a team. Roman Reigns, of course, is the missing piece to the puzzle since the group split in 2014. Long story short, I endorse a reunion of this super group.

As I explained on the Ask My 1-2-3 Cents podcast, putting these three superior Superstars back together is not a step back for any of them. Sometimes I think fans get caught up in the idea that once a team splits someone has to be the Shawn Michaels and someone has to be the Marty Jannetty of the unit. That's not the case in 2017. All three members of the Shield excelled outside their roles in the trio.

Flirting with a reunion
Courtesy: WWE
Each man has been WWE Heavyweight Champion, Reigns holding it three times. Ambrose has had a couple runs Intercontinentalial Champion. They've all been U.S. Champ too. In my 1-2-3 cents, the Shield can continue to dominate the WWE as a unit and as individuals. It would be no different than what Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson and Barry Windham (Lex Luger, Ole Anderson, Sid Vicious) did as the Four Horsemen. Evolution did it years later with Flair, Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista.

It's safe to say most fans would enjoy a Shield reunion and it's likely the only way to ensure Reigns is cheered by the crowd again. WWE has tried to make their Universe embrace the big Samoan, but for the most part, he's been rejected and booed. Look at his recent dealings with Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman.

A near reunion
Courtesy: WWE
Bring back the Shield. I like that WWE is building up some factions again, with Miz's Entourage and there's the New Day still rockin' on SmackDown Live and could Jinder Mahal be adding to his group now with the Great Khali? Oh, and while we're at it, let's do something with the Wyatt Family again too...


Sunday, July 23, 2017

The time Billy Gunn & I told the crowd to 'Suck It'

What a surreal moment...

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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It would be hard to argue that during the Monday Night Wars the nWo was the biggest faction going. But WWE's Degeneration X was a close second. Once founding member Shawn Michaels retired, Triple H and Chyna recruited Billy Gunn, Road Dogg and X-Pac. The group helped turn the tide in the Wars and took the business to the next level.

Gunn & Rotten on News 3 This Morning
Gunn was my favorite member of the group. Years later when he was released from WWE, I was disappointed. But that actually lead to the time I was able to meet Mr. Ass. He had been signed to wrestle for Ian Rotten's IWA: Midsouth April Bloodshowers show in Herrin, Illinois. I'm a morning news anchor in southern Illinois and we were able to schedule Billy to be on the show. Chad was working at the station too, as a director, and he had the idea of Billy and I having a match his PlayStation.

So during News 3 This Morning, I battled Billy with my own character. He whooped me as I tried to play the game and stay focused on interviewing him. I was still pretty new to the anchor desk, and my nerves clearly got the best of me. On the way out from the station that morning, Ian asked if I would ring announce that night. Of course, I said yes.

"We've got two words for ya..."
Courtesy: IWA Midsouth
Other than doing a news report a few years earlier on pro wrestling in Alabama, I had never been inside a wrestling ring. My nerves were out of whack as I introduced the men and women that night. Then when Billy got in the ring, he put his arm around me and after his promo he said "We've got two words for you..." and in a move that is should be out of character for a news anchor I joined Billy in a crotch chop and yelled, "SUCK IT!!!" 

After the interview
This was in an era before Facebook and Twitter and even smartphones. But I was nervous it would get back to my boss that I made the move. Again, I was a young journalist at the time and thought I might get a lecture, but nothing was ever said. Since that night I've gone on to do more ring announcing, color commentary and even stepping into the ring and wrestling. I believe Billy Gunn helped boost my confidence that first night and laid the groundwork for who I am today as a ring announcer for Stride Pro Wrestling. 

Billy Gunn, by the way, is the guest for the next Cape Championship Wrestling show. He's in a tag team match with former CCW champ Brandon Barbwire. They battle current CCW champ Hollis Giroux and current Stride Pro Wrestling champ Matheus. That show is this Saturday, July 29 at the AC Brase Arena in Cape Girardeau.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Battleground predictions

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The road to SummerSlam is taking a pit stop at the next SmackDown Live event, Battleground. The show happens tomorrow night on WWE Network and here are some quick thoughts on the show. 

Jinder Mahal will retain the WWE Championship in a Punjabi Prison Match against Randy Orton. The only thing that will make this more awesomely bad is an appearance by the Great Khali. My fingers are crossed as I type this, which is making it difficult.

John Cena will beat Rusev in the Flag Match and likely go on to beat Mahal either at SummerSlam or sometime before that.

AJ Styles will beat Kevin Owens. Since AJ just won the U.S. Championship I don't see any reason to hot potato it back to Owens. 

Sami Zayn will win against Mike Kanellis because, you know, it's WWE 50/50 booking.

My hope is that the New Day will pick up the SmackDown Live tag team titles, but I'm not holding my breath for this match.

Charlotte Flair will win the fatal five-way number one contender's match. In my 1-2-3 cents since this is for a SummerSlam title match against Naomi, Charlotte will make the better big match opponent. However, I'm not opposed to Natalya winning and since Flair is a face still, I can see that happening.

Nakamura will beat Baron Corbin because doesn't the Money in the Bank briefcase winner usually go through a losing streak before cashing in?

Tye Dillinger over Aiden English.

What are your Battleground predictions? Who do you want to see get the upper hand as we head into the hottest night of the summer for wrestling?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Big Bossman's nightstick

Get ready for hard times
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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It was nearly 30 years ago this summer that the Big Bossman made his presence known in the WWF. The former body guard known as Big Bubba Rogers had jumped from the UWF/NWA/WCW and assumed a new personality. As the Bossman, Bubba traded his suit, hat and sunglasses for a correctional uniform, handcuffs and a nightstick. 

More hard times
Courtesy: WWE
Those handcuffs and nightstick became a signature of the Bossman's character. After beating an opponent (usually an enhancement talent) manager Slick would distract the referee long enough for Bossman to cuff his victim to the ropes. Then he'd assault the fallen foe with the nightstick. This was similar to the post match rituals of Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake and his haircuts and later the Undertaker loading a victim into a body bag. 

Foam nightstick
Even the big name opponents fell victim to the nightstick, including the assault on Hulk Hogan on the Brother Love Show, "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Dusty Rhodes. Sometimes the good guys would steal the stick and fight fire with fire. When Bossman turned face in 1990, he still carried the stick and used it when necessary. Of course as good guy, it was a good way to market a foam nightstick to young fans too.

Bossman vs. Nailz
Courtesy: WWE
The ex-con Nailz gave Bossman a taste of his own medicine and battered him with the nightstick after a match. Bossman spent weeks (maybe months) "convalescing" at home in Cobb County, Georgia. Vince McMahon used the phrase on TV and it was the first time I'd ever heard the word (at least that I recall). The feud culminated with a night stick on a pole match at the 1992 Survivor Series. Bossman used the weapon on Nailz and put an end to the feud.

1998 Bossman
Courtesy: WWE
Years later when an updated version of the character returned to the company. Bossman used the nightstick in beating Al Snow, Mick Foley and even "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. It was a great accessory to a legendary character who is missed to this day.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I need YOUR 1-2-3 Cents

Colt Cabana & Kevin Hunsperger
Cape Con 2017
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Building the My 1-2-3 Cents brand has been a major goal of mine for some time. Now that 2017 is more than halfway over, I've actually turned my attention to 2018. Without going into a whole lot of details, I had a pretty productive meeting this afternoon for what could be a big opportunity for My 1-2-3 Cents; the blog and the podcast

I need your 1-2-3 cents on a few things. What current (not WWE) wrestlers, managers or personalities would you most like to meet? What about legends? And how much would you be willing to pay for that opportunity to take a photo and get an autograph with said personality? 

I've got some ideas of who I want to partner with in a meeting & greet type setting, but sometimes I think my perspective is clouded since I am no longer in the typical wrestling fan demographic. Please share your thoughts on this post or on Facebook. You can message me privately if you'd rather your answers not be public. But I am really hoping to make a big announcement in the coming months and this is the official countdown to that coming. Thanks for your help.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Have you seen me?

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Long time WWE Superstar Kane has been missing in action for nearly eight months. The last time for the former World Heavyweight Champion appeared on WWE TV was Nov. 29, 2016, when he beat Luke Harper on SmackDown Live. The two had battled it out earlier in the month at Survivor Series. Kane won that encounter too.

Harper vs. Kane
Courtesy: WWE
There has been little talk of the Big Red Machine since that time. In fact, I don't know if he's been mentioned on WWE programming since late last year. I half expected him to either appear at or be a part of the promotion for the new Great Balls of Fire event for obvious reasons. But there was no hellfire and brimstone to be seen.

Of course, I know Glenn Jacobs, the man who brought Kane to life nearly 20 years ago (later this year I'll have a tribute blog up), is running for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee. Jacobs, now 50, has been vocal about his political aspirations in the past. My assumption is WWE is giving him time to run his campaign. I love that he has a fireball in his logo and his slogan is "Lighting the way for our future." I don't think he'll kick off council meetings by raising his arms and lowering them to flashes of fire, but it is a cool visual. Go ahead and think about it for a second. 

The election isn't until May 1, 2018, but it's my sincere hope we get to see at least one Kane match in 2017 to mark the 20 year anniversary of the character. Win or lose in May, I'd like to see him get a good send off. He's certainly earned it. Also, I'm excited to see that another Jacobs character, Isaac Yankem, DDS is the exclusive Elite figure from Toys R Us at this year's San Diego Comic Con. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Congratulations, it's a son

Father-son united
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The big payoff from the Kurt Angle 'love' angle has played out on Monday Night Raw. Despite lots of speculation of it being either Dixie Carter or Stephanie McMahon, WWE switched gears and revealed the secret is that Angle has a son. That son is former SmackDown Live tag team champion Jason Jordan.

I'm relieved that the surprise wasn't a love affair with Stephanie or Dixie. Honestly, I've enjoyed the break from Stephanie being on TV. And I'm not sure how a Dixie run on WWE TV would work, although I'm willing to give it a shot in some other storyline. 

Kane & Paul Bearer
Courtesy: WWE
Of course, this isn't the first time a wrestling storyline has involved a father-son duo that isn't actually father and son. Kane and Paul Bearer comes to mind. This angle worked for me as a fan. WWE did an excellent job telling the Undertaker's backstory and why Kane and Bearer both played a role in it. 

Hornswoggle & Finlay
Courtesy: WWE
The father-son relationship between Finlay and Hornswoggle was a bit less believable. I realize as I write this that may sound ridiculous that a 300-pound monster covered in red from head to toe is related to a portly man in white face paint and jet black hair is more believable than an Irishman being the father of a leprechaun, but hey it's my blog, right? I didn't hate the Finlay-Hornswoggle story (at least it was better than Vince McMahon being the daddy), but it wasn't one of my favorites.

Courtesy: WWE
In my 1-2-3 cents, the Angle-Jordan connection can be a great story. One of my first questions was 'why is Corey Graves involved?' He answered that during commentary, explaining he and Jordan were good friends in NXT and he wanted to help unite Jordan with his biological father. I did laugh when Booker T suggested Jordan being on Raw is a conflict of interest because the General Manager is his father. I instantly thought of the McMahon family, but I digress.

American Alpha
Courtesy: WWE
Even though I'm bummed American Alpha didn't get a long run on the main roster, I'm glad they didn't just split Jordan and Chad Gable and have them feud, especially since that's what's going on right now with Enzo and Big Cass. Jordan and Gable have great potential on their own and putting them on different rosters is a good idea right now. 

Only time will tell what's next in this angle (pun intended). I have to believe since Kurt made such a big deal out of the implications the announcement would have on his career that there's still more to come than just the hugs and handshakes we saw after the initial announcement.

Monday, July 17, 2017

World Emoji Day: WWEmoji review

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Last year I felt like I celebrated World Emoji Day pretty creatively with a blog made up of nothing but emojis. I was going to attempt to repeat that feat with the new WWEmoji app, but after about an hour of trying to figure it out, I'm waving the white flag to surrender.

It's most likely user error, so instead of using the emojis in place of words, I'll write a bit about the app and share my thoughts on it. The cost is $1.99 to download. That gives you access to several pages of emojis with a variety of WWE Superstars. Noticeably absent in my 1-2-3 cents is the current Cruiserweight Champion Neville. There is, however, five variations of Bo Dallas and seven different Enzo characters. I'm not knocking either Superstar, but as a fan of WWE, I'd like more choices.

The Legends page includes the usual favorites like "Macho Man" Randy Savage, Ric Flair and Bret Hart. The late Eddie Guerrero and Ultimate Warrior are also featured. One glaring omission (besides Hulk Hogan) is that of Andre the Giant. I don't need four Kevin Nash or Goldberg icons if it means skimping on other Legends.

There's also a section with nothing but belts and other accessories used in the ring. Roddy Piper's kilt, Eric Rowan's sheep mask and Jimmy Hart's megaphone are among the options. That's also where I found the lucha mask for the photo I created. You can also add quotes and phrases from your favorite Superstars and Legends as well. And some of the emojis include movement, which is cool. 

Obviously, I've only had the app a few hours so I will have to get used to how it how it works. I'm still trying to understand why when I hit share with Snapchat it's not working. I know I'll have fun with it, especially after I figure out more about it. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wrestling fans and their ink

New Day rocks

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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For as long as I can remember I've wanted a tattoo. I will get one eventually, but I have no idea about a design. There are plenty of wrestlers who have gotten ink through the years, and WWE even has a show on their website about it. I've seen several fans' body art popping up on Twitter lately, including some fans of Something to Wrestle with Bruce Prichard. Those fans are getting VIP tickets for life to live shows and tee shirts for their dedication. So now I share with you some cool tattoos I've come across.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

WarGames turns 30

WarGames 87

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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A decade before Hell in a Cell and 15 years before the Elimination Chamber there was a match called WarGames. Dusty Rhodes is created with creating the cage match concept and introducing it to wrestling fans in July 1987. The Dream got inspiration for the idea after seeing the movie Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

Dusty vs. Arn
Courtesy: WWE
The concept included two teams, two rings and a giant cage. The match started as a one on one competition and a coin toss would determine who had the advantage when adding members to the match. The brawling continued until all members of both teams were in the ring and then and only then could the match come to an end. Something I'd forgotten though was apparently pinfalls didn't count. The only way to win the WarGames was by submission or knocking out your opponent.

July 4, 1987, saw the very first WarGames match. Despite having the disadvantage at the start, The Road Warriors, Dusty, Nikita Koloff and Paul Ellering beat the Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger) and J.J. Dillon.

The match concept continued a few times in '87. While the Road Warriors, Dusty and members of the Horsemen were the main staples, other competitors like The Rock 'n Roll Express, Midnight Express, Barry Windham and Big Bubba Rogers had appearances in the early matches.

I don't think I'd ever seen a WarGames match live (on PPV) until 1991. But I saw clips on NWA programming and articles in the Apter magazines. At WrestleWar '91 Flair, Windham, Sid Vicious and Larry Zbysko beat Sting, Brian Pillman and the Steiners. Sid delivered two sick powerbombs on Pillman that looked like they legit knocked out the high flyer. I remember his head hitting the top of the cage before crashing to the match. El Gigante came to the ring and surrendered the match on Pillman's behalf.

The last one happened in 1998 when DDP, The Warrior and Roddy Piper beat nWo Hollywood (Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and Stevie Ray) and nWo Wolfpack (Kevin Nash, Sting and Lex Luger). 

Courtesy: WWE
WarGames was a great concept. Fans have wanted WWE to bring back the match, but I'd be surprised if it ever happens again. But I'd love to see it happen for old times sake at least once.