Monday, July 31, 2017

New life for the Undead Outlaw

Cash Borden to face Stride Pro Wrestling Champion Roger Matheus
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Cash Borden has gone from a tag team competitor in Stride Pro Wrestling to one of the most popular singles guys on the roster. "The Undead Outlaw" has a unique opportunity this Saturday night as he meets the Stride Pro Wrestling Champion Roger Matheus. The Mad Viking is nearly 300 pounds and a dangerous competitor. But Borden says he's ready for the challenge.

I had a chance to catch up with Cash in the most recent My 1-2-3 Cents podcast. He talks more about his training and his career and how he prepares for a beast like Matheus. Borden's journey to this championship match has been an interesting one. It'll be the first time he's had a shot at the heavyweight title.

Cash Borden vs. Tony Flood
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
When he first came into Stride Pro Wrestling, he was joined by his now former best friend Dalton Diamond. The two were known as Boyz in the Hood and made a pretty good tag team in my 1-2-3 cents. However, tempers flared after several miscommunications and the tandem melted down. Cash gained the upper hand as a result of the split and has climbed the roster.

Cash has had several key victories since going on his own. He had an impressive showing against Legacy Champion Tony Flood recently. Despite losing the encounter, Cash proved to a lot of people, including Stride Pro Wrestling General Manager Sam Hunter that he is worthy of being in the main event. 

Matheus punishes Heath Hatton
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
But just as hungry as Cash is for gold, Matheus is that much more determined to keep what he believes is rightfully his. Matheus has been the most dominant champion in Stride history, having beaten Heath Hatton (along with Red Daniels and Jay Spade in a fatal four-way match) and most recently "Farmer" Billy Hills. This showdown will be nothing short of great as Borden and Matheus have never hooked up before. Join us Saturday night at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. Bell time is 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Battle of the big men: Daniels vs. Hargas

Daniels vs. Hargas coming Saturday night
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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At the July Stride Pro Wrestling show, Red Daniels manhandled student wrestler Brad Crawford. The match was a one-sided affair with Daniels brutalizing the newcomer. After winning the match and screaming about missed opportunities, Daniels put a chair around the neck of Crawford.

However, before a dastardly and potentially career ending injury could be dealt, Chris Hargas came to the rescue. He told Red to pick on someone his own size, but like most bullies, Red retreated and headed quickly to the locker room. 

Daniels with Matheus & Capone
Daniels returned the favor and caused a distraction during a tag team match with Hargas and El Magnifico against The DR Party. Then the two came to blows during the Rumble match to determine a new number one contender to the heavyweight title. The two will come face to face in a match at Hot August Night 2, this Saturday. 

Hargas vs. Farmer
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
I'm looking forward to being on hand for this encounter. It's the first time in a while Daniels has had to face someone he can't bully and run over. And Hargas has been involved in several tag team matches lately that have not helped his singles career in Stride. 

Even though Daniels is still a rookie, he's had plenty of experience and has learned plenty from the likes of Roger Matheus, Jake Capone and even his time in the ring against Heath Hatton. Hargas is a veteran of indy wrestling and is the current SICW champion. This upcoming clash will be a case of the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Be there Saturday night to witness this amazing encounter in person.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Breaking news on Stride Pro Wrestling's Tony Flood

Tony Flood and Sam Hunter argue
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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I was planning to write a post previewing the upcoming Stride Pro Wrestling Legacy Championship match for today's blog. But instead, I've been asked by the General Manager, Sam Hunter to write this blog instead. Sam and I spoke on the phone and despite him not telling me much, this is what we know right now.

Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Saturday morning Legacy Champion Tony Flood reached out to GM Hunter via text. Sam didn't feel the conversation was appropriate for texting, so he called Tony and a heated discussion ensued. Tony complained about the competition in Stride and demanded better opponents when it comes to Sam coming up with challengers. 

Flood in action against Dexter Roswell & T-Dog
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Flood has had some great matches since (and before) winning the Legacy Title. He's defended against former champ T-Dog, Dexter Roswell, Cash Borden, Joey O'Riley and Eugene Drip. In my 1-2-3 cents, the competition is there so I don't understand Flood's beef.

Sam would not tell me how he responded to Tony, other than that Saturday night, (Aug. 5) Tony and the Legacy belt need to be in the ring. I've reached out to Tony since talking to Sam, but apparently, Tony has been told not to discuss the conversation. There has been a rivalry of sorts between these two since day one of Stride Pro Wrestling. While Tony is great in the ring, his mouth always seems to get him into trouble. 
Flood gets removed from Stride in January
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Tony has been fired from the company before and carried out of the ring by hired bodyguards. No telling what will end up happening, so join us at the Illinois Star Centre Mall. Bell time is 6:30 p.m. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: Skinner's tobacco

Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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In the mid-1980s Steve Keirn was a white meat baby face. He and Stan Lane teamed up as the Fabulous Ones. They were the personification of pretty boys, wearing suspenders and bowties to the ring. But Keirn's appearance changed in 1991 when he arrived in the World Wrestling Federation.

Steve Keirn on the left & Skinner
Courtesy: WWE
Gone were the long golden locks and Chippendale like ring attire. Keirn also had a change in name and attitude. He was a heel who wrestled alligators. Skinner wore a gator foot around his neck and always had a mouth full of chewing tobacco.

Skinner vs. Owen Hart
Courtesy: WWE
Many times that tobacco would get spit into the eyes of his opponents. Most famously perhaps was at WrestleMania VIII against Owen Hart. "The Rocket" was in the role of white meat babyface taking on the grizzled and bitter veteran. Owen of course over came the tobacco shot and won the match. Skinner, for the most part, became enhancement talent but also had matches against lower tiered competitors.

Keirn as Doink attacks Crush
Courtesy: WWE
Keirn also donned the makeup and clown hair to second Matt Bourne in the Doink gimmick. He even played a role in a previous Foreign Object Friday segment in which he whacked Crush over the head with a fake arm. Eventually, Keirn transitioned into a trainer for WWE. He's had an interesting career and playing Skinner was a memorable time and such a far cry from the Fabulous Ones' gimmick.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Go figure... Superstars on my wanted list

Shockmaster action figure

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The summer of 1985 I purchased my first wrestling action figure. To my knowledge, it was the first time such toys had been offered. It was the Hulk Hogan LJN. My brother got "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. Andre the Giant, "Big" John Studd and the Iron Sheik were the other three characters in that first series and would be added to the collection before summer ended. I built that collection and was way too old to be playing with wrestling "dolls" when I bought my last two in 1989. I was entering my junior year in high school and randomly found a "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Slick figures at a store in Canada while on vacation with my family.

My WWE WWF LJN, Hasbro, Jakks collection

A couple years later, WWF partnered with Hasbro for a smaller version of Superstars. I bought another DiBiase figure, but kept him in the package and hung him on my bedroom wall. Fast forward 15 years and when I met DiBiase for the first time, he autographed the box for me. In between that first purchase and meeting the WWE Hall of Famer, I had picked up several other Hasbro figures in the box at flea markets and on the discount shelf at various toy stores. They've all remained in the packaging, except for a few. Excessive heat in my storage space for them damaged the package and they've become free. Now they along with a handful of Jakks Pacific figures are on display in our bonus room.

The new WWE Isaac Yankem figure
Courtesy: Dalton Anthony
That's my history with the figures. I've seen at Comic Con in San Diego a whole new line of Elite figures will soon be sold. Plus there's the exclusive Comic Con figure this year, Isaac Yankem. A new friend of mine, Dalton from Podzilla 1985 & Cape Championship Wrestling, has acquired one of these, which is pretty cool. Chad has a Shockmaster figure from last year's show still in the box too. We are hopefully going to be giving that away in the future.

Bobby "The Weasel" Heenan
I'd love to add the Bobby Heenan in a weasel costume to my collection. Since I'm a huge Von Erich fan, I'd also like to get the Texas Tornado Kerry Von Erich figure too. And up until today, I thought the company had produced a Roddy Piper WrestleMania VI figure with half his body painted black. Turns out that was a custom figure I had come across online a few years ago.

What's your figure collecting history? Who is on your "must have" list?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Put the shovel away, Nakamura isn't buried

John Cena faces Shinsuke Nakamura next week on SmackDown Live

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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In the wake of Tuesday's SmackDown Live, I've seen a lot of wrestling fans complaining about the upcoming John Cena-Shinsuke Nakamura match. Daniel Bryan declared the winner of next week's encounter will go on to face Jinder Mahal at SummerSlam for the WWE Championship. Some fans are seemingly upset because the match is being "given away" on TV. Others think Nakamura will lose and in turn, is getting buried. But I disagree with both arguments.

Sure this match will definitely be a PPV quality outing. But now that the WWE Network exists and most fans are locked into a subscription does WWE have to "save" matches anymore? And if you're not a Network subscriber would you pay $9.99 a month for this one match? Probably not. In this near era of technology, it serves WWE better to save high profile matches for Raw and SmackDown Live and boost the ratings for USA Network. Good ratings on TV equals higher rates for advertisers.

John Cena confronts WWE Champion Jinder Mahal
The match hasn't even happened yet and some have already predicted a Cena victory. I agree that he will most likely win this encounter, but in my 1-2-3 cents, fans should put the shovel away because Nakamura isn't getting buried. Cena is a familiar face and will likely do the press leading up to SummerSlam. Plus the story will be 'Can John Cena break Ric Flair's World Championship record?' That alone adds more drama and interest to the match than a straight up encounter between Nakamura and Mahal.

Baron Corbin gets a kick from Nakamura 
I can see the "rubber match" between Nakamura and Baron Corbin coming at SummerSlam. One scenario is Cena winning the gold only to lose it after being attacked by Khali and Corbin cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. Then Nakamura and Corbin could feud for the belt. However, that scenario leaves Jinder out in the picture and the company has done a lot to build him up, and the best way to continue on that path is to have him beat Cena at SummerSlam.

There are plenty of possibilities, so let's not jump to conclusions before the match has even happened. Enjoy the ride as we gear up for SummerSlam. It's my belief Nakamura will one day be the champion, but it doesn't have to happen right now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Enzo's big task

Enzo vs. Big Cass
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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The last few months have been anything but good for Enzo Amore. The WWE Superstar was the victim of two separate attacks backstage before the world found out it was his best friend and tag team partner Big Cass. I'll admit the duo's act was starting to wear thin, but I would have rather seen them take a small break from TV than having them break up. Their split comes on the heels of DYI's implosion on NXT and now the dividing of American Alpha too. It's too many tag team breaking up for my liking.

However, it's happened and there's no sense looking back. When Big Cass laid out Enzo a few weeks ago on Raw it was apparent who was going to be the dominant one in this feud. The two had their first match at Great Balls of Fire, Cass destroyed his former partner. A rematch this past Monday on Raw and it was another ass kicking for Enzo. 

Big Cass wins
Courtesy: WWE
I feel bad for the guy. He's not the biggest dog in the fight and yeah, he's kind of annoying, but I never expected him to be crushed so convincingly. Enzo is clearly getting the Jannetty treatment here. It'll be interesting to see what's next for each man. Presumably, Cass will go on to SummerSlam in a few weeks and beat the Big Show as he continues to climb the ranks of the Raw roster. 

He's got personality
Courtesy: WWE
In my 1-2-3 cents, Enzo should be paired up with another big man, but to fill the role as a mouth piece. He's got the gift of gab and could recruit help in getting revenge against Cass. It just has to be someone other than the Big Show. Or better yet, he could continue his in ring career and head to 205 Live. The show could use a shot of personality and Enzo would no doubt provide that. Besides, Cruiserweight Champion Neville needs someone else to whip in the ring. 

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.