Thursday, August 31, 2017

Locking up with the COLLARxELBOW Brand

Explaining to my LJN figures how awesome COLLARxELBOW is

By
Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

A few months ago a new line of clothing was released under the name COLLARxELBOW. For those not familiar with wrestling (there are likely a few of you) a collar and elbow tie up is how many wrestling matches back in the day started off. The clothing brand was interesting to me because it was giving independent wrestlers a chance to promote the product and build their own brand at the same time. A few of my friends in the business, including Farmer Billy Hills and Cash Borden became sponsored athletes.

Farmer Billy Hills & fellow COLLARxELBOW athletes
Courtesy: Farmer Billy Hills (@fbh05)
I'm always looking for ways to help grow the My 1-2-3 Cents brand along with my own personal branding as a blogger. I had long considered getting on board with the company, even before it was announced the legendary wrestler Al Snow was the force behind COLLARxELBOW. Then I heard Farmer on the Podzilla 1985 podcast talking about the relationship he's built with the company. He told the hosts of the show they too should consider getting on board. It was that conversation that made me think maybe you don't have to be a wrestler to join this noble company.

Al Snow
Courtesy: COLLARxELBOW
Hours after listening to that show, I sent a request to be considered as a brand ambassador. Much to my surprise, I was notified a short time later that I just needed to fill out an online form. When I awoke the next morning I was greeted with an email congratulating me on being accepted. We finished dotting the i's and crossing the t's and a deal was in place.

Shop online at collarandelbowbrand.com
Now here's how it works. You can shop the online store and check out the ever evolving merchandise. Currently, there are the classic mirror shirts in graphite and silver and graphite and black. You can also get the "Support Your Local Wrestler" shirt which includes a picture of wrestling boots on it. And now there are a few newcomers, including the Good Brothers Dojo and Planet of the Capes. 


The shirts range in price from $20.95 to $25.95. But you can save 10 percent on your purchase when you use the promo code MY123CENTS when you check out. The shirts are very comfortable and come in a variety of sizes from small to 5XL. They're made from 100 percent ringspun cotton and the inside tag is printed on the shirt so there's no discomfort. 

Chris Slammer at a Cape Championship Wrestling show
I hope you'll consider checking out the brand and supporting COLLARxELBOW as well as My 1-2-3 Cents. If you're a wrestler or a podcaster, get involved and become a part of the team. Thanks everyone for checking it out. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

I know wrestlers on the PWI 500

Bradon Espinosa vs. Farmer Billy Hills at Cape Championship Wrestling
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I still remember buying my first pro wrestling magazine. I was 11 years old. It was the December 1984 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Barry Windham was on the cover and my favorite wrestler at the time, Kerry Von Erich was the poster inside. I bought every issue of the magazine from that time until the end of 1995, when the internet and Rec Sports Pro Wrestling (and my lack of space) took over. One of my favorite issues became the annual PWI Top 500. 


The first issue came out my freshman year in college. Hulk Hogan stood on top of the rankings in 1991. It made sense. He had a solid year, regaining the WWF Championship and defending the honor of America against the Iraqi-sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter. The unique thing about the Top 500 though was getting to learn more about wrestlers I'd never heard of before.

Espy goes to the top
Photo by: My 1-2-3 Cents
Now, some 27 editions later, I'm finding that I now know (like in person) some of the wrestlers who have made the list. I haven't seen everyone on the 2017 list, but I do know Brandon "Espy" Espinosa has once again been ranked. I met Espy during our days with All American Pro Wrestling. He was quite a talent then and has only continued to excel in the years that have passed. He has traded the Missouri Wrestling Revival Championship with his former partner in AAPW, Ace Hawkins this year and continues to wrestle around the country. In 2016 he did a show with Stride Pro Wrestling as well. 

"Golden Boy" Greg Anthony vs. Heath Hatton in AAPW
Courtesy: Jason Wilkey 
"Golden Boy" Greg Anthony has graced the PWI 500 list too. I also met Golden Boy in AAPW, where he wrestled everyone from Heath Hatton to The Mississippi Madman. He's recovering from a recent heart procedure but has been an established member of the NWA: Midsouth roster for years now.

Yep, that's me with Matt Cross (and guests)
Photo courtesy: Missouri Wrestling Revival
Matt Cross, who first came to prominence on Tough Enough several years ago, also wrestled a couple of times for AAPW. He too has been on the PWI Top 500. He continues to rise on the indy scene and is one of the top guys in Lucha Underground right now. 


As I mentioned, I haven't seen the complete list for 2017, if I missed someone on this year's list that I do know, I apologize. Congrats to Okada for being the first Japanese wrestler to top the list and to everyone else who made the cut. Check out the standings right here.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Cena & Reigns: War of words

Cena & Reigns: War of words
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

WWE is laying the groundwork for what will likely be an outstanding match at the upcoming No Mercy event. John Cena and Roman Reigns are arguably two of the biggest Superstars in the company right now, despite neither man currently holding a championship. If the war of words that happened on Raw on August 29 is an indicator of what's still to come, we're in for something special.

Courtesy: WWE
I don't want to jump on the bandwagon, but I'm going to. Cena's performance during that promo Monday night was some of his best work. It's been said before, and we'll say it again, the best promos or characters or storylines are those that are derived from real life circumstances. In my 1-2-3 cents, John Cena was simply saying what most wrestling fans are thinking. Simply put, Roman Reigns must step up his game on the mic and in the ring to clearly hit that next level.

Roman flips the table
Courtesy: WWE
I like Reigns. But I liked him more when he was the strong, silent member of the Shield. I still haven't been sold on him feeling Cena's shoes as THE Guy of the WWE. The potential is there, but there's still something missing. I do like the cockiness he continues to exhibit in being the guy who retired the Undertaker. Will Cena be the next legendary current-roster Superstar the Big Dog takes a bit out of? We'll keep watching this buildup and the fallout here on the My 1-2-3 Cents blog as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Introducing Call of Nature Boy



Call of Nature Boy checking out the Eclipse


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

I recently purchased several Mystery Mini figures from a seller on Instagram. The lot include "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Sting, Goldust, Andre the Giant, Iron Sheik and the Undertaker. I really dig these toys and as a tribute to my all time favorite wrestler, I decided to create an Instagram page featuring the Flair figure. It's called Call of Nature Boy, an attempted play on the Nature Boy nickname. Here are the pics I've posted so far, which include a recent road trip through Nashville en route to Gulf Shores.

Call of Nature Boy is a classic film buff

Call of Nature Boy didn't do well with Power Ball

Call of Nature Boy checking out some craft beers

Call of Nature Boy checking out the beach

Call of Nature Boy gets buried at Gulf Shores



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Mr. 50-0 vs. Mr. 1-0

Mayweather & Hunsperger
Courtesy: Associated Press & Jason Wilkey

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

By now you know that Floyd 'Money' Mayweather won his fiftieth  and final fight against Conor McGregor Saturday night. I've loosely been following the buildup to the match, mostly because of Mayweather's one-time association with WWE. Chad and I were in the crowd the night he beat the Big Show at WrestleMania 24. After hearing about the deal he brokered it inspired me to write this blog.


Floyd 'Money' Mayweather
Courtesy: Floyd Mayweather's Instagram
Now that he's retired from the boxing aspect of his life, Mayweather had already filed for five trademarks related to 50-0. It's a genius move to keep making money on an already impressive career. Five and a half years ago I started a wrestling win streak by winning my first match in All-American Pro Wrestling. That record stands to this day. So should I resume my in ring career and try branding myself like Mayweather? Would fans buy into a 1-0 line of merchandise?


Kevin 'Some Money' Hunsperger
Of course, I'm not being serious as I write this. I just wanted to recognize the efforts by Mayweather and his team. It's all about marketing and hype. Yes, skills in the ring brought the original attention, but he was able to capitalize on that and become a very, very, very rich man in the process. 



My hope one day is to grow the My 1-2-3 Cents brand as well as Kevin Hunsblogger. It's a slow process, but I'm enjoying the journey. I've also added the COLLARxELBOW brand to my efforts. Shop online for merchandise and use the promo code MY123CENTS to save money. Thanks for the support. 

Saturday, August 26, 2017

An invitation to WWE fans

WWE Carbondale event
Courtesy: Sam Banks

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

WWE came to my area recently. My Facebook feed was filled with pictures of WWE Superstars in action at the SIU Arena in Carbondale. Selfies featuring fans inside the arena were also posted. The usual fans and indy wrestlers from Stride Pro Wrestling and Cape Championship Wrestling were behind these posts. But so were what I'd call casual fans.

In fact, there were several people posting from SIU Friday night that I didn't even know were wrestling fans. Some were there with their kids who are the fan of the family. So I want to take the opportunity right now to invite all these folks to come out and give Stride Pro Wrestling and CCW a chance.


Jose Magnifico meets the fans
Courtesy: Steve Belcher 
The next Stride show is coming up on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. Tickets are affordable, it's just $10 for adults and five bucks for kids 12 and under. It's all in a family friendly environment with great athletes and storytelling going on. It's a similar situation in Cape Girardeau. Their next show is actually happening tonight (Saturday, Aug. 26). Like Stride, CCW tickets are quite affordable too. 


Heath Hatton & Fans
Unlike WWE shows, the wrestlers, managers, referees, and announcers take time to meet with the fans before, during and after the show. You never know which of these wrestlers will end up on TV one day. Come on out and give indy wrestling a chance.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Foreign Object Friday: The Undertaker's urn

The power of the urn
Courtesy: WWE

By
Kevin Hunsperger

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

The Undertaker's urn has been used as not just a source of power for the Dead Man through the years, but also as a way to gain the advantage in some matches. Perhaps the most infamous moment the urn came in to play was at SummerSlam 1996 when Paul Bearer used the container and smashed his man in the head with it. It was a turning point in the character development for both men as Paul Bearer made it clear he no longer wanted to be affiliated with the Undertaker.

Double-crossed
Courtesy: WWE
When the Undertaker and Paul Bearer came on the scene so many years ago, I had little hope for the gimmick. I figured the duo would be another set of characters in Vince McMahon's parade of cartoonish gimmicks. Undertaker in my mind was going to be a short term mid-card performer at best. It's a true testament to the men behind both gimmicks to keep it alive and relevant for as long as they did.

Kane attacks
Courtesy: WWE
Back to the urn, though, the other significant time that comes to mind is when Kane used the urn to win the World Championship at Hell in a Cell 2010. The giant urn flashed a bright light in the eyes of the Undertaker and he cost him the title. 

I know there are plenty of other instances when the urn came in to play to support the Undertaker through the years. And who knows, maybe there's one more chance for the urn to return. Never say never.


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Topps & BOOM! Studios joins forces with WWE


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

For decades, people have been able to pick up a comic book at their favorite shop and read it. When I was a kid, I never really got into this trend. However, I did buy a few comics in my day, but I would never consider myself an expert on the subject. For that check out Greg Mehochko's Nerds United podcast on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network. Baseball cards also have a rich history but are another medium I never invested in. However, I still have a TON of WWF trading cards from the mid-1980s.



On Wednesday afternoon, I received a press release from The Topps Company that they've teamed up with BOOM! Studios on creating a WWE Comic Cover Card Set. Instead of going to the store to pick up cards or comics, they're now available on your smartphone or tablet. This week Topps debuted seven "Then, Now, Forever" covers. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the Rock and Dean Ambrose are among the Superstars included.



The company goes on to say starting in September, fans can get new covers each month from BOOM! Studios WWE comics. Classic covers will gradually be added to the collection too. Topps WWE Slam is an official trading card app of WWE and is available in the App and Google Play Stores. 



The comics by BOOM! Studios look amazing. Even though I don't buy or read comics, I appreciate the work that goes in to putting them together. The story of a recent copy did make me chuckle, as this was the synopsis: "With the help of Sasha Banks, the Lunatic Fringe embarks on his own fury road to snag the Money in the Bank briefcase that is rightfully his." I'm curious how the story ends.



The card collecting seems timeless still as well. Topps has more than just baseball and WWE cards. There is even a collection hyping the upcoming match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor. It's definitely worth taking a closer look at on these links. 

BOOM! Studios
The Topps Company 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Jester confronts the King

The Jester confronts the King
Courtesy: WWE


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

At SummerSlam, Neville proved to the world why he's the King of the Cruiserweights by beating Akira Tozawa to reclaim the Cruiserweight Championship. He had lost the belt six nights earlier, ending the longest reign to date of that title. Neville got another decisive win over Tozawa on 205 Live. 

While cutting a promo, that familiar music from Monday Night Raw hit and Enzo Amore came dancing to the ring in a Bill Cosby style sweater. He proceeded to cut a promo on the champ, much to the support of the crowd. Enzo dropped the mic after a few words to which Neville responded by doing the same thing, but then leaving the ring. Enzo and the crowd spelled out the fact that the champ is S-A-W-F-T and the Certified G did his chicken dance around the ring.


Enzo is pumped
Courtesy: WWE
I'm not surprised to see Enzo on 205 Live. In my 1-2-3 cents, the show could use some personality. I guess I am a bit taken aback that he instantly came out and confronted Neville. But let's face it, he's been through just about everyone on the roster so setting up a feud with Enzo will freshen up the product and add a new character to a show many fans are apparently tuning out.

It'll be interesting to see how he's booked on 205 Live. Enzo and Big Cass worked well as a tag team, but I could see him getting lost in the shuffle since the feud against his former partner has settled down (especially because Cass is now hurt). With the rumors of heat on Enzo in the back, which are just that, rumors I wonder what the plans are for the long term. It seems debuting him on a new show in the main event isn't a bad thing.

You all know I'm a Neville loyalist. I can't wait to see the King stretch the Jester that just showed up in the 205 Live kingdom. I don't call Enzo a jester as an insult, but the reality is his character is pretty goofy.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Wrestling fans: Make some noise!

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

When I attended my first WrestleMania in 2006 I did so dressed as a member of the Spirit Squad. The cheerleaders turned wrestlers (sports entertainers) were a part of the Mr. McMahon-Shawn Michaels street fight. I'd never cosplayed for a wrestling event before nor had I gone and cheered as loudly as I did that night. Well, actually the Friday before Mania we got pretty loud at the Ring of Honor show, but I digress...

The point of this blog is to encourage wrestling fans to make some noise when attending live events. Don't be annoying with your fandom, like doing cat calls during a Hall of Fame speech or chanting "What?!?" continuously as someone is trying to cut a promo.


Jerry Travelstead meets Stride Pro Wrestling fans
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
I'm mostly talking about indy wrestling shows. Previous My 1-2-3 Cents podcast guests Dalton Anthony and Asa Gray have talked about this before on their show Pro Wrestling Unscripted on Podzilla 1985. I wholeheartedly agree with that squad. I've been to Stride Pro Wrestling shows and Cape Championship Wrestling shows where you can hear a pin drop. But fear not, it's okay to boo wrestlers you don't like and cheer your favorites. It's the voice of the fan that often helps dictate the journey for those in the ring.


Fans like Cape Championship Wrestling's Sexy Sarge
Courtesy: Tom Harness
The comments made can also have a stronger impact on those men and women in and outside the ring. Don't be a jerk (like launching personal attacks), but definitely make some noise. Stand up and cheer (don't block those behind you) and bring signs (again, don't block those behind you). There's nothing better as a fan (and ring announcer) than to hear the crowd getting into the action. Clap, chant and stomp your feet. We want to hear you because for most of those stepping through the ropes, it's the best way to get energized and ready to perform.


Heath Hatton fan (yes he has one)
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Speaking of the before mentioned indy companies, both are back in action in the coming days. Cape Championship Wrestling's Homecoming 2 is Saturday, Aug. 26 at the Arena Building. Bell time is 7 p.m. And Stride Pro Wrestling's September Fallout is happening on Saturday, Sept. 9 at the Illinois Star Centre Mall. That action starts at 6:30 p.m.

Monday, August 21, 2017

There's a new beast in town

Braun slams Brock
Courtesy: WWE
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I know Brock Lesnar defied the odds and retained his WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam 2017. But the post-show buzz is all about Braun Strowman, which really doesn't surprise me. He is one character I didn't give two sh!ts about in his Wyatt Family days, and even when he made the move to Raw I was still less than impressed. But then something clicked and I've become a fan.


Destroyed
Courtesy: WWE
Once again he has proven he's earned a spot in the main event. From his destroying of Roman Reigns repeatedly on Raw to the destruction of Lesnar at SummerSlam, Braun is the real deal. I'd love to see WWE hold off on a battle of the beasts one on one for WrestleMania, but the rumor is churning that Strowman will be the next contender to Lesnar. 

Because Reigns took the fall at SummerSlam, I'd assume he's the heir apparent to the Universal Championship. Again, this is an assumption and plans can change and I really hope they do. Going with that line of thinking, perhaps the feud between Strowman and Reigns resumes after WrestleMania. Again this is assuming they're holding off until April for the next title switch. In my 1-2-3 cents that transaction could have happened last night. But I knew with the stipulation of quitting WWE if that happened, Brock would retain. 


Beast mode
Courtesy: WWE
I will say whoever the chosen one eventually becomes, they'll get one hell of a rub when they win the championship. Unlike Seth Rollins in 2015 though the new champion needs to pin or force Lesnar to tap out. Not only does the belt need to be passed, but also the torch. Right now I'd rather that be Samoa Joe, with Braun Strowman a close second. That's something I never thought I'd say.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Wrestling with the Total Solar Eclipse


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

On Monday much of the country will be watching as the Total Solar Eclipse happens. It's the first time the U.S. has experienced a Total Eclipse since 1979. I live in southern Illinois, which is where the Eclipse's totality will be the most. It's been the buzz here for months now, so I figured why not look at some Eclipse related wrestling gimmicks through the years.


NXT Superstar Ember Moon most falls in line with the phenomenon. Not only does her name fit, but so does her finishing move, the Eclipse. It's a diving corkscrew stunner. The move is quite impressive. So is Moon. I really thought she was being groomed to be the one to end Asuka's impressive streak and historic NXt Championship reign. Even though she didn't capture the gold at NXT: Takeover, in my 1-2-3 cents Moon will be a major player on the main roster in the near future.

Konnan & Paul Diamond as Max Moon
Courtesy: WWE
Max Moon, no relation to Ember, was an out of this world Superstar who hit the scene in the early 90s. Konnan originally played the character, but after a contract dispute, Paul Diamond filled the role. Probably his biggest claim to fame was wrestling Shawn Michaels on the very first Monday Night Raw in 1993. By the way, that costume cost about $1,300 to make. The leather was equipped with electronics and pyrotechnic gun.

Sunny
Courtesy: WWE
Sunny has had her ups and downs in the wrestling world. But it's hard to ignore her contribution to the business. When the internet was born, so was Sunny's stardom. She held the distinction of being AOL's most downloaded woman of 1996. Sunny helped blaze the trail for other women in the business. Yes, she's had some controversial moments through the years, but the Hall of Famer made a difference in the business.

The Heavenly Bodies, Jimmy Del Ray, Jim Cornette & Tom Prichard
Courtesy: WWE
Another 90s creation I'm highlighting today: The Heavenly Bodies. Stan Lane and Tom Pritchard are the originals for this team. Jim Cornette was the force behind them at Smoky Mountain Wrestling. There have been several incarnations through the years and the team even ventured into WWE but Jimmy Del Rey had replaced Lane by then. The duo was good but never won the tag team gold, despite great matches with teams like the Rock 'n Roll Express, The Steiner Brothers and the Smoking Gunns. 

The Moondogs
Courtesy: WWE
Finally, the Moondogs get the nod in this Eclipse themed blog. Like the Heavenly Bodies, there have been several versions of the Moondogs. King and Rex were the originals and won the WWF tag-team titles in 1981. However, King left the company and was replaced by Spot. Eventually, the duo was used to put over other talents in the company. Their trademark tattered jeans and giant bones helped put them on the map too. 

These are the Eclipse related talents I came up with. Did I miss anyone? Comment here on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page.