Monday, October 30, 2017

Boo Blog: Best moments from The Funeral Parlor

Paul Bearer's Funeral Parlor
Courtesy: WWE

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

The Undertaker made his debut in the WWF at the Survivor Series in 1990. At that point, Brother Love was managing the Dead Man. A couple months later the world met Undertaker's new manager Paul Bearer. The partnership made complete sense and happened ironically on the Brother Love Show.

Not only did Paul Bearer replace Love as Undertaker's manager, but Bearer's Funeral Parlor segment soon replaced the Brother Love Show. The set for this segment was very elaborate. The casket, the eerie light and funeral music all added to the effect. Here are a few of my favorite moments from The Funeral Parlor.

During the spring of 1991, the Ultimate Warrior paid a visit to the Funeral Parlor. Bearer starts the segment off reminding fans of his open invitation to the mortuary. The Ultimate Warrior accepted the invite. Bearer unveiled a casket covered with the Warrior's trademark logo on it. As Warrior and Bearer argued, Undertaker appeared out of another nearby casket. Warrior was assaulted and eventually stuffed into his personalized casket.

The aftermath
Courtesy: WWE
Vince McMahon on commentary is selling the attack in true McMahon fashion. Officials tried in vain to get the casket open as McMahon, Roddy Piper and Randy Savage debated the fate of the Warrior. It took forever, but the casket finally got popped open and the Warrior was unconscious and the lining on the lid had been ripped to shreds. They actually showed CPR being performed and finally, Warrior came to again. 

This attack led to a series of matches between Undertaker and Ultimate Warrior, but the big payoff never really happened. You may remember Warrior fled WWF right after SummerSlam that year and by the time he returned at WrestleMania 8, Undertaker was a good guy. In my fantasy booking mind, I had Undertaker teaming with Sgt. Slaughter and Col. Mustafa against Hulk Hogan and Warrior in the main event, subbing Taker in for Gen. Adnan. Additional fun fact, according to Bruce Prichard, Warrior did not go when officials shopped for the coffin and Road Warrior Hawk was used as the stand-in for the purchase.

Jake, Paul and Undertaker
Courtesy: WWE
Undertaker, Bearer and Jake "The Snake" Roberts had a partnership at one point. But that relationship soured when Jake tried to attack Savage and Elizabeth after a Saturday Night's Main Event. Shortly after that Jake called out Undertaker, locked the urn and Taker's hand inside a casket and then DDT'd Bearer. Jake used a chair on Undertaker until the Dead Man mustered the strength to drag the coffin behind him and chase the Snake away. 

The segment took us to WrestleMania 8 as I mentioned above, where Undertaker beat Roberts. This move solidified Undertaker as a babyface and Jake was soon gone from the WWF. Jake had been on the Funeral Parlor a handful of times before but this was the most memorable and set up the turn for both Bearer and Undertaker.

The Hulkster's visit
Courtesy: WWE
Months after the Ultimate Warrior incident, WWF Champion Hulk Hogan was asked to be on the Funeral Parlor. He was preparing to defend the title against Undertaker at Survivor Series 1991. Before Hogan could even talk, Ric Flair arrived on the scene and the two engaged in a war of words. Just like he did to Warrior, Undertaker came out of a casket and nailed the champ from behind with an urn. He and Flair then put the boots to Hulkster.

Savage & Piper with the save
Courtesy: WWE
In a surprise move, two of Hogan's biggest rivals of all-time, Piper and Savage left commentary with chairs and chased off the heels. Hogan's trademark gold cross was ripped from his neck during the segment too. Days later, Flair would help Undertaker win his first WWF Championship as Hogan lost the "Gravest Challenge." 

Those are just a few of my favorite moments from the Funeral Parlor. Bearer did a great job with the segment and helped tell many memorable stories. What were your favorite memories of this feature?

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Boo Blog: Stride Pro Wrestling's Halloween Havoc

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


Halloween Havoc is the one pay per view event I wish WWE would bring back. You'll hear more about that on Monday's My 1-BOO-3 Cents the podcast. But for today, I'm putting together the talent on the Stride Pro Wrestling roster to come up with a Halloween-themed event. Past stars are also part of my fantasy booking for this event.

Roger Matheus is brutal
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Roger Matheus defends the Stride Pro Wrestling Championship in a Monster's Ball match against Bull Bronson. These two are similar in size and would inflict a great deal of pain on each other. Matheus recently competed against Abyss in a Monster's Ball match and Bronson has won a Death Match tournament in the past.

Legacy Champion Tony Flood defends against Curly. These two had a feud brewing in the early days of Stride, but we never saw an end to the story. 

Ladder match for the number one contendership to the Legacy Championship: Arron Brooks vs. Jay Spade vs. Joey O'Riley vs. JD Wilk vs. Cash Borden vs. Brandon Espinosa vs. Jerry Travelstead. Air traffic control will need to be called in for this match.

Hatton vs. Eads
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
Heath Hatton takes on Daniel Eads in a Last Man Standing match. Two guys will great history too. I've had a chance to see them face each other before. Tons of potential with a match in front of Stride fans.

"Farmer" Billy Hills takes on former Impact Wrestling Champion "Cowboy" James Storm in a Texas Bullrope match. Storm was a special guest at a show earlier this year and is just the right person to knock some sense into Farmer.

Maximum Overdrive puts the Stride Pro Wrestling tag team titles up against Dexter Roswell and Brian Richards. Manager of both teams, J. Wellington Beauregard will be suspended above the ring in a shark cage.

Hargas vs. Daniels
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Red Daniels battles Chris Hargas in a best two out of three falls match. Fall one is a casket match. Fall two is a buried alive match and fall three, if needed is a Hell in a Cell match. Red and Chris have the best rivalry going today. That's why I made the match three different ones and yes, it would go to the third fall.

Sarah Summers takes on Marni Gras. 

"The Hitman" Jake Capone battles Frank Wyatt.

Jose Magnifico faces Nathan Bragg in a Pinata on a Pole match. The first man to bust the pinata over his opponent's head wins the match. 

Join us this Saturday, Nov. 4 for the next Stride Pro Wrestling event.  Your favorites will be on hand, including Hatton, Daniels and Matheus. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Boo Blog: Ghosts from Stride's past

Courtesy: Steve Belcher
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Pro wrestling is filled with unique and interesting characters. Some of the men and women wrestle as themselves, just with an amped up personality. Others don costumes and personas to entertain fans. Stride Pro Wrestling has seen some great Halloweenish performers over the past 18 months.

Cash Borden
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
Cash Borden is probably the most notable. He and Stride recently parted ways, but the 'Undead Outlaw" has a big love for all things horror. His hometown changed from time to time, including Haddonfield, Illinois. For those who don't know that's the hometown of Michael Myers in the Halloween movies. 

Damage Inc.
Damage Inc. included several members. But two of the scariest was "Homicidal" Steven Davis and Frank Wyatt. This duo was cold and calculating in the ring. There disregard for anyone in their way and the wisdom of J. Wellington Beauregard landed the duo the Stride Pro Wrestling tag team championships. They're the company's first tag team champions and proof that monsters do indeed live among us.

String Bean in action
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
String Bean was only with Stride for a cup of coffee but he made an impression. He weighed in at about 150 cans of green beans and was fresh from the field. String Bean was popular with fans. He battled Tony Flood at one show and was part of a battle royal at another. If memory serves, String Bean got snapped and was never seen from again.

In eight days Stride Pro Wrestling returns to the Illinois Star Centre Mall in Marion. The action kicks off at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4. We'll see you there.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Boo Blog: Many faces of Ultimate Warrior

John Okerson from Team RWB honoring vets & the Ultimate Warrior
Courtesy: Cpar Photography
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

It's hard to believe but 30 years ago this week the Ultimate Warrior made his debut on WWF television. I knew it was going to happen as back then our "spoilers" for such things happened in the form of the Apter magazines. The Dingo Warrior had left World Class Championship Wrestling where he was already a big name for the WWF. As is the case most of the time, the rocket of Superstardom was strapped on his back and the Ultimate Warrior became a mega Superstar.

Back then I'd still define myself as a Hulkamaniac, although I appreciated the intensity and the passion the Ultimate Warrior showed us. Even though I was a huge fan of the Honky Tonk Man, I admit I did mark out when Warrior surprised HTM and beat him for the Intercontinental Championship in 31 seconds at the first SummerSlam.

Monday Night Raw
April 7, 2014
I consider myself fortunate to not only witness Warrior be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in person but also his famous promo on Monday Night Raw that same weekend. Little did we know at the time of his passionate and heartfelt speech that it would be the last time we'd see him. I often wonder what role he'd have with the company today had we not lost him. But the memories keep us going and today I'm looking at a few Warrior fans who have honored the man through the years.

John Okerson rowing
Courtesy: John Okerson
Just recently a friend of mine, John Okerson, posted the above photo on Facebook. John is a veteran and the Chapter Captain of the Marion, Illinois chapter of Team Red, White, and Blue. Just like the Warrior, John has an energy about him that is contagious to others. He donned the makeup and a wig as part of a rowing competition for Team RWB. After he posted the pic, he explained Warrior was his favorite. Makes sense to me.
The Grand Wizard, Ultimate Warrior and Freddy Blassie
In 2013 while attending WWE Axxess during WrestleMania weekend in New Jersey, Chad and I found an Ultimate Warrior fan. We do cosplay each year we attend, but neither of us ventures into characters that show off too much body because we're a couple of doughy middle-aged guys. But as you can see this guy pulled off the act pretty well.

My tributes to Warrior
Last summer I did try it myself, donning Warrior paint and wig for an episode of Craftbeericans. I reviewed a craft beer called Top Rope IPA and did my best at paying homage to the man from Parts Unknown. Weeks after Warrior died I painted an Easter egg in his memory too. A couple winters ago I also made a mini-Warrior snowman. Share your Warrior memories and photos here. And remember, Always believe!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Boo Blog: Halloween Havoc: King of WCW PPV

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

My mind is blown as I write this blog. On the Halloween Havoc 97 episode of What Happened When with Tony Schiavone, he made the statement that Halloween Havoc was a bigger event for WCW than Starrcade. I found this hard to believe. For more than 30 years I've compared Starrcade to the WWE's WrestleMania event. Havoc I would have ranked third or fourth, putting it more in line with Royal Rumble or Survivor Series.

But boy was I wrong. I hopped online and did some research, pulling buy rate numbers that had been listed on several websites, so I'm not comparing apples to oranges, at least I don't think I am. Of the 12 years that Halloween Havoc and Starrcade ran, Havoc actually won the buy rate battle. Six times fans chose Havoc over Starrcade. Five times Starrcade won and in 1990 it was a tie. That was an interesting year because Ric Flair was no longer champion or challenger at either event. I know he was technically in the main event at Starrcade as the Black Scorpion, but you get my point. 

The biggest difference in events was in 1997 (assuming I've done my math right). Starrcade that year earned a 1.90 to Halloween Havoc's 1.10. The difference: Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper was the main event of Havoc, while Starrcade saw the much-anticipated return of Sting as he faced Hogan. 

When Havoc debuted in 1989, the event had a 1.77 to Starrcade's 1.30. Not only was the event new, but that was the year they tweaked Starrcade for the first time and went with the Iron Man and Iron Team Tournament. Those were the only matches on the card, featuring Sting, Flair, Lex Luger, The Great Muta, The Road Warriors, The Steiner Brothers, Doom and The Wild Samons. I actually loved the concept, but in my 1-2-3 cents it probably hurt the company's biggest event of the year. 

There could be a few things that hurt Starrcade with the fans. WWF in 1987 introduced Survivor Series on the same night (Thanksgiving). This lead to Crockett Promotions to moving its event to December the following year after five years of happening on Thanksgiving night. The two years the event went without Flair, they changed it to Battle Bowl: Lethal Lottery. That was an idea that sounded good but was poorly executed.

While Havoc didn't necessarily dominate Starrcade in any particular year, as I just sit and think of the past events for each, the Havoc main events stand out more to me. I credit that to the silliness tied in with the event, but they could get away with that because of the Halloween theme. Between Spin the Wheel Make the Deal in '92, Southern Fried Abby in '91 and the "death by Monster Truck" by the Giant followed up by the debut of the Yeti in '95 it's hard to deny the pay per view's impact on the business.

It's still hard for me to consider that Halloween Havoc was more over than Starrcade. But I get it. It just took nearly two decades for it to finally sink in and accept. This further leads to my desire to see Halloween Havoc as a WWE event.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Boo Blog: Piper scares Hogan and me

Roddy Piper's WCW debut
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

In 1996 the Monday Night Wars were in full effect. Despite the fact that they were losing, I was all in with the WWF. Of course, I was a wrestling fan and watched both companies. But when I had to choose, I always went with Vince McMahon and company. But on a Sunday night in October 1996 I was listening to the Halloween Havoc pay per view. Back then you could hear, but not see PPV via 'scramble vision' on cable. It's probably highly unethical, but I was a poor 24-year-old saving up for a wedding.

Hulk Hogan had just beaten "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the main event. As a newly turned heel, Hogan celebrated in the ring with other nWo members. Hollywood Hogan taunted the crowd and sang his own praises. Then all the sudden the familiar bagpipes hit. My attention was immediately focused on the TV as the image scrambled in and out. But there was no doubt "Rowdy" Roddy Piper was the latest WWF Superstar to defect to WCW.

Piper confronts Hogan
Courtesy: WWE
Hogan of course sold the arrival like a champ. He looked as if Piper had just risen from the dead and had come to Halloween Havoc to haunt Hogan. The rivalry from 11 years prior was about to get a second life. Piper ripped Hogan to shreds on the mic and the two engaged in a year long feud that culminated at the following Havoc, with Piper winning in a non-title cage match. 

As I mentioned, I was all-in for WWF so Piper's arrival shocked me. I don't recall this one being spoiled by the internet. But the move also really disappointed me. I loved Hot Rod and just months earlier he had battled Goldust at WrestleMania 12. I figured when he had stopped appearing he was on another one of his sabbaticals from the company and would eventually be back. Eventually he was, but he spent a big chunk of his career with WCW.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Halloween gets hardcore

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

WCW had the market in October when it came to big events. Halloween Havoc is the one pay per view I wish WWE would bring back and make its own. I loved the cheesier side of the event. Southern Fried Abdullah the Butcher is still probably my favorite Havoc memory. 

Tonight (Oct. 21) wrestling fans in southeast Missouri, southern Illinois and western Kentucky can get a taste of the holiday with CCW Hardcore Halloween. Cape Championship Wrestling is headed to the National Guard Armory in Sikeston, Missouri. The usual favorites will be on hand, with Austin Lane defending the CCW Championship against Farmer Billy Hills, Marni Gras defends the CCW Women's Championship against Sarah Summers and Marko Stunt. The tag titles are on the line too as The Pinnacle battles The LA Hustlers. Plus Sexy Sarge will get a "sexy" surprise fro Pinnacle manager Jeff O'Dell. 

But what makes this Halloween a hardcore one is the fact that TNA Impact Wrestling's Monster Abyss is being unleashed on CCW. The big man is coming to town and facing Roger Matheus in a Monster's Ball Match. This will be everything you'd expect. I know Matheus from being in Stride Pro Wrestling. He's tougher than a two dollar steak. I can't imagine him being intimidated or backing down from anyone. However, Abyss lives up to that moniker of "The Monster". 

It's going to be a great night of action. I'm sorry I won't be there, but I'll look forward to the recap on Pro Wrestling Unscripted on the Podzilla 1985 podcast network.  

TLC: Totally (Il)logical Changes

Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

It’s been quite some time since I last submitted a blog here on the mighty My 1-2-3 Cents website. I think the last time I wrote something fans still liked Roman Reigns. Let's see if I can remember how to be snarky and cynical. Speaking of cynical, be sure to listen to my podcast Positive Cynicism. Available on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network and on iTunes. Back to the blog. 

On  Friday (10/20/2017) WWE announced that due to health reasons Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns were pulled from the TLC network special. WWE also announced AJ Styles would replace Bray in a match against “The Demon” Finn Balor while Kurt Angle would wrestle his first match in WWE in over ten years filling in for Roman Reigns in the Shield vs. The StrauKane Bar-Mizvah 5-3 TLC match. On paper these changes garner excitement. In reality, they show WWE’s lack of coherent storytelling and lazy booking of creating specific highlight clips rather than organic moments. 

I guess I should explain why I’m being critical of these changes. WWE is not an independent promotion doing a spot show every month focusing more on putting on good matches than ongoing storylines. WWE has weekly episodic television. Whatever happens Sunday should play off of what has happened over the previous weeks and lead into what’s going to happen the next night on Monday Night Raw. So yes, putting AJ Styles and Kurt Angle into matches makes sense if Sunday’s show was a house show and WWE wanted to give fans suitable replacements to get their money’s worth. As a televised event, the changes make little to no sense.

Die-hard wrestling fans know AJ Styles and Prince Devitt (Finn Balor’s pre-WWE name) were members of the super popular (and IMO, super douchey) New Japan faction The Bullet Club. Seeing two former Club members wrestle each other has been a dream match since AJ Styles debuted in WWE at Royal Rumble 2016. For non-New Japan fans or fans who don’t know the history of AJ and Finn, what interest is there in seeing the two wrestle? I’m not taking anything from the talent of the two wrestlers as this match could have the potential to be the match of the night. Looking at the matchup from a logical (and longtime readers know Kevin and I often complain about the lack of logic in wrestling) standpoint, I fail to see a storyline reason for this match.

TLC is a RAW brand show. AJ Styles is a Smackdown superstar. So far in the 18-month redo of the brand split, WWE has done a pretty decent job of keeping the brands separate on non-co-branded shows. Why has Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan allowed to let AJ Styles wrestle for RAW? What storyline reason does AJ have to wrestle Finn? WWE is still promoting Finn’s alter ego, “The Demon” for this match. Why would “The Demon” come out to wrestle AJ? What will happen after Sunday when AJ goes back to Smackdown? What is the longterm, or since the next show is the co-branded Survivor Series, what is the short-term booking fallout here? 

WWE could surprise fans and have Finn win with assistance from Bullet Club alumni Gallows and Anderson and we see the official formation of the Balor Club. While not an original idea, it would at least make a little bit of sense given the history of the four wrestlers. In reality, once Bray Wyatt was pulled off the show, Finn Balor should also have been pulled and a replacement match of Elias vs. Matt Hardy should have been added to the show. 

In an even bigger head-scratcher, RAW General Manager Kurt Angle is in a match where he has no major issue, other than general annoyance, with anyone on the opposing team. General Managers wrestling isn’t anything new. Especially since most General Managers have been former wrestlers. However, their matches usually are the culmination of weeks of building verbal and physical altercations. Two weeks prior to TLC at Hell In A Cell, Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon fought Kevin Owens after Owens had insulted Shane and physically assaulted Shane’s dad, WWE Owner Vince McMahon.  

Kurt Angle, on the other hand, has not had any major altercation with The Miz, the Bar (Sheamus and Cessaro), Braun Strowman or “The Original Demon” Kane. So why is Angle in the match? Also, since this is Angle’s first WWE match in a decade wouldn’t they want to have more than 48 hours to promote his return? I’m predicting something happens to Angle during the show and he is replaced by his “son” Jason Jordan in the match. Promote Angle to garner interest, insert Jordan to save Angle’s return for a bigger occasion. 

Surprisingly, Kurt Angle’s return isn’t the most illogical aspect of this match.  The main event of the TLC show is a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match that unlike every other TLC match has nothing hanging above the ring the competitors have to use a ladder to retrieve. It’s also a 5 on 3 match where all wrestlers fight at the same time negating any needs for tags. A 5 on 3 non-tagging, non-ladder tag team ladder match.  It’s almost like having a falls count anywhere cage match…oh, wait.  

Back to the involvement of Kurt Angle. Since Angle is the Raw GM, how does he show up Monday night on RAW and claim to be an impartial authority figure since he wasn’t forced into a much? If I were The Miz, I would have the WWE board of directors on speed dial and get an answer to this question. 

While I may not think the storytelling of these two matches makes sense, the matches along with the rest of the show do look good on paper. I will be watching and will be curious to see where WWE goes next. 

Don’t forget, a new episode of My 1-2-3 Cents the podcast drops every Monday.  And new episodes of Positive Cyncism drop usually on Tuesdays when I can find someone to talk to me for an hour. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Fun Fact Friday: Dexter Roswell

Dexter Roswell and his DR Party
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Ten months ago, Dexter Roswell emerged on the independent wrestling scene, vowing to "Make Stride great again." So far, he's doing a pretty good job at it. Fans love to hate the political turned wrestler from Springfield. His entourage has grown and he's now under the management of J. Wellington Beauregard. So with all that to consider, I thought it was time to feature Mr. Roswell in a Fun Fact Friday piece.

DR Party supporters
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
1. He enjoys Sudoku puzzles. He calls them a challenge to his brain instead of "mindlessly wasting my time and energy like most people in southern Illinois." (Again, his words, not mine.)

2. Dexter Roswell has sectoral heterochromia. What's that you ask? Well, a portion of his right eye is a different color than the rest of the eye. I've known people with two different color eyes, but nothing quite like this. I'm going to have to get a closer look when I see him on Saturday, November 4.

Dexter and his paddle with Jerry Travelstead
3. This should be no surprise. Mr. Roswell owns an extensive collection of what he calls lavish ties. He also gets into the ring with the neckwear and has been known to use a tie to his advantage from time to time. 

Courtesy: Steve Belcher
And for the first time ever, Mr. Roswell is offering up a bonus for you. He enjoys taking risks occasionally (which explains why he messed with Heath Hatton recently) and like to swing on the SkyCoaster over the Royal Gorge in Colorado.

Happening on November 4, Roswell and his right-hand man, Brian Richards get a shot against Stride Pro Wrestling tag team champions Maximum Overdrive. Can the politician and his bodyguard win gold for the first time? Join us starting at 6:30 that night and find out.