Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Positive rumblings

It's Samoa Joe!
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

A lot of wrestling fans, myself included, have done some complaining on social media about the outcome of the WWE Royal Rumble. Last year I vowed to be more positive in my postings, but there are times I don't necessarily like the outcomes of events and a snarky or negative post gets made. Episode 115 of the podcast this week, Chad and I voice our concerns with the current landscape leading up to WrestleMania. But that's the past and now a few positive notes from the Rumble and the Raw after.

Neville
Courtesy: WWE
1. Neville is the new Cruiserweight Champion. For weeks Neville has been the self-anointed "King of the Cruiserweights" and that destiny was fulfilled Sunday night. Neville beat Rich Swann in a great match. I have been a fan of "the King" since before he signed with WWE, so naturally, his title win is awesome. My hope is his involvement in the division will draw more interest to the 205 contenders.

Owens flyin' high
Courtesy: WWE
2. Roman Reigns didn't win the Universal Championship. I understand this is negative, and maybe I should say Kevin Owens retained the title. I don't dislike Reigns, but I don't think he's ready to be at the top of the hill again. I want to see the Owens-Chris Jericho angle play out.

Rollins gets mugged
Courtesy: WWE
3. Samoa Joe appears to be on the main roster. I popped as I scrolled through my social media feed Tuesday morning (I go to bed before Raw ends) and saw pics of Joe destroying Seth Rollins. Throw in the "Holy shit!" chant from the fans and my day was made. It's not that I dislike Rollins, I'm just glad to see Joe on the main roster. And yes, I'm the guy 10 years ago who referred to Joe as "Rikishi 2.0". I'm an ass, I know.

There are plenty of things to complain about in wrestling (and in life), but taking a look at the glass being half full is what's best for my business. 
 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Shouldering the title

Jericho & KO "shouldering" their belts
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Spoiler alert: I'm going to sound like an old man wanting to get the kids off his lawn... But as an old school fan, I wanted to speak on this issue and see what other fans think.

Courtesy: WWE
During the Royal Rumble preshow (I think, it was a long night after all) Renee Young made a remark about a championship belt going on someone's shoulder. I really don't remember who she was referencing, but the point of the story is the belt going over the champion's shoulder. I'll be honest, I don't like it. I'm not picking on any particular Superstar because I know this has been a trend in wrestling for years. 

Umaga
Courtesy: WWE
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Rock and pretty much everyone in the modern era puts the belt on their shoulder or "drags" it to the ring. Umaga carried the Intercontinental belt in his mouth, which fit his character. Undertaker wore the belt around his neck. And of course Yokozuna was too big for the title to go around his waist, so he shouldered it.

Hulkster
Courtesy: WWE
Ric Flair
Courtesy: WWE
But I do miss the days when a champion wore the belt around his or her waist. There's something more professional looking about this. I get that "belts are props", but the presentation of those titles still matters to me. I know there are cases when old school guys shouldered their belts too. This is something minute in the grand scheme of things, but it wasn't until Renee's comment during the Rumble that made me wonder if WWE is programming us to get used to this trend... 

Closest I'll come to being a champ
I'll never be a champion, but if I were to win the gold, you'd see me wearing it to the ring like the photo above. Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Laughing, singing and dancing for a good cause

A man and his dummy
Courtesy: Tom Harness
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter


For the last four years, I've had the honor of being a part of the Hospice of Southern Illinois Red Carpet Gala. It's the premier event of the year here in southern Illinois. It's a fundraiser that features the talents of men and women from around the region and me. More than a thousand people attend the gala, which raises money for Hospice of Southern Illinois.



The first year I was the biker from the Village People and we danced the YMCA on stage. A year later I was a member of the Four Seasons and provided backup vocals and dancing to our "Frankie Valli". After two years of singing and dancing I was assigned a comedy routine and took on the role of Bill Engvall from the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. 

The 2017 theme was Great Performances from the Big Apple and our group was cut in half. It was just me and Les O'Dell as we continued the comedy tradition. This time it was Jeff Dunham and Walter. Les transformed himself into the "dummy" Walter perfectly. We were the only comedy act this year, so I dubbed us the best comedy performance of the night. 

Mr. Worldwide & his crew
Courtesy: Deb Payne
There was so much talent on the stage this year. The performances included everyone from Frank Sinatra to Lady Gaga to Pitbull. Like I said, everyone was great on stage this year, but I have to give a shoutout to my buddy Tom Harness who played Pitbull. He and his team from Harness Digital Marketing knocked it out of the park. Tom was extremely nervous beforehand and I'm proud of him for stepping outside his comfort zone and getting on stage.

Thank you to the many volunteers who made the night a success as well as to the people who came out to watch and support such a great cause. Word can't explain how grateful I am for the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #1 Warrior gets royally screwed

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

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

The Ultimate Warrior had a great year in 1990. He won the WWF Championship while still holding the Intercontinental title. He had successful defenses against the likes of Ted DiBiase, Rick Rude and Mr. Perfect. So when it was announced he'd be facing American patriot turned Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter at the Royal Rumble, I figured he'd add another successful defense to his resume.

Warrior vs. Slaughter
Courtesy: WWE
I was wrong. In my 17-year-old mind, Warrior would steamroll over Slaughter and face Hulk Hogan in a rematch for the title at WrestleMania VII and Hogan would get "his" belt back. I was working that night and my friend who watched the Rumble called me when I got home and broke the news. I could not believe Slaughter was the champion.

Courtesy: WWE
Now 25+ years later I better understand the reasoning for putting the belt on Sarge and taking it off Warrior. We all know by now that "Macho King" Randy Savage attacked Warrior during the match and ended it by slamming Warrior in the head with his royal scepter. The two had been going back and forth with each leading up to the Rumble match. It made perfect sense for Savage to get involved.

WrestleMania VII
Courtesy: WWE
I picked this as my favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble match because it was a total shock to me. There was no internet to spoil things or speculate on storylines. And Savage's interference led to what remains my favorite WrestleMania match of all time, Warrior vs. Savage. The buildup to it, the execution of it and the aftermath of it still holds up 26 years later. Hogan got to beat the anti-American villain and fans celebrated as their two heroes were still on top, but with the Hulkster as champ. 


10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches
3. Mankind get ROCKED
2. Dustin's golden opportunity

Friday, January 27, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #2 Dustin's Golden Opportunity


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

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

In 1991, Dustin Rhodes made his Royal Rumble debut. He and his father, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes teamed up to take on "The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase and Virgil. The father-son duo lost and both soon department WWF and went to WCW. Fast forward five years later and Dustin's alter ego Goldust received a golden opportunity

Goldust had actually debuted in fall 1995 and was the polar opposite of "The Natural" character Dustin had perfected in Atlanta. Goldust was a character way ahead of his time and paved the way for the infamous Attitude Era. Goldust entered into a war of words and love notes with Intercontinental Champion Razor Ramon. That brewing battle came to a head at the '96 Rumble.


Full disclosure, Goldust is one of my favorite gimmicks of all time. Dustin jumpstarted his career with the character and changed the face of wrestling at the same time. When he headed to the ring that night, he was joined by a beautiful woman in a golden dress and carrying cigar. We'd later learn her name was Marlena. She was Dustin's real life wife who had played Alexandra York in WCW. By the way, Terri was the guest on the one-year anniversary show of My 1-2-3 Cents the podcast and you can listen to the backstory here.


Underneath the wig and makeup, of course, is an amazing wrestler. Goldust and Ramon had a great match which saw some distractions from Marlena and interference from the 1-2-3 Kid who had recently turned his back on Ramon. I celebrated the victory as I watched live in my apartment one month removed from graduating college. I had just bought a computer and this was my first event with internet access. I talked about the victory with other AOL chatters and in rec.sports.wrestling.

I wish Goldust's run as champion would have lasted longer. He ended up battling "Rowdy" Roddy Piper in a Hollywood Backlot Brawl at WrestleMania 12 a couple months later. The title wasn't on the line. The championship was vacated after an indecision with Savio Vega, but he recaptured shortly after that and lost it to Ahmed Johnson at the King of the Ring in summer 1996.

Despite that, the chase and the title win is one of my favorite moments from Dustin's career and obviously my second favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble match. I really will remember the name... Gooooollllduuuussssttt!


10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches
3. Mankind get ROCKED


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #3 Mankind gets ROCKED



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

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

In early 1999 you needed to pay close attention to know who the WWF Champion was. The Rock won the belt at the 1998 Survivor Series by turning heel and joining Vince McMahon's Corporation. It was a switcheroo of sorts with former corporate Superstar Mankind. Fans were quick to cheer the underdog as he did battle against the WWF's first third-generation Superstar. 

Rock dropped the title to Mankind on the first Raw of the year. This was the infamous recorded show that Tony Schiavone spoiled on a live edition of WCW Nitro. Fans changed the channel in droves to see Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy win the gold. That victory led the way for a brutal "I Quit" match at the 1999 Royal Rumble. 

Chairshot
Courtesy: WWE
Pardon my language, but the Rock beat the shit out of Mankind at the event, nailing the hardcore icon with 11 chair shots, some with Foley's hands handcuffed behind his back and no way to "protect" himself. Mankind "quit" the match after being knocked unconscious. But it turns out the Corporation had used a recording of Foley saying "I quit" in a previous promo and played it over the speakers.

With doubt hanging in the air, Mankind got a rematch and won the title back at Halftime Heat. He would lose it back to the Rock and set up the continuation of The Great One's feud with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

Mankind "quits"
Courtesy: WWE
While I wasn't a huge fan of the brutality of the match, I did rank it high because of my fandom for both men and the impact it had on wrestling at that time. We'd not seen an "I Quit" match end in this manner, so it gets bonus points for creativity in my book. And helped cement Foley as an upper tier Superstar. 


10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #4 Great Scot! Piper wins

Hot Rod wins
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

"Rowdy" Roddy Piper had been a part of the WWF for years, but never won any kind of gold during his run. That all changed at the 1992 Royal Rumble. Bret Hart, sick with a high fever, lost the Intercontinental Championship to The Mountie on the Friday before the Rumble. After the win, The Mountie beat on Hart with the belt until Hot Rod came to the rescue. But his good deed was rewarded with a sneak attack by the new champ. Piper fought back and challenged The Mountie 48 hours later.

Rewatching this, makes me miss wrestling from the 'good ole days.' Piper's promo was on par as he vowed to walk out of the arena with two titles, the IC and World championships. Hot Rod was in the Royal Rumble as well. The winner of that match would be crowned champ.

Sleeper hold
Courtesy: WWE
The match itself was far from a technical masterpiece. Piper starts off early brawling with Mountie and the two spill onto the floor. Once back inside it's a classic Piper match complete with an eye gauge and the sleeper hold for the finish. Piper's face after winning the match tells the story. There's a look of complete and genuine satisfaction as he holds up the championship belt. It's one of my favorite Hot Rod memories.

He held the IC title until WrestleMania where he lost it to Hart. The match was a classic and Piper wouldn't hold WWE gold again until he and Ric Flair won the tag team titles from the Spirit Squad.


10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #5 Rollins arrives

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

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

The Shield made a huge impact on WWE in late 2012. The trio of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins didn't take long dominate the company. They won countless six-man encounters and were quick to capture gold as Rollins and Reigns winning the tag team titles and Ambrose picking up the U.S. Title. However, the honeymoon ended in mid-2014 and Rollins turned bad and joined the Authority.

He picked up a key victory by winning the Money in the Bank briefcase, guaranteeing a shot at the WWE Championship. Most of the time when that happens, the challenger ends up with the title, so it was just a matter of time for Rollins. 

Triple Threat
Courtesy: WWE
But by the time the 2015 Royal Rumble rolled around, he was still hovering over the line between main eventer and mid-card. He got himself booked into a triple threat match against then-champion Brock Lesnar and WWE poster child John Cena. Even though Rollins had the briefcase, I was skeptical about his involvement in this match. He was in there against the two biggest names in the company at that time. 

Elbow drop
Courtesy: WWE
As the match progressed, though, Rollins proved to the world that he did indeed belong in the World title picture. His showing was more than impressive and many agree that night is what made Rollins a SUPER Superstar. He was great before even stepping foot in a WWE ring, but the 2015 Royal Rumble cemented his legacy.

Two months later he cashed in that briefcase at WrestleMania (a WWE first) and became the champ. It was a creative way of getting the title off Lesnar without making Lesnar "lose" in the ring. Seth's run was cut short due to injury. Once he gets past the feud with Triple H, I suspect Rollins is due for some kind of championship gold in 2017.

10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #6 Co-owners Collide

Co-owners collide
Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

In late 2001 Ric Flair returned to the WWF, but not as a Superstar. Instead, Naitch announced to Vince McMahon that he had bought half the company from the McMahon children. This announcement created a war of words between the two legends and culminated in a street fight at the 2002 Royal Rumble. 

Each man had been WWF Champion (remember Vince's brief run in 1999) and won the Royal Rumble match (Flair in '92 and McMahon in '99.) Obviously, though Flair's accolades in the ring outshine McMahon's. But to his credit, Vince was 56 years old and jacked. Jerry Lawler even mentioned McMahon had muscles in places that Flair doesn't even have places.

Let's take a selfie
Courtesy: WWE
The crowd was hot for this match as two of Flair's children (Megan and Reid) watched from ringside. I picked this match for the countdown because I've always loved Ric Flair. I believe this marked Flair's return to the ring after the closure of WCW nearly a year earlier. (Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that fact.) It also featured McMahon taking a selfie with a blood Flair after taking the Flair kids' camera. This was long before the term selfie had been coined. 

Vince taps
Courtesy: WWE
Flair won this bloody battle, but McMahon would end up winning the war and sole ownership of the WWF a few months down the road. No, it wasn't a technical masterpiece, but considering their ages at the time of this match it was pretty damn awesome in my book. 

10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches
7. Daniel & The Giants 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Rumble Ramblings: #7 Daniel & the Giants

Daniel & the Giants
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents

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

Since the 2017 Royal Rumble is right around the corner, I've decided to countdown to this year's event with my 10 favorite non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches. 

In late 2011 Daniel Bryan took advantage of Mark Henry and the Big Show and cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase, winning his first World Championship. The odds were stacked against Bryan a short time later at the 2012 Royal Rumble as he defended the gold against both giants inside a steel cage. 


My son & I were there!
Unlike the previous matches I've chosen for this series of blogs, this one did not really advance to much of anything else after it was over. But I picked it because I'm a Daniel Bryan fan AND I was live in the crowd for this event with my 10 year old son. It was his first pay per view event and the first Royal Rumble I'd ever attended. This Rumble also marked the 25th anniversary for the event and featured the return of the inaugural winner "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, but I digress. I should also note this was the best incarnation of the Mark Henry character through his career. I was big fan of his championship run leading to this match.


Caught!
Courtesy: My 1-2-3 Cents
My son wanted Big Show to win, I wanted Bryan to retain, which is what happened. Bryan was heelish in the match, and in the closing moments broke up Big Show's pin attempt on Henry. Then he scaled to the top of the cage only to be captured by Show. The champ struggled to escape and Big Show grabbed him again. Eventually Bryan dropped to the arena floor and gloated with the big gold belt in his hands. 


Winner!
Courtesy: WWE
That may had been his most impressive win up until that point and only to be reinforced after he dropped the belt to the Rumble winner Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28. Obviously things would change in the coming years and Bryan would grow to be one of the most beloved Superstars of this era of wrestling.


10 Favorite Non-Rumble Royal Rumble matches

10. Super Posedown


9. Harts Broken


8. All fired up