Sunday, April 29, 2018

Welcome back, Hargas

Hargas made the Mt. Vernon newspaper

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter


I failed to mention it when it first happened, but I am reminded of it now. One of Stride Pro Wrestling most popular stars Chris Hargas is back. You may remember shortly after winning the Legacy Championship from Tony Flood in December 2017, Hargas suffered a back injury. He had to forfeit the title and took several months to recover.

On April 14, Hargas came back in full force to take on Brian Richards of the DR Party. Hargas picked up the win against the Party's 'enforcer'. This was one of Hargas' first matches since the injury in January, but he looked great. I talked with him briefly after his win and he says he's excited to be able to get back in the ring and perform in front of the great fans of Stride Pro Wrestling.

Hargas won the Legacy Title in December
Hargas will be a part of our next show coming up on Saturday, May 5. His match hasn't been announced yet, but I'd have to assume he has his eyes on current Legacy Champion Wraith. Hargas never lost the belt in the ring and should be considered a top contender for that title. He's worked hard in Stride Pro Wrestling (and beyond) to become one of the top talents in the indy world. I'd love to see him have another opportunity at gold here. 



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Saturday, April 28, 2018

Signing on the dotted line

Spade vs. Flood


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

One of the biggest rivalries going on right now in Stride Pro Wrestling is former friends and classmates Jay Spade and Tony Flood. The bad blood came to a boiling point after Flood won the Stride Rumble in February and earned the right at a championship match against Spade.

It was the first opportunity Flood had at the Stride Pro Wrestling Championship since night one when he competed in a fatal four-way against Ax Allwardt, Heath Hatton and Frank Wyatt for the belt. Spade retained in their first match. But Flood used a lead pipe to take out Spade and win the belt. His victory was shortlived and Spade became Stride's first two-time heavyweight champion on April 14. 


The bitterness between the two isn't over by a long shot. They are slated to end this feud inside a steel cage on Saturday, May 26 in Pinckneyville. But before we get there, the two must sign the contract. I know exactly what you're thinking because I'm thinking the same thing too. What's going to happen May 5 at the contract signing? Has there ever been a public contract signing go down in wrestling where something hasn't happened?


If you want to know you're going to have to join us this Saturday night. We'll be at Carterville Junior High School on Division Street in Carterville, Illinois. Bell time is 6:30 p.m. and plenty of action will be happening that night. See you then. 

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Friday, April 27, 2018

Stride Pro Wrestling returns May 5


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Stride Pro Wrestling returns to Carterville, Illinois on Saturday, May 5. Tickets are on sale now for the show, which is a fundraiser for Marion Youth Softball. This event is being held at Carterville Junior High (816 S. Division Street). It's the 'go-home show' prior to our big event, Stride Goes Steel in the 'Ville on May 26. 

Midwest Monster Hunters
Right now it's been confirmed there will be a tag team championship rematch. The Midwest Monster Hunters, Bo Sawyer & Jason Tiller upset Ax Allwardt and Heath Hatton during a fatal four-way match April 14 in Mt. Vernon. The interesting factor of that match was J. Wellington Beauregard helping the Monster Hunters win even after his team (the DR Party) was eliminated.

You can beat Ax and Heath will have nothing but revenge on their minds. The bad blood between the team and Beauregard is no doubt worse than it's ever been. I have no clue if J. Wells is hitching his wagon to the Monster Hunters, but with their obvious size and strength, he'd be well protected. 


There's no telling what other matches will happen on May 5. If you've been to any Stride Pro Wrestling shows lately or been following along here or on the podcast, you know chaos has ensued at most of those events. I'm excited to see what's next for everyone as we gear up for the all steel cage show Memorial Day weekend (again it's Saturday, May 26 at Pinckneyville High School.) 

If you want tickets for the May 5 show, be sure to check out the Stride Pro Wrestling Facebook page. You do not want to miss a show.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Greatest Royal Rumble?



By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

In just a few hours, WWE presents the Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabi. I'm not going to get into the anti-women sentiment that's coming out of that country. I think we're all on the same page with that. Instead, I'm going to talk about the actual match.

My work schedule would usually allow me to watch the event live on the WWE Network at 11 a.m., but I am working different hours Friday, so I'll be keeping up via Twitter and will watch the show later this weekend. Unlike some critics, I do not hate the idea of this match. I've always loved the Royal Rumble match. And adding 20 more Superstars shouldn't drag down the match. With the high profile Superstars being a part of it, in my 1-2-3 cents there will be plenty of opportunities to tell great stories throughout the course of the match.

Here are some quick predictions for the show:

Braun Strowman wins the Greatest Royal Rumble. 

I'd love to see Brock Lesnar retain the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns and start a feud with Bobby Lashley and eventually drop it to him. However, I won't be surprised if Reigns wins in Saudi and comes back here as champion.

I want to believe Undertaker is going to pass the torch to Rusev and the Bulgarian Brute will win their casket match.

Jeff Hardy retains against Jinder Mahal.

Bray Wyatt and "Woken" Matt Hardy will win the Raw Tag Team Championships.

John Cena and Triple H will end in a double DQ or double count out.

Now that Nakamura is a bad guy, I can get on board with him beating AJ Styles and we spend the summer with AJ in pursuit of the championship again. 

Seth Rollins will retain the IC Title in the ladder match against Samoa Joe, The Miz and Finn Balor.

Cedric Alexander keeps the Cruiserweight Championship against Kalisto. 

The Bludgeon Brothers will keep the tag team titles against the Usos. 

What are your thoughts? Weigh in here or on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page.



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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Instead of Diesel, how about Bulldog?

Bulldog vs. Diesel
Courtesy: WWE


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I'm starting a new feature here on the blog, looking at former heavyweight champs and offering up a different Superstar to hold that belt. In no way am I disrespecting the chosen wrestler, instead just wondering 'what if.'
For the first installment, why I would have rather seen British Bulldog as WWF Champion instead of Diesel.

Courtesy: WWE
This is the part where I contradict myself. I don't dislike Kevin Nash or Diesel, however, the character and the performer never resonated with me. I respect what he's done in the business. I appreciate the fact that he overcame a myriad of crappy gimmicks to achieve Legend status. I was shocked when he won the Intercontinental Championship from Razor Ramon in early 1994. I was amazed when he beat Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship in a matter of seconds later that year.

It was November 1994. Bret Hart had once again dropped the title, this time to Backlund. I personally would have liked to seen Bret hold the belt and have a long-term, meaningful run with the gold. Yes, I know it's all a work, but I can still have an opinion on what I wanted to see on my favorite wrestling programs. Since the plan was to obviously put the title on someone new and who was a good guy, I would have gone with Bulldog. (My bad guy pick is Owen Hart here). I had an internal debate between Bulldog and Ramon for this blog, but my favorite tag team of all-time is the British Bulldogs so that's why I went with Davey Boy Smith.

Courtesy: WWE
Ramon was still going back and forth with challengers for the IC title, trading it for years to come with Jeff Jarrett and Goldust. But Smith seemed lost for a period and ended up forming a tag team with Lex Luger. The two were impressive and I thought they'd end up finally dethroning Owen and Yokozuna for the tag team titles, but it never happened.

Courtesy: WWE
Imagine Bulldog winning the belt that night in Madison Square Garden from Backlund. He could have then gone on to defend it against contenders like Shawn Michaels, Diesel and Owen. (I would have kept Diesel a heel too). Bulldog's run could have lasted a year and culminated at Survivor Series 95 where he'd drop it back to Bret much like Diesel did. This would have given Bret a win after losing the IC title to Smith at Summer Slam 92 and still kept the plans in place for Michaels' rise to the top in 1996. 

This is obviously a quick look at what I would have liked to have seen. Look for future 'Instead Of' blogs. Let me know who you would have had to win the WWF Championship instead of Diesel. 


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Sunday, April 22, 2018

CCW's new GM

Hanging with CCW's new GM, Lane Austin 

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Saturday marked my fourth live indy wrestling show of the month, but the first that I just got to sit back and be a fan. My buddy Tom Harness and I headed to Cape Comic Con Saturday afternoon and then made our way to Cape Championship Wrestling. You can hear our thoughts on the show on Monday's My 1-2-3 Cents podcast (Episode 179).



Of course, there were plenty of great highlights from Supershow II, including Ace Hawkins and Jackson Crowley's match. The year-long feud ended in a blood and a high spot to top all high spots. Manager Jeff O'Dell lost his hair. Sarah Summers captured the CCW Women's Championship. Marco Stunt and Mikey won the CCW Tag Team Championships. And Austin Lane retained the CCW Heavyweight Title against ECW Legend Tommy Dreamer. Be sure to check out Pro Wrestling Unscripted this week and the crew there will highlight each match. 

Barry Karafa welcomes Lane as GM
Courtesy: Tom Harness
For me though, the best moment of the night was the announcement of a new general manager for CCW. Because of a prematch stipulation, Osby Tomlin is out as GM, which opened the door for a new authority figure. The powers that be at CCW picked a great man in my friend Lane Austin. The crowd popped at the news as Lane made his way to the ring. He promised changes are coming, I look forward to seeing what he has in store for the roster.

Me & Lane at CCW Supershow 1
Courtesy: Tom Harness
Regular readers here know Lane has had some ups and downs in recent weeks. Last month he was hospitalized with complications from his type 2 diabetes. The physicality of being a referee for both CCW and Stride Pro Wrestling has taken him out of the wrestling game until now. In my 1-2-3 cents, Lane will fulfill his duties as GM very well and I'm proud to see he's going to be able to continue to be a part of something he loves so dearly.


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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Hanging with the Hulk

Who flexes best?

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've had a lot of great opportunities come my way. The most recent was doing a sit-down live interview with Lou Ferrigno. He, of course, was the Incredible Hulk and Hercules. Lou is in town this weekend for the 13th annual Cape Comic Con at the Osage Centre in Cape Girardeau. 



The interview was a surreal moment because as we talked, I flashed back to the Incredible Hulk poster that hung in our playroom. It's Lou in the green body paint and ripped purple pants flexing. Never did I think in 1980-something I'd be sitting next to the man behind the gentle giant.



Earlier this week my buddy Tom Harness and I created a new interview show called 'Another Round with Tom & Kevin'. We do the show live on Facebook and then Tom converts the show into a podcast on the app Anchor. You can watch live and ask questions and that's just what people did during our show with Lou.



Our conversation before, during and after the interview was great. He was friendly and engaging and made two dorky dads feel like kings of the world. I found it interesting to hear the story of how even though he didn't talk during the Incredible Hulk, Lou was acting. I never thought of him having to know the motivation behind why David Banner was angered and what the character was reacting to. 


Lou in the makeup chair
The task of becoming the Hulk was arduous too. Lou was the first person on the set and the last to leave. It took three hours to get all that green paint on his massive body. He also told us he liked playing Hercules because he didn't have to wear paint and it showed off the definition of his muscles better.



These are just a few tidbits from our conversation. You can watch here. He stuck around and did an interview with me for the news too. Tom and I are thankful for both Lou giving up his time and delaying lunch to talk with us and Cape Comic Con organize Ken Murphy for helping set it all up. 


Friday, April 20, 2018

Tommy's dreaming of a championship win

Tommy Dreamer to battle Austin Lane


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Former ECW great and House of Hardcore founder Tommy Dreamer is headed to Cape Girardeau this weekend. He'll be facing the CCW (Cape Championship Wrestling) Heavyweight Champion Austin Lane. It's all a part of CCW's Super Show II event at the AC Brase Arena.


I love Super Show. It's the indy company's WrestleMania weekend and part of the annual Cape Comic Con. There will be CCW wrestlers and other guests on hand at Cape Con all weekend too. Tommy Dreamer will be on hand Saturday prior to his championship opportunity. 

Tommy Dreamer
The match poses an interesting scenario for CCW. If Dreamer wins the belt, he would likely take it out of the area and defend it in other areas, including his House of Hardcore show. That would give CCW nationwide exposure. It would also ensure future appearances by Dreamer who would have to come back to Cape and defend against the wrestlers on the current roster. But will the recent attitude change from 'The Best of the Best' Austin Lane translate to a victory in this high profile title defense? Personally, I wouldn't bet against him.

Delirious

CCW has also been working with Ring of Honor on some projects, including training sessions with the company's lead booker, Delirious. He's from the region originally and is coming back to help train men and women who want to pursue a career in the ring. 


MMA star turned pro wrestler Dan "The Beast" Severn will be on hand too. He is part of a special six-man tag team match and hopefully gives Roger Matheus a taste of his own medicine, but I digress. Severn will be sticking around and doing a dinner event called 'Feast with the Beast' at the Isle of Capri Casino Sunday night. 

This is just a sample of what you'll see this weekend with Cape Con and CCW. Click here for all the action.




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Thursday, April 19, 2018

WWE shakes things up


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The 2018 WWE Superstar Shakeup is in the books. I'm not going to analyze each move (which you can see here), but I will comment on a few things that stand out to me. Many online say it looks like SmackDown Live got the upper hand in the changes. I tend to agree with that, but believe the moves could jumpstart the careers of several Superstars on their respective shows.


Courtesy: WWE
I like that most tag teams and other factions are staying together. However, the split of Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable disappoints me. The duo was one of my favorites on the SmackDown Live roster. This, of course, could lead to a reuniting with Jason Jordan who is out with an injury. Let's face it, the tag team scene needs help, even with the Shakeup

I know Maria Kanellis just had a baby. I have no idea what the future holds for her. I do hope she returns to Raw with her husband Mike. Without her, the concept of Mike Kanellis doesn't make a whole lot of sense. 


Courtesy: WWE
Miz moving to SmackDown Live will be good as he and Daniel Bryan have natural chemistry. I would still like to see Miz with some sort of backup. The Miztourage is staying on Raw, which concerns me about the futures of Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas. I hope Maryse is able to rejoin her man on the blue brand down the road too.

NXT call-ups are great. Several new talents from that roster will be appearing on both Raw and SmackDown Live. But the reality is, sometimes these new faces and names get lost in the shuffle. Let's face it, what works in NXT doesn't always translate well on the main roster (see Bo Dallas). Or other talents will end up becoming future endeavored soon.


Charlotte stays on SmackDown Live
The biggest surprise to me was Charlotte Flair not going to Raw. I assumed with losing the SmackDown Live women's championship she'd move on. I'm curious to see how Carmella's title run is booked from here. 

Overall though I'm excited about the changes and fresh feuds. I'm also looking forward to the Greatest Royal Rumble later this month and upcoming BlackLash show which goes back to the dual-branded format.


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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Remembering Bruno

Courtesy: WWE


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When I became a pro wrestling fan Bruno Sammartino was a part-time performer in the ring. He provided color commentary on WWF Superstars of Wrestling, a syndicated problem I watched each Sunday morning on KPLR. He would have occasional spats with Jesse Ventura as Bruno and the third man on the team Vince McMahon were clearly in favor of the fan favorites.

Bruno did still step into the ring from time to time. I remember specific feuds with Roddy Piper and "Macho Man" Randy Savage. His only WrestleMania match was in the Battle Royal in Chicago at the second installment of the event. He seconded his son David at the original WrestleMania. Admittedly I was a Hulkamaniac in this era, but I did recognize and appreciate what Bruno had done for the industry.  

Hall of Fame induction
Then there was a huge dispute between Sammartino and McMahon. That estranged relationship lasted decades before Triple H seemingly mended fences and invited Bruno to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. This was exciting news to me as Chad and I had already made plans to attend WrestleMania 29 that year in New Jersey. What made the deal even sweeter was the ceremony was going to be held at Madison Square Garden, the building Bruno sold out time and time again. Several times that night I tried wrapping my brain around the fact that I was finally at MSG. I closed my eyes more than once and pictured the building being set up for the matches and could hear that infamous bell ring and Howard Finkle's voice on the mic that dropped down from the ceiling. 

With the Bruno statue after it was unveiled in New Orleans
Bruno still holds the record for the longest reigning WWF (now WWE) Heavyweight Champion at more than 4,000 days. I'm glad WWE officials and Bruno were able to re-establish their relationship. While he didn't make many appearances after his induction, it's gratifying to know he did take his rightful place in the eyes of WWE and a new generation of pro wrestling fans have had a chance to learn something about Bruno. Plus there's the permanent memorial in the form of the statue unveiled in 2014. 

May he rest in peace.