Thursday, May 31, 2018

Three mistakes I made in the ring

Matheus beating me up
Courtesy: Tom Harness

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've talked a lot about it lately, and I will likely continue for the next couple of weeks, but more and more sporadically. But over the weekend I stepped into the ring and had my second wrestling match ever. I'm going to assume you've heard the podcast or seen the previous blog or social media posts. So long story short, I won (making me 2-0 in the ring). Despite my excitement and even nearly a week later, I am feeling that wrestling buzz. 

Despite the feelings I have, of course, I am going to critique myself now. After all, I've spent the past 7+ years providing my 1-2-3 cents on WWE Superstars and other pro wrestlers around the globe. 

First I wish I was 20 years younger. I can't change that though. Back when I was 25 I had no desire to be a wrestler. I wanted to be a manager though. But I was content being the camera guy for an indy company in Alabama. I honestly believe had I expressed an interest in doing more, the management would have worked with me. But I was too intimidated to ever ask. I regret not saying something and training to be a wrestler. There, I finally said it.

Could've ended badly
Courtesy: Jamie Woodworth
Secondly, for my match, I wish I would have trained harder. Yes, I hit the gym and ate healthier in the weeks leading up to my showdown in the cage against Roger Matheus. I even visited the Stride Pro Wrestling School. However, I spent months preparing to take the stage and perform Bust a Move and other rap songs at the Red Carpet Gala for Hospice of Southern Illinois. One particular spot in the match could have resulted in a broken arm when I put didn't fall flat during the electric chair move. I lucked out.

Pull up those drawers
Courtesy: Tom Harness
I should have worn a belt. I still stand by my choice to not wear wrestling gear in my match. I'm an announcer. I believe it would look weird for me to be in tights or a singlet (not just because of my Dad Bod). I went with the jeans and boots on the advice of a long time veteran. His logic made sense to me:

"You aren't a wrestler. You're a man going into a cage to fight a man that beat up your 12-year-old daughter. What would you want to do to someone that REALLY did that to your daughter? Would you care that he was stronger or more experienced? I think you'd go in there with murder on your mind. You wouldn't be showing up to wrestle. You'd be showing up for a possible life or death situation."

I'll go ahead and say it, it was Ax Allwardt who told me this. I value his opinion a lot. After he suggested it, I asked others to vote on the jeans and boots or basketball shorts and a tee shirt. A few of the teachers on the show were going with that look so that was the other reason I went with the jeans. However, with that belt, I kept pulling up my pants. In some of the pics, you can even see my Ric Flair WrassleRoos showing. Wooo!

It ain't pretty, but it worked for a minute
Courtesy: Jamie Woodworth
Will I do it again? Try to go 3-0? I never say never. But let's face it, I don't want to wait another six years for the next match like I did for this one. No one will want to see a 51-year-old news anchor get his ass kicked, will they?

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Instead of Bundy, how about Brody

Brody & Bundy

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When I started the 'Instead of' blogs a few weeks ago the intent was to look at Superstars who never won a championship and replace that person with someone who had. Today, I'm talking about swapping out a top contender with another. It's King Kong Bundy and Bruiser Brody.

My wrestling fandom came in the final years of Brody's life. It's hard to believe this summer will mark 30 years since he was murdered in Puerto Rico. Brody was a renegade who typically played by his own rules and avoided staying in one territory or company too long. During the boom of the 80s, he would have been the perfect foil for Hulk Hogan, assuming Vince McMahon would let Brody be Brody.

Bundy, Andre and Studd
Courtesy: WWE
King Kong Bundy had come into the WWF in late 1984 and ran roughshod over the competition. At the first WrestleMania, he destroyed SD Jones in nine seconds (yes, I know it was a little longer, but that's the 'official' time). As the year progressed, Bundy feuded with bigger names in the company, including the biggest in Andre the Giant. In early 1986, Bundy set his sites on Hogan and attacked the champion on Saturday Night's Main Event. This led to the main event match at WrestleMania II inside a steel cage.

Don't get me wrong. I've always liked Bundy. But the point of this blog is to look at other options. To do a little fantasy booking if you will. Imagine if instead of Bundy attacking Hogan during the match against Magnificent Muraco it was Brody bursting from the back with a chain in tow. I'd still pair him with Bobby Heenan, as he was Hogan's biggest rival. I can hear Brody's signature 'HUSK!' as he stands over a prone Hogan, bloodied and crumpled in the ring after the attack. Heenan announcing to the world he's signed the most unpredictable man in wrestling to a contract.  

This, of course, would lead to several wars of words prior to WrestleMania. Brody attacks Paul Orndorff, prompting Hogan to make the save. I'd send Bundy to Chicago for Mania to be in the battle royal. Then that summer, I'd pair he and Big John Studd against the new WWF tag team champions the British Bulldogs. 

Brody would continue to feud with Hogan and Orndorff after losing to the champ, even teaming up with Intercontinental Champion "Macho Man" Randy Savage on a summer edition of SNME. That's where the Orndorff heel turn could come into play and he rejoins the Heenan family like he did. Like I mentioned, Brody was never one to stay in one place too long, so he'd leave the company before being saddled with some sort of silly cartoonish gimmick. Andre could still turn on Hogan and the two head to WrestleMania III.

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Introducing Brookspool


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
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Deadpool 2 is one of the hottest movies out right now. And Stride Pro Wrestling star Arron Brooks took advantage of that popularity. He showed up Saturday night at Stride Goes Steel ready to honor the film character. Brookspool made his debut inside the steel cage.

The new look paid off, as Brooks overcame five others. He beat Chris Hargas, Scott Phoenix, Daniel Eads and Cash Borden to become the number contender to the Legacy Championship. Brooks had some assistance from Stride Pro Wrestling fan Makenzie Blades in coming up with the new look. You can see her work here. He completed the alter ego by coming out to Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton, which is featured in the movie.

The fans enjoyed the new look, including Hunter Woodworth. He was Peter Saturday night. Full disclosure, I haven't seen either Deadpool film, so I didn't get it. But I do get that fans fully embraced this, including my wife Lisa. She's not a wrestling fan but came out to watch my match. She later told me Brookspool was her favorite of the night. She has also seen both movies.

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Arron is taking a poll on his Facebook page if he should keep the character permanent or as a special attraction. I personally think it's better as a special attraction for bigger Stride Pro Wrestling events, however, I could also understand riding the momentum of Deadpool right now and capitalizing on it. Another idea would be to come out as a trending character for each show. Brooks is a big fan of comic books and with all the movies and TV programs honoring this genre, the sky's the limit. I'm excited about the possibilities as Brooks continues to shine as a singles star here in Stride.

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Now it's a streak

Courtesy: Jamie Myers

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Last night I had my second professional wrestling match. And despite being in there against a 285 pound Mad Viking, I survived Stride Goes Steel put on my Stride Pro Wrestling. Yes, I had a little help from my friends. You can hear all about that in this week's My 1-2-3 Cents: The Podcast, which drops Monday, May 28. But the victory now means I'm 2-0 in the wrestling ring.

Flying high... kinda
Courtesy: Jamie Myers
I'm not going to lie, I'm sore as hell right now. Roger Matheus literally kicked my ass Saturday night. I got in a few awkward moves against the big guy, including locking in a figure-four leg lock (wooo!) and a high cross body block. When I climbed the top rope for that I threw my hands up in the 'I love you sign' ala "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. It wasn't pretty but I am overall satisfied with the effort.

Courtesy: Snuggle Bunny
My favorite move of the night was the spear I hit on Matheus. I've watched Heath Hatton perfect this move in the Stride Pro Wrestling ring. No, it didn't have the precision of Hatton's move, but I did manage a two count with it. 

Electric chair
Some people have asked why the jeans in the match? I looked at it like this (and with the help of some friends in the business). I'm not a professional wrestler. Wearing tights didn't make sense. Other non-wrestlers on the show were wearing athletic shorts. I went into this thinking I'm looking for a street fight. I wanted revenge for what Roger did to my daughter earlier this month, so this seemed the most logical way to go. I was channeling the old Bunkhouse Stampede look from Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s. 

Words can't express my gratitude to everyone who came out to support Stride Pro Wrestling and Pinckneyville High School. I had a few friends from my childhood show up and surprise me. Then, of course, there are all the boys in the back who helped us get to this point and Tyler who had the faith in me and Roger to go out there last. I'm literally still in awe of everything and have that 'wrestling buzz' I've talked about so many times before. Thank you again to everyone, I won't soon forget this experience. 

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Locked up! Stride Goes Steel tonight

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

After weeks of talking about it, tonight is the night. Stride Goes Steel in the 'Ville at Pinckneyville High School. This is a fundraiser event for the school and Stride Pro Wrestling's first all-steel cage match show.

I'm not gonna lie, I am nervous as hell. I am writing this post 8 hours before bell time (6:30 p.m.) and I have pterodactyls in my stomach instead of butterflies. In case you've come across this post for the first time and didn't know, I am the ring announcer for Stride and will be wrestling Roger Matheus in the cage as well tonight. He attacked my daughter May 5 after months of bullying me and others on the roster.

Each day this week I did a video highlighting a match in 123 seconds (or so). I've compiled them all here for this post. Thanks, everyone for the support and kind words. I look forward to seeing you out there tonight at Pinckneyville High School.

Friday, May 25, 2018

'Stride Goes Steel' by the numbers

The cage is ready, are you?

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Stride Goes Steel in the 'Ville is just a day away. The Stride Pro Wrestling fundraiser is an all-steel cage match show. In an effort to encourage you, the loyal My 1-2-3 Cents reader, to come to the show I've broken the event down by the numbers.

12 feet off the ground is how high the cage stands.

Not pictured: Daniel Eads
23 men will be competing in 6 steel cage matches. Of those men, 13 have held or currently hold a championship in Stride. Some have been multi-time champs.

600 E. Water Street is the address to Pinckneyville Community High School, our event host. And 618-357-5013 is the number to call for tickets.

10 & 15 are the number of dollars you'll pay for a ticket, 15 bucks for a floor seat and 10 for a bleacher seat.

41 days ago El Magnifico was viciously attacked by Wraith, Ryzer and Chase King. That attack kept the Lucha star out of action since. He teams up with "Farmer" Billy Hills & "T-Dog" Jerry Travelstead.

5 men will battle for a shot at the Legacy Championship next month. (Chris Hargas, Scott Phoenix, Arron Brooks, Daniel Eads and Cash Borden are all in.)

10 championships have been held between the four men competing for the Stride Pro Wrestling Tag Team Titles. Ax Allwardt has had four, Heath Hatton has had four, Bo Sawyer has had one and Jason Tiller has had one. 

Hundreds of fans will be cheering educators Josh Plumlee and Tony Wilson as they battle they DR Party.  

1 lead pipe has made a difference several times in the feud between Jay Spade and Tony Flood. 

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0 is my chance of surviving the ass whipping I'm going to receive at the hands of Roger Matheus, according to the oddsmakers in Las Vegas.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Daniel Eads: Caged

Daniel Eads

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Earlier in the week, I posted a video about the fatal four-way cage match to determine the new number one contender to the Legacy Championship at Stride Goes Steel in the 'Ville. Since that video, another wrestler has been added to the mix. He will compete against Chris Hargas, Arron Brooks, Scott Phoenix and Cash Borden.

In that original video, I commented on Hargas being the odds-on favorite due to his size and by the virtue of being the former champ. However, with Eads in the mix, the dynamic of the match has changed. He's now the biggest competitor in the cage, standing at 6'4'' and weighing in at around 240 pounds. I've been a fan of Eads since first seeing him compete in 2015 and interviewing him for the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast

I don't know that I've ever seen five guys go at it inside a steel cage with one single winner being declared. It's going to be chaotic, especially with the future of the Legacy Championship on the line. The title has earned a lot of respect here in Stride and everyone involved is hungry for a shot. Hargas is the only former singles champ in Stride in the match. Despite the two big dogs being in the match, don't sell Borden, Phoenix nor Brooks short. Each man has had success in the ring against much larger opponents before.  

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So will be the winner? You'll have to join us at Pinckneyville High School Saturday (May 26). Bell time is 6:30 p.m. We'll see you there. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Instead of Debra, how about Luna

Debra & Luna
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

New WWE fans are likely impressed with the state of women's wrestling in the company. But it hasn't always been this way. Long before Hell a Cell, the Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank, the ladies on the WWE roster competed in pillow fights, bra and panty matches and pools filled with pudding, mud or even gravy. I'm not discrediting anyone's work during the Attitude Era, but bust size played a bigger role in pushes than work rate.
Debra with Jeff Jarrett
Courtesy: WWE

Such is the case in 1999. Sable was the WWE Women's Champion at the time. She and Debra engaged in an evening gown match where the idea is to strip your opponent, not unlike the old tuxedo matches. In this instance, Debra was stripped down to her bra and panties and should have lost the match. However, Shawn Michaels, who was GM or commissioner at the time declared Debra the winner, I'm guessing because he was impressed with her 'puppies.'

Courtesy: WWE
Debra was never a regular wrestler in the ring. That's why I would have rather seen Luna Vachon have a run as WWE Women's Champion. She was one of the hardest working women in that era and a trailblazer for today's wrestling scene. She and Sable had feuded, but for some reason, the company never switched the title to Luna. 

She was a square peg trying to fit in a round hole at the time. Luna was not the cookie cutter 'diva'. She stood out and she had the skills to succeed. Luna would have made a wonderful champion and could have helped break the stereotypes of late 90s women's wrestling. That stigma took quite some time to break.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

3 best cage match endings

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Pro wrestling has a rich history of steel cage matches. The endings to these contests often stay etched in the memory of fans. There are many great ones, but I've narrowed it down to my three favorites. Yes, the headline says best. But it's really my favorite. (These are in no particular order.)

1. Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair, Christmas Day 1982. This match stands out to me for a couple of reasons. It features two of my all-time favorites. It's also the very first match I remember watching as a young fan. I was nine years old and the Modern Day Warrior quickly captured my attention. 

Michael Hayes was serving as special guest referee. Terry Gordy stood guard outside the ring. Back then the Freebirds and the Von Erich brothers were allies. That changed on this night as Kerry could have taken advantage of Flair's misfortune with Hayes, Von Erich refused. This enraged Hayes and Gordy slammed the cage door on Kerry's face. This set up Flair to get the win and started one of the greatest rivalries in pro wrestling history. 

2. Hulk Hogan vs. "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff, January 1987. I was in eighth grade when this match happened on Saturday Night's Main Event. I was away for the weekend on a Boy Scout campout and could not wait to get home that Sunday afternoon to watch the show on VHS. 

I had been a Hulkamaniac since first seeing Hulk Hogan burst on the scene. However, in my rebellious teenage phase, I turned my back on the Hulkster and wanted "Mr. Wonderful" to win. And I thought he was going to. This is the cage match where both men dropped to the arena floor at the same time. Even in the instant replay, it was too close to call. I loved this ending but it didn't take long for the Hulkster to come back and retain the championship. 

3. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon, February 1999. One of the hottest feuds of all-time is the Austin-McMahon rivalry. The two hated each other with a passion and put their hatred to the test inside a cage for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre event. The ending of this match is iconic too (obviously or I wouldn't be writing this). 

The debuting Big Show (aka Paul Wight) burst through the ring from underneath. He assaulted Austin and chucked the former champion into a wall of the cage. It came off and Austin slid to the floor to victory. It was one of the coolest finishes I can recall and it set up Big Show to be the newest monster on the WWE roster.

Obvious honorable mentions include Jimmy Snuka vs. Bob Backlund when "Superfly" leaped off the top of the cage. Big Bossman vs. Hulk Hogan and the superplex Hogan delivered on SNME. And Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff when Dusty came in to help Flair and the Horsemen turned on him and broke his ankle. 

What are your favorite cage match endings? Share here and be sure to see more steel cage action this Saturday night (May 26) at Pinckneyville High School as Stride Goes Steel in the 'Ville.

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