Tuesday, July 31, 2018

TatTuesday: Arron Brooks

New ink for Arron Brooks
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Earlier in the month, I shared a blog about some of the Stride Pro Wrestling roster's tattoos. It got a great response and so I've decided for the foreseeable future to make it a weekly feature here. There are plenty of wrestlers with ink and this blog will share the pics and the backstory on each design.

The first installment features Arron Brooks. I wrote more about his tattoos here. But over the weekend, Brooks added more ink to his collection. We've talked on the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast and in previous blogs about Arron's love for comic books. The new tattoo is the Marvel character, Venom.

Brooks' original plan for this tattoo was to get Venom's spider logo on his hand with the black symbiote crawling up the forearm. But when the tattoo artist did his thing, he came up with Venom and the symbiote around the character and trailing down Brooks' forearm to the top of his hand. Brooks is pleased with how this tattoo turned out and has fashioned himself more of a Venom fan over Spiderman. 

Brookspool
Stand by though, Brooks has more tattoos planned. He will be getting his favorite comic book character Deadpool next. You may remember seeing Brookspool at the Stride Goes Steel event back in May. The new tattoo will be a half sleeve. We'll update you here. You can also check out Brooks' Facebook page and keep up with him. 

                                                 

Come to see Brooks' new tattoo as he goes face to face with Stride Pro Wrestling Legacy Champion Wraith this Saturday night. The two meet on August 4 at John A. Logan College in Carterville. Bell time is 6:30 p.m.


Click for this week's podcast:
"Triumph over Tragedy"
 

Monday, July 30, 2018

The Undead Outlaw vs. The Viking King

Cash Borden vs. Roger Matheus
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The ongoing rivalry between Roger Matheus and Cash Borden comes to ahead this Saturday night. Stride Pro Wrestling returns after a hiatus, this time at John A. Logan College in Carterville. This showdown will mark another in the storied history between these two competitors.


Nose to nose
Courtesy: Steve Belcher
The Viking King and the Undead Outlaw first met in a Stride ring in August 2017 when Matheus defended the heavyweight title. He came out on top of that matchup. The two mixed things up again in Carterville earlier this year when Matheus had come out to the ring and threatened me. That incident led to a match with me as the special guest referee. I will admit I kicked Roger below the belt and counted faster than I should have. However, he provoked it all by putting his hands on me first.

Matheus gets tased
Courtesy: Jamie Woodworth Myers
Then in May, Cash came to my aid as Matheus kicked my ass from corner to corner inside a steel cage. Another low blow by my buddy Tom Harness and a zap from Cash's taser cleared the way for me to escape the cage and claim my second victory in a pro wrestling ring.

I can only imagine Matheus is seething as a result of all this. It's been more than two months, but I suspect time has not healed these wounds. The Mad Viking is raging mad. However, Borden doesn't pull any punches. He's become the king of hardcore in other companies around the region taking risks I would never dream of. Both men have come a long way since Stride's debut in 2016. I have no doubt this matchup will be the most epic between the two. 

 


Join us on Saturday night. Bell time is 6:30 p.m. at John A. Logan College in Carterville. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids.

Click for this week's podcast:
"Triumph over Tragedy" 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Remembering Nikolai Volkoff

RIP Nikolai Volkoff 


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When I think of Nikolai Volkoff the first thing I think of is his singing of the Soviet National Anthem. As a bad guy in the 1980s, there was no better way to get that heel heat than side with Russia or Iran. Volkoff and Iron Sheik did this perfectly along with their manager "Classy" Freddie Blassie and later Slick.

I remember the first time I saw Volkoff was really before I was a wrestling fan. He was on TV and Andre the Giant was brawling with him. I have no idea what company this was because as I mentioned, I hadn't really started watching yet. Andre assaulted Volkoff, even hitting him with a chair. In my young, fearful mind I was concerned these actions would lead to the United States into World War III with Russia. 

vs. Hulk Hogan
Courtesy: WWE
Once I started watching wrestling, Volkoff's size and power quickly made him a top contender to Hulk Hogan's championship. I recall the Saturday Night's Main Event where Hogan successfully defended against Volkoff. 


The big Russian's only championship win came at WrestleMania when he and Sheik beat Mike Rotundo and Barry Windham for the tag team titles. They didn't hold the belts long but their reign helped add some spice to the Rock 'n Wrestling era of pro wrestling. 


Speaking of that time, I loved that so many Superstars were used in Cyndi Lauper's 'Goonies Are Good Enough' video. Volkoff sits proudly milking a cow as Sheik, Blassie and Roddy Piper are creating chaos. 

Volkoff's face turn and partnering with one time rival "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan was expected as relations between the U.S. and Russia improved and there weren't many other options for Volkoff. When he returned again in the mid-90s and joined the Million Dollar Corporation as 'down on his luck' Superstar, I fear it was a case of art imitating life. 

WrestleMania XXX friends
I was thrilled to see he and Sheik and the other major players of the first WrestleMania get enshrined in the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. At WrestleMania XXX in 2014, Chad and I paid tribute to the duo by dressing like them. I even tried my hand at singing the Soviet National Anthem during the course of that day. 

Rest in Peace, Mr. Volkoff and thanks for the memories. 

 

Saturday, July 28, 2018

New number one contender to be named soon


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Stride Pro Wrestling returns on Aug. 4 to John A. Logan College in Carterville. I've mentioned in a previous blog that all three championships are on the line. Tony Flood defends the Heavyweight title against Jay Spade, Wraith puts the Legacy Title up against Arron Brooks and Ax Allwardt and Heath Hatton will defend the tag titles against the Midwest Monster Hunters.

I'm excited to announce another match has been set for the evening. There will be a battle royal to establish a new number one contender for the heavyweight title. Spade and Flood have been going back and forth, trading the title a few times along the way since March. The battle royal Saturday night will put someone else new in the title picture.



Like most Stride battle royals, the competitors on the undercard will all be a part of it. I'd expect to see the likes of the above-mentioned wrestlers along with Chris Hargas, Cash Borden, Farmer Billy Hills, Roger Matheus and the DR Party as part of the action.



Again, bell time is 6:30 p.m. in the Auxilary Gym at John A. Logan College in Carterville. Keep up with what's happening in Stride Pro Wrestling right here.

Friday, July 27, 2018

What if Hulk Hogan never existed?


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

First, credit where credit is due. Tom and Jason Skull tackle the topic of Hulk Hogan not existing and who would Vince McMahon have picked to lead the way for his expansion of sports entertainment. You can listen to all of their picks on this week's SkullBuster WrestleCast here. I agree with most of their ideas but when I saw the headline for the show one name stood out to me immediately and that's Kerry Von Erich.

Kerry vs. Flair (1982)
I've professed my fandom for Kerry numerous times here on the blog and on the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast. His 1982 steel cage match against Ric Flair is one of the moments that hooked me and made me a fan. Yes, he ruled Texas but could have ruled the world and taken pro wrestling to the next level. Here's why I believe that...

Kerry as NWA Champion
Back in 1984, Hulk Hogan beat the Iron Sheik for the WWF Championship. A few months later, Kerry pinned Flair at Texas Stadium to win the NWA World Championship. His reign only lasted 18 days. But fans clearly loved Kerry and voted him Pro Wrestling Illustrated's 'Most Popular Wrestler' that year. I believe those awards were legitimately selected by readers of the magazine (someone please correct me if I'm wrong). The match against Flair was also voted 'Match of the Year'. 

The Hulkster
So that being said, there's no doubt McMahon and the machine could have propelled Kerry even further into Superstardom. Hogan had been back in the WWF less than a month when he pinned Sheik for the title. Kerry could have easily started at that same time frame and pulled off the victory. That's not to say Hogan only made his success based on McMahon's marketing. It was a team effort, coupled with the right mix of opponents for Hogan like Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton in the early days. 

Kerry had the look. His physique was phenomenal. He was young. Had he beat Iron Sheik at Madison Square Garden in January 1984, he would have been champ at age 23. Hogan was 30. Kerry's mic skills weren't great and he wasn't as large a personality as Hogan. However, I think some of those skills could have been taught along the way or even prior to the victory at MSG.

Kerry vs. One Man Gang
Kerry faced guys like Kamala, One Man Gang and Terry Gordy in World Class Championship Wrestling and slammed all of them. Hogan battled many of these same monster heels in WWF. Because I saw him first and became a fast fan, Kerry was always the bigger deal to me than Hogan. He could do no wrong, but I know that wasn't always the case.

Kerry had a problem with addiction. I never noticed it impeding his ability. Imagine had he had all of those problems in check how much more potential he would have had. Perhaps outside of Texas and under the WWF/Titan Sports umbrella he could have and would have gotten the necessary treatment.

Kerry vs. Mr. Perfect
Courtesy: WWE
Eventually, Kerry did make it to New York. As the Texas Tornado, he had a short run as Intercontinental Champion. I'm bummed it didn't last longer than that. But I'm grateful he had a chance to shine on the grandest stage of all for a brief period of time.

A few others I could have seen in the role of Hogan; "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka. He was a bit older but wildly popular prior to Vince Jr. taking over the WWF. Sgt. Slaughter and Junkyard Dog fall into a similar category. I won't name the other guy because he was a surprise pick mentioned in the podcast, so go listen.

Who are your choices and why? Weigh in here or on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page.



Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Finn Balor vs. Stride Pro Wrestling



By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Please note: Finn Balor is NOT coming to Stride Pro Wrestling. This is a fantasy booking blog post.

July 25 is Finn Balor's birthday and I decided to put the first WWE Universal Champion in matches against a few of Stride Pro Wrestling's brightest upcoming stars. It wasn't that long ago Balor himself was wrestling in the independents. Never say never when it comes to talent getting their shot at WWE or the national stage.

Brookspool
Arron Brooks is currently the number one contender to the Legacy Championship. He's also the wrestler on the Stride roster who reminds me the most of Balor. The two have taken on different personas in the ring, Balor of course as the Demon and Brookspool has made his presence known in the ring. Brooks has promised more characters to fit his comic book-loving personality. He's worked on cards with Balor back when Prince Devitt was in the ring. (Hear more on that here.) Brooks uses the Coup De Gras in his matches too. Venompool is rumored to be coming to John A. Logan College as Brooks faces Wraith for the Legacy Title on Aug. 4. 

Ryzer in action
Courtesy: Pete Spitler
Speaking of the Demon, Ryzer is quite a demonic figure on the Stride Pro Wrestling roster. The disciple for Wraith has come a long way in a short amount of time. Ryzer has the speed, power and agility to hang with Balor in the ring. Plus with big Wraith in his corner, he'd have an added advantage in there. Give Ryzer some more time and seasoning inside and out of the ring and he's going to be a contender on the national scene. 

Flood vs. Jay Spade
Courtesy: Pete Spitler
I've got to put the current Stride Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Tony Flood in there too. Like Brooks, Flood has about a decade or so worth of experience. He is one of the smartest wrestlers on the Stride roster. He's a ring general and would make an excellent opponent for Balor. Flood has put his body on the line and taken high risks on more than one occasion in the two+ years Stride has been around. It's those risks that can lead to big rewards. 
 
Who on the Stride roster would you put in there against Balor? Weigh in here or on the Stride Pro Wrestling Facebook page.

Click the pic to shop
Promo code: MY123CENTS
 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Stories from the front row

Daniel Bryan at WWE Carbondale

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

WWE was recently in town and I was fortunate enough to get a front row ticket to the SummerSlam Heatwave Tour in Carbondale, Illinois. It was the first house show I've attended since 2009 and the very first time I was fortunate enough to sit up front. It's an experience I won't soon forget. Here are few observations from the night.

The suit and Snapchat filter
Thanks, Barry
I should begin by saying I debuted my new Shinesty suit. It's a custom-made My 1-2-3 Cents that I purchased for the sole purpose of getting the My 1-2-3 Cents brand out there. I also created a Snapchat filter for the evening. The stats aren't in on how many people used it, but I feel like both things got some attention for the brand which was the whole point. I ran into several great fans at the SIU Arena that night.


The Miz
That being said, when ring announcer Greg Hamilton made his way to his seat (which was right in front of us) he commented, "I almost wore that same suit." A little later my night was made by the Miz. After he made his way to the ring apron, he glanced down at me and mouthed "What the hell are you wearing?" I know he had no idea, but I actually met and interviewed the Miz back in 2010 before a house show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I really hoped he would have come back down and taken a selfie with me. Instead though, when Daniel Bryan punched him at one point he spat and the front row got sprayed. I'm thankful my Shinesty suit is machine washable. 


Remember, the name is My 1-2-3 Cents and if you're reading this for the first time, it comes from the expression, "that's my 2 cents." Because a referee counts to three, I added the three count to it to make it give it some wrestling flavor. And since I knew I'd never run a news site and mostly opinion based it seemed like the right call nearly eight years ago. 

Perhaps a new duo, the 1-2-3 Cents Kids?
So I'm in my suit and someone working security actually asked me, "Did you used to be the 1-2-3 Kid?" I chuckled to myself because what a compliment that someone would see me and think that I was a one time WWE Superstar. I told him no and explained the suit was all part of my brand and the name of the podcast and blog. 

It's a wrench
Other things I noticed from the front row, I don't know why, but I always thought there would be something more elaborate than a wrench used to ring the bell. I also didn't realize the ring announcer was tasked with that at house shows. I figured WWE would have created some sort of cool device for the timekeeper, but hey the wrench does an incredible job of making sure fans hear that bell.

After the victory
WWE does a great job making sure the crowd has fun. The New Day tossed pancakes into the crowd. One of the Usos threw his hat to fans. And several Superstars stopped after their match to sign autographs to the adoring youngsters in the front. Even old timers like me got to slap hands with Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston and Big E. All in all, I had an amazing time. I'm grateful for the opportunity and look forward to the next time WWE is in town. Check out more photos on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page. And I invite anyone who attended the Carbondale show to join us for the next Stride Pro Wrestling event on Saturday, Aug. 4. Check the company out here


Click here for your WWE Funko items

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Hunters become the hunted

Wraith & Ryzer vs. Midwest Monster Hunters

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Two of Stride Pro Wrestling's best duos have someone managed to avoid each other in the ring here. However, the Midwest Monster Hunters will battle Wraith and Ryzer for the first time this Tuesday night (July 24) at IWA Unlimited-Wrestling. The show is held in Noble, Illinois at 137 West Avenue.



The ghoulish duo has released a new video ahead of the confrontation. Ryzer, as usual, does the talking and promises to do some serious damage to the Monster Hunters. Bo Sawyer and Blaine Black will represent the Monster Hunters. I've yet to see Black wrestle in person, but we know Sawyer is no doubt a monster himself. He's near 300 pounds and strong as an ox. He's one of the few guys who can go toe to toe with Wraith from a size standpoint. You can keep up with the Monster Hunters' adventures on YouTube.


Ryzer 
Ryzer continues to impress me as he grows as a performer. His athleticism will come in handy against the Monster Hunters. He's still just a handful of months into his career and there's no doubt the future is bright for this dark and demented young disciple. Wraith has clearly shared a lot of his knowledge and together this duo could quickly become the most dangerous in Stride Pro Wrestling.  


IWA Unlimted 
IWA Unlimited has wrestling shows every Tuesday evening in Noble. You'll see plenty of familiar faces from the Stride Pro Wrestling on the roster, including Joey O'Riley and Jay Spade. That former tag team faces off for O'Riley's championship as well Tuesday night. And don't forget Stride Pro Wrestling returns on August 4 to John A. Logan College in Carterville. Bell time is 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Snap and win


By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

WWE is bringing its SummerSlam Heatwave Tour to Carbondale, Illinois this week. The show is set for Monday night at the SIU Arena. Tickets are still available here.

I know several supporters of My 1-2-3 Cents and Stride Pro Wrestling will be attending the show. I'm going too and looking forward to my first WWE House Show in nearly a decade. To help get the My 1-2-3 Cents brand out there and in front of hundreds (maybe thousands) of potential new readers and listeners, I've created a Snapchat filter for the show.

Please use the filter Monday night at the show, screenshot or save your pics with the filter and email them to my123cents@gmail.com and you'll be entered to win a My 1-2-3 Cents prize pack. For each Snap you send to the email, you'll be entered. Also, add me on Snapchat, my name is 'hunsperger' there. The filter will be up and running from 7 to 11 p.m. in the entire SIU Arena.


I hope to see lots of filter pics and I'm looking forward to being at the show. AJ Styles, Carmella, Rusev, the Miz, Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan and many more Superstars are all scheduled to be there. 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Remembering Brickhouse Brown

Brickhouse Brown

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Please note, Brickhouse Brown has NOT died. The coroner was called in, but Brown has not died. But I'm keeping this blog up to share the story of meeting him in 1998.

My first exposure to Brown came via the Apter magazines as a kid. He wrestled primarily in the south and where I lived at the time, those shows weren't aired on TV. I think the first time I saw him on television would have been on World Class Championship Wrestling. 

Then in early 1998, I was living in Alabama and an independent wrestling show was happening. Up until then, I'd only ever been to WWF or WCW events. I was excited about this event because I was also covering it for the TV station. I still remember walking into the locker room area and being in awe of all the wrestlers I encountered. Keep in mind this was long before iPhones and really even digital cameras so I have no documentation of this experience. 

Ricky Morton and Kid Kash (he was wrestling as Morton's son in the New Rock 'n Roll Express), Bunkhouse Buck, Bullet Bob Armstrong and Brickhouse were among the stars I met that night. I remember Brickhouse coming up to me and by the look on his face, he wasn't as happy to meet me as I was him. He quickly asked what my plans were for the story and said he had concerns about me being there with my camera.

I explained to him I was a lifelong pro wrestling fan and I was there to cover the event and showcase the talent. I also told him had all the respect in the world for him and the other wrestlers on the card. His icy exterior quickly melted and we chatted for several minutes about my fandom and growing up in St. Louis. 


While I wasn't quite ready for the reaction I initially got, I completely understood where Brickhouse was coming from. Yes, the Monday Night War was bringing pro wrestling to the forefront at that time, but for years mainstream media treated the business like a joke. Brickhouse was simply protecting something he loved. My respect for him increased that night, especially after our conversation. 


Friday, July 20, 2018

Stride Pro Wrestling adds second Aug. event



By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Stride Pro Wrestling has been on a bit of a hiatus. But in 15 days, your favorite indy wrestling company returns to John A. Logan College in Carterville. The show is Saturday, Aug. 4. Bell time is 6:30. You can learn more about the card here

You now have another chance to catch the action a week later. Stride heads to Duff-Kingston Gymnasium at Eldorado High School in Saline County for a very special fundraiser show. Every penny raised that night goes to the family of Sarah Miles-Keltner. The young mother of three is battling cancer. This fundraiser will help with mounting medical expenses. By the way, newcomer Kaleigh Miles makes her pro wrestling debut that night as well. 

Bell time is 7 p.m. on Aug. 11. Not only are the men and women of the Stride roster donating their time and talent to this event, but several area businesses are donating to the fundraiser too. Nancy Braddock-State Farm, Tison Financial Group, Brannock Insurance and Legence Bank are all helping the cause. If you'd like to get involved send us a message on our Facebook page.  That's where you'll also find updates for the show. Please consider attending and supporting Sarah's family and Stride Pro Wrestling. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

WWE turns up the heat in southern Illinois on Rusev Day

Rusev & Aiden English
Courtesy: WWE

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

The countdown to SummerSlam is on. This is year 30 for the WWE event. It's happening on Sunday, Aug. 19. But before we get to that show, WWE's SummerSlam Heatwave Tour makes a stop in Carbondale, Illinois. I'm particularly excited about this because it's the first house show I've attended since 2009 when WWE was across the river from me in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. I took my son to that show.


The last few times WWE has come to southern Illinois or southeast Missouri I've been out of town. The Heatwave Tour stop is Monday, July 23. I'm super excited and looking forward to not all seeing the Superstars of SmackDown Live! but also debuting my new Shinesty suit. It's custom made and features the My 1-2-3 Cents monkey.

Meeting Rusev & other Superstars in 2014
Leading up to the event, WWE made arrangements for me to interview former U.S. Champion Rusev. The cool part is this interview happened on Rusev Day. He not only promoted the event but also talked about life on the road and his dream opponents. You can hear the interview in its entirety in the link below.


Are you going to the WWE SummerSlam Heatwave show? Let me know here or on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page.