Friday, August 31, 2018

Name that monkey

By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
Listen to the podcast

So more than two years ago I came up with the idea of naming the My 1-2-3 Cents monkey. I viewed it as a way to better build the brand with a long-term goal of rolling out some merchandise with his likeness on it. The really long term I'm thinking stuffed animals and an animated series on Netflix and a balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but I'm getting way ahead of myself.

But I am serious about getting some sort of name on the monkey. I recently opened a store with Pro Wrestling Tees (shop through Monday, Sept. 3 and save 20% on  your purchase #cheapplug). Right now there's one shirt available, but I am working on some other designs and I think with the right name it an help with some ideas as well as lead to more branding opportunities. 

I'm also bringing it up again because the My 1-2-3 Cents blog, podcast and YouTube channel (yeah it's still there) have all seen a growth in consumers. So with more eyeballs on this post, I figure more ideas will flow. And when I first presented this idea two years ago, I was still writing both pro wrestling and personal blogs on under the My 1-2-3 Cents banner. That has changed since the birth of Kevin Hunsblogger. The monkey will completely represent the pro wrestling brand.

Proud of my monkey suit
Courtesy: Steve Belcher

I got some good suggestions last time, including Monsoon, Jitter and Mondo. Please don't suggest Spanks. Half of the comments were that in 2016. 😃But I would appreciate your 1-2-3 cents on the issue. While we're at it, if you have merchandise suggestions let me know. What would you buy with the monkey on it? Thanks as always.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Stride's King of Trios

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Disclaimer: No one from Stride Pro Wrestling is competing in the upcoming King of Trios tournament, nor is anyone from Chikara coming to Stride. This is another fantasy booking blog. Thanks.

This weekend marks Chikara's annual King of Trios tournament. I love the concept because it pairs up wrestlers from not just the company but around the world. One year Demolition teamed up with the One Man Gang. This year, Molly Holly is on a team called Sisters of the Mighty. Even former Nexus members Darren Young, Michael Tarver and Justin Gabriel are competing.

Teams usually have some kind of common bond and a creative name as well. So I decided to have some fun with members of the Stride Pro Wrestling roster (past and present) and come up with a few teams. 

Team NAFTA: Tony Flood, Dexter Roswell & Jose Magnifico

TatDudes: Heath Hatton, Curly & Arron Brooks 

Hunters & Hunted: Midwest Monster Hunters (Bo Sawyer & Jason Tiller) & Abyss (he's coming in Oct.) 

Beyond the Graveyard: Wraith, Ryzer & the Disciple

Redneck World Order: Hollywood Redneck, "The Bad Guy" Cole James & Garrett Galloway

Farmers Only: "Farmer" Billy Hills, Sarah Summers & String Bean

Old School of Hardknocks: Ax Allwardt, Brandon Walker & "Homicidal" Steven Davis (managed by Gaylord Stephens)

Beard Money: Roger Matheus, Jake Capone & James Storm

Supermen on a Mission: Daniel Eads, Chris Hargas & Josh Totten

Disciplinary Action: Jerry Travelstead, Josh Plumlee & Tony Wilson

Get Lit: Cash Borden, "Neon Icon" Justin D'Air & Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat

Alphabet Soup: C.J. Jordan, A.J. Kellis & T.J. Kellis

Full Deck: ACE Hawkins, Jay SPADE & Dalton DIAMOND

The DR Party: Brian Richards, Nathan Brag & Aaron Edwards (managed by J. Wellington Beauregard)

U.S. Hair Force: Scott Phoenix, Chase King and Kyle Pipher

Rise & Shine: Joey O'Riley, Brandon Espinosa & JD Wilk 

The Underdogs: James Ellsworth, Eugene Drip & Shane Lauder

Legendary Express: "Cowboy" Bob Orton, Bushwhacker Luke & Madman Pondo

Beauties & the Beast: Lil Bit, Dale Wyld & Bull Bronson

The Wellington Foundation: Frank Wyatt, Mr. Anthony & Carnage (managed by J. Wellington Beauregard) 

I think I covered everyone who is a regular on the Stride roster and just about anyone who has wrestled for us. Granted, there are likely a few names missing but the list is mostly complete. 

Get your My 1-2-3 Cents shirt here

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

My 1-2-3 Cents is All In (kinda)

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Labor Weekend 2018 will be a game changer in the world of professional wrestling. And as much as I'd love to personally be a part of All In and Starrcast it simply wasn't meant to be. But I'm excited that My 1-2-3 Cents the brand will be a small part of the excitement.

A longtime friend of the blog and podcast, Jeff Holtke, is going to be the official correspondent for the My 1-2-3 Cents Twitter page (@my123cents). Earlier this year Jeff live tweeted for My 1-2-3 Cents during Raw 25. I'm thankful he has volunteered to step up and do this again for All In and Starrcast. He showed me his schedule and he's planning to meet 25 wrestlers and take in a lot of discussions and of course matches on Saturday night. 

D'Lo Brown & me
As they say in the wrestling biz, I'd like to put Jeff over for something else too. As I mentioned he's a longtime friend and supporter of the My 1-2-3 Cents brand. I first met Jeff in 2011 when TNA was in southern Illinois for a Basebrawl event at Rent One Park in Marion, Illinois. At that time Jeff was working for the team, the Southern Illinois Miners. He hooked me up with an interview with D'Lo Brown prior to that event.

Jeff supporting CxE

His willingness to tweet for me and him hooking me up with D'Lo are awesome. But that's not all. Jeff is a HUGE supporter (the number one supporter I might add) of my store on COLLARxELBOW (use promo code MY123CENTS like Jeff does and save 10 percent on your order). He and his daughter were even featured on CxE's Instagram page. Jeff also donated to the Ugly Christmas Suit fundraiser last December. He won the Christmas ornament raffle as a result too. 

Graphic by Jeff Holtke
Photo by Caleb Hale
Jeff has also helped me with some graphics, including resizing the monkey at one point and creating me in the All In poster. Oh how I wish that was happening, but there's always next year, right? Anyway if you don't already, follow @my123cents on Twitter and get some insight into what's happened at Starrcast and All In this weekend. Thank you, everyone, especially Jeff for the support over the last several years. 

Promo code: MY123CENTS

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

TatTuesday: Me

Fun with photo editing

Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Let me start this off by saying I have no tattoos. In college, I very nearly got one with the letters from my fraternity, Sigma Nu. The plan was to do it on my calf. But in the end, it was all talk and I never followed through with it. 

Before I turned 40 more than five years ago, I vowed that I would get some kind of ink. But I really had no idea what I was going to do. So 40 came and went, along with ages 41 through 45 and my body is still a blank canvass. I really would like a tattoo of some sort, but ultimately, I don't know what I'd get. 

An early favorite for me, but no one else in my family would be the My 1-2-3 Cents monkey. For nearly four years he's been the face of my pro wrestling brand and would seemingly make the most sense at this point. I know some will read that and balk, but really I have put a lot of work into the development and creation of this brand. The tattoo would be a permanent reminder of that hustle. But I've got a long way to go to get to where I'm headed and I believe a tattoo of the monkey might be presumptuous now. 

Another idea I've had is something to symbolize my family. Other than initials though, I'm not sure what I'd do. There are plenty of other pop culture icons I could immortalize on my body, but I don' think my wife would find a Homer Simpson, Mickey Mouse or Scooby Doo tattoo appealing. I'm envious of my friends with tattoos. I wish I would have taken the plunge 25 years ago when I was young and carefree. 

Shop for Funko Pops by clicking the photo

Monday, August 27, 2018

When monsters collide

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

There is a lot going on in Stride Pro Wrestling right now. We've talked about upcoming shows in Carterville (Sept. 8) and Gallatin County (Sept. 21), but today I'm focusing on an event in Pinckneyville. Community Consolidated 204 is hosting a fundraiser on Oct. 6. One match has already been announced: Roger Matheus battles Abyss.

Yes, that Abyss. The former Impact! Wrestling champion will take on Stride's former champion. This won't be the first time the two have clashed. Last year, Abyss beat Matheus in a match in Cape Championship Wrestling. That match was a Monsters' Ball encounter.

Matheus gets tased
Courtesy: Jamie Woodworth-Myers
A lot has happened since that match. Matheus dropped the Stride Heavyweight title to Jay Spade. Then he went on a path of destruction, taking out referee Lane Austin and choosing to attack me and my 12-year-old daughter. Reflecting on it all, I wonder if this first loss to Abyss is what set Matheus to spiral out of control.

Since his loss inside the steel cage in May, Matheus seems to be even more aggressive and hell-bent on destroying the competition. He beat Cash Borden and Cole James in a fatal three-way match. Then he destroyed Borden in singles competition. And finally, he bested Chris Hargas, James and Borden for the right to face Abyss. A monster has been awoken in Matheus. That's not a good thing for anyone on the Stride roster, including Abyss. 

Be sure to join us at all upcoming shows. Keep up to date here.

Promo code: MY123CENTS

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Neville's future without WWE

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

First, I know his name will likely no longer be Neville. But let's face it, most people who will read this know Benjamin Satterley better as Neville than his name in the indies; Pac. I consider myself fortunate to have met him years ago when he wrestled at a show I was doing commentary on, All American Pro Wrestling's Main Event. I've told the story a hundred times before and how we reconnected a couple other times after that first encounter. Get caught up here.

Meeting Neville at Toys R Us
Now that Neville is seemingly done with WWE and no longer under contract there's been plenty of speculation of where he'll end up next. Early buzz is he'll be part of All In one week from tonight. If that is the case I'll kick myself even harder for not getting tickets for the event. You see, my fandom for Neville goes beyond my appreciation for his in-ring ability. I found him to be a nice guy outside the ring. The fact that he remembered me years after meeting him impressed me. So if that makes me a mark, I'll gladly own it.

The good thing about leaving WWE these days is there are countless viable options for performers. Sure there's no WCW style alternative but the indy scene in this country and beyond is flourishing. Impact! Wrestling's product is improving greatly. Ring of Honor, Lucha Underground and New Japan would all be a great fit for the Man Gravity Forgot. The sky is the limit for Neville right now. I'd love to have him as a guest in Stride Pro Wrestling sometime. If I had my way I'd either be his manager for the night or team up with him for my third match. Heck, I'd even go on the road and manage him at other shows too.

The first meeting in 2012
Regardless of what happens next, I'll continue to follow and support Neville or Pac or whatever his name ends up being. He can and will be able to capitalize on his talents. Leaving WWE isn't the end, it's a new beginning; just ask Cody Rhodes.

Promo code: MY123CENTS

Friday, August 24, 2018

Everybody loves a parade (or two)

Carterville Free Fair
Photo by Gail Johnson 
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Fall is fair and festival season in southern Illinois. Part of the celebrations includes parades. And for the first time ever, Stride Pro Wrestling will be involved in some of those events. 

Both parades are happening on Saturday, Sept. 8. The Stride roster will split and meet and greet fans at each location. The Carterville Free Fair parade happens at 10 a.m. The route starts at Carterville Junior High School on Division Street and continues on to Cannon Park. Come out and support the Lions Club and Stride Pro Wrestling. There may be candy involved. 

After that parade, stick around and enjoy the fair and then join us for some pro wrestling. Stride takes over the Carterville Community Center that night at 6:30 p.m. Tony Flood and J. Wellington Beauregard join forces against Ax Allwardt and Heath Hatton in the main event. Wraith and Ryzer battle Jay Spade and Arron Brooks and Farmer Billy Hills will clash with Chris Hargas. The tag team titles will be decided in a three-way match as the Midwest Monster Hunters defend against the DR Party and the Redneck World Order.

The other parade is at Popcorn Days. That parade starts at 1 p.m. in Ridgway, which is located in Gallatin County. Stride is headed to Gallatin County High School on Friday, Sept. 21 for a big fundraiser show for the school. Tony Flood defends the Stride Pro Wrestling Heavyweight Title that night against Heath Hatton. Wraith defends the Legacy Title against Cash Borden, Brooks faces Ryzer and Ax Allwardt takes on Chris Hargas. 

Popcorn Days Parade
This is the tip of the iceberg. More fundraisers and events are coming through the rest of 2018. We're heading to Perry, Jefferson and Williamson Counties for sure. Stay tuned for future announcements. Follow along here on My 1-2-3 Cents and on Stride's Facebook page.

Promo code: MY123CENTS

Thursday, August 23, 2018

One Man Gang vs. Akeem

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I've found a new pro wrestling podcast and became an instant fan. It's called Our Vantage Point. The first episode I listened to is number 95. They recap that year (1995) as they also talk about successful and not so successful gimmicks. The One Man Gang was brought up as well as his alter-ego Akeem, the African Dream. There was a debate on which character enjoyed the most success. So I brought the conversation over to the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page and created a poll.

As you can see OMG easily beat Akeem. But there were some who were passionate in the reasoning for picking the African based character. Sam Banks had this to say: 

"One Man Gang was very popular in the regional territories in the 70’s and 80’s, but really rose to prominence when he took on the African Dream gimmick in the WWF. 

The WWF is where he did the most memorable things in his career in front of the most eyes, and with the WWE Network available to everyone, his Akeem stuff will be what most people see for as long as the Network exists.
Akeem is the clear answer here. The majority of young wrestling fans since the year 2000 have probably never even heard of One Man Gang, but I would bet they’d know who Akeem and the Twin Towers were."

Jerry Travelstead commented too:

"Personally, don't think this one is close. OMG gimmick wasn't just WWF. Believe he did Mid South, Texas, The Carolinas, and other regional organizations well before WWF. He has popped up as OMG several times when I've been watching some of the older stuff on the network."

I'm still on the fence on the issue. I remember Gang when I watched World Class Championship Wrestling and Midsouth (UWF). Even in his first year or so in WWE he competed as the big man from Halstead Street in Chicago. Then the transformation happened and Akeem was born.

Some fast facts about the WWE tenure of George Gray (the man behind the gimmicks):
One Man Gang debuted in the spring of 1987. He feuded with Hulk Hogan, Don Muraco and Bam Bam Bigelow in that first year. He was in the main event of the first Survivor Series (his team won) and he made it to the semi-finals of the WWE Championship tournament at WrestleMania IV before losing (by DQ) to the eventual winner Randy Savage. 

As Akeem, Gray was back in the main event picture. He and the Big Bossman feuded with Savage and Hogan as the MegaPowers. Again he was part of the Survivor Series main event as well as The Main Event on NBC when the Megapowers finally exploded in 1989. He and Bossman pursued the tag team titles that summer against Demolition. I really thought they were going to win but the Brain Busters did instead.

Akeem vs. Bossman
After that, it seems both men floundered a bit. The Twin Towers split in early 1990 and Bossman made quick work of his former partner at WrestleMania VI. He faded away and resurfaced in WCW as the OMG once again. During the second run in 1995, he picked up the company's U.S. Championship. 

Gimmick Battle Royal
When he returned to WWE in 2001 for the Gimmick Battle Royal at WrestleMania 17 he did so as the Gang. He also competed as that character at the King of Trios tournament with Chikara a decade ago. 

Both characters had an impact and were successful. But what are your thoughts? Who had more success in pro wrestling, the One Man Gang or Akeem? Weigh in here or on the Facebook page.

Promo code: MY123CENTS

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Shield vs. Stride Pro Wrestling

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Please note: The Shield is NOT appearing at any Stride Pro Wrestling event. This is merely a FANTASY BOOKING BLOG. Thanks.

Once again, WWE fans find themselves cheering for the threesome of Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins. The group is known as The Shield and first burst onto the WWE roster in late 2012. Of course, they've had their ups and downs and have been reunited more times than Big Show has turned heel. (I could be wrong on that.)

The most recent reunion occurred this past Monday, a day after Reigns regained the Universal Championship, Rollins recaptured the Intercontential Championship and a week after Ambrose returned from an extended injury. 

So I decided to have some fun and put together a threesome on the Stride Pro Wrestling roster to go head to head with the Hounds of Justice. If your favorite Stride trio isn't here, don't worry, I'm working on a more elaborate fantasy blog for Chikara's upcoming King of Trios. 

Heath Hatton, Ax Allwardt and Daniel Eads. Hatton and Allwardt are two-time tag team champions. Eads has impressed me since meeting him a few years ago. Together these three could pose a huge threat to the Shield. 

Tony Flood, Chris Hargas and Roger Matheus. These three have had their differences with each other in the past. However, I think in a crisis situation they could put those differences aside and work together. Flood, of course, is the current heavyweight champion in Stride. 

The Midwest Monster and Wraith: Bo Sawyer and Jason Tiller are the tag team champions and Wraith holds the Legacy Title. Not sure how Monster Hunters and a ghost would coexist, but you never know. 

Again these are just a few teams. I'll have the King of Trios blog up next week. Who would you put in the ring against the Shield?