Friday, November 30, 2018

Flood & Hargas top Santa's naughty list



@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

What a difference a year makes. It was this time last year that Tony Flood was preparing to defend his Legacy Title against Chris Hargas. Flood lost the belt and Hargas celebrated two hard-fought, back to back victories. However this year the two are allies as Hargas has turned his back on the fans of Stride Pro Wrestling and aligned with J. Wellington Beauregard.


Hargas and Flood have found common enemies in Heavyweight Champion Heath Hatton and his partner Ax Allwardt. The four will go toe to toe at next week's Christmas Break show (Dec. 8). The new Stride Arena at 1130 N. Division Street in Carterville plays host to the event. (By the way, bring a new, unwrapped wrestling action figure for Toys for Tots too).

Flood has been pretty ruthless his entire tenure in Stride. He's used underhanded tactics to get what he wants, including a well-hidden lead pipe that earned him the Heavyweight Title too. He deceived Jerry Travelstead and Stride fans with an alter-ego, El Fabuloso. He's been a four-time champion here and has done whatever it takes to win and retain those championships.


Hargas, as I mentioned, was loved by fans. His recent attack on Allwardt with a chain is inexcusable. He's battled Hatton for the title too and that's when Flood once again got involved. No doubt Santa has been making his list and Flood and Hargas are on top of the naughty side. Gentlemen, I'd say you have some coal in your future. 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

I'm ripping off Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins, please help me


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

It's the most wonderful time of year, right? Well, not for everyone. I think a lot of times we take for granted because we woke up Christmas morning with toys to unwrap. That's simply not the case. But together, we can make sure a few more kids in southern Illinois do.


Many years I had LJN action figures under the tree waiting for me. Those action figures are still on display in my house some 30+ years later. Yes, they're ring worn after having battles and being stored in an attic for years. Now I want other kids to have that same experience.


So here's the plan. Just like Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins are doing on their podcast, the Major Wrestling Figure Podcast, Stride Pro Wrestling will be collecting NEW pro wrestling related toys. Everything collected Saturday, Dec. 8 will be donated to the Toys for Tots here in southern Illinois. Any kind of toys will be accepted, but since we're a pro wrestling company, I thought it would be fun to pass along our love for the business to young fans.


For each toy donated, you'll be entered into a contest to win a My1-2-3 Cents/Stride Pro Wrestling prize pack. If you can't make it to the show on Saturday, Dec. 8 reach out to me beforehand. The giveaway will happen that night. Thanks and Merry Christmas.

Monday, November 26, 2018

AUDIO: #AskMy123Cents


@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter
This week on the My 1-2-3 Cents podcast I answer questions that were asked on the My 1-2-3 Cents Facebook page. There were a lot of great questions, so thank you for asking. Please continue to do so, as regular episodes of the podcast will include a round of #AskMy123Cents.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast on the Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network right here. You can also pick up some new merch on the page too.

Sale ends at Noon on Monday

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Make Survivor Series great again



@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I know the statute of limitations is running out on blogging about Survivor Series. We're a week removed from the 2018 event, however, the latest the pay per view aired was Nov. 27 (in 1991 and 2005). So I thought I'd share a few thoughts on making the Survivor Series great again.

Yes, I thought the event was great from day one. I remember eagerly listening to the results from a classmate, Bobby Griffy, on the Monday after Thanksgiving 1987. A group of us freshmen ate lunch together each day and discussed wrestling most than anything else back then. I still couldn't believe that Hulk Hogan's team went down to Andre the Giant's. (I was a die-hard Hulkamaniac back then.)

Survivor Series 1987
Courtesy: WWE
Those early years of Survivor Series were great. The five on five elimination matches were a highlight of the year to me. Survivor Series offered something different. Crockett Promotions nor the AWA were doing anything like it. WWF only used the concept one night a year. It was amazing to me. Even when they cut it to four on four matches, I enjoyed the show and 1990's attempt to crown Ultimate Survivors did not disappoint me.

In 1991, the company added the first singles match to the show. Hogan dropped the WWF Championship to the Undertaker that night. I didn't mind a championship match being thrown into the mix as the rest of the show still consisted of the elimination matches. But a year later the Survivor Series had a whole new look and feel. There was one elimination match, The Rockers and the Bushwhackers vs. The Beverly Brothers and the Nasty Boys. The rest of the show had singles and tag team matches peppered throughout. Needless to say, I did not like this.

Through the years WWE has changed the makeup of the show. 1998 had zero elimination matches as the Deadly Games tournament ruled the night. (I don't count the tag team championship match as a traditional Survivor Series match.)

2018
Courtesy: WWE
The last few years it's been Raw vs. SmackDown Live for Survivor Series. Elimination matches have been limited to one man's match, one women's match and a tag team match. The rest of the matches are champion vs. champion. I don't hate the concept but there's never been any sort of explanation of stakes involved. It comes down to bragging rights that typically last a week or two after the event and a couple week's leading up to the next year's event. 

I'd love to go back to the original concept. It doesn't have to be five on five. Four on four with a cool team name. And I'd keep it Raw vs. Raw and SmackDown Live vs. SmackDown Live. WWE touts Survivor Series is the only night it is brand vs. brand, but really we see it in the Royal Rumble to an extent and in some of the matches at WrestleMania and Money in the Bank as well. 

I know the elimination matches aren't everyone's cup of tea. But for me, it's what defined Survivor Series. I can't imagine the Royal Rumble event never including the over the top rope Rumble match itself. Maybe I'm crazy but I want the Survivor Series restored to its previous glory (1987-1991).

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Saturday, November 24, 2018

Larry Matysik: The voice of my childhood

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Some people will tell you Jim Ross was the voice of their youth when it came to pro wrestling. Others will choose Tony Schivanie. Gorilla Monsoon, Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, Gordon Solie, Bob Caudill, Bill Mercer and Lance Russell all rank up there in my childhood too. However, one of the first and most memorable voices for me is that of Larry Matysik.


I grew up just outside St. Louis, Missouri. When I was in grade school my dad, brother and uncle religiously watched Wrestling at the Chase and World Class Championship Wrestling. At the time, I had no interest in it, however, I would hear the action being called. Early on I remember the sound of Larry Matysik's voice as he called the action between the likes of Dick the Bruiser, Gene Kiniski and Bruiser Brody. 

Once my fandom exploded in early 1983, Wrestling at the Chase became a staple each Sunday morning in our house. Sadly I got hooked a little too late as the show ended its decades' long run on KPLR later that year. 


But what a year it was for me. I don't remember specific matches from that era, but I do remember hearing Larry call matches. To me, he is Wrestling at the Chase. I remember ring announcer Mickey Garagiola very well too. My uncle knew Mickey's kids from school so it always felt like we were watching good friends do their thing on TV.

Hatton & Matysik
It wasn't until 2017 that I got to meet Larry Matysik. I traveled to a Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling show with my friend Heath Hatton. Larry is very active with SICW and promoter Herb Simmons. I enjoyed chatting briefly with someone who meant so much to me as a child and an influence on my passion for becoming a wrestling commentator and announcer.

Matysik and Simmons
I understand Larry has had some medical setbacks recently. I wanted to take a few minutes to share thoughts and memories on someone who molded a generation of professional wrestlers and its fans. Larry, thanks for the memories. 

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Black Friday for wrestling fans

Shop now!

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Thanksgiving and Black Friday have become a hot time to shop for Christmas. While millions will stand in line outside brick and mortar stores in the cold; you don't have to do that for the pro wrestling fan in your life. The best part about it is when shopping at any of these sites I'm about to mention you're supporting local and indy wrestling talent.


Pro Wrestling Tees: Black Friday sale goes until Monday, Nov. 26. I'd love it if you shopped the My 1-2-3 Cents store. You can do so here. But also check out the other stores and deals. You can save between 20 and 40 percent on your purchases. 

Promo code: MY123CENTS

COLLARxELBOW: I'm a sponsored athlete (their term, not mine) for this company. They have a great variety of pro wrestling t-shirts, hats and other merchandise. You can save up to 30 percent on your purchase. Use promo code MY123CENTS at check out.


Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network: Co-founder Greg Mehocko has opened a store with Jittery Monkey merch. You can shop online and support the shows. Also be sure to rate & review on your podcast listening platform. Shop here



Billy Club: 'Farmer' Billy Hills is a long time friend of mine. We met years ago in All American Pro Wrestling. Billy is a co-holder of the Stride Pro Wrestling tag team titles. He's also got his own store with tons of great merchandise. As a proud owner of a pair of Farmer socks, I can tell you his products are great. Check everything out here


Other stars in Stride have merch available at shows. So bring some cash to the next event on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1130 N. Division Street in Carterville. It's just one of the ways to support indy wrestling. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My 1-2-3 Cents Pardon: The Gobbledy Gooker



@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

Every year the President of the United States pardons a turkey ahead of Thanksgiving. This year two birds, Peas and Carrots, will leave to see another day thanks to President (and WWE Hall of Famer) Donald Trump. So I'm starting a new pre-Thanksgiving tradition here at My 1-2-3 Cents and pardoning a gimmick or moment in pro wrestling that most fans hate on. It only makes sense for the inaugural pardon go to WWE's most famous turkey, the Gobbledy Gooker.

The Gooker debuted after hatching from a giant egg at Survivor Series 1990. I was a senior in high school at the time of the show. Admittedly I've always had a soft spot for campy, silly gimmicks in wrestling. I love Kamala, Doink and Papa Shango; but I digress.

Courtesy: WWE
Depending on who you listen to determines what the fate of the infamous turkey faced. Some have said he (Hector Guerrero) was supposed to be a regular part of the show. Others think it was just a holiday-inspired gimmick meant to be a seasonal character. I'm more in that boat. There's no need to see Gobbledy Gooker on the card at WrestleMania in April. But the month of November, I'm cool with it. 

Courtesy: WWE
We've seen the feathered friend show up a few times since his debut 28 years ago. I'm all for more appearances by Gobbledy Gooker if for nothing us the nostalgia value. If you can watch Chikara Pro and suspend reality, you can certainly sit through a few segments once a year with the now pardoned Gobbledy Gooker. What are your thoughts on this character?

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Monday, November 19, 2018

AUDIO: Random Wrestling Road Trip


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@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

This week on the podcast I share some random thoughts while on the road. I was driving home from an IWA-Productions show in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Some of the topics discussed: my tryout with Impact Wrestling, Survivor Series (past shows) and Stride Pro Wrestling. 

You can listen here. And don't forget starting Tuesday, Nov. 20, Pro Wrestling Tees has a huge sale going on. There are now three shirts up for sale in the My 1-2-3 Cents store.


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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Improving past Survivor Series teams

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

When Survivor Series made its debut in 1987 I was instantly hooked. I loved the concept, 'teams of five strive to survive.' I hated it when the WWF tweaked the format in 1992 and started moving away from the elimination matches. Through the years they've done different things with the show but to me, the best events are the ones with those matches.

That being said, I've decided to make today's blog a fantasy booking one where I replace one member of a team to make that unit more strong. Obviously, I'm not going to hit each year or every match but just a few here. Let me know what you think and how you'd change previous Survivor Series teams.

Courtesy: WWE
In 1987 there were three glaring omissions to me from Survivor Series. Ted DiBiase, The Ultimate Warrior and the Junkyard Dog. I understand wanting to save DiBiase and have him make a bigger impact. I'll even give it for the Warrior too. However, JYD had been a long time staple in WWF and would have fit well into the show. So no disrespect to Ken Patera, but I'd replace him with the Dog. Patera's second run as a face was lackluster. I believe JYD would have added some charisma to Hulk Hogan's team of Don Muraco, Paul Orndorff and Bam Bam Bigelow.

Courtesy: WWE
When 1990's event rolled around, I'd argue the "Macho King" Randy Savage was among the top heels in the company. However, he wasn't even on the card. At least he didn't wrestle. If I remember correctly, he and Queen Sherri cut a promo that night. However, I would have made The Perfect Team more perfect by adding some royalty. Savage, along with Mr. Perfect and Demolition (Ax and Smash with Crush on the outside) would have been a better foursome. I would still use Ax even though he was being phased out and close to leaving. However, he and Smash were the better form of Demolition and one of WWE's most iconic duos. 

Courtesy: WWE
A year later I would have done some swapping around on the card, not removing anyone. I'm a huge Kerry Von Erich fan and his appearance in 1991 was in a hodgepodge match, teaming with El Matador, Hacksaw Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter. The faces all survived and beat Hercules, Skinner, Col. Mustafa and The Berzerker. I would have put Texas Tornado in a higher profile contest with Roddy Piper, Bret Hart and Davey Boy Smith. That would move Virgil to the team with Duggan and company. 


Also in 91, I can't remember why, but for some reason, Sid Justice and Jake "the Snake" Roberts were pulled from their respective teams. Justice was to lead Big Bossman and the Legion of Doom into battle against Jake, IRS and the Natural Disasters. Instead, we got a three-on-three elimination match which actually went on last that night. I guess that was so fans didn't leave upset with Hogan dropping the WWF Championship to the Undertaker. Like I said, I don't remember the reason for the change but it would have been a much better match if the two captains had remained involved. 
Courtesy: WWE
Shawn Michaels was the last minute replacement for Jerry "the King" Lawler to face the Hart Family in 1993. Lawler's partners were all 'knights' from his roundtable. I get the reasoning for that because it fit the gimmick. However, when Lawler was pulled from the show and HBK put in his place, the knights should have been scrapped too. As cheesy this sounds, they could have kept the 'knights' under masks and just called them Hartbreakers. Remember the team they're facing and Shawn's heartbreak kid gimmick was peaking here.  

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

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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Party with Stride Pro Wrestling

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

One of the great features of having Stride Pro Wrestling having a new facility is the ability to do some things outside the box. If you haven't been by the new location at 1130 N. Division Street in Carterville, I'd recommend coming to the Dec. 8 show. Bell time that night is 6:30 p.m.

But Stride now offers birthday party packages for young fans. I guess old fans can partake too. We don't discriminate here. Imagine a chance to celebrate your child's birthday inside a pro wrestling ring. As a kid, I would have popped like a bag of Orville Redenbacher at a chance to celebrate another year on Earth like this. 

Here's what you get when you celebrate a birthday at Stride Pro Wrestling: 

2 hours of hanging out with members of the Stride roster.
Wrestling training for the kids.
Matches from the trainers,
30 minutes of ring time for the attendees.

The cost for the party is $200. You can book by reaching out to Stride Pro Wrestling via our Facebook page. Go here and send a message.

Show your Stride Pride
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Friday, November 16, 2018

WWE Hall of Famer heading to IWA-Productions

Courtesy: WWE
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

One of the greatest tag teams of all time is without a doubt the Road Warriors. I remember at an early age seeing Hawk and Animal in action in the AWA. The duo was like no other at the time. Face paint, crazy haircuts, spikes and lots of muscle. The Legion of Doom rolled through everyone they faced eventually winning the gold in the AWA, NWA and WWF. 
Courtesy: WWE 
Sadly, half of the team, Hawk, died in 2003. Animal has continued on and had a brief run in WWE in 2006. I saw him at the Bacon, Bagels and Biceps Brunch at WrestleMania 22. Then in 2011, I was in the crowd as the Warriors and their longtime manager "Precious" Paul Ellering were inducted into WWE's Hall of Fame.

Now the Legend is headed to southern Illinois. Animal will be at IWA Productions this Saturday night (Nov. 17) at the Mt. Vernon Elks Lodge. Tickets for the evening, just ten bucks and proceeds go to the Team Cuff Youth Wrestling program. Many of you read my blogs about Stride Pro Wrestling and you'll see many members from that roster Saturday including Ax Allwardt, Dexter Roswell, Heath Hatton, El Magnifico, Jay Spade, Farmer Billy Hills and Hollywood Redneck.

I'm looking forward to this show as it'll be my first opportunity to meet Animal. It's also been more than a month since I've announced an entire show. Last weekend I did the Impact Wrestling tryout but it's not quite the same as announcing in front of a live crowd of fans. Be sure to join us. Bell time is 7 p.m.



Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Chasing a dream

The group

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

More than 35 years ago I became a fan of professional wrestling. I never aspired to be in the ring as I knew at an early age my lack of athleticism would keep me from having a career between the ropes. As I got older though, I put serious consideration into becoming a manager. I looked up to the likes of Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Jimmy Hart and Jim Cornette. It was always a 'dream job' in the back of my head and when I started a career in TV news, I changed that goal to commentator or announcer.


I won't bore you with all the details again, but there have been opportunities since 2005 for me to pursue all of those choices (even wrestling). All the work has come the way of small, independent promotions here in Illinois. However, in August I saw an ad for a  seminar and tryout by Future Stars of Wrestling in Las Vegas. The group was holding the event for Impact Wrestling (formerly TNA). After weeks of contemplating and the encouragement of my wife and a handful of friends, I signed up to audition to be a ring announcer.

My ring cards
My wife and I flew out to Vegas on Friday morning. After a day and evening on the Strip, I got a good night's sleep and eagerly walked into the FSW building. I was ready to impress Sonjay Dutt, Scott D'Amore, D'Lo Brown and the other professional wrestlers on hand. There were dozens of athletes there for the tryout, nine referees and three announcers. The other two announcers did a great job. I feel like I did too and had some custom made ring cards with the Impact logo on them which contained my announcing notes.

There were 28 matches that afternoon as everyone who signed up for the tryout got a chance to impress. I announced nine matches and throughout the course, I chatted with friends back home about the talented guys I was up against. Even without seeing my competition they were sure I was better. Their words made me feel good about what I was doing.  

That's me...
The tryout came to an end and it was announced that a few of the men on hand would be asked to come to the tapings Sunday night. I was not asked, but I wanted to have a chance to thank the organizers for having me. I shook Sonjay's hand and he told me how much he liked the cards. I wasn't picked for this set of tapings but I feel like I made an impression and hope to work with Impact for a future taping. (By the way, none of the announcer candidates made the cut, at least I don't think so).

Scott D'Amore told everyone at the end, "Congratulations for investing in yourself. It took courage to do this." I don't remember if that's his exact quote but it's what I remember from his farewell to us. My wife was waiting for me outside and told me she was proud for putting myself out there. I don't typically step outside my comfort zone but I couldn't let this chance pass me. I would have more regret by not doing it than having tried and not making it.

Outside the Bellagio 
Plus we got to spend three days in Vegas and hang out a couple of days with my buddy Chad. We've never been to Vegas before and I don't know how soon we would have made the trip. So if there's something you're dreaming of, take a chance on yourself. The only failing involved is in not trying. Thanks again to everyone for the love and support. I got a ton of message from so many friends and family afterward. It means the world. (Tyler, Tom, Garrett, Barry, Dan and Jamie to name a few)