Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Mt. Rushmore: Wrestlers I've Met

Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

After a delay, the My 1-2-3 Cents Mt. Rushmore is back. The last blog I wrote on the subject was the bucket list of wrestlers I'd like to meet. This time, it's about the top four wrestlers I've met. I have had the good fortune of meeting many wrestlers through the years, so I am narrowing this down a bit by only naming wrestlers that I've had conversations with and not just a meet-and-greet experience. 

Bobby "The Brain" Heenan is one of my all-time favorite personalities in wrestling and, without a doubt, the greatest manager of all time. In 1998, when I was a young reporter (two months of experience), I was able to get access to a WCW Thunder in Huntsville, Alabama. While there, I interviewed Goldberg (just into the streak), Ray Traylor, Buff Bagwell, and Bobby Heenan. It was a great come true. Our interaction was probably about five minutes or so, but it meant the world to me. I never in my wildest dreams imagined such an opportunity would present itself to me. 

When TNA Wrestling came to southern Illinois for a BaseBrawl event, I reached out to get a wrestler on the morning newscast I co-anchored. I was excited to learn that D'Lo Brown would be filling that role. We chatted before his appearance and after as well. D'Lo even gave me his number. We've actually texted a few times, which to me is surreal. But what really impressed me was when I was in Las Vegas back in 2018 and trying out for a gig with Impact Wrestling, D'Lo was there and remembered me by name. A great guy and one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time. 

Jeff Jarrett and I first met in 2011 at that above-mentioned BaseBrawl event. However, it was a brief encounter, and a few years later, Double J returned to southern Illinois to promote another wrestling event at the ballpark, but this time with Global Force Wrestling. Jeff and I chatted before our interview and after and also indulged me with a selfie. He also bestowed me with the privilege of announcing one of the matches the night GFW came to town. Listening to the My World Podcast that he hosts often reminds me of how laid-back he met. A class act all the way. 

Of course, I can't have this list without adding PAC to it. I've told the story many times, but here's the short version. We met for the first time at an AAPW event called Main Event in January 2012. Then crossed paths at WrestleMania Axxess in 2014 and at an autograph signing in 2016 (he remembered me by name both times). He's a great guy, and I wish him nothing but continued success in the ring. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Mt. Rushmore: My Bucket List


By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

There are a lot of wrestlers or personalities involved with the business that I've wanted to meet. I have had the good fortune of meeting several greats through the years. Some were through my job, some were for the podcast, and others were at meet-and-greet events. 

Ric Flair has been my favorite for a long, long time. I had the opportunity to see him wrestle when he was the NWA Heavyweight Champion in the 80s, during his first WWF run in 1991, and his retirement match in 2008 against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 24. All of those times and not once have I had a chance to meet Naitch.

Now that he's left WWE, I suspect Slick Ric will do more traveling and events. I'm hoping that the stars align and I can attend one of those events and meet Flair. I would love to get a pic with him sometime in 2022. Woooo! 

The Rock is not just one of my favorite wrestlers, but I also enjoy his work on the big and small screens. The closest I've come to meeting the 'Great One' is when I posed with his wax statue at Madame Tussauds in Hollywood back in 2011. How great would it be to spend a few minutes with him and getting a photo with the real deal? I know the odds of this are highly unlikely, but I'll continue to remain hopeful. 

'Stone Cold' Steve Austin is one of the all-time greats. Twenty-five years ago this summer, he set the world on fire with his Austin 3:16 speech. 

Since I'm fantasy booking this, I'd love to sit down with him and have a cold Broken Skull IPA or two with him. Not only was he great in the ring, but he's also really given his career new life as the host of the Broken Skull Sessions on Peacock and the WWE Network.

Finally, and probably an even bigger long shot than the Rock, Vince McMahon. The man who is responsible for the development of 'sports entertainment' for the past 40+ years. Love or hate the current product, McMahon remains a massive influence on the business today. I visited the outside of WWE Headquarters in 2013 ahead of WrestleMania 29. But no luck finding the Chairman, maybe next time... 

Who is on your Mt. Rushmore Bucket List? 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Mt. Rushmore: Gone Too Soon

Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wrestling has had more than its share of losses through the years. This week, on the Mt. Rushmore blog, a look at four wrestlers who left us way too soon. Obviously, there are dozens, maybe even hundreds of wrestlers, announcers, and managers I wish were still with us. Also, I'd like to thank Jittery Monkey Podcasting Network founder Greg Mehochko for this idea. 

Kerry Von Erich was my first favorite pro wrestler. When I first saw him wrestle Ric Flair in late 1982 inside a steel cage, I was sold on pro wrestling. He and his brothers ruled the ring in World Class Championship Wrestling. In early 1984, big brother David died unexpectedly, and Kerry later beat Flair for the NWA Championship. That remains one of my favorite moments in wrestling.

He'd later wrestle for the WWF, and shortly after that run, he ended his own life. It was a tragic ending to a string of tragedies the Von Erich family faced. I remember reading the news of Kerry's death in the newspaper in my college library. Someone on my floor had told me the news, which I didn't believe. Remember, this was pre-internet, so I had to read all about it in the newspaper.  

Yes, Kerry battled demons. You'll see a few others on this list did as well. Kerry was only 33. I'd like to think he had at least another decade in him, had he stayed healthy. We have the legacy of his nephews, Marshall and Ross, and his daughter Lacey who have all contributed to the business. 

Eddie Guerrero is someone  I admittedly did not appreciate enough when he was alive. Yes, I thought he was an amazing wrestler. First, really seeing him in action in ECW. His time in WCW and WWE made him a household name. I never dreamed he'd be the man to beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship, but he did it, and despite his brief reign, he made a lasting impression.

I was stunned when I went into work in 2005 and learned the news that Eddie had died. His star was still shining so brightly. At just 38, I figured he had at least another run or two as World Champion in him. I have no doubt he'd still be involved in the business in some capacity today. Viva La Raza!

Owen Hart's death may be the most tragic in wrestling history. I listened in shock to Jim Ross tell us that Owen had fallen and a short time later that he had died from his injuries. It made no sense, and I couldn't wrap my brain around it.

While wrestling as the Blue Blazer, Owen was likely to win the Intercontinental Championship the night of his death. There are plenty of stories that Owen had intended to retire from the ring in a few years. I believe had he lived and continued to wrestle, he would have had at least one run at the top of the mountain. 

Brian Pillman was someone that caught my eye during his time in Stampede. I read about him in the Apter mags, and a short time later, he ended up in WCW as Flyin' Brian. His character development was as amazing as his skills inside the ring.

I loved it when Brian showed up in the WWF in 1996 and looked forward to him being healthy enough to wrestle full-time again. In fact, I was in the crowd at In Your House Badd Blood in St. Louis in October 1997. However, they never announced to the crowd that Pillman had died, just that the match wasn't happening. I got the news the next morning after calling a wrestling hotline. I was crushed.

I'm happy to see Brian Pillman, Jr. is tearing it up in the ring. I have no doubt his father is smiling down and so very proud.  

As far as honorable mentions, I have to add Gino Hernandez and Brodie Lee to the conversation. I hated Gino when I was a kid as he was a huge foil for the Von Erichs, but I know he was a great performer with the benefit of hindsight, and I believe he would have been a huge star in WCW or WWE eventually. And we just lost Brodie Lee last year as he seemed to reach new heights of popularity in the ring. His potential was finally being realized at the time of his death.

It is hard saying goodbye to our heroes. They're gone but not forgotten. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Mt. Rushmore: SummerSlam Main Events

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

SummerSlam makes its return this Saturday, so I thought, what better topic for this week's Mt. Rushmore than my favorite SummerSlam main events. Please note I said my favorite vs. the best because I think those are two very different things. My list, as you will soon see, is built mostly on nostalgia. 

Courtesy: WWE

John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan (2013):
This match, I realize, is probably a happy accident in terms of how it all played out. Daniel Bryan, my favorite wrestler of that era, was finally getting some main event love. Sure, he'd been the World Champion earlier, but I felt like he was truly over now, and the powers that be seemed to be on board.

He challenged John Cena to a great match for the WWE Championship and ends up winning. I was pumped until Randy Orton comes out to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase. Triple H, who was the special guest referee, double-crossed Bryan, and Orton won. Of course, the underdog prevailed in the end, winning the undisputed championship six months later at WrestleMania XXX (a match I was there to see). 

Courtesy: WWE

British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart (1992):
My all-time favorite tag team is the British Bulldogs. In the 80s, that duo feuded with the Hart Foundation. The matches were incredible. Fast forward a few years, and now Davey Boy Smith and his brother-in-law Bret Hart are feuding for the Intercontentinal Championship. Both men were good guys, but that didn't stop them from bringing out all the stops.

Hart and Smith closed the show at Wembley Stadium. It was the first and only time in SummerSlam history that the event was held overseas and that the IC Title match was in the main event. Bulldog got the victory in this hard-fought match. Unfortunately, his reign and his time in WWE were cut short, but that doesn't take away from this incredible matchup. 

Courtesy: WWE

The Mega Powers vs. The Mega Bucks (1988):
 I can't leave off the first SummerSlam main event. This was reffed by Jesse 'the Body' Ventura and featured the new WWF champ Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan teaming up against Andre the Giant and 'The Million Dollar Man' Ted DiBiase. It was a solid main event for the inaugural event. 

The match ends with Elizabeth showing off her legs and distracting the Mega Bucks. It was great storytelling as the seeds were being planted for the eventual breakup of the Mega Powers, which would culminate at WrestleMania V.

Courtesy: WWE

Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Sgt. Slaughter, Col. Mustafa, and Gen. Adnan (1991):
What an awesomely bad main event this was. It's the era I grew up in. I have to pick it. I loved this time and everything that was going on in the WWF at the time. Newcomer Sid Justice had just arrived and was the referee for the match. Ric Flair was being talked about coming in at the time. I was so stoked.

But yes, the match quality here was low, but it was fun. As a fan, I had no clue about the tension with the Warrior at the time. Little did we know that would be the last time we'd see him for six months until WrestleMania VIII. As I write this, I'm noticing many connections between SummerSlam and WrestleMania... go figure.

So what are your favorites? I think John Cena and Roman Reigns will close the show this year and do an excellent job. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Mt. Rushmore: Ric Flair's 80s Feuds

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

Last week, I launched a new concept for the blog with the Mt. Rushmore of Hulk Hogan's 80s feuds. So it only seems fitting that we hop over to the NWA side and look at Ric Flair's top four feuds in the 80s. I found coming up with this list more difficult than Hogans. I also discovered last week that most people agreed with my picks (read them here); however, this week, I expect to get some backlash. 

I'll preface this by saying in the 80s, I despised Ric Flair. He was one of those wrestlers I loved to hate. However, today, he's my all-time favorite. Sometime in the late 80s, I began respecting Flair and becoming a fan. By the time he arrived in the WWF in 1991, I was all-in with Naitch. 

Dusty Rhodes
has to be the best foe for Flair of all time and not just the 80s, right? 
I mean, Rhodes-Flair has to be on the Mt. Rushmore of wrestling feuds. Maybe I'll make that list soon. Their battles in the ring and on the microphone were what made Jim Crockett Promotions so great. Saturday nights at 6:05 (5:05 CST) was where I spent my time taking in all the action.

The bloody battles they had in singles, tag team, six-man tag, and even War Games matches were the personification of intense. Trading the NWA Championship, main eventing the Great American Bashes, and Starrcade kept fans at the edge of the seat time after time. The two even battled it out in the final WCW pay-per-view in 2001 in a tag team match with Dustin Rhodes and Jeff Jarrett as their respective partners.  

Ricky Steamboat had a few runs against Flair. Since I'm sticking to just 80s opponents, I feel justified in this as the two had some great matches in the early 80s before Steamboat heading to the WWF, where he spent the mid-80s and returned to the NWA in 1989 to face Naitch.

At that time, the two put on some highly regarded matches, including the night Steamboat won the big gold belt from Flair. Their trilogy is still talked about to this day. (I know both have acknowledged their non-televised matches in the 70s were even better.) 

Harley Race may be a surprise pick to some, but when I was growing up and watching Wrestling at the Chase, I remember Race calling out Flair and wanting another shot at the NWA Championship. The two traded the belt, and Flair beat Race for the gold in the main event of the very first Starrcade. My buddy Chad Smart has told the story of watching these two battle it out in a high school gym at the first wrestling show he attended. So whether on closed-circuit television or a small house show, these two always seemed to go at it.

Lex Luger is probably the most controversial of my choices. But I'll explain as best I can. When Luger came to JCP and joined the Four Horsemen, it seemed like it was only a matter of time before he'd split off and challenge Flair for the belt. As his nickname implied, Luger was the 'total package .' When he was kicked out of the Horsemen, I fully expected him to beat Flair for the championship.

I was genuinely disappointed when he came up short at the 1988 Great American Bash, and the match was called due to Luger's intense bleeding. Then a few months later, I was certain Luger would beat Flair at Starrcade but again came up short. In the meantime, it seems like the company was grooming Sting for that spot. (By the way, Sting will definitely be on the Mt. Rushmore of Flair opponents in the 90s.) 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Mt. Rushmore: Hulk Hogan's 80s Feuds


Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

It's been a long time coming, but I'm doing something to get this decade-old blog up and running again. While it's not an original idea by any means, I am going to start writing weekly with a Mt. Rushmore theme. I mean, wrestling fans these days seem to create some sort of Mt. Rushmore of Wrestling ____ all the time, so why not me? And for the record, I actually took a picture of Mt. Rushmore I'm using while on vacation earlier this summer in South Dakota. 

First up, the Mt. Rushmore of Hulk Hogan's 80s Feuds. With the recent passing of 'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff, I got to thinking about his significance in pro wrestling and quickly deduced that he is on the shortlist of Hulk Hogan's greatest foes (not just the 80s, but of all-time).

Courtesy: WWE
Andre the Giant and Hulk Hogan were the best of friends during the first few years of Hulkamania. Andre was in the locker room celebrating Hogan's victory over the Iron Shiek at Madison Square Garden. They teamed up to face members of the Heenan Family. That's why it was all the more shocking when in January 1987, Andre declared war on the Hulkster and hired Bobby Heenan as his manager.

The two had a huge main event at WrestleMania III and went on to battle against each other for the next 18 months, meeting in tag matches, singles matches, and the big blue steel cage. More than 33 million people watched their epic match on NBC's 'The Main Event' in February 1988. I still remember crying when the crooked referee counted Hogan's shoulders to the mat. Yes, I was 14 at the time... 

Courtesy: WWE
'Rowdy' Roddy Piper was the man I loved to hate in the early days of Hulkamania. He set the standard for a wrestling heel back in those days. He was a master on the mic and someone hard to beat in the ring. Hot Rod was front and center in the Rock 'n Wrestling Connection which, of course, led to the first-ever WrestleMania. While we never got a one-on-one encounter between Hogan and Piper at WrestleMania, their work before the event to set the tone for 80s wrestling is unforgettable. 

Courtesy: WWE
'Macho Man' Randy Savage came into the WWF in 1985 and quickly set his sites on Hogan's championship. The two had some great matches even before Savage won the Intercontinental Championship. Those matches continued to impress after Savage's win over Tito Santana. Then, of course, we had the epic build of the Mega Powers. This is without a doubt one of the best stories ever told in wrestling. It wove in nicely with the previously mentioned Andre the Giant match on NBC.

The explosion of the Mega Powers added a new element to WWF programming. It all came to a head at WrestleMania V, with Hogan once again winning the gold. Savage tried the rest of the year to regain his belt but always came up short. The Hogan-Savage story worked on so many levels and one that the creative team could depend upon. 

Courtesy: WWE
'Mr. Wonderful' Paul Orndorff, as I mentioned, is the inspiration for this blog. He, too, had some matches with Hogan before the first WrestleMania. His association with PIper made him another one of those guys I loved to hate. But then, after the mishap at Mania, Orndorff became a good guy and teamed off and on with the Hulkster. Then in the summer of 1986, Orndorff snapped and turned on Hogan, rejoining former manager Bobby Heenan. 

This feud was the most serious threat to ending Hulk's first title reign. I thought WWF might make the switch a couple of times, most notably on the January 1987 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Inside the Big Blue Cage, the match saw both Hogan and Orndorff escape at the exact same moment.

So there you have it. A very concise but precise list of Hulk Hogan's best four feuds in the 80s. Who is on your Mt. Rushmore of the Hulkster's foes?   

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Showing My Stride Pride

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

Five years ago this month, Stride Pro Wrestling was born. Well, the idea for Stride is a little older than that, but the very first live event for Stride was held on March 5, 2016, in front of a packed crowd at the Illinois Star Centre Mall. In those early days, it was known as CMA Pro Wrestling but shortly changed to Stride.  I've blogged, YouTubed, and podcasted a lot about Stride over the past five years. This post will be no different than those previous ones.

I'm extremely proud of what Stride Pro Wrestling has accomplished over the past half-decade. Now that the recent 'Strideiversary' show is behind us, the company has held 83 (I think that's right) shows. I've been there for most of them, missing a handful due to other commitments. No matter the location, I've always had a blast, whether at the mall, our current location in Carterville, or on the road in places like Pinckneyville, West Frankfort, or Rent One Park in Marion.

Stride isn't just about doing a wrestling show. Over the past five years, Stride fundraisers have netted more than $100,000 for various causes. Whether it's an event to help someone with their medical bills, a school fundraiser, or a sports team, Stride has been there. Add to that the toys we've collected over the past three years for the My 1-2-3 Cents/Stride Pro Wrestling Figure Drive, and it's safe to say we're making a positive impression in southern Illinois.

I want to thank Tyler Hatton, the man behind this company's creation, for allowing me to be the ring announcer for Stride Pro Wrestling over the past five years. Not only have I had a chance to ring announce more than once, but I've also been able to get into the ring and wrestle. Facing Roger Matheus in Stride Goes Steel's main event in Pinckneyville was amazing, but winning the tag team titles with Tyler is something I never, ever dreamed would happen.

I'm so looking forward to what 2021 has to hold for Stride. It's been a struggle over the past year, but I believe we will be back in front of large crowds and raising money for non-profit groups in our area sooner rather than later. Thank you to everyone who has bought a ticket or a t-shirt to support our mission. (Speaking of shirts, get yours here on Pro Wrestling Tees.) And if you'd like to train to wrestle with Stride Pro Wrestling, contact us on our Facebook page.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Wrestling Under the Influence: Brew Free or Die & Abe Lincoln

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

To be honest, this Wrestling Under the Influence is inspired by good ol' Abraham Lincoln. I'm drinking 21st Amendment Brewing Company's Brew Free or Die Blood-Citrus IPA and discussing the 16th President's contributions to the world of pro wrestling. 

Allegedly, Honest Abe is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. Whatever the case may be, this is a great beer. Take a look at the video and don't forget to subscribe. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Wrestling Under the Influence: Go Go Radio & The Iiconics

Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

Based on the can art for Logboat Brewing Company's Go Go Radio Stout you might think I'd pair this beer with something related to outer space in wrestling. In all honesty, my original plan was to talk about Max Moon.

However, after reading the funny quote on the side of the can and learning this beer is about two separated alien friends, I could only do one thing. Talk more about a tag team that was split up way too soon. That's where the Iiconics come in. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce were a fine duo in WWE and should still be teaming together today. Let me know what you think of this video and the other content on my channel! Thanks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wrestling Under the Influence: Lizard King & Luchasaurus

Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

It's a step way back in time for this week's Wrestling Under the Influence. I'm trying Lizard King Pale Ale by Pipeworks Brewing Company in Chicago. Who better to dedicate this brew to than AEW's Luchasaurus?

Wrestling Under the Influence: Dream Cream Ale & Dusty Rhodes

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

We all love 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes. And I think most of you will love Hand of Fate's Dream Cream Ale. This beer is pretty damn good. Check out the video on the latest Wrestling Under the Influence. If you try it, let me know what you think! 


Monday, February 1, 2021

Wrestling Under the Influence: Birthday Boi & WWE Raw

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

🎼 Happy birthday day to you! 🎼

This week on Wrestling Under the Influence, it's Birthday Boi Kolsch Ale by Singin' River Brewing Company in Florence, Alabama. Since we just passed the birthday of Monday Night Raw, I share a few thoughts on the show here as well.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Wrestling Under the Influence: Chino & The Slackers and Orange Cassidy

By Kevin Hunsperger

@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast Follow my blog with Bloglovin 

I'm slacking on this week's episode. That's because I have a can of Chino & The Slackers from Logboat Brewing Company in Columbia, Missouri. In addition to reviewing the IPA, I talk about everyone's favorite slacker, Orange Cassidy.


Wrestling Under the Influence: Wort & The 8 Bits and WWF Arcade Games

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast  Follow my blog with Bloglovin  

The 80s were such a great time. We'd fill our pockets with quarters and head to the arcade. Some of my favorite games to play at that time were WWF Superstars and WWF WrestleFest.

This week on Wrestling Under the Influence, I'm talking about those old school games because I'm drinking Wort & the 8-Bits beer from Main and Mill Brewing Company in Festus, Missouri. This is a great beer. Check out the review on YouTube and please subscribe!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Wrestling Under the Influence: Killer Bees Honey Ale & 80s Tag Teams

By Kevin Hunsperger @kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter Listen to the podcast Follow my blog with Bloglovin 

Welcome to episode 2 of Wrestling Under the Influence. This week I try Melvin Brewing Company's Killer Bees Honey Ale and talk more about 80s tag teams to never win the WWF (WWE) tag team titles. Some of my favorites who didn't win the gold are discussed and of course, a shoutout to the Killer Bees, B. Brian Blair and 'Jumping' Jim Brunzell. Let me know what you think of the content! Thanks for watching and please subscribe.