Thursday, April 25, 2024

April is My Wrestling Month

Interviewing Billy Gunn on live TV

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

I have been thinking about returning to the blogging world for some time now. I started this blog in 2010 but haven't written anything since August 2023. My main content creation focus has been the My 1-2-3 Cents Podcast and video formats like TikTok, Reels, and Shorts. But I had a bright idea driving to work today, so here goes.

It wasn't until that car ride this morning that I realized what the month of April means to me in terms of pro wrestling. Of course, on the surface, it's the time of year for WrestleMania. The event usually falls in late March or early April. Most of the ten Manias that I've attended were in April. 

But thinking further, I discovered a couple of other ties to this month. On April 1, 2005, I had my first ring announcing gig. It was hours after interviewing Billy Gunn and Ian Rotten on the morning news about an IWA: Midsouth show happening in Herrin, Illinois. To be fair, my friend Chad and I helped (mainly Chad) Ian find the venue and bring his promotion to southern Illinois.

As Ian and Billy left the studio where I was the morning anchor, Ian casually asked, "Do you want to be the ring announcer tonight?" Of course, I said yes, even though I had no idea what to expect. The gig went as well as expected, and I announced another show when IWA returned later that summer. 

Fast-forward six years, I had my first commentary job in April 2011. This time, it was for All-American Pro Wrestling. Chris Hagstrom, whom I only knew on Facebook, had asked me to do commentary for the show, as he was the executive producer and trying to get the newly created AAPW Collison on WSIL-TV (again, the station I worked at). 

I missed the first show at Southern Illinois University as I was in Atlanta for WrestleMania that weekend. However, the following week, Chris and I sat at the dining room table in his townhouse and recorded commentary for the first two episodes of Collison. It was a blast and eventually led to my first-ever match (and the night I met PAC). 

While those are two fun memories of wrestling in April, the final is a bit more somber. I stepped away from wrestling in April of last year. I have been the ring announcer for Stride Pro Wrestling since March 2016. But in March 2023, after my friend and mentor Tyler 'Heath' Hatton stepped away from the company he created, I knew my time was limited. It was different, and I decided to follow suit the next month. (Storyline-wise, I got fired by new GM Sam Hunter.) 

I have no regrets about the decision. I miss the comradery and the action, but it's best for now to stay on the sidelines and admire the indie scene from afar. I wish everyone on the local scene the best and believe I'll call another match one day, one time only. But until then, I'm happy for the young talent getting a chance to chase their dreams.