Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Ryback, CM Punk and more, this is where you need to get all of your weekly WWE nuggets.
Bleacher Report featured columnists Michael Cahill, Brandon Galvin, Mike Chiari and Donald Wood give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world. Extreme Rising star Stevie Richards brought his inside knowledge of the business as well.
With another unpredictable episode of Ring Rust Radio in the books, you can't afford to miss another second of the action. Catch us LIVE every Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET (some language NSFW) or follow us on Twitter @RingRustRadio.
(Some language NSFW)
Jan. 2 - Ring Rust Radio Golden Era (1987-1992) Fantasy Draft
Jan. 8 - Downstait (Creators of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler & Alex Riley's theme songs)
Jan. 15 - Former WWE Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man
CM Punk vs. Ryback WWE Title Match Scheduled
Due to a knee injury, WWE Champion CM Punk was unable to defend his title against Ryback at TLC, but it appears as though that match may happen anyway. Ryback told Punk that he would have to defend the strap against him on the Jan. 7 edition of Raw and then proceeded to tell the champ that the match would be of the tables, ladders and chairs variety.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Should This Match Even Happen?
While it was unfortunate that Punk was unable to defend his title at TLC, it was actually a blessing in disguise as we were afforded the opportunity to watch one of the best matches of the year. In place of the scheduled Punk vs. Ryback match, The Shield defeated the coalition of Ryback and Team Hell No in a highly entertaining TLC match.
Punk vs. Ryback probably would have been a solid match, but the result would have been obvious with Punk retaining through unfair means. That would remain true if Punk and Ryback face off again as there is no chance that Ryback will be given the title with a Punk vs. The Rock match waiting in the wings at Royal Rumble. With that in mind, it's easy to wonder whether Punk vs. Ryback should happen at all.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
There are several things to take into account here and predictability is obviously one of them. Another is the fact that Punk was still on crutches at last check and doesn't seem to be ready to compete in a normal match, let alone one of the TLC variety.
That makes me wonder if there is even a plan to actually go through with the match or if it was simply made to set Ryback up.
I wouldn't mind seeing the match because I believe we could finally see the return of Brock Lesnar. Instead of The Shield, perhaps he could interfere on Punk's behalf and start a feud with Ryback that would culminate in a colossal WrestleMania encounter.
Another option is to have Lesnar take Ryback out before the match, but then the issue of a Ryback rematch remains. Whatever the case, I'm hopeful that this potential match leads to Lesnar's return.
Rumor Mill: WWE Wavering on Punk vs. Ryback Match (via NoDQ.com)
RRR Interview with Stevie Richards
It isn't uncommon for someone to bounce around from promotion to promotion over the course of their career, but few have made the most of it like Stevie Richards. The current Extreme Rising star has done a little bit of everything as he previously competed in ECW, WCW, WWE, TNA and various other independent companies. Now, at the age of 41, he is looking to capture the biggest major championship of his successful career.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Will Stevie Richards Win the Extreme Rising Title?
Thanks to the favorable reception it has gotten over the past several months, Extreme Rising has decided to solidify itself as a promotion by crowning a world champion. The tournament is down to four, and in one of the semifinal matches, Stevie Richards will take on rising star Luke Hawx. The winner of that match will then take on the winner of Rhino vs. Devon Storm in the finals.
Hawx is likely the favorite at this point as he has really picked up steam and is viewed as a potential WWE star down the line, but Richards would be a great choice as the inaugural champion as well. He may be a veteran and an ECW original, but he is still in impeccable shape and has great character, so he would represent the company well.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Due to the fact that the Extreme Rising promoters seem to want to be viewed as something other than a reunion of former ECW stars, Hawx probably has the inside track at this point, but I wouldn't put it past Richards to win.
Richards was an integral part of ECW, but he was never given the opportunity to hold the ECW Championship, so it would be a nice gesture if he were given the win, but it wouldn't be a charity case by any stretch of the imagination.
Richards can outwork most of the younger guys on the roster and you'll never hear about him getting into trouble, so there is little risk in putting the title on him. Also, having Richards win the belt could set up a fantastic feud between him and Hawx.
Maybe Hawx could feel slighted by the fact that a veteran won the belt rather than him and it could lead to an old school vs. new school feud. Hawx is definitely the future of the company, but there is a ton that Richards can do to help it in the present.
Hulk Hogan Wants the TNA World Title
As much as TNA fans try to defend the product, it simply hasn't been very good for the past several months. Impact is rarely exciting, the pay-per-views are usually dead until the last one or two matches and the biggest problem of all is probably the presence of Hulk Hogan. Despite that, we could very well see him in an even bigger role moving forward.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Will Hogan Seriously Win the Strap?
In a recent interview with The Guardian, Hogan revealed his "Christmas list." One of the things on that list was surgery on his right knee, but that wasn't all. The reason behind that wish is so he can pursue the TNA World Heavyweight Championship and become the oldest titleholder in the company's history at the age of 59.
Normally I would laugh off something like this and chalk it up as a joke, but this is Hulk Hogan we're talking about. As much of a fan as I was of Hogan during his wrestling days, he is well past his prime as a wrestler, as a promo man, as an authority figure and as essentially anything you can possibly be in the wrestling business.
Hogan has never been one to avoid the spotlight; however, and it would not surprise me one bit if his comment was 100 percent truthful.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As much as I would like to believe that the TNA brass realizes how awful this could potentially be, the fact of the matter is that Hogan and his right-hand man Eric Bischoff are two pretty big parts of said TNA brass.
Because of that, Hogan can do pretty much anything his heart desires. That much is already apparent as he is afforded way too much television time on a weekly basis, constantly has pointless backstage segments and his daughter is now a horrible, albeit integral, part of the programming as well.
Dixie Carter may own the ship, but Hogan runs it and that partially explains why things have been so awful lately. I could definitely see something ridiculous happening like Hogan being revealed as the leader of Aces & Eights along with Bischoff, beating Hardy for the title and then dropping it to Bully Ray at some point. That would effectively ruin about three storylines at once, but it's a Hogan world and everyone else is just living in it.
Rumor Mill: Hogan Wants Knee Surgery to Pursue TNA Title (via NoDQ.com)
Check back for more on World Wrestling Entertainment as it comes, and visit Bleacher Report’s Wrestling Page to get your fill of WWE/TNA. For more Wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all the hottest topics.