Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Curtis Axel, Triple H 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.
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(Some Language NSFW)
May 28 - Former WWE Superstar Bob "Hardcore" Holly
June 25 - WCW/ECW Match Madness
July 2 - PG Era Fantasy Draft
Curtis Axel Revealed as New Heyman Guy
The WWE teased the reveal of a new Paul Heyman client throughout the day on Monday, and the successful manager confirmed that he would be adding another superstar to his stable.
Some thought that CM Punk might return, while others were expecting an old favorite like Rob Van Dam to come back. The creative team decided to go with an underutilized roster member in Michael McGillicutty; however, as his name was changed to Curtis Axel, and he was placed under Heyman's guidance.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is Axel the Right Choice?
To say that the revealing of Axel was a surprise would certainly be an understatement. It's doubtful that he was really on anyone's radar, but the WWE has obviously handpicked him as a guy it believes has a great deal of potential.
There is no doubt that Axel has a fantastic lineage, as he is a third-generation superstar as the son of Curt Hennig and grandson of Larry "The Axe" Hennig. Axel also appears to be solid in the ring, so he definitely has some positives working in his favor.
At the same time, Axel has never shown an ounce of charisma, and he was brutal in limited mic time on Monday. He was obviously paired with Heyman in an effort to cover that up, but he still needs to display some semblance of personality.
A guy like Brock Lesnar doesn't have to because he's a physical freak. Axel doesn't have that luxury, so he needs to work on become a better all-around performer before he can reach the next level.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
While this move is obviously a unique one and deserves a bit of time to develop, it's hard not to think about the potential for better options. I just saw McGillicutty lose to Yoshi Tatsu at a house show two months ago, so I have a difficult time viewing him as a rising star.
If the WWE wanted to go with a relative unknown, it could have easily called someone up from NXT such as Kassius Ohno, Sami Zayn or Corey Graves. Even an established WWE star on the brink of superstardom like Antonio Cesaro or Wade Barrett would have been great.
That feeling wasn't unanimous among the Ring Rust Radio panel, as Donald Wood has predictably bought into Axel hook, line and sinker. There is absolutely no question that Axel is with the perfect guy in the form of Heyman, but he isn't a miracle worker. Unless Axel significantly improves in several areas, there is no way he'll be able to reach the heights that the WWE believes he should.
Rumor Mill: Triple H and The Rock Reportedly High on Axel (F4WOnline via WrestlingInc.com)
Triple H Battling Effects of Kayfabe Concussion
Triple H and Brock Lesnar engaged in a highly entertaining steel cage match at Extreme Rules that resulted in Lesnar coming away victorious. Due to interference from Paul Heyman, Lesnar was able to secure The Game's sledgehammer and hit him with it.
Triple H attempted to wrestle Curtis Axel the next night on Raw, but he couldn't continue due to a kayfabe concussion that was suffered after Lesnar struck him with the sledgehammer.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Where Is WWE Going With This Storyline?
Once the Triple H vs. Lesnar match came to an end, it seemed fairly obvious that it would lead to an extended absence for both men. Lesnar suffered a kayfabe knee injury during the match—which he sold throughout—while Triple H had to be helped from the ring after the sledgehammer shot.
Lesnar did not appear on Raw, but Triple H did as he challenged Axel to a match. The Game was in control, but he collapsed outside the ring and attempted to get back in several times—though he was unable to.
Raw came to a close with medical personnel checking on Triple H. According to WWE.com, Triple H is suffering from post-concussion symptoms and will be reevaluated moving forward. It remains to be seen when Triple H will return to television, but there is no question that his health will be a major topic of conversation when he does. It stands to reason that this could be a storyline that lasts throughout the year.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It's very difficult to say where this angle will ultimately lead, but all signs point to it either teasing Triple H's retirement or leading directly to it.
According to Wrestling Observer (via WrestlingInc.com), there are plans for Triple H to attempt to resume his career only for family members such as Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon to stop him. It seems like a compelling storyline since Triple H is a warrior who has never let anything stop him, and seeing him in such a vulnerable position is quite rare.
Although this is nothing more than speculation at this point, a potential match against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XXX would be a fantastic way to conclude the angle.
Michaels is obviously retired, but if anything can get him to come out of retirement, it would likely be a match against his best friend on the grandest stage of them all. The storyline writes itself as Michaels can challenge Triple H to a match in an effort to force him into retirement for his own good.
The good thing about it is that Triple H can disappear from television for several months, and the angle can resume at any time, so the WWE will have plenty of flexibility over the next year.
Rumor Mill: Plans for Triple H Concussion Angle (Wrestling Observer via WrestlingInc.com)
Dixie Carter Open to TNA and WWE Crossover Event
While TNA is technically WWE's closest competition, it's blatantly obvious that there's really no competition to speak of. Because of that, TNA would be willing to do anything in order to gain some publicity. That was made clear by TNA president Dixie Carter, as she recently revealed in an interview with Digital Spy that she would be interested in a crossover event alongside WWE if the opportunity ever came along.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Could a Crossover Ever Realistically Happen?
On the surface, it seems like a crossover event would be fantastic, as it could lead to dream matchups such as The Undertaker vs. Sting, Daniel Bryan vs. Kurt Angle and any number of other bouts. It simply isn't realistic to believe something like this can actually happen, though.
For starters, there is nothing in it for WWE. It is already the dominant wrestling company, and associating with TNA would only further its "competition." Also, the two companies would have to settle on booking, a venue and revenue splits.
There is so much that goes into an event as big as this one would be that it's nearly impossible for everything to come together. Also, since there is probably only a desire to make it happen on TNA's part, the odds are slim to none. While WWE is mentioned quite a bit on TNA programming, WWE ignores TNA's existence and probably prefers to keep it that way.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Inter-promotional events used to be fairly common in the 1960s and 1970s since professional wrestling in the United States was split into territories. Both companies would be made to look strong, and the main event would usually pit the top champions against each other in a time-limit draw.
They were extremely popular events, but they aren't really feasible in this age of wrestling. There was no dominant promotion back then, so there was a reason for companies to work together. For better or worse, that is no longer the case.
Carter talked about how doing a crossover event would promote competition, and while that may be true, the WWE obviously doesn't want competition. It would rather keep the status quo than elevate TNA, and the WWE definitely can't be blamed for that.
As fun as it is to imagine potential matches between the best WWE and TNA have to offer, the truth of the matter is that they will never come to fruition unless certain wrestlers jump ship from one company to the other down the line.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 215
2. Mike Chiari: 105
3. Brandon Galvin: 0
4. Donald Wood: -100
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