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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.
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 9 p.m. ET (some language NSFW) or follow us on Twitter @RingRustRadio.
(Some Language NSFW)
July 2 - PG Era Fantasy Draft and 100th-episode celebration
CM Punk and Paul Heyman Make Up
After what happened on Raw a couple weeks ago, it seemed inevitable that the relationship between CM Punk and Paul Heyman had effectively come to an end. Punk and Heyman made up on Raw, however, and it appears as though they will proceed as a duo for now. Brock Lesnar attacked Punk to close Raw a couple weeks ago, but Heyman promised Punk that he had nothing to do with it, so Punk's face turn has not yet taken full effect.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will This Storyline Progress?
Rather than hurrying this storyline along, the WWE did a nice job of slow playing it out on Monday. The creative team could have very easily had Heyman admit to putting Lesnar up to attacking Punk, but with several weeks before SummerSlam, it is smart on the WWE's part to take its time. Heyman is a lying, conniving snake, so it makes sense for him to deceive Punk, as he would never take responsibility for something before carrying out his plan completely.
Another wrinkle was added to the mix on Monday as well with Curtis Axel saving Punk from a two-on-one attack at the hands of the Prime Time Players. Punk was none too happy that Heyman sent his other client to save him and he was even angrier when Heyman told him that he and Axel would face the Prime Time Players the following week. This is obviously building toward something and it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
All signs point to this eventually leading to a match between Punk and Lesnar at SummerSlam. Punk was announced as part of the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, so it's possible that things will come to a head there. Punk is unlikely to win the briefcase, so something will happen that prevents him from doing so. Another Lesnar attack is a definite possibility, but look for Heyman to come clean about his involvement this time around.
Until then, the relationship between Punk and Heyman will continue to deteriorate. The tag team match with Punk and Axel will likely contribute to that with Heyman perhaps showing favoritism to Axel over Punk.
Look for Punk to continue garnering face reactions and employing face mannerisms even while under Heyman's guidance, as the fans have already fully embraced him. The only question now relates to when he will be back on his own on a full-time basis.
Rumor Mill: WWE Reportedly Rehashes App Promo on Raw (via WrestlingInc.com)
Money in the Bank Ladder Matches Announced
Money in the Bank is often one of the most exciting pay-per-views of the year, as the WWE generally pegs two future world champions. The participants for each of the Money in the Bank ladder matches were announced on Raw and SmackDown, respectively.
Punk, Sheamus, Rob Van Dam, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Kane and Christian will vie for the WWE Championship contract. On the World Heavyweight Championship sign of things, Dean Ambrose, Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Wade Barrett and Fandango will go at it.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Win the Money in the Bank Matches?
Heading into last year's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, both ladder matches seemed fairly predictable, as both John Cena and Dolph Ziggler were heavily favored in their respective matches.
There is no prohibitive favorite in either match this year, though, and that should make for two highly entertaining and uncertain Money in the Bank matches.
It is interesting to note that the two ladder matches appear to be divided between faces and heels. Stephanie McMahon announced the WWE Championship Money in the Bank ladder match and all seven participants are faces. Punk recently turned and Orton could be turning heel in the near future, but it will be an all-face match when it begins.
On the other side of the coin, Vince McMahon determined the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match and placed all heels in it. Perhaps this is another layer added to the power struggle between the McMahons and Triple H.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Much like the wrestling world as a whole, the Ring Rust Radio panel had differing opinions on both Money in the Bank ladder matches. Bryan, Orton, RVD and Sheamus were all pegged as potential winners on the WWE Championship side of things. While each of them have their merits, evidence seems to be mounting in Orton's favor. His loss to Bryan on Raw suggests that a heel turn is forthcoming, and winning Money in the Bank would be the perfect vehicle since he can use heel-like means to cash in on Cena.
The World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank ladder match is much different, as it features up-and-coming Superstars rather than established, main event stars.
Ambrose, Sandow and Fandango are probably the strongest candidates, but one has to think that Ambrose has the best chance. He is by far the most advanced of the group despite the fact that he only debuted at Survivor Series. Look for Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins to interfere on his behalf and for Ambrose to secure the briefcase.
Rumor Mill: Brock Lesnar Rumored to Interfere at MITB (via WrestlingRevealed.com).
WCW/ECW Match Madness Tournament Results
After the immense success of the May Match Madness bracket to determine the greatest match in WWE history, Ring Rust Radio decided to stage a similar event to find out which match is the greatest in the history of WCW and ECW. A 64-match bracket was crafted with WCW residing on one side and ECW on the other. The 64-match field was whittled down to 16 and then the RRR panel voted on which match was best.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Is the Greatest WCW/ECW Match of All Time?
Coming up with the greatest WCW/ECW match of all time was no easy task, as there were plenty of incredible bouts to choose from. After much deliberation, however, the panel was able to produce a Final Four. On the WCW side of things, the "I Quit" match between Ric Flair and Terry Funk at Clash of the Champions IX in 1989 took on the Falls Count Anywhere match between Sting and Cactus Jack at Beach Blast in 1992.
ECW put forth two formidable matches in its own right, as the Barbed Wire match between Terry Funk and Sabu from Born to Be Wired in 1997 faced off against Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn from Hardcore Heaven in 1999. All four matches brought something special to the table and they were all quite different from one another, so picking two was a tough process. When push came to shove, Flair vs. Funk and RVD vs. Lynn advanced to the finals.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Both matches that reached the finals were fantastic, so it came down to a matter of preference. From a technical standpoint, RVD vs. Lynn was a better match. The two of them have wrestled many times, but their encounter at Hardcore Heaven topped them all. It was a back-and-forth affair that ultimately ended with RVD coming out on top. The Funk vs. Flair match was more of an all-out brawl, but it was excellent in its own right for a number of different reasons.
Flair actually played the face role in this feud, which was extremely rare. Also, "I Quit" matches weren't seen much back then, so it was a novel concept. Funk is considered by many to be the toughest man to ever grace the wrestling business, and the fact that Flair made him quit is certainly noteworthy.
The vote came down to a decisive tiebreaker, but Flair vs. Funk prevailed and was ruled the greatest match in the respective histories of WCW and ECW. Any number of matches could have won on a different day, but Flair vs. Funk was definitely deserving.
WCW/ECW Bracket: Check it out here.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 260
2. Mike Chiari: 130
3. Donald Wood: 0
4. Brandon Galvin: -45
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