Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Daniel Bryan, WWE Network and more, this is where you need to get all of your weekly WWE nuggets.
Bleacher Report featured columnists Mike Chiari, Donald Wood, Brandon Galvin and Michael Cahill give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world. TNA star James Storm also joined the show to provide his inside perspective of the business.
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.
Feb. 11: New Generation Era Fantasy Draft
Daniel Bryan Turns on Wyatt Family
Just a couple weeks after seemingly agreeing to join the Wyatt Family, Daniel Bryan gave the fans what they wanted all along. After he and Bray Wyatt lost a tag team steel cage match to The Usos, Bryan refused to let Wyatt hit him with Sister Abigail. Bryan ultimately beat down Wyatt and celebrated atop the cage as he led the crowd in a thunderous "yes!" chant.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Did the Payoff Happen Too Soon?
If nothing else, the events on Raw should alleviate the concerns that Bryan's fans had when he initially joined the Wyatts. Many were worried that the creative team was simply throwing Bryan's popularity out the window by turning him heel, but that clearly wasn't the case.
The majority of the Ring Rust Radio panel saw where WWE was going with this angle from the very start, but the writers still deserve a great deal of credit since so many fans seemed to buy into Bryan being a heel hook, line and sinker.
Bryan was already immensely popular prior to the Wyatt storyline, but he somehow managed to get even bigger. For starters, Bryan's short stint with the Wyatts confirmed without a doubt that the fans want Bryan to be the face of the company. Despite the fact that he was obedient to Wyatt and displayed a mean streak, the fans still loved him. Also, when it became clear that Bryan had pulled the wool over Wyatt's eyes on Raw, the crowd went nuts. The reaction he received was reminiscent of how the crowd sounded when "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was in his heyday, so it's fair to say that the mission was accomplished.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Despite the awesome ending to Raw, there were still complaints about the way that the angle played out.
The popular theory among those who knew that Bryan was deceiving Wyatt was that he would turn on the Wyatt Family at Royal Rumble. Wyatt could have asked Bryan to eliminate himself, which would have resulted in Bryan refusing and ultimately eliminating Wyatt. That undoubtedly would have been a great moment, but would it have been better than what we saw on Raw? An argument can be made that it would have, but it's extremely difficult to say.
Bryan turning on Wyatt in the cage made perfect sense because he needed a way to bypass Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Harper and Rowan had prevented Bryan from getting his hands on Wyatt several times previously, but Bryan finally had Wyatt all to himself.
Also, now that Bryan is officially face again, he will enter the Royal Rumble with a ton of momentum behind him. The crowd reaction will be huge when he comes through the curtain, and the fans will go wild if he is able to vanquish the Wyatt Family in the match as well. With all of that in mind, there's really nothing to complain about.
Backstage News on Bryan Leaving Wyatts (per WrestlingInc.com via Wrestling Observer Newsletter)
WWE Officially Unveils WWE Network
After more than two years of talk and speculation, WWE Network finally became a reality on Jan. 8 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Vince McMahon announced that it would officially launch on Feb. 24 following Raw, and due to the wide range of content that WWE Network will offer as well as a reasonable price tag, WWE fans everywhere are buzzing.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is WWE Network Worth Subscribing to?
There were plenty of questions regarding WWE Network's format prior to the official announcement. Rather than trying to find a place on cable, WWE is taking an over-the-top approach. WWE Network will be a live streaming service that can be watched on several different platforms, including computers, tablets, cell phones, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4. In addition to live content, subscribers can watch any WWE, WCW or ECW pay-per-view ever on demand.
WWE Network will also produce tons of original content, such as shows like Legends' House, WrestleMania Rewind, Monday Night War and WWE Countdown, along with pre-shows and post-shows for Raw and SmackDown.
The biggest draw of all, however, is the fact that all 12 WWE pay-per-views will be included. A single pay-per-view costs $60, but a one-month subscription to WWE Network is just $9.99, so there is no question that it will appeal to wrestling fans who enjoy the current product.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Although some fans might be disappointed by the fact that WWE Network won't be an actual television station, the over-the-top format is actually the best thing that WWE could have possibly done. Those who decide to subscribe will get the best of all worlds in that they'll be able to watch live original programming, pay-per-views and a ton of content from WWE's vast video library. Wrestling fans have an appreciation for the past as well as the present, and WWE Network will provide an in-depth look at both.
It's not fair to assume that everyone can afford to pay $9.99 per month, but based on what subscribers will be getting with WWE Network, it's an absolutely fantastic price. Anyone who buys at least two WWE pay-per-views over the course of the year would be crazy not to take advantage of that. Even diehard wrestling fans who are strapped for cash can potentially make cutbacks elsewhere in order to have such incredible access to tons of content.
For anyone who is currently a wrestling fan or was in the past, WWE Network is ideal, and it will ensure that many of us are never bored again.
Hulk Hogan Almost Introduced at WWE Network Announcement? (per WrestlingInc.com via PWInsider Elite)
RRR Interview with TNA Star James Storm
As a former TNA World Heavyweight champion and five-time TNA World Tag Team champion, "The Cowboy" James Storm is one of the most decorated stars in TNA history. Even after more than a decade with the company, Storm continues to play a huge role, and he joined Ring Rust Radio for an entertaining and informative interview ahead of his ladder match for the Feast or Fired briefcase against Gunner at Genesis.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for The Cowboy?
Storm has bounced around the card as a singles and tag team competitor since losing the world title to Bobby Roode in 2011, but he continues to receive crowd reactions that rival anyone on the roster. Some might argue that the creative team hasn't used Storm to his fullest potential, but there are other factors at work, too. There are plenty of wrestlers out there who work hurt, but The Cowboy revealed that he has been dealing with a fairly significant injury for the past month.
When football players hurt their ankles or if something's wrong with a toe, they get three to four weeks off; as wrestlers, we don't. I've been wrestling the past three to four weeks with a hairline fracture in my ankle, but nobody knows that just because to us it's no big deal; just put a brace on it and let it go. Back when I was wearing the motorcycle boots for a long time, it was because my ankle was pretty messed up and it kept my ankle immobilized.
Storm deserves a great deal of credit for blocking out the pain, and it says a lot about how much he means to TNA when the higher-ups are still willing to put him in an important spot on the card despite injuries. Storm is a true throwback, which isn't something that is often seen in the business today. There are still plenty of fans who buy into that type of character, though.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Speaking of Storm's character, it has become abundantly clear in recent weeks that Storm is undergoing a transformation of sorts. Storm has been sour since Gunner nabbed the Feast or Fired case that guarantees him a world title match, and he has started to show heel tendencies. Although Storm has been face for much of his TNA career, he admitted that he enjoys playing the heel role.
Well, 90 percent of my career here in TNA I've been a good guy, but I love being the heel. It's so much fun, and I always tell everyone: It's a lot easier to piss somebody off than it is to make somebody happy. You can say one word to piss somebody off, but you can take all day or all night time to make them happy. So it's more fun to play heel and to be the dirty cheater, and to me, it's kind of a lost art in itself because today the heels want to be cool, and that's not how I grew up watching wrestling. I always saw the heel as the dirty cheater who gets away with stuff here and there.
Storm also acknowledged the fact that he is interested in exploring a gimmick change in 2014 in an effort to keep things fresh.
Well, you know, I don't want to show my hand now, but I definitely have a few things cooking for 2014. Maybe change up my character because I've been the beer-drinking cowboy for four, five or six years in TNA, so I think it's time to freshen it up a little bit and hopefully the fans will take to it, and if they don't, oh well. I always look at pleasing me first because at the end of the day, I'm the person I have to look at in the mirror.
Storm's gimmick still works for plenty of fans, but it's exciting to consider the fact that Storm wants to change things up. Every successful wrestler has evolved to some degree over the course of their career, and Storm is no different.
He has all the tools necessary to be the face of TNA, and there is no reason why he can't ascend to the main event scene once again. With TNA seemingly in a transitional period, it would be nice to see a TNA original like Storm in position to carry the company.
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 115
2. Brandon Galvin: 42.5
3. Donald Wood: 40
4. Michael Cahill: -30
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