Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and more, this is where you need to go to get all of your weekly WWE nuggets.
Bleacher Report featured columnists Mike Chiari, Donald Wood and Brandon Galvin give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world. TNA star MVP also joined the show to provide his inside perspective on 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.
March 18: Mark Madness
March 11: New Generation Fantasy Draft Winner Revealed (Vote here!)
CM Punk Doesn't Return at Raw
With the March 3 edition of Raw taking place in Chicago, there was naturally plenty of buzz regarding CM Punk possibly returning to WWE. The flames were fanned leading up to the event as Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com (via WrestlingInc.com) reported that a source called Punk's return "100 percent certain." Ultimately, there was no sign of "The Best in the World."
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is CM Punk Gone for Good?
Much to the delight of the Chicago faithful, Punk's music hit at the top of the show. After several seconds with no sign of Punk, however, the crowd clearly grew skeptical. Out stepped Punk's former manager Paul Heyman, who then proceeded to cut what he called a "pipe bomb" promo of his own. After weeks of Punk's name going unmentioned, Heyman alluded to his absence and related it to the forthcoming WrestleMania match between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker.
Heyman blamed the fans for Punk dissolving their partnership and ultimately leaving WWE. He also placed blame at The Undertaker's feet. After Punk's failure to defeat Taker at WrestleMania XXIX, Heyman claimed that it was all downhill from there. Heyman said that he wanted to get revenge on The Undertaker, and he identified Lesnar as the one man who is capable of ending the streak.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
In terms of the way that WWE handled the Punk situation on Raw, it couldn't have been done any better with the lone exception of him actually appearing. Heyman was the one man who could control the crowd and prevent raucous Punk chants. WWE knew that it had to address the Punk situation and doing so prevented the fans from "hijacking" Raw throughout the rest of the night. To top it all off, the added dimension of Punk's failure against Taker at last year's WrestleMania makes Taker vs. Lesnar even more compelling.
As far as Punk's status is concerned, however, the fact that he didn't appear in his hometown obviously doesn't bode well. A return at WrestleMania XXX or the night after would make sense, but there isn't much sense in speculating at this point. There has been so much misinformation and misdirection regarding Punk that it's impossible to separate fact from fiction. While Punk shoulders the bulk of the blame for walking out of WWE, hopefully WWE finds a way to secure him and get him involved in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and Batista.
Backstage News on Punk's Status (PWInsider Elite via WrestlingInc.com)
Daniel Bryan Provokes Triple H
Daniel Bryan fans understandably want him to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as soon as possible. They were teased with brief reigns twice over the summer, and Bryan has largely been kept outside the title scene since then. With Orton and Batista set to clash for the gold on wrestling's biggest stage, Bryan has set his sights on Triple H over the past couple weeks.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Will Bryan vs. Triple H Happen at WrestleMania?
Triple H brushed Bryan aside and laughed off his WrestleMania XXX proposal on the Feb. 24 episode of Raw, but Bryan remained persistent on March 3. He cut a fantastic promo on both Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in an effort to goad "The Game" into accepting his challenge. Triple H continued to tear down Bryan, although it became clear that Bryan's defiance began to get on Triple H's nerves.
Things came to a head during the main event between Bryan and Batista. Bryan was awarded the victory via disqualification after Orton attacked him, and Bryan got revenge by hitting Orton with a running knee. Ever the opportunist, however, Triple H went after Bryan and nailed him with a thunderous Pedigree as The Authority stood tall to close the show. A Triple H vs. Bryan match at Mania looks like an extremely strong bet right now, but it wouldn't be wise to consider it a lock quite yet.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Assuming Triple H vs. Bryan does happen, it shouldn't be viewed as a slap in Bryan's face. It may not be the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but Triple H is the best heel in WWE right now, and he is a bona fide legend as well. If Bryan goes over an accomplished star like Triple H at WrestleMania, then it will springboard him to even bigger and better things throughout the spring and summer. Just like "Stone Cold" Steve Austin had to overcome Vince McMahon, Bryan should have to overcome Triple H.
One other possibility would involve Bryan being inserted into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. WWE has to know that Orton vs. Batista is a dud, but Bryan's involvement could turn it into an instant classic. That would leave Triple H without a role, but perhaps he could be added to make the match a Fatal 4-Way, or he could serve as the special guest referee. Since all four men were involved in the closing segment on Raw, it is definitely an option. With that said, Bryan vs. Triple H remains the likeliest scenario, and that isn't a bad thing.
Post-WrestleMania Plans for Bryan (F4WOnline via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview With TNA's MVP
MVP's tenure with TNA is still very much in its infancy, but he has already made a big impact. Since being revealed as the mystery investor set to do battle with Dixie Carter, MVP has been a focal point on Impact. Despite his extremely busy schedule, MVP was gracious enough to join Ring Rust Radio for an honest and entertaining interview ahead of Lockdown.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Why Did MVP Choose TNA?
When MVP left WWE a few years ago and embarked on a wrestling career in Japan, it was always assumed that MVP would return to his roots one day. When he made the decision to come back to the United States, though, MVP instead opted for TNA.
TNA has quite obviously undergone a transformation in recent months with younger stars such as World Heavyweight Champion Magnus and Ethan Carter III ascending to the top of the card. That youth movement is something that appealed to MVP since he can serve as a mentor of sorts.
One of the things that attracted me to TNA and why I chose to go there was that they did want to do somewhat of a reset and wanted to bring in fresh faces create new younger stars ... If somebody comes to me and asks advice or for a criticism, I have no issue giving it to them because at the end of the day, we all win and the fans win, and that's what it's all about.
Because of that, MVP should prove to be a very valuable asset for TNA moving forward.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Some might believe that MVP chose TNA since that was the only offer on the table, but that wasn't the case. MVP had the opportunity to go back to WWE, but he felt as though TNA was a better fit at this point in his career.
I had a couple conversations with Triple H, but at the end of the day that WWE schedule is 250-plus days a year. And after spending so many years in Japan where I'd be on for a month, then I'd be off for a month, and that wasn't necessarily something I wanted to give up.
There is no denying the fact that the WWE schedule is grueling. MVP knows that as well as anyone, so it's difficult to blame him for making the decision that he did. Also, it's a near certainty that MVP is being utilized in a far more significant role than he would have been in WWE.
MVP has always been solid on the mic and has a ton of potential as an authority figure, so it will be very interesting to see how his character develops in TNA moving forward. Whatever the case, the addition of MVP can only be viewed as a positive step for TNA.
News Mill: MVP Talks TNA Lockdown, CM Punk, WWE and More, via Ring Rust Radio
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 237.5
2. Brandon Galvin: 120
3. Donald Wood: 20
4. Michael Cahill: 15
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