Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on The Shield, TLC 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. Former WWE manager Paul Bearer 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)
Dec. 26 - Former ECW & WWE and current Extreme Rising star Stevie Richards
Jan. 2 - Ring Rust Radio Golden Era (1987-1992) Fantasy Draft
Breaking Down WWE TLC
Fans had mixed feeling heading into TLC as the card appeared to be solid, but the lack of a WWE Championship match would be tough to overcome. Although the event wasn't flawless from top to bottom, the six-man TLC match that pitted The Shield against Ryback and Team Hell No was fantastic, as was the ladder match between Dolph Ziggler and John Cena, so it was certainly a success.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Impressive Was The Shield?
Due to WWE Champion CM Punk's knee injury, his spot on the TLC card was occupied by the aforementioned TLC match. It seemed fairly obvious that the match would be good, but it was unclear if it could make up for the lack of a title bout. The Shield performed remarkably well in its first official WWE match, though, and the face team was great as well, with Ryback executing power moves and both Kane and Daniel Bryan pitching in.
Although Ryback was obviously a big story heading into TLC, all eyes were on The Shield as fans were interested in seeing just how good they really were. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins were highly touted on the independent scene and Roman Reigns appears to have all the tools, and they most definitely backed up the hype at TLC.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
On the show, we discussed whether The Shield's debut match was the best ever and none of us could think of a match that topped it. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns were pitch perfect throughout and thrived in the hardcore setting. Ambrose's psychotic demeanor was great, Reigns showed his power by putting Kane through the barricade and Rollins showed a willingness to do anything as Ryback tossed him off a ladder and through several tables.
Many fans are concerned about the WWE botching The Shield angle, but I have enjoyed it immensely thus far and even if things don't go perfectly, all three members have the talent to succeed anyway. The issue with Nexus is that most of the guys in it were lower-level performers, but each Shield member has main-event potential and they made an excellent first impression.
Rumor Mill: The Rock to Return Jan. 7 (via WrestlingNewsWorld.com)
RRR Interview with Paul Bearer
Ring Rust Radio has had its fair share of great guests in the past, but it was never fortunate enough to book a top-flight manager. That is no longer the case, though, as the RRR panel sat down and had a wonderful conversation with WWE legend Paul Bearer. The long-time manager of The Undertaker had plenty to say and discussed everything from his start in the business to his time alongside The Phenom.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Was There a More Perfect Pairing Than Bearer and Taker?
Looking back, there is no doubt that Paul Bearer and The Undertaker were made for each other. Taker's undead gimmick prevented him from doing much talking early on, so he needed a mouthpiece that also meshed well with his persona. His first manager was Brother Love, but it simply didn't make much sense. When Vince McMahon hired Paul Bearer in December 1990, though, the wheels were set in motion.
The fact that Bearer was actually involved in the funeral business and still is today was a stroke of incredibly good fortune. The pieces fit together perfectly and Bearer was ultimately given a character that supported The Undertaker to perfection. More than 20 years later, they are still close friends and are considered legends in the business.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The relationship between Bearer and The Undertaker actually began well before they joined forces in the WWE. In fact, Bearer told us a great story about how he actually managed Taker in his first-ever televised wrestling match back in 1984. The match was for the WCCW promotion and The Undertaker wrestled under a mask as Texas Red. His opponent was Bruiser Brody, and in Texas Red's corner was Percy Pringle, who would eventually come to be Paul Bearer.
It's almost as if they were meant to be linked together, so it is fitting that they joined forces once again in the WWE. There have been a lot of great managers over the years, but few have had a gimmick that fit like a glove over the gimmick of their protege.
Bearer did a ton to help get The Undertaker over and Taker was great for him as well, so they are unquestionably the most compatible wrestler/manager pairing ever.
Rumor Mill: We Haven't Seen the Last of The Undertaker (via WrestlingNewsWorld.com)
RRR Awards Results
Just one day after the WWE hosted the Slammy Awards, Ring Rust Radio had an awards show of its own. We may not have had Ric Flair, The Boogeyman or Tommy Dreamer, but we did have Paul Bearer and handed out plenty of fake awards as well. Categories such as Wrestler of the Year, Promotion of the Year, Match of the Year and Feud of the Year were all contested.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Was the Biggest Winner?
While there were several wrestlers who came away with multiple awards, WWE Champion CM Punk was the biggest beneficiary. Punk came out on top in several categories, including Best DVD for CM Punk's Best in the World, Best on Interviews, Feud of the Year for his rivalry with Chris Jericho and Wrestler of the Year to top it all off.
It shouldn't come as a big surprise since Punk has dominated the WWE over the past year, but Punk's accolades are well deserved. He engaged in a number of great feuds, had countless entertaining matches, worked equally well as both a face and a heel, and his popularity managed to reach new heights.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Punk was definitely the man of the hour on Ring Rust Radio, but he wasn't the only one who came away with a big haul. Team Hell No was both the Best Gimmick and the Best Tag Team, Paul Heyman was the Best Manager and Best Non-Wrestler, and John Cena took home the top prize as Most Charismatic, Top Box Office Draw and Best Babyface.
TNA also had a good night, although it would probably be better described as an awful night based on the awards that the company won. TNA was voted Worst Promotion, Worst Weekly Show for Impact, Worst Gimmick with Aces & Eights and Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic due to the Claire Lynch angle. All in all, it was a great show and the Ring Rust Radio Awards were definitely a success.
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.