Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on CM Punk, The Rock 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. This week also marked the Golden Era Draft as the RRR panelists drafted from a pool of wrestlers that competed from 1987 through 1992 and will create fantasy cards over the next week.
On top of that, RRR prepared a special Thursday edition of the show this week in order to interview current TNA X-Division Champion and former ECW and WWE star Rob Van Dam. RVD gave his opinions on TNA and the wrestling business as a whole.
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)
Jan. 8 - Downstait (Creators of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler & Alex Riley's theme songs) and reveal of Golden Era Draft fantasy cards
Jan. 15 - Former WWE Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man
The Rock Set to Return on Raw; CM Punk Cleared to Compete
With the Royal Rumble and the road to WrestleMania approaching, the action in WWE is beginning to reach a fever pitch. Not only is The Rock set to return on the Jan. 7 episode of Raw, but a WWE Championship TLC match is also scheduled as CM Punk will defend his title against Ryback.
There was some question as to whether the Punk vs. Ryback match would actually happen, but WWE.com is reporting that Punk is recovered from his knee injury and has been cleared to compete, so it appears as though all systems are go.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Role Will The Rock Play on Raw?
Assuming that Punk and Ryback do have a match on Raw, it will be interesting to see how The Rock fits in. The WWE has heavily promoted his return over the past couple weeks, so fans can expect to see plenty of him on Monday night. The Royal Rumble will be about three weeks away by the time The Rock appears on Raw, so time is of the essence when it comes to building toward his pay-per-view match.
Although a Punk vs. Ryback match suggests that either of them could be The Rock's opponent at Royal Rumble, it's a guarantee that Punk will retain in some manner. A Punk vs. Rock feud has been in the works since the WWE champion attacked The Rock on the 1,000th episode of Raw and it would be silly to change anything this late in the game.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
There are a lot of possibilities for The Rock on Monday, but the most likely scenario is that he cuts a promo and is interrupted by both CM Punk and Ryback. The WWE wants to play it up as if The Rock could face either of them even though Punk is the obvious choice. Then, during the WWE Championship match itself, The Rock will probably either be on commentary or simply at ringside to scout his potential opponents.
I can't see The Rock getting involved physically since it wouldn't make a ton of sense. Attacking either Punk or Ryback would be a heel move and he needs to play the role of the ultimate face against Punk at Royal Rumble. The possibility of The Shield or perhaps even Brock Lesnar taking out The Rock remains, though, so he may have a skirmish of some kind. When it comes to The Rock and Punk, however, they probably won't exchange much other than words on Raw.
Rumor Mill: WWE to Tease The Rock vs. Ryback on Raw (via WrestlingInc.com)
TNA Interview with Rob Van Dam
With TNA holding a show at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia on Jan. 5, Ring Rust Radio had the opportunity to sit down with current X-Division Champion and wrestling legend Rob Van Dam. RVD has done it all over the course of his career as he had tons of success in ECW and WWE, and is still on top of his game in TNA.
Van Dam had plenty to say and was more than happy to talk about his time in ECW, his current role in TNA and what the future holds for him when it comes to professional wrestling and beyond.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is RVD Enjoying the X-Division?
Van Dam has been a main-event guy for essentially his entire career as was always one of ECW's top draws and eventually held the top prize in WWE as well. When RVD debuted with TNA in 2010, he was an instant success and it took him just over a month to become the TNA world heavyweight champion. Van Dam still has all the tools, but he has transitioned from the main-event picture to the X-Division.
RVD beat Zema Ion for the strap and has done plenty to bring some prestige back to the title. Austin Aries put the X-Division Championship back on the right track last year, and Van Dam has the track record necessary to take it to new heights. While the X-Division has certainly offered RVD a change of pace, it's tough not to wonder if he would prefer to be in pursuit of the world title.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Being the class act that he is, Van Dam had nothing but positive things to say about performing in the X-Division. Some might misinterpret his present role as a demotion of sorts, but RVD sees it as an opportunity and a privilege.
He takes great pride in working with some of the younger guys on the roster such as Kenny King and Christian York. RVD acknowledged that he hasn't faced a lot of the up-and-comers much, so there can be some chemistry issues, but he is aiming to make the X-Division and its participants better.
Van Dam also said that he prefers the hardcore environment, which should come as no surprise to those who saw him rise to prominence in ECW. While the X-Division has gotten away from the hardcore aspect to some degree, RVD has a lot more freedom in terms of what he can try in his matches compared to the formula he might have to adhere to in the world title scene.
The X-Division has a ton of good, young athletes, so putting Van Dam against them is a very smart move from TNA's perspective.
Wrestling News: RVD Talks TNA, WWE, ECW and Retirement (via B/R)
RRR Golden Era Draft Results
After the great success of Ring Rust Radio's current and Attitude Era fantasy drafts, we decided to have another one, but this time it had a decidedly historical flavor. The RRR panelists each represented a different wrestling promotion and selected from a pool of wrestlers that competed from 1987-1992, which is a time period often referred to as the "Golden Era" of professional wrestling.
The purpose of the draft is for each of us to put together the best possible fantasy card that we can with who we selected. Those cards will be revealed next week in a special article, so Ring Rust Radio fans and Bleacher Report readers alike will have the opportunity to vote on who did the best job.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Did Everyone Take?
Before next week's reveal of the fantasy cards, here is the roster that everyone ended up with. The draft lasted 25 rounds and most tag teams were taken as a package deal with a few special exceptions.
Donald Wood (AWA)
Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk)
The Brainbusters (Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard)
One Man Gang
Big John Studd
Jushin Thunder Liger
Johnny B. Badd
King Kong Bundy
Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Brandon Galvin (USWA)
British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith & The Dynamite Kid)
Rowdy Roddy Piper
Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink
Don Muraco w/ 'Superstar' Billy Graham
Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane)
Abdullah the Butcher
Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs)
The Dynamic Dudes (Johnny Ace & Shane Douglas)
Mike Chiari (WCW)
“Macho Man” Randy Savage w/ Miss Elizabeth
Demolition (Ax & Smash)
The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael PS Hayes & Jimmy Garvin)
Kerry Von Erich & Kevin Von Erich
The Iron Sheik
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams
The Great Muta
Strike Force (Tito Santana & Rick Martel)
Samoan Swat Team (Fatu & Samu)
Michael Cahill (WWF)
The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
Andre the Giant
The Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)
Diamond Exchange (Diamond Dallas Page & Diamond Studd)
Steiner Brothers (Scott & Rick)
Honky Tonk Man
Big Boss Man
George the Animal Steele
The Junkyard Dog
Badd Company or Orient Express (Pat Tanaka & Paul Diamond/Kato)
The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch)
Koko B. Ware
The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair & Jim Brunzell)
The Powers of Pain (The Barbarian & The Warlord)
The Lumberjacks (Scott Norton & John Nord)
Ring Rust Radio's Take
With so much talent across professional wrestling's major promotions from 1987 through 1992, it should come as no surprise that there was a ton of depth in this particular draft. All four panelists came away with great rosters and their success will depend a lot on their creativity and the planning that they did ahead of time in terms of their fantasy cards.
The first round is especially worth highlighting as some of the biggest stars of the time were taken. Ric Flair, who was a top star in the NWA, WWF and WCW, went first overall.
Perhaps the biggest star in wrestling history went No. 2 as Hulk Hogan was taken. The mega-popular "Macho Man" Randy Savage went third and "The Excellence of Execution" Bret Hart was taken fourth. That means all four federations have an outstanding base from which to build.
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.