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Jan. 15 - Former WWE Intercontinental Champion The Honky Tonk Man
The Rock and CM Punk Go Toe to Toe
After months of anticipation, The Rock returned to WWE programming on Monday as he addressed WWE Champion CM Punk ahead of their match at the Royal Rumble. Punk had just retained his title against Ryback in a TLC match and he proceeded to tell the fans that he didn't care about them. Never one to sit idly by, The Rock intervened and had plenty to say to the longest-reigning titleholder of the past 25 years.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Won the War of Words on Raw?
The WWE made sure to set aside plenty of time at the end of the show for The Rock and Punk to do their thing on the mic and fans everywhere were thrilled that they did. It became quite apparent a few months ago that Punk would still be WWE Champion by the time Royal Rumble rolled around, so fans have been waiting for Punk and The Rock to face off for quite some time.
Their previous encounter saw Punk clothesline Rock and hit him with a GTS, which resulted in his heel turn. As good as their interactions were on Raw 1,000, they were even better on Monday. Their segment was so good, in fact, that I have no doubt that their feud will be far better than The Rock vs. John Cena. This rivalry seems much more natural and authentic, so the fans are going to eat it up.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
In professional wrestling and in pretty much every sport in general, fans are obsessed with comparing athletes. That was the case with The Rock and Punk in the aftermath of Monday's promo war as the hot topic pertained to who did better. The vast majority seemed to say Punk as they enjoyed his shoot-style promo that he described as a "pipebomb." Punk expressed his hatred for the fans and slung mud at anyone and everyone.
The Rock retorted with some of his signature humor, and while I thought most of it was funny, some fans complained that it was too juvenile. At the same time, he got serious when the situation called for it and was extremely good in that regard as well. From my perspective, both men played their roles to perfection with Punk being the jerk heel and Rock being the heroic face. I scored it even and look forward to several more exchanges between them.
Rumor Mill: The Rock Could Win Title at Elimination Chamber Instead (via WrestlingInc.com)
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin Rumored to Appear on Raw
It has been a very long time since "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has been seen on WWE programming, but that drought could very well come to an end on the next episode of Raw. According to WrestlingInc.com, it appears likely that Austin will be at Raw's 20th anniversary show in Houston on Monday, although it is unclear exactly what he'll be doing.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Role Will Austin Play on 20th Anniversary Raw?
When Austin was the host of Tough Enough, he made fairly regular appearances on WWE television and had once again become a visible part of the product. Once Tough Enough ended, however, Austin went on to other ventures and has made himself scarce since. Most fans fully expected to see him on the 1,000th episode of Raw back in the summer, but knee surgery had Austin hobbled, so he decided it would be best for him to stay at home.
Austin looks to be recovered now and has been doing some work for the WWE with regards to the WWE '13 video game. That would seem to suggest that he has been in talks with the company fairly frequently and the fact that the 20th anniversary Raw is in Texas almost guarantees that The Texas Rattlesnake will be involved in some capacity.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Now that Austin's involvement on the 20th anniversary Raw seems pretty likely, fans want to know precisely what he'll be doing. That's obviously impossible to say for sure, but the smart money is on a segment with CM Punk and The Rock. Austin vs. Punk is a dream match that almost every fan would love to see and they have exchanged words in the past, so some sort of interaction between them would be absolutely fantastic and it would generate a ton of buzz.
At the same time, the history between Austin and The Rock is well documented too. They faced each other at WrestleMania on three occasions and had some of the most memorable feuds and matches of all time. Over the years they have been depicted as two guys who have come to respect each other, but the WWE can play on their past disagreements as well. Since Austin is very familiar with the two superstars who are engaged in the WWE's biggest angle right now, he needs to be thrown into the fray somehow on Raw.
Rumor Mill: Austin Likely to Appear on Raw (via WrestlingInc.com)
TNA Falls Flat Once Again
I head into Impact each and every week with a sense of optimism, but my will is crushed more and more every time I watch. There is no question that TNA has the talent necessary to put on a great show, but the vast majority of it is misused and there has been way too much time dedicated to floundering angles such as Hulk Hogan's status as a controlling father as well as Aces & Eights.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Is TNA Doing with Aces & Eights?
I've said it since the beginning and I continue to say it to this day, but there is no question that Aces & Eights is a failing storyline. Some people had high hopes when it first began, and I will admit that it at least had some semblance of promise, but things have gotten worse with each passing week. Last week was the last straw, though, as TNA continues to make Aces & Eights look like the weakest biker gang in history.
The Disciples of Apocalypse were awful in the WWE back in the Attitude Era, but fans probably yearn for Aces & Eights to achieve their level of success. Aces & Eights has won about two or three matches collectively and continues to lose on a weekly basis. That was the case once again last week as Devon and a "mystery member" took on Kurt Angle and Samoa Joe in a cage match.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Angle was incapacitated prior to entering the cage, so Aces & Eights had a two-on-one advantage for a considerable amount of time. Joe essentially dominated them, however, and Angle eventually got back in the ring to win the match. Aces & Eights then attempted to beat down Angle and Joe, but Sting returned and single-handedly staved off about 10 gang members. The mystery member was then unmasked and revealed as Mike Knox.
I wasn't expecting a good reveal by any means, but Mike Knox couldn't be any less significant. TNA was so worried about nobody knowing who he was that Mike Tenay had to say that he was previously in WWE. Nobody of note has been revealed as Aces & Eights members yet and the upcoming reveals aren't likely to be any better with the likes of Wes Brisco, Garett Bischoff, D'Lo Brown and Eric Bischoff on deck.
With that said, I could convince myself to take a group of jobbers seriously if they were actually winning matches, but they are made to look ridiculous every week and have lost all momentum they may have had previously.