Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Royal Rumble, The Rock, CM Punk 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.
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Jan. 29 - Announce winners of Ring Rust Radio Royal Rumble contest
March 19 - Mark Madness
April 16 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Draft
Breaking Down the Royal Rumble Match
Although there is obviously plenty of talk about the WWE Championship match between CM Punk and The Rock, the Royal Rumble pay-per-view is always about the Rumble match itself. There appears to be a better field of competitors in the 2013 Rumble than we have seen in recent years, so it should be quite entertaining. There is obviously a small handful of favorites, but you never know when the WWE might choose to execute a well-placed swerve.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Win the Rumble?
Most fans seem convinced that John Cena is a lock to come out on top in the Rumble match, and it's tough to argue with that. There aren't many clear choices aside from Cena, and there is a growing thought that he'll face The Rock at WrestleMania for the second year in a row, only with the WWE Championship on the line this time.
Cena already won a Rumble in 2008 and really doesn't need to win another, but the stars seem to be aligning for him to do so.
Aside from Cena, the likes of Ryback, Sheamus and Randy Orton are viewed as possibilities. Ryback would make the most sense of that group since it would officially elevate him to main-event status.
Orton could also work since he hasn't been in the main-event scene for a year. A potential heel turn could work in lockstep with the Rumble win as well. If Sheamus wins, it will be his second in a row, and while he probably doesn't need it, he would be established as a dominant force.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The smart money is certainly on Cena and if you actually plan to put money on it, then that is who you should go with. Not only is he featured in the Royal Rumble commercial, but he delivered the Rumble promo on the go-home edition of Raw and he has been winning in fantastic fashion for the past few weeks.
That would seem to suggest that the WWE is posturing, just as it did with Sheamus last year and Alberto Del Rio in 2011.
If you want to impress your friends by going off the board, though, consider picking Daniel Bryan. He hasn't been discussed much as a potential winner, but if the WWE wants to throw everyone for a loop, then he would be a great choice.
Dolph Ziggler is very likely to be the World Heavyweight Champion by WrestleMania, and perhaps as soon as the Royal Rumble, and pretty much every fan would love to see that feud and match. Also, Ziggler is now with A.J., who was previously with Bryan, so there is already a perfect, built-in storyline.
Rumor Mill: Several Returning Superstars Rumored for Rumble (WrestlingNewsSource via PWInsider)
Predicting CM Punk vs. The Rock
Ever since it became blatantly obvious a few months ago that CM Punk would be defending the WWE Championship against The Rock at the Royal Rumble, WWE fans have debated about who will win.
Most probably feel like they know what is going to happen, but the beauty of this match is that there are several possibilities and it truly could go either way, particularly with the Elimination Chamber as a buffer between Royal Rumble and WrestleMania.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Walk Away as WWE Champion?
The popular opinion seems to be that The Rock is going to win the WWE Championship on Sunday. It makes sense as it would be great for the company from a publicity perspective as The Rock could make public appearances with the title and drum up interest for WrestleMania.
Also, The Rock is booked for quite a few Raw dates moving forward, so that would seem to suggest that he will be in possession of the WWE Championship.
At the same time, Punk has been champion for well over 400 days and there is value in keeping the belt on him. Even if the goal is to ultimately transition the title to The Rock, Punk could easily win at the Royal Rumble and then drop it at Elimination Chamber.
The biggest wild card here will be The Shield. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns have interfered on Punk's behalf on several occasions, but Vince McMahon said that if The Shield gets involved at the Royal Rumble, Punk will be stripped of the title.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Just like Cena winning the Rumble match, The Rock winning the WWE Championship seems too obvious. It could certainly happen and I won't be surprised if it does, but I'm more inclined to believe that Punk will get the win in order to prolong the feud.
I have gone back and forth with this match, but McMahon's banishment of The Shield leads me to believe that Punk will find a different way to win. Paul Heyman told Brad Maddox on Monday that he would take him under his wing, so Maddox could very well play a role in helping Punk retain.
Whether or not Cena wins the Royal Rumble, it would be very easy to have either Cena vs. The Rock or Cena vs. The Rock vs. Punk at WrestleMania. The Rock can win the title from Punk at Elimination Chamber, so Punk will have an automatic rematch clause.
Cena would then win a No. 1 contender's match and that would set up a potential triple threat. There are many ways to mold the WrestleMania card, and I feel like the WWE will take the unpredictable route by having Punk win on Sunday.
Rumor Mill: Rock Promo Possibly Points to Victory (WrestlingInc.com via F4WOnline)
Taz Revealed as Aces & Eights Member
Aces & Eights have dragged on far too long and has featured some of the most underwhelming reveals in professional wrestling history. We have seen Devon, DOC and Mike Knox unveiled as members, but the reveal of Taz took the cake in terms of ineptitude.
It is clear that TNA was looking for shock value when Taz and Aces & Eights crashed the Bully Ray and Brooke wedding, but the surprising move isn't always the right one.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Was This a Good Move By TNA?
Aces & Eights have gotten to the point where TNA knows the storyline is a lost cause and it's simply throwing things at the wall in hopes that something will stick. Taz is a name guy, but he can't wrestle any more and there is very little value in adding him to the group.
I suppose he can take some of the speaking duties away from Devon, who is absolutely terrible in that regard, but he doesn't do anything to make Aces & Eights seem more menacing or legitimate.
Rather than focusing on swerving the fans, TNA needs to worry about making Aces & Eights look like an actual threat. Having the supposed tough guy of the group in DOC lose to a 53-year-old Sting who wears a huge T-shirt to cover his gut simply isn't doing anything for them. The only thing that can save Aces & Eights at this point is proper booking and not an announcer.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It doesn't seem like there are any prospects on the horizon for Aces & Eights. We already know about the jobbers and random garbage that has been revealed, while future reveals will likely include D'Lo Brown, Wes Brisco and Garett Bischoff. None of that is intriguing in the least because there is a total lack of star power and relevance.
I suppose TNA thought that putting Taz in the group was a good idea since he used to be a star in the business, but he won't be able to contribute enough.
Aces & Eights really was doomed from the start, but rather than letting it run its course, TNA is doing everything possible to prolong the angle. I can respect dedication to long-term storytelling, but this can't be salvaged.
Aces & Eights contain no stars and have no discernible purpose. The least that TNA could do is tell us why the group is doing what it does, but I expect nothing but clumsy booking from here on out.