Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Bruno Sammartino, 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. New WWE Hall of Famer Bruno Sammartino also joined the show and provided his insider 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 7 p.m. ET (some language NSFW) or follow us on Twitter @RingRustRadio.
Feb. 19 - WWE Superstar Chris Jericho
March 12 - Mark Madness
April 16 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Draft
Bruno Sammartino RRR Interview
One of the biggest pieces of news in recent memory came to light last week as it was announced that Bruno Sammartino would be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Sammartino rejected the WWE's offer on many occasions and had removed himself from the product for many years, but The Living Legend finally came around thanks to the persuasive powers of Triple H. Ring Rust Radio had the honor of speaking with Sammartino this week about the Hall of Fame and much more.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Are Bruno and Vince McMahon Back on Good Terms?
There is no question that it is great to see Sammartino involved with the WWE once again. He is the longest-reigning WWE Champion of all time with reigns exceeding seven and three years in length. He is arguably the greatest professional wrestler of all time and was unquestionably the most popular in the 1960s and 1970s. There is no doubt that his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame is overdue, and the fact that he has accepted lends a lot of credibility to the entire concept.
As most probably know by now, Triple H brokered the deal to get Sammartino in the Hall of Fame. Bruno and Vince McMahon have had many disagreements over the years stemming from Sammartino's dislike for drug use in professional wrestling. Sammartino also disliked the direction that the product was heading in. After assurances from Triple H that the WWE is clean and family friendly as well, Sammartino decided to lift his self-imposed ban, but his relationship with McMahon is much cloudier.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It may seem impossible to most that Sammartino could have possibly accepted a Hall of Fame invitation without speaking to McMahon, but that is precisely what happened. According to Sammartino, he spoke only with Triple H and hasn't had contact with McMahon in quite some time. Sammartino understands that McMahon is still the man in charge, though, so he obviously had to give Triple H permission to court Bruno for induction.
McMahon and Sammartino have had a contentious relationship over the years to say the least, but now that Sammartino is satisfied with the WWE as a whole, he is ready to "bury the hatchet." Since McMahon allowed Triple H to bring in Sammartino, I have to believe that Vince is ready to move forward as well.
McMahon has never let squabbles prevent him from making a good business decision and working closely with Sammartino would obviously be a smart move. As of now, Sammartino and McMahon are still on shaky ground, but I'm confident that they will settle things once and for all at the Hall of Fame ceremony.
BR Banter: Bruno Sammartino on WWE Hall of Fame & More
The Rock vs. CM Punk at Elimination Chamber
There were certainly some mixed reactions to the first match between The Rock and CM Punk at the Royal Rumble, but they will have another opportunity to impress when they go head to head at Elimination Chamber. The Rock will enter the match as WWE Champion this time, though. The Rock is heavily favored to prevail once again as a match with John Cena at WrestleMania is hanging in the balance, but an added stipulation could potentially tip the scales in Punk's favor.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Role Will the Added Stipulation Play?
Paul Heyman worked some magic on Monday night as he got Vince McMahon to agree to a stipulation that states Punk will become the new WWE Champion if The Rock is disqualified or gets counted out.
It was certainly an odd situation because McMahon as quick to accept Heyman's terms despite the fact that Brock Lesnar had attacked him a couple weeks earlier. With that in mind, there is no doubt that there is something more to this stipulation.
On the surface, it seems silly because The Rock is a face and he would never get disqualified or counted out. If Heyman so desperately wanted those rules to be part of the match, then he obviously has a plan. Many fans have speculated on what that plan may entail and who it might involved. Brock Lesnar and Brad Maddox are potential options, but my money is on The Shield playing a role.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
My theory regarding The Rock vs. CM Punk may seem a bit convoluted, but everything will come full circle if it's executed correctly. Since Heyman knows that Punk becomes WWE Champion if The Rock is disqualified, I expect him to enlist the services of The Shield to attack Punk.
With Punk being privy to the plan, he'll welcome the attack, but The Shield will instead go outside the ring and triple-powerbomb Heyman through the announce table.
This would allow The Rock to capitalize on a distracted Punk by hitting him with a Rock Bottom for the victory. This situation would create a lot of confusion initially, but it would be explained the next night on Raw. It would be revealed that McMahon outbid Heyman for The Shield's services.
Since The Shield has no allegiances, it was willing to do what McMahon asked. The Shield would still remain heel, The Rock would keep the title, Punk vs. The Undertaker could be set up and Triple H vs. Lesnar would also be in place with McMahon vs. Heyman as part of the storyline.
Rumor Mill: WWE Locker Room Reportedly Resentful of Rock (via PWTorch.com)
No. 1 Contender's Elimination Chamber Match
Although the name of the upcoming pay-per-view is Elimination Chamber, there is only one chamber match on Sunday's card, and it is not for a title.
Mark Henry, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton, Jack Swagger, Daniel Bryan and Kane will do battle with a World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania on the line. Perhaps the stakes aren't as high as usual, but it should be a competitive and unpredictable bout.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Become No. 1 Contender for the WHC?
I've been fairly critical of Elimination Chamber thus far due to the lack of focus on chamber matches, but I have to admit that the one that is on the card should be entertaining.
Despite the fact that Elimination Chamber matches are supposed to be wild and unpredictable, it's often easy to guess who is going to win. That isn't the case on Sunday, though, as I give everyone in the match except Kane a realistic chance to win.
The favorites are Henry and Jericho with their status depending on who leaves Elimination Chamber as World Heavyweight Champion. If the answer is Alberto Del Rio, then Henry is the obvious choice, but Dolph Ziggler cashing in his Money in the Bank contract would put Jericho in the driver's seat.
Orton is obviously always a threat, Swagger is getting a big push at the moment and Bryan could win to necessitate a breakup of Team Hell No as well.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
This is definitely a tough call, but my head is telling me that Jericho will ultimately prevail. Henry is on an incredible roll and I wouldn't mind seeing him feud for the world title heading into WrestleMania, however, Jericho is the logical choice.
Fans constantly complain about Jericho not winning enough when he returns, so having him conquer the Elimination Chamber would likely silence many critics. It would also allow Ziggler to cash in and finally become World Heavyweight Champion. That would lead to Jericho vs. Ziggler on the grandest stage of them all.
I doubt that Jericho would have returned if there weren't big plans for him, so the odds are in favor of him being in a world title match. Also, Jericho has waxed poetic about Ziggler in the past and obviously sees a lot of promise in him.
I'm sure there is nothing Jericho would like more than to put over Ziggler at WrestleMania in a match with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line. Henry is a very real possibility as well, but my money is on Y2J.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 162.5
2. Brandon Galvin: 135
3. Michael Cahill: 77.5
4. Donald Wood: -30