Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on The Undertaker, CM Punk, John Cena, 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. Also, on a special Thursday edition of RRR, TNA's Kazarian gave his inside 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.
(Some language NSFW)
March 12 - TNA's Kazarian
March 19 - Mark Madness
April 16 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Draft
The Undertaker vs. CM Punk Officially Set for WrestleMania
Although many of us have expected it for months and most expected it since The Undertaker made an unannounced return at a WWE house show in Waco, Texas, it is now official that Taker will put his 20-0 WrestleMania streak on the line against CM Punk. The Phenom made his televised return on Monday and Punk won a Fatal 4-Way to earn the right to face The Undertaker. Regardless of how things play out, it's great to see The Deadman back in the fold.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Does CM Punk Have Any Chance of Beating Taker?
Pretty much every WWE fan seems to agree that The Undertaker vs. CM Punk will be a spectacular match at WrestleMania. Taker gets further removed from his prime with each passing year, but he somehow manages to put on better 'Mania matches with each passing year. His past four WrestleMania bouts have been arguably the four best of his career, and I have to believe that his tilt with Punk will challenge all of them.
Punk is easily one of the best performers in professional wrestling today, both in the ring and on the mic. I'm probably as excited for the build toward the match as I am the match itself since it will be very interesting to see the dynamic between the two performers.
Punk is capable of putting forth a match-of-the-year candidate each and every time he steps into the ring, particularly when he faces another worthy opponent like Taker. With that in mind, Taker and Punk could certainly steal the show.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The in-ring work itself between Taker and Punk is going to be great, but the question of whether or not Punk can possibly win remains. There is speculation about the streak ending every year, but The Undertaker always prevails. Since Taker is obviously nearing the end of his career, though, it is starting to become a real possibility that he could lose. Perhaps Punk doesn't need the rub associated with ending the streak, but he is coming off a 434-day WWE Championship reign and definitely has the credentials to do it.
As much as we would like to believe that the unexpected could happen, the RRR panel is unanimous in thinking that The Undertaker will triumph.
If this is Taker's last match, then maybe I could see him losing. I have a hard time believing that this will be the end for The Phenom, though. The Undertaker hasn't yet faced John Cena, and it feels like that needs to happen before he hangs up the boots. Because of that, the WWE can't afford to end the streak, and it may never end the streak for that matter.
Rumor Mill: Undertaker Reportedly Willing to End the Streak (via Examiner.com)
John Cena and The Rock Rekindle Their Rivalry
A second encounter between John Cena and The Rock has seemed likely ever since The Rock beat Cena at WrestleMania XXVIII. When The Rock won the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble and Cena won the Rumble match itself, the pieces were officially in place. The match became official last week as Cena retained his title shot by beating CM Punk. With all of that out of the way, The Rock and Cena finally reignited their feud on Monday.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Are You Excited for Cena vs. The Rock II?
The Rock and Cena engaged in a point/counterpoint argument on Monday's Old School edition of Raw and they certainly impressed me as well as many others. Cena talked about how 2012 was a rough year for him and how his loss to The Rock at WrestleMania XXVIII sent him into a downward spiral. Cena also said that he had been waiting an entire year to avenge the loss and claimed that nobody wants it as badly as he does.
While The Rock was initially complimentary of the fire that Cena displayed, he quickly turned it around on him. The Rock claimed that nobody else in the locker room wants to be great to the same degree that Cena does except for The Rock himself. Rocky also scored a decisive blow when he said to Cena, "You think you can beat me, but I know I can beat you."
Their promo was serious and it came across as very personal. It was certainly a great way to kick off a feud that a lot of fans seem to be unexcited by at the moment.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As is the case with most wrestling fans in general, the RRR panel couldn't come to a consensus with regard to The Rock vs. Cena II. While all of us agree that the WWE made the right decision in setting up the match due to the fact that it's going to draw a ton of money and attract the fringe fans, it doesn't change the fact that the diehard fans have already seen it and know what's going to happen.
It isn't possible for the WWE to restore the feeling that their feud had last year because it felt new and fresh, but I'm still intrigued personally.
I loved their match at WrestleMania XXVIII and felt like the feud was pretty good as well, but their promo on Monday night was leaps and bounds better than anything they produced last year.
It felt like last year's feud was all about one-upmanship, as Cena constantly no-sold The Rock and shook off his verbal barbs. Their feud last year was definitely personal, but it doesn't seem like it has lost any of its edge. Their rivalry is more about revenge now and that almost always makes for a great storyline.
If the rest of their promos for the next month are as good as the one on Monday, then I'll definitely be looking forward to their second encounter.
Rumor Mill: The Rock Agrees to Work Extreme Rules (via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview with TNA's Kazarian
With TNA's Lockdown pay-per-view taking place on Sunday, Ring Rust Radio was fortunate to speak with one-half of Bad Influence, Kazarian. He has been part of TNA throughout most of its existence and is definitely one of the guys who is most synonymous with the company.
He had plenty to talk about regarding TNA in general as well as his match at Lockdown, as he and Christopher Daniels will face Austin Aries and Bobby Roode plus Chavo Guerrero and Hernandez in a triple threat for the Tag Team Championships.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Does Kazarian View the Current State of TNA?
Kazarian has pretty much done it all in TNA, so it was definitely great to get his perspective on the company. Not only is he currently part of arguably the best tag team in the business, but he is also a five-time X-Division champion and a guy who helped put TNA on the map thanks to his performances in that setting. Even though he has never been world champion in TNA, he has obviously always been an integral part of the product.
That continues to be true right now despite the fact that he is a tag team competitor. It's clear that TNA is struggling in some aspects right now, as the booking has been erratic and angles such as Aces & Eights and the Bully Ray and Brooke pairing haven't really landed.
The team of Kazarian and Christopher Daniels entertains and impresses on a weekly basis, though, and they seem to do it based on their own merit. Even if TNA doesn't have a good storyline for them, they somehow manage to make it work.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Since Kazarian has had so much success as a tag team wrestler as well as an X-Division wrestler, it was great to hear what he had to say about those two aspects of TNA currently. Kaz agreed that the tag division is a bit light in terms of teams right now, but he was also very vocal about the talent that is in place. He made a good point about the fluidity of the tag team scene and said that you never know when two guys might be put together and go on to have great success.
Kazarian was also complimentary of the X-Division's talent, particularly Kenny King and Zema Ion. The X-Division hasn't been featured a ton on TNA programming as of late, but Kaz reminded us that the division is quite cyclical and will surely return to prominence at some point.
Kazarian addressed his own situation, too, and said that while he'll go back to singles wrestling at some point, his main focus right now is making tag team wrestling as good as it can be. It's safe to say that both he and Daniels are doing their part in that regard.
Full Interview: Kazarian Talks TNA Lockdown and More with RRR
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 165
2. Michael Cahill: 160
3. Brandon Galvin: 90
4. Donald Wood: -50