Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Triple H, Matt Hardy, Brock Lesnar 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. ROH and Extreme Rising star Matt Hardy also joined the show to offer 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.
March 26 - Former WWE and UFC star Ken Shamrock
March 26 - Former ECW and WWE star Stevie Richards
April 2 - Former ECW, WCW and WWE star Raven
April 16 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Draft
Stipulations Announced for Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
A Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar match at WrestleMania XXIX has been in the works for the past few weeks and it was finally made official on Raw. Paul Heyman forced Triple H into signing the contract without knowing the stipulations ahead of time.
After torturing Heyman for a few minutes, Triple H finally signed on the dotted line. Heyman escaped with Lesnar and announced that the match will be No Holds Barred and that Triple H will have to retire if he loses.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Did WWE Implement the Right Stipulations?
The creative team obviously had a myriad of options at its disposal, but it ultimately settled on two fairly intriguing stipulations. There was no shortage of opinions from fans leading up to the announcement with Hell in a Cell, Last Man Standing, I Quit and even Lion's Den matches being suggested. None of those came to fruition, but at least there will be some adding intrigue.
Whatever the case, Triple H vs. Lesnar has been built very well thus far and seems to be gaining some steam among the general audience.
It appears as though the retirement stipulation took some fans by surprise as well. Most were only expecting a match type, although I had a strong inkling that a retirement condition would be added and I said as much on Ring Rust Radio last week.
Heyman had said the word "stipulations" rather than "stipulation" so he clearly had more than just a No Holds Barred match up his sleeve. If nothing else, Triple H vs. Lesnar is much more appealing to most than The Rock vs. John Cena at this point.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
There was a somewhat mixed reaction among the Ring Rust Radio panel regarding the stipulations for this match. I'm personally fine with them as I believe they should lead to an entertaining encounter. Triple H and Lesnar are among the toughest customers in the business, and the No Holds Barred stipulation will allow them to go all out.
Also, while the retirement stipulation could conceivably make it even more obvious that Triple H is going to win, the fringe fans may be more interested in the match if they believe that it could be his last match.
On the flip side, there is a contention that No Holds Barred isn't good enough since that is essentially what their SummerSlam match was. I can understand that, but I doubt anyone will care what happened at SummerSlam once they are hitting each other with chairs and sledgehammers at WrestleMania.
It was also said that the retirement stipulation doesn't make sense since Triple H isn't a full-time competitor, but it would give the WWE a reason to keep him off television for a while, so a Lesnar win is no longer an impossibility.
Rumor Mill: Could Shawn Michaels Play a Role? (via Examiner.com)
RRR Matt Hardy Interview
A good friend of the show once again joined Ring Rust Radio this week as we had the pleasure of interviewing Ring of Honor and Extreme Rising stalwart Matt Hardy. While Hardy made his name in WWE and even went on to have a degree of success in TNA, he has taken his brand of entertainment to the independent scene and he has thrived in a major way.
With ROH and Extreme Rising shows coming up on WrestleMania weekend, Hardy had plenty to talk about with us.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Does Hardy Enjoy His Current Role In Wrestling?
There is no doubt that Hardy went into somewhat of a tailspin following his departure from WWE, but he seems to have turned things around and appears to be in a great place in his life. Perhaps he didn't leave WWE or TNA on great terms, but he isn't bitter about it and he has carved out a great niche for himself in both ROH and Extreme Rising. He has become a key player in both companies and is arguably the biggest star that either of them has.
During the interview, I compared Hardy's role in ROH and Extreme Rising to what Chris Jericho does in WWE and what Rob Van Dam did in TNA prior to his contract expiring. He has been feuding with Adam Cole and Luke Hawx in ROH and Extreme Rising respectively, and while Hardy was quick to point out that he is actually undefeated unlike Jericho and RVD, he does view himself as a veteran guy who is meant to help the younger stars get over.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As much as Hardy would probably like to go back to WWE or TNA on a limited schedule if that opportunity were to ever arise, he seems very content with what he is doing now. Hardy is able to pick and choose what he wants to do for the most part and he doesn't have to commit to a ton of dates with either ROH or Extreme Rising.
Hardy isn't necessarily old at the age of 38, but his prime years are obviously behind him, so it is extremely important for him to preserve his body so he can continue to perform at a high level for as long as possible.
Hardy also seems to have embraced his character as an indy outsider. The fans generally react negatively to him as they view him as a WWE guy, but Hardy has no problem with that. He has been on the show three times and always maintains that a strong reaction is good whether it's positive or negative.
The negative energy from the ROH and Extreme Rising crowds have allowed him to be a top heel and an extremely valuable commodity to boot. Maybe Hardy isn't what he once was from an in-ring perspective, but he still has a lot to offer the business.
RRR Mark Madness Champion Determined
The highly-anticipated Mark Madness tournament took place on the most recent edition of Ring Rust Radio and early returns from the listening audience have been great. The concept of the tournament was very similar to the NCAA basketball tournament, which is currently ongoing. The Ring Rust Radio panel crafted a bracket including the top 64 professional wrestlers of all time and voted on each matchup until a winner was determined.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Is the Greatest Wrestler of All Time?
While everyone is obviously interested in knowing who came out on top, there were plenty of intriguing matchups and upsets throughout the bracket. The four No. 1 seeds were Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and John Cena, but not all of them were able to survive. Among the big names that were cut down in the first round were No. 6 Brock Lesnar falling to No. 11 Arn Anderson and No. 6 Dusty Rhodes getting knocked off by No. 11 Kevin Nash.
Things got even crazier as the field whittled down further. No. 4 Chris Jericho eliminated No. 1 Bruno Sammartino in the Sweet 16 and No. 4 Kurt Angle shockingly took out No. 1 John Cena in the same round as well. Once it got down to the Final Four there weren't a ton of surprises, though, as No. 1 Hulk Hogan, No. 2 The Rock, No.1 Steve Austin and No. 2 Randy "Macho Man" Savage were left to duke it out for supremacy.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The Final Four battle between Hogan and The Rock truly came down to the wire. With two votes apiece, it was up to Donald Wood to determine the first finalist. Although Wood has been critical of The Rock's absence on Raw over the past two weeks, his hatred for Hogan burns deep, so he went with The People's Champion.
The other side of the bracket pitted Austin against Savage in what would have been a fantastic real-life match at one point. As great as Savage was, Austin bulldozed past him and into the finals.
It all came down to the Attitude Era's top two stars as The Rock and Austin went head to head just as they did three times previously at WrestleMania. In the end it was no contest as Austin won the Mark Madness championship unanimously.
In fact, nobody cast a single vote against Austin, so he was perfect throughout. Had Hogan beaten The Rock in the semis, it may have been closer, but there is no question that Austin was the top guy during wrestling's greatest time period, so he deserved the victory.
Mark Madness Bracket: Print one here.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 190
2. Mike Chiari: 170
3. Brandon Galvin: 125
4. Donald Wood: -15