Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on The Rock, John Cena, Ken Shamrock 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. Former WWE and UFC star Ken Shamrock 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.
(Some language NSFW)
April 16 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Draft
May 7 - May Match Madness
The Rock & John Cena Engage in Debate
After two weeks away from the WWE, The Rock made his triumphant return on Raw and took part in a legends panel debate against John Cena. WWE Hall of Famers Jerry "The King" Lawler, Mick Foley, Booker T, Dusty Rhodes and Bret Hart took turns asking The Rock and Cena questions regarding their upcoming match at WrestleMania XXIX. What resulted was an interesting segment that elicited many different responses from the fans.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Was the Legends Panel Segment a Success?
When it was initially announced early in the night that the closing segment would be a legends panel debate including The Rock and Cena, it was blatantly obvious that most fans made up their minds right then and there about whether the segment would be good or not. A lot of current fans seem to have an issue with the WWE bringing back legends for some reason, so preconceived notions may have ruined their enjoyment of the promo.
The star power did take a hit because Ric Flair was supposed to be involved, but he was sent to the hospital in order to get treated for a blood clot. He was replaced by either Booker T or Dusty Rhodes presumably, who are both legends in their own right, but not quite at the same level as Flair.
The WWE went through with the segment, though, and allowed both The Rock and Cena to hype their WrestleMania main event. If nothing else, it was great to see after two consecutive weeks of video packages and no interaction between them.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The segment wasn't perfect by any means, but I felt as though the WWE did a great job with it. The legends weren't 100 percent necessary; however, they definitely added some intrigue to the situation. Cena's promo work was good as it usually is when he plays the serious character.
It was also fantastic to see him break character to some degree by essentially calling The Rock's win last year a fluke. Cena never says things like that, so he came off as desperate to win this time around.
The Rock was also very good as he stayed away from the jokes and came off as confident. Not everyone on the RRR panel felt the same way. One popular thought is that the segment dragged on for too long by allowing a counterpoint for each question.
I can sympathize with that argument, but the WWE probably felt like it needed a long segment to compensate for the two previous weeks. Ultimately, the segment hyped the WrestleMania main event well and definitely made it more interesting than it was prior to Raw.
Rumor Mill: Ric Flair Forced to Leave Raw Due to Blood Clot (via WrestlingNewsWorld.com)
RRR Ken Shamrock Interview
Ring Rust Radio added to its impressive collection of guests this week as we were joined by former WWE and UFC superstar Ken Shamrock. The World's Most Dangerous Man has remained largely outside the spotlight since stepping away from mixed martial arts a couple years ago, but his perspective is an interesting one.
He was really the first and only guy to successfully transition from UFC to WWE, but it seems likely that many will try to follow in his footsteps moving forward.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Would Shamrock Ever Return to the WWE?
With so many past stars returning to the WWE recently, it should come as no surprise that the conversation quickly shifted toward Shamrock potentially making a WWE return. While Shamrock had never discussed an intention to make that happen publicly, he was very forthcoming with RRR when the subject was brought up.
Shamrock revealed that he was being groomed to eventually become WWE Champion during the Attitude Era, but he wasn't in a good place personally and decided to leave before it could come to fruition.
While Shamrock stopped short of expressing regret, it is clear that he would have liked to have seen his WWE run through to the end. That led to him dropping a bombshell of sorts as he admitted to contacting the WWE in order to make a comeback.
Shamrock said that his calls weren't being returned, so the WWE may not share his interest, which is unfortunate when you consider how much Shamrock did for the company during his fairly brief tenure.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Shamrock may not possess the same cachet as guys like The Rock and Brock Lesnar, but he still has a lot to offer the business if given another shot. He is in great shape for his age and I'm sure he could work circles around many of the superstars on the current roster.
Shamrock said that he would like to work a part-time schedule now that he's a father and grandfather, so the WWE would have to make the right offer for him to accept. Perhaps that is why the WWE hasn't reciprocated interest yet, but Vince McMahon should think otherwise.
Shamrock's ultimate goal is to become WWE Champion, and even though that probably isn't a realistic expectation, he can definitely help out guys like Daniel Bryan or Jack Swagger. In the right situation he could even have a great program with Lesnar.
Since Lesnar essentially did the opposite of what Shamrock did, they could be natural rivals. Something like Shamrock with McMahon in his corner against Lesnar with Dana White in his corner could be a huge moneymaker for WWE and UFC. It's something worth considering for everyone involved.
BR Banter: Shamrock on WWE Return, Brock Lesnar & More
TNA Attempts to Explain the Entire Aces & Eights Angle
For the past nine months, Aces & Eights have dominated TNA programming. Things finally progressed to some degree at Lockdown as Bully Ray joined the group, revealed himself as president and became the new TNA World Heavyweight Champion.
In an effort to explain why the angle was such an albatross for three-quarters of a year, TNA aired several vignettes on Impact last week featuring Bully explaining the storyline.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Did TNA Manage to Save the Angle?
As soon as Bully Ray was revealed as the president of Aces & Eights, many fans claimed that the entire angle was saved. I certainly wasn't convinced, so I was the type of person that TNA was trying to cater to on Impact.
The Bully Ray videos showed him explaining why Aces & Eights acted in certain ways, why the members joined and why the group existed in the first place. I definitely understand why TNA went this route, but it wasn't executed as well as some seem to think it was.
It's almost as if TNA was so focused on Bully Ray explaining the angle that it forgot about the show. His vignettes occupied about half of Impact and Aces & Eights didn't do anything otherwise. Jeff Hardy won a fatal four way in order to become the No. 1 contender for Bully's title, yet the group didn't even attack Hardy.
It was quite strange considering Hardy is going to be coming after their president's championship. If nothing else, it confirmed that TNA still doesn't know how to book its top heel group.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Aside from Donald Wood acting as a TNA apologist, the RRR panel was in agreement regarding the Bully Ray vignettes. Bully is obviously great on the mic and he sold them as best he could, but no storyline can be excused from nine months of awfulness regardless of how good the explanation was.
In fact, the explanation wasn't really that good to begin with. The formation of Aces & Eights made sense, but so many questions were left unanswered. About half of the group members joined for no real reason and the fact that Aces & Eights waited nine months to get Bully the title when it could have happened after a couple months is ridiculous.
When push comes to shove, fans don't need to be spoonfed a storyline. They know when they're witnessing a great angle and Aces & Eights doesn't qualify. If it was good, then TNA wouldn't have to explain half of Impact telling us why it was good.
The storyline has been shoddy from the start and explanations were shoddy as well despite Bully's best efforts to make it work. Had Aces & Eights reached this point in four months, then my outlook might be different, but the nine-month time frame made it unbearable for me and many others.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 195
2. Mike Chiari: 180
3. Brandon Galvin: 130
4. Donald Wood: 5