Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Ryback, John Cena, Fandango 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.
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 23 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Card Reveal
May 7 - May Match Madness
Ryback Cements Heel Turn vs. John Cena
Ryback shocked many fans the night after WrestleMania XXIX when he attacked John Cena after saving him from Mark Henry. There was plenty of talk regarding whether Ryback had turned heel or become a tweener, but he certainly cemented his heel turn on the following Raw as he blamed Cena for his troubles and failed to help Cena when The Shield jumped him. Now Ryback and Cena appear to be on a collision course with Extreme Rules approaching.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is Ryback a Credible Opponent for Cena?
Most fans knew ahead of WrestleMania that Cena would defeat The Rock for the WWE Championship and that is precisely what happened. The bigger question, however, surrounded who Cena would face next. The Rock was no longer an option due to injuries suffered at WrestleMania, nor was CM Punk as he seems to be in line for a break. The choices were definitely quite slim, so the WWE decided to go in a different direction by turning Ryback heel.
While Ryback definitely poses a physical threat to Cena, he doesn't have a track record of success. Ryback has lost at every pay-per-view since Hell in a Cell, including the Royal Rumble, where Cena eliminated him to win the match. The seeds for a Ryback heel turn have been planted for quite some time and it has come to fruition, but it is unclear if anyone is taking him seriously.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The WWE was admittedly backed into a corner following WrestleMania, so turning Ryback heel was probably the best-case scenario. At the same time, Ryback has very little momentum and it's hard to believe that he could possibly beat Cena for the WWE Championship so soon after Cena won the title. Perhaps the only thing that could make Ryback a true threat is if he becomes involved with The Shield in some way. Then The Shield could help him beat Cena at Extreme Rules and he would suddenly seem legitimate.
Aside from that, Ryback is an interesting heel, but not a true title contender. The WWE did itself a disservice by having Ryback lose to Henry at WrestleMania. Ryback could have won that match and still turned heel on Raw, so it really wasn't necessary to make him look even weaker. Perhaps the creative team will figure out a way to bolster his resume, but it's tough to take him seriously with such a lackluster pay-per-view record.
Rumor Mill: Ryback's Controversial Tweets Deleted (via WrestlingInc.com)
WWE Attempts to Capitalize on Fandango Craze
Prior to his televised debut, most WWE fans were skeptical about Fandango's potential to become a relevant WWE superstar. After beating Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXIX, his popularity reached unprecedented heights. The fans embraced him the next night on Raw and even hummed his theme song, which has since become known as "Fandangoing."
It is now an Internet sensation and, while it hasn't exactly made Fandango a household name, the word has been spread quicker than anyone could have imagined.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Is Fandango's Ceiling in WWE?
The WWE has never been shy about capitalizing on publicity, so it has done everything in its power to push Fandango since WrestleMania. A video package was played on Raw showing the popularity of Fandangoing, and Fandango was given promo time on the show as well. The creative team was probably hoping for the fans to elevate him like they did the previous week, but that simply wasn't the case.
The New Jersey crowd was a special bunch and it wasn't realistic to expect every crowd to be like that. There was very little Fandangoing on the latest episode of Raw and they didn't really say his name either, so the segment fell flat. Despite that, the WWE will continue to give Fandango every opportunity to succeed. The WWE Universe realizes that, and it has led to questions regarding how far Fandango can ultimately go.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Just as is the case with WWE fans, the Ring Rust Radio panel had conflicting opinions regarding Fandango's upside. One thought is that Fandango can become huge as he is and potentially become a World Heavyweight Champion. Another is that Fandango has the ability to be a world champion, but his character is a bit too one-dimensional. If he can add a little depth to his gimmick moving forward, then perhaps he is talented enough to reach that level.
My personal opinion is that Fandango can be an elite mid-carder, but not necessarily more than that. In this day and age it seems like every fan talks about every superstar being a future world champion, but not everyone can win the big one. Many of the greatest WWE superstars of all time never won a world title in the WWE, so there's no shame in being a great mid-carder and occasional main-eventer. Fandango has good in-ring skills and a ton of charisma, so he definitely has a bright future, but it's unlikely that he'll ever be the face of the company.
Rumor Mill: Stone Cold Predicts Title Win for Fandango (via WrestlingInc.com)
nWo Era Fantasy Draft Results
After tons of great feedback and support, Ring Rust Radio held its fourth fantasy draft this week. The four panelists were able to select wrestlers from WWF, WCW and ECW who wrestling for those companies from 1996 through 1997. We dubbed it the "nWo Era" as those two years represented the group's greatest period of success.
The draft lasted 25 rounds and featured plenty of excellent and questionable selections. Over the next week, we will craft fantasy cards based on the wrestlers that we picked and the Bleacher Report community will be able to vote on who did the best job. Until then, here is how each of the four rosters look.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Did Everybody Get?
ECW (Donald Wood)
Randy Savage w/ Miss Elizabeth
Kane w/ Paul Bearer
New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg & Billy Gunn)
Diamond Dallas Page
Sabu w/ Bill Alfonso
The Eliminators (Perry Saturn & John Kronus)
Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs)
Marc Mero w/ Sable
Justin Hawk Bradshaw/Blackjack Bradshaw
nWo (Brandon Galvin)
Rob Van Dam
Legion of Doom (Animal & Hawk)
Tommy Dreamer w/ Beulah McGillicutty
Goldust w/ Marlena
Shane Douglas w/ Francine
2 Cold Scorpio/Flash Funk
The Gangstas (New Jack & Mustafa)
Chavo Guerrero Jr.
WCW (Michael Cahill)
Hollywood Hulk Hogan
Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray & D-Von)
Bam Bam Bigelow
Bushwhackers (Butch & Luke)
The Headbangers (Mosh & Thrasher)
Ray Traylor/Big Bubba Rogers
WWF (Mike Chiari)
Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/ Chyna
Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)
Steiner Brothers (Scott & Rick)
Rey Mysterio Jr.
Rowdy Roddy Piper
Jushin "Thunder" Liger
The Shark (John Tenta)
The Faces of Fear (Meng & The Barbarian)
Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge & Rocco Rock)
Rock 'N' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Who has the best nWo Era fantasy roster?
As usual, all four panelists' rosters have their merits and their shortcomings, so there is no question that it should be a close battle. The first round went as expected with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Undertaker, "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels going off the board in the first four picks. Things weren't quite so obvious after that, but it made for a very interesting draft,
The true test will be crafting logical and intriguing cards based on the roster that each personality possesses. Everyone has enough talent to create something spectacular, so it will come down to creativity and the preference of the readers. Don't forget to check back next week for the cards, and you can also vote for who has the best overall roster right now.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 45
2. Mike Chiari: 25
3. Brandon Galvin: 10
4. Donald Wood: -20