Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on CM Punk, John Cena, Ryback 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 superstar Hardcore Holly 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 9 p.m. ET (some language NSFW) or follow us on Twitter @RingRustRadio.
(Some Language NSFW)
June 25 - WCW/ECW Match Madness
July 2 - PG Era Fantasy Draft
CM Punk to Face Chris Jericho at Payback
Chris Jericho invited Paul Heyman to be a guest on The Highlight Reel on Monday night, and while Heyman wanted to talk about Curtis Axel and Brock Lesnar, Jericho quickly steered the conversation in the direction of CM Punk.
The straight-edge superstar hasn't been seen since the week after WrestleMania XXIX, but Y2J challenged him to a match at Payback, and Heyman accepted on Punk's behalf.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will Punk's Return Play Out?
Wrestling fans everywhere have eagerly anticipated Punk's return, and all signs now point to him coming back at Payback. With that said, there don't appear to be any plans in place for him to return before then, so some fans are a bit concerned.
Despite the fact that WWE has already announced the match, one theory going around is that Punk will no-show the pay-per-view in his hometown of Chicago.
This would garner Punk plenty of heat, and it would allow Axel to face Jericho instead. At the same time, it would be bad business on WWE's part to advertise Punk's return and then fail to deliver.
It would obviously be part of a storyline, but there are fans out there who may go to the event of buy it on pay-per-view solely to see Punk face Jericho, so WWE can't afford to take a chance unless it is announced ahead of time.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Although having Punk no-show remains a slight possibility, the Ring Rust Radio panel was in agreement that he will go one-on-one with Jericho at Payback.
Punk is sure to get a big face reaction in his hometown of Chicago at Payback, so the WWE has an opportunity to turn him face at the event if it so chooses. One potential way to do that involved Heyman shocking the WWE Universe by turning on Punk.
This could either lead to Heyman forming a partnership with Jericho, or it could simply allow Punk to feud with another Heyman guy such as Lesnar or Axel.
Despite the fact that they have both been Heyman associates for quite some time, Punk and Lesnar have never interacted. This has prompted many fans to call for an alliance or a feud between them. If Punk turns face at Payback, a rivalry could very well be on the horizon.
Rumor Mill: CM Punk vs. Brock Lesnar Feud Possibly In Works (Wrestling Observer via WrestlingInc.com)
John Cena vs. Ryback Three Stages of Hell Match Set for Payback
After fighting to a draw in their Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules, Ryback challenged Cena to an ambulance match at Payback the night after their previous encounter. Cena didn't appear on that episode of Raw as he was nursing his injuries, but he returned a week later and upped the ante as he challenged Ryback to a Three Stages of Hell match.
Ryback accepted, so the Payback main event is officially set.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This an Exciting Stipulation?
Cena vs. Ryback at Payback will be just the fourth Three Stages of Hell match in WWE history. The previous three were fantastic, so Cena and Ryback have a lot to live up to. This particular Three Stages of Hell match will feature a lumberjack match, a tables match and an ambulance match. The potential for a great battle is there, but the choices are somewhat puzzling.
Cena's explanations didn't make much sense, either. He claimed that the lumberjack match will prevent Ryback from running away. While Ryback has retreated a couple times in the past, he went toe-to-toe with Cena at Payback and drove him through the LED board, so there was no need to make him seem like a coward.
Also, Cena picking a tables match because fans have chanted, "We want tables," in the past was pretty weak.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Cena and Ryback put on a surprisingly good show at Extreme Rules, but they will be hard-pressed to match it at Payback. Had they chosen stipulations such as a steel cage match, a TLC match and a Falls Count Anywhere match, that would have been one thing, but this may be the least hellacious Three Stages of Hell match ever.
Nobody enjoys a lumberjack match, tables matches are hit and miss, and I've never seen an ambulance match I enjoyed.
It just seems like WWE is trying a bit too hard with this match. Even though ambulance matches are rarely good, the creative team would have been better off rolling with that.
Having Cena dismiss Ryback's idea and come up with a match of his own made Ryback look weak in a way, and the segment simply wasn't very good. Maybe Cena and Ryback will surprise again, but early indications aren't very good.
Rumor Mill: Why Cena vs. Ryback Stipulation Was Changed (Wrestling Observer via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview with Bob "Hardcore" Holly
Former WWE superstar Bob "Hardcore" Holly joined Ring Rust Radio for the second time this week, and there was plenty to talk about as he recently co-authored a book with Ross Williams entitled The Hardcore Truth: The Bob Holly Story. Holly wrestled for WWE for 15 years and was present for several different eras, so he offered a unique perspective that very few wrestlers can match.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Should I Buy The Hardcore Truth?
Holly may not have been one of the top stars during his tenure with WWE, but he tangled with several all-time greats and ended his career as a six-time Hardcore Champion and three-time Tag Team Champion. He saw WWE evolve from a somewhat cartoonish product into the Attitude Era and then saw the aftermath of that as well.
Because of that, he has countless stories to tell, and he has opinions on virtually everything.
While it's impossible to understand the full scope of what Holly knows until you read his book, he offered a great sneak peek during his interview. Among other things, he discussed breaking into WWE as Sparky Plugg, his reputation as a bully, his utilization in the company and even the rumor that he was supposed to be involved in the Battle of the Billionaires at WrestleMania 23.
All of that made for a highly interesting and entertaining discussion.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
One thing that Holly wanted to do with regards to his book was make sure that he was 100 percent honest throughout. Some wrestling books are self-serving and refrain from being too controversial, but that isn't the case with Holly's.
The fact that WWE wasn't involved in the making of Holly's book is beneficial to the reader because Holly is allowed to say whatever he wants and didn't need to get clearance from WWE in order to do so.
In addition to the fact that there are tons of great anecdotes and opinions in The Hardcore Truth, Holly is truly a good person who deserves to have his story heard. Perhaps there were some instances over the course of his career where he was a bit rough, but he is easily the nicest person Ring Rust Radio has ever interviewed.
He's so nice, in fact, that some of the stories that are out there about him are pretty hard to believe. If you want the true story of Hardcore Holly, though, there is no better way to get it than by reading The Hardcore Truth.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 230
2. Mike Chiari: 105
3. Brandon Galvin: 0
4. Donald Wood: -90
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics, or catch the latest episode in the player below (some language NSFW).