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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.
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Final Money in the Bank Predictions
With the build toward Money in the Bank complete, the only thing left is the event itself. WWE's upcoming pay-per-view boasts an excellent card and it could truly change the course of the company moving forward. Two superstars will have an opportunity to essentially guarantee a future run with a world title, so Money in the Bank is quickly becoming one of the WWE's most important events.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Reign Supreme at MITB?
Who Will win the WWE Championship contract MITB ladder match?
Other matches include WWE Champion John Cena vs. Mark Henry, World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler, Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel vs. The Miz, Divas Champion AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn, Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. The Usos and Ryback vs. Chris Jericho. All of the matches certainly have their merits and they could help make Money in the Bank the best pay-per-view of 2013 thus far.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Money in the Bank tends to be a very unpredictable event, but that didn't stop the Ring Rust Radio panelists from taking a shot at picking every winner. We were unanimous on a few matches as Cena, Axel, AJ, Ryback and the team of Rollins and Reigns all appear to be surefire winners. There was plenty of debate when it came to the other matches, though. A number of different possibilities were thrown out there for the Money in the Bank ladder matches especially as Randy Orton, Rob Van Dam and Sheamus were mentioned as potential winners on the WWE Championship side, while Dean Ambrose and Fandango were pegged as contenders in the other ladder match.
From my perspective, Orton and Ambrose are the wrestlers to watch. Orton hasn't had a lot of hype surrounding him, but he appears to be undergoing a character transformation, so winning Money in the Bank could lead to a heel turn, especially if he cashes in on Cena later in the night. As for the World Heavyweight Championship contract, Ambrose has far more momentum than anyone else involved and he is already world title material. The fun part about Money in the Bank is that there are no guarantees, though, so fans will be fixated on the show throughout.
Rumor Mill: Kane Removed from MITB in Favor of Bray Wyatt? (F4WOnline.com via WrestlingInc.com)
2013 PG Era Fantasy Draft Cards
After 26 rounds of drafting and trades galore, the Ring Rust Radio panelists have each put together their PG Era fantasy draft cards. All WWE, TNA, ROH and major independent superstars were eligible to be drafted, so the possibilities are truly endless.
Brandon Galvin (TNA) drafted first, Donald Wood (SmackDown) picked second, Mike Chiari (Raw) selected third and Michael Cahill (ROH) had the fourth and final pick of the first round. The draft proceeded in serpentine fashion until all four panelists had selected 26 wrestlers.
To complete the exercise, each of us have put together the bets cards possible with the rosters that we drafted. Now it is your job to vote and let it be known who you believe has the best card. Here are each of the cards along with an explanation behind them.
|TNA Bound for Glory|
|TNA World Championship||
The Rock vs. Chris Jericho
The Undertaker vs. Sting
|Randy Orton vs. Kane|
|TNA Tag Team Championship||Kings of Wrestling (Kassius Ohno & Antonio Cesaro) vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Mark & Jay Briscoe)|
|TNA X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match||Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville vs. Petey Williams vs. Samuray del Sol|
|TNA Television Championship Full Metal Mayhem Match||Rhino vs. Kevin Steen|
|TNA Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Match||Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth) vs. Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly)|
|Jay Lethal, Zema Ion & BLK Jeez vs. Steve Corino, Zack Ryder & Christian York|
*Note: Winners in italics
Six-Man Tag Team Match: Jay Lethal, Zema Ion & BLK Jeez vs. Steve Corino, Zack Ryder & Christian York
Bound for Glory opens with an exciting six-man tag team match featuring six of the most underrated performers wrestling today. The high-flying and in-ring savvy of Lethal, Ion and Jeez counter the overzealous Ryder and York, despite Corino trying to reel in his partners. As the action heads to the outside of the ring, Ion catches York in his Submission Impossible to force the veteran to tap out.
TNA Tag Team Championship No. 1 Contender's Match: Awesome Truth (The Miz & R-Truth) vs. Future Shock (Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly)
Former tag teams reunite for a chance to reclaim glory in the division. The Miz and R-Truth were a great heel team that managed to get under the skins of all fans and didn't have the run they were capable of a couple of years ago. The veterans ultimately become too cock for their own good, which opens the door for Cole and O'Reilly to catch them off their game for the major upset to shock the wrestling world.
TNA Television Championship Full Metal Mayhem Match: Rhino vs. Kevin Steen
Rhino and Steen are two of the best brawlers at the moment and would thrive in such a gimmick match. Their no-nonsense styles would provide fans with a bloody, back-and-forth brawl for the ages. The combination of chains, chairs, tables and ladders would allow these two the hardcore freedom to unleash their creativity.
TNA X-Division Championship Ultimate X Match: Sami Zayn vs. Adrian Neville vs. Petey Williams vs. Samuray del Sol
The Ultimate X match has lost its luster for many fans, which is why now is the perfect time for four of the top risk-takers right now to reinvent the gimmick. Zayn, Neville, Williams and del Sol are four of the most creative daredevils and possibly the only four that could really capture fans' imagination in this match with their acrobatics.
TNA Tag Team Championship: Kings of Wrestling (Kassius Ohno & Antonio Cesaro) vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Mark & Jay Briscoe)
Two of the best tag teams of the past decade finally lock horns once again. These two teams should be going at it in WWE right now, but instead we have to settle for this tag-team dream bout on this card.
Randy Orton vs. Kane
Orton and Kane have been widely regarded as two of the most sadistic wrestlers in WWE for the past few years and they continue their no-holds-barred rivalry at TNA's Bound for Glory. They have been playing mind games with each other leading up to the event, with the "Viper" coming back into his own as a heel.
They always had underrated chemistry in the ring together and would be able to provide fans with hard-hitting action featuring two of the biggest stars in the industry.
Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. Sting
A match that every fan has dreamed about for nearly two decades finally comes to fruition when Sting battles The Undertaker in a casket match. These are two of the most iconic wrestlers ever in the industry due to their incredible in-ring work, longevity and awe-inspiring gimmick matches. They may be a bit past their prime, but they are both still capable of putting on fantastic matches under the right situation as evident by their main-event caliber matches the past few years.
The Undertaker made several matches famous during his career, with the casket match being one of wrestling fan's favorites. While many would love to see a Buried Alive match or a Hell in a Cell, the Casket match is the most fitting for both characters. The Deadman finally puts the Icon away in a hard-fought, brutal affair.
TNA World Championship: The Rock vs. Chris Jericho
The Rock and Chris Jericho aren't just two of the biggest draws in the history of the business, but they also two of the most talented overall performers to ever grace the squared circle. These two have had historic battles inside the ring in the past, most notably in 2001, but they are also highly regarded as the two greatest speakers on the microphone ever. Their charisma in and out of the ring captivates fans like few others.
They may be part-time performers in WWE right now, but they are still capable of putting on phenomenal matches. The war of words leading up to this championship dream match would be difficult to compete against in any other rivalry across the world. Their chemistry on the microphone and in the ring would allow them to create another historic main event in the biggest show of the year.
Chris Jericho may be losing a lot of matches in WWE now, but he finally gets the big, clean win over The Rock by making The Great One tap out in the center of the ring to the Walls of Jericho.
|Raw World Championship||
CM Punk vs. Bray Wyatt
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. Rob Van Dam
|Raw Tag Team Championships||The Dudleys (Bully Ray and Devon) vs. Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode) vs. Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes) vs. YouTube Pre Show Winner|
|Raw Intercontinental Championship||Samoa Joe vs. Curtis Axel w/ Paul Heyman|
|First Blood||Ryback vs. Abyss|
|Raw European Championship||Magnus vs. Wade Barrett vs. William Regal|
|YouTube Pre-Show||Dirty Dancing (Fandango and Joey Ryan) vs. The Usos|
Note: Winners in italics
YouTube Pre-Show (For the chance to be fourth team in the tag team championship match later in the night): Dirty Dancing (Fandango and Joey Ryan) vs. The Usos
The night starts off with a great pre-show match between Dirty Dancing (Fandango and Joey Ryan) and The Usos. The stipulation is that the winner will be added to the tag team championship triple threat later in the night. While the heel team of Fandango and Ryan are hilarious together, the pre-show is to sell the casual fans on the PPV, so the face team of The Usos win and go on to wrestle at the PPV.
European Championship: Magnus (c) vs. Wade Barrett vs. William Regal
In the opening match of the PPV, the European Championship would be defended by Magnus against two of the best European wrestlers in the business, Wade Barrett and William Regal. This bout would feature an eclectic mix of in-ring brawling, technical mastery and classic storytelling. After William Regal low blows Magnus, Barrett tosses Regal from the ring and collects the roll-up win over the champion to steal the title.
Ryback vs. Abyss
In what would be the most brutal match of the evening, Ryback would take on Abyss in a first blood match. Neither man is great in the ring, so the assistance of tables, ladders, chairs, kendo sticks and more weapons would make this a matchup fans could get behind. Add in the raw power of each man and the appeal of blood and this would be a brutal battle.
Intercontinental Championship: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Curtis Axel w/ Paul Heyman
In the second title bout of the night, defending Intercontinental champion Samoa Joe would square off against Curtis Axel accompanied to the ring by Paul Heyman. Joe would be the heavy favorite in this match, but Axel would hold his own in a display of just how good he really is in the ring. It also won’t hurt having a great wrestler in Joe to work with. After a stellar bout, Samoa Joe would reverse the perfect plex into a pin and steal the victory from Axel. As Joe is celebrating, Heyman orders Axel to attack the champion and leaves him laid out. Axel grabs the title and leaves the arena with it, claiming ‘this isn’t over.’
Tag Team Championship Match: The Dudleys (Bully Ray and Devon) vs. Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode) vs. Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes) vs. YouTube Pre-Show Winner
The next match on the card is the tag team championship match featuring the four best teams in the company. The match will feature the champion Dudley Boys (Bully Ray and Devon), Beer Money (James Storm and Bobby Roode), Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes) and the YouTube Pre Show Winners, The Usos. It will be a tornado elimination match with falls counting anywhere. With eight guys in the ring and both members of this match, it will turn into a brawl all over the arena. The Usos will be the first team eliminated, followed by Team Rhodes Scholars. The final battle will be between Beer Money and The Dudleys. After pinning James Storm, Bobby Roode would pin Devon, leaving a one-on-one battle between Bully Ray and Roode. Using the chain that Devon slides him, Bully Ray would bash Roode behind the ref’s back and get the roll up. The champions retain and the long-term feud is born.
Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. Rob Van Dam
Mr. McMahon is trying to get back at Brock Lesnar for his attacks over the last several months, and the company decides that Lesnar will not know his opponent until the night of the PPV. After Lesnar and Paul Heyman hit the ring, the long delay is ended when Rob Van Dam’s music hits. Heyman tells Lesnar he had no idea that this was the opponent. The two men start the match and it’s a great mix of high flying and raw brutality. After each man gets their offense in, Lesnar takes RVD on the Spanish announce table for an F5, but Heyman gets on the table and stops him. The manager falls to his knees and low blows Lesnar. With the beast incarnate incapacitated on the table, RVD will hit the frog splash from the turnbuckle. Van Dam will bring him back into the ring, hit another frog splash and win the match clean. This result was not McMahon’s intention and would lead to another match, but this time with Heyman in RVD’s corner and Vince McMahon in Lesnar’s
WWE Championship Match: CM Punk (c) vs. Bray Wyatt
In the most unique matchup on any of the cards, WWE champion CM Punk will square off against the Money in the Bank winner Bray Wyatt who waited to cash in his briefcase in order to main event WrestleMania. Wyatt and his family will be running roughshod over the WWE before this match and would be recruiting Punk as a member of the group for the two-month stretch after announcing his intentions to cash in at WrestleMania. While Punk will never accept the Wyatt’s offers, he will be slowly been showing signs of siding with the trio. After an excellent in-ring matchup, Punk would get the clean victory over Bray. As Luke Harper and Erick Rowan jump into the ring and surround Punk, Bray embraces Punk and the family celebrates with the champion before walking away. Punk sees this respect and finally makes the jump to the darkside by kneeling down at the feet of Wyatt and handing the WWE championship to the family leader. The show would end with all four men standing tall in the ring with Bray holding the belt.
Mike Chiari - Raw
|Raw World Championship||
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. A.J. Styles
|No Holds Barred||
Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose
|Dolph Ziggler w/ AJ Lee vs. Austin Aries|
|Raw Tag Team Championship TLC||Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) (c) vs. American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)|
|Raw United States Championship Best 2 out of 3 Falls||Kenny King vs. Shelton Benjamin (c)|
|Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Matt Morgan|
|Sami Callihan vs. Michael Elgin|
|Raw Cruiserweight Championship Fatal Four Way Elimination||Tyson Kidd vs. Evan Bourne vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Chris Sabin|
|Dark Match||Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre|
*Note: Winners in italics
Dark Match: Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Heath Slater & Drew McIntyre
The show starts off with a fun, tag-team dark match to get the fans involved. Slater and McIntyre provide plenty of comic relief throughout the match as they attempt to avoid getting manhandled by the powerful Hernandez. Chavo and Hernandez ultimately prove to be too much, however, as Hernandez hits Slater with a Border Toss and Chavo finishes him off with a Frog Splash.
Raw Cruiserweight Championship Fatal Four Way Elimination: Tyson Kidd vs. Evan Bourne vs. Justin Gabriel vs. Chris Sabin
In an effort to create a buzz from the very start, the main card begins with a Fatal Four Way Elimination match for the resurrected Cruiserweight Championship. Gabriel is the first to be eliminated following a missed 450 Splash and Air Bourne from Bourne. He doesn’t last much longer, though, as Kidd forces Bourne to tap out to the Sharpshooter. After plenty of back-and-forth action between Kidd and Sabin, Kidd gets caught going to the top rope and Sabin finishes him off with a Cradle Shock off the turnbuckle to win the vacant title.
Sami Callihan vs. Michael Elgin
As former tag team partners, Callihan and Elgin know essentially everything about each other. Because of that, their bout is one of the best pure wrestling matches on the card. Elgin is no stranger to five-star matches and he makes his case for another one against Callihan as the friends turned foes go shot for shot. One mistake costs Elgin, though, as he gets caught in the Stretch Muffler and is forced to submit.
Alberto Del Rio w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Matt Morgan
After his recent success against large superstars such as Big Show and Jack Swagger, Del Rio takes aim at the seven-foot Morgan. With Morgan pushing around some of the smaller wrestlers on the roster, including Del Rio’s manager Ricardo Rodriguez, Del Rio decided to take matters into his own hands. Morgan dominates most of the match with power moves, but he makes a vital mistake by going after Ricardo. Del Rio goes on the warpath after saving Ricardo and causes his gigantic opponent to tap to the Cross Arm Breaker.
Raw United States Championship Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Kenny King vs. Shelton Benjamin
Although the paths of King and Benjamin crossed a few times in ROH, they never had the opportunity to have a proper feud. That is no longer the case as Benjamin puts his United States Championship on the line in an exciting Best 2 out of 3 Falls match. King uses dirty tactics to gain the first fall as he uses the ropes for leverage during a rollup. Benjamin eventually evens the score after hitting King with Paydirt.
With neither man able to put the other away, King once again cheats by removing the turnbuckle cover and launching Benjamin into it. That allows King to get a groggy Benjamin up for a Royal Flush and pin him to become the new champion.
Raw Tag Team Championship TLC: Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels & Kazarian) vs. American Wolves (Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson)
While the TLC series between Edge and Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz can never be duplicated, Raw comes close as Bad Influence, the American Wolves and the Young Bucks leave it all on the line. Bad Influence enters the match as the champions, but the challengers are hungry and intent on taking the straps. With all six men capable of performing some high-flying spots, the action in this match is fast and furious.
The Young Bucks have an opportunity to take the titles late in the match, but they are consumed by the moment and decide to hit simultaneous 450 Splashes on Richards and Edwards respectively. This wipes out the two challenging teams long enough for Daniels and Kazarian to recover, climb the ladder together and retrieve the belts.
Dolph Ziggler w/ AJ Lee vs. Austin Aries
Two of the flashiest superstars in the business do battle in the first of three main-event-caliber matches as Ziggler and Aries wrestle for the first time ever. Both men enter the match as tweeners, so it is up to the fans to pick a side. The crowd is very much split from the start as each combatant receives cheers and jeers after trading offensive flurries.
Ziggler and Aries go Sleeper Hold for Last Chancery and Super Kick for 450 Splash, but they are unable to end the match. Ziggler ultimately enlists help from AJ as she climbs onto the apron and distracts Aries. Ziggler tries to sneak up from behind and execute a Zig Zag, but AJ attempts to slap Aries at the same time. Aries ducks, however, and Ziggler is on the receiving end of AJ’s strike. Aries then grabs Ziggler and hits him with a Brain Buster to win the match. The crowd goes wild and Aries’ face turn is officially sealed.
No Holds Barred Match: Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose
Even after the dissolution of The Shield, Ambrose continued to run roughshod over Raw and nobody seemed capable of stopping him. Although Triple H had no intention of returning to the role of active competitor, he came to the realization that he was the only one who could potentially stop Ambrose’s reign of terror. Ambrose accepted a match on the condition that it be wrestled under No Holds Barred rules and The Game predictably obliged.
Triple H has been involved in some of the most incredible brawls of all time and this one is no different. Chairs, kendo sticks and essentially any other weapon you can think of are utilized in the bout. Triple H even breaks out his trusty sledgehammer, but he still can’t put away the sadistic Ambrose. Triple H finally resorts to pouring a bag of thumbtacks in the ring and attempts to defeat Ambrose with a Pedigree onto them just as he did to Cactus Jack in the past. Ambrose blocks the move with a low blow, however, and executes the Headlock Driver onto the thumbtacks. Ambrose then pins Triple H, which signals a changing of the guard on Raw.
Raw World Championship: Daniel Bryan vs. A.J. Styles
After a long night of fantastic wrestling, there is one score left to settle as Daniel Bryan defends the World Championship against A.J. Styles. Bryan has quickly developed into the face of the company much to the chagrin of Styles as he believes he is deserving of the top spot. He has his chance to reach the pinnacle of the sport in the main event of Raw’s WrestleMania, but he has to beat Bryan in order to reach that point.
As two of the best in-ring performers in professional wrestling over the past decade, Bryan and Styles put on a match for the ages. Both men are capable of doing a little bit of everything as they can brawl, execute aerial maneuvers and mat wrestle with the best of them. Both men display their technical prowess by trading high-impact moves and counters. Styles eventually gains the upper hand and locks in the Calf Killer. It seems as though Bryan will have no choice but to tap out.
Just when Styles is on the verge of claiming the title, however, Bryan manages to dig deep and roll through. He then traps Styles’ arm and slaps on the Yes Lock in the center of the ring. Styles attempts to crawl to the ropes, but it is to no avail as he taps out and Bryan retains the title. It is the perfect match to end a card that celebrates the wrestling aspect of professional wrestling, but also mixes in big personalities and varying styles as well.
Michael Cahill - ROH
|ROH Anniversary Show|
|ROH World Championship||
Roman Reigns vs. Kurt Angle
|ROH Television Championship||
John Cena vs. Sheamus
|Mr. Anderson vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter|
|ROH Pure Championship||Jeff Hardy vs. Seth Rollins|
|Big E Langston vs. Big Show|
|Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara|
|ROH Tag Team Championship||Matt Hardy and Colt Cabana vs. Kofi Kingston and Christian|
|Mason Ryan vs. Mark Henry|
Mason Ryan vs. Mark Henry
Two of the strongest men in the business lock horns once and for all. Mark Henry has been widely regarded as one of the top heels of the past three years after finally 'getting it.' Right now, Ryan is currently starting to 'get it' in WWE's developmental system.
ROH Tag Team Championship: Matt Hardy and Colt Cabana vs. Kofi Kingston and Christian
Though this may seem like a mix-and-match tag team match, all four men have in-ring styles that compliment each other. More importantly, all four men are able to connect with an audience inside and outside the squared circle. They are all familiar with tag-team wrestling, which would allow them to put on one of the top tag team matches on any card.
Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara
A dream match that has yet to come to fruition in WWE today, Mysterio and Sin Cara at one point in time were each regarded as the top high-flyer in the business. These masked luchadors finally enter the ultimate battle of one-upsmanship to determine who is the best daredevil in the game right now.
Who has the best PG Era fantasy draft card?
Big E Langston vs. Big Show
A match we could very well see in the near future, Langston and Show are two of the strongest and most feared wrestlers at the moment. This is your typical battle of the behemoths with the obvious focal point being whether or not Langston could get Show up for the Big Ending finisher.
ROH Pure Championship: Jeff Hardy vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins is captivating fans as The Shield's resident risk-taker, while Hardy may be the most famous daredevil of the past 15 years. Hardy's body may be wearing thin, but he is still willing to put it on the line for the enjoyment of the audience. Rollins may be the most smooth and fluid high-flyer right now, which would allow him to pick up the pace while Hardy sells. This is an obvious dream match for many and one that can only be found in Ring of Honor when they battle for the Pure Championship.
Mr. Anderson vs. Jack Swagger w/Zeb Colter
Swagger is one of the top technical wrestlers on the planet, but he can also brawl, which allows him to match up well with Mr. Anderson. More importantly for this rivalry is the microphone work between the zany Anderson and the equally unpredictable Colter.
ROH Television Championship: John Cena vs. Sheamus
One of the top drawing matches fans can currently find in the business, Cena and Sheamus finally square off once again. These are two of the strongest and best brawlers in the industry right now. They may not be in the main event match of the night, but their star power may out-rank every match in any other promotion.
ROH World Championship: Roman Reigns vs. Kurt Angle
Reigns may be seen as the dark-horse of the Shield, but he has megastar written all over him and is cementing himself as a main eventer in ROH due to his sheer size and strength. He is developing into one of the best brawlers and poses a major threat to arguably the greatest all-around professional wrestler eve in Angle. It would be interesting to see if Angle can take down such a monster with his technical abilities, or if he will disregard his game plan to brawl with Reigns.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Michael Cahill: 310
2. Mike Chiari: 150
3. Donald Wood: 5
4. Brandon Galvin: -40
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).