Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes 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 Chris Masters 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.)
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton Keep Rolling
With just one more week of build before Battleground, the main focus has been on the continued development of Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton as well as the locker room's disapproval of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's actions. Those intertwined storylines dominated the most recent edition of Raw, and the creative team has done an excellent job in regard to making both Bryan and Orton look strong since Night of Champions.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Has the Upper Hand Ahead of Battleground?
From a kayfabe perspective, it certainly seems as though either Bryan or Orton could conceivably win at Battleground. Not only did Bryan beat Orton cleanly at Night of Champions despite the fast count, but he has been dominant ever since. Bryan also has the support of several fellow Superstars against the WWE's power structure, which makes him look like a leader to the viewing audience. Bryan's stock is clearly at an all-time high.
Similarly, Orton is making strides with his character. After being a robotic face for so long, Orton is going back to his roots. Following his loss to Bryan at Night of Champions, Triple H and Stephanie expressed their desire to see the Orton of old.
Over the past two weeks, Orton has dismantled both The Miz and Rob Van Dam, which hearkens back to his time as the leader of Legacy. Provided the writers continue to book him in this manner, he could return to being a dominant heel champion soon enough.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
WWE has done well to make the WWE Championship feud appear like a stalemate, but somebody will have to win the strap at Battleground in all likelihood. It's possible that another muddled finish could occur, which would result in the title remaining vacated until Hell in a Cell, but the best course of action would be for one of them to win, with the rematch taking place at Hell in a Cell.
Bryan can't be written off completely since he is red hot and would almost certainly be a great WWE Champion, but Orton has to be considered the favorite.
Bryan has already won the title twice, albeit for less than a day combined, and the entire basis of the angle is to prevent Bryan from becoming champion. Most figured that somebody would help Orton retain the title at Night of Champions, but that didn't happen. It most likely will at Battleground, though, with Big Show as the main candidate due to the fact that he showed no hesitation when knocking out Miz on Monday. If Orton does win, it will further fuel what has already become a compelling storyline.
Rumor Mill: Possible Stipulation for WWE Title Match (F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com)
Cody Rhodes and Goldust Attack The Shield
After getting fired by Triple H a few weeks ago following a loss to Orton, Cody Rhodes has been out of the picture. Triple H gave Goldust an opportunity to win his brother's job back by defeating Orton; however, The Viper prevailed. Dusty Rhodes also lobbied for his sons, but Stephanie ordered Big Show to knock him out, which has apparently prompted Cody and Goldust to return for revenge.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for the Rhodes Family?
This is yet another auxiliary angle that has branched off the main corporate storyline, and it could very well end up being the most intriguing angle in the company as it progresses.
When Dusty was invited to appear on Raw, Stephanie gave him a choice of either Cody or Goldust receiving a WWE contract. When Dusty refused to make a decision, Stephanie threatened to have The Shield attack him with chairs. Big Show ultimately stopped them and knocked out Dusty instead so as to prevent The Shield from tearing him apart.
That explains why Cody and Goldust jumped The Shield. According to WWE.com, Triple H has invited the Rhodes family to appear on Raw for a "lucrative" business opportunity. Conventional wisdom suggests that it will lead to a match of some kind. If that is the case, then there are a number of different possibilities in regard to where WWE can take this storyline.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Since The Shield has yet to be booked in a match for Battleground, there is little doubt that the trio will take on Cody, Dusty and Goldust at Battleground. Rather than putting The Shield's titles on the line, however, the Rhodes family will have the chance to win their jobs back. Although Cody just turned face at Money in the Bank, the writing is on the wall when it comes to a potential heel turn. One of the Rhodes family members seems likely to turn, and Cody makes the most sense since he is the only full-time competitor among the family.
The fact that Cody was getting married was alluded to quite often when he got fired, so that can be used for his alibi, as it would be revealed that Triple H offered him a contract to side with him so that Cody would be able to provide for his new wife. It would also strengthen the corporate structure even more now that a number of Superstars are rebelling against them. Cody hasn't been relevant in quite some time, but such an effective turn would certainly put him on the map.
Rumor Mill: Rhodes Family vs. The Shield at Battleground? (Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview with Chris Masters
As one of the rising stars during WWE's Ruthless Aggression Era, many believed that "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters was destined to be a world champion. That never came to fruition during Masters' WWE tenure, but at just 30 years of age, time is still on his side. Masters is currently doing great things on the independent circuit, and he joined Ring Rust Radio to discuss that, his WWE past, a potential future in movies and much more.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is Masters Considering a WWE Return?
No matter what Masters does for the rest of his career, he will always be remembered for his WWE tenure. Masters instantly stood out as a heel due to his physique and his narcissistic gimmick. Masters was also well known for the Master Lock Challenge, which featured him putting various Superstars in his full nelson finisher. Few were ever able to break the hold, although John Cena was one of them, and the two of them went on to have a very entertaining feud.
Masters' initial run with the company was unfortunately cut short due to a violation of the wellness policy, and by the time he returned in 2009, his role changed significantly. From 2009 through 2011, Masters was utilized primarily as a comedic face, and he wrestled almost exclusively on Superstars. Masters has had far more freedom in terms of his character and in-ring work on the independent scene, so a return to the WWE is no guarantee.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
While Masters wouldn't rule out a return to WWE at some point if the opportunity came along, he wasn't as enthusiastic about it as some might think. Masters made several solid points, as he isn't sure that there would be room for him to make an impact currently due to the size of WWE's roster.
You know, you can’t rule anything out, of course, but I mean, the problem with WWE right now for me is that it seems there’s no real room for opportunity. There’s just so many guys that they have, and I haven’t watched in a while, but from what I’ve heard, they combined Raw and SmackDown; and if you want to just be there, just treading water, then yeah, but I would rather go there with the certainty that I was actually going to do something and be vital to the program. It just depends on the opportunity that’s there, and it doesn’t seem like there is to me.
Masters was also asked about his potential interest in TNA, as he revealed that he considered quitting WWE during his last run and calling TNA officials. Masters once again stopped short of saying that he would definitely jump ship to TNA from the independent circuit, but he revealed that he would be willing to consider all offers.
As someone who is still young, has plenty of experience, has a great look and has improved significantly in the ring, the sky is still the limit for Masters.
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Donald Wood: 167.5
2. Mike Chiari: 65
3. Michael Cahill: -42.5
4. Brandon Galvin: -60
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