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Nov. 12: Ruthless Aggression Era Fantasy Draft
John Cena Wins World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena officially made his return to the ring at Hell in a Cell after less than three months away due to a triceps injury. Cena challenged Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship, and he came away victorious as he captured the big gold belt for the third time in his illustrious career. Cena's success didn't end there, though, as he successfully defended his title on the ensuing Raw against Damien Sandow.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Did John Cena Bury Damien Sandow?
While Cena beating Del Rio for the world title didn't come as much of a surprise, Sandow's cash-in attempt on Raw certainly did. Sandow hadn't been built well since capturing the Money in the Bank briefcase, and it didn't appear as though he was ready to challenge for the world title. Sandow interrupted Cena's promo, however, and eventually attacked Cena's injured arm with the briefcase. This led to Sandow cashing in, and a fairly lengthy match ensued.
Sandow looked like Cena's equal as he viciously attacked him and hung in there with the face of the company. Cena was ultimately able to overcome the cash-in, though, as he defeated Sandow with an Attitude Adjustment. This means that Sandow is no longer the "uncrowned World Heavyweight Champion," and there is some concern among fans that losing to Cena will prevent him from ever reaching his full potential.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It's understandable why some fans might be upset with this turn of events since Sandow represented something new and fresh, but it can be argued that this was the best-case scenario from his perspective. Sandow could have been given the title, but it's highly likely that he would have floundered with it. He hadn't done anything of consequence since winning Money in the Bank, and any Superstar put in that situation in the past has failed to make an impact. Sandow likely would have gone by the wayside like many who came before him, but the WWE brass decided to go in a different direction.
Sandow did more in one night to make himself look like a main-event talent than he had previously done throughout his entire WWE tenure. The fact that Sandow attacked Cena and didn't wait for someone else to put him in a vulnerable state was huge for his credibility. Also, the fact that he went shot-for-shot with Cena legitimized him even more. This almost certainly sets the stage for a Cena vs. Sandow feud moving forward, and regardless of whether or not he ultimately wins the title, Sandow is in a much better position now.
Sandow's Cash-In Reportedly Done for Ratings Boost (WrestlingInc.com via F4WOnline)
Randy Orton Beats Daniel Bryan for WWE Championship
To top off a solid Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan did battle within the cell structure with the WWE Championship on the line. Shawn Michaels was assigned as the special guest referee in order to ensure that someone would leave with the title in tow, and that is precisely what happened. It ended in controversy, however, as Michaels hit Bryan with Sweet Chin Music after Bryan blasted Triple H with a running knee.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Has the WWE Ruined Daniel Bryan?
Despite the fact that it seemed blatantly obvious to the Ring Rust Radio panel that Orton would win the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell, a large portion of the WWE audience seemed both shocked and appalled during the aftermath of the event. Bryan certainly has a rabid fanbase, and they shouldn't necessarily be faulted for wanting their guy to win, but some pretty outrageous claims have been made. The growing sentiment seems to be that Bryan's momentum has been squandered, and an opportunity to make him the face of the company has been wasted.
The rumblings only got louder on Raw after Bryan was attacked by the Wyatt Family. This seems to suggest that he is being transitioned away from the WWE Championship scene at least temporarily. Whether he feuds with Bray Wyatt or a returning Kane, there is no doubt that Bryan is moving down the card for now. While that may not seem like an ideal situation, it is something that will keep him relevant until his time to win the title and hold it for a long period of time finally comes.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It has long been RRR's take that Bryan is the ultimate underdog who is at his best when he is chasing the title rather than holding it. Bryan first won the title just two months ago at SummerSlam, so his title chase is very much still in its infancy. It's laughable that people are complaining about WWE keeping the title off of Bryan since it takes far longer than a few months to build a great storyline. Every truly memorable storyline in WWE history has lasted from several months to a year and even more. There is a great deal of impatience among wrestling fans, and it clouds their judgment significantly.
Assuming Bryan feuds with Kane, he'll be involved in an angle that keeps him just outside the main-event scene, and he'll be able to score some big victories in order to maintain his momentum. The next logical step would be a Royal Rumble win followed by winning the WWE Championship in the main-event at WrestleMania. His chase for the title has to be put off, and this is the best way to do it. Keeping in mind that Bryan has beaten both Cena and Orton cleanly over the past couple months and that he made Michaels tap to the Yes Lock on Monday, it's ludicrous to suggest that Bryan is anything other than the hottest thing going in professional wrestling despite coming up short in the title chase thus far.
Bryan Reportedly Set to Feud with Wyatt Family (WrestlingInc.com via PWInsider Elite)
A.J. Styles "Leaves" TNA With World Title
After winning the TNA World Heavyweight Championship at Bound For Glory, A.J. Styles appeared on Impact to celebrate his victory. At the same time, Dixie Carter attempted to sign Styles to a new contract. After retaining the title against Bully Ray in a rematch, Styles took off in Carter's car with the title in tow, which left the TNA world title scene in limbo.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This Too Similar to the 2011 CM Punk Angle?
TNA's world title storyline was already feeling very familiar prior to what happened on last week's episode of Impact, but Styles' actions put it over the top. This is now a blatant rip-off of WWE's CM Punk angle from 2011 as he threatened to win the WWE Championship and leave with it without signing a new contract. That storyline ultimately wasn't handled to perfection, but the fact remains that WWE developed, and TNA is now heisting it.
The main issue is that TNA isn't exactly pulling it off any better. Carter is far inferior to Vince McMahon in the authority figure role, while Styles can't hold a candle to Punk on the mic. TNA had a golden opportunity to do something interesting with Styles after he took time off and experienced a character change, but it has decided to steal from its competitor instead.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It's hard to imagine how the creative meeting for this angle went. Someone surely had to be aware that WWE had done the exact same thing, and one would think that those involved would be embarrassed by the similarities. Apparently TNA has no shame, though, as all signs point to this angle resembling WWE even more closely in the coming weeks. This storyline worked with Punk because people genuinely thought that he was no longer under contract, but it's quite clear that that isn't the case with Styles.
Styles as TNA Champion is fine, but when he does ultimately return to television, it's tough to figure out an intriguing feud for him. There aren't many good top heels in TNA aside from Bully Ray. Bobby Roode is the next best guy, and perhaps even Magnus once he completes his heel turn. None of them have an issue with Styles, though, which means the feud will essentially be created out of thin air. Perhaps TNA isn't in as much trouble as has been suggested, but there isn't a lot to like about the direction the company is heading in right now.
Styles to Defend Title in Mexico and Japan (WrestlingInc.com PWInsider Elite)
RRR Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Donald Wood: 257.5
2. Mike Chiari: 162.5
3. Brandon Galvin: -15
4. Michael Cahill: -67.5
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