Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Randy Orton, CM Punk and more, this is where you need to get all of your weekly WWE nuggets.
Bleacher Report featured columnists Mike Chiari, Donald Wood, Brandon Galvin and Michael Cahill give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world. Former TNA star Austin Aries also joined the panel to provide his inside perspective on the wrestling 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.
Jan. 2: RRR Year-End Awards
Randy Orton Wins WWE World Heavyweight Championship
There were plenty of possibilities entering the unification match between John Cena and Randy Orton at TLC, but few believed that Orton would win the match in a clean manner. Although The Viper handcuffed Cena to the ropes, there was no outside interference of any kind. Orton beat Cena fair and square as far as TLC rules go, and he left the TLC pay-per-view as the new WWE World Heavyweight champion.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is Orton the Long-Term Answer as Champion?
Based on Orton's lackluster run as WWE champion and the constant dominance of Cena, the consensus seemed to be that Cena would come out on top. Triple H taking the titles even became a popular theory, but neither came to fruition.
Orton nabbed the belts, and TLC closed with Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon congratulating their new champion in the middle of the ring. The show ended on a somewhat sour note since nothing of consequence happened, but that changed the next night on Raw.
Orton opened Raw by tearing down the crowd as well as his fellow WWE Superstars. He claimed that he was the most powerful person in the ring despite the fact that Triple H and Stephanie were standing right behind them. He also said that he didn't have to listen to anyone.
That proved to be false, as The Authority bought into Cena's suggestion of placing Orton in a match with Daniel Bryan. Orton and Bryan proceeded to have a fantastic bout, but it ended with Orton low-blowing Bryan, which begs plenty of questions moving forward.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Following Orton's dirty tactics on Raw, Cena ran in to make the save. Cena ate an RKO, though, and Raw closed with Orton standing tall. Some seem to believe that a triple threat between Orton, Cena and Bryan could take place at the Royal Rumble, but it seems far more likely that Bryan will win the Rumble match itself since he and CM Punk are the only logical candidates. That would leave Orton to face Cena once again at the Royal Rumble, but don't discount Triple H potentially involving himself in that match.
For starters, most fans probably don't want to see Cena vs. Orton again. Also, Triple H is bound to get fed up with Orton's prima donna attitude and penchant for taking shortcuts. Triple H is still a heel, though, which means he won't want Cena as champion, either.
Triple H didn't take the titles at TLC, but he very well may at Royal Rumble. Both Bryan and Punk have had significant issues with Triple H as of late, and there is no question that either of them would get a huge boost from beating The Game for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX.
Orton vs. Brock Lesnar Teased for WrestleMania XXX? (WrestlingInc.com)
CM Punk Continues Interaction with The Authority
The odds appeared to be stacked against CM Punk at TLC when he took on The Shield in a three-on-one handicap match, but The Best in the World managed to do the impossible. An errant Roman Reigns spear connected with Dean Ambrose, which allowed Punk to take advantage. The members of The Shield got a measure of revenge the next night on Raw, though, when they defeated Punk and The Usos in a more traditional six-man tag match.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Where Does Punk Go from Here?
The first takeaway from Punk's TLC match was that The Shield took one step closer to breaking up. The trio certainly regrouped on Raw, but the seeds have been planted and things are mounting to the point where they are bound to separate at some point prior to 'Mania.
Until then, though, it is pretty much a given that they'll continue to torment Punk. Royal Rumble is still several weeks away, but Punk needs something to do until then. It wouldn't make a lot of sense to start a new feud, especially since he is going to be the co-favorite in the Rumble match anyway.
Continuing to build this angle with The Shield is the best thing that the creative team can do. There are tons of possibilities since it can be revealed heading into the Rumble that The Shield's sole purpose is to prevent Punk from winning. Inevitably, Roman Reigns would get sidetracked and go into business for himself. That discord within The Shield would allow Punk to last until the end in the Rumble match, and it would also be another nail in The Shield's coffin.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Punk's fans may be anxious for him to get involved in a red-hot feud, such as something with Triple H and The Authority, but it's important to take baby steps. That angle may eventually come to fruition, especially if Punk wins the Rumble match, but there is no reason to give it away now. An extravagant build isn't necessary ahead of the Rumble match, and it should be saved for the time between the Rumble and WrestleMania. That is when Punk's character and path will truly take shape.
Punk is a definite candidate to win the Rumble, but Bryan seems more likely at this point. If Triple H stays away from the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, then a Triple H vs. Punk match at WrestleMania is definitely possible.
Otherwise, don't be surprised if Paul Heyman reenters the picture. He'll be back alongside Brock Lesnar, and it wouldn't make sense for him to ignore Punk after his former client and friend embarrassed him. Whether that leads to Punk facing Lesnar or another Heyman guy (Rob Van Dam?) is anyone's guess, but Punk thankfully has plenty of intriguing and entertaining potential directions.
Possible Backstage Heat on Punk? (Wrestling Observer Newsletter via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview with TNA Star Austin Aries
Austin Aries is arguably the most talented all-around performer in all of TNA, and he appears to be on the upswing after beating Chris Sabin for the X-Division Championship on the Dec. 12 edition of Impact. There was a great deal of disappointment among fans when The Greatest Man That Ever Lived was bounced from the TNA World Heavyweight Championship tournament, but his X-Division title win certainly inspires confidence moving forward.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for the X-Division Champion?
Aries joined Ring Rust Radio the day after capturing the X-Division Championship for the third time in his career, and he had plenty to say about the past, present and future of his career. It is no secret that the X-Division Championship has taken a backseat since Aries originally cashed it in for a shot at Bobby Roode's World Heavyweight Championship at Destination X in 2012.
The X-Division title has bounced around ever since, and some might argue that it has lost its prestige, but Aries doesn't believe there is any added pressure on him.
My responsibility is to just go out there and do whatever I'm asked to do to the best of my ability; I don't put any extra pressure on myself. I don't necessarily get rubs from championships; I'd like to feel the championship gets a rub off of me. So, if being around my waist is something that's going to make the title become a little more prominent on the television show, then that's great. Whatever I'm asked to go out there and accomplish, I'm going to do to the best of my ability.
Even if there aren't plans to make the X-Division Championship more relevant, there is no question that Aries will do everything in his power to steal the show each and every time he enters the ring.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Since the X-Division champion has an opportunity to turn his title into a world title shot on a yearly basis, it is only natural that Aries will be in the conversation. That opportunity is still seven months away, but it certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see Aries hold the title for that long. As he told Ring Rust Radio, he strives to get back to the pinnacle of the company on a daily basis.
I've always been a big believer in myself and that if you give me an opportunity, I am going to make the most of it. I was thankful that TNA saw the potential in me and put me in a position to fulfill something like winning the World Heavyweight Championship. For me, it was affirmation of all of the hard work I put in, some of the bumps along the road that I had to maneuver, and that was the culmination of it all. I welcome those challenges, I welcome being put in the top spot and the pressure that comes with it. And to be quite honest, I would've liked to have sunk my teeth into it and journey a little bit more, but Jeff Hardy came along and unseated me, and now I'm trying to find my way back up to the top of that mountain.
Magnus became the new TNA World Heavyweight champion at Final Resolution by defeating Hardy, and he seems poised for a long title run in his own right. If TNA is serious about making its titles meaningful, there would be no better way to do that than to allow Aries and Magnus to have dueling seven-month reigns. Should that happen, then the ensuing title match will mean that much more. If anyone deserves it, a stand-up guy likes Aries certainly does.
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Brandon Galvin: 62.5
2. Mike Chiari: 55
3. Donald Wood: -35
4. Michael Cahill: -75
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