Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Elimination Chamber and more, this is where you need to go 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. Ring of Honor star Jay Lethal 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.
Breaking Down Elimination Chamber PPV
As the final pay-per-view prior to WrestleMania XXX, Elimination Chamber is hugely important in terms of setting the stage for WWE's biggest event. The Royal Rumble failed to live up to expectations in many ways last month, but the Elimination Chamber card looks strong, and it could potentially make things very interesting moving forward if booked correctly.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Reign Supreme at EC?
Although it isn't viewed as "big four" pay-per-view, Elimination Chamber has become a staple in recent years. The 2014 edition is arguably the most important ever due to the fact that there is now a single WWE World Heavyweight Championship. With Batista having already won the Royal Rumble and earning a shot at the title in the WrestleMania main event, the Chamber match will determine his opponent.
This year's Chamber match has the potential to be one of the best ever from an in-ring perspective. Randy Orton will defend his title against John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Sheamus, Christian and Cesaro. All six men involved can work at an extremely high level, and there are plenty of interesting storylines to follow within the contest.
In addition to that match, the dream bout of The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family will take center stage. Add in Batista's first singles match since 2010, and there is no doubt that Elimination Chamber has enough juice to get the WWE fanbase excited.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As good as the Elimination Chamber match should be, half of the field can immediately be counted out. Sheamus, Christian and Cesaro simply aren't threats to enter WrestleMania as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but the other three Superstars involved certainly have a chance.
Each of the Ring Rust Radio panelists jumped on a different bandwagon, although Orton is viewed as the prohibitive favorite due to the bizarre manner in which he has been booked. Bryan would clearly be the best choice; however, WWE has been reluctant to pull the trigger. Also, Cena is obviously always in the running due to his track record.
The match between The Shield and The Wyatt Family is a bit more predictable, but it should be exciting nonetheless. The Shield figures to break up quite soon, and this contest will likely act as a catalyst. Either Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose will do something that costs it the match, and the Wyatts will ultimately get the rub.
Even more predictable is Batista's match against Alberto Del Rio, especially considering Del Rio's awful track record in recent weeks. There aren't many fans who seem to be looking forward to this match, but it will be interesting to see how Batista looks leading up to WrestleMania.
John Cena/Wyatt Family Angle Booked for Elimination Chamber (Wrestling Observer Newsletter via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview with ROH's Jay Lethal
Prior to Ring of Honor's 12th anniversary show in Philadelphia on Friday, ROH star Jay Lethal joined Ring Rust Radio for a revealing conversation. The interview touched on a number of different subjects, including the state of ROH, Lethal's time in TNA, his potential WWE aspirations and so much more.
Lethal has already accomplished a ton in the business at the age of 28, but all signs point to there being more success on the horizon.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What Does the Future Hold for ROH?
Ring of Honor was once considered the gold standard in terms of up-and-coming talent in the professional wrestling business. There is no question that the current roster is extremely promising, but it can be argued that overall interest in the product has waned recently.
In order to make up for that, ROH has brought back some of its biggest stars from the past. Not only does that include Chris Hero, but it also includes Lethal's opponent on Friday in the form of AJ Styles.
"The Phenomenal One" has been in the news a lot lately due to his departure from TNA, but TNA's loss is ROH's gain. Lethal could have any number of different opinions on Styles' arrival considering his status as a veteran on the roster, but he viewed it as a great thing for the company as a whole.
Ring of Honor is showing growth. Guys are coming back and there's a lot of controversy and such around AJ's return because he was somewhere else before and now he's back with Ring of Honor and of course with the acquisition of AJ there's a few more eyes on Ring of Honor who may not have been watching before but they are now and that is exciting.
Even though Styles is already an established guy, his presence should be beneficial to everyone else on the roster. A top star like Styles generates interest, and that is something that Lethal and other holdovers can take advantage of.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
In addition to Lethal's thoughts on the current ROH product, the discussion naturally switched to the status of CM Punk. The turmoil between Punk and WWE has taken the wrestling world by storm, and there are plenty of indy wrestling fans who would love to see Punk return to his ROH roots. It may seem like a long shot, but it is something that Lethal can see happening.
I do think that there is a big chance (that Punk could return to Ring of Honor) because before CM Punk left Ring of Honor to go to WWE I was there for one of his last matches and I was there for a lot of CM Punk's career in Ring of Honor and CM Punk's blood and his DNA strands have Ring of Honor written all over it. The way he acted, he just loved Ring of Honor so much that I really do believe that CM Punk could return.
There is so much mystery surrounding the Punk situation that it's impossible to fathom what he is thinking, but the prospect of an ROH return is exciting even if it is just a brief run. ROH already seems to be on the ascent thanks to the likes of Styles and Hero, but Punk would take things to another level.
As one of the best workers in the business, Lethal would be one of Punk's top potential opponents, and there is no telling where his career might go after a match of that caliber. Whatever the case, Lethal has a lot of years ahead of him, and it's exciting to think about what he could possibly accomplish.
RRR New Generation Era Draft Results
Ring Rust Radio's era-specific drafts have become a staple of the show, and yet another was held on this week's show. The RRR panelists took part in the New Generation Era draft, which provided us with a pool of wrestlers who competed for the major American wrestling promotions from 1993 through 1995.
The draft lasted 25 rounds and was serpentine in nature. Over the next week, all four competitors will form fantasy cards that will then be placed into a Bleacher Report article. The readers will then have an opportunity to vote on who had the best card.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Do the Rosters Look?
For this draft, Tom Kinslow drafted first as ECW, Donald Wood drafted second as Smoky Mountain Wrestling, Brandon Galvin picked third as WWF and Mike Chiari selected fourth as WCW. Without further ado, here are the rosters, but keep in mind that the wrestlers taken should be judged based solely upon their level from 1993 through 1995 with nothing after that being taken into consideration.
Tom Kinslow (ECW)
Diamond Dallas Page w/ Diamond Doll
Big Boss Man
Skip w/ Sunny
Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake
Brian Armstrong/ The Roadie
Men on a Mission (Mabel and Mo) w/ Oscar
Heavenly Bodies (Tom Prichard and Jimmy Del Ray) w/ Jim Cornette
Donald Wood (SMW)
Hunter Hearst Helmsley
Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
The Eliminators (Perry Saturn and John Kronus)
Yokozuna w/ Mr. Fuji
The Great Muta
Honky Tonk Man
Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs and Jerry Saggs)
Michael P.S. Hayes
Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock)
2 Cold Scorpio
Giant Gonzales w/ Harvey Wippleman
Brandon Galvin (WWF)
Thrillseekers (Chris Jericho and Lance Storm)
Rey Misterio Jr.
The 1-2-3 Kid
Jake "The Snake" Roberts
Road Warrior Hawk
The Gangstas (New Jack and Mustafa)
The Headbangers (Mosh and Thrasher)
Mike Chiari (WCW)
Vader w/ Harley Race
Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon
Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and IRS)
Harlem Heat (Booker T and Stevie Ray) w/ Sister Sherri
The Giant w/ Jimmy Hart
The Headshrinkers (Fatu and Samu) w/ Afa
Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Pretty Wonderful (Paul Roma and Paul Orndorff)
The Pitbulls (#1 & #2)
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Although the New Generation Era is generally considered to be a low point in wrestling history, it's difficult to find glaring holes on any of the four rosters. The potential is there for all of the panelists to put together some exciting dream cards, but it all comes down to creativity and preference.
Depth is admittedly lacking somewhat, but the top-level talent is definitely apparent, and some fun matches can be made with the later-round selections. These drafts always lead to some interesting debates, and there is little doubt that the same will be true of the New Generation Era draft.
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 192.5
2. Brandon Galvin: 120
3. Donald Wood: 30
4. Michael Cahill: 0
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