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Bleacher Report featured columnists Mike Chiari, Donald Wood and Brandon Galvin give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world.
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.
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Ring Rust Radio Schedule
May 13: Pre-WrestleMania Era (1980-1984) Draft
May 20: Ring Rust Retro
Daniel Bryan's Feud with Kane Continues
As expected WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan was successful in his first title defense when he defeated Kane at Extreme Rules. Bryan's program with The Big Red Monster is clearly far from over, however, as Kane continued to torment Bryan and Brie Bella on Raw. That means a rematch at Payback is essentially a foregone conclusion.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This Being Booked Correctly?
Kane isn't necessarily an elite star at this juncture in his career, but he has built a great resume over the years and is unquestionably a physical threat to the diminutive Bryan. The former Team Hell No partners put on an entertaining match at Extreme Rules that succeeded in making both men look strong. Kane has always thrived in hardcore environments, but Bryan proved that he is capable of doing so as well, which added some credibility to his championship reign.
Everything leading up to the Bryan vs. Kane match made sense in that Kane got the better of Bryan and was built to look like an unstoppable monster. Bryan slayed the demon, but Kane wasn't necessarily hurt by the loss since his sinister side got the better of him when he decided to light a table on fire. What happened after the match and on Raw was questionable, though, and it has the WWE Universe wondering if this is the best feud for Bryan.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
After Bryan defeated Kane at Extreme Rules, Kane sat up and stared Bryan down. Kane's music then blared throughout the arena. Having Kane stand tall wasn't a bad idea, but it would have made a lot more sense to have him attack Bryan after the match in order to build heat heading toward Payback. The manner in which it was handled made it look like Bryan was being overshadowed for no apparent reason.
The bigger issue came on Raw when Kane tried to attack Bryan and Brie in their car. Bryan fought off Kane, but The Big Red Monster recovered, which prompted Bryan to retreat and drive off. Having Bryan protect his wife isn't a bad thing by any means, but it was almost made to look as if he was afraid of Kane. Bryan is the ultimate underdog and there is nothing wrong with stacking the odds against him, but he shouldn't be portrayed as cowardly in any way.
This is something that can be rectified in the coming weeks leading up to Payback and another win over Kane on pay-per-view will help, but WWE certainly needs to clean the build up to some degree.
Potential Stipulation for Bryan vs. Kane at Payback (WrestlingInc.com via PWInsider Elite)
Sheamus Wins United States Championship
Sheamus was not booked on the Extreme Rules card despite being one of WWE's most popular and prominent Superstars. It didn't take long for The Celtic Warrior to make his presence known the following night on Raw, though, as he won a 20-man Battle Royal to become United States champion for the second time in his career.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This a Smart Move?
Is giving Sheamus the United States Championship a good idea?
Ambrose will clearly continue to be a focal point of WWE programming as The Shield feuds with Evolution, so losing the United States Championship doesn't hurt him, particularly under such difficult circumstances.
The big question relates to whether or not this will help Sheamus remain relevant. WWE hasn't put much focus on the mid-card titles in recent years, so it is possible that Sheamus won't be given a significant storyline and will suddenly fade into oblivion. At the same time, it isn't as if Sheamus was being utilized well to begin with. This title win gives him some sense of purpose and thrusts him into the spotlight for the time being.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Winning a title is always great, but it comes down to the creative team's ultimate vision. The main thing holding Sheamus back right now is the staleness of his face character. Sheamus is an absolutely fantastic in-ring worker who can put on a great match with anyone due to his varied set of moves and overall intensity. Sheamus just needs a bit of help in the character department, which appears as though it may be on the way.
No major clues have been dropped regarding a heel turn yet, although Sheamus telling Ambrose "no hard feelings" somewhat sarcastically after the win suggests that something could be on the horizon. Sheamus is a tough and imposing figure, so a heel turn would be sensible and breathe new life into his character.
If Batista leaves in the near future to promote his movie and there are plans in place to continue Evolution, Sheamus would be a natural fit.
It is well known that Triple H is a huge supporter of Sheamus. Also, Sheamus is a former world champion and could easily take over Batista's powerhouse role. Sheamus has needed a shot in the arm for quite some time and this could be just what the doctor ordered.
Sheamus Reportedly Involved in Backstage Tussle (WrestlingInc.com via Wrestling Observer Newsletter)
Bray Wyatt Defeats John Cena at Extreme Rules
After losing to John Cena at WrestleMania XXX, Bray Wyatt finally got retribution at Extreme Rules by defeating his archenemy in a steel cage match. Cena seemed poised to win the match, but he was stopped in his tracks by a singing child, which allowed Wyatt to capitalize with a Sister Abigail before walking out the cage door.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Did Winning Strengthen Wyatt?
Wyatt desperately needed a win over Cena on Sunday and that is precisely what he got. Most seemed to think Wyatt should and would beat Cena at WrestleMania. However, Cena went over. Wyatt continued to torment the leader of the Cenation, but he didn't have much success against him in the ring. Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan even lost a 3-on-1 handicap match against Cena on Raw a few weeks ago.
No matter how good and convincing Wyatt has been on the mic, his failure to win matches against Cena has prevented him from being viewed as a legitimate threat. Wyatt managed to defeat Cena at Extreme Rules, but the victory was Pyrrhic in nature. Even though it will go down as a victory in the record books, Wyatt's credibility took a major hit due to the hijinks needed to secure that win.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The Wyatt vs. Cena match at Extreme Rules was a joke for several reasons, not least because of the constant interference from Harper and Rowan. The fact that Cena constantly talked about how the steel cage would prevent such shenanigans leading up to the match made him look like a dope. It was blatantly obvious that the Wyatt Family would get involved, but the interference occurred at ridiculous levels as Cena essentially had the match won on at least 10 occasions.
Cena's best chance to win came late in the match when he was confronted by "Little Johnny." Rather than simply walking down the steps and to the floor when faced with the singing child, he was paralyzed with fear. Losing in that manner made Cena look ridiculous and it didn't make Wyatt look strong in the least. This feud is going to continue, but there is no desirable endgame in sight. Cena's character won't change significantly and he certainly won't turn heel, so Wyatt's tactics are falling on deaf ears.
The damage has already been done and there isn't much Wyatt can do to come out of this feud looking good.
Potential Plans for Wyatt vs. Cena Feud (WrestlingInc.com via F4WOnline)
RRR Season 5 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 195
2. Brandon Galvin: 87.5
3. Donald Wood: 20
4. Tom Kinslow: -7.5
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