Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Daniel Bryan, Money in the Bank 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 and Brandon Galvin give the lowdown on all things going on in the wrestling world. WWE legend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin 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.
June 17: TNA star Bully Ray
June 24: WWE Superstar Rob Van Dam
Daniel Bryan Officially Stripped of WWE World Heavyweight Championship
After weeks of teasing the possibility of Daniel Bryan having the WWE World Heavyweight Championship stripped, it finally came to fruition on the most recent episode of Raw. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon announced that Bryan would not be recovered from neck surgery in time to compete at Money in the Bank, which means that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in a Money in the Bank ladder match for the first time ever.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Was Bryan Stripped in an Effective Manner?
Stripping Bryan of the titles was essentially out of WWE's hands, since staging consecutive pay-per-views without the company's top prize on the line would have been a stretch. Taking the titles from Bryan also alleviates the pressure on him to rush his recovery and return to action quickly. WWE officials would obviously love to have Bryan back in the fold as soon as possible, but the main focus needs to be on his health.
There isn't a great deal of controversy surrounding the idea of stripping Bryan, but there are certainly differing opinions regarding whether or not it was done the right way. Dr. Joseph Maroon, who performed Bryan's neck surgery, announced via satellite that Bryan was not fit to compete. That then resulted in Triple H and Stephanie running Bryan down and claiming that he couldn't carry the load. Through all of this, Bryan was not present, which seems to be the biggest point of contention among fans.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Bryan's absence has led some to argue that he looked weak and submissive in allowing Triple H and Stephanie to strip him of the belts. The first issue regarding that school of thought, however, is that nobody outside the inner workings of WWE knows if Bryan attending Raw was even a possibility. It isn't crazy to think that Bryan's condition could have worsened, making travel a major issue. If that is the case, then perhaps Bryan couldn't have appeared even if he wanted to.
Also, it isn't as if Bryan's presence would have served much of a purpose. He couldn't have gotten involved physically and arguing would have proved futile, since Stephanie already laid down the scenario one week earlier. If anything, Triple H and Stephanie dressing Bryan down and calling him a B-plus player behind his back re-establishes the heel heat that The Authority had prior to WrestleMania. Bryan is so popular that the fans will be firmly behind him when he returns and the inflammatory comments from Tripe H and Stephanie will add even more fuel to the fire.
Backstage News on Bryan's Future Plans (WrestlingInc.com via F4WOnline)
Sorting Out Money in the Bank Ladder Match
While Bryan's absence from Money in the Bank is disappointing, it creates an interesting scenario as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be on the line in a ladder match rather than the Money in the Bank briefcase. That will make for an extremely entertaining and high-stakes match, especially since there are so many different directions WWE can take.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Win the WWE World Heavyweight Title?
Alberto Del Rio qualified for Money in the Bank on the June 2 episode of Raw and was joined by Randy Orton, who was placed in the match by Triple H, on June 9. Sheamus and Cesaro then proceeded to win qualifying matches, which meant that four of what looks to be seven spots were filled. Bray Wyatt then defeated Dean Ambrose in a qualifying match on SmackDown, which means that two spots remain—provided WWE's graphic depicting seven participants is accurate.
WWE doesn't have many options when it comes to the final two spots, but the likeliest entrants are John Cena and Kane. Cena adds some much-needed star power to proceedings, and he can continue his feud with Wyatt during the match. Kane is also a sensible choice, since he has been in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship picture since WrestleMania and would be a logical hand-picked choice from The Authority's perspective.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As much as some fans may despise it, Cena looks very much like the odds-on favorite to win this match. That is a phrase that has been uttered often over the past decade, but it is easy to see why WWE would consider going in that direction. Cena is Mr. Reliable and a guy to whom WWE can turn to in turbulent times. This is a very uncertain situation for WWE, given its hand was forced in terms of stripping the titles, and Cena is probably viewed as the safest choice.
If WWE goes in that direction, Cena could grant Bryan a title shot at SummerSlam if he is healthy enough to compete. That would lead to a rematch of last year's classic bout. Perhaps the most compelling option, though, would involve Cesaro winning, which would then lead to the return of Brock Lesnar. It's tough to envision who Lesnar will face at SummerSlam, but Cesaro would be a natural fit due to the Paul Heyman connection.
The fans want to cheer Cesaro, and having Lesnar return and go after Cesaro's title would help that process along. It would unquestionably lead to a dynamite match as well, so it is definitely something that WWE should consider. When push comes to shove, however, Cena will probably be the choice.
Swerve Finish Planned for MITB Ladder Match? (WrestlingInc.com via F4WOnline)
RRR Interview with WWE Legend "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin is arguably the biggest name in the history of professional wrestling and continues to captivate wrestling fans 11 years after his final match. Austin has remained in the public eye since stepping away from active competition as an actor, television host and now a podcaster. The Texas Rattlesnake graced Ring Rust Radio with his awe-inspiring presence, raised some hell and talked about everything from his current projects to his professional wrestling career.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for Steve Austin?
In addition to a pair of reality television shows, Austin has been busy with his new podcast on PodcastOne, The Steve Austin Show. Austin has already spoken to many of the biggest names in the wrestling business and there are many more to come—Austin has quite a wish list when it comes to stars he would like to interview. Austin also happens to have a huge interview lined up when the stars ultimately align.
"I'd like to talk to Hulk Hogan, of course, because he's one of the biggest names in the history of the business, if not the biggest," Austin said. "So, obviously I'd like to talk to Hogan. ... I talked to The Undertaker. I asked him if he wanted to do the show [and] he said he would, and that's a matter of me getting out to Austin, Texas, and talking to him one on one, but he's another one I'd love to talk to."
With so much uncertainty surrounding The Undertaker's status, there is no question that an interview with Austin would be required listening for any wrestling fan. Austin and 'taker had plenty of incredible battles in the ring together, so they would have no shortage of things to talk about. Austin also has a gift for relating to his guests and getting the most out of them, so there is little doubt that The Steve Austin Show is on the ascent and will continue to reach even greater heights moving forward.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As entertaining as Austin has been and continues to be in all of his endeavors, the conversation inevitably always comes back to whether or not Austin would be willing to have another match. It is something that has been discussed for the better part of the past decade and there is no question that wrestling fans would love to see him in the ring one last time.
Although Austin is unwilling to commit to anything, he admitted that he would consider any intriguing offers that come his way.
"I'd consider anything if the perfect situation or opportunity arose and it would be more than a million-dollar question," Austin said. "I don't want to sit here and promote a match, sell a match or talk about making a comeback. ... People get their panties in a wad and say 'Stone Cold, either do it or not.' So, anything can happen, but I'm not going to endorse, promote, sell or tease anything in regards to a match."
The fact that Austin is still leaving the door open is exciting since WWE has gravitated toward using part-time Superstars like The Rock and Brock Lesnar in recent years. Austin still seems to be in fantastic shape and there is no question that he can still sell a feud on the mic. Austin is having an incredible amount of success outside the ring, but there is no question that he could still tear the house down inside it as well.
Bleacher Report Article
RRR Season 5 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 455
2. Donald Wood: 165
3. Brandon Galvin: 77.5
4. Tom Kinslow: 32.5
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