Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on SummerSlam, Brock Lesnar, John Cena 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 everything going on in the wrestling world. TNA President Dixie Carter also joined the show to offer her 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.
Aug. 19: WWE star Paul Heyman
Predicting John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar
The highly anticipated clash between John Cena and Brock Lesnar for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is finally set to commence at SummerSlam. Lesnar was chosen by Triple H as the best candidate to dethrone the leader of the Cenation. Although The Beast Incarnate is favored to do precisely that, you can never be 100 percent sure when it comes to Cena.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Leave SummerSlam as Champion?
The build toward this match picked up plenty of steam on the go-home edition of Raw, marking the first time that Lesnar and Cena came face to face. Both Cena and Paul Heyman cut good promos, while Lesnar played mind games with the champion by refusing to get physical prior to the pay-per-view. WWE Network also aired a special to hype the encounter, which likely got wrestling fans even more excited.
Lesnar has not been world champion in WWE since 2004, while Cena is a 15-time world champion. Many fans are seemingly tired of the status quo, but Lesnar as champ would potentially create some new issues. He is only a part-time performer, which means he wouldn't appear regularly on Raw or SmackDown and very well may not be able to defend the title at every pay-per-view. Due to those possible limitations, there is a school of thought that suggests Cena could and should retain.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Despite all the factors that have to be taken into account, it is difficult to imagine Cena winning this match. There was plenty of backlash when Cena beat Lesnar at Extreme Rules 2012 for no apparent reason, but the reaction would be even more negative this time around. Lesnar has more momentum than anyone ever has after ending The Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania XXX, and squandering that would be a terrible decision.
Should Lesnar win, there are a few possibilities. He could hold it all the way to WrestleMania XXXI, but eight months is a long time for a part-time guy to be champion. One option that hasn't been discussed much is Lesnar vacating the title. Lesnar has expressed a desire to become champion, but he hasn't said anything about holding the title over the long haul. Lesnar could vacate the belt on the post-SummerSlam edition of Raw and claim that he has nothing left to prove. That would set up a tournament at Night of Champions, and Lesnar could return to win the title back at a later date.
Lesnar's Potential Status for Night of Champions (Wrestling Observer Newsletter via WrestlingInc)
Breaking Down Remainder of SummerSlam Card
While Cena and Lesnar are unquestionably the headliners for Sunday night's event, the card as a whole will provide enough intrigue to keep fans entertained throughout. SummerSlam is billed as the biggest pay-per-view of the summer and arguably the No. 2 show of the year behind WrestleMania, and WWE has put it in position to live up to that billing.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will SummerSlam Play Out?
Aside from Cena vs. Lesnar, the main matches on this card include Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton. Also, Stephanie McMahon will wrestle for the first time in a decade when she takes on Brie Bella in a grudge match. If that wasn't enough, Jack Swagger will face Rusev, AJ Lee will defend the Divas Championship against Paige and Dolph Ziggler will vie for The Miz's Intercontinental Championship.
A few of these bouts are rematches from Battleground, and others are brand new to the WWE Universe. There are also some interesting stipulations involved that should make this a memorable pay-per-view. There aren't many events with this type of depth, so it wouldn't be particularly surprising if WWE sees an uptick in subscribers for the WWE Network leading up to Sunday.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The two undercard matches that seem pretty straightforward are Jericho vs. Wyatt and Reigns vs. Orton. After losing at Battleground, conventional wisdom suggests that Wyatt will get one back at SummerSlam. Also, Reigns has a ton of momentum, while Orton is heading in the other direction. Look for Reigns to win and take another step toward the top of the card.
The other matches are a bit tougher to predict. Steph vs. Brie could go either way. Stephanie could very well have some tricks up her sleeve, but it would make more sense for Brie to get retribution. The same can be said for Swagger and Rusev. Because it has a Flag match stipulation, though, a Swagger victory is most likely in order to whip the crowd into a frenzy.
AJ and Paige are very much even on paper, but since AJ tends to get a more favorable reaction from the fans, she should be favored to retain. The Miz vs. Ziggler is basically a coin flip. One can only assume that Ziggler will finally get over the hump and take the title at some point, and having him do so at SummerSlam would be fitting.
Backstage News on Swagger vs. Rusev (F4WOnline via WrestlingInc)
RRR Interview with TNA President Dixie Carter
As one of the most powerful people in professional wrestling, TNA President Dixie Carter is constantly under the microscope. She is a polarizing figure among wrestling fans, but there is absolutely no question that she has a passion for her company and wants it to succeed. During a recent interview with Ring Rust Radio, Dixie discussed her reputation, the future of Impact Wrestling and even Bully Ray putting her through a table.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for TNA?
Over the past several weeks, Impact has emanated from the Manhattan Center in New York City. It has provided a totally different and fresh atmosphere for the viewing audience, and the overall quality of the shows has improved as well. A big part of that has been the long-running angle between Dixie and Bully Ray.
Bully made it his mission to put Dixie through a table, and he finally succeeded on the Aug. 7 edition of the show. Dixie is not a trained wrestler and had never taken such an intense bump before, but she was more than willing to do so in order to show her appreciation for the talent.
It hurt like hell. I have such mad respect for these men and women and what they do every time. I sit there as they come backstage and they're warriors. ... People are like, 'Is that table fake?' No, this stuff hurts, it hurts like hell. To be able to do what they do, it was just a small way of me paying respect for what they do for me personally and to our company and for the fans. So, it did hurt, you'll just have to watch and see what really does happen and then maybe I'll tell you how serious it was, but yes, I was injured.
That particular spot generated a great deal of interest in the product, so Dixie deserves credit for putting her body on the line for the company. Of course, the challenge for TNA is to keep this positive momentum moving in the right direction.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Most of the talk surrounding TNA right now focuses on the promotion's future on television. Its current deal with Spike TV is set to expire, and it was reported by TMZ at the end of July that Spike decided to cancel TNA at the conclusion of the contract.
Despite that, TNA has yet to confirm that its relationship with Spike is over. In fact, Dixie said that the two sides are still in negotiations, and TNA is also exploring other options.
Every two years I go through this. This is just the first public negotiation I've ever had. I think social media has really changed this kind of thing. I'm used to every two years negotiating with Spike and negotiating with other networks. This time is absolutely not any different. We're still talking with them, but there are other people, thank God, that are interested in our product. I want to grow this brand; I want to grow it domestically. I want us to be able to start having the kind of success domestically that we're having internationally. I'm not going to stop and none of us are going to stop until we get there. I'm real excited to see and I think we'll know sooner than later what's going to happen.
The wrestling business as a whole is always better when there are as many options as possible. TNA is likely to land somewhere even if Spike doesn't renew, but that has been a pretty solid partnership to this point. No matter what deal TNA ultimately reaches, it is clear that Dixie has every intention of doing what is best for the company.
Bleacher Report Article
Ring Rust Radio's Season 5 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 450
2. Donald Wood: 392.5
3. Brandon Galvin: 127.5
4. Tom Kinslow: 112.5
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