Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan 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. Manager, promoter, booker and announcer extraordinaire Jim Cornette 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.
Feb. 18: New Generation Era Fantasy Draft
Feb. 18: Ring of Honor star Jay Lethal
Randy Orton's Losing Streak Continues
With the exception of a stint that saw the WWE Championship held in abeyance, Randy Orton has essentially been the company's top champion since SummerSlam. Orton became WWE World Heavyweight champion by beating John Cena at TLC, and while his title reign began with a great deal of promise, it's fair to say that booking has weakened him significantly in recent weeks.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Why Is Orton Being Booked So Poorly?
When Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract to beat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, all the stars appeared to be aligned for Orton to become a dominant heel champion. He had the backing of Triple H and The Authority, and his character was poised to be interesting for the first time in years.
Rather than make Orton look credible with relatively clean victories, though, he needed constant help and interference, and he has since become a whiny, insecure heel despite the fact that he is one of the most accomplished Superstars in WWE history.
All the creative team had to do was have Orton channel his sick, sadistic Viper character from his time as the leader of Legacy and he would have been a rousing success. Orton does have two wins over John Cena since TLC, but his in-ring record has been nearly as bad as his gimmick. With losses to Cena, Bryan, Kofi Kingston and Cesaro, Orton is going to enter Elimination Chamber in terrible form, and it's difficult to fathom why that is the case.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
While no WrestleMania XXX plans have been divulged publicly, the overarching sentiment seems to be that Orton will defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Royal Rumble winner Batista. As awful as that sounds, the seeds have been planted for that feud, and it wouldn't be particularly surprising if the creative team decided to move forward with it since WWE seems to think Batista is a much bigger star than he really is. Putting Batista in the main event at WrestleMania is one thing, but having him face a stale champion who totally lacks credibility makes matters even worse.
If the plan is for Orton to win the Chamber match, then the manner in which he has been booked makes no sense. It can be argued that winning at Elimination Chamber match would overshadow all of the previous losses, but fans would still remember them.
If the plan is for Orton to lose at Elimination Chamber, though, then there will at least be an explanation for his booking. The only other potential contender in the match is Bryan, who would unquestionably be a better option to win considering his fan support, so hopefully WWE decides to give the fans what they want, which is something that hasn't been true over the past several months.
Orton's Potential WrestleMania Plans (F4WOnline via WrestlingInc.com)
Daniel Bryan Stuck In Limbo
The curious case of Daniel Bryan continues to plague WWE programming, as the creative team seems clueless in terms of figuring out what to do with the promotion's hottest star. The boat was missed in a major way when Bryan didn't enter or win the Royal Rumble match, and now that he has essentially replaced CM Punk in an angle with Kane, Bryan's fans are understandably worried about the next step.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for Bryan?
Aside from Bryan's feud with his former Team Hell No compatriot, he will be entered into the Elimination Chamber match against Orton, Cena, Christian, Sheamus and Cesaro for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan has won a Chamber match before, and all signs point to him stealing the show in this one.
Whether or not that leads to a victory is a different story. Having Bryan win would be the smartest possible move, but it's hard to believe that he'll come away victorious based upon his booking, which has arguably been just as bad as Orton's.
If Bryan does win the title, then a match against Batista or perhaps even a triple threat against Batista and Orton at WrestleMania XXX would be fairly compelling. Bryan would be the face in either scenario, and it could potentially lead to a Batista heel turn, which is an obvious move at this point considering the fact that the fans are begging to boo him. The WWE Universe couldn't care less about Batista right now, but it would be very easy to make him a despised heel by simply having him take aim at Bryan.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
The possibilities are fairly tantalizing for Bryan if he wins at Elimination Chamber, but perhaps the same can't be said if the opposite result occurs. A loss would basically ensure that Bryan won't be in the title scene ahead of WrestleMania, and it would also knock him out of the main event.
It would clear the path for a match against Triple H, which is something that has seemingly been in the works since the summer. That could be a main event-level match in its own right, and it would clearly be the best-case scenario aside from giving Bryan the title.
Based on the fact that Bryan has been feuding with Kane, though, there is reason to worry about whether or not WWE might try to draw that out and make it a WrestleMania match. Bryan vs. Kane has the potential to be a solid feud, especially since there wasn't any closure after they broke up as a team, but it would be a waste of Bryan at WrestleMania. Hopefully it is simply a holdover feud until WrestleMania, but don't put it past the creative team to drag it out.
Bryan's Potential WrestleMania Plans (F4WOnline via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview With Jim Cornette
Few people in the history of the professional wrestling business have worn as many hats as Jim Cornette. Not only did he work as a manager, booker, promoter and announcer, but he also worked for a number of different companies, including WWE, Jim Crockett Promotions, TNA and Smoky Mountain Wrestling. With all of that experience as well as no reservations about being completely honest, Cornette made for a fantastic interview.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Would Cornette Change the Current Product
Packing all of Cornette's opinions and experiences into 30 minutes is an impossible exercise, but Ring Rust Radio managed to discuss a great deal with Cornette, including his tenures in both WWE and TNA as well as his time running Smoky Mountain Wrestling. From a philosophical perspective, few people have a more interesting take on the wrestling business.
Since Cornette has had a passion for wrestling for much of his life, it should come as no surprise that he favors an old-school approach. That was evident in Smoky Mountain Wrestling, and it is a big reason why he butted heads so often with Vince Russo in WWE and TNA. Cornette talked extensively about Russo in the interview, and shared an entertaining story about a time when Russo booked disqualification finishes almost exclusively on an episode of Raw.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Like any fan of wrestling, Cornette sees some fundamental issues with the discipline today. Most wrestling companies try to infuse some sense of reality into their products, and while that can be a good thing in some instances, it has to be done the right way. Cornette helped usher some of that in with his shoot promos back in WWE, but he would like to see that aspect of wrestling used more responsibly.
The right kind of honesty, but just the stupid s--t about 'we're going to do a worked shoot' that's come along recently or s--t that nobody gives a s--t about or doesn't understand because it's too inside. ... When you are just preposterous from the start, no one buys into it because it's preposterous, or when they do these ridiculous inside things almost as a rib on the talent—the fan doesn't know what's going on. Tell a simple story, tell it logically and make it credible and somewhat believable. Then get two guys who can carry it off on the microphone and in the ring. That's how you draw money.
That may seem like a simple, bare-bones approach, but that is often the best way to attack things. With so many non-wrestling people doing the writing these days, things tend to get cluttered and senseless. Cornette's simplistic approach is something that worked for many years in the wrestling business, and there is no reason why it can't work today.
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 172.5
2. Brandon Galvin: 115
3. Donald Wood: 65
4. Michael Cahill: -25
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