Ring Rust Radio is the best wrestling show on the airwaves, and this week was no different. With strong opinions on WWE TLC, CM Punk 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.
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 WWE TLC PPV
After an abbreviated build, WWE TLC is set to take place Sunday. John Cena and Seth Rollins will headline the show in a Tables match with Cena's No. 1 contendership for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the line, while Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt will do battle in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match. Other bouts feature special stipulations or have championships on the line.
Question on Everybody's Mind: How Will the Card Shake Out?
Aside from the top two matches on the card, TLC features a fairly deep slate of contests. Luke Harper will defend the Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler in a Ladder match, Ryback and Kane will go at it in a Chairs match, and Big Show and Erick Rowan will engage in the first-ever Stairs match.
Also, AJ Lee will face Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship, The Miz and Damien Mizdow will put the Tag Team Championships on the line against The Usos, and Jack Swagger will attempt to pry the United States Championship away from Rusev.
Although this event most definitely has the feel of a holdover pay-per-view with Royal Rumble approaching in January, it has the potential to be solid from an in-ring perspective. The true challenge, though, will be for the Superstars to get the most out of the stipulations and gimmicks attached to their matches.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Perhaps the most intriguing match of the card is Cena vs. Rollins due to the fact that Cena could no longer be No. 1 contender at the end of the night. As nice as it would be to see a rising heel like Rollins go over Cena in the main event, all signs point to just the opposite occurring. It is difficult to imagine Cena not facing Brock Lesnar at Royal Rumble, so expect either Roman Reigns or Randy Orton to assist Cena against Rollins, his security and whoever else might interfere on Mr. Money in the Bank's behalf.
The TLC match between Ambrose and Wyatt has the potential to be excellent due to The Lunatic Fringe's penchant for putting on fantastic performances in hardcore-style brawls. That environment should also be more conducive to Wyatt's style since he tends to struggle in more traditional settings. This match could realistically go either way. Both Superstars could use the victory, but Wyatt has to be considered the slight favorite since he is conceivably being built as a dominant heel.
Most of the other matches seem fairly straightforward on paper. The Ziggler vs. Harper bout has all the makings of being the match of the night, especially if Ziggler takes back the strap as he should. Aside from that, Ryback, Rowan, Miz and Mizdow, Nikki, Rusev and The New Day all feel like surefire winners as well.
Backstage news on New Day at TLC (WrestlingInc.com)
CM Punk Signs with UFC
Former WWE Superstar CM Punk dominated wrestling headlines last week with his explosive, tell-all interview on Colt Cabana's The Art of Wrestling. Things didn't change much one week later, though, as Punk was once again in the spotlight due to the somewhat surprising fact that he signed with UFC to be a legitimate fighter.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Will Punk Excel in MMA?
Punk has long expressed interest in UFC and made it known that he is a huge fan of the product. With that said, Punk actually becoming a mixed martial artist always felt like a pipe dream more than anything else. Since his relationship with WWE is obviously strained in a major way at this point, though, Punk saw a golden opportunity to make that dream a reality.
From his perspective, signing with UFC is likely about proving to himself that he can compete in MMA at a high level. From UFC's perspective, though, this move is purely monetary. UFC President Dana White is an incredibly smart and savvy businessman, and signing Punk is a perfect example of that.
Punk is one of the most popular and recognizable wrestlers of the past decade, and the manner in which he and WWE parted ways only served to improve his mainstream profile. Just like White utilized Brock Lesnar as a top pay-per-view draw once upon a time, he now has a chance to do the exact same thing with Punk.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
While there are definite parallels between Lesnar and Punk when it comes to their respective transition from the squared circle to the Octagon, their ability levels can't be compared. Lesnar was an All-American, NCAA champion amateur wrestler, while Punk has no background in legitimate competition.
Punk does have a passion for MMA, and he has dabbled in training with the Gracie family, but his resume is essentially barren. Punk is already 36 years old, and he spoke at length about the litany of injuries he suffered while with WWE. With that in mind, the odds aren't in favor of Punk enjoying a ton of success in UFC.
His fights will undoubtedly do huge pay-per-view numbers due to the intrigue from UFC and WWE fans alike, but that has no bearing on his ability. While he is very likely to win a fight or two since White will put him up against low-level opponents in order to protect his investment, conventional wisdom suggests that Punk will struggle when the level of competition improves.
Backstage news on CM Punk (Wrestling Observer Newsletter via WrestlingInc.com)
RRR Interview with ROH's Bobby Fish
Tag team wrestling is alive and well in Ring of Honor, and Bobby Fish is half of what is arguably the best duo in the world right now. Fish and Kyle O'Reilly comprise the ROH World Tag Team champions, ReDRagon, and the senior member of the team joined Ring Rust Radio to discuss his ascent to the top of the ranks.
Question on Everybody's Mind: What's Next for Fish?
It was just two short years ago that Fish and O'Reilly decided to team up, but the results have already exceeded the expectations of most. Fish acknowledged that ReDRagon weren't supposed to succeed, but success is precisely what they have achieved. In addition to being ROH tag champs, they are also the IWGP junior heavyweight tag team champions, which has allowed them to go up against some of the best teams in wrestling.
ReDRagon have locked horns with The Young Bucks and The Addiction, and they defeated the Time Splitters at ROH Final Battle in the semi-main event. From a pure in-ring perspective, ReDRagon measure up with anyone. Add in the fact that they have both found their voices on the mic and honed their characters, and the sky is truly the limit.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Fish is 11 years O'Reilly's senior at 38, so O'Reilly is often considered to be the breakout star in waiting. While there is little doubt that there are big things in the younger member of ReDRagon's future, Fish isn't allowing age to put a cap on what he accomplishes. He is in his prime in all aspects of performing right now, and he hasn't shown any signs of slowing down either.
Although Fish admitted that individual success is a goal of his—much like it is for every wrestler—he has no interest in breaking up ReDRagon any time soon. For as much as Fish and O'Reilly have done to improve tag team wrestling over the past two years, there is still so much more they can do. Both Fish and O'Reilly will have singles success when they do go their separate ways, but wrestling fans are certainly in no hurry to see that happen.
Ring Rust Radio's Season 7 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 75
2. Donald Wood: 40
3. Joe Arcidiacono: 5
4. Brandon Galvin: -5
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