WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 7.18.11
By Neil Borenstein
Each week here at 1wrestling.com, I will select three of the top wrestlers from the Monday Night RAW brand and present them to you in inverse order as the show’s Wrestlers of the Week. In choosing the brand’s top three superstars, performances from that week’s RAW and any relevant preceding programming will be taken into consideration. This is a RAW exclusive. However, SmackDown and NXT brand wrestlers will be eligible if they appear with any significance on that week’s RAW broadcast.
Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week for July 18, 2011
3. Beth Phoenix – for getting the pinfall in 14-Diva action:
The way the Divas division tends to work in the WWE is that somebody takes count of how many Divas are actually in the building that night and then throws them all into a ridiculous multi-woman tag team matchup for a couple of minutes just to break up the rest of the show. It’s become hilarious at this point when it’s time for Divas action and literally the entire locker room pours out to the arena.
That was the case this week, when the WWE decided to give the fans a Divas matchup just to give a bit of a break from the ongoing WWE Championship Tournament on Monday Night RAW. A total of 14 Divas participated in this bout, which pit Divas Champion Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Natalya, AJ Lee and Kaitlyn against Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Maryse, Melina, Rosa Mendes, Alicia Fox and Tamina.
Of course, not even a quarter of these ladies would actually become legal during this contest. And it would have been shocking had it even reached the one minute mark. Phoenix and Mendes started out the match and ended up finishing it, as well. After some action in the ring between them, a 12-Diva brawl ensued on the outside. While that went down, The Glamazon was able dump Mendes with the Glam Slam inside the squared circle and covered for a successful pinfall.
I could say that winning the match for her team might put her next in line for a title shot against Kelly, but that would be investing some faith in an otherwise meaningless match. But, for getting the win and because of a lack of anybody else really deserving this spot this week based on the tournament, the pinfall by Phoenix counts for something.
2. The Miz – for going through Alex Riley and Kofi Kingston to advance to the finals of the WWE Championship Tournament:
The one thing Vince McMahon dreaded the most is exactly what happened at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View on Sunday. He witnessed CM Punk capture the precious WWE Championship on the last night of his contract and run out of the Allstate Arena in Chicago with it before Alberto Del Rio could officially cash in his Money in the Bank contract to try and get the title back.
McMahon was obviously upset by all of this and had some unfortunate plans in store for John Cena as a result of him losing the championship. But McMahon also opened RAW to announce that he wasn’t even going to mention the current titleholder’s name anymore and that nobody is bigger than the WWE. The company will keeping on operating as usual. And the first order of business was to crown a new WWE Champion. McMahon set up an eight-man tournament on RAW for this very purpose. Dolph Ziggler, Rey Mysterio, Jack Swagger, R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Alberto Del Rio, Alex Riley and The Miz were all selected to take part in the tournament, which was originally supposed to crown a winner Monday night.
Miz was one of the participants to earn his way into the finals by going through two opponents. First, he had to face a thorn in his side for some time now in Riley. Riley has certainly gotten the better of Miz in the matches that they’ve faced each other. But with a greater prize on the line in this bout, Miz was able to finally stick it to his former protégé with a Skull Crushing Finale that resulted from Riley getting caught up with the referee. After hitting the Skull Crushing Finale, Miz went right for the cover and got the three-count to advance to the Semifinals.
Miz met Kingston in the second round after Kingston managed to get past Del Rio in an upset of sorts. I was a bit upset at that result since I was very much looking forward to a Del Rio vs. Del Rio showdown for the WWE Title somewhere down the line. But I digress.
Miz once again broke out the Skull Crushing Finale in this one for the victory. At first, he had the move countered when Kingston rolled through for pin attempt that Miz kicked out of at two. Miz moved into the corner and lifted up a charging Kingston so that he went face-first into the turnbuckles. Miz then went for the Skull Crushing Finale as Kingston backed out of the corner and was able to hit it this time. Miz then scored the pinfall the advance to the Finals with a bloody mouth and an obviously hurt leg.
Luckily for Miz, he didn’t have to take his bruised body into that Finals matchup on Monday. He’ll have time to heal for next week, as McMahon postponed that bout seven days so that he could deal with Cena. But Miz will get his shot in one week’s time to get back the WWE Championship. Though he will have to get past this man to accomplish that …
1. Rey Mysterio – for scoring victories over Dolph Ziggler and R-Truth to earn a spot against The Miz in the finals of the WWE Championship Tournament:
Rey Mysterio is a former two-time World Heavyweight Champion. But his last reign was a year ago, when he lost the belt to Kane in 54 seconds at Money in the Bank after having won the title just a month prior. Plus, Mysterio has never won the WWE Title during his career. So, he had plenty to shoot for as one of the participants in Monday night’s WWE Championship Tournament.
His quarterfinals opponent was the current United States Champion Dolph Ziggler. Vickie Guerrero was at ringside to support her man, but all she could do was watch in disappointment as Mysterio got past several near falls by Ziggler en route to setting up for the 6-1-9 by way of a sudden hurricarana as Ziggler was lifting Mysterio off the mat. After Mysterio successfully hit the 6-1-9, he went up top for the splash and covered for the three-count.
A win over the man who is currently the only male titleholder on RAW put Mysterio in a second round showdown against R-Truth, who was able to move into the semifinals with a surprise victory over Jack Swagger. Truth, of course, still believes there is a conspiracy against him and set out to prove to all the Little Jimmys that the WWE Title was going to get got.
This match between Mysterio and Truth was the best of the tournament thus far and could have really gone either way based on the performances by both men. There were several nears falls throughout in this one, including one in R-Truth’s favor after hitting the Truth or Consequences. Unfortunately, he went for the cover near the ropes and Mysterio was able to grasp onto the lower one after the referee counted the two. Truth tried to move Mysterio into the center of the ring, but Mysterio just grabbed hold of the bottom rope and wouldn’t budge. Truth stomped away, but the referee stopped him and gave Mysterio a bit of a breather to get back to his feet on the ring apron. When Truth tried to bring him back into the ring, Mysterio dropped his throat across the top rope and then came back into the ring with a head scissors takedown that put Truth right into the ropes. Mysterio immediately went for the 6-1-9 and hit before heading up top for the splash. Mysterio got the cover and three-count to move into the finals for a match against The Miz with the WWE Title on the line.
Mysterio waited in the ring for that finals match, which was supposed to take place right there on RAW. But Vince McMahon hit the ring and delayed the finals for next week, much to the chagrin of Mysterio. So the new WWE Champion will be crowned in seven days.
While both Mysterio and Miz worked hard to get to the finals and have an equal shot of winning the WWE Title next week, I would say Mysterio’s road there was a bit tougher and he came out less scarred in his bouts, as well. Regardless, it should be a good one next week on RAW.