WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 11.14.11
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 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 November 14, 2011
3. Kelly Kelly – for dishing out another upset to Natalya just six days before their partners do battle for the Divas Championship:
Once a top contender and even the champion in the women’s division, Kelly Kelly’s place at the moment is as support for Eve Torres. Torres will take another crack at Beth Phoenix and the Divas Championship in six days at the Survivor Series, and Kelly is sure to be right by her side. But that doesn’t mean good things aren’t happening for Kelly in her own right. She adorns the cover the upcoming issue of Maxim magazine, which I suppose is the Playboy of the PG era. And she’s also never too far away from another title opportunity, meaning every positive impression she can make along the way is important.
Kelly made a solid impression this Monday night when she stepped into the ring for a one-on-one battle against Natalya. Natalya’s luck has not been great recently and she’s racked up some losses against competition that should have been easy wins for her. Kelly is technically one of those foes.
Natalya tried to make quick work of Kelly by tripping her up and covering for a one-count. She then moved Kelly into the corner and stomped the gut. But Kelly managed to avoid a charge and then delivered a stinkface to Natalya in the corner. Phoenix hopped the apron, causing Kelly to get distracted. That allowed Natalya to get Kelly onto the mat for an attempt at the Sharpshooter. Kelly was able to reverse into a rollup, however, and held on for the three-count to deliver another upset to Natalya’s record.
Again, there’s nothing imminent that’s going to come Kelly’s way from that victory. But a few wins like that over time can help her squeeze right back into title contention.
2. Sheamus – for tallying a decisive victory over one member of the opposing Survivor Series team, Jack Swagger:
One of the hottest superstars on Smackdown and in the WWE in general these days is Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior has been incredibly impressive as of late and it’s easy to get the feeling that he’s not too far off from entering the World Heavyweight Title picture. For now, however, he’s content with being a member of Randy Orton’s Survivor Series team going into this Sunday’s pay-per-view.
Sheamus had the opportunity to get a piece of one of the members of the opposing Wade Barrett-led team by taking on Jack Swagger in singles action this week on RAW. While Swagger can be a whipping boy at times, the fact that he does have legitimate skill in the ring still makes him a tough opponent on any given night. Considering Sheamus’ own talents between the ropes in conjunction with the hot streak he’s on, this had all the makings of a rather entertaining mid-card matchup. I beg to say it did not disappoint.
Sheamus managed to control most of the action in the early goings, while Swagger was able to take over following a commercial break by doing his best to keep Sheamus grounded. After sliding out of a Celtic Cross, Swagger clubbed Sheamus in the back of the head and then headed up top for the Vader Bomb across his back. Swagger pounded his chest and then applied the Ankle Lock, which Sheamus got out of by kicking Swagger all the way to the outside. When Swagger got himself back into the ring, Sheamus caught him with an Irish Curse backbreaker and then finished him off with the Brogue Kick to score the pinfall.
That was a hard-fought win for Sheamus and certainly something to ride into Survivor Series with a bit more confidence from. He’ll be a solid player for Orton’s team this Sunday and should certainly look to make another great impression during that classic elimination style matchup.
1. Alberto Del Rio – for dishing out several beatings to CM Punk and picking up a pinfall over him in tag team action to build some momentum heading into their WWE Championship Match at Survivor Series:
Alberto Del Rio is not happy about the way he was coerced into granting CM Punk a WWE Championship Match at Survivor Series. Instead of asking him face-to-face for a shot at the title, Punk instead elected to pounce on a knocked out Del Rio with an Anaconda Vice that he refused to relinquish until the champion agreed to give him the match. Del Rio tried to get Punk to cancel the match last week. But that failed miserably and he was left to attack Punk in the back later in the evening as a way to gain some retribution.
Del Rio would get quite a bit more on this week’s RAW. Not only would he assault Punk two more times over the course of the show, but he also managed to secure a pinfall over the self-proclaimed “best in the world” just six days ahead of their title matchup.
Punk’s night started early when he came out at the conclusion of the ridiculous Michael Cole Challenge involving Jim Ross and basically lambasted Cole for a number of things. His interruption did not please John Laurinaitis, who came out to the ramp to inform Punk that he was being booked in a tag team match alongside Big Show to take on the duo of Mark Henry and Del Rio.
Attack No. 1 from Del Rio came as Punk was walking to the arena for this matchup. He caught Punk from behind in the backstage area and sent him right into the side of a truck. Some kicks and fists followed before referees finally arrived on the scene to get him away from Punk.
The tag team match still went on as planned right after this and Punk only gained a sense of motivation to come at Del Rio harder courtesy of that assault. But he hadn’t game planned for Henry quite as well.
A rally by Punk against Del Rio late in the match allowed him to gain some control over the champion with a heel kick, closeline and swinging neckbreaker. Henry decided to enter the ring at this point and ate a huge kick to the face from Punk for his troubles. Show then dropped him with the best version of a superkick he could muster up. Punk took this moment to attempt a springboard maneuver from the apron. But while the referee was still dealing with getting Show to his corner, Henry pushed Del Rio out of the way and caught Punk coming off the ropes to deliver a World’s Strongest Slam. Show took Henry out of the ring, but Del Rio was stable able to pick up the scraps on the inside and covered Punk for the three-count.
Attack No. 2 came after the match, when Del Rio locked on a cross armbreaker to Punk that caused him to scream in pain. Del Rio held on tight until he noticed Show getting back into the ring and then he hightailed it in hopes that the damage he was able to do would send Punk into Survivor Series less than 100 percent.
As I mentioned last week, Del Rio is never going to win a war of words with Punk. But when it comes to the physical aspect of their rivalry, he’s on even footing with him. And Del Rio has gotten the better of Punk a great deal over the last two weeks between this victory and some extra assaults. Those should go a long way in building his confidence for when he puts the title on the line in six days.