WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 11.21.11
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 21, 2011
3. Sheamus – for picking up another victory against the man that caused his disqualification from the Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match on Sunday:
Sheamus continues to be on a roll in the WWE and figured to be one of Randy Orton’s greatest assets heading into the 10-man Survivor Series style elimination tag team matchup this past Sunday. And he would certainly need to remain that once it dwindled down to a 4-on-2 situation, where Team Orton consisted of Sheamus and The Viper himself. But it was Sheamus’ aggressiveness – something that has won him a lot of matches thus far – that ended up being his downfall. A refusal to acknowledge the referee’s count as he beat Jack Swagger against the ropes caused him to be disqualified from the match. Orton was left on his own and he, despite a healthy effort on his end to try and work past a 4-on-1 disadvantage, ended up taking a Wasteland by Team Barrett to suffer the loss.
A loss via DQ is easier to swallow than being pinned or submitted by an opponent. But it still couldn’t have sat well with Sheamus. He had the opportunity to get himself right back on the winning path this Monday night on RAW when he squared off against Swagger in one-on-one competition.
Sheamus managed to control a good deal of this match and there was really little doubt that he’d find a way to get out of it with the victory. His toughest obstacle was getting out of an Ankle Lock that Swagger was able to pop on him when a Brogue Kick was dodged. But Swagger was able to kick out of the hold and get right back up to connect on a successful Brogue Kick that kept Swagger on the mat for the three-count.
So, Sheamus messed up a bit at the Survivor Series. But he didn’t lose a step and remains just as dominant as he was before the pay-per-view. Nothing appears to be imminent, of course. But one would have to assume that Sheamus racking up this many wins means he’s heading down the road toward World Heavyweight Title compeititon.
2. Wade Barrett – for continuing his own hot streak with a win over Kofi Kingston one night after leading his team to victory at the Survivor Series:
Much like Sheamus, Wade Barrett is also on a healthy streak when it comes to getting the job done in between the ropes. He’s determined to get himself into the World Heavyweight Title picture and is just cruising along over on Smackdown to build up his chances of getting there.
On Sunday, he took that determination and his leadership skills into the Survivor Series. It was there that he led a group of five to take on Team Orton. Barrett’s group did a great job of working the numbers game in their favor and eventually left Barrett the perfect opportunity to catch Orton – the last man left for his squad – with a Wasteland to win the matchup.
Barrett looked to follow up that victory with another one on RAW when he faced Kofi Kingston in singles action. Not only would Barrett have to worry about facing a quality opponent like Kingston in this match, but he would also need to be aware of Orton at the ringside area since The Viper made his way down mid-match to get a closer view of the action.
All that did for Orton, however, was give him a front row seat to Barrett scoring another one for the win column. This was a great match overall and Kingston had his moments. But when he got a little too ambitious and went for a springboard maneuver, Barrett was aware of his surroundings enough to kick the ropes and sent Kingston crashing to the mat. He lifted Kingston up from there and delivered the Wasteland, but he did so while staring right at Orton as if to send a message. The cover followed and Barrett secured yet another pinfall victory.
Barrett grabbed a microphone after the match and repeated the fact that he won the matchup to Orton as The Viper was heading to the back. Orton made a move toward him, which caused Barrett to flinch, and then simply smiled as he headed to the back.
So, I guess we know these two guys are locking up next. That should be a decent rivalry and provide a good match or two. And if he can string together some wins against Orton, Barrett may very well reach his goal of World Heavyweight Championship competition much sooner than he thought.
1. CM Punk – for following up a big WWE Championship win at the Survivor Series with a victory over United States Champion Dolph Ziggler in the match of the night on RAW:
CM Punk set out to win the WWE Championship at the Survivor Series when he squared off against Alberto Del Rio. That was the goal not just because he wanted to be champion again, but also because he wanted to make the WWE interesting again. By actually heading into Madison Square Garden on Sunday and defeating Del Rio, he managed to accomplish both.
Punk wasted little time in making some moves courtesy of that accomplishment. He opened RAW to talk about always wanting to be a professional wrestler and now being the face of the WWE as its champion. His immediate goal now that he’s the top dog in the WWE is to try and change the “interim general manager” tag from John Laurinaitis’ position to “former general manager.”
Laurinaitis wasn’t a big fan of Punk calling him out like that, so he came out to confront the champion. After some verbal sparring, Laurinaitis informed Punk that the rematch Del Rio is entitled to for the WWE Championship will take place next Monday night. As for this week’s RAW, Punk would go up against United States Champion Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler was coming off a decent night in his own right at the Survivor Series, where he retained the U.S. gold by defeating John Morrison in the evening’s opening matchup. He also participated in the 10-man tag team elimination match as Christian’s replacement, though his showing in that contest was over rather quickly. Still, he was on the winning team and gets a “W” in the record book for it.
He took that confidence into his match with Punk and, wow – those put on a hell of a match. This was easily the match of the night and could stand as a high match on any pay-per-view card. But no matter what he threw at Punk, it still wasn’t enough to put down the new champion.
Ziggler attempted to finish Punk off with the leg drop bulldog toward the end of the match. But Punk caught him and slammed him down to the mat. He immediately lifted Ziggler off the canvas and then put him up for a Go2Sleep. A pinfall followed to allow Punk a nice follow-up victory to his championship win 24 hours earlier.
Punk is certainly on a roll right now and has no issues giving Del Rio the rematch next week. In fact, he was game to do it this week until Laurinaitis had other plans. Laurinaitis may be his biggest obstacle at this point, but he seems to be handling it well and doing what he set out to do – make RAW interesting again as WWE Champion.