WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 3.26.12
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 March 26, 2012
3. Santino Marella – for rebounding from last week’s lose to David Otunga by defeating him this week as a result of Hornswoggle’s interference:
In any other year, Santino Marella and David Otunga likely wouldn’t be featured players at WrestleMania. But based on their respective relationships with RAW general manager John Laurinaitis and Smackdown general manager Teddy Long, they will serve as captains of six-man teams that are set to do battle to determine the future leaders of both shows.
Last week, Marella and Otunga squared off in a singles matchup that went Otunga’s way courtesy of a distraction by Laurinaitis. Slipping his cell phone into the ring allowed Otunga to catch Marella off guard with a spinebuster that kept Marella down for the pinfall. These two would partake in a rematch this Monday night; though this time there was some extra flare with flag bearers and custom-made t-shirts adorning the face of the respective teams’ current GM.
Much like last week, this bout’s conclusion came as a result of some outside interference. It went the other way, however, when Hornswoggle – who was serving as Team Teddy’s flag holder – entered the ring to wave his team’s colors proudly. Otunga was not a fan of this and grabbed the flag away from Hornswoggle. He went to swing the pole at him, but Hornswoggle ran out of the way and Otunga ended up nailing the ring ropes. The pole rebounded right into his face and left him wide open for a Cobra from Marella. Marella covered to get the three-count and a big boost for his team on the final RAW before WrestleMania.
This, in combination with Booker T. being added to Team Teddy after saving the Smackdown general manager from a beatdown by Mark Henry, should provide Marella and his troops with that extra level of confidence going into Sunday’s pay-per-view.
2. Daniel Bryan – for picking up some last minute momentum heading into WrestleMania by pinning his World Heavyweight Championship challenger, Sheamus, with the help of AJ:
Daniel Bryan’s sense of confidence heading into WrestleMania has been very high, which is important considering the caliber of opponent that will be challenging him for the World Heavyweight Championship there. Few superstars have been as hot over the past several months as Sheamus has, and he’s been continuing to run through the competition rather mightily as he looks to add the World Heavyweight Title to his repertoire.
So in an effort to try and keep even in the momentum department, Bryan would need to come up strong in a tag team matchup booked to open this week’s RAW. He would team with Kane to face Sheamus and Kane’s opponent at WrestleMania, Randy Orton.
This was, for the most part, a nice match that helped to deliver some final build for both matches this Sunday. Bryan also received the victory he needed to get an extra boost over Sheamus, and it all came with the help of his girlfriend.
With Kane and Orton out of the ring, Sheamus appeared locked and loaded to deliver a Brogue Kick to Bryan that surely would have finished the match off in his team’s favor. But AJ elected to hop into the ring and prevent Sheamus from the delivering the move. The referee eventually moved her out. But by the time Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, Bryan was recovered enough to move out of the way. Kane hopped onto the apron at this point and caught Sheamus with a chokeslam, allowing Bryan to move in for the cover and collect the three-count.
There won’t be as many bodies involved in their title match at WrestleMania, but Sheamus still needs to be aware of an extra one. AJ could play a significant role in this World Heavyweight Title Match, and Bryan has showed no hesitation in accepting any victory that goes his way even if it involves a little bit of cheating to get there.
1. CM Punk – for showing Chris Jericho exactly what he can do when he’s angry by taking out his aggression on Christian:
The rivalry between CM Punk and Chris Jericho heading into WrestleMania was originally supposed to be one revolved around which one of them was the best in the world. For two of the finest in-ring workers this business has ever had, Punk and Jericho were supposed to put their skill and performance to the test against each other with the WWE Championship on the line.
Of course, being as good as these two are at their promo work, as well, there was also guaranteed to be some verbal sparring leading up to this match. Over the last few weeks, Jericho has taken his gift of gab to a much higher level by making his vendetta with Punk incredibly more personal. He brought up Punk’s father being an alcoholic. He mentioned Punk’s sister and her battle with substance abuse. And then just before a matchup with Christian this week, Jericho yet again appeared on the big screen to call out Punk – this time concentrating on his mother and the fact that Punk himself is a bastard.
After a while, Jericho going after Punk’s family like that was going to wear on him. And Christian ended up feeling the brunt of it. The match between those two ended up turning into an all-out assault by Punk over Christian. Punk whooped Christian on the outside, using the announce table and steel ring steps as aids to send a message to Jericho that he finally had enough. He locked on the Anaconda Vice a couple of times until several referees were finally able to separate him from his prey. As a result of Punk’s actions, Christian was removed from Team Laurinaitis at WrestleMania and will have to watch on the sidelines as Drew McIntyre takes his place.
So, it now appears that Jericho has finally pushed enough buttons. Punk is now hot enough to do whatever is necessary to not just prove to Jericho he is the best wrestler in the world, but to also try and hurt him in the process. This match was already set to be one of the best on the card – perhaps even the show stealer. But a little extra personal animosity only serves to kick it up another notch or two.