WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 5.7.12
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 May 7, 2012
3. Brodus Clay – for coming up with a win he had to work for against an actual opponent in The Miz:
Brodus Clay has done little more since debuting as the Funkasaurus than run over people in squash matches. Well, he’s also done what some people might call dancing and tell you to call your momma. But otherwise, he has not been put into the ring with any real semblance of competition and has destroyed those actually put in his path as a result.
On RAW this week, that trend changed a bit when he was scheduled to face The Miz. While I wouldn’t exactly place Miz in the upper echelon of talent in the WWE, a former WrestleMania main eventer is certainly a step up for Clay. And it showed.
Miz presented Clay with the most trouble he’s had against any other superstar put in front of him. He actually had to deal with playing a little defense in this one and handle a counter attack from Miz all along the way.
Despite that, Clay still managed to get through this one with his record unscathed. After dropping Miz with a sideslam, he was able to follow up with that rhino headbutt to his chest. A splash in the corner went amiss when Miz caught him with a boot. But when Miz flew off the top rope, Clay caught him and sent him sailing with a T-Bone suplex. Clay then hit the ropes for a splash to the mat and covered up Miz for a three-count.
It’s going to take a few more of those for Clay to really establish himself as a viable entity on RAW. But that match wasn’t all that bad and showed what Clay can do outside of just destroying people when he’s placed into the ring with somebody that isn’t destined to be run right over.
2. Chris Jericho – for taking advantage of a miscommunication on the part of Sheamus and Randy Orton to pick up a tag team victory with a pinfall over the World Heavyweight Champion:
Two failed attempts at taking the WWE Championship away from CM Punk have left Chris Jericho to move on to his next future in the WWE. He had no choice but to step aside from that endeavor when failing to win the Beat the Clock Challenge last week, and it will instead be Daniel Bryan that is next on Punk’s radar for Over The Limit. But just because Jericho is not able to get at Punk one more time for the WWE Title, that does not mean he doesn’t still have his sights set on heavyweight gold.
Jericho took part in a tag team match on RAW this week, partnering up with Alberto Del Rio to face the duo of Sheamus and Randy Orton. These were odd pairings, to say the least, as the only relation any of them had to each other was that Del Rio and Sheamus were booked to wrestle each other at Over The Limit for the World Heavyweight Championship. That was the only relationship, at least, until this match reached a conclusion.
In what turned out to be an excellent back-and-forth match that helped save RAW a bit following three rather short and uneventful bouts, all four competitors came out looking pretty solid. And it was Sheamus who, toward the end of the match, seemed primed to come out looking the best out of all of them.
He came in on fire off a tag from Orton at the same time Jericho was entering the match for his team. Sheamus drilled Jericho with double sledges to the face before crashing into him and the corner and dropping him to the mat with a high knee. Sheamus pounded his chest and moved Jericho to the center of the ring in hopes of hitting a Celtic Cross. However, Jericho was able to slide out and take Sheamus down into Walls of Jericho positioning. Sheamus avoided this by rolling Jericho off and then he hit a huge backbreaker which results in a cover that went to the two-count when Del Rio came in for the save with a dropkick to the bad shoulder of The Celtic Warrior.
Orton moved into the ring as a result of Del Rio’s involvement and he, after ducking a closeline from the No. 1 Contender, put him right down with an RKO. But after doing that good deed, things suddenly went awry for Orton’s team. He stood up at the same time both Jericho and Sheamus were doing the same thing. When Jericho ducked out of the way to avoid a Brogue Kick from Sheamus, it ended up hitting Orton instead.
Sheamus was concerned at having done that, clearly. And Jericho capitalized on that moment by coming right at Sheamus with the Codebreaker. He immediately hooked the leg and kept the World Heavyweight Champion pinned to the mat for a three-count.
Jericho then rolled to the back of the ring and grabbed the World Heavyweight Title, yelling to everybody that it was his. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler kept yelling back to him that it wasn’t his yet, which was true. But he did earn a slot in the Over The Limit World Heavyweight Title Match, as a huge brawl in the back between all four men in John Laurinaitis’ office caused the general manager to change the pay-per-view bout to a Fatal Four Way for the title.
Granted, Jericho would have much rather preferred taking Del Rio’s spot entirely at Over The Limit and facing Sheamus for the strap on a one-on-one basis. But his performance and pinfall in the tag team bout on RAW at least got him in the dance and keeps him right in a heavyweight title picture.
1. Lord Tensai – for once again coming through for John Laurinaitis by taking out WWE Champion CM Punk in a main event handicap match:
Lord Tensai has quickly become the hired henchman for John Laurinaitis now that he’s back in the WWE. It’s hard to blame Laurinaitis for choosing Tensai to be his right hand man, essentially. Since his return, he’s run over plenty of other superstars and even holds a pinfall victory over John Cena.
When Laurinaitis was set to announce Cena’s opponent for Over The Limit last week and Tensai came to the ring, it seemed certain that he would be the opponent. He was just a decoy, however, for Laurinaitis to announce that it would be the general manager himself who would be stepping into the ring with Cena at the pay-per-view.
Still, Tensai helped Laurinaitis in his assault on Cena at the closing of RAW last week. And he would serve to put out another of the many fires Laurinaitis seems to create for himself when CM Punk decided to confront the GM at the top of this week’s broadcast. Punk, no stranger to going at it with Laurinaitis, got himself into hot water again with one of his pipe bombs and was placed in a main event bout with Tensai as a result.
Punk was visibly uneasy about that initially. But just when he was getting comfortable with the idea of facing the big man, Laurinaitis switched things up on Punk. Instead of just facing Tensai, No. 1 Contender Daniel Bryan was added to the mix just prior to the bout as a partner to Tensai in what became a handicap match.
Even with this late addition of Bryan, it was still Tensai who got the job done against the WWE Champion. He got out of a Go2Sleep when Punk wasn’t nearly ready to lift the big man up and then tossed him into the corner. He failed to hit a splash in the corner when Punk moved out of the way and received a kick to the head. Punk went up top for what was likely to be a flying elbow drop. But Bryan grabbed his leg to serve as a distraction and Tensai was able to drop Punk to the mat with the double chokeslam. Tensai then spit the green mist on his hand and applied the claw to Punk’s head. A slam to the mat was the only thing left for Tensai to cover up on Punk for the pinfall.
So, in the few weeks that he’s been back in the WWE, Tensai already owns pinfall victories over John Cena and CM Punk. That’s no small feat for the big man and portrays the exact reason why Laurinaitis basically has him watching his back.