WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 6.11.12
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 June 11, 2012
3. Sheamus – for picking up a hard-fought victory against the regular henchman for John Laurinaitis, Tensai:
Sheamus was supposed to defend the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out against Alberto Del Rio. A concussion suffered by Del Rio derailed those plans and left The Celtic Warrior without a contender for the pay-per-view this Sunday. That situation would be rectified throughout the evening on Monday Night RAW this week. However, a move by Sheamus to stick his nose in business that doesn’t exactly involve him also brought him some ring time against tough competition just six days ahead of putting his title on the line against a then-unknown opponent.
RAW began with Vince McMahon conducting a performance evaluation on John Laurinaitis as it pertains to his role of general manager. Sheamus interrupted those proceedings in an effort to sway McMahon toward firing Laurinaitis. Because of this, Laurinaitis searched the back to find an immediate opponent for Sheamus to face right there and then. Not surprisingly, he turned to the man he has constantly called upon to do his dirty work – Tensai.
Tensai, who has become a regular henchman of sorts for Laurinaitis, was already an incredibly aggressive superstar. But coming off a loss to John Cena last week was only sure to make him that much more determined to put a hurting on somebody. And although Sheamus is a big boy in his own right, he could have used a little more rest and relaxation with just six days separating him from a heavyweight title defense.
This turned out to be a nice exhibition of brawling in the early goings, with both men trading control as they looked to overpower the other. RAW even headed into a commercial break with both men on the outside trying to regain composure and develop a strategy moving forward in the bout.
Tensai initially did a better job of that during the break, as RAW returned with him gaining the upperhand. But the matchup continued in a real back-and-forth swing that would offer both Sheamus and Tensai a few near falls along the way.
One of those close calls came when Sheamus came off the top rope right into a chokebomb from Tensai. That could have put a lesser man away, but Sheamus was able to kick out of a cover at two and keep the match going. Tensai kept on Sheamus with several ramming headbutts. He then tried to whip Sheamus to the ropes, but Sheamus held on and reversed it. Tensai was able to kick Sheamus right in the chest, but Sheamus shrugged that off as best he could to muster a sudden Brogue Kick right to the face of Tensai. Sheamus immediately covered up and took the three-count to score a well-earned, momentum-building victory.
That was both an impressive matchup and great test for Sheamus heading into No Way Out. Again, Sheamus could have been better off with an easier evening, especially without knowing his opponent for Sunday. But he is a tough guy, handled the challenge well and can take a solid victory with him as he goes on to defend the World Heavyweight Championship.
2. Big Show – for annihilating Kofi Kingston inside a Steel Cage as a preview for No Way Out before ending the evening with a Knockout Punch for Vince McMahon:
It has been a while since The Big Show has been this determined to showcase his abilities as a giant. Ever since pandering to the fans apparently left him wide open for a firing prior to Over The Limit by John Laurinaitis, Show has returned on a brand new lucrative contract with the determination to destroy basically everything in his path. Two weeks ago, he did just that against Brodus Clay, R-Truth and Kofi Kingston.
Now, Show has his sights set on delivering the same amount of punishment to John Cena this Sunday at No Way Out. Cena is going to be a lot tougher for Show to push around like that. But the destruction he has brought upon the WWE thus far since being re-hired makes him a very dangerous opponent even for Cena – especially inside the confines of a Steel Cage.
Show would be provided with the chance to offer up a preview of what he has planned for Cena in six nights. By punching Truth out of nowhere during a backstage interview, Show set off Truth’s partner and co-holder of the WWE Tag Team Titles, Kofi Kingston. Kingston demanded a match against Show from Laurinaitis for RAW. While that bout was granted, Kingston bit off a lot more than he could chew when the setting for this match became a Steel Cage.
To the surprise of nobody, this match turned out to be a complete squash. Kingston tried to jump on Show early as he was entering the ring. But Show had little trouble shoving him off and continued his dominance over Kingston throughout the contest. Kingston had one bright spot in this one with a Trouble In Paradise that he had to hope would be enough to put Show away. But that was for naught when Show was able to toss him off with relative ease. Kingston’s next plan was to try and escape through the door. Show had other plans, however, and dragged Kingston right back into the ring so he could deal him a Knockout Punch right in the center of it.
With the damage done and Kingston clearly out, Show made a slow walk to the cage door and eventually all the way to the floor to end this thing.
Show’s night was not yet finished, though. Just when Vince McMahon was prepared to fire Laurinaitis toward the end of RAW, Show came to the aid of the man who fired and then re-hired him. Show told McMahon that he could blame himself for the things that have gone on. And with his iron clad contract, Show was not afraid to tell McMahon about his plans to be a giant going forward instead of continuing to be a part of his dog and pony show.
Cena came down to the ring to argue a bit with Show and played the card of their match this Sunday being one that Show has to win. McMahon then stepped in and informed the world that if Show does disappoint, he will be right there ringside to fire Laurinaitis.
That set Show off and he went right at Cena. Security guards managed to break them up temporarily. But Show tossed three of them off and Cena got through the one holding him back. As they went at it again, Laurinaitis and McMahon started to get involved. And McMahon was left wide open for a Knockout Punch from Show that was intended for Cena until Cena ducked out of the way. And RAW ended with Show walking away and McMahon left unconscious in the middle of the ring.
It’s one thing to take out Clay, Kingston and Truth in one week. It’s also something to send a strong message inside the same Steel Cage he will be competing against Cena in at No Way Out when he beat down Kingston. But to knock out Vince McMahon, and show little remorse for doing so, is an entirely other thing. This helps set up for a very interesting bout this Sunday – one that Show seems very determined and focused on winning.
1. Dolph Ziggler – for becoming the contender for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out with a Fatal Four Way victory over The Great Khali, Jack Swagger and Christian:
Because Alberto Del Rio will be unable to compete at No Way Out, a new contender needed to be name for Sheamus in the World Heavyweight Title Match. It was up to John Laurinaitis to come up with an impressive way of solving this dilemma, as his job as general manager partly depended on it this week.
Vickie Guerrero burst into a backstage meeting between Vince McMahon and Laurinaitis in an effort to finagle her clients, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler, into whatever plans Laurinaitis was cooking up. McMahon told Laurinaitis that he should consider that and continued to press him on his idea for naming a contender for the World Heavyweight Championship. Laurinaitis turned to Teddy Long and asked for his opinion. Long brought up the idea of booking a Fatal Four Way Match for RAW between The Great Khali, Christian, Swagger and Ziggler. Laurinaitis told McMahon that was exactly what he was thinking and the match was set.
Khali was the least likely one of this bunch to step away the victor, so it was no surprise at all when he was the first to be eliminated by all three of his opponents. Swagger was the next one taken out, except it wasn’t by the man most would have expected. Christian dealt the blow that would take Swagger out of the equation. But it was Ziggler who darted in to grab the cover and score the pinfall eliminating the fellow Guerrero client from the match.
That left Ziggler and Christian in a one-on-one situation that really could have gone either way. But men were deserving of the opportunity to challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship, and they were both equally capable of giving Sheamus a decent run for his money at No Way Out.
They both collected several near falls in a terrific back-and-forth affair. The one that finally stuck came a few moments after Ziggler narrowly missed out on scoring a three-count following a leg drop bulldog on Christian. Ziggler waited for Christian to return to his feet so that he could go for a Zig Zag. Christian was aware that this move was coming and ducked it, countering right back with an inverted DDT that also only netted him a two-count. Christian looked to close it out with a frog splash off the top. But Ziggler ran up the ropes and met him with a right hand, causing Christian to change course. He leapt off the top rope as a way of dodging a charging Ziggler instead. And when he landed awkwardly on his ankle, Ziggler jumped on him with a Zig Zag that finally finished off the bout with a pinfall.
Sheamus met Ziggler on the ramp as he was heading to the back and they went face-to-face for a few moments. Sheamus is extremely confident in his ability to win basically every match, and rightfully so. He’s even beaten Ziggler the past couple of time they’ve faced each other.
But Ziggler has put up a great fight against him each of those times and must have learned something about The Celtic Warrior’s weaknesses along the way. With the World Heavyweight Title on the line, Ziggler is sure to put his best effort forward and could finally come away with a win over Sheamus that would also include the heavyweight belt.