WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 6.18.12
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 18, 2012
3. Dolph Ziggler – for defeating Jack Swagger to become the sole client of Vickie Guerrero:
While it’s never a good thing when a wrestler needs to sit one out because of a concussion, Alberto Del Rio’s misfortune turned into a big opportunity for Dolph Ziggler. When it came to light that Del Rio would need to pull out of the World Heavyweight Championship Match at No Way Out, a Fatal Four Way Match was established on RAW last week to name a new No. 1 Contender. Ziggler was able to get past The Great Khali, Jack Swagger and Christian to earn the shot against Sheamus and six days later went on to challenge for the championship he previously held once for all of around 10 minutes.
Coming off two straight defeats at the hands of The Celtic Warrior, Ziggler aimed for a different result this go-around with the title on the line. But it turned out much the same. Ziggler was incredibly impressive and gave Sheamus a serious run for his money. But the inevitable Brogue Kick by Sheamus put Ziggler away and prevented him from achieving the elevated main event status he’s destined to move into one day.
That loss gave his sometime forced upon partner in crime a little fodder to hang over his head Monday night. Jack Swagger gave him the business backstage on RAW and bragged about his several months-long title reign in comparison the pathetically-short one owned by Ziggler that barely lasted long enough to remember. Sick and tired of their in-fighting, Vickie Guerrero convinced guest general manager Mick Foley to book a bout between the two of them. And the winner would receive Guerrero’s services and admiration, essentially implying that the loser was on his own.
Ziggler started the match out confident and in control. But it wasn’t long before Swagger took over and began to put some heavy focus on wearing down Ziggler’s knee. Swagger maintained the upperhand for majority of the matchup because of his ability to keep on Ziggler and his knee. An Ankle Lock really should have been the final nail in the coffin, especially when Swagger was able to pull Ziggler away from the ropes so that the hold could not be broken.
Ziggler proved his resilience, though, and he found the resolve to roll through and send Swagger into the turnbuckles. As Swagger stumbled back just a bit, Zigger pounced on him for the Zig Zag and quickly covered up for the three-count.
In addition to winning the match, he kept the managerial services of Vickie Guerrero. She rewarded his victory with a kiss in the ring – a moment Ziggler should have despised but didn’t appear to for some reason.
Ziggler could head in several different directions from here. Another match or two against Swagger is certainly a possibility, as is a nice run toward a championship. Regardless of what’s next on his agenda, the victory Monday is hopefully what he needed to get over his multiple losses against Sheamus and back on the winning track.
2. CM Punk and Sheamus – for teaming up after successful title defenses at No Way Out for a matchup against Kane and Daniel Bryan:
No Way Out turned into a pretty solid evening for the current champions. CM Punk was able to surpass the odds in defeating both Kane and Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Championship. Meanwhile, Sheamus held onto the World Heavyweight Championship with a victory over Dolph Ziggler after having just six days to prepare for his competition.
Riding very high in the confidence department following their respective wins, Punk and Sheamus seemed fully prepared to get right back into the ring the next night on RAW. Thankfully, guest general manager Mick Foley had a match all picked out for them and it kicked off the in-ring portion of the show. Foley partnered Punk and Sheamus up to take on Bryan and Kane in a similar match from last week, except Sheamus was taking AJ’s spot on this occasion.
Just because she wasn’t involved in this match, that doesn’t mean AJ didn’t play a critical role in its outcome. In the concluding moments of a highly-entertaining and lengthy matchup, both Punk and Bryan were laid out in the middle of the ring after a superplex off the top from Bryan that countered what was to be a flying elbow drop. As they started to get to their feet, AJ’s music hit the arena and she emerged donning a Kane mask.
AJ made her way all the way down to the ring and skipped around the squared circle, drawing the attention of Kane – and everybody watching both live and around the world on television. Much like she did a night earlier at No Way Out, she provided a costly distraction to The Big Red Machine.
Kane turned his back on the match and left the ring apron to follow AJ up the ramp. As he did so, Bryan yelled for him to get back. Now with handicap odds in his team’s favor, Punk was able to hit the Go2Sleep on Bryan before Sheamus entered the ring for a Brogue Kick. Sheamus covered up to score the three-count for his team.
AJ’s crazy side knows how to play mind games and she’s getting to Kane. Her presence has led to Punk being quite successful over the past few weeks, and Sheamus was able to get in on the action this week by being brought into this angle as a tag partner. Both Punk and Sheamus are able to relish in their success over the past 24 hours and have little trouble accepting a worthy “W” after a competitive tag team matchup – even if a little assistance from a crazy chick got them there.
1. John Cena – for building upon his Steel Cage win against Big Show that got John Laurinaitis fired with a handicap match victory over Laurinaitis and David Otunga:
Generally there are high stakes involved when John Cena has any kind of match these days. His bout against The Rock at WrestleMania was for bragging rights. A showdown with Brock Lesnar at Extreme Rules was to prove his own legitimacy as the top guy in the WWE. And an odd matchup against John Laurinaitis at Over The Limit was for the right to remove Laurinaitis as the general manager of RAW and Smackdown.
Cena found himself in a similar situation at No Way Out this past Sunday when he stepped into a Steel Cage to face The Big Show. Not only would a victory over Show provide Cena with some retaliation for what went down at last month’s pay-per-view, but it would also enable Vince McMahon to right the wrong that resulted from it and fire Laurinaitis from his post.
Show was unable to save Laurinaitis’ job this go around when he lost a race to the outside of the cage. When Cena was able to hit the floor before Show, it gave Cena a major win over the big man and put an end the Laurinaitis’ reign of terror as the man in charge. He was fired on the spot by McMahon and put through the Spanish announce table by Cena for good measure.
That, however, was not Laurinaitis’ last day in the WWE. He was allotted the opportunity to show up on RAW for his sendoff. And while Mick Foley was named guest GM for this week’s series of WWE programming, he was also at the mercy of a decision Laurinaitis’ made before his termination took place. He scheduled a handicap match as the main event for this Monday’s program that pit Cena against David Otunga, Show and Laurinaitis himself.
A clever idea by Laurinaitis quickly unraveled right before his very eyes when it was time for the match to take place. First, Teddy Long was ringside to get a front row look at the possible further humiliation of the man who put him through some much. Also, Show decided that he had no obligation to take part in this match. While thankful for his contract and job, his allegiance was to nobody but himself and he was prepared to move forward with his career.
And the final nail in the coffin for Laurinaitis came when Otunga started to realize the same exact thing. Throughout the match, Laurinaitis repeatedly retreated whenever Otunga tried to make a tag and get some rest from facing Cena in the ring. When Laurinaitis finally put his butt on the line and tagged in (conveniently after Otunga had worked over Cena quite a bit), he would receive similar treatment by Otunga.
A minor flurry of kicks by Laurinaitis netted him a cover on Cena. Cena threw him off at a one count, however, and Laurinaitis headed straight back to his corner for a tag to Otunga. Instead of taking the tag, Otunga jumped off the apron and headed for the back. He no longer needed to be Laurinaitis’ lackey after all since the man did lose all of his power. In disbelief, Laurinaitis turned around into some right hand shots and slaps to the back. Cena then went on to deliver not one, not two, but three Attitude Adjustments to Laurinaitis before transitioning into an STF that immediately had the former GM tapping out.
Perhaps no man in the building was happier about all of this than Long. But Cena seemed pretty pleased with his work with a lengthy celebration as RAW came to a close. And he has reason to be excited. He was able to do to Laurinaitis was he failed to accomplish at the last PPV thanks to Show. And he sent him off Monday night with a beating that certainly pleased the masses.