WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 6.25.12
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 25, 2012
3. Santino Marella – for successfully defending the United States Championship against Jack Swagger:
Santino Marella’s main role with the WWE will likely always be to provide the laughs. He is good at it, after all, and has been integral in the humor department for so long already on RAW. It was just about a week ago that he competed against (and beat) Ricardo Rodriguez in a Tuxedo Match.
But Marella also happens to possess the United States Championship and has done so since defeating Jack swagger for it back on March 5. Since then, he has held onto the gold against the likes of David Otunga, The Miz and Swagger on a few more occasions. And on this week’s episode of RAW, he would have another go versus The All-American American with the United States Title on the line.
If these matches were based purely on talent alone, Swagger would probably have defeated Marella without any real issue each time he’s faced him. But that isn’t the case and Marella’s unorthodox strategy has done him will since acquiring the U.S. gold from Swagger 112 days ago.
Generally one would expect Swagger to dominate most of this matchup with Marella finding a way to break through and retain the gold in the end. But Marella was seriously impressive from bell-to-bell in this match and never really looked entirely outclasses by Swagger. He countered strongly and put on a good offense. And the ending was just a big exclamation point on that.
After putting Swagger down on the mat with a hip toss and diving headbutt, he grabbed the Cobra sleeve from his attire and slipped it. He took a bit too much time and was caught by Swagger. But he quickly countered being lifted up with a DDT. Then Marella officially called for the Cobra and drilled Swagger with it, covering up right after for the three-count.
Swagger isn’t having a ton of luck in general as of late. But losing to Marella again in perhaps worse fashion than he ever has before should be an indication that he needs to do some soul searching.
Contrarily, Marella is really on fire right now. He’ll still take a moment or two out for delighting the fans with his shenanigans. But everybody should be on notice that he’s taking his U.S. Title reign rather seriously.
2. Big Show – for annihilating Brodus Clay yet again in Clay’s revenge matchup against him:
The Big Show has been a pretty sour dude since being fired by John Laurinaitis and he’s been no happier since his return. A loss to John Cena at No Way Out definitely didn’t improve the big man’s attitude and he’s still pretty dead-set on destroying anything that gets in his path.
One superstar that doesn’t seem too intimated over being on that path is Brodus Clay. He was put out of action a few months ago with by an assault from Show and has never really received his moment for retribution. He did interfere on Cena’s behalf during the Steel Cage Match at No Way Out, but that pales in comparison to an actual physical altercation with Show.
Clay would receive that this week on RAW. A one-on-one match between Clay and Show was booked with revenge squarely on the mind of The Funkasaurus. Clay probably would have been better focusing on an escape plan, though, considering he didn’t come out looking much this go around than he did when he initially challenged Show in late-March.
Show had little problem putting a hurting on Clay and paid particular attention toward wearing down Clay’s knee. That strategy would be especially effective considering Show’s victory came as a result of the injury. Clay was able to muster up some steam late in the match and even go Show lifted up for a shot at slamming him down. But Clay’s knee couldn’t hold the weight and he fell backward with Show landing right on top of him. The referee counted the pinfall due to the positioning.
Clay was clearly hurt and needed assistance getting to the back. But he would be stopped on the ramp by a sudden Knockout Punch from Show that just added further insult to injury.
With Clay yet again out of the picture, Show can turn his attention toward going after the WWE Championship. It was announced that he would be one of the participants in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for that title and it’s hard to argue he stands a good shot at grabbing the briefcase.
1. Daniel Bryan – for coming away with a triple threat victory over CM Punk and Kane to move onto a WWE Championship Match at Money in the Bank:
Everything surrounding the ongoing events between WWE Champion CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and Kane has been very interesting. But perhaps the most intriguing elements of the whole thing is the involvement of AJ.
The girl is clearly nuts and has been that way since being dumped by Bryan after he essentially tabbed her as the reason he lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania. Since that time, she tried to get with Punk and has been playing mind games with Kane, who just so happens to be a master of mind games himself.
Lately, she has really been screwing with the head of Kane and has cost him his focus over the past couple of weeks. She played a big role in Punk retaining the WWE Championship at No Way Out and coming out of a tag team bout last week on the winning team.
This week, she would once again get involved in a show-opening triple threat elimination match involving the same three players. But while her interference initially helped out the WWE Champion, it quickly turned right back around to hurt him.
Toward the end of another great contest between three men, AJ’s music hit the arena just as Kane was looking for a chokeslam. As AJ skipped around the ring – as she does, Punk capitalized on the opportunity to reverse into a Go2Sleep to Kane that resulted in a pinfall. Punk’s moment of glory was short-lived, however, because Bryan was able to re-enter the ring as AJ bailed to the back. Bryan caught Punk offguard with a kick right to the head that dropped the champ to the mat and enabled Bryan to pick up a pinfall.
While it could have been in the cards anyway, a WWE Championship Match for Money in the Bank was announced shortly thereafter pitting Punk against Bryan in singles competition. Matches between those two could really go either way. But Bryan’s confidence definitely took a rise after that victory and he should continue to gain some momentum in the coming weeks.