WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 8.6.12
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 August 6, 2012
3. Kelly Kelly – for returning to RAW after a few months off to defeat Eve Torres in a match spitefully put together by general manager AJ Lee:
Kelly Kelly has been off WWE programming for approximately two months after being granted a little time away from the rough road scheduling she’s travelled on non-stop for a number of years. There was some chatter that perhaps a return to the company was not guaranteed for the 25-year old Diva. But all of those rumors were put to rest Monday when she came out for a match on this week’s episode of Monday Night RAW.
Kelly would soon find out that she was meeting up with Eve Torres, who was booked in this match by general manager AJ Lee because of a derogatory Tout she sent out earlier. Ya know, how all great rivalries are kindled. Regardless of the reason, Torres is still rather spiteful these days and provides some tough competition inside the ring, especially against an opponent that could be suffering from a little ring rust.
If any ring rust existed for Kelly, it certainly wasn’t noticeable. When Torres basically tried to push her off and leave the ring as if participating in such a match was beneath her, Kelly caught up to her on the apron and dragged her back into the ring by the hair before slamming her head against the mat.
The assault continued for Kelly, who was fairly aggressive against Torres. She really brought the fight and Torres didn’t want any part of it. When she tried to escape, Kelly followed her to the outside and ended up sending her right into the barricade.
Kelly managed to get a two-count off a crossbody when she returned action to the ring. But then she slipped up in the corner when attempting a headscissors move. Instead, she was dropped to the mat by Torres, who applied a series of choke holds on Kelly in order to swing momentum of the match back in her favor.
It worked for a bit, but Kelly could not be kept grounded for long. When Kelly worked her way off the mat and was sent to the ropes by Torres, she came back with a kick to her foe and then delivered a hurricurana that she worked into a pinfall.
Kelly was solid in her return match after having a two-month layoff. She looked sharp early on and rebounded back nicely when she did find herself on the defensive end of the bout. If she can keep that aggressiveness going in future matchups, she could make a decent run toward the Divas Championship. It just remains to be seen whether she’ll build off this victory or simply become content after a nice return to RAW.
2. CM Punk – for taking on an old rival and coming up with the victory against him in the opening bout to RAW:
CM Punk is generally a sharp cookie. After all, he did have fans eating out of the palm of his hand this time last year. And really as far as two weeks ago during the monumental 1,000th episode of RAW, he’s been pretty on top of making quality decisions, as delivering a diving closeline out of nowhere to none other than The Rock is certainly one way to mark his territory as the top dog in the WWE.
Last week, however, Punk had a lapse in judgment. He thought he was doing right by himself when he interrupted a bout between John Cena and The Big Show. The winner of that match was to become No. 1 Contender for Punk’s WWE Title, with a match slated to go down on Aug. 19 at SummerSlam. When Punk elected to enter the ring during the match and halt Cena’s attempt at an Attitude Adjustment on Show, however, he was quite surprised at what transpired.
Punk declared that nobody had won that match and he walked to the back in the closing moments of RAW figuring that he wouldn’t have to face anybody at SummerSlam. But when general manager AJ Lee crossed paths with him at the top of the ramp and declared the WWE Championship Match at SummerSlam would now be a triple threat match, in which Punk would defend the strap against both Cena and Show, he became irate. He demanded respect – a running theme for the Straight Edge champion.
He wasn’t finished throwing his tantrum last week. He interrupted AJ at the top of the broadcast this week when she was trying to announce some matches for the evening. At first, he apologized for the way he disrespected AJ last week. And it was accepted. But when he bargained for the match at SummerSlam to be taken off the table, she refused to go that far and made it clear that the triple threat bout was still on.
He felt she was merely doing this as a way to get back at him for rejecting her marriage proposal, and both Cena and Show ended up coming down to the ring to voice their opinions on the matter of the WWE Title Match in two weeks. The end result of all of this was that Punk got himself into some hot water again. When AJ booked Cena and Show in matches for RAW, he mentioned that he should be in the main event. He didn’t quite get that, but AJ did give him a match. It would come up momentarily against an opponent of the fans’ choosing.
Their options were The Miz, Kane and Rey Mysterio, and the fans decided to rekindle an old feud between Mysterio and Punk.
This turned out to be a great match to kick off the in-ring action on RAW. It was back-and-forth from the start of things, with Punk going for a more grounded game that netted him a couple of early near falls while Mysterio managed to bruise the thigh of Punk with some stiff kicks that hindered the WWE Champion’s mobility.
Things remained that way going forward, with Mysterio picking up some of the flashier offensive moves but succumbing to a somewhat stifling attack by Punk that netted him a few more pin attempts.
After being worn down by a leglock, Mysterio escaped by biting Punk’s hand. He was tossed to the outside by Punk for going to such levels. But the damage from that was minimal for Mysterio and it ended up just waking him up.
Mysterio hopped onto the apron and nailed Punk in the gut as he charged in. A right hand was followed by the seated senton and Mysterio kept himself on top by countering a sunset flip by rolling through to deliver a kick to the side of Punk’s head. Mysterio went for the cover but he could only land a two-count once Punk got a shoulder up.
Both men took a little time getting to their feet. Punk shoved Mysterio into the turnbuckles, but he caught a boot to the face as he slowly walked toward him. Mysterio then springboarded off the bottom rope, but he landed on the shoulders of Punk. Mysterio viciously elbowed his way down and he tripped up Punk with a low dropkick to the knee that placed Punk across the ropes. Mysterio went for the 6-1-9 and he connected, but he landed right on top of Punk’s knees when he headed up top to try and finish things off with the splash.
Punk got up as quickly as he could and lifted Mysterio onto his shoulders. This time, there was no fight left in Mysterio and he got blasted with the Go2Sleep. Punk covered up to get the three-count for a hard-fought and momentum-building victory.
Punk’s evening ended on a bit of a sour note when he got involved with Cena and Show after the main event match. He thought he was going to close RAW out as the only one of them left standing, but that ended up being Show when he decked both opposing superstars with Knockout Punches.
Still, Punk’s confidence is fairly high and he continues to fight for the respect he feels he is being denied by coming up with big in-ring performances. That match against Mysterio was a solid one and the victory that resulted from it is something he can build off over the next couple of weeks as he prepares to defend the WWE Title at SummerSlam against two men.
1. John Cena – for scoring a solid main event win over Daniel Bryan:
John Cena figured to be well on his way to a WWE Championship Match at SummerSlam when he had Big Show lifted onto his shoulders, just moments away from receiving an Attitude Adjustment, during the main event of last Monday night’s RAW. Instead, CM Punk stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and interference on the part of the champion caused the main event at SummerSlam to become a triple threat bout for the WWE Title.
Cena expressed his disappointment in this outcome during the opening segment involving AJ Lee and Punk. He called Punk out for being dumb enough to get involved and take what would have been a one-on-one title defense and turn it into a triple threat match. And Cena noted that the champion generally doesn’t have the greatest odds of leaving with the title still in hand – acknowledging the fact that he believes either Show or he will step out of SummerSlam with the title.
His points were certainly noted, but he also had to worry about a main event match for RAW against Daniel Bryan before concerning himself too much with what may or may not go down two weeks from now in Los Angeles.
Bryan is a bit unstable at the moment, as if he wasn’t a dangerous enough wrestler to begin with. So, Cena would need to have his mind completely focused on this match. Bryan wasn’t necessarily going to get anything from winning the bout, as he was earlier denied a shot at entering the WWE Title Match at SummerSlam when AJ instead informed him that he already had a match scheduled for the pay-per-view – against Kane. But still, Bryan’s sheer talent mixed with him being one foot already off the cliff mentally equated to a big obstacle for Cena.
It wasn’t easy, but Cena was able to pull it off. He was hoping to have the match put away when he powered his way out of a wristlock and connected on a few shoulders tackles to setup for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He then picked Bryan up for the Attitude Adjustment. But as he swung his foe around for the move, Bryan locked on with a guillotine choke.
Cena tried valiantly to stay on his feet and fight Bryan off him. But he eventually dropped to the mat and should have been in a position to tap out. He willed his way back to his feet, though, and slammed Bryan back-first into the turnbuckles for a second time, this time successfully forcing Bryan to break the hold.
Cena fell to the mat, but he caught Bryan charging at him by going for the drop toehold. He tried to transition into an STF, but Bryan kicked him off and then rolled him up for a two-count. Bryan drilled Cena in the side of the head with a kick and went for another cover. Once again, Cena kicked out at two.
Appearing to be a little frustrated, Bryan headed up top and leapt off with a long diving headbutt. It somehow connected and Bryan once again covered up, getting yet another two-count. Bryan remained in disbelief but he pumped himself up and proceeded to stream Cena with a series of tough kicks to the chest. After about 10 of them connected, Cena finally got the hint and ducked one. As he did, he tripped up Bryan into an STF.
Being the submission specialist that he is, Bryan knew how to get out of the hold and countered his way into the start of a No Lock. He could not get the hold completely applied, though, and Cena countered it right into an Attitude Adjustment. Cena hit the move when he slammed Bryan to the mat and finally brought the match to its conclusion when he covered up for the three-count.
It was truly an excellent match between these two and something to have fans yearning for another encounter between them.
Cena’s night was spoiled a bit after the match when his night ended on the mat as a result of eating a Knockout Punch from Big Show. But that win in his pocket against Bryan is still a testament to the kind of competitor that he is. Cena stands a great shot of once against wearing the WWE Title when SummerSlam is all said and done, as he proved exactly what he’s capable of when going at it with competitors such as Bryan and Punk, who most might consider better wrestlers than him.