WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 8.20.12
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 20, 2012
3. The Big Show – for taking his fury over the loss at SummerSlam out on the returning David Otunga:
The Big Show always seemed like the extra man in the Triple Threat WWE Championship Match at SummerSlam. He really has CM Punk to thank for being involved in the match to begin with because it was the champion’s interference during a No. 1 Contender’s Match that John Cena was well on his way to winning that forced general manager AJ Lee to make the bout at SummerSlam a three-way situation. Still, that logic doesn’t ease the loss for the giant.
Show even served as the main focus of attack to both Cena and Punk during the match when he wasn’t dishing out his own brand of punishment to the two of them. They both applied submission holds that initially ended the match with no conclusive winner because it was impossible to determine which move he was tapping out to. Then when AJ restarted the match, Show failed to pick up the pinfall off a double chokeslam and succumbed to an Attitude Adjustment from Cena. Punk sent Cena out of the ring before he could cover and stole the pinfall for himself, keeping the WWE Title around the waist it entered SummerSlam on. It was not the one belonging to Show.
He was not pleased with what seemed to be a two-on-one strategy being employed by Cena and Punk, and the big man expressed his frustration over what went down in a WWE.com video. He was granted an opportunity to let out some his anger when he was selected as a mystery opponent for the returning David Otunga.
Otunga got himself into some hot water with AJ. He’s been out for a bit due to being involved in a movie. The landscape has changed since he was last on RAW, with the most drastic change being the promotion of AJ to the position of general manager. He tried to butter her up by offering his legal services to her, but he soon fell out of favor when he slipped the word “crazy” into his speech. She told him to offer his services in the ring against an opponent of her choosing. That opponent turned out to be Show.
Even on a mild-manner day for Show, he’s a tough dude to go up against. When he’s pissed off, it’s best to just steer clear of him entirely. Otunga was sent out to get destroyed and that’s exactly what happened.
Show could hardly wait for the bell to ring and he stormed Otunga once it did. He started off with some vicious right hands to the midsection, a clubbing forearm to the back and then a hard slap to the chest. Show followed up with a bodyslam and kept right on top of Otunga with a series of fists to the gut.
Show put Otunga down on the mat with another forearm to the back. He then stepped on the small of the back and palmed Otunga’s face so he could stand him back up for a headbutt. Otunga tried to fight back with a couple of punches to Show’s stomach, but he was stopped and dropped with another clubbing blow to the back.
With Otunga hanging on to the ropes, Show choked him against the middle one and then followed him into the corner for a slap the chest that sent Otunga reeling. Otunga tried to kick Show away, but he only received some knees to the chest for his troubles. Show put Otunga on the mat with an elbow and then called for the Knockout Punch, which connected and enabled Show to cover up for the merciful three-count.
That was not the kind of homecoming Otunga was hoping for, but it was exactly the type of encounter Show needed to let out some of his aggression. He was an angry giant based on what went down 24 hours earlier at SummerSlam and he made sure to let Otunga feel his wrath. Show is probably out of the title hunt for now, so it’s going to be a sorry day for the next superstar thrown in front of him based on his current mood.
2. Randy Orton – for appearing after having SummerSlam off as the hand-chosen opponent of AJ Lee for Alberto Del Rio:
Randy Orton’s only recent return to WWE programming from a 60-day suspension put him out of favor for a match at SummerSlam. That’s just one of the reasons you don’t do drugs, kids – it could cost you a decent payday.
Regardless, Orton is still one of the top guys in the WWE despite his wrongdoings. Just because he got one pay-per-view off, that does not mean he’s out of favor for good. He hit the ring one night later on Monday Night RAW as a specially-selected opponent on the part of general manager AJ Lee for Alberto Del Rio.
Del Rio was still fuming over being robbed in his World Heavyweight Championship Match against Sheamus at SummerSlam. Sheamus ended up retaining the gold via pinfall, but that was only after the referee missed Del Rio putting his foot on the rope well before the count of three. Those are the breaks sometimes, and Sheamus had no problem taking the victory. Unfortunately, Del Rio didn’t feel the same way on his end, and he decided to air his grievances and demand another shot at the title on RAW.
AJ came out and acknowledged that she didn’t have the power to make decisions regarding the World Heavyweight Championship. That is territory belonging to Smackdown’s general manager, Booker T. AJ did, however, figure she should put Del Rio in a match since he was already dressed. His opponent would be The Viper. To make matters even worse for Del Rio, Sheamus came out to provide guest commentary ringside alongside Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler.
The match itself was pretty decent for what it was, and both men stood a great chance at taking the victory with good counters and near-fall attempts. The result of the match would be guided by Sheamus, though.
After hitting his hanging DDT from the ropes, Orton pounded the mat to signal for an RKO. Ricardo Rodriguez hopped onto the apron and caused Orton to turn his attention away from Del Rio. Sheamus chased Rodgriuez away, but Orton was still left vulnerable for a backstabber from Del Rio. He moved right in for the cover, but Orton put his boot onto the bottom rope as the count was going on and Sheamus rushed over to inform the referee about it.
The referee took notice of exactly what was missed a night earlier when Del Rio did it. Del Rio was mad as hell, yelling at both the referee and then Sheamus. He wasted so much time and energy that he received an RKO from Orton upon turning around. Orton hooked the leg and got the three-count to hand Del Rio his second straight questionable defeat in a matter of 24 hours.
Things got a bit interesting after the match when Orton stared down Sheamus, as if hinting that he’s ready for a showdown with the World Heavyweight Champion. That could reasonably happen and it would be a logical next step for Sheamus should he truly be finished with his rivalry against Del Rio. The Viper is a legitimate contender for the title and he could very well be the guy to unseat The Celtic Warrior.
1. Dolph Ziggler – for rebounding from his loss against Chris Jericho at SummerSlam by defeating him in the main event to retain his Money in the Bank briefcase and cause the termination of Y2J’s employment:
Dolph Ziggler ranted and raved to Chris Jericho that he just wasn’t capable of winning the big one anymore. In the weeks leading up to their matchup at SummerSlam, Ziggler even managed to back the statement up on a few occasions. When it came time for them to go one-on-one at the pay-per-view Sunday evening, however, Jericho proved he still had the skills necessary to come through in a big fight.
In the match that opened the SummerSlam broadcast, Jericho and Ziggler went toe-to-toe for nothing more than pride and validation. They fought hard for a solid 13 minutes before Jericho was able to slap on the Walls of Jericho and force Ziggler to tap out despite how desperately he tried to get out of the hold. Jericho showed off to the show off and did exactly what he thought he could not do.
These two would end up crossing paths again one night later on RAW, and the stakes were set even higher this go around. When Ziggler crossed paths with Jericho in the back, he tried to convince Y2J that he needed another match against Ziggler. General manager AJ Lee made it happen and she added some conditions that raised the stakes much higher than the match the two had on Sunday. If Ziggler were to lose, he would hand over his Money in the Bank briefcase to Jericho. However, a loss on Jericho’s end would immediately terminate his employment with the WWE.
This would naturally be the evening’s main event, before some brouhaha between CM Punk, John Cena and Jerry “The King” Lawler. Much like the night before, Jericho and Ziggler gave it their all in a lengthy matchup where only a clean finish would suffice.
Jericho was being worked over pretty well by Ziggler when he ended up in the corner and started a comeback by lifting his boots into the face of his charging foe. Jericho kept on Ziggler with a couple of shoulder blocks before heading up top for a double axe handle. Jericho went for the running bulldog, but he was pushed off and back into the corner by Ziggler.
Ziggler ran in, but Jericho quickly countered by seating him on the top turnbuckle before delivering a couple of chops to the chest. Jericho climbed the ropes and, after hitting Ziggler with 10 punches to the forehead, flipped the two of them off the ropes with a hurricurana.
A pin attempt by Jericho only mustered up a two-count and he regrouped in the corner to think up his next move. By the time he stepped back toward Ziggler, he was met with a DDT by Mr. Money in the Bank, who hooked the leg for a two-count of his own.
Ziggler looked to follow up with a running leg drop bulldog, but Jericho smartly countered with the beginning stage of the Walls of Jericho. Ziggler avoided the move completely by flipping Jericho off. Jericho tried for the move again but he was met with a small package by Ziggler that once again went for a two-count.
Jericho hit a closeline on Ziggler and then attempted a suplex, but Ziggler countered out and went for a Zig Zag. Jericho held onto the ropes and shrugged Ziggler off, instead coming back at him with the running bulldog. That set up nicely for Jericho to attempt the lionsault. Unfortunately for Y2J, Ziggler got the knees up and promptly followed up with a Zig Zag that put Jericho on the mat for the pinfall.
Jericho would make Ziggler pay by snatching the briefcase and drilling him with it before hitting a Codebreaker and walking way an unemployed man.
Those wounds will heal for Ziggler, though. Not only did he get some redemption for his loss to Jericho at SummerSlam, but he ended the man’s career (for now) and held onto the Money in the Bank briefcase. Now that he’s moving on from dealing with Jericho, perhaps Ziggler returns his focus to cashing that briefcase in for a shot at becoming the World Heavyweight Champion.