WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 9.10.12
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 September 10, 2012
3. Bret Hart – for ending an almost 15-year absence from appearing in Montreal, where he got the better of an all-night confrontation with CM Punk:
The career of Bret “The Hitman” Hart took a permanent turn for the worse when he became a victim of the business back at the Survivor Series on Nov. 9, 1997. In what has long been known as the “Montreal Screwjob,” Hart was screwed out of his dignity and the then-WWF Championship by Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels. His career only went downhill from there as he moved on to WCW, and he never returned to the scene of the crime in Montreal.
That is until this week’s episode of RAW, which hailed from Bell Centre – the venue formerly known as the Molson Centre and host of the aforementioned 1997 Survivor Series. After almost 15 years, Hart had another moment most fans likely never thought they would see when he stood in the middle of the ring in front of his fellow-Canadians to get another piece of closure.
He opened the program to address the excited crowd, which roared so loudly for him that he found it difficult to even start speaking. Hart noted his appreciation of the fans’ support both on that night in 1997 and ever since then.
Unfortunately, Hart’s feel good moment was ruined by the interruption of WWE Champion CM Punk, whose only positive gesture toward “The Hitman” ended up being the donning of his Hart-inspired trunks and boots (which are awesome, by the way). Punk continued to demand respect by getting in the face of Hart and by reaching the farfetched conclusion that the WWE would have never survived into an Attitude Era if it was he who faced Hart at the Survivor Series instead of Michaels. After some good back and forth where Hart refused to back down, Punk finished up by saying that he was going to leave John Cena a broken down shell of a man, much like Hart. With that Pipe Bomb, Punk headed to the back to find out he was going to have a match against an opponent of the WWE Universe’s choosing later in the show, while Hart would return to the ring later on for an interview with Cena.
Hart’s interview with Cena took place at the end of the show and it was far more respectful than the interaction between Punk and Hart at the top of the program. Cena was genuinely humbled by Hart and even felt out of place being named alongside the likes of HBK and “The Hitman,” as Hart tried to make a comparison between his personal rivalry with Michaels and the one currently occurring in the WWE between Cena and Punk.
It wasn’t long before Punk made his presence felt, and it conveniently came after Hart called him a phony. Cena echoed those sentiments and it led to a face-to-face between the Night of Champions foes that got rather heated. It ended with Cena telling Punk he was going to kick his ass, in French.
Punk was a bit taken aback and tried to get in a shot at Hart. Cena stopped him from punching “The Hitman,” at least the first time. When Punk appeared to be exiting the ring, he attempted a right hand one more time, but Hart blocked it himself and fired back with a fist of his own. Punk stumbled to the back while Hart and Cena celebrated ringside as RAW came to a close.
It was a long time coming for Hart, but he finally made his return to the scene that it all ended for him in the WWF back in ’97. It was a great moment for him to get that continued closure, and even better to do so on a night where he decked the WWE Champion.
2. Randy Orton – for putting up a hell of an effort in singles action against CM Punk before interference on the part of Dolph Ziggler made it a tag team contest:
When CM Punk walked out of his match against Sheamus last week on RAW, only to return later for a sneak attack on John Cena, he had to know there would be repercussions. For somebody that demands respect as much as he does, he fails to deliver it in return and his decision a week ago got him into some hot water with the general manager.
After disrupting Bret Hart’s monumental return to Montreal, Punk returned to the back to learn that he was going to compete in singles action and his opponent would be chosen by the WWE Universe. The choices were Brodus Clay, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Randy Orton – and the fans selected The Viper.
That was the choice that stood the chance at being the best match of the three possibilities, and the combatants certainly delivered. Unfortunately for Orton, there was some interference on the part of his Night of Champions opponent, Dolph Ziggler, just as he was looking to hit Punk with the RKO. Orton was awarded the victory via disqualification, but he didn’t actually beat the WWE Champion and he would fall victim to a double team attack by Ziggler and Punk.
That was until Lawler entered the ring for the save and set the stage for an impromptu tag team match that pitted Orton and Lawler against Ziggler and Punk.
Punk wanted to have nothing to do with this match and that became even more apparent when Paul Heyman entered the arena and started talking to Punk. Punk paid no attention to the match at this point and he failed to see Orton hit Ziggler with the RKO in the middle of the ring. That led to the three-count and Punk simply walked away without any remorse afterward.
Orton and Lawler looked a little stunned at Punk’s nonchalant attitude toward the loss.
Lawler’s night took a turn for the worse when he legitimately collapsed at the announce table and we obviously hope everything turns out okay in that department for “The King.” As for Orton, he got a nice momentum-building victory in his pocket and the knowledge that he could definitely hang with Punk should a match with the WWE Champion ever end up on his agenda again.
1. Daniel Bryan and Kane – for “working together” as a tag team to take the No. 1 Contendership for the WWE Tag Team Titles away from The Prime Time Players:
No matter how much effort it takes, RAW general manager AJ Lee is intent on getting Daniel Bryan and Kane on the same page.
Their respective tempers have forced AJ to put them into anger management counseling, which did not pan out quite as well as she hoped it would. They were forced into a hug off last week thanks to voting from the WWE Universe, but their eventual embrace only led to pushing and shoving before breaking out into an all-out brawl.
A less committed GM would probably have given up by this point, but AJ would not be deterred. She brought in the assistance of the therapist that led their anger management sessions, Dr. Shelby. He had a plan to put Bryan and Kane in the ultimate trust exercise, which really just turned out to be a tag team match where they partnered up against the AJ-selected duo of Titus ‘O Neil and Darren Young.
There was more than trust on the line in this match, too. The Prime Time Players so arrogantly believed that they had a WWE Championship Match in the bag that they boasted about it to AJ in the back. When she booked this match, however, she informed them that they weren’t officially the No. 1 Contenders just yet. Only a win over Bryan and Kane would get them that status, otherwise the title match would go the other way.
O’Neil and Young were clearly going to provide a better team effort in this one, but that didn’t matter one bit in relation to the result. In fact, it was the tension between Kane and Bryan that ended up putting the match in their favor.
Since Bryan basically refused to tag out of the match, it took Kane tagging himself in toward the end to get a piece of the action. With Young down on the mat from repeated kicks to the chest by Bryan, Kane’s first order of business was to knock O’Neil off the apron. Then he delivered a couple of closelines in the corner on Young before hitting him with a sidewalk slam that went for a two-count.
Kane went up top in order to deliver the flying closeline to Young, which Kane used as the bridge toward a chokeslam. Kane then sent O’Neil over the top rope, but it put him close enough to his corner for Bryan to tag himself back into the match.
Kane was not a happy man over that tag and he made his emotions clear when he chokeslammed Bryan. Not only did he chokeslam his legal partner, but he did so right on top of the fallen Young. Because Young’s shoulders were down, the referee counted the three and the duo of Kane and Bryan were deemed the winners. The victory also granted them the WWE Tag Team Championship Match against Kofi Kingston and R-Truth at Night of Champions.
Bryan and Kane argued all the way to the back and in front of Dr. Shelby. But the team the counselor named “Team Friendship” must make an attempt to work together in some fashion this Sunday, because the ability to win the WWE Tag Team Championships is highly plausible. Should that actually happen, they will need to figure out a way to get along over the long haul anyway.