WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 10.1.12
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 October 1, 2012
3. Ryback – for sort of powering through Tensai before having yet another confrontation with CM Punk, this time on behalf of Jim Ross:
Ryback has made an incredible impression since debuting with the WWE, running through competition left and right on the road to becoming almost unstoppable. Never has his presence been felt more, however, than at the end of last week’s show. Just as CM Punk turned around after kicking Mick Foley in the gut, he caught the big man in his radar and cowered away like we’ve never seen the WWE Champion do so previously.
That was never addressed by Punk during his show-opening discussion revolving around respect and the Hell in a Cell Match against John Cena that everybody is pushing for him to accept. But, Ryback was still in the building and ready to make some noise on two occasions.
First, he competed in a match against Tensai, which was a return bout from when he beat the Japanese standout on Smackdown this past Friday night.
Tensai represents an upgrade in difficulty from what Ryback was used to going up against, but he still did a formidable job getting through the heavyweight. Unlike the way he closed out Friday’s night matchup, Ryback was unable to get Tensai up in order the hit the Shell Shocked. He tried twice and moved along after failing to get that much weight up on his shoulders. Instead, he went for his big closeline a second time and that turned out to be enough to keep Tensai down.
While it’s hard to not be disappointed in Ryback’s inability to close out that match the right way, Tensai is a big dude and I certainly would not have been able to do any better. We can’t all be John Cena, I guess. Regardless, Ryback was still steamrolling along with that win.
His night was not over, however. When Punk interrupted Jim Ross during his “Appreciation Night” speech and was denied the respect he demanded from the Hall of Fame announcer, Punk went into bully-mode and booted the Oklahoma-native from the ring. While J.R. sulked to the back, Ryback’s music suddenly hit the arena and he escorted Ross back down to the ring. He entered the ring and commanded Ross to the do the same, letting him get back to the announce table while engaging in the staredown with the WWE Champion. Punk participated for a few moments, but he thought better of getting physical with Ryback at this time and simply walked away.
As Ryback keeps dominated inside the ring, he has now added Punk to his agenda on two occasions. One would have to assume this is leading to an actual encounter between the two men at some point. And that possibility has me fairly intrigued.
2. Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara – for advancing in the tournament to determine the next No. 1 Contender for the WWE Tag Team Championships:
While Kane and Daniel Bryan continue to be one of the most dysfunctional tag team champions the WWE has ever seen, their next contenders are being decided via an eight-team tournament that started off last Friday night on Smackdown. Already advancing was the newly-crafted team of Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, who officially go by the name Rhodes Scholars.
With three more first round matchups on tap in this tournament, one of them was scheduled for Monday Night RAW this week. The hot tag team of Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara pushed forward in their pursuit of championship gold when they faced former-WWE Tag Team Champions Primo and Epico.
This was naturally a high-flying affair in which attention was only minimally diverted when the Prime Time Players decided to make their presence felt at the ringside area. No team in the WWE has sought the WWE Tag Team Titles more than Darren Young and Titus O’Neil, and their time in this tournament will come soon enough when they face Kofi Kingston and R-Truth in first round competition with the chance to battle the winner of this match in the semifinals.
When Cara countered Epico with a tilt-a-whirl DDT, Mysterio and Primo were tagged into the match. Mysterio ducked a closeline and hit the headscissors. When Primo pushed him into the ropes, Mysterio slid under the legs and tripped up his opponent, quickening the pace and setting Primo up for a stiff kick to the head. Mysterio covered for a two-count and then headed up top for a seated senton. He quickly went to the ropes and worked in an interesting tilt-a-whirl inverted DDT on Primo that still only netted him a two-count when Epico darted in for the save.
Cara took care of Epico with a springboard dropkick. He was tossed to the apron by Primo, but he still caught Primo with a kick to the head that conveniently dropped him right across the middle rope. Mysterio caught Epico charging in at him and drop toe holded him right into the same middle rope. Mysterio called for it and delivered a double 6-1-9. Cara then delivered a crossbody all the way to the outside on Epico, while Mysterio took care of business in the ring with a splash off the top rope that scored the pinfall.
Mysterio and Cara continue to grow as a tag team and look to be developing some unstoppable chemistry at the right time. They engaged in a staredown with the Prime Time Players, who were standing on the stage, after their victory and that seems to be a great possibility as far as the semifinals go for those two tag teams.
1. Sheamus – for irking off his Hell in a Cell challenger during a debate and then getting past Damien Sandow despite some attempted interference by Cody Rhodes:
Sheamus learned this past Friday night on Smackdown that he will be defending his World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell against The Big Show, who defeated Randy Orton in order to become the next in line for a crack at the title. Sheamus is never one to back down from a challenge, but Show does represent a much larger obstacle than he is typically used to.
They kicked off the build for this upcoming title match by booking Sheamus and Show in a debate during this week’s RAW. Smackdown general manager Booker T. was the moderator and it ended up being kind of a dumb and waste of time. However, things almost got physical when Sheamus continued joking around and Show furiously warned him to get serious. However, when they started to remove some clothing and appeared ready to throw fists, Show simply walked away and saved the physicality for another day.
Sheamus would not walk away without a fight on the night, though. He would return to the ring a bit later for a match against Damien Sandow – one-half of the newly formed Rhodes Scholars tag team alongside Cody Rhodes that won a first round tag team tournament match on Smackdown.
Sandow actually fared far better in this match than I would have expected and he showed some signs that he’s certainly capable of putting forth a decent enough match. But, he was facing Sheamus and there was only a small chance that he was going to be able to step out of that ring with a win in hand.
Sandow’s time to shine started to come to an end when Sheamus worked out of a headlock with a big back suplex. Some double sledges followed, as did a shoulder thrust in the corner, to set up for a knee lift to the chest in the middle of the ring. Sheamus hit a fireman’s carry slam, which prompted Sandow to roll to the apron.
Sheamus followed him, but he only got his throat dropped across the top rope. Sandow ran back in and countered a powerslam into a spinning neckbreaker that got him a cover and a two-count. Sandow choked Sheamus in the corner, but he caught a boot to the face from the champion upon charging into the corner. Sheamus lifted himself onto the top rope and leapt off with a battering ram to cover up for a two-count.
Sheamus could not follow up with the White Noise or the Brogue Kick, but he did grab Sandow through the ropes on the ring apron to deliver the 10 hard shots to his chest. Sandow fell right to the floor in front of Rhodes, who ran at Sheamus when his partner was being pushed back into the ring. Sheamus saw Rhodes coming, though, and shoved him into the announce table. Sheamus then sent Rhodes into the ring and waited for both Sandow and he to get back to their feet so he could hit a huge double Brogue Kick. Then he covered up on Sandow to collect the three-count.
Again, that was a far greater match than I expected to see between Sheamus and Sandow, who has to be given credit for coming out in full force in this match. The result, however, was obvious and Sheamus picks up a nice confidence builder as he gets closer to defending the gold against the Big Show.