WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 12.24.12
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 December 24, 2012
3. Kane and Daniel Bryan – for defeating perhaps their biggest threats in the tag team division, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, in singles matchups:
Daniel Bryan and Kane continued to become a more cohesive team with each passing week. As a result, they are going to be tough to beat for any team hoping to contend for the WWE Tag Team Championships. Although the tag team division in the WWE is fairly slim, there’s still a team or two that could at least give Team Hell No a run for its money.
One of those teams is Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, better known as Team Rhodes Scholars. The pompous duo has done fairly well for itself as a randomly thrown together tag team, much like Kane and Bryan.
Unfortunately, they haven’t had much luck against the tag team champions. Rhodes and Sandow failed to capture the straps at Hell In A Cell and, after beating Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara at Tables, Ladders and Chairs to become No. 1 Contenders, they couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity during the feature match on Main Event.
Not able to get the job done on a team basis, Rhodes and Sandow were given the chance to see if they could get the best of Kane and Bryan on an individual basis this week on RAW. They fared just as poorly in singles action.
First, Kane and Rhodes opened the in-ring action on RAW. Though Rhodes was able to get several minutes of offense in against Kane courtesy of targeting his shoulder, a bit of cheating on the part of Rhodes came back to bite him at the end. Midway through the contest, Rhodes removed the padding from one of the top turnbuckles and the referee never got around to re-attaching it. So, when Kane reversed Rhodes’ attempt to send him face-first into the exposed turnbuckle and sent Rhodes’ that way instead, Kane followed up with a chokeslam and covered up for the three-count.
With one bout in Team Hell No’s pocket, Bryan’s turn came later in the evening when he went one-on-one with Sandow.
The bout started out pretty funny with Sandow telling Bryan to be silent and Bryan responding “No!” But, the jokes quickly turned into a solid match where each competitor had his opportunities. Bryan went high-risk late in the match when he countered a superplex by knocking Sandow to the mat before attempting a diving headbutt. Sandow rolled out of the way to send Bryan crashing into the mat. But, when Sandow went for the Terminus, Bryan was still able to counter into a No Lock. In the middle of the ring with nowhere to go for an escape, Sandow was forced to tap out, making it 2-0 for Team Hell No.
Although it’s hard to count Team Rhodes scholars completely out of the running as challengers to Team Hell No, Kane and Bryan have had a good string of luck against them. With their successful defense of the tag straps and individual wins on RAW, the dominance shown by Kane and Bryan over the one of the better teams the WWE has to offer bodes well for them.
2. Sheamus – for picking up a pinfall over World Heavyweight Champion The Big Show in a non-title Lumber “Jack Frost” Match:
Sheamus’ sheer dominance as World Heavyweight Champion came to a screeching halt when he met up with The Big Show. Show was able to beat him for the championship at Hell In A Cell, retain the gold at Survivor Series courtesy of a disqualification and hold onto the title yet again at Tables, Ladders and Chairs by using a giant chair during a Chairs Match.
Sheamus got at Show both last week on RAW and on Smackdown, but the former occurred outside of a match and the latter came during a tag team match where he didn’t get out as much aggression as he would have liked. This week on RAW, however, would present Sheamus with a terrific opportunity to get back at Show.
They competed in a Lumber “Jack Frost” Match. The World Heavyweight Title was not on the line, so this was strictly an opportunity for both guys to beat the hell out of each other. And that they did.
The lumberjacks standing on the outside got involved and played a role in action. But, it came down to Sheamus and Show in deciding the outcome. After coming close on a few covers, Show really looked to finish things off by heading to the ropes and attempting a Vader Bomb. Sheamus rolled out of the way and fought back with the White Noise.
Sheamus covered for a two-count and then tried for the Brogue Kick, but Show caught the boot and tossed Sheamus to the floor. The team 3MB started to attack Sheamus before a few of the good guy lumberjacks came to The Celtic Warrior’s aid. Tensai, who delivered his fair share of boots, eventually put Sheamus back into the ring, where Show called for the Knockout Punch.
When Sheamus got back to his feet, he ducked the KO Punch and instead quickly came back at Show with a sudden Brogue Kick. Show hit the deck and Sheamus was able to cover up for the pinfall.
A massive brawl ensued after the match with the lumberjacks, but Sheamus was still able to stand tall with the good guy lumberjacks in the end.
He doesn’t get a title out of this exchange, but it’s a nice bit of redemption for Sheamus to beat Show. It wasn’t easy and there were distractions to deal with, but Sheamus proved that he could beat Show and perhaps earned himself a spot back in line for the World Heavyweight Championship.
1. John Cena – for avenging Santa Claus, who was hit by a car being driven by Alberto Del Rio at the top of RAW, in a “Miracle on 34th Street” Fight:
This week’s RAW opened in incredibly awkward fashion. With a cartoon/John Cena-conducted choir-style opening, it was clear this would be no ordinary RAW. That was further proven when just a few minutes in, guest host Santa Claus was hit by a car driven by Alberto Del Rio.
Now, the face-turning Del Rio, as well as his ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez, looked on with concern and swore it was an accident. But, that didn’t prevent Santa from apparently telling Booker T. that he wanted Del Rio to compete against Cena in a “Miracle on 34th Street” Fight. Del Rio obviously didn’t have a choice and Cena promised to fight for Santa.
The match itself was almost as ridiculous as the show’s opening, but I will admit that I thought it was kind of fun because it was different and the WWE isn’t going to break out stories like this every night. And, this wasn’t just a straight match between Cena and Del Rio. It was a light version of a street fight, in which the competitors made use of “gifts” laid out around the ring and on top of the ramp. But, in no instance was it ever too serious.
Cena was at a disadvantage, though. While he went at it alone, Del Rio always had Rodriguez there to watch his back, which was especially useful in a no disqualification setting. After Cena blasted Del Rio in the ring with a fire extinguisher, Rodriguez helped his boss out by applying a sleeper hold to Cena.
Suddenly, Cena backup hit the arena when Santa’s music played. Rodriguez released his sleeper hold and ran out of the ring in hopes of hugging Santa, but he just got whacked in the head with Santa’s sack of toys. Then Mick Foley … err, Santa pulled out a stocking version of socko and shoved it down Del Rio’s throat. Del Rio then stumbled right into an Attitude Adjustment from Cena, who covered up to get the pinfall.
Cena celebrated with Santa after the match and deserved to have a fun night. Now, he just needs to turn his focus toward the bigger issues lying ahead with Dolph Ziggler, Big E. Langston and AJ to deal with.