WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 3.11.13
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 March 11, 2013
3. Randy Orton and Sheamus – for teaming up to defeat Team Rhodes Scholars:
Sheamus and Randy Orton at one moment seem to be on the road toward butting heads, but then they find a common enemy (such as The Shield) and all is well between The Viper and Celtic Warrior. A match between them, possibly even at WrestleMania, seemed likely at a time. Now, however, they are on the same page and ready to put up a fight against the three-man vigilante group.
The two superstars are on the same track well enough right now that managing supervisor of Monday Night RAW Vickie Guerrero thought enough of them for a tag team match this week.
Team Rhodes Scholars had work earlier in the evening. When Brock Lesnar interrupted the bout and attacked the New Age Outlaws as a way to send Triple H a message, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes figured their work for the night was done. In fact, Sandow reintroduced The Bella Twins into the WWE as a surprise to his partner. Unfortunately for them, Guerrero was quick to the scene and informed Team Rhodes Scholars they would have another go around in the ring. This time, their opponents would be Sheamus and Orton.
No matter how much Sheamus and Orton can come together in the given situation, they will have a chemistry disadvantage against a team like Team Rhodes Scholars. It did hinder them a bit and Orton took some punishment later in the bout. He was, however, able to swing the momentum back in his team’s favor upon thwarting a high-risk move by Rhodes by suplexing him down to the mat. Tags to both Sheamus and Sandow followed.
Sheamus was on fire with some double axe handles to Sandow, who then received a shoulder tackle against the turnbuckles and a high knee. Stumbling to the apron, Sandow was held up by Sheamus and given some clubbing shots to the chest. Sandow was pulled back into the ring and dropped with the White Noise, which Sheamus hoped to follow with the Brogue Kick.
Rhodes came in to prevent it, but Sheamus ducked a closeline and sent Rhodes right into an RKO from Orton. Then Sheamus nailed Sandow with the Brogue Kick to pick up the pinfall.
Orton and Sheamus celebrated their victory, but their party was crashed during the commercial break by The Shield. Orton and Sheamus put up a great fight, but they didn’t have the numbers to combat this attack. Orton was put down with a knee to the side of the head by Seth Rollins, who flew off the stage to deliver it. Sheamus was dropped with a spear onto the steel by Roman Reigns.
This all seems to be heading to an encounter between Sheamus, Orton and probably The Big Show against The Shield at WrestleMania. The Shield has done reasonably well in past fights against three randomly thrown together superstars. With Orton and Sheamus working fairly well together, and Show an entirely different beast from what they faced before, this could be the time that The Shield has finally met its match.
2. Alberto Del Rio – for getting past United States Champion Antonio Cesaro and sending a message to Jack Swagger later in the night:
Alberto Del Rio is currently embroiled in one of the most contentious feuds he’s been in since joining the WWE. For somebody that has gone up against the likes of John Cena and CM Punk, Del Rio finds himself in deep heading into his World Heavyweight Championship defense against Jack Swagger at WrestleMania.
The All-American American now wants to be viewed simply as a “real” American while following the guidance and ideals of his manager, Zeb Colter. Their main agenda is speaking out against illegal immigrants, most notably Mexicans. Del Rio and his manager, Ricardo Rodriguez, just happen to be Mexican. So, it’s easy to deduce that this is not just a title defense for Del Rio – it’s personal.
With such a big fight ahead of him, it’s always a good thing for Del Rio to get some challenging work in ahead of the big match in four weeks. He faced United States Champion Antonio Cesaro, who is a tough and powerful, yet beatable, opponent.
This turned out to be a nice back-and-forth matchup between two quality superstars with several near falls throughout. One of those came from Cesaro after catching Del Rio with a European uppercut as he came off the top rope. When Cesaro failed to get more than a two-count from that counter, he argued with the referee for a few moments and then cracked his neck to transition into his next move.
He came off the ropes and drilled Del Rio in the side of the head with a boot. Then, from behind, he lifted Del Rio off the mat with a waist lock. Del Rio managed to elbow out of that predicament, however, and quickly floated over for an armbreaker that Cesaro had no choice but to tap out to.
Swagger also has a match on RAW and he was able to get past Sin Cara, another Mexican, with the Patriot Lock. The win wasn’t enough and he continued to apply the submission on Cara’s ankle after the bell. That led to Del Rio coming down for the save, which included locking on the floatover cross armbreaker until Colter was able to quickly get Swagger out of the ring.
Del Rio is on his game right now. It’s going to take some effort over the next few weeks on the end of Swagger and Colter if they hope to head into WrestleMania with the upperhand.
1. Kane – for picking up a win over CM Punk in honor of Paul Bearer, with some assistance from his brother:
This week’s episode of Monday Night RAW was largely a dedication to the late Paul Bearer. The manager, who was so instrumental in the rise of The Undertaker and Kane, has a special place in the WWE’s history and received well-deserved recognition after his untimely passing.
Undertaker certainly shared that sentiment, as he opened up RAW to head down to the ring and kneel before the urn Bearer carried around with him when in The Deadman’s corner. This symbolic gesture was interrupted, of course, by CM Punk, who proceeded to make light of Bearer’s passing and even send out his condolences for the death – of Undertaker’s undefeated streak.
Undertaker was far from pleased with this move on Punk’s end, but Kane seemed to be far more peeved during a commercial break when he went after Punk on the stage and almost chokeslammed him off until Punk managed to break free. As a result of Punk’s classless behavior and that close encounter with Kane, Vickie Guerrero decided to book a main event matchup pitting the two against each other in a No Disqualification Match.
Punk seemed primed to put this match away when, after nailing Kane with a chair, he avoided a chokeslam with a roundhouse kick to Kane and then signaled for the Go2Sleep. That’s when we heard the dong, though, and that signal from The Undertaker served as a distraction. Worried, Punk backed into a chokeslam from Kane and was covered for the three-count.
Undertaker and Kane signaled to each other after the match, which presented Punk with the opportune time to drill Kane in the back with the urn, which he subsequently walked away with.
So, Punk got the last laugh in this one, but a win over the man is no small feat for Kane at this point. He added a loss to Punk’s record and, for the moment, honored Bearer by working with his brother to get the victory. Now, it’s up to Undertaker to take it from here heading into the clash against Punk at WrestleMania.