WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 3.25.13
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 25, 2013
3. Chris Jericho – for getting a piece of Fandango before picking up a singles victory over Dolph Ziggler:
Chris Jericho was being his fun self last week when he mocked Fandango’s name, but the man who has yet to actually wrestle a match was not amused. He attacked Y2J on Smackdown, prompting Jericho to seek some recourse this Monday night.
After Fandango danced himself down to the ring, Jericho surprised the brash superstar by running down to the ring and attacking him. Fandango managed to escape, but Jericho certainly got a few shots in to gain some redemption over the punishment he suffered on Friday.
Since Jericho was already in the ring, there was no sense in delaying a scheduled matchup against Dolph Ziggler. The Money in the Bank briefcase holder came down with his entourage – Big E. Langston and AJ Lee – for this bout between two formerly-bitter rivals.
These two are more than capable of putting up a quality match, but Jericho was more pumped and certainly aware of the presence of Ziggler’s muscle. Langston did manage to swing momentum Ziggler’s way early on during a commercial break, but Jericho was prepared for him later when he hopped onto the apron during a comeback attempt from Y2J.
After putting Ziggler down on the mat with a bulldog, Jericho hit the springboard dropkick to Langston to knock him back down to the floor. Ziggler came at Jericho with a jumping DDT to get a two-count off the distraction, but Jericho got the advantage right back by countering a sleeper hold. With Ziggler thrown to the mat, the Walls of Jericho were attempted. Ziggler blocked the hold and worked toward a Zig Zag attempted, but Jericho countered that move and was able to apply the Walls of Jericho. Ziggler tapped to give Jericho the submission victory.
Jericho’s night soured a bit after that, when Langston assaulted him after the bell and Fandango ran down to pick up the pieces. Fandango’s postmatch attack was highlighted by a leg drop off the top rope.
Despite this bitter conclusion to his evening, Jericho’s chance to get Fandango in the ring will finally come at WrestleMania. It’s hard to imagine Fandango being able to back out of a match on the biggest stage of them all. And Jericho will use wins like the one over Ziggler to help build momentum heading into that contest.
2. Ryback – for upstaging Mark Henry by defeating three opponents in handicap action against 3MB:
Ryback was all ready to head into WrestleMania as a member of the three-man team set to take on The Shield. Then Vickie Guerrero decided to pull him from the match and put him up against Mark Henry on April 7 instead.
It made sense considering the issues surrounding the two behemoths as of late, but it just means Ryback’s aggression will now have to be directed toward somebody else. He proved on RAW that he’s prepared to take Henry head-on by upstaging the World’s Strongest Man.
Early in the broadcast, Henry easily disposed of Jimmy and Jey Uso in 2-on-1 handicap action. In turn, Ryback went into a 3-on-1 handicap match against Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre of 3MB with plans on doing one better than his WrestleMania opponent.
Ryback’s performance wasn’t as quick and flawless, but it was just as devastating as Henry’s. For a man who did relatively well when facing outnumbered situations against The Shield, 3MB would be a walk in the park.
Ryback showed this when, after delivering a couple of spinebusters, he picked Slater and Mahal up on his shoulder and dropped them with a dual Shell Shocked. Ryback covered up and collected the three-count.
It doesn’t really matter how many guys these two can beat at the same time on any given night. At WrestleMania, they’re going one-on-one against each other and that’s going to be a rough out for both competitors. It is, however, nice to see Ryback making the effort to outshine Henry heading into that match.
1. The Miz – for defeating Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett in non-title action to set up for a championship bout at WrestleMania:
Last week on RAW, Wade Barrett was successful in defending the Intercontinental Title against Chris Jericho and The Miz. By getting this victory over two quality opponents, Barrett hoped to be getting back on the winning track as he continued on as the Intercontinental Champion.
With Chris Jericho preoccupied by Fandango, it seemed that Miz solely took over the spot as No. 1 Contender for the IC Title. The heat between Miz and Barrett has only intensified and they squared off in non-title action Monday night.
Barrett started out the match at a disadvantage since he had to nurse a wound to the groin area after being drilled there by Triple H. That is, after all, what he gets for interrupting The Game while addressing the Brock Lesnar situation.
Miz went right after the wound to start the match with some atomic drops and even attempted to close things out early by going for Figure Four Leg Lock and Skull Crushing Finale tries. Barrett managed to avoid them and recoup from his injured nether regions to make things a little more even.
Miz’ newfound love of the Figure Four may have made him too ambitious to apply the move, as witnessed toward the end of the match, when one got countered into a rollup by Barrett that went to a two-count. Miz hit a low dropkick after kicking out and went for the Figure Four again, but Barrett kicked him off and into the steel ring post.
Barrett rolled Miz up again for another two-count and then he hit a kick to the side of Miz’ head for another pin attempt that went to two. Barrett began to prepare the elbow, but Miz ducked it and went for a rollup of his own. Miz only got a two-count and was sent to the apron on an ensuing charge. But when Barrett ran at Miz, he slid underneath the rope and ensured Barrett was crotched across the top rope.
Miz then swung at Barrett’s legs to send him crashing to the mat before finally locking on the Figure Four Leg Lock. Barrett had to tap and Miz was awarded the non-title victory.
At WrestleMania, these two will meet up again, except it will be for the Intercontinental Title this time. Miz probably won’t have the benefit of being able to go after an injured groin, but he does have the confidence of knowing he just beat Barrett on his side.