WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 4.15.13
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 April 15, 2013
3. R-Truth – for getting a non-title victory over Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett:
R-Truth has been back for a couple of months since returning from an injury, and he has yet to do anything of any real relevance. It’s time for Truth to figure out where he stands right now on RAW, and he received an opportunity to gain some direction in a non-title matchup against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett.
While this match would not be for the title, it could have been a preview for a future championship encounter. Truth is set to take place in a 10-man No. 1 Contender battle royal on Main Event, with the winner earning a shot at Barrett’s IC Title.
Barrett took control of the match early courtesy of a cheap shot near the corner, but Truth hung in during the match and fought out of a submission attempt by Barrett to create separation. He came off the ropes and countered a Winds of Change with a rollup for a two-count.
The failed pin attempt was followed up by a couple of closelines and a back elbow by Truth before running into a boot in the corner. Truth remained focused, though, and split to avoid a closeline from Barrett. He hit a sitout front suplex on the champion and covered for another near fall.
Truth tried to stay on Barrett with the scissors kick, but it was avoided and Barrett countered with a kick to the midsection. When Barrett attempted a pumphandle slam, though, Truth was quick to get out of it and shoot right back with a What’s Up. Truth covered up again and finally scored the three-count to pick up a big win.
This win gives Truth a little added momentum heading into that battle royal on Main Event. And should he be the last man standing in that match, this non-title victory gives Truth the confidence of knowing that he has beaten Barrett recently and can do it again.
2. Jack Swagger – for earning a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship with a win over Dolph Ziggler:
When Dolph Ziggler successfully cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase a week ago to become World Heavyweight Champion, he owed a great deal of gratitude to Jack Swagger for already wearing down then-titleholder Alberto Del Rio. Of course, Ziggler was never really going to give credit where credit was due, but that didn’t prevent Swagger from automatically thinking he had a right to a title shot for his part in last week’s title switch.
Zeb Colter and Swagger put Ziggler on notice last Friday on Smackdown that they wanted a shot at the belt, and they went even further on Monday Night RAW.
Ziggler came out during RAW to boast about his title win and he was soon interrupted by Alberto Del Rio. Despite his leg injury, Del Rio wanted to his rematch right there on the spot and Vickie Guerrero was prepared to let him have it by calling for a referee to go down to the ring. But Swagger and Colter would have none of that. They reiterated their stance about Ziggler only winning because Swagger took care of Del Rio first and Swagger deserving a shot at the belt.
Swagger made his way into the ring while Colter shot off on the mic at both champion and former champion. Once Swagger got into the ring, a brawl ensued against Del Rio. Ziggler and his posse simply looked on, while Swagger eventually got Del Rio into a Patriot Lock and further damaged his ankle.
In a moment where Teddy Long went over Booker T.’s head, he booked a match between Swagger and Ziggler for later on RAW. Should Swagger come out on top of this non-title encounter, he would be the No. 1 Contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.
It would be hard to knock Ziggler off his pedestal after just winning the belt a week ago, but Swagger was able to pull off what can be considered a minor upset. Just when Ziggler seemed to really be wearing Swagger down, the All-American American countered the leg drop bulldog by lifting Ziggler in a powerbomb position before tossing him into the ropes. Swagger then rolled up the champion and picked up a three-count to get the win.
Swagger was attacked on the ramp to put a damper on his celebration. And Booker T. changed Long’s singles match for the title between Swagger and Ziggler into a triple threat match also involving Del Rio.
Still, Swagger is on a mission to get his shot at the championship and now owns an impressive win over Ziggler. Del Rio is still an obstacle, but that damaged ankle is a significant point of focus. Swagger has put himself in a good position.
1. Kofi Kingston – for becoming the newest new champion by taking the United States Championship from Antonio Cesaro:
Titles seem to be swapping hands on almost a daily basis right now in the WWE. With the WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship and Intercontinental Title all moving on to new owners (and even going right back to the previous one in the case of the IC strap), it should have come as no surprise that the United States Championship was the next one to move to a different waist.
Antonio Cesaro held the United States Title for 240 days since capturing is at SummerSlam heading into this week’s RAW. He would put that streak on the line against Kofi Kingston, who was already a two-time U.S. Champion.
Kingston had the confidence of defeating Cesaro a few nights earlier with a non-title victory on Smackdown, but it would not be easy to get two in a row against the tough Swiss wrestler.
Cesaro made that point especially clear late in the match when he showed off his incredible strength upon catching Kingston off a crossbody from the top rope before slamming him into a backbreaker for a two-count. Cesaro called for Kingston to get up and charged at him in the corner once he did. But Kingston slipped through the ropes and drilled Cesaro with a kick to the head, leading to a springboard hurricurana that Cesaro put to a halt but still fell victim to a rollup that he kicked out of at two.
Cesaro tried to reverse the momentum back in his favor by going for a stomp, but Kingston moved and then flipped over Cesaro into another rollup that was also kicked out of at two and reversed into a pinning attempt on Cesaro’s part that Kingston got out of at two. After kicking out, Kingston grabbed a hold of Cesaro’s leg and swung him back up to his feet, meeting him with a Trouble in Paradise once he got there. Kingston quickly covered up and hooked the leg to get the three-count for his third United States Championship.
This was a great match overall and really showcased each superstar’s strengths. The win for Kingston gives him another push and another purpose, which we will have to wait and see just how far he can go with this one. Cesaro should be in line for a rematch very soon, too.