WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 4.22.13
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 22, 2013
3. Tensai – for avenging Brodus Clays’ earlier loss to Damien Sandow with an impressive victory over Cody Rhodes:
When the eight-person tag team matchup was cut from WrestleMania, all parties involved had the right to be upset. However, they went out the very next night on RAW, where Brodus Clay, Tensai and The Funkadactyls made the most of their opportunity by quickly putting away Team Rhodes Scholars and The Bella Twins.
Apparently, there is still some heat between these groups and that showed this Monday night in London. Two separate singles matches were schedule, pitting Damien Sandow against Clay and Cody Rhodes against Tensai. A distraction from Rhodes enabled Sandow to pick up the win over Clay, but payback would soon come in the matchup between the other two team members.
Tensai had some dominating moments in his matchup, including a delayed butterfly suplex that could not have been healthy with all the blood rushing to Rhodes’ head. The key moment in this bout, however, was when Clay prevented Sandow from becoming too much of a distraction much like Rhodes did earlier, and that enabled Tensai to stay in control by countering Rhodes’ attempt at a Disaster Kick. Tensai followed with a chokeslam and the back splash to the mat before hooking Rhodes’ leg to collect the three-count.
Tons of Funk came out one-for-two on this night, but the first match could have easily gone the other way had Rhodes’ distraction been prevented. Regardless, that moment made Clay fully away of Sandow’s presence in match No. 2, and Tensai was able to get the job done pretty handily to end the night on a good note.
2. AJ Lee – for using smart strategy to be the last Diva standing in a No. 1 Contender battle royal:
When The Bella Twins employed the use of Twin Magic during Nikki’s match against Kaitlyn last week, they essentially took themselves out of the running for a Divas Championship Match. Their punishment was not being entered into a battle royal on RAW, which would determine the next No. 1 Contender for the title.
Instead, the field included the likes of AJ Lee, Tamina, Layla, Naomi and Aksana. This was your typical bunch of randomness when it comes to Divas battle royals, but one person who did not enjoy most of the festivities was AJ. She got knocked out cold (or so we thought) early when Tamina drilled her with a kick to the face.
From there, the rest of the Divas went at each other with eliminations until it was just Layla and the prone body of AJ left in the ring. Since AJ was completely out, her body was simply dead weight and Layla struggled to find a way to eliminate her from the ring. She did eventually drag AJ toward the ropes. However, AJ suddenly “woke up” when she was pressed against the ropes. She quickly backed up and kicked Layla to the floor to gain the victory.
It’s never the most noble strategy to just bide your time in a battle royal, but it is effective and worked for AJ in this case. Now she has the opportunity to face her former best friend for a chance at adding the Divas Championship to go right alongside boyfriend Dolph Ziggler’s World Heavyweight Title.
1. The Shield – for remaining unbeaten by getting past perhaps their most intimidating opposition in The Undertaker and Team Hell No:
The sheer number of superstars The Shield has attacked since arriving on the scene has been staggering, and they seem to show no bias in who they go after. It could have been deemed a mistake, however, to go after The Undertaker two weeks ago when it seemed The Deadman was preparing to ride off into the sunset again (until next year’s WrestleMania, of course).
The Undertaker did receive some assistance from Kane and Daniel Bryan, leading to The Shield backing off – or looking to fight another day, as they would have us believe. That situation did lead to a special match being booked for this week’s RAW in London, however. For the first time in three years, The Undertaker would compete on RAW alongside Team Hell No against Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.
This bout almost became a handicap match when Kane and Bryan were attacked in the back. Their faces were never shown, but the impression was that The Shield was at fault for this. Undertaker made his way to the ring for the match anyway and was prepared to go at it one-on-three if necessary, but Kane and Bryan were able to make it down to the ring in time to even up the sides.
On what should have been a night of retribution for The Undertaker and Team Hell No, who may be in danger of losing the WWE Tag Team Championships if they can’t figure out a way to stop The Shield, just turned into another victory for the self-proclaimed protectors of justice.
Late in the match, Ambrose hoped to do some damage to Kane when coming off the top rope, but he only got caught with a chokeslam. Kane tagged in Bryan, who headed up top as if to go for a flying headbutt. Reigns tripped him, however, which led to Undertaker and Kane battling Reigns and Rollins on the outside.
Left alone in the ring with Bryan, Ambrose headed up top to try for a superplex, but Bryan headbutted him back to the mat and then went for the flying headbutt. Ambrose moved out of the way, though, and he rushed in to hook the legs for a pinfall on Bryan.
The Shield, in perhaps their biggest win to date, remained undefeated, and Undertaker did not look too happy about that. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns made their presence felt again later on when they appeared during a John Cena/Ryback segment, but chair shots from Cena ruined that party.
Regardless, that six-man tag team win was big for them and they still remain one of the most dangerous forces in the WWE – able and ready to strike anybody and everybody without warning.