WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 6.17.13
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 June 17, 2013
3. Damien Sandow – for rebounding from his loss at Payback to outsmart Sheamus in handicap action on RAW:
Damien Sandow has long tried to prove that in a battle of wits, he is the better man against basically everybody. That has especially been the case against Sheamus recently, who he met on the physical side of things in a singles match during Payback’s preshow.
Intelligence did not help Sandow out on this occasion, as he came face-to-face with Sheamus’ boot for a Brogue Kick that put him down for the loss. But Sandow would not stay down for long, as he teamed up with Team Rhodes Scholars partner Cody Rhodes for a handicap match against the Celtic Warrior on RAW the following night.
Other than being an excellent way of being able to bury Sandow and Rhodes should Sheamus come out victorious, this match also served as a way for Sandow to prove his intellectual superiority.
With him out of the equation after rolling to the outside from a powerslam, Rhodes got caught coming off the top rope and was dropped by Sheamus with White Noise. Sheamus called for the Brogue Kick and backed up into the corner, waiting for Rhodes to get back up. Sheamus started to charge once he did, but he failed to notice Sandow sneaking back into the ring and intercepting him with a rollup to get a sudden pinfall.
Sandow was extremely proud of his work and being the smart man finally worked out for him. Rhodes’ night didn’t end so hot, as he was the recipient of a Brogue Kick after all from the PO’d Sheamus after the match. But Sandow walked away unharmed and with a “W” that will surely rebuild his confidence following his loss one night earlier.
2. Christian – for making a successful return to WWE television after a prolonged absence against former Intercontinental Champion, Wade Barrett:
Christian has been out of sight from the WWE for about a year, even though he has been medically cleared to wrestle for a month and a half (according to Triple H on RAW). So it was simply a matter of time before he showed back up, and he wound up doing just that as a big surprise from Vickie Guerrero on this week’s show.
Wade Barrett, who lost the Intercontinental Championship at Payback in a triple threat match against The Miz and Curtis Axel, was prepared to face the new titleholder, Axel, on RAW. When he got into the ring, though, Guerrero came out to the stage and introduced Barrett to his actual opponent — Christian.
Christian received a rousing reception, which was to be expected considering his prolonged absence from television. Barrett would not exactly be an easy match for his first one back on RAW, but Christian was up to the task.
On his first attempt at a Killswitch, Barrett managed to counter with a boot to the gut that resulted in a cover for a two count. He tried to follow with a pump handle slam, but Christian got out of it and backed up into the corner. Barrett charged at him, but Christian slid through the ropes and Barrett went shoulder-first into the steel ring post.
From the apron, Christian dropped the back of Barrett’s neck across the top rope, and then he slid back into the ring to complete the Killswitch he could not before. Christian covered up and scored the three count for a successful first match back.
Obviously, that doesn’t really give any indication that the WWE has big plans in store for Captain Charisma. He’s spent plenty of time as a healthy scratch because there wasn’t anything on the agenda for him. But at least he’s back now and hopefully he falls into something meaningful.
1. Curtis Axel – for following an Intercontinental Championship victory at Payback with a singles victory over Sin Cara:
Even with Paul Heyman at his side, a family legacy to build from, and wins against John Cena, Triple H and Chris Jericho to his credit, Curtis Axel is still looking to build credibility as a legitimate threat in the WWE. It was a bit underwhelming to find out he was the new Paul Heyman guy, as it’s tough to view him at the same level as fellow Paul Heyman guys, CM Punk and Brock Lesnar. One way to change peoples’ perspective, though, is to start accumulating championships.
Axel snuck into a triple threat match against Wade Barrett and The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship at Payback when Fandango had to pull out. He certainly made the most of the opportunity when he stole a victory and became the new Intercontinental Champion as a result, upon picking up a three count as Miz had a figure four leg lock applied to Barrett.
Regardless of the strategy, the new IC Champion may be starting to turn heads and lend some credibility to being Heyman’s choice as his next client. Axel immediately looked to add to his title victory when he went up against one of the most explosive and unpredictable superstars in the WWE on RAW, Sin Cara.
Miz was present at the announce table for this match, so it’s clear to see that Axel’s next challenge will be going up against Miz. He needed to remain focused during this match, however, and he did.
Axel did a solid job of keeping Cara’s abilities in check during the entire match. He picked up some near falls early, and even when Cara was able to pick up some steam, Axel put a halt to it before Cara could stretch the offensive attack beyond just a few moves. As an example, when Cara came off the top rope with a senton, Axel got the knees up to drill Cara in the back of the head and he took right back over. Axel capitalized on that by hitting Cara with a unique DDT, which secured the pinfall.
Axel and Heyman celebrated after the match, and Axel stared right at Miz to deliver a bit of trash talking. Those two should have a good match when it finally takes place, presumably at Money In The Bank. Slowly, Axel is building himself up and might become truly worthy of being considered a Paul Heyman guy soon enough.