WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 6.24.13
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 24, 2013
3. CM Punk – for getting a harder-than-needed victory over Darren Young after getting reassurance of his relationship with Paul Heyman:
When CM Punk returned to the WWE at Payback, he apparently came to the conclusion that he was much better suited going into fights alone rather than having Paul Heyman at his side. While he didn’t dismiss Heyman as a friend, he did inform the former head of ECW that he was no longer welcome to accompany Punk to the ring. Nor was Punk a client of his.
That seemed to stir the pot to a degree amongst the masses, wondering just how rocky a relationship the two were having. Heyman assured Punk before a main event match against Alberto Del Rio last week that he understood Punk’s stance, and even showed that with an embrace. But what took place after the match infused some doubt as to exactly where Punk and Heyman stood.
Brock Lesnar made a sudden appearance and slowly walked his way down to the ring, much like how he did when he first returned to the WWE to confront John Cena a year ago. Lesnar entered the ring and grabbed a microphone, but he chose to share his thoughts via actions over words. He lifted Punk up and dropped him with an F-5, leaving all to wonder whether Lesnar acted alone or if he was sent to avenge the wrong Punk had done to Heyman.
Punk wanted answers, too, and he waited around on RAW this week to find out exactly what was going on. Heyman eventually made it to the arena and came out to the ring, promptly calling Punk out so they could air the dirty laundry. Punk went over their history, specifically when Heyman refused to fire him in developmental despite the urging of the powers that be in the WWE. When nobody else saw him as a main event star, Heyman did, and that led to him being considered a Paul Heyman guy.
But Punk also knew that Heyman was considered a liar and manipulator by many, so he called for him to tell him the truth — whether it be that Heyman had nothing to do with what Lesnar did or if he did, indeed, send Lesnar out to attack him. Regardless of Heyman’s answer, Punk told Heyman that he would go after Lesnar. No matter the size or strength difference, Punk believes he is better than Lesnar.
Heyman told Punk that he had nothing to do with Lensar’s actions a week ago. In fact, he told Punk that he understood why he told him to stay away from coming down to the ring with him. For Heyman, he just saw this as a time period in which Punk needed space. One day, that would all be over and he would go back to being at Punk’s side, including his dream of seeing Punk main event a WrestleMania.
Punk accepted that, hugged Heyman and got ready for an immediate match against The Prime Time Players’ Darren Young. Considering the emotional nature of that heart-to-heart with Heyman, it should be no surprise that Punk had a bit more trouble handling Young than he likely should have.
Still, Punk was able to pick up the victory. His knee was not in tremendous shape, so he wasn’t able to pull off a Go2Sleep late in the contest. That enabled Young to squirm out and counter with the Gut Check. He hooked the leg and almost pulled off an upset, but Punk was just able to kick out before the three.
Young tore off an elbow pad and threw it to the ground, gearing up to continue his assault on Punk. However, Punk shoved him off and delivered a hard kick to the side of the head. Punk quickly dropped onto Young and applied an Anaconda Vice, which Young promptly tapped out of.
There was no time for celebration, not that Punk looked like he was interested in one. Titus O’Neill moved into the ring to attack Punk, who fought back but eventually fell into a 2-on-1 situation against The Prime Time Players. That was only stopped when Curtis Axel came down to the ring for the save. Punk didn’t seem happy about that, and Heyman told him they would talk about it.
That talk occurred somewhat backstage, where Heyman informed Punk he set up a tag team match for next week. Punk would team with Axel against The Prime Time Players. Punk couldn’t believe Heyman did that, but he agreed to do it on his terms, setting up the rest of his agenda to go after Lesnar and to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match for a WWE Championship shot.
Punk is conflicted and at odds with Heyman. He believes that Heyman didn’t send his monster, Lesnar, after him. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that he wants Heyman to remain out of his business. It’s a confusing time for Punk and he just better be careful considering the number of negative ways this could play out against him.
2. The Usos – for earning a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships by winning a triple threat bout against Tons of Funk and 3MB:
The Shield is perhaps the most dominating force in the WWE, and the fact that Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are the holders of the tag team titles doesn’t bode well for any team wishing to vie for the gold. Still, competition must come from somewhere, and a triple threat match was booked this week on RAW to determine a new No. 1 Contender.
The participating teams were Tons of Funk, 3MB and The Usos. Each team stood a chance in this one, even though 3MB was the most unlikely. However, The Usos shined well above the rest and were able to pick up the win with relatively short work against the opposition.
There came a point in the match when all of 3MB was taken out of the equation by Brodus Clay, who was removed from the picture, as well. That left Tensai in the ring with one of the Usos. Tensai dropped him with an uppercut and then hit the ropes for a back splash. He hooked the leg for a cover, but Uso was able to kick out at two.
Tensai argued with the referee, which enabled Uso to recover enough to kick him just as his brother was tagged in. Tensai was Samoan Dropped and then hit with a splash off the top rope, which turned out to be good enough for The Usos to grab the three count and No. 1 Contendership.
The Shield’s music hit the arena after the win and the three men stood in the crowd, producing some heat between the two teams as they partook in a staredown.
The Usos have been built up a bit in recent weeks, so it’s not a surprise that they came out on top in this contest. It’s hard to think they’ll be able to get past Rollins and Reigns to secure the tag team titles, but they should have enough in the tank to put up a good fight.
1. Daniel Bryan – for finally picking up a good enough win over Randy Orton in the latest of a series of bouts:
In recent weeks, it seemed that Daniel Bryan’s only way of achieving validation for not being a weak link was through defeating Randy Orton in convincing fashion. He had a match stopped by the doctors and referees a week ago on RAW. On Smackdown, he did get a win over Orton, but it was via countout and that didn’t seem to be good enough for Bryan.
So, we opened up RAW this week with another one-on-one encounter between Bryan and Orton. The match was intense from the start and never reached a legitimate conclusion, as the action spilled to the outside and the two combatants stopped paying attention to the referee. The bout was promptly stopped with no actual winner.
Bryan ordered Vickie Guerrero backstage to make this match still happen, and she agreed to let him go at Orton again. However, the stipulation would be decided on by the WWE Universe. The fans picked a Street Fight.
There were certainly elements of a Street Fight in this match, as tables and other paraphernalia were involved. But it was also another excellent match that tested each man’s resolve.
Bryan tried on a couple of occasions to put Orton away with a No Lock. On the first attempt, Orton was able to grab a kendo stick and repeatedly hit Bryan on the head with it to break out of the hold. Orton continued to nail Bryan with it once he was out of the hold, and then he dropped Bryan with a rope-assisted DDT. Orton called for the RKO to try and close things out, but Bryan countered with a backslide that netted a two count.
Bryan kicked Orton in the side and then started drilling him with the kendo stick. He once again put on the No Lock, which was made more torturous once he was able to utilize the kendo stick to aid in stretching Orton. The Viper had no choice but to tap and Bryan was award the submission victory.
The two shook hands after the match, and Bryan was clearly excited about finally being able to put Orton with either a pinfall or submission. Now, perhaps, he doesn’t think he’s the weak link. His focus must now turn to Money In The Bank, where he has the ability to snatch a briefcase and earn a shot at the WWE Title, like he mentioned a few weeks ago he was hoping to shoot for.