WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 7.15.13
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 July 15, 2013
3. Christian – for scoring a pinfall over the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank contract winner, Damien Sandow:
Just like his fellow participants in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match at Money in the Bank, Christian left the pay-per-view a little worse for wear … and apparently with a chipped tooth. Such is the price they pay when vying for a title opportunity. Meanwhile, Damien Sandow was able to leave the World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder Match unscathed by comparison, and with the briefcase for a future bout at the time of his choosing for that title.
These two men locked up in what should have been an easier task for Sandow. Not only was he riding the wave of momentum gained from snatching the briefcase 24 hours prior, but he was seemingly the less injured of the two. Unfortunately for Sandow, he was matching up against a savvy veteran who can work through pain and disappointment.
Christian tried to hit a Killswitch as a followup to nailing Sandow in the face with an elbow off the middle rope. Sandow countered with a forearm to the back of the neck before putting Christian down with a side Russian leg sweep. Sandow then called for the Elbow of Disdain, but Christian shot up, took Sandow down with a pin and got a three count to win the match.
Sandow’s fortunes weren’t much better after his loss, as Cody Rhodes, the man he screwed over to take the briefcase on Sunday, jumped him in the ring and left a message that things weren’t over between the now-former tag team partners.
For Christian, this was a nice rebound win that should pick him up and get him in good spirits heading into whatever his next challenge will be.
2. Randy Orton – for winning a solid impromptu match over Fandango one night after snatching the WWE Championship Money in the Bank briefcase:
With such a crowded field in the “Money in the Bank All Stars” match, there really wasn’t a clear-cut favorite to come out with the briefcase. If anybody seemed more destined to snatch the briefcase than any of the other superstars, it would have been Daniel Bryan, who was chosen by John Cena to have a shot at the WWE Championship at SummerSlam anyway. But reasonably, any of the six competitors (cut from seven due to Kane nursing an injury dealt to him by the Wyatt Family) could have stepped away victorious.
CM Punk seemed to be on his way to grabbing the briefcase after some interference from Curtis Axel, but Paul Heyman pulled the swerve on Punk and bashed him with a ladder to the point that he needed to receive staples in his head after the match. Then Rob Van Dam tried to pull off as good a debut as he could by climbing the ladder, but Randy Orton came into the ring just in time to send RVD off the ladder and into a mid-air RKO. That pretty much cleared the field for Orton to climb the ladder himself and grab the briefcase for a guaranteed WWE Championship Match at any time of his choosing.
The current WWE Champion, John Cena, appeared in the ring early in the show as a way of interrupting new general manager Brad Maddox. Cena was offered up that chance by Maddox to name his SummerSlam opponent, and Orton followed soon thereafter to inform Cena and Maddox that Cena might not even make it to SummerSlam as WWE Champion. Also, he would not do what Cena did last year by announcing when he’ll cash in the briefcase. He believes in taking advantage of opportunities and he plans on doing just that.
Orton had an opportunity to get physical soon thereafter, as Fandango made his way toward the ring and tried to place himself in the WWE Championship scene. When he tried to teach Cena how to say his name, Orton knocked Fandango senseless. Fandango did get up and a brawl ensued, leaving Maddox to call for a referee to come down and make this mach official.
In what could have easily been a squash match for Orton, Fandango actually came out looking pretty solid in this contest. Even after going through the kind of match he did at Money in the Bank, though, Orton wasn’t about to let the ballroom dancer pull out an upset on him on this night.
When it seemed Orton was getting hot and ready to hit his rope-assisted DDT, Fandango was able to counter with a kick to the side of the head from the apron. Fandango then headed up top, likely for a leg drop, but Orton was able to trip him up. Orton hit some headbutts and then hit a turnbuckle assisted DDT. The RKO was next and Orton was able to hook the leg and collect a hard-earned three count over Fandango.
Again, this could have turned into an easy night for Orton, but Fandango really came out strong and put up a hell of a fight against The Viper. It just wasn’t enough in the end and Orton continues to slither along, waiting for the ideal moment to cash in his new briefcase for a shot at the WWE Championship.
1. Rob Van Dam – for defeating Chris Jericho in an excellent main event match during just his second night back with the WWE:
Rob Van Dam made his much-anticipated return to the WWE at Money in the Bank, losing out on the WWE Championship briefcase and receiving 14 staples in his head instead. Still, it was nice to see RVD back on the WWE’s active roster with the anticipation that there is plenty of competition ahead during this tenure with the company.
His first night back on RAW saw him in singles action against a familiar opponent — Chris Jericho, who fell to Ryback at Money in the Bank. Jericho and RVD are both unique talents, but they are also similar in their knowledge and experience when it comes to working around the squared circle. This was destined to be a hell of a match, and after a bit of a stutter to start things off, it did not disappoint.
In what was undoubtedly the match of the night, RVD and Y2J threw everything they possibly could at each other in hopes of grabbing some bragging rights. Late in this lengthy contest, Jericho applied a Walls of Jericho to RVD after blocking a hurricurana. RVD, who was bleeding a bit out of the same wound that was opened up Sunday, reached the ropes after a small struggle to break the submission.
Jericho delivered some stomps to the midsection of Van Dam before breaking away, and he was met with a step through heel kick to the face upon going back at RVD. With Jericho on the mat near the corner, RVD leapt to the top turnbuckle and flew off with a Five Star Frog Splash. He covered up and got the three count for a successful debut on RAW.
This appears to be Jericho’s last appearance on his current tour of duty with the WWE, so he’s off to lick his wounds until he comes back. For RVD, the win was a great way to get the ball rolling on his newest tour with the WWE and get some momentum coming off the Money in the Bank Ladder Match loss a night earlier.