WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 7.29.13
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 29, 2013
3. Christian – for defeating World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio in non-title action:
Just as Brad Maddox afforded John Cena the ability to name the superstar he will put the WWE Championship on the line against at SummerSlam, Alberto Del Rio was granted the same opportunity for the World Heavyweight Championship. His official decision will come this Friday on Smackdown, but the auditions are ongoing for guys to stand out above the rest of the pack.
Christian would gain a big advantage in that department, as he would face the champion himself in non-title action on RAW. A win over Del Rio could leave enough of an impression for Del Rio to want one more go at him.
Christian has the experience and ability to defeat a man like Del Rio, but things were not looking too great for Captain Charisma once Del Rio made his arm a significant point of focus. The most damning move may have been a dropkick to Christian’s arm that sent it into the steel ring steps. From then on, the arm was a target and it was all to set up for the cross armbreaker.
However, when that time came following a counter from Del Rio out of a Killswitch, Christian managed to roll through the floatover and roll Del Rio up for a sudden pinfall. The win shocked Del Rio and set Christian up as a serious possibility for that challenger spot at SummerSlam.
Now, it’s not certain Del Rio will take the same route of choosing his opponent as Cena by going with the most deserving. Cena named Daniel Bryan as his challenger because Bryan was the best of the bunch. Del Rio doesn’t have that same character, though, and it’s entirely possible he will shy away from any legitimate threat.
The idea of Christian owning a win over him could be enough to edge him in that direction, though, so we will have to wait for Friday night to find out.
2. Daniel Bryan – for staying on his hot streak with a win over former tag team partner, Kane:
Even with a WWE Championship Match in hand at SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan remains in a constant phase of trying to prove himself. Whether it is to general manager Brad Maddox or Mr. McMahon himself, Bryan can’t seem to get the powers that be in a position to truly trust him as a main event talent.
After scoring wins over three superstars in a gauntlet match last week, Bryan’s next obstacle would be a singles match against his former tag team partner — and presumably former best buddy, Kane. Kane, of course, was coming back after a few weeks’ absence from the attack laid upon him by the Wyatt Family.
Before that match would go down, there was a confrontation between Mr. McMahon and Bryan at the top of RAW. Bryan acknowledged that while he has yet to get an ounce of respect from McMahon, the head honcho has also always been very honest with him. But McMahon’s honestly was a little tough to swallow on this night, as he openly admitted to not believing Bryan could beat Cena. He also called Cena a master manipulator who lied to Bryan about the reason he chose him as his SummerSlam opponent (as in, he was the most deserving vs. being easily beatable).
Bryan confronted Cena about that, but Cena got offended by basically being called a liar and walked away. We have to build that tension somehow between these two.
This whole situation didn’t affect Bryan for his match against Kane, and neither did their friendship. They both had something to prove — Bryan to Mr. McMahon and Cena, Kane to the Wyatt Family, and they went at each other with that purpose in mind.
Bryan was a ball of fire, as usual, and picked up a near fall after drilling Kane with a series of dropkicks in the corner. He headed up top, but leapt into an uppercut from Kane, who followed with a side slam that netted him a two count. Kane then went to the top turnbuckle and flew off with the closeline to put Bryan down and set up for a try at the chokeslam.
When Kane went for it, Bryan blocked and snatched Kane’s arm. He tried to pull Kane down for the Yes Lock and got him down to his knees, but Kane managed to shove him off. Bryan came right back with a dropkick to the knee and then a series of kicks to the chest. When he went for the one to the head, Kane grabbed his leg and put his hand on Bryan’s throat. Kane lifted him up for a chokeslam, but Bryan grabbed his head and pulled him down for a rollup that went to the three count.
After the win, Bryan received a chokeslam from Kane, who was then attacked by the Wyatts. Still, Bryan recoverd by the end of the night, when he came back out after Cena’s main event match and had a bit of a faceoff with the champion while holding the WWE Title.
No matter his size or stature, Bryan continues to prove the naysayers wrong and earn more credibility each week as he gets closer to WWE Championship opportunity.
1. John Cena – for coming out on top in a Tables Match against Ryback:
John Cena claims that he picked Daniel Bryan to be his opponent in the WWE Championship Match at SummerSlam because he deserves it. And he was prepared to defend Bryan not just in a contract signing that opened RAW a week ago, but also at the conclusion of a gauntlet match that saw Bryan get slammed through a table by Ryback.
When Ryback seemed determined to continue his assault on Bryan, Cena ran down for the save and challenged Ryback to a Ladder Match for this week’s main event. Ryback accepted, general manager Brad Maddox made it official and these two former rivals would have a go at each other with the winner being the first superstar to put his opponent through a table.
Ryback has taken pride in his newfound role as a bully, while Cena is always one to stand up for himself and others. With no title on the line, this was simply for pride and bragging rights.
It turned into a very physical encounter and involved more weapons than just tables. There was even a standoff with both men holding parts of the steel ring steps on the outside. They threw their respective steps at each other before Cena darted back into the ring and managed to deliver the spinout powerbomb to Ryback onto another set of steps inside the ring. He followed with the Five Knuckle Shuffle on the steps.
Cena headed outside to grab a table and by the time he got back into the ring, Ryback moved in on him and delivered a backpack stunner. Ryback set up the table that Cena brought into the ring in the corner, and the he waited for Cena to get up so he could deliver the Meat Hook closeline. Ryback went for another with Cena standing in front of the table, but Cena moved and Ryback stopped short. When he turned around, Ryback was lifted up into an Attitude Adjustment from Cena that sent him crashing through the table.
With a big win in his pocket, Cena then had to deal with Bryan almost threateningly handing him his WWE Championship before screaming “YES” in his face as RAW came to a close. Between that and Bryan confronting him early in the evening, Cena looks to be getting a little sick of Bryan’s shtick, and he’s getting a bit more serious about taking care of business concerning the title match at SummerSlam.