WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 8.26.13
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 August 26, 2013
3. Cody Rhodes and The Miz — for combining after a singles victory by Rhodes over Fandango to win a tag match against Damien Sandow and Fandango:
In a nice little intertwining of rivalries at the top of this week’s Monday Night RAW, The Miz and Cody Rhodes found some common ground in their dislike for Fandango and Damien Sandow, respectively. They would eventually cross paths for a tag team match.
Before that bout actually occurred, there was singles action to take care of between Rhodes and Fandango, with Sandow at ringside. It would have been a safe assumption that Sandow would cause some sort of distraction to cost Rhodes the match, but Miz actually turned those tables the other way. Fandango’s music hit the arena, and Miz came out with Rosa Mendes in a mocking of Fandango’s entrance. This distraction left Fandango wide open for a rollup by Rhodes, who got the three count and the victory.
The celebration was short-lived. Fandango and Sandow combined for a postmatch beatdown on Rhodes that only lasted until Miz could run down to the ring for the save. General manager Brad Maddox quickly hit the stage to announce the obvious tag team match that would result from this. Miz and Rhodes, with Mendes in their corner (specifically Miz’), would do battle with Fandango, who had Summer Rae, and Sandow.
This would only last as a fair two-on-two match for just so long until Fandango stopped caring and walked out on his partner. Once that occurred, Sandow ended up being tripped up by Rhodes from the outside when he hit the ropes, which set him right up for a Skull Crushing Finale from Miz.
This is all, of course, an easy two-in-one progression of these two personal feuds. Adding Mendes as a valet for Miz adds some intrigue as to balance out Rae, while Rhodes continues to show his intelligence over the highly arrogant Sandow.
2. Rob Van Dam — for capitalizing on a small distraction from his new ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, to defeat World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio in a non-title match:
Rob Van Dam has not been back in the WWE all that long, but he has already worked himself into the World Heavyweight Title picture. It helps that he now has Alberto Del Rio’s old ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, on his side, and a championship match is slated for Night of Champions that could see Van Dam add even more gold to the long list that he has already secured over the course of his career.
These two were afforded the opportunity to duke it out with each other this week on RAW in non-title action. Van Dam quickly realized what Del Rio knew for quite some time now — having Rodriguez in your arsenal is a great way to win some matches.
After failing to get a pinfall over RVD off an enziguri kick, Del Rio had his sights set on locking Van Dam in the arm breaker. Rodriguez knew he needed to do something to take Del Rio’s attention off Van Dam, so he jumped on the announce table and performed the “R-V-D” finger point. Del Rio briefly looked at Rodriguez before turning back to Van Dam. That slight hesitation allowed RVD to block the cross arm breaker and get a rollup with the legs instead that went for the three count.
Between Van Dam’s vast experience in the business, his success against Del Rio and the fact that he has Rodriguez watching his back, it’s not crazy to think RVD could become World Heavyweight Champion at Night of Champions. Del Rio definitely appears to be the one at a disadvantage, which Van Dam should be able to capitalize on.
1. Randy Orton — for receiving a gift from Triple H, beating Christian and delivering a final devastating blow to Daniel Bryan:
Daniel Bryan was not the kind of superstar the McMahon family wanted to represent the WWE as the face of the company, so Triple H saw to it that his reign as WWE Champion lasted for just a few short minutes at SummerSlam. With one simple Pedigree, Randy Orton was able to cash in his Money in the Bank contract and become the WWE Champion for the seventh time in his career.
There was absolutely no way Bryan was going to be cool with this, and he is now butting heads with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, as well as Orton himself. Fighting such powerful people doesn’t generally end well, so Bryan was humiliated at the end of RAW last week. Still, he didn’t back down from the challenge of trying to get the WWE Championship back, and it was announced on Smackdown that the two would have their championship rematch at Night of Champions.
This week’s RAW started with Triple H and Orton thanking each other, and Triple H awarded his face of the company with a brand new Cadillac Escalade. Now, if history can tell us anything, it is that cars gifted to Orton generally don’t do too well later on in the evening. Just ask Kofi Kingston.
First, Bryan interrupted this meeting between Orton and Triple H, and tossed out a number of insults that both men found to be disrespectful. So, Triple H booked Bryan in a gauntlet match against The Shield, who were standing ringside as security, in the order of Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.
While Bryan had that match on his plate, Orton was scheduled to square off against Christian. Those two had an intense confrontation in the back, with Christian calling Orton Triple H’s new tool.
Christian’s shot at Orton didn’t take The Viper off his game. They had a great, competitive match where, late in the contest, Christian was able to counter an RKO into the start of a Killswitch. Orton shoved him off into the referee, though, which allowed Orton the opportunity to poke Christian in the eye before the referee came back to. Orton then stalked and drilled Christian with the RKO to pick up the pinfall and the bragging rights.
Orton did not get to celebrate for too long, though. Bryan appeared on the big screen and revealed that he spray painted the word “YES” all over Orton’s new Escalade, which we all kind of knew was coming. According to general manager Brad Maddox, this was a laughing matter to some in the back, but it was not to Triple H and Orton. Triple H told Maddox to get everybody on stage for the main event gauntlet match and if anybody helped Bryan, that person would be personally fired by Triple H.
Bryan did well against Rollins in the first stage of that match, but the second and third parts against Ambrose and Reigns were basically disqualifications when the other members of The Shield interfered to break up Yes Locks. The Shield continued their assault, delivering the triple powerbomb on Triple H’s signal and leaving some scraps for Orton to come down to the ring and deliver an RKO. The whole time, Triple H stood on the ramp eyeing the superstars, especially The Big Show, wondering if they thought this was funny.
For the second week in a row, Bryan was left lying in the ring, while Orton and Triple H ended up with the last laugh. This is going to be a daunting task for Bryan to try and get that WWE Championship back, as Orton is in very good company that could very well ensure he remains the face of the WWE for quite some time.