WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 9.16.13
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 September 16, 2013
3. Randy Orton — for heeding the words of Stephanie McMahon to become the Randy Orton of old by taking out The Miz in front of his parents:
Randy Orton has been a very well protected WWE Champions as the hand-picked “face of the company” by Triple H and the McMahon family. But he would receive none of the cushioning that has come his way since essentially being handed the title at SummerSlam when he defended the strap against Daniel Bryan at Night of Champions.
Per Triple H’s decree, there would be no interference in this title match. Bryan and Orton simply went at each other one-on-one, and the result was Bryan scoring the pinfall with a running knee to Orton’s jaw. Becoming the new WWE Champion would provide only a short-lived celebration, however, as there was a catch to the ending.
The very next night on RAW, Triple H addressed the fact that referee Scott Armstrong delivered a fast count. He made the decision to hold up the WWE Title as a result, stripping Bryan of the championship and ordering him to hand the belt over. Orton rushed to the ring, but he wasn’t going to be handed the title right back. When Bryan refused to hand over the belt to Triple H, Orton gave him an RKO and Triple H was able to snatch the strap away, but the COO simply walked away with it and headed to the back.
Orton confronted Triple H in the back after this incident and demanded his title back, but he was met with vigor from Stephanie McMahon instead. She wanted to know what happened to the remorseless Randy Orton of old who handcuffed her husband and gave her a DDT. That’s the person they want as the face of the company.
Apparently, Orton received the message loud and clear. He was scheduled to face The Miz. Wrestling in his hometown of Cleveland, Miz’ parents were in attendance and he made sure to pay them a visit at the first row. Orton ambushed him in what turned out to be the beginning of a beatdown on Miz.
The match itself ended up being called a No Contest when it became clear Orton simply wanted to beat the hell out Miz. Miz got some shots in here and there, but the end result was Orton annihilating Miz in front of his distraught mother and equally dumbfounded father. Between being DDT’d off the guardrail to having his head placed in between a steel chair for Orton to stomp on, Miz was the unfortunate victim in Orton trying to send a message to his bosses that he could still be the heartless jerk they were looking for.
Orton lost his WWE Championship and was not immediately handed it back, but he still probably remains the primary candidate to get it once Triple H and Stephanie McMahon decide what to do with it. After all, he did give them what they wanted on RAW.
2. The Usos — for becoming No. 1 Contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships with a victory in a triple threat elimination tag team matchup:
The Usos were unable to win the tag team turmoil match on the Night of Champions Kickoff Show, thus resulting in them missing out on a WWE Tag Team Championship Match against The Shield’s Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins later on the main card. The winners of that match, The Prime Time Players, were unsuccessful in their bid to win the titles from The Shield, too.
With Reigns and Rollins awaiting their next set of challengers, The Usos, as well as the other two losing teams from the turmoil match — Tons of Funk and The Real Americans, took part in a three-way elimination match to determine the next No. 1 Contender for the WWE Tag Team Championships.
Brodus Clay and Tensai were the first team to hit the bricks, as Antonio Cesaro managed to work in a blind tag that enabled him to catch Tensai offguard for a rollup that went to the three count. That left The Real Americans and The Usos to battle it out for the right to earn a title opportunity.
After The Usos flew onto The Real Americans on the outside, Jimmy moved Swagger back into the ring. He soon found himself in the Ankle Lock, though, which he struggled to get out of but eventually did by kicking Swagger off. Jimmy followed with a superkick before heading up top.
Once there, Cesaro climbed onto the apron and served as a distraction, but he was soon pulled down by Jey. Swagger was still able to run up and meet Jimmy on the ropes, sending him to the mat with a belly-to-belly suplex. But Jey, who made a tag, leapt off the top rope with a splash onto Swagger. The cover followed and he got the three count for the victory.
Now The Usos, who failed in their last shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships, have another opportunity at The Shield. With some more experience under their belts, they should give it a better go of it whenever that title match comes about.
1. Dolph Ziggler — for earning a win over United States Champion Dean Ambrose in a non-title rematch to rebound from a loss to him in the title match at Night of Champions:
Dolph Ziggler’s status in the WWE has fallen some since losing the World Heavyweight Championship and finding himself a lone man without AJ Lee and Big E. Langston at his side. But there was still a possibility of holding championship gold for the Showoff, as he faced Dean Ambrose for the United States Champion at Night of Champions.
That did not exactly pan out for Ziggler, as a headlock driver from Ambrose put him away for a three count. But Ziggler did not have to wait long for a rematch against the arrogant champion — it just wouldn’t be with the title on the line.
In RAW’s opening matchup, the two went one-on-one for the second time in consecutive nights. Ambrose could make a big statement if he could put Ziggler away again, but Ziggler could possibly move himself into position for another U.S. Title Match if he made the most of this non-title opportunity.
Late in the hard-fought bout, Ambrose hit a spinebuster on Ziggler and, after a failed pin attempt, he drilled him with some punches in hopes that it would wear his opponent down. He lifted Ziggler off the mat to attempt a neckbreaker, but Ziggler countered on the turn around with a backslide for a two count. Ziggler leapt to the middle turnbuckle, but Ambrose was right there to grab him by the trunks and pull him back down to the mat.
Ambrose pulled the seemingly lifeless body of Ziggler off the mat, but Ziggler suddenly sprung to life by dropping out of a headlock and popping right back up for a Zig Zag on Ambrose. He covered up and collected the three count to get an impressive victory.
It’s not set in stone, of course, but this should move Ziggler into a contention for another crack at the title. Even if that’s not in the cards, at least he puts a pause on the small drop in the ranks that’s been happening to him lately.