WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 10.7.13
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 October 7, 2013
3. Dolph Ziggler — for beating Money in the Bank contract holder Damien Sandow for the second time in consecutive nights:
Dolph Ziggler is in a struggle right now of sitting outside of the heavyweight title picture even though he could easily work his way right back into it at the drop of a hat. Perhaps one of the best ways to escalate his push back into the championship chatter is by getting over on the guy who holds an automatic shot at the World Heavyweight Title he used to call his own.
During the kickoff portion of the WWE Battleground pay-per-view on Sunday, Ziggler met up with Damien Sandow, who still owns his personally-modified briefcase that contains a contract for a World Heavyweight Championship bout whenever he so desires to cash it in. With the use of a Zig Zag, Ziggler picked up a pinfall that would surely elevate his stock some.
He could elevate it even further just one night later on Monday Night RAW, when he once again went toe-to-toe with Sandow for the second time in consecutive nights.
Sandow was fairly dominant for most of the match and he appeared well on his way to evening the score from Battleground. That was until Ziggler avoided a charge in the corner, which sent Sandow shoulder-first into the steel ring post instead.
From there, Ziggler delivered a few right hands and speared Sandow for some more mounted punches. Ziggler’s continued attack sent Sandow to the outside, but Ziggler drilled him with a baseball slide and he pounded away some more on the floor. After repeated elbows, Ziggler sent Sandow back into the ring, where he moved him into the corner for punches to a count of 10.
Afterward, Ziggler delivered a swinging neckbreaker and a dropkick, which gave him a two count on the ensuing cover. Ziggler tried to close things out with a Zig Zag, but Sandow blocked it by holding onto the rope, forcing Ziggler off. Ziggler charged back at him, but Sandow directed him onto the apron. Ziggler quickly got back to work with a right hand before heading up top. Sandow noticed this and hit the ropes, crotching Ziggler to send him crashing back down to the mat.
Sandow covered for a two and then picked Ziggler off the mat for some knees to the gut. He whipped Ziggler to the ropes, but Ziggler worked around him to get the start of a rollup. Before any count could be made, Ziggler let go and quickly hit the leg drop bulldog. Then he covered Sandow for good, collecting the pinfall.
These wins are unlikely to immediately leapfrog Ziggler into the title picture, especially with John Cena being gifted a World Heavyweight Championship Match against Alberto Del Rio at Hell In A Cell. However, he can’t be too far back in the line if he continues to pick up impressive victories as he did over that 24-hour span.
2. CM Punk and R-Truth — for forming a successful impromptu partnership in a tag team match against Ryback and Curtis Axel:
CM Punk is so enamored with getting at Paul Heyman and his band of goons that he doesn’t really seem to care how he gets the upperhand over any of them. In his match against Ryback at Battleground, Punk resorted to delivering a low blow to Ryback as the referee had his back turned to admonish Heyman in order to get the victory.
On RAW, Heyman called Punk out for his cheating, but Punk soon came out to defend his actions as just getting the win. He also knew that Heyman and Ryback would want a rematch, so Punk quickly informed them that the challenge was accepted and they could do it at Hell In A Cell. Heyman planted the idea in Ryback’s head that Punk was bullying him, which the big man didn’t like. So, he told Punk to come on down there.
Before Punk could make his move, R-Truth met him on the stage. Truth, who lost to Curtis Axel in the Intercontinental Championship bout at Battleground, wanted a piece of the action as well, and he walked to the ring with Punk. A referee made his way down to the ring to make this an official tag team matchup — Punk and Truth vs. Ryback and Axel.
Punk and Truth started the match off well, but Truth eventually got caught on the defensive and the opposition took charge for a good portion of the match. Upon getting off Ryback’s shoulder and delivering a heel kick in response, Truth was able to get a tag into Punk to get the advantage back for their team.
Punk dove in with a springboard forearm to Axel, following up with a chop and swinging neckbreaker. He nailed Axel in the corner with a running knee before pulling him out with a short-arm closeline. Punk headed up top for the flying elbow drop and then called for a Go2Sleep.
First, Punk knocked Ryback off the apron, and then he connected on a Go2Sleep to Axel. Before he could cover, Ryback ran in at him for a closeline. Punk ducked, though, and came back with a kick to the head. With Ryback rolled out to the floor, Punk tagged Truth back in to finish things off. He hit the ropes and delivered a scissors kick. He covered Axel and got the three count to bring his team the victory.
The partnership between Punk and Truth is obviously not long term, but they worked very well together during this match. Punk got another one over Heyman’s crew, while Truth exacted some revenge over Axel.
1. Randy Orton — for getting a win over Kofi Kingston before gaining some revenge over WWE Championship rival Daniel Bryan in the main event:
Neither Randy Orton nor Daniel Bryan really left Battleground all too excited about the ending. They were both left knocked out by The Big Show, and the WWE Championship stayed in vacant status. Of course, that leads to one more match between the two for the title, which will take place inside a Hell in a Cell at Hell In A Cell, with Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee courtesy of a WWE Universe vote.
Orton, who has turned back into the remorseless superstar that the McMahon family has long been hoping he could become, would look to keep his edge in a match on RAW against Kofi Kingston. Kington, who came just short in a match against Bray Wyatt at Battleground, would come up much the same on this night against The Viper.
Kingston thought he might gain an edge when he lifted Orton to the outside and ran at him with a baseball slide. Orton moved out of the way, though, and caught Kingston with a closeline to signal the beginning of the end.
Still on the outside, Orton slammed Kingston head-first into the barricade. He then dropped him stomach-first on top of it, which led to a DDT right to the floor. Orton moved Kingston back into the ring before the 10 count, and he lifted Kingston off the mat just to put him right back down with an RKO. Orton covered and got the three count.
Orton’s celebration was cut short when Bryan came to the ring and attacked him from behind. Bryan attacked him both in and out of the ring, leading to a separation from referees and agents.
Now, Orton could have just taken that and moved on. But that’s not his style. Instead, when the main event involving the team of Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust against The Shield was restarted at the discretion of Triple H in the form of No Disqualification, Orton came out of nowhere through the crowd to sneak attack Bryan with an RKO. Orton then sent Bryan back into the ring to be covered up by Seth Rollins, who got the pinfall for The Shield.
There is some reason for concern inside the Hell In A Cell for Orton, who cannot expect any interference on his behalf and may also have to deal with Bryan’s former trainer — Michaels — standing in there to make decisions that may not be completely unbiased. But he still has that remorseless attitude that can get the job done, meaning the WWE Championship is still very much in his grasp.