WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 12.9.13
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 December 9, 2013
3. John Cena — for grabbing a Match of the Year Slammy and for clearly gaining the momentum for the unification match at TLC at the end of RAW:
While rushed to almost haphazardly, the WWE is on the road toward a monumental moment at Tables, Ladders and Chairs. It will unify the WWE Championship and World Heavyweight Championship into one, with perhaps two of its most capable and long-term competitors, John Cena and Randy Orton, going at it for the right to be deemed the undisputed titleholder.
Cena and Orton both received nights off from in-ring competition on RAW, but they certainly had a lot on their plate at the end of the show. Cena’s night was a bit more active, as he made an appearance when accepting the Slammy Award for Match of the Year for his battle with The Rock at WrestleMania 29.
But the big moment came when Cena and Orton met inside the ring with The Authority and over 20 former heavyweight champions to let go of their titles and look forward to their match on Sunday. Each man had the opportunity to say his piece, and Orton took his moment to basically hype himself up. Cena, on the other hand, dug deep into Orton.
He used Daniel Bryan as an example of working to make it to the top as opposed to be a second or third generation star and having it handed to you. He also called Orton out for not making the most of what was given to him in the WWE, having behavior issues and blaming others for his misfortunes. While Orton’s motives are selfish, Cena has had no problem offering up title matches to those others have deemed unworthy, such as Bryan — who Cena even said would get a rematch should he win the title at TLC.
Cena did extend his hand for a handshake, and Orton shook back as their belts were raised in the air. But when Orton got a cheap shot in, Cena fought back. That led to a big melee between a number of top superstars, including CM Punk, Shawn Michaels, Daniel Bryan and even Triple H, who pedigreed Orton after The Viper ran into Stephanie McMahon when Bryan shoved him off mid-RKO. Then as RAW came to a close, Triple H, McMahon, Kane and Cena were seen standing next to each other while looking down at a bewildered Orton.
That was a fun and interesting way to close RAW. Cena standing beside The Authority as they stared down at Orton is definitely something to think about. But even if there is nothing to read into that, he clearly has the momentum at this point, while Orton is left in a state of confusion and possibly some doubt.
2. CM Punk — for getting a win over The Shield’s Dean Ambrose and for snagging a Slammy Award for his beating on Paul Heyman:
CM Punk is facing a massive uphill battle at Tables, Ladders and Chairs. He has to step into the ring by himself against all three members of The Shield, and they obviously have their sights set on shortening Punk’s career. Punk is aware of this and made it known last week that he knows he is going down, he just has to try to take as many members of The Shield as he possibly can with him.
On RAW this week, Punk had the opportunity to battle one member of The Shield when he stepped into the ring with Dean Ambrose. This wasn’t going to be anywhere near the same as having to face all three members of The Shield, but Punk could do a little early damage.
Ambrose was arrogant enough to send The Shield to the back late in the match when he thought he had the match in the bag. When he moved back into the ring after sending Punk there, he was rolled up suddenly and kicked out at two. Punk got Ambrose into position for a Go2Sleep, but Ambrose got down and looked for a headlock driver. Instead, Punk shoved him off into the ropes and hit a Go2Sleep on his way back. Punk covered and got the three count.
Punk did take a hit after the match when, while Seth Rollins distracted him, Roman Reigns charged in with a spear to put Punk down. But he did get a Slammy Award soon thereafter in the Extreme Moment of the Year category for his attack on Paul Heyman on top of the Hell in a Cell.
Punk knows he’s fighting a numbers game against three ruthless competitors when he faces The Shield in a 3-on-1 handicap match. But he’ll have a strategy ready to take some of them with him, and he has some momentum with the singles win over Ambrose in his pocket.
1. Daniel Bryan — for picking up a win, multiple Slammy Awards and the adoration of his home state fans:
While the WWE clearly tries to lower the hype surrounding Daniel Bryan, the fans remain heavily on his bandwagon with each passing week. He may be out of the WWE Title picture and immersed in a feud with The Wyatt Family at the moment, but he’s still No. 1 with many in the WWE Universe, and they have no problem letting it be known.
This week’s RAW was a big one for Bryan, as he managed to pick up a show-opening win, some Slammy Awards (as voted on by the fans) and even stole the show at the end of the night when it was meant more to be about John Cena, Randy Orton and the title unification match at Tables, Ladders and Chairs.
Bryan’s first act was when he stepped into the ring in front of his home state crowd in Washington and faced Fandango in singles action. When Fandango sidestepped a dropkick in the corner from Bryan, he was able to hit a sitout suplex and pick up a two count before heading up top for a try at the leg drop off the top rope. Bryan avoided the move, however, and he hit his own high-risk maneuver with a flying headbutt. Bryan then waited for Fandango to get back to his feet before charging in with his knee shot. The cover followed and it went for the three count to award Bryan the win.
Bray Wyatt and the rest of his family appeared on the screen after this match with message to join them or they would hurt them. Bryan simply motioned his “No” chant after the video ended.
His night continued when he won a few Slammy Awards. The first one was for Superstar of the Year, which included an awkward handoff from presenter Shawn Michaels. The next was for Fan Participation, which went to Bryan for his wildly popular “Yes” chant.
That chant and his popularity came out in full force during the closing segment surrounding preparation for the title unification match at TLC this Sunday. Over 20 former champions stood in the ring as The Authority, Cena and Orton handled their business, but the fans made it perfectly clear throughout that they cared only for Bryan. They drowned out Triple H and forced him to stop speaking, Cena used him as an example of the hard work Orton never put into his time in the business and he even got in a charging knee shot to Michaels during a melee at the end.
All-in-all, Bryan was clearly the star of this show. Yes, he did have a home state crowd advantage. But Bryan’s popularity is still high all over, and the fact that he should still be considered main event material is not lost on the WWE Universe.