WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 12.30.13
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 30, 2013
3. Daniel Bryan — for getting past Luke Harper and Erick Rowan before realizing it was in his best interest to finally join The Wyatt Family:
Daniel Bryan has faced a number of obstacles over the past year, and the 2013 Superstar of the Year honor he received is well deserved. The current predicament he is in with The Wyatt Family, however, may just be the most daunting.
Bryan’s frustrations boiled so high that he barged into the office of General Manager Brad Maddox this week on RAW, interrupting a meeting with Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, to demand a match with Bray Wyatt. Maddox didn’t just hand over Wyatt on a silver platter, but instead offered up the solution that Bryan could have Wyatt if he could first get past Luke Harper and then Erick Rowan.
Bryan accepted those terms, and a gauntlet match served as the evening’s main event.
It was not easy, but Bryan did manage to defeat Harper and Rowan in the first two stages of the match. Unfortunately, Bryan was still never going to get a fair fight against Wyatt. Even when Wyatt turned his back to Bryan, the henchmen were around to put Bryan down. But just when Wyatt said he had no more mercy to give to Bryan and the end was coming, Bryan came to his senses.
He told Wyatt that he was right, a phrase he needed to repeat a couple more times at the demand of Wyatt. He then asked to join the family, which Wyatt allowed him to do and delivered a Sister Abigail to make it official. Even as the fans urged Bryan to reconsider, he still stumbled to the back side-by-side with the Wyatts.
For some, this might not be a popular move for Bryan. He’s done an admirable job on his own over the past year gaining the respect of the WWE Universe. But that’s essentially been all he has gained. With the Wyatt Family around to support him, Bryan might be able to make a little more noise and ruffle some more feathers to get all of the things he wasn’t able get before. It’s an intriguing situation at the very least, and it should be fun to watch it play out.
2. Big E. Langston — for successfully defending the Intercontinental Championship against the No. 1 Contender, Fandango:
During last week’s Christmas episode of RAW, Fandango earned No. 1 Contender status for the Intercontinental Championship when he managed to grab a present off a pole during a match with Dolph Ziggler. That earned him a championship match against Big E. Langston during this week’s New Year’s edition of the show.
Fandango almost had the match and title put away when he hit the leg drop off the top rope. Smartly, Langston had enough left in him to roll to the outside, though, and that prevented Fandango from covering up for an almost guaranteed three count.
Fandango followed Langston to the outside and delivered a dropkick to his back off the apron. The challenger moved Langston back into the ring and hit a kick to the face while still on the outside to keep the champion down on the mat. Langston still made his way to his feet, though. And when Fandango re-entered the ring and charged at him, Langston caught him with a big belly-to-belly suplex.
Langston followed with a massive closeline and a running splash. Then the straps came down and Langston lifted Fandango up for the Big Ending, which was all he needed to win the bout and retain the championship.
That was a great win for Langston, who is proving to be a strong Intercontinental Champion. Now he just needs to await his next challenger.
1. CM Punk — for besting Seth Rollins while continuing to play the members of The Shield against each other:
In his clashes with The Shield, CM Punk has constantly had to deal with being on the wrong end of the numbers game. With three members of The Shield always ready to pounce, Punk was fighting a lonely battle — one he would constantly be the underdog in. Even with the odds against him, though, Punk has managed to get the upperhand on the group from time-to-time, and he seems to be doing his part to drive a wedge between the members for what could ultimately result in the breakup of The Shield.
When CM Punk opened RAW this week, he first wanted to discuss 2013 and how it wasn’t quite his year. Instead, he believed 2013 belonged to The Shield, and he proceeded to call them out so he could offer up a proposition. When they came down to the ring with relatively short delay, Dean Ambrose was immediately in his face. And when Punk made his challenge to go up against the best in The Shield one-on-one, Ambrose continued to go at Punk figuring that would be him. Tension grew, and Ambrose had to be held back by Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins jumped in to accept the challenge. That caused a little friction between Rollins and Reigns, but it was soon settled when RAW General Manager Brad Maddox hit the stage and scheduled the bout to take place immediately between Punk and Rollins.
Punk and Rollins are naturally capable of putting together a strong match one-on-one, but the thing to look out for was the involvement of the other Shield members standing ringside. Being there could have worked against Punk, but instead they caused enough of a distraction to Rollins that their presence actually benefitted the Straight Edge Superstar.
After Rollins flew off the top turnbuckle with a crossbody, Punk managed to roll through and slap on an Anaconda Vice. The submission was broken when Ambrose entered the ring and Punk had to let go to chase him away. That enabled Rollins to get to his feet and grab Punk, but Punk reversed Rollins into a fireman’s carry. Punk was once again distracted when Ambrose hopped onto the apron, which enabled Rollins to get down and hit Punk with an Asai DDT. Rollins covered as the referee continued to deal with the other members of The Shield, and he could only get a two count by the time the referee turned his attention back to the cover.
Rollins was not happy with that, and he moved immediately to the side of the ring to question his teammates. After some argument, Rollins moved back to Punk and whipped him to the ropes. Punk held on and then lifted Rollins onto his partners on the outside. Punk then went for a suicide dive, but Rollins cut him short by nailing him in the head just before he leapt through the ropes.
Rollins moved back onto the apron and jumped over, but he landed right on Punk’s shoulders. Punk hit the Go2Sleep as quickly as he could, and he covered right up for the three count.
The plan seems to be working, and The Shield is coming apart at the seams it would seem. Punk it not out of danger yet, as he has a bout against the true top dog of the group in Reigns next week on the “Old School” edition of RAW. If things work out as they have lately, however, Punk can just continuing playing The Shield against itself for another victory.