WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 2.3.14
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 February 3, 2014
3. Christian — for continuing his successful return to WWE with another win over Jack Swagger:
Christian’s time in the WWE may very well be running out, and he has come to realize that recently. He knows he may have just one more shot at going after the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. So he is going full-force into trying to make that happen and leave an indelible mark on his legacy.
He successfully returned to action on last Friday night’s Smackdown, beating Jack Swagger to earn a spot in the Elimination Chamber Match at the pay-per-view for the championship. Swagger has been off his game lately and is not winning any praise from manager Zeb Colter, who has tried to motivate his client pretty harshly during this downward swing.
Christian and Swagger would meet up again this week on RAW, with nothing more than some extra preparation for Christian and the ability to get back to winning ways for Swagger on the line. Unfortunately for Swagger, Christian managed to duplicate his success from a few nights earlier.
Christian escaped a Patriot Lock late in the bout and tried to go for a Killswitch, but Swagger pushed him off into the turnbuckles. Christian delivered a boot to the midsection, though, and went to springboard off the middle turnbuckle, only for Swagger to grab his boot and pull him face-first into the canvas. Swagger tried to follow with the Swagger Bomb, but Christian got the boots up to his face and delivered the springboard sunset flip he was looking for to get Swagger pinned to the mat for a three count.
Swagger had to hear about this loss from Colter after the match, all while tag team partner Antonio Cesaro shook his head in shame ringside. Meanwhile, Christian picks up a solid win as he tries to gain some steam heading into Elimination Chamber.
2. The New Age Outlaws — for retaining their WWE Tag Team Championships with a Steel Cage Match victory over Cody Rhodes and Goldust:
Last week’s RAW was supposed to be the setting for a WWE Tag Team Title rematch from the Royal Rumble, in which The New Age Outlaws would put their newly won belts on the line against former-champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust. The match did go off to some degree, but a pissed off Brock Lesnar disrupted the contest before its conclusion, and the rematch was rebooked for this week’s RAW.
Triple H announced during his weekly chat with Michael Cole that the match would take place inside the confines of a Steel Cage. Unlike traditional Steel Cage Matches, the only way for this bout to reach a decision was by pinfall or submission inside the cage itself. There would be no escaping over the top of the cage or through the door.
The exciting finish to this match started when Rhodes tried to counter a Fameasser from Billy Gunn with a Cross Rhodes, only for Road Dogg to come in and prevent the move. Rhodes sent Road Dogg headfirst into the Steel Cage, and Goldust caught him on the rebound for a snap slam. Gunn viciously sent Goldust into the cage, but he got caught with a Disaster Kick from Rhodes, who covered for a two count.
Rhodes argued a bit over the count, but then he looked up and figured he found a way to close out the match for sure. He climbed the cage, fighting Road Dogg off on his way up. Once he reached the top, Rhodes leapt off with a moonsault, except Road Dogg caught the brunt of the impact. Gunn, the legal man, shot right in for a Fameasser on Rhodes, who was hurting from the previous move, and Gunner covered up for the three count to keep the WWE Tag Team Championships in the camp of The New Age Outlaws.
That was a gutsy try from Rhodes, but it ended up backfiring. Road Dogg and Gunn have done a great job since coming back to the WWE, capturing their sixth tag team championship and figuring out a way to keep a hold of the straps against the very game former titleholders.
1. Daniel Bryan — for defeating WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton just a few weeks ahead of the championship Elimination Chamber Match:
There was little doubt that The Authority’s decision to force Randy Orton to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against five other superstars in an Elimination Chamber Match at Elimination Chamber would not sit well with The Viper. He opened RAW to express his displeasure, which was met with a response from Stephanie McMahon and Triple H that would not exactly appease their champion.
They first told Orton to calm down and perhaps his constant paranoia should have them putting their faith in somebody else. They made the decision that since Orton would face five other superstars inside the Elimination Chamber Match, he should take on each one of his challengers individually in the coming weeks leading up to the pay-per-view. And his first in those series of matches would be against Daniel Bryan. They even made it clear that should Bryan win, perhaps they would need to re-evaluate him as the face of the WWE, with Triple H leading the “Yes” chant.
When the main event finally rolled around, it was, as to be expected with Bryan involved, an exciting match. Toward the end of the long matchup, Orton had Bryan in position for an RKO after delivering the rope-assisted DDT. Bryan kicked him in the face when he moved in for the strike, though, and Bryan headed up top for the diving headbutt that resulted in a two count.
Bryan hit a series of kicks to Orton’s chest, which set up a more devastating one to the side of the head. Then Kane came down to the ring to cause a minor distraction, though Bryan took him right out of the equation by hitting a running knee that dropped Kane off the apron and onto the floor. Orton tried to take advantage by running at Bryan, but he dropped the top rope and sent Orton to the floor as well. Bryan then decided to hit the ropes and delivered a suicide dive onto both men on the outside.
Bryan promptly put Orton back into the ring, before noticing Kane running at him and delivering a drop toe hold to send him face-first into the steel ring steps. Bryan rolled back into the ring, countered an RKO, ducked a closeline and ran back at Orton with a running knee to get a pinning situation for the three count.
Bryan celebrated for a minute or two before Kane and Orton attacked him to close the show. It wasn’t the perfect ending for Bryan, but he will recover and know that he defeated Orton just a few weeks away from having the opportunity to take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship away from him inside the Elimination Chamber.