WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 2.17.14
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
Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week for February 17, 2014
3. Jack Swagger — for continuing to turn around that losing streak with a win
over Kofi Kingston:
To say that Jack Swagger was having a rough go of things lately would be an
understatement. He even drew the ire of his manager, Zeb Colter, and partner,
Cesaro, for underperforming recently. Everyone was waiting to see if he could
turn things round and just chalk this up to a bad streak, or if he would
continue down the losing path.
On Friday Night Smackdown, Colter worked out a solid opportunity for Swagger.
With Cesaro entering the Elimination Chamber Match with a chance at capturing
the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, he wanted Swagger to have a title
opportunity as well. He tried to butter up Vickie Guerrero into granting Swagger
one, but she was reluctant to just hand one over because of his losing streak.
So, she put him in a four-way match for No. 1 Contendership to the
Intercontinental Championship. He would have to face Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston
and Rey Mysterio, but he came out victorious by countering a Trouble in Paradise
into an ankle lock to get the tapout.
Swagger would return to the ring on RAW in a singles match against Kingston,
hoping to find similar results in maybe starting up a winning streak, all with
the thought of having an Intercontinental Championship Match against Big E. at
Elimination Chamber in just six days.
Swagger did manage to find that similar conclusion. This time, after kicking out
at two following a cross body off the top from Kingston, Swagger immediately
grabbed the leg of Kingston and applied the Patriot Lock. Kingston held on a bit
longer this time and made a push toward the ropes in hopes of breaking the hold,
but Swagger pulled him right back and got the tapout to secure another win via
Swagger and Colter were witness to Big E. winning a handicap match against
Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre right after, but Kingston was a greater challenge
to Swagger, who has looked much better in his last two matches. Both men have
some momentum behind them, and it should lead to a good Intercontinental Title
encounter at Elimination Chamber.
2. Roman Reigns — for making relatively easy work out of defeating Mark Henry:
When Dean Ambrose presented an open challenge to anybody in the locker room last
week for a United States Championship shot, he probably wasn’t expecting the
returning Mark Henry to answer the call. Perhaps only thanks to the interference
of his partners from The Shield did Ambrose hold onto the title, though Henry
did pick up the win by disqualification.
Henry would come into this week’s RAW in a pretty foul mood, ready to grant
somebody a ticket to the Hall of Pain. Unfortunately, he ran into the bull of
The Shield, Roman Reigns, who was far greater competition for Henry than Ambrose
was a week ago.
Reigns may have been at a small power disadvantage against Henry, but he showed
he has phenomenal strength just the same. When Henry caught Reigns’ boot as he
tried to charge him in the corner, Reigns kicked him off with incredible force.
Then he smashed the mat with his first and called for a Superman Punch, which he
delivered and followed up on with a devastating spear. The cover followed, and
Reigns scored a relatively simple victory over the World’s Strongest Man.
The true badass that he is, Reigns didn’t hesitate to call The Wyatt Family down
to the ring when they decided to send a message via the Tron following his
match. Bray Wyatt and his crew obliged, but they stepped back just short of
actually fighting, which Reigns proved he was more than happy to do by being the
first man to step forward. They did, however, have a bit of a tussle at the end
of the show when The Shield interrupted the main event between Randy Orton and
Sheamus, and a huge brawl ensued to close out RAW.
If nothing else, Reigns’ performance against Henry solidified what many already
know — he is the top dog of The Shield and is relatively invulnerable right now.
It took him just a few minutes to beat Henry, and he didn’t hesitate to call out
The Wyatts. How he performs on Sunday will play a big role in how successful The
Shield is in their six-man tag team match against The Wyatts.
1. John Cena — for winning an incredible possible Match of the Year candidate
When RAW opened this week with every Superstar involved in the WWE World
Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber Match going down to the ring, it
was bound to end up leading into a few matches for the night.
Kane came down the ring with the power of running RAW this week bestowed upon
him by The Authority. He believed that with Randy Orton and Sheamus already
booked for the night, it was only fair to have the four other Superstars
involved in competition as well. One match pit Christian against Daniel Bryan —
an encounter that would lead to Kane going after Bryan again. And the other far
more intriguing bout was Cena against Cesaro — the last two men to beat Orton
during his gauntlet series leading into the pay-per-view.
Those two men were the first ones to have their say in the ring at the top of
RAW, and it would be interesting to see how the rising Cesaro would hold up
against Cena. In a nutshell, he showed he was more than worthy of being in the
ring with the former 14-time heavyweight champion.
These two locked up in what has to already make the list for Match of the Year
candidate. It turned out to be a long, hard-fought, back-and-forth brawl that
was really never in either man’s control for too long.
Cesaro had to work hard to get that awe-inspiring swing on Cena, but he
eventually did and got a two count out of it. Cesaro cracked his neck and pulled
Cena in to try for a Neutralizer, but Cena quickly countered by lifting him up
on his shoulders. Cesaro flipped over when Cena tried the Attitude Adjustment,
and he delivered a big boot to the face after coming off the ropes. Cesaro hit
the ropes again, but he got caught with a big closeline from Cena this time.
Cena then rolled on Cesaro and lifted him up onto his shoulders for a successful
Attitude Adjustment, which kept Cesaro down for the pinfall.
To Cesaro’s credit, he had perhaps the most eye-opening moment of his career in
this match and deserves accolades for the effort. He proved he could hang with
Cena, and that’s a pretty big deal.
It was Cena, though, that ultimately picked up the victory, garnering him some
last-minute momentum for the Elimination Chamber Match on Sunday. He proved that
everybody still needs to go through him in order to claim the WWE World