WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 4.14.14
By Neil Borenstein
Each week here at 1wrestling.com, I will select three of the top wrestlers from Monday Night RAW and present them to you in inverse order as the show’s Wrestlers of the Week.
Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week for April 14, 2014
3. Paige — for winning her first expected match on RAW in a non-title bout against Alicia Fox:
Paige shocked herself and majority of the WWE Universe when she turned an impromptu showdown with AJ Lee into a Divas Championship victory in just her first night on RAW. It took just one offensive move from Paige to simultaneously hold the Divas and NXT Women’s titles.
Paige returned to RAW this week for a non-title matchup with Alicia Fox. Without the pressure of facing Lee, who will surely get a rematch somewhere down the road, or having to put the championship on the line, this would be an opportunity for Paige to show the WWE Universe what she was capable of on the big stage in a match she was prepared for.
Just because the Norwich, England, native was ready this time around doesn’t mean she had an easy match. Fox is a veteran in the ring by comparison and a former Divas Champion herself. Fox was relentless at times, delivering three consecutive tilt-a-whirl backbreakers early on to send the message that she wasn’t going to be a pushover. Fox continued to wear Paige down and maintain control until the champion shrugged her opponent off after being pulled out of the corner and delivered a right hand. Paige followed with a series of short-arm closelines before hitting the ropes for a running dropkick. Paige then twisted Fox up in the Scorpion Cross Lock, which brought upon the tapout that netted Paige the victory.
Again, there was no title on the line and the rematch against Lee is going to be a more difficult challenge for Paige. But Fox proved to be an obstacle for a good portion of their match on RAW, and Paige held on well enough to get back in and close things out with an impressive submission.
2. Ryback and Curtis Axel — for getting an important tag team victory to keep themselves in the discussion of contenders in the tag team ranks:
After the WWE Tag Team Champions, The Usos, the tag team division in the WWE is clustered with worthy contenders. Because any of them could challenge for the titles at any given moment, it’s important to not fall behind the competition when the opportunity presents itself to get a worthwhile victory.
When Cody Rhodes and Goldust faced Ryback and Curtis Axel on RAW this week, it wasn’t necessarily a surefire shot at becoming the next in line to face The Usos for the titles. But it wouldn’t hurt to get the win and perhaps gain an edge when it comes time for the belts to be put on the line next.
Rybaxel has not been the most flawless tag team in the WWE, but they have done all right lately and would look to make a splash in this match against the Rhodes brothers. After Rhodes delivered a high-risk move to Ryback on the outside, he rolled the big guy back into the ring and delivered a springboard dropkick that led to a cover. Axel ran in to interrupt the pin attempt, causing Goldust to come in and hit him in the face with a right hand. Goldust ran at Axel with hopes of sending him outside, but Axel pulled the top rope down and sent Goldust crashing to the floor instead.
Rhodes nailed Axel with a Disaster Kick when he was admiring what he had just done to Goldust. Rhodes failed in his attempt to deliver the move to Ryback, though, when Ryback countered with a Meat Hook Closeline after Rhodes came off the ropes. Ryback covered up and got the three count to get his team an important win.
There is still probably work to be done before Ryback and Axel get that WWE Tag Team Championship Match against The Usos, but this is absolutely a step in the right direction.
1. Bad News Barrett — for being the last Superstar to advance to the semifinals of the Intercontinental Title No. 1 Contender Tournament with one of the closer first-round matchups against Dolph Ziggler:
This Monday night’s RAW was filled with first-round matchups in the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender Tournament. The winner of this eight-man bracket will move on to face Big E in a title match at Extreme Rules, and there are a lot of worthy contenders involved.
Each of the four matches on RAW were competitive, but perhaps the closest and most intriguing of them all was the one that went on last. It featured Bad News Barrett going up against Dolph Ziggler in a bout that would advance the winner into a semifinals bout against Sheamus, who defeated Jack Swagger earlier on the show.
Barrett almost had the contest put away when he dumped Ziggler with a Wasteland, but he only got a two count and had a pump handle slam countered into a leg drop bulldog by Ziggler that netted him a two count. With Barrett backed into the corner, Ziggler ran in for a splash, but Barrett sidestepped him and climbed to the middle turnbuckle. Barrett wasted time taunting the crowd, and Ziggler darted up to attempt a superplex. Barrett blocked and headbutted Ziggler back down to the mat. Barrett still wasted too much time figuring out his situation up top, and Ziggler once again met him up there to bring him face-first down to the mat. Ziggler went for another cover, but Barrett kicked out again at two.
Zigger ran at Barrett for a Zig Zag, but Barrett held onto the ropes and shrugged Ziggler off. Ziggler ran at Barrett again, only to be caught in a Winds of Change that resulted in a two count. Barrett called for the Bull Hammer, but Ziggler ducked and responded with a quick rollup that went for a two count again. Ziggler went right back at Barrett, but he was thrown off and promptly drilled with the Bull Hammer. Barrett went for the pin and finally closed out the match with a three count.
There are still two more matches for Barrett before he has the title shot locked up. Sheamus is next on his dance card, which will prove to be another tough bout, while the winner of a Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro encounter on the other side of the bracket awaits him in the finals if he gets past the Celtic Warrior. But this is a good first step for Barrett, who has been on a roll lately and has plenty of confidence on his side.