WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 4.21.14
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 21, 2014
3. Paige — for continuing to build up her confidence as Divas Champion with a win over Aksana heading into her title defense against Tamina at Extreme Rules:
Paige’s Divas Championship victory two weeks ago over the former long-time titleholder, AJ Lee, was certainly a surprise, but she has set out to prove it wasn’t just a fluke. She followed up on the title victory with a non-title win a week ago over the veteran Alicia Fox, who gave Paige a run for her money but could not avoid defeat by way of submission.
The competition will increase for Paige at Extreme Rules, when she will make her first defense of the Divas Championship against Tamina Snuka, who secured No. 1 Contender status with a battle royal victory on Main Event last week.
To continue building her confidence heading into that bout, Paige faced Aksana one-on-one in another non-title encounter on RAW. This was a rematch from Smackdown, where Paige once again forced a tapout with the Scorpion Cross Lock.
This may have been a different night, but Aksana’s fate was much the same. She offered up a good fight to Paige and wore her down on a few occasions. However, she wasn’t able to finish off the champion.
With a submission hold blocked, Paige managed to keep control with a knee to Aksana’s face. She followed with a short-arm closeline and a scream, before wrapping up the legs and lifting Aksana off the mat with a Scorpion Cross Lock. Aksana wasted little time tapping, garnering Paige another tally in the win column.
As Paige gets more comfortable as the top Diva in the WWE, it is only going to become more difficult to take the championship off her. Tamina may very well be as tough as they come in the division, and she may be the best suited to make Paige’s first run with the belt a forgettable one. But Paige has proven that she is up for the challenge.
2. Bray Wyatt — for doing major damage to John Cena by not only getting the crowd to vote for a 3-on-1 handicap match, but by leaving him laid out in the main event:
Bray Wyatt could have easily retreated from his mission to expose John Cena when he failed to defeat him at WrestleMania. Despite that setback, however, Wyatt has not been deterred and remains just as much a thorn in the side of Cena. Now, he has a Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules to look forward to against Cena.
This week’s RAW presented an interesting opportunity for Wyatt, and for Cena to gauge just how much the WWE Universe loves or hates him. The fans were put to a vote as to who in The Wyatt Family would face him during the show. The choices were Luke Harper, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, or Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Wyatt himself.
Wyatt spoke to the fans early in the night, and expressed to them they had the free will to choose Cena’s fate that night. Cena understood that, and simply wanted to survive the night if he truly faced a 3-on-1 handicap to make it to Extreme Rules in two weeks, where it will be one-on-one.
When the fan vote was revealed, the 3-on-1 scenario received the most votes, and Cena was less than enthused when he realized he had to go against Harper, Rowan and Wyatt. Cena did actually win the bout, but only by disqualification when, after hitting Wyatt with an Attitude Adjustment, Harper and Rowan attacked him to break a pin attempt.
The beatdown proceeded from there, and Wyatt was able to put Cena down with a Sister Abigail after Harper and Rowan did a lot of the dirty work in destroying Cena. Wyatt closed out the night sitting down on the mat, holding Cena’s head in his lap and serenading the crowd with “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands.”
There is still a little time between now and Extreme Rules for Cena to get some momentum back in this rivalry, but Wyatt has gained a great deal of it back since the loss at WrestleMania. Not only did Cena realize that the crowd like him a bit less than he thought, but he left RAW battered and bruised beyond just his ego courtesy of The Wyatt Family’s attack.
1. Bad News Barrett — for getting past Sheamus to move into the finals of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 Contender Tournament:
The Intercontinental Championship will be defended at Extreme Rules by Big E, and he awaits the deciding of his competition as the ongoing No. 1 Contender tournament plays itself out. Eight Superstars were entered into the tournament, and four of them advanced into semifinals this week on RAW.
The show actually opened with one of those matches, pitting Bad News Barrett against Sheamus for a hard-hitting, unpredictable affair. Barrett defeated Dolph Ziggler last week in the quarterfinals to advance in the bracket, while Sheamus made his move by beating Jack Swagger.
After coming short on a few near falls, Sheamus worked his way out of a Wasteland and attempted a short-range Brogue Kick. He missed, though, and ran right into a Winds of Change that got Barrett a close two count. Barrett reversed the elbow pad and called for a Bull Hammer, but Sheamus ducked and charged toward Barrett in the corner. Barrett got the boots up, but Sheamus pulled him out of the corner and put him on the mat with the White Noise. It only received a two count, and both Superstars proceeded to trade right hands from their knees. They eventually made it to their feet, where Sheamus won the exchange and hit the ropes, ducking a closeline from Barrett and leaping into a cross body that sent both men over the top rope to the floor.
Sheamus sent Barrett back into the ring, but Barrett tried to escape back under the ropes. Sheamus grabbed his legs to keep him in, but he was kicked off and Barrett continued to get back out of the ring. Sheamus charged toward the ropes at Barrett, who saw him coming and dished out a Bull Hammer elbow through the ropes. Barrett got back into the ring, covered up and collected the pinfall to advance in the tournament.
With the win, Barrett moves into the finals next week on RAW, where he will face Rob Van Dam, who defeated Cesaro by countout later in the evening, for the right to challenge Big E for the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules.