WWE Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week 7.21.14
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.
Monday Night RAW Wrestlers of the Week for July 21, 2014
3. Rybaxel — for getting a tag team victory over Big E and Kofi Kingston:
The Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at Battleground could only net one new titleholder, and that Superstar was not Ryback, Curtis Axel, Big E or Kofi Kingston. They had some moments in that match, but they were sent back to tag team competition without a belt around any of their waists.
Rybaxel faced the duo of Big E and Kingston this week on RAW, with the winning team potentially positioning itself for a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships.
When Kingston got tagged in late during the match, he took control of the contest right away with a springboard forearm shot to Ryback before knocking Axel off the apron. He came back with a few strikes for Ryback, as well as a dropkick, before hitting the SOS for a two count.
The cover was actually broken up by Axel, who was met with a big closeline from Big E that sent the two of them crashing to the floor. Meanwhile, Kingston delivered a kick to Ryback through the ropes before heading up top and leaping off with a crossbody. Ryback rolled through, though, and managed to keep Kingston pinned down for a three count to take a win for his team.
We’ll have to see if Luke Harper and Erick Rowan get another crack at The Usos, or if another team steps up in the interim. But victories like the one Rybaxel got on RAW should move them within consideration for a WWE Tag Team Championship Match.
2. Dolph Ziggler — for beating new Intercontinental Champion The Miz in non-title action:
At Battleground, Dolph Ziggler was so close to capturing the Intercontinental Championship that he could taste it. He had just eliminated Sheamus and was celebrating near the ropes when The Miz, who had been in hiding for much of the bout, snuck back in behind him and sent him to the floor to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Ziggler was visibly disappointed, and Miz did not exactly shy away from rubbing it in his face.
The two went one-on-one in non-title action this week on RAW, giving Ziggler an opportunity to get some revenge on Miz and possibly position himself as the first in line for a title shot against the new champion. If this bout was in fact an audition for Ziggler to get that opportunity, he made a very strong case for himself.
Miz avoided a Zig Zag late by holding onto the ropes and came back at Ziggler with a kick to the face. Miz went for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Ziggler tossed him off. Miz moved away from a kick by Ziggler to protect the money maker, but Ziggler was wise to it and followed Miz from behind with a successful Zig Zag. That kept Miz down for the three count.
While Ziggler was the winner, Miz was still announced as the Intercontinental Champion, and that seemed to upset Ziggler again. Despite the sad looks, Ziggler did what he had to do in the ring to get consideration for a title shot.
1. Roman Reigns — for taking advantage of poor teamwork by Randy Orton and Kane to win a handicap match:
The main event at Battleground did not go The Authority’s way. With two players in the Fatal Four Way Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Triple H was still unable to get the belt off John Cena.
Triple H opened RAW to make it clear that he will get his way and Cena will no longer be champion after SummerSlam. He just didn’t know who was going to be the Superstar to do it. That, of course, prompted interruptions. Initially, it was Randy Orton, who Triple H declared was a front runner, but The Game still wanted everybody in the locker room to prove to him they were worthy of the title shot. Kane and Roman Reigns also made their ways to the ring, which left Triple H to put Reigns in a handicap match against Orton and Kane.
Orton and Kane may be in The Authority, but they aren’t on the same page. Kane is sick of “babysitting,” while Orton would much rather Kane stop trying to think and act for himself and continue doing what’s in The Viper’s best interest. That level of disconnect left them vulnerable in their match against Reigns.
Kane had Reigns down with a boot to the face, but his attempt at tagging Orton in was met with resistance. Kane got so furious over Orton’s reluctance to tag in that he put his hand around his partner’s throat. All this wasted time gave Reigns a chance to recover, and he darted in with a Superman Punch to Kane. He followed up with a spear, covering up right after for the pinfall.
Reigns and Orton stared each other down after the match and almost got into it until Orton thought better of it. But Orton would face the music at the end of the night when he came out during Triple H’s announcement for Cena’s SummerSlam opponent. Instead of getting his wish, Orton was attacked by Reigns and taken right out of consideration.
This is likely setting up an Orton vs. Reigns program that Reigns clearly has the edge in, especially with Kane moving farther away from the bodyguard role. A few good showings against Orton will definitely give Reigns the clout to get back into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship hunt.