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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Report Card and Highlights from Sept. 16

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterJanuary 9, 2017

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Report Card and Highlights from Sept. 16

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    After a disappointing Night of Champions pay-per-view, a show that featured match after lackluster match, many expected an equally awful night on Raw, full of shenanigans and dreadfully boring Triple H speeches.

    Instead, the WWE went and totally redeemed itself.

    The main event scene is smoking hot, with Stephanie McMahon becoming a particularly evil heel and Daniel Bryan striving to achieve despite the man holding him back. But the WWE title scene is often spectacular.

    What separated this show from the average episode of Raw was the quality of the undercard. Even the much-maligned Divas and tag team divisions are firing on all cylinders.

    As always, I graded every segment of Raw from A-F. I didn't, however, have to use a letter key other than A or B. Even Fandango's match was perfectly acceptable, if not quite good. Now that's a strong edition of Raw!

    Disagree with my analysis? Let me know in the comments.

Daniel Bryan Interview

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    Result

    Daniel Bryan comes out to celebrate but is quickly interrupted by Triple H. He tells Bryan that his victory is tainted and brings out ref Scott Armstrong, who has some explaining to do. Triple H shows some footage and, yep, it was a fast count.

    Armstrong suggests that he was involved in a plot with Bryan. A furious Triple H holds the title up, stripping it from Bryan. Triple H demands the title, and then Randy Orton comes down. Suddenly, it's a party.

    Bryan refuses to give the title back and takes an RKO for his trouble. Well, the era of the goat sure didn't last long.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Yes! Yes! Yes!"—the crowd going wild for Daniel Bryan.

    "I would like to address the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the room. And that's the fast count from last night."—Triple H. 

    "It was a fast count. I don't know....I made a mistake."—Scott Armstrong, the referee, and the Road Dogg's brother!

    "You have embarrassed yourself and the WWE."—Triple H.

    "Daniel Bryan, as of this moment you are no longer WWE champion."—Triple H.

    "I will take it from you."—Triple H. Man, Triple H vs. Bryan is going to be good!

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    "That is your normal cadence, is it not?"

    Triple H, doing his best Matlock, destroyed Bryan's dream with unimpeachable evidence of a fast count. He had his case ready, complete with split-screen footage. He may have missed his calling as a defense attorney.

    Bryan has really grown as an actor. His "aw shucks" face from the beginning of the segment is pure 1970s babyface—and I love it. Honestly, I like the idea of starting the build to the real program here. Bryan vs. Orton is just a proxy for the match I suspect will be the blow off for this feud: Bryan vs. Triple H.

Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Before the match Orton tries to confront Triple H, but Stephanie McMahon leaps into the fray like a lioness. "Who do you think you're talking to?" she asks, before suggesting Orton wasn't the right guy to lead the company.

    "Maybe we need to find a new face of the WWE."

     

    Result

    Dolph Ziggler beat Ambrose in a shocker.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Crazy bumps by both men off a clothesline from Ziggler that sent them plummeting to the floor.

    "Let's go Ziggler! Let's go Ziggler!"—the crowd. I like them. 

    Ziggler takes a wild bump over the turnbuckle to the floor.

    "It's a heart stopper."—JBL as Ziggler drops 10 elbows to the chest of Ambrose.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    This was the old WCW Monday Night Nitro match. Great work in the ring but ignored entirely by the announcers. The only thing missing was Sting coming down from the rafters with a baseball bat.

    Ziggler was wilder than ever, and Ambrose really laid them in tight. Pretty special for a television match with no storyline. The crowd bought in, and so did I. 

Fandango vs. R Truth

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    Stephanie stays busy backstage, chatting with Big Show. She hopes he learned his lesson after an unpaid suspension. Emphasis on unpaid.

    "I hope that hurt, Show," she said, before essentially telling him to know his role and shut his mouth.

    "Yes, Ms. McMahon," a humiliated and browbeaten Big Show responded. Now that's a heel!

     

    Result

    Fandango pinned R Truth with Air Ballet, a leg drop from the top rope.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    It's a little sad when they cut to the crowd and like six people are Fandangoing. April seems a million years ago.

    "A judge also judged the Mayweather fight even."—JBL on the dance contest Fandango lost.

    "What's up? What's up?"—R Truth.

    Fandango takes a great bump over the top rope to the floor. If only every night was the Royal Rumble.

    Awesome Irish whip from Fandango sent R Truth into the corner with authority.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Fandango is actually a decent worker. Too bad he's trapped in a dead end gimmick that is bound to fail. This was a surprisingly good match. Well worked and solid throughout, I have no complaints. All the filler matches on Raw should be this good.

Dusty Rhodes/Stephanie McMahon Interview

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    Result

    WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes, a man who has recently seen two sons come and go from the WWE, accepts Stephanie McMahon's offer to come to Raw to discuss things. After giving a speech worthy of a slightly addled politician about family values, Dusty calls Stephanie McMahon to the ring.

    Stephanie says the decision to fire Cody Rhodes has been weighing on them so she got them a wedding gift. After some wrangling, she offered Dusty a choice—one Rhodes could have a job with WWE, either Cody or Dustin. But Dusty would have to make the decision himself.

    He refuses to choose between his children and tells Stephanie to go to hell. That brings out The Shield to make Rhodes pay a horrible price. But that wouldn't be nefarious enough. Instead, she calls Big Show out as well and orders him to knock Dusty out. It's either that, or The Shield tear him to pieces.

    After tears are shed, he punches Rhodes out and has to be carried from the ring by emergency personnel.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm not here as the American Dream tonight. I'm here as Virgil Runnels."—Dusty Rhodes. Shoot names have been uttered. Lock the doors and hide the kids!

    "Having two sons you love with all your heart is what's best for business."—Rhodes. Someone needs to explain the concept of business to Dusty. 

    "You drag them long legs out here and get with it."—Dusty to Stephanie McMahon.

    "That's where they were registered."—Stephanie, explaining to Dusty why she had given Cody a Bed, Bath and Beyond gift card.

    "You are the son of a plumber. I can relate to that. Because I am the daughter of a genius."—Stephanie. Uh oh, Linda's got some explaining to do.

    "The genius behind this sports entertainment phenomenon."—Stephanie. Apparently she meant Vince and not Stephen Hawking.

    "Who better to make that choice than you?"—Stephanie, making Dusty choose between his sons.

    An angry Dusty Rhodes yelling into Stephanie's mic when he was holding one in his hand.

    "Stephanie you can go straight to hell."—Big Dust.

    "Big Show—knock him out."—Stephanie.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    Wow. What a bravura performance by all involved. And double wow to Dusty's amazing scar tissue. 

    Stephanie McMahon just cemented her position as the WWE's top heel. Not only did she demand Dusty choose between his own children, she upped the ante by forcing Big Show to punch an old man out. That was, simply put, incredible. 

    Stephanie isn't always on point. Some of her acting leaves plenty to be desired. But when she's on, as she was here, no one is better.

Layla/Aksana/Alicia Fox vs. Total Divas

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    Result

    Brie pinned Alicia Fox after pushing Naomi to the side to tag herself in. AJ Lee and Natalya were on commentary, and they seem to be setting up a singles match between the two.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Naomi's Rear View. What a good spot.

    "How unfortunate. We don't get to hear Natty talk."—AJ Lee. This kitten has claws, y'all.

    "If everybody hates you, it could be you."—JBL to AJ. That's solid self help.

    "Natty, when you win the title are you going to get the date tattooed on your neck?"—JBL. On fire.

    "You say crazy like it's a bad thing."—AJ to Natty.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    The match here was just a backdrop for the angle between AJ and Natty. As such, it was just fine. The Funkadactyls needs ring time, and every match, even a short one like this, is valuable experience.

    As for AJ vs. Natty? Feed me more! Feed me more!

Damien Sandow vs. Rob Van Dam

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    Result

    Van Dam pinned Sandow with the Five-Star Frog Splash.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Mr. Monday Night RRRRRRRRRRob Van Dam!"—Rodriguez introducing RVD. Still not feeling this pairing.

    Rob Van Dam with the super kick. In my day, that was the finish. Now, it's not even a near-fall.

    They played Sandow's music after the match, despite RVD being the winner. Get it together, sound guy.

    "Still your Money in the Bank contract holder, and you're next world heavyweight champion, Damien Sandow. You're welcome."—Sandow.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Plenty acceptable. I don't understand, however, why the guy who holds the Money in the Bank briefcase is doing so many jobs. He's likely going to be given a significant spot soon enough. Why insure he isn't seen as worthy by having him lose weekly on television first?

Randy Orton vs. the Miz

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    Before the bout, Triple H let Scott Armstrong go, offering him a severance and promising to take care of him. Now, why would he do that?

     

    Result

    The match ends in a double countout. Orton, however, beat the heck out of him both before and after the match. Following an extended beatdown, he puts Miz's head in a steel chair and then drops a knee on it. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Orton attacks Miz from behind as he was hugging his family backstage.

    "Miz's parents appalled, horrified."—Michael Cole. Don't worry, that's how we all feel about Miz. 

    Miz counters Orton's stupid "hanging DDT" spot. Good. That thing is ridiculous.

    After the match, Orton potatoes Miz right in front of his family and then, to spite me, does that infernal DDT.

    "Daniel Bryan is to blame."—JBL.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Stephanie McMahon challenged Orton to bring out the beast. Boy did he ever. Not only was it a solid callback to the confrontation with Stephanie earlier, it was also a brutal destruction of the Miz. That's never a bad thing, is it?

Heyman Guys Interview

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    Result

    Paul Heyman, wheel chair-bound, is pushed out onto the ramp by Curtis Axel. At his side? Ryback. Heyman, despite the wheelchair, is in high spirits. Because he pinned CM Punk at Night of Champions.

    Heyman says he didn't have a master plan. Instead, he credits his survival to Ryback's initiative.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "My name is Paul Heyman. And I am the best in the world."—Heyman, citing his win over CM Punk.

    "Envy is one of the seven deadly sins....it must be so difficult for you to compare the insignificant accomplishments in your alleged lives to the things that I've achieved in my lifetime."—Heyman on the crowd booing him. 

    "Now in all candor, I would love to take credit for the fact that I had some master plan. But I didn't. There was no master plan. CM Punk had me dead to rights."—Heyman.

    "Walrus, walrus, walrus." —Cleveland. That Lawler pet name is really catching on.

    "I'm here to torment each and every one of you because of the actions of this big, beautiful man right here."—Heyman.

    "If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a bully."—Ryback. He pronounced bully weirdly. And he's a hypocrite. But he is a big, beautiful man.

    Heyman gives Ryback a kiss on the cheek. 

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    No offense to Curtis Axel, but this is more like it. Axel has the charisma of a piece of Styrofoam. Ryback, for all his faults, has a real presence. As he grows in the ring, this could end up being a legitimate money-making partnership. I approve.

Usos vs. Real Americans vs. Tons of Funk

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    Result

    Cesaro pinned Sweet T with a modified crucifix. Then an Uso pinned Swagger with a Superfly Splash off the top rope to earn a title shot against The Shield down the road.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Brodus Clay does his best Vader impersonation in the corner. It's clobbering time!

    Cesaro's awesome European uppercut.

    Tensai holding Cesaro upside forever before finally throwing him over with a double arm suplex.

    Cesaro spinning an Uso brother 28 times with a Giant Swing.

    The Usos with stereo topes out of the ring to the floor.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    What kind of world are we living in where the Divas and tag divisions are on fire at the same time? This was a fantastic match between three really, really good teams. I don't have the words to explain how excited I am for the cavalcade of 10-minute tag bouts in our future in the next few months.

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan

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    Result

    Bryan beat Reigns by disqualification after Randy Orton ran in when Bryan locked in the Yes Lock. As The Shield and Orton attack Bryan, the locker room finally empties in Bryan's defense.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This is a punishment."—Jerry Lawler on the match. Wait, isn't Bryan the main eventer and Reigns the midcarder?

    Bryan with the Dragonscrew Leg Whip.

    "At SummerSlam he held it for a minute. This time he held the title for a day. That's progress. For a B+ guy, that's progress."—JBL on Bryan's title reigns.

    Daniel Bryan with his Tito Ortiz-level ground-and-pound. That's a compliment if you pretend the last decade never happened.

    Reigns hip tosses Bryan into the restraining wall.

    Seth Rollins takes an incredible bump off a Bryan dropkick. Borderline irresponsible.

    "CM Punk! CM Punk!"—The crowd looking for a work rate Justice League to form up against evil.

    "Your career is over."—Rollins to Bryan. I can't emphasize enough how weird his voice is.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    I've got chills. That was the perfect end to the perfect edition of Raw. Weeks in the making, the pop for the locker room coming out to defend Bryan from The Shield was deafening. That it followed a legitimately great match made it icing on a pretty tasty cake.

    I've often wondered whether or not the WWE was hiding Roman Reigns in a six-man tag team because he isn't ready yet. Consider that fear held in abeyance. This guy is a future star.

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