WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Oct. 21

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterOctober 22, 2013

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Oct. 21

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    Monday's WWE Raw stoked the narrative fires heading into Hell in a Cell, but it couldn't turn them into raging flames.

    Memphis hosted the go-home episode before Sunday's pay-per-view, one that will give fans plenty to talk about—good and bad—over the next few days. 

    WWE added three new matches to the card, all with championships on the line. Curtis Axel, AJ Lee, and Cody Rhodes and Goldust will all have challengers looking to end their reigns.

    This was an episode of exciting matches paired with forgettable ones, mic masters addressing their enemies and a large man driving a large vehicle into the arena.

    How entertaining were the segments? How good were the matches? How well did WWE sell the upcoming pay-per-view?

    The following is a look into those questions with a recap and breakdown of Monday's action, grades included.

Opening Segment

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    Stephanie McMahon and Triple H wore smirks on their faces as they entered the ring where they shared a kiss. McMahon listed the Hell in a Cell card including an added Divas Championship bout between AJ Lee and Brie Bella.

    Big Show interrupted them, appearing via satellite.

    He barked at "The Authority" talking about suing them for breach of contract. He insulted McMahon, telling her to shut up. Triple H later laughed it off, saying that even though Big Show's career ended in a whimper, but we can't grieve forever.



    Big Show’s interruption ends when McMahon cuts the satellite feed.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "There is no free ride with me anymore," Triple H to Big Show.

    "Considering who you're sleeping next to, any side is the wrong side of the bed," Big Show to Triple H.






    Triple H was infuriating in his dismissal of Big Show while his wife was fun to watch get flustered. Most of Big Show's insults weren't anything special, neither especially creative or intense.

    It's unclear where this story can go from here. Big Show, despite not being on the card, is sure to have a huge influence on Hell in a Cell considering how much he's been featured.

Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan

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    The matchup between Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan kickstarted the show well.

    Bryan dominated much of the match, hitting big chops and kicks to Ambrose's side in the corner. He then stepped on Ambrose's arm and wrenched it in a number of awkward positions, looking as if he wanted to unscrew it from his shoulder.

    Ambrose fought back after a clothesline on the outside of the ring.

    He tried to slow the pace of a match with a reverse chinlock and doing some torturing via submission holds as well.

    Bryan and Ambrose then traded momentum thanks to an eye rake and spinebuster from Ambrose and Bryan's usual intense in-ring arsenal. Ambrose did well, but couldn't escape Bryan's Yes Lock.



    Bryan wins via submission.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Why is that 7-foot tall sasquatch not in jail?" JBL on Big Show.

    "Where do you get your facts, The Onion?" JBL to Michael Cole.






    A well-worked match given plenty of time with two excellent performers is an ideal way to open a show. Bryan and Ambrose succeeded in building to the climax, the Memphis fans audibly thrilled by the end.

    Bryan and Ambrose's chemistry wasn't as electric as Bryan and Seth Rollins', but this was one of the best bouts of the night.

CM Punk Promo

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    CM Punk spoke about his upcoming match against Paul Heyman and Ryback in measured tones. He came off as angry and focused as he talked about his plans for his fight inside the Hell in a Cell.

    He said he would put Ryback to sleep and then do more than pin or make Heyman tap out. He wasn't going to use wrestling holds, but smash Heyman instead.



    Punk discusses his plan of attack at Hell in Cell.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm going to enjoy watching Paul Heyman wiggling around like a little worm on a big hook," Punk.

    "Three men walk into the structure and only one man walks out under his own power," Punk.






    For most Superstars, this would be a great promo. Fans have higher expectations with "The Best in the World" and this, while good, was not among his best.

    It was a solid performance and did the job of speaking to the personal nature of his match with Heyman and Ryback, but wasn't as memorable as we're used to. There wasn't a ton of passion here, perhaps a result of the feud going on past its shelf life.

    There isn't much Punk could say at this point; he's threatened Heyman in just about every way imaginable already.

Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater

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    Great Khali and Hornswoggle flanked Santino Marella on his way to the ring, all of them dressed like Elvis.

    The announcing team made more Elvis references than there were wrestling moves in the match. Mostly it was a battle of taunts, showboating and in-ring shimmying.

    Slater launched himself at Santino and got only a shoulder and ring post collision for his troubles. Santino looked to take advantage with his cobra puppet which was dressed like Elvis as well.

    Slater only managed to avoid it for a few moments, catching the sock puppet in his throat while coming off the top rope. After Santino got the pin, he danced with Jerry Lawler, Elvis style.



    Santino wins by pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Rock and roll is dead. It just got killed," JBL on Santino's outfit.

    "You can't beat Elvis in his hometown," Lawler on Santino.






    A comic-relief match had a single joke to work with, Santino's Elvis homage. The commentary featured all the Elvis jokes fans could handle and there was little to get excited about in terms of ring action.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Randy Orton

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    Randy Orton and Dolph Ziggler locked horns in a match that saw Orton in control for much of it, but had enough Ziggler offense to make it interesting.

    Orton flung Ziggler into the barricade, making him punch-drunk, before clobbering him with a huge clothesline. "The Viper" slunk around the ring and took pleasure in the pain he caused Ziggler.

    Ziggler fought on, getting some elbow drops and clotheslines that thudded against Orton's chest.

    "The Show-Off" earned a few near-falls, fingertips from victory several times. It was Orton, though, who gained the final advantage courtesy of Orton's RKO.



    Orton's pinned Ziggler for the win.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Put him in some big jail that's designed for elephants," JBL on Big Show.

    Orton's attack on the outside.

    Ziggler lands awkwardly on his shoulder when Orton suplexes him.






    Despite being mostly dominated, Ziggler looked good here, but this was about Orton preparing for his WWE title bout. Orton was compellingly vicious in how he stalked and attacked his opponent. An entertaining match has Orton looking strong heading into Hell in a Cell.

    Ziggler's ability to make his foes look great gets him put into this position time and time again.

AJ Lee and Tamina Snuka vs. The Bella Twins

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    Tamina Snuka clobbered Brie and Nikki Bella to open things off. She threw Brie around before dragging Nikki in by the hair and whipping her with her jacket. When Nikki looked especially vulnerable, writhing on the mat, AJ Lee tagged in and alternated attacking and showboating. 

    Once Brie got in again, she went on a dropkick rampage.

    Tamina tried to provide a distraction, but it ended up distracting AJ. That allowed Brie to hit her facebuster finisher for the win.



    The Bellas win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Brie getting a pin on AJ for the second straight time.






    The Divas put on a better match than expected, using a chaotic ending and classic tag team strategy to make the most of their time. Brie's win may be a case of "even-Steven booking" with AJ getting the win on the pay-per-view to balance out her losses on TV.

Paul Heyman Interview

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    Renee Young tried to interview Paul Heyman about his Hell in a Cell match with CM Punk, but things got insane fast.

    Heyman rattled on about how everyone thinks that Punk will kill him, including a long, exuberant speech about an exploding volcano that was more about grabbing our attention than making sense. He appeared confident and brazen heading into his bout.

    Big E. Langston interrupted, apparently still fuming about Heyman calling him a rookie on Friday's SmackDown.

    Langston and Curtis Axel soon got into each other's faces and a match was booked for later in the show. 



    Langston and Axel is set for later on Raw.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "It's a execution live on WWE pay-per-view." Heyman on his match with Punk.

    The entire Mercutio-like rant on volcanoes was entertaining. 






    Langston's first feud after apparently turning babyface has been rumored to be with Ryback and him clashing with Axel could certainly lead to that.

The Wyatt Family vs. Miz and Kofi Kingston

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    Luke Harper and Erick Rowan dismantled Kofi Kingston and The Miz like a cat tearing a dead bird apart.

    The bearded brutes double-teamed and overpowered their foes. Each move seemed to rattle the ring. Miz took the majority for the punishment, suffering in the Wyatt Family's corner.

    Kingston shouted in Harper's face and rooted Miz on outside the ropes. He eventually charged in and sped around the big men, kicking his way to the advantage. 

    After nailing Rowan with the Trouble in Paradise, Kingston turned around to see Harper's discus clothesline coming at him. The referee counted to three, but the action wasn't over. A brawl broke out after the bell.

    While his followers held Miz down, Bray Wyatt talked to Miz about hell, God and leading him to the gates.



    The Wyatt Family get the win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Creepy is a relative thought," JBL.

    "That's how alligators drown their prey in the wild," Michael Cole On Harper's rolling headlock.

    "The buzzards are about to feast, " Cole on the Wyatt Family.






    Wyatt's injury is keeping him out of action, but WWE is wisely pushing his feud with Miz by way of his followers. Wyatt did his masterful creepiness and Harper and Rowan looked good in a mostly one-sided match.

Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Big E. Langston and CM Punk

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    A singles match quickly morphed into a tag match. Before Curtis Axel and Big E. Langston match began, Axel and Ryback double-teamed Langston.

    Langston did well to fight off his two attackers, getting in a number of punches and pushing his foes over.

    Paul Heyman whacked Langston with a kendo stick. CM Punk dashed out and did some swinging of the kendo stick of his own.

    Vickie Guerrero came out and channeled her inner Teddy Long, ordering the bout be made into a tag match. Punk seemed to be having fun at first, flexing and smiling as he and Langston kept Axel in their corner.

    Once Axel regained control, he ground his boot on Punk's head and he and Ryback laid into Punk with punches, forearms and boots to the mouth. Axel and Ryback punished Punk until Langston got the tag and steamrolled over both of them.

    Punk followed Heyman into the crowd, but left the rat go so he could celebrate with some fans.



    The fan favorites win when Langston pins Axel after the Big Ending.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Heyman seems to have set the perfect trap," Michael Cole.

    "I'm trying to be a bit creative out here, not redundant like you are each and every week," Cole to JBL.

    "I'll help you," Heyman mockingly offering help to Punk mid-match.






    This was a solid tag team match meant to solidify's Langston's face turn and further hype the Punk vs. Heyman and Ryback match. In terms of the former, the bout did a fine job, making Langston look like a destructive force. As for the latter, little was added to the rivalry.

    It's great to see Langston return to the "I Need Five" entrance music. Look out to see if he reverts the five-count gimmick as well.

    WWE later announced that Langston would get a title shot against Axel on the Hell in a Cell pre-show.

Tons of Funk vs. The Real Americans

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    Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro ran down to ringside and soon traded blows with Brodus Clay and Tensai after a recap of the shenanigans on last Friday's SmackDown.

    Colter sat at the announce desk and angrily discussed what happened last Friday with Los Matadores.

    In the ring, the action was unimpressive, with not much of a story being told. Cesaro swung Clay around before Swagger twisted the big man's ankle with his trademark submission hold.

    Colter introduced his newest friend, a bullwhip likely meant for El Torito.



    The Real Americans win by submission.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Do they write half a check to the little bull?" Colter on Los Matadores.






    El Torito became the focus of the match despite not being there as JBL, Colter and Michael Cole spent more time talking about him than the action in the ring.

    All involved seemed uninspired and the end result was a match that came off as flavorless filler. It's hard to pick out a memorable moment here other than Cesaro swinging Clay. At least Santino Marella vs. Heath Slater was worth a few chuckles.

    The good news is that Los Matadores and their ideal rival, Colter's crew are on course to collide soon.

The Usos vs. The Shield

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    The newly crowned Cody Rhodes and Goldust sat at ringside to see who would face them at Hell in a Cell.

    Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler addressed the No. 1 contenders issue, wondering why The Usos have to win another match to get a shot at the tag team titles. They hinted at a conspiracy involving "The Authority."

    Once the action began, The Usos dove over the rope and crashed into Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins reminded Reigns how big this match was, urging him on from his corner. Rhodes entertained on commentary while The Shield and The Usos pounded on each other in a much slower match than fans are used to from these two teams.

    The Usos looked to have things locked up, but Reigns lifted his knee to block a splash from the top rope.

    Chaos erupted from there as Rhodes and Goldust jumped into the fray after Dean Ambrose provoked them and the fan favorites soon tossed The Shield out of the ring.



    The match ends in a no-contest. WWE later announces that tag team title match is now a Triple Threat match.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You have to fight them anyway. Who cares if they're mad at you?" JBL to Rhodes.

    "If you built a liar from the ground up, it would look like John Bradshaw," Rhodes.

    "We're definitely better than the Briscos," Rhodes.

    Reigns sells a DDT like it knocked him out.






    Though the energy level between the teams was lower than usual, the pockets of violent action, the back-and-forth action near the end and the fact that a shot at the gold was at stake made this a good bout in the end.

    Going with the Triple Threat match is the smartest move as The Usos deserve their shot and The Shield and the Rhodes brothers need their feud to continue. This match suddenly becomes one of the most intriguing ones on the card.

    Side note, the mash-up of the Rhodes brothers' theme song is fantastic.

Contract Signing

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    Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan were set to sign the contract for their WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell. Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Shawn Michaels stood alongside them.

    Orton was excellent during his opportunities to shine, playing a convincing threat. He promised that Bryan's first Hell in a Cell match will be his last. Bryan talked about where Orton would be without help from Triple H and others and how that would affect the WWE title situation.

    This is where the spotlight shifted to Triple H and Shawn Michaels.

    Triple H told Bryan that like Edge and Chris Jericho, he could never be the true top guy. He refused to fight Bryan, saying he'd only suit him to fight a star.

    Michaels wondered aloud what happened to his once rebellious friend. There was tension between the two and Triple H assured Orton that Michaels would "do the right thing" come Sunday.

    Big Show then drove a big rig into the arena.

    The crowd popped, but there seemed to be little reason for Big Show's entrance other than a distraction. Wouldn't Big Show driving over something with the truck have made for a bigger statement?



    Bryan hits Orton with a flying knee and celebrates atop Big Show's monster truck.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I am more than capable of smashing in that so-called face of the WWE," Bryan to Orton.

    "Thank you for exposing Triple H and Stephanie McMahon as the selfish, insecure, narcissistic, spoiled brats that they really are," Bryan.

    "If any of those guys had been the face of the WWE back in the day, we'd all be working for Ted Turner right now," Triple H to Bryan. 

    "A monster with a monster truck!" Michael Cole on Big Show.






    This segment reminded us of everything that is right and everything that is wrong about this current angle.

    Triple H is incredible as a seething, vindictive villain. His smugness and the injustice he carries out makes it easy to hate him.

    The problem is that too much of this contract signing centered around Triple H, Big Show and Michaels. The main players in the drama were too often standing in the background, props on the set.

    WWE did well to make us wonder which direction Michaels will lead at Hell in a Cell, but Big Show got the biggest moment and Triple H and Michaels got the best lines to work with. It just feels like the company is afraid of letting Bryan grab the steering wheel on his own.



Off-Air Notes

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    Fans at home saw Raw end with Big Show and Daniel Bryan celebrating on the big rig. Mike Killam of WrestleZone.com reports that once Raw went off the air, security escorted Big Show out. Bryan and Randy Orton then battled in the dark match.

    Bryan won with a knee to the head in a match described as "a short, solid win for Bryan to send the crowd home happy."

    Orton is said to have earned a lot more cheers than his heel status would suggest, especially as Killam writes with the female demographic.