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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Nov. 18

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterNovember 19, 2013

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Nov. 18

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    WWE.com

    Monday's WWE Raw could easily have seen the company stumble with a country music theme getting in the way, but instead Survivor Series got the build it needed.

    When the ratings come out, we'll find out what effect having Darius Rucker and Blake Shelton serenade wrestling fans had. Florida Georgia Line was far too big a star of the show, but both major championship matches got some significant hype, and the show had plenty of big moments.

    An NXT prospect made his debut on the main roster, and a rising star won his first championship.

    Even with its unappetizing filler, the go-home show did its job and delivered one of the better matches on Raw this year.

The Authority Return

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    WWE.com

    Back from their vacation, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon addressed the audience from the center of the ring, smugness wafting off them.

    The Authority promised to deal with Vickie Guerrero and Brad Maddox just before Randy Orton stomped down the aisle to confront his bosses. Orton barked at them about how their actions had him chokeslammed through a table.

    Guerrero and Maddox timidly interrupted, Maddox quickly tossing the blame for last week's chaos on Guerrero.

    McMahon informed them that they'd both be put into matches, Guerrero facing AJ Lee and Maddox going up against Orton in a No Disqualification match.

     

    Result

    The Authority puts Maddox and Guerrero into matches.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm a man who likes to take responsibility for his actions and as a man, I'd just like to say that last week was all Vickie's fault," Maddox to The Authority.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    WWE did well to address the issue of no one being put in charge by having Orton bring it up angrily and McMahon claiming that she'd left directions, but they weren't followed.

    Seeing the two general managers be forced to fight is an enticing thought, though it feels a bit unclear whether the audience is meant to root for them to suffer as it's a set of villains punishing another set of villains.

    The Authority was excellently arrogant, while Orton played his role well.

Brad Maddox vs. Randy Orton (No Disqualification)

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    Maddox, forced to wrestle in his dress shirt and slacks, darted out of the ring and tried to run away. In desperation, Maddox clocked Orton in the head with a microphone. He hurriedly tried to steal a win, but Orton recovered and was seething.

    The WWE champion tossed him over the announcer's table and into the ring steps.

    Orton then tore at Maddox's shirt and pounded a microphone against his head. Before things could get worse, the referee stopped the match.

     

    Result

    Orton wins by referee stoppage.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Orton seemed to savor the moment as he hit Maddox with a DDT on the outside.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Giving Maddox some surprise offense made for added excitement, and Orton exuded viciousness in both his facial expressions and the intensity of his attack on Maddox.

    Beating up a non-active Superstar felt like an odd choice to make Orton look impressive before his title bout with Big Show, but Orton is still made to look dangerous to a degree.

Curtis Axel vs. Big E Langston (Intercontinental Championship)

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    Big E Langston received the title shot he was supposed to get at Hell in a Cell and made the most of it.

    The announcers played up the Intercontinental Championship's prestige as Langston and Axel traded punches and clotheslines.

    Axel clobbered Langston and seemed to try to keep the pace slow. Langston soon overpowered him, rolling over the champ with shoulder blocks and the Big Ending. A three-count later and the fans in Nashville were celebrating with the new champions.

     

    Result

    Langston wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Big E has been good, but Curtis Axel has been better," JBL on Axel.

    Axel lands a gorgeous dropkick to Langston's chest.

    "And the celebration begins for Big E Langston," Michael Cole.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    It wasn't either man's best match, being a bit short, but Langston's title win felt like a relatively big moment. There was joy rumbling through the audience which outweighs the so-so outing in the ring.

    Fans seem firmly behind the powerhouse. The championship win caps off his recent push, and there is intrigue aplenty about what's next for him.

    For Axel, one has to wonder if the title belt was the only thing keeping him relevant and if he'll fall completely out of the limelight without the championship and without Paul Heyman.

Divas Musical Chairs

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    WWE.com

    All the Divas dressed in country gear as they competed in a game of musical chairs. 

    Natalya was eliminated in the first round. Alicia Fox couldn't find a seat in the second round. Tension between the women soon had them all pushing and punching, chaos erupting.

    The referees tried to restore order but seemed to just give up and let all the Divas bicker at each other. 

     

    Result

    Musical chairs ends in a no-contest.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This is the dumbest thing I've ever seen," JBL.

    "They must not have this in Canada," JBL on Natalya losing.

     

    Grade

    D-

     

    Analysis

    Whatever value one can place on seeing hot women in cowboy gear isn't enough to counterbalance having to sit through this tedious segment. There was some tension between Natalya and Summer Rae here, but beyond that, this had the stink of cheap filler on it.

    It didn't go anywhere, but where could it have gone?

    WWE later announced that the Total Divas cast would take on all the other Divas in a traditional tag team bout at Survivor Series, so this set that up in a way. There had to be about a 112 other, more entertaining ways to do that, though. 

Big Show vs. Ryback

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    Ryback spent much of the opening moments of this match suffering Big Show's chops and the giant throwing him around the ring.

    The battle of powerhouses saw Ryback get in a numbers flurries, taking his massive foe off his feet by clipping him at the knees. Ryback then squeezed Big Show head in between his arms.

    The match ground on, Ryback knocking Big Show over with a clothesline and picking Big Show up for his finisher. Big Show kicked out and hit Ryback with his knockout punch as he came off the ropes.

    Randy Orton tried to ambush the big man, but Big Show knocked him back with a spear.

     

    Result

    Big Show wins by pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ryback somehow manages to lift Big Show for Shell Shocked.

    "Stupid giant!" Ryback to Big Show.

    "Everybody pulls their straps down in Tennessee," JBL on Ryback evoking memories of Jerry Lawler's strap-removing routine.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    While Orton had to settle for gathering his momentum by beating Brad Maddox, Big Show slugged it out with Ryback, looking like a dominant force going into Survivor Series.

    This was an extremely slow match that didn't flow well, but had a few exciting moments. Orton and Big Show's tension increased and fans have reason to be unsure of how the WWE Championship match will play out.

Randy Orton Backstage Segments

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    WWE.com

    Randy Orton berated Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a handful of backstage segments. He was furious about feeling unprotected by their regime.

    He demanded respect and confidence from them.

    The Authority was unsure if they felt confident about Orton being the face of the franchise. Triple H and McMahon huddled and later said that they fully backed Orton but said that he must win against Big Show at Survivor Series alone.

     

    Result

    The Authority announce that Orton will have no help come Survivor Series.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    McMahon's lengthy stare at Orton.

    "There will be no Shield. There will be no help," Triple H to Orton.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    These segments seem to hint at there being not screwy ending to the upcoming title bout a la Daniel Bryan's championship matches.

    This development increases what Orton has on the line. He must prove himself to The Authority by defeating a dangerous giant. Orton nailed his performances as a furious/whiny champ.

The Real Americans vs. Kofi Kingston and The Miz

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    Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger looked like a powerful, cohesive team.

    Cesaro caught Miz in midair and nailed him with a backbreaker. Swagger hit a Swagger Bomb as he and his partner kept Miz in their corner for much of the match.

    Kofi Kingston made the most of his brief time, landing an impressive DDT. He tried to tag Miz back in, but "The Awesome One" pulled away and grinned maniacally. That left Kingston to suffer Swagger's ankle lock.

     

    Result

    The Real Americans wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Sources tell me that Drew McIntyre is Reba McIntyre's nephew," JBL. 

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Though Miz's apparent heel turn comes minus a clear motivation for the moment, it's a welcome sight to see a natural villain returning to the dark side.

    The actual match was short, but solid, punctuated by Kingston's brief offense. Michael Cole announced that The Real Americans will get a title shot against Cody Rhodes and Goldust on Friday's SmackDown.

    The dominant win helps them look like more legitimate threats to the champs.

AJ Lee vs. Vickie Guerrero

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    Vickie Guerrero faked fainting outside the training room, trying to avoid her match. Stephanie McMahon saw through it, ordering her to compete.

    The medical staff rolled her off the stretcher into the ring. She tried to feign dehydration again, squirming out of the ring.

    AJ Lee pulled her back in. She pretended to help the general manager before gleefully clamping on her Black Widow submission hold.

     

    Result

    AJ wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "These poor people have to hear Vickie scream like that," JBL.

    "Poor thing, she's having spells," JBL on Guerrero.

     

    Grade

    C+ 

     

    Analysis

    Seeing Guerrero flop around and try to weasel out of her fight was funny at moments. JBL helped make it an entertaining segment with how much he seemed to be enjoying it.

    There doesn't appear to be a long-term purpose for this outcome, but it was more enjoyable filler than the game of musical chairs from earlier in the night.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow (Broadway Brawl)

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    Triple H booked Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow in a "Broadway Brawl" which is apparently a Street Fight with the ring filled with musical instruments.

    Sandow charged down to the ring, snarling. He tried to crack Ziggler in the head with a guitar, but Ziggler ducked it. Sandow pummeled Ziggler, using a guitar stand as a weapon and throwing him against a keyboard.

    The strange brawl mixed clotheslines with fiddler strikes.

    Ziggler got on a roll late, stuffing Sandow in a drum and mimicking Jeff Jarrett's strut before getting the win.

     

    Result

    Ziggler wins by pin.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Jerry Lawler's showing me selfies of him and Ronnie Millsap," Michael Cole.

    "If you just tuned in, you have no idea what's going on and neither do I," JBL.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    This was a lot of punishment to take for both men despite this not being much of a feud.

    For such a violent match, it wasn't all that thrilling, going on a bit too long and seemingly unsure if it was a comedy match or a serious one.

    Sandow has now gone from holding the Money in the Bank contract to lying inside a drum. His fans have to hope that this isn't a preview of which direction he is headed next.

John Cena on His Medical Condition

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    John Cena walked to the ring wearing a sling.

    The Nashville fans gave him a loud welcome before he said that maybe he came back too soon. He doubted aloud that he should be world champ before forcefully saying that he would compete and retain the title against Alberto Del Rio.

    His was the kind of promo we've heard before about heart and determination, but one powered by his passion.

    Del Rio then came out and mocked the champ. He said that Cena couldn't even lift the championship with his bad arm. 

    Del Rio looked to pounce on a weakened Cena, who apparently suckered him in by exaggerating his condition. He tossed off the sling and chased Del Rio off.

     

    Result

    Cena briefly brawls with Del Rio, who scurries away.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I have a added piece to my wardrobe," Cena on his sling.

     "A champion is made out of things like determination, resolve and toughness, not cheap shots and parlor tricks," Cena.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Cena's promo was nothing new, but it was performed very well. The juxtaposition of champion and challenger was effectively highlighted in this segment.  

    The classic slimy, cowardly heel against the righteous and resilient babyface dynamic drives this story, one that was improved by this interaction. 

3MB vs. Xavier Woods and R-Truth

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    3MB, calling themselves The Rhinestone Cowboys, waited in the ring as a rapping R-Truth introduced his new partner, Xavier Woods from NXT.

    Woods used his speed to avoid Jinder Mahal for a few moments, but soon found himself on the mat getting overpowered by both Mahal and Drew McIntyre.

    Heath Slater tried to distract R-Truth, but Woods yanked him off the apron. Woods later floored McIntyre with his Lost in the Woods (inverted stomp facebreaker) for the win.

     

    Result

    Woods and R-Truth get the quick win by pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "So that's Xavier Woods," JBL.

    "You don't see many PhDs doing that," JBL on Woods doing a headscissor takedown.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    The match was nothing special, but it's exciting to see Woods make the jump from NXT. He and R-Truth teamed together in TNA, so this is no random pairing and WWE knows that there is some chemistry between them already.

    Woods was made to look good here, getting most of the big moments and the decisive pin.

    3MB calling themselves different names depending on which city hosts them is a funny addition to their gimmick. Raw is in New York next week; it'll be interesting to see which moniker they take on next.

Florida Georgia Line Performance

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    The country duo sang their hit, "Round Here." 

    There were no shenanigans. There were no Superstars involved. If fans tuned in late to Raw, they probably wondered if they had entered the wrong channel.

    Motorhead performing Triple H's entrance theme was a memorable moment; this was not.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    The song's lyrics showed up on license plates in the graphics behind the band.

     

    Grade

    F

     

    Analysis

    This was a bad idea. The Nashville fans seemed to be having an okay time, but it's hard to imagine many fans around the world sticking around to watch a country band on Raw. 

    Florida Georgia Line got more air time than Wade Barrett. That seems misguided.

    If Raw's ratings picked up for this segment, this grade will be adjusted and crow will be eaten. Would you bet on it positively affecting viewership, though?

    Props to the drummer for wearing a CM Punk T-shirt, by the way.

12-Man Tag Match

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    The match fans thought they were getting for Survivor Series happened on Raw, minus the elimination aspect. 

    Cody Rhodes, Goldust, The Usos, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk teamed up against The Shield and The Wyatt Family. The Nashville fans were most vocal and most hot for this main event.

    Roman Reigns found himself in the opposing corner early, battling with the tag champs and The Usos.

    There was captivating tension between The Shield and The Wyatt Family. Those teams barked at each other on the outside, two sets of predators fighting over the same kill.

    Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose then only tagged between themselves, keeping their partners on the apron and their rivals reeling.

    Rhodes did much of the suffering, overwhelmed by The Shield. Luke Harper forced his way into the action and was soon experiencing a Bryan corner dropkick firsthand.

    Once the two heel teams began to work as a unit, Bryan became their shared prey, getting twisted up and slammed around.

    Punk was on fire once he got his chance to fight, kicking Bray Wyatt in the back of the head and cutting through a wave of bodies flying around him to deliver the Go to Sleep on Ambrose.

    The heels didn't take the loss well. The Real Americans darted out and jumped into a brawl. The surprise of the night followed. Rey Mysterio burst from the backstage area to assist Bryan and Punk.

    Mysterio hit a double 619 on Jack Swagger and Harper before all the good guys cleared the ring, "Yes!" chants filling the arena.

     

    Result

    The face team wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "They are separated by more than that ring post," JBL on the Wyatts and The Shield.

    Harper counters an attempted hurricanrana from Bryan into a powerbomb.

    Both The Wyatts and The Shield charged the face teams and knocked them off the apron to prevent Bryan from tagging.

    Bryan and Punk perform the Hart Attack double-team move. 

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    The right blend of chaos and order led to the clear match of the night.

    One can either watch this and lament what could have been at Survivor Series or enjoy the frenetic, gut-stirring drama that unfolded on Monday's Raw. Everyone involved seemed to feed off the crowd's energy and delivered an awesome spectacle.

    Mysterio's return only added to the excitement.

Off-Air Notes

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    WWE.com

    Once the chaos of the last segment died down and Raw's country-themed episode went off the air, the Nashville fans saw a world title match.

    Alberto Del Rio and John Cena battled for the World Heavyweight Championship in what WrestlingInc.com reports was "a lengthy match." Cena prevailed, perhaps giving those in attendance of the result we'll all see at Survivor Series.

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