WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Jan. 6

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 7, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Jan. 6

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    The first WWE Raw of 2014 crammed former stars into every crevice.

    Old School Raw featured Ric Flair and Roddy Piper getting in tense situations with today's Superstars, Sgt. Slaughter serving as guest referee and Too Cool reuniting. Meanwhile, Brock Lesnar found a man he fears, and Daniel Bryan made his official debut as a member of The Wyatt Family.

    Hall of Famers made various cameos. Short matches ruled the night.

    WWE announced that Batista will compete in the Royal Rumble match.

    Much of the post-Raw talk will be about Jake Roberts, though. Is the man who invented the DDT back to try to win the Rumble or just around for this one nostalgia-heavy show?

    Looking at how entertaining the in-ring action and storytelling was throughout the episode, the following is a collection of highlights, results and grades for the Jan. 6 edition of Raw.

Opening Segment

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    After strutting to the ring, Ric Flair welcomed everyone to Old School Raw. Randy Orton soon interrupted him. They shared a quick hug before Orton griped about having to face John Cena at the Royal Rumble.

    Flair told him that in his day, the world champ performed every night and that he should just fight Cena.

    The mood shifted, Orton insulting and threatening Flair. He seemed on the verge of snapping at his former mentor. Before Orton could "go old school" on the Hall of Famer as he promised, Cena entered.

    He called out Orton, challenging him to fight, and Orton soon slunk out of the ring with his championships in hand. Cena took a moment to do the Flair strut with the Nature Boy.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You're the most overrated star in history," Orton to Flair.

    "Every time you open your mouth, you reach a new level of scumbag," Cena to Orton.

    "You feeling froggy, jump because I say let's dance, Randall," Cena to Orton.






    The simple segment didn't provide anything all that noteworthy, but continued the intensity growing between the two rivals. Orton showed that his newest persona isn't bound by past alliances, as he seemed to have no issue with attacking Flair if need be.

    WWE has the champion and challenger in very traditional face and heel roles, Orton playing the slimy coward and Cena the hero who just needs one fair crack to overcome him.

    The company will have to do more than this to entice viewers for this title bout, but for now, this was an entertainingly anxious moment.

The Usos and Rey Mysterio vs. Daniel Bryan, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper

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    The world got a look at Daniel Bryan as a member of The Wyatt Family. The fans rumbled as they watched Bryan in Wyatt-style attire enter the ring with Erick Rowan and Luke Harper at his side.

    Rey Mysterio tried to reason with Bryan, but the bearded pit bull attacked him with a snarl smeared across his face.

    With Bray Wyatt watching on, Rowan and Bryan throttled Jey Uso in their corner. Mysterio soon tagged back in and used his dizzying speed to knock Rowan off balance. Bryan tried to tag in, but Harper forced his way into the match instead.

    Jimmy Uso rolled the big man up for the surprise win.

    Bryan later addressed his teammates backstage, saying that he has experience winning the tag titles so he should contribute more. Wyatt announced that he and Bryan would team next week.



    The Usos and Mysterio win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Wyatt's lantern illuminating Bryan's face.

    Bryan and Harper stare each other down mid-match.






    There wasn't much action in this match, but the strange sight of Wyatt with The Wyatt Family made this mighty interesting.

    The bout showed a glimpse of Bryan's new, more aggressive attitude as well as potential tension with his "brothers" down the road. It teased more than satisfied, hopefully meaning that WWE has more exciting plans for this story's next few chapters.

Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel

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    On his way to the ring, Big E Langston passed a number of familiar faces from the past. Nikolai Volkoff sang backstage, Ted DiBiase delivered his trademark evil cackle and Irwin R. Schyster reminded the powerhouse to pay his taxes.

    Ryback sat in on commentary as Curtis Axel kneed and elbowed Langston.

    Axel was aggressive on offense, angrily laying into his opponent. Langston's power soon took over, though. The intercontinental champion flattened Axel with the Big Ending and won a quick match.



    Langston wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Put a bra on the guy," Ryback on Langston.

    "He's won a single title and you haven't," Michael Cole to Ryback.






    It looks as if Langston is headed for a showdown with Ryback.

    The purpose of this match seemed to be to showcase Langston's dominance and to tease some animosity between Langston and Ryback. The action was bland, lacking the energy of a good squash match. 

    Axel and Langston have underwhelming chemistry together, which means WWE is going to have to find another victim for the champ to truly make him look good en route to clashing with Ryback.

Piper's Pit

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    Roddy Piper couldn't get out but a handful of words before The Shield sauntered down to the ring. Dean Ambrose called Piper an old man and got in the Hall of Famer's face.

    Hot Rod said that the only man who could match him on the mic is CM Punk. That caused Ambrose to shiver in anger and inspired him to threaten Piper. Seth Rollins quelled the situation, only to add insults of his own.

    Piper planted seeds of distrust and jealousy as he asked Roman Reigns if Ambrose and Rollins were holding him back. As The Shield closed in around Piper, Punk and The New Age Outlaws ran in and cleared the ring with a flurry of punches.



    Punk and The New Age Outlaws prevent an attack on Piper.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You should be thanking God that The Shield wasn't around in your time or else you wouldn't have made it to 112 years old," Ambrose to Piper.

    "If you beat Punk tonight, doesn't that make you better than them?" Piper to Reigns.

    "If you ever touch me again, I'll break your old ass in half," Reigns to Piper.






    The segment effectively sold The Shield as menacing jackals, at least until they scurried away from the ring. Ambrose came off as caustic, Rollins was entertaining as a sneering villain and Reigns was intimidating as usual.

    Piper's jabs set up the Reigns vs. Punk match as possibly another way The Shield begins to splinter.

    Seeing Billy Gunn and Road Dogg in brief action was fun, but it makes The Shield look weak to be forced out of the ring by a team that is a combined 94 years old.

Sin Cara vs. Alberto Del Rio

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    After losing his last two matches against Sin Cara, Alberto Del Rio got a third chance to claim victory. Del Rio opened the bout charging at his foe, but Sin Cara's speed kept him off balance.

    The masked Superstar hit a handspring back elbow, but missed the senton bomb. Del Rio quickly pounced and knocked Sin Cara out with a superkick.

    Del Rio then grabbed a mic and promised to throw Batista over the top rope and win the Royal Rumble match.



    Del Rio wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm talking Mongolian, what do you think? Yes, I'm talking Japanese," JBL to Michael Cole.






    With as exciting as Sin Cara offense can be and as great an in-ring performer as Del Rio is, the lack of chemistry between them is surprising.

    Their previous matches have been underwhelming, and this was the least impressive of them all. They both seemed out of sync and uninspired, and the bout ended not long after it started.

    The only thing worth noting is Del Rio's challenge of Batista. No word on if that goes anywhere or if it was just a case of Del Rio being cocky. Going with a feud between those two men would be an unexpected direction.

The Real Americans vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes

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    The tag team champions had the advantage early, as Goldust slapped Jack Swagger around and sent Antonio Cesaro's face into the mat. Cody Rhodes came in to trade attacks on Cesaro.

    Swagger's power claimed momentum for The Real Americans.

    He and Cesaro kept Goldust in their corner and rattled the ring as they slammed him down several times. Cesaro couldn't contain The Bizarre One and soon found himself slugging it out with Rhodes. The Real Americans snatched back the advantage and had Rhodes reaching out in desperation for a tag.

    When Rhodes finally got free to make a tag, Goldust was too far away, writhing on the outside thanks to a Cesaro kick.

    Swagger clamped on the Patriot lock, but a kick from Goldust had him seeing stars. The match's pace quickened, fists flying until Goldust drove Swagger to the mat with Curtain Call.



    Rhodes and Goldust win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Zeb Colter's sign reads "The best defense is a fence."

    Goldust hits a crossbody on both Cesaro and Swagger.






    After a series of short, ho-hum matches, the Rhodes brothers and The Real Americans delivered a throwback tag team match that thrilled.

    Classic tag strategy combined with great energy to finish made for a bout that was one of the best of the night. It gave no new storylines or developments, just quality wrestling.

Diamond Dallas Page Segment

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    Diamond Dallas Page got a chance to do a plug for his DDP Yoga DVD, and he and Booker T made fun of that fact. Page showed off his flexibility. Booker tried to follow with a yoga move of his own, but hurt his back.

    Ron Simmons walked in on what turned into an awkward scene and delivered his one-word catchphrase.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I can do Booker T yoga," Booker T to Page.






    The segment was worth a chuckle or two, but was nothing special. The tongue-in-cheek nature of the bit made up for it being a glorified advertisement.

The Great Khali vs. Damien Sandow

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    Ranjin Singh accompanied The Great Khali for his rematch against Damien Sandow. WWE fans had the choice between Bob Backlund, Arn Anderson and Sgt. Slaughter as the special guest referee.

    Slaughter earned more than 50 percent of the vote.

    Sandow told Slaughter to stay out of his way. Khali forced The Intellectual Savior into the corner and stomped, chopped and clotheslined him. Moments later, Khali hit the brain chop for the win despite Sandow's leg being on the rope.

    When Sandow complained, Slaughter locked him in the Cobra Clutch. The Hall of Famer then danced with Khali in celebration.



    Khali wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "That's like getting hit with a microwave," JBL on Khali's chops.

    "The only thing that can save him now is Khali; he's a snake charmer," JBL on Slaughter's Cobra Clutch.






    Like many of the matches on the show, this was over too quickly to tell much of a story. Khali's lumbering made it one of the least entertaining clashes of the young year.

    Seeing Sandow being wasted as comic fodder is depressing. Add getting choked out by a senior citizen to his growing list of career lows.

    Expect a rubber match between Khali and Sandow to settle the foot-on-the-rope controversy.

Brock Lesnar's Brawls

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    Paul Heyman introduced Brock Lesnar as the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and mocked the legends appearing on the show.

    Heyman said that like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin, Lesnar reigns supreme in WWE. He promised that Lesnar would knock off either Randy Orton or John Cena after the Royal Rumble. He assured us that anyone going up against The Beast would end up a loser.

    Mark Henry came out clutching his ribs, glaring at Lesnar.

    Lesnar pounded Henry to the ground and then broke his arm. The former UFC champ then tore at Henry's bandages before Heyman called him off. 

    Big Show ambled down to ringside. Lesnar scooted away as Heyman shouted that Lesnar doesn't fight for free. Lesnar tried to sucker punch The World's Largest Athlete, but the big man flung him across the ring.



    Lesnar injures Henry, retreats from Big Show.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "We're not out here seeking acceptance for the names I'm dropping right now," Heyman to the crowd.

    "All the tape in the world isn't going to stop Brock Lesnar," JBL.

    "Why would you do this?" Heyman to Henry.






    Heyman went on a bit long, but was still hypnotizing as a carnival barker-like character. Juxtaposing Lesnar's dominance over Henry with his fear of Big Show makes the man who failed to dethrone Randy Orton seem like a monster once more.

    It appears that WWE is heading toward a rematch between these two powerhouses.

    Their previous battles have been among Big Show's best. Big Show makes a viable intermediate foe before Lesnar takes on Orton or Cena, but it would have been smart to stick an up-and-comer in this spot. 

The Bella Twins vs. Alicia Fox and Aksana

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    Alicia Fox had Nikki Bella down early, but a knee to the face and a monkey flip had her reeling. She recovered enough to wrench Nikki's left leg. Aksana followed her lead and worked the leg.

    Brie Bella made her way in and hit a number of dropkicks and forearms. She missed a dropkick from the second rope, and Aksana pounced on her for the win.



    Aksana and Fox win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Brie takes a big bump when she misses a dropkick.






    The short match was designed to continue Aksana's recent push. She wasn't impressive in a win that ended up being more about the Bellas falling than Aksana rising.

    WWE wisely played up Nikki's old shin injury and Brie being distracted with her fiance now a member of The Wyatt Family. There were few highlights, but the bout told a better story than most of the card.

Too Cool vs. 3MB

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    Grand Master Sexay, Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi re-formed their unit from the Attitude Era. 3MB was back to being a trio with Heath Slater returning from injury.

    The fan favorites had fun with Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre, including Scotty 2 Hotty hitting the worm. McIntyre made him pay for showboating with a nasty dropkick and a series of blows in the corner.

    Wearing an Usos T-shirt, Rikishi clobbered his foes before Sexay hit the Hip-Hop drop. Rikishi sat on Mahal's chest for the win.



    Too Cool wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "That's what happens when you're a hip-hop twin," JBL making fun of Michael Cole calling Too Cool "The Hip-Hop Twins."

    "It's the year 2000 again and I'm young and thin," Cole.






    The match had all the silly fun one would expect, as well as some engrossing aggression from McIntyre. Even buried in a comic-relief nostalgia act, the Scotsman showed off his potential to be a warrior.

    Seeing Too Cool together again, complete with goofy dancing, was entertaining. Their bout was well-paced and provided just enough action to make their celebration seem earned.

Bad News Barrett Segment

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    The Godfather and all the returning legends came out to the ring apron as Justin Roberts called each of their names. Bad News Barrett swooped in, gavel in hand, and demanded decorum from the audience.

    Barrett had some bad news to share. 

    He mocked the Superstars of the past, saying that the flea markets missed having them around to sign photos.



    Barrett insults Hall of Famers.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Your futures, they are doomed to anonymity," Barrett. 






    Barrett gets high marks for his enthusiasm with these segments as well as the bite with which he delivers them. The issue, though, is that they feel flat. There was no response, physically or verbally from the men he insulted.

    Having his podium be lowered by wires is weird as well. It's hard to suspend disbelief surrounding who exactly would be helping/allowing him to do that.

    It's unclear where WWE is going with this angle, but it's obvious that the company believes in it with how much it's a part of weekly programming.

CM Punk vs. Roman Reigns

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    Gene Okerlund mocked his own 1-800 hotline from the '90s before introducing The New Age Outlaws. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn did their patented call-and-response routine en route to introducing CM Punk.

    Punk joked with the former tag champs as he awaited Roman Reigns and The Shield.

    Once the two foes locked horns, Punk clamped on a headlock, and it took a burst of power from Reigns to break the hold. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose looked to encircle Punk once Reigns threw him out of the ring. The New Age Outlaws were right there to prevent that.

    Reigns stayed on top of Punk, grinding his forearm into his face, clocking him in the mouth and slamming him to the mat.

    Pained ribs kept Punk from sustaining momentum. Even when he hit an offensive move, it was him clutching his torso in pain.

    Punk dodged a Superman punch and countered with a roundhouse kick. Punk hit Reigns with two running knees and a neckbreaker, but couldn't get a three-count.

    Outside the ring, The Shield barked at The New Age Outlaws. Their tension soon exploded, Ambrose and Rollins sending Road Dogg and Gunn headfirst into steel.

    Near-falls came in quick succession then before Reigns hit Punk with a spear to end the bout. 

    A returning Jake Roberts sauntered toward the celebrating villains. He distracted them long enough for The New Age Outlaws and Punk to knock the members of The Shield around. Ambrose got a taste of Robert's pet snake in a strange ending to the show.



    Reigns wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "If you even think of telling the story of the three of us and the clown and the farm animals, just don't do it," Road Dogg to Okerlund.

    "He'll drop pipe bombs on all your moms," Road Dogg on Punk.

    Reigns hits a thunderous Samoan drop.

    Roberts returns.






    The headlines after this match will be about Roberts' appearance and if this means that WWE is planning to insert him into the Rumble as he's been lobbying. The match before that surprise was a compelling one that built toward the climax beautifully.

    Reigns and Punk put on nearly as good a show as Punk and Ambrose did recently.

    The Shield's powerhouse gets yet another accolade to add to his collection with a pinfall win over Punk. WWE did well to make this a story of potential jealousy between the trio. The company is thankfully taking its time with this narrative.