WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Feb. 3

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterFebruary 3, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Feb. 3

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Fans had to sit through action ranging from ho-hum to solid before the Feb. 3 edition of WWE Raw delivered the spectacular.

    The Alberto Del Rio and Batista feud continued as did the tension between The Wyatt Family and The Shield. After those plotlines developed, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton met once more, adding to their growing collection of masterpieces.

    The first Raw after word of CM Punk's departure surfaced didn't begin with greatness, though. The show fizzled in the opening moments and featured a number of disappointing matches to go along with the night's better offerings. Fans who hung in there were rewarded, though, when Bryan and Orton collided.

    The following is a breakdown of the results from the show as well as grades for the effectiveness of the storytelling, the shrewdness of WWE's decisions and the level of excitement that the in-ring action generated. 

Opening Segment

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    Randy Orton opens Raw with a speech.
    Randy Orton opens Raw with a speech.Credit: WWE.com

    Randy Orton kicked off the show by pacing inside the ring with his two championship belts draped across his shoulders. He barreled through his opening lines as the crowd chanted for CM Punk.

    He promised to win the Elimination Chamber match and defeat Batista at WrestleMania, claiming to be the main attraction of Raw.

    The Authority sauntered out to the entrance ramp to tell him that he would be facing each of his Chamber opponents over the next few weeks. Should Daniel Bryan defeat him tonight, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon would consider making Bryan the face of the company.

     

    Result

    Orton vs. Bryan is announced for later in the night.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm going to be victorious at WrestleMania when I beat that jacked-up, muscle-bound, genetic freak, Batista," Orton.

    Fans drown out McMahon with "CM Punk!" chants.

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    WWE should have addressed CM Punk's absence rather than go forward as if everything is normal, and Orton give a speech he's made several times over.

    With fans growing louder in their support of Bryan and their disdain for the status quo, wheeling out Orton to talk about facing Batista at WrestleMania is the wrong move. 

    Putting Bryan in a position to gain some major momentum was wise, but having The Authority back him, especially as a threat to Orton, is strange. One has to keep an open mind going forward, but this story feels unfocused.

    Are we supposed to be rooting against Orton or The Authority? WWE did enough here to keep fans curious but not thrilled about what happens next.

The Shield vs. Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Big E Langston

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    Dean Ambrose and Big E Langston started for their respective teams, the powerhouse working over the U.S. champ early on. Kofi Kingston then kept Ambrose at bay with wristlocks before flipping Seth Rollins across the ring.

    The Shield soon had Kingston in their corner, taking turns punishing the high-flyer. Rollins punched him in the gut; Ambrose stomped on his hand.

    Kingston managed to slip away and tag Rey Mysterio in. The masked dynamo knocked The Shield around momentarily, but Roman Reigns soon overpowered him, roaring as he cracked him in the head with an elbow.

    When Langston made his way into the match again, he pushed himself into a new gear. The powerhouse steamrolled through every member of The Shield before nearly getting a three-count on Reigns with a running splash.

    The match broke down at this point, bodies flying around the ring and Reigns bleeding from his right eye.

    Reigns readied himself to deliver a spear to Langston when Ambrose tagged himself in. The eccentric member of the trio hit the headlock driver for the three-count as Reigns looked on befuddled. Reigns stared down his partner as Rollins had to play peacekeeper. 

    The Wyatt Family then appeared on the screen. Bray Wyatt called The Shield a group of pawns, cackling as he spoke of his kingdom by the sea and threatening his new foes. 

     

    Result

    The Shield win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "It's easy to hold it for 14 years if you never defend it," John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Ambrose's U.S. title reign.

    Ambrose held up Mysterio for Reigns to hit a leaping clothesline.

    "You spend all of your useless days clawing with your aching hands forward just to that beautiful moment. The moment when you sacrifice yourself in the name of your king," Wyatt to The Shield.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    The match itself was not one of The Shield's very best. It wasn't as long or dramatic as their greatest hits. The continued tension between Reigns and Ambrose was plenty intriguing, though.

    WWE too often hurries break-ups, but is doing the opposite here. When The Shield finally do implode the moment will mean so more with all these hints of their dissolution being planted up to that point.

    Wyatt's promo was fantastic. His rant reminded fans just how scary he is and helps make The Wyatt Family a convincing threat to "The Hounds of Justice."

Bad News Barrett

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    Bad News Barrett had some bad news for everyone who watched the Super Bowl. He claimed that they spent so much time clogging their arteries that they probably won't make it to next year's game.

    Jerry Lawler interrupted. He told Barrett that he hoped to not see the Englishman on next week's episode.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    None

     

    Grade

    D-

     

    Analysis

    Someone certainly needed to stand up to Barrett, but choosing Lawler for that role is a bizarre choice. That's not exactly a rivalry that could go anywhere.

    WWE offered no explanation as to what Lawler's threat meant or where this story might be going.

    Barrett's segments are getting too short to be effective. This was one of the least entertaining ones that he's done.

Christian vs. Jack Swagger

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    In a rematch of their Elimination Chamber qualifier on SmackDown, Jack Swagger and Christian battled once again. Christian had the early advantage, tossing Swagger outside and hitting him with a baseball slide.

    Swagger evaded Christian's speed and knocked "Captain Charisma" into the ring apron and steel steps. The crowd began to get behind Christian as Swagger controlled the action, clocking him with right hands and a ring-rattling powerslam.

    Christian mounted several comebacks, but Swagger thwarted each of them. A knee to the gut or an ankle lock stopped Christian's momentum each time, but he managed to float over the former world champ and roll him up for a three-count.

    Zeb Colter admonished his client while Antonio Cesaro stood outside the ring with his head down.

     

    Result

    Christian wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Christian hops around the apron before Swagger pulls him down.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Both Christian and Swagger performed some entertaining counters, but the match had little spark. Christian doesn't seem to be quite as quick and electric since his return. Hopefully, he just needs a little more ring time to be back to his usual standard of excellence.

    There wasn't much of note in the match overall. 

    Christian gained some momentum before Elimination Chamber, but what's more significant is that WWE appears to be teasing a split between Colter and Swagger in the near future. The manager is increasingly frustrated with his client and it seems that The Real Americans' time is just about up.

The New Age Outlaws vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust (Tag Team Championship)

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    Road Dogg and Billy Gunn defended their tag titles in a steel cage. Goldust and Road Dogg attacked each other cautiously, "The Bizarre One" crawling on the mat toward his opponent.

    Cody Rhodes and Gunn soon squared off, trading punches and wristlocks. Rhodes nearly beat him with a number of roll-ups.

    Even though The New Age Outlaws seemed unsettled by the cage, they controlled the action once they attacked Rhodes' bandaged left elbow. The champs twisted and kicked the elbow, but Rhodes soon dished out his own abuse to Road Dogg's arm.

    That strategy worked to limit Road Dogg's effectiveness for a few moments. He winced after each punch he threw.

    Even so, he and Gunn took back control by throwing Goldust's face into the cage. The Outlaws kept Goldust away from Rhodes, leaving him wobbly. Rhodes eventually made his way in and quickly sent both of his opponents to the mat.

    He hit the Beautiful Disaster kick, but it wasn't enough to win. Rhodes then hit Road Dogg with a moonsault from the top of the cage.

    While he writhed from delivering that move, Gunn swooped in and stole the victory.

     

    Result

    The New Age Outlaws retain via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Road Dogg tries to pry open the cage door.

    "They don't want a guy who looks like Hagrid to be the face of the WWE," John "Bradshaw" Layfield on The Authority's position on Daniel Bryan.

    Rhodes gets an incredibly close two-count on Gunn.

    Rhodes hits a moonsault from the top of the cage.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    A pair of exciting moments to cap things off didn't make up for a mostly lackluster match. The slow pace hurt the action as did neither team using the cage for much of the bout.

    Neither team seemed particularly into this and there wasn't the kind of intensity one expects inside a cage.

    It's doubtful that the Rhodes brothers get many more opportunities to reclaim their titles after this. Other teams are sure to slip into the No. 1 contender's spot (including The Usos). It may soon be time for the Rhodes brothers to begin to feud with each other instead.

Zack Ryder vs. Titus O'Neil

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    Titus O'Neil grinned as he watched a recap of him turning on Darren Young. He began the bout by throwing Zack Ryder out of the ring and then slamming him around dismissively. 

    The Miz spat into a headset at the announce table that he, and not O'Neil and Ryder, deserved to be competing on Raw. As he stormed out, O'Neil continued his dominance. The former Prime Time Player squeezed Ryder in a bear hug and then flattened him with a clothesline.

    Ryder used his speed to evade him and landed the Broski Boot. That flurry didn't last long, though. O'Neil overpowered the former U.S. champ and hit his finisher in devastating fashion.

     

    Result

    O'Neil wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    O'Neil tosses Ryder onto his face before hitting the most thunderous Clash of the Titus that he ever has.

    "One who barks like a dog and the other one who makes fake Internet championships so he can be more relevant get to be on Monday Night Raw?" Miz on Ryder and O'Neil.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    O'Neil was the most vicious he's ever been and seems to be mighty comfortable in his new role. The match was essentially a squash with Ryder putting up just a sliver of opposition.

    Although O'Neil did everything one could ask of him in this scenario, it's hard to get too excited about a one-sided beatdown. The Miz interrupting the action is likely a tease of a future Miz vs. O'Neil feud, which would be a fresh pairing with potential.

Summer Rae vs. Emma (Dance-Off)

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    Santino Marella made a surprise appearance against a man he called "Fandingo." He boasted about his new moves before inviting a member of the audience to have a dance-off with Summer Rae. Santino choose NXT's Emma.

    Summer did about eight seconds of dancing. Emma showed off her arm-centric dance moves with a grin on her face.

    Not surprisingly, the fans chose Emma as the winner.

     

    Result

    Emma wins by fan vote.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm going to be sick, I'm physically going to be sick," John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Michael Cole's version of Emma's dancing.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    Emma is officially on the main roster, introducing a whole new set of fans to her quirky dance moves. The crowd wasn't thrilled with her, but her antics are an acquired taste. They will come around.

    Her first foray in the ring wasn't the most memorable. Since her gimmick is dancing, it made sense to go with a dance segment here, but dance-offs are inherently uninteresting. 

    Hopefully this leads to a Summer vs. Emma series of matches. Their work together at NXT is better than the majority of Divas matches on Raw and SmackDown.

    It may not seem like it yet, but the Divas division just improved.

Sheamus vs. Curtis Axel

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    Moments after locking up with Curtis Axel, Sheamus tossed him to the ground. Axel rammed his shoulder into Sheamus' gut and "The Celtic Warrior" seemed to take that as inspiration to inflict violence.

    He clobbered Axel with forearms and slammed him into the announce table.

    Axel wasn't about to be dominated, though. He worked on Sheamus' recently injured shoulder, cracking the limb with clubbing blows. With the fans chanting "CM Punk" again, Axel wore his foe down with a painful-looking armbar.

    Sheamus fought out of Axel's attack and soon delivered the Brogue Kick for the win.

     

    Result

    Sheamus wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Stay down, Curtis, please," John "Bradshaw" Layfield to Axel.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    The match played up to both men's strengths, resulting in a well-worked, intense bout. The result was never in doubt, but giving Axel that much offense benefits him in the long run.

    Sheamus showed off his warrior ways once more and, like Christian, gets a win on his resume en route to Elimination Chamber. 

Batista and Alberto Del Rio Confrontation

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    Batista and Alberto Del Rio face off.
    Batista and Alberto Del Rio face off.Credit: WWE.com

    Batista didn't get a chance to address the fans before Alberto Del Rio walked out, wanting to discuss their unfinished business. Del Rio told Batista that being famous doesn't make him a champion and promised to hurt him.

    "The Animal" tried to say that he had no issues with Del Rio, but a sucker punch knocked the powerhouse down. The two brawled for a moment before Del Rio squirted out of the ring.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "When you were sitting on your couch waiting for your movie agent to call you, I was here, winning all the major titles," Del Rio to Batista.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    WWE did well to keep the story simple here. Del Rio essentially kicked the hornet's nest as he remains obsessed with Batista, jealous of his fame.

    The execution wasn't fabulous, though. Del Rio's delivery lacked crispness. He had a handful of good lines which were surrounded by his overused "perro" rhetoric.

    Elimination Chamber seemingly has its next bout with Batista furious after the attack. It won't be a rivalry with outstanding promos, but is promising once it reaches its in-ring portion.

The Wyatt Family vs. Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth and Xavier Woods

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    Xavier Woods was the first victim from the trio of fan favorites. Erick Rowan barreled over him, but Woods got the big man on his back with R-Truth's help.

    The advantage then shifted dramatically.

    Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt punished R-Truth with punches. Dolph Ziggler burst into the match later. "The Show Off" nearly pinned Harper, but the big man hit him with a sledgehammer-like clothesline.

    Wyatt finished him off with Sister Abigail.

    The Shield appeared on the Jumbotron, mocking The Wyatt Family. Seth Rollins called Wyatt delusional and Roman Reigns said that playtime would be over when Elimination Chamber arrived.

     

    Result

    The Wyatt Family win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Xavier Woods getting his PhD in psychology. He may need a medical doctor after this match," Michael Cole.

    "That'll knock the peroxide out of your hair," John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Harper hitting Ziggler.

    "We don't live in your little fantasy world, with monsters and evil spirits, lamb masks and haunted rocking chairs," Dean Ambrose to Wyatt.

    "I welcome this war," Wyatt to The Shield.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    The wrestlers managed to pack a healthy amount of action into the short match. The Wyatt Family were as destructive as expected, but the babyfaces had some exciting moments of resistance.

    The upcoming stable-versus-stable match got a boost with The Shield's promo, a rebuttal to Wyatt's earlier rant. Each trio looked impressive in the ring and boastful, confident and motivated on the mic.

Naomi vs. Aksana

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    AJ Lee provided commentary as her peers did battle. Naomi began aggressively, punching Aksana in the corner and rolling her around the ring with a leg scissors.

    Aksana responded with a snap suplex and a number of wear-down holds.

    Naomi gyrated in the ring while AJ wondered how that could be PG. Aksana kneed The Funkadactyl in the face, but she recovered enough to hit a split-legged moonsault for the win. Alicia Fox and Cameron joined the fight after the bell, and Naomi ended up celebrating with her partner as AJ glared at her.

     

    Result

    Naomi wins by pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "She looks like a sexy baked potato," AJ on Naomi.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    WWE gets points for building up Naomi here, trying to convince fans that she is a threat to dethrone AJ. The fans were certainly behind Naomi and her unorthodox offense

    The bout had bursts of excitement, but it was a sloppy overall performance. Neither Diva is capable of leading a match it seems, and that led to a lack of flow throughout the match. The balance of rest holds to high-impact moves tilted too much to the former.

    Naomi is highly athletic, but has yet to master telling a story in the ring. However, she does appear to be who WWE has in mind as the next Divas champ.

Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton

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    Randy Orton after learning he must face all his Elimination Chamber opponents in singles action
    Randy Orton after learning he must face all his Elimination Chamber opponents in singles actionCredit: WWE.com

    Randy Orton urged the chanting crowd to hush before tangling with Daniel Bryan. Bryan used his mat skills to take control early, but a headbutt from Orton turned things around.

    He pulled Bryan up by the hair and gloated after knocking him to the mat.

    The bearded one used a dragon screw legwhip to hurt Orton. He then zeroed in on Orton's knee, bending it backward and stomping on it as the champ groaned in pain. "The Viper" bit his way out of one submission hold, but struggled to put weight on his leg.

    Bryan went back to work on the leg, Orton having to slip out of the ring in retreat mode.

    "The Flying Goat" wore a predatory look as he kicked Orton's leg and cranked it back in a half Boston crab. Bryan looked assured to win, but Orton then smashed his ribs on the security barricade. The champion whispered a "Yes!" chant before slugging it out with Bryan.

    Orton slammed Bryan onto his shoulder. It was then his turn to pinpoint a body part and torture it. He used the ring post and a nasty armbar to have Bryan howling in agony.

    He tried to finish off his rival with a superplex, but Bryan threw him off. A missile dropkick then hurt Bryan just as much as it did Orton.

    Each man struck the other's weak point. Bryan followed with the Yes! Lock, but Orton flopped his foot over the bottom rope to escape. Neither a diving headbutt from Bryan or a hanging DDT from Orton was enough to finish the match.

    Kane walked down to the ring and Bryan quickly dove at him. That cleared the way for Bryan to hit his flying knee for a three-count.

    Orton and Kane then attacked Bryan. Raw went off the air with the fan favorite lying on the mat.

     

    Result

    Bryan wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Bryan dropkicks Orton's knee into the ring post.

    "Randy Orton bites someone just a little bit and you guys are all over him," John "Bradshaw" Layfield to his fellow announcers.

    Bryan flings Orton over the announce table, knocking into Michael Cole.

    "Orton has really walked into a buzzsaw in Daniel Bryan," JBL.

    Orton counters a kick into a vicious suplex.

    Bryan runs into Orton's dropkick.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    While a touch less compelling than their instant classic at the end of 2013, Orton and Bryan put on a stellar show. It was a wrestling showcase easy to get lost in. Orton excelled as a snarling villain and Bryan performed his usual mat wizardry.

    Bryan got a big win and, as many expected, is entered back into a rivalry with The Authority now that CM Punk out of the picture. Does this lead to him winning back the title, or is he destined for a showdown with Triple H?

    Even if the latter isn't what fans are demanding, it promises to be a career-defining moment for Bryan.