WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 24

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterMarch 25, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 24

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    Fans who tuned in to the March 24 edition of WWE Raw two hours late got to savor the best action of the night without having to suffer through the mediocrity that preceded it.

    Hurried in-ring narratives and underwhelming guest appearances made up the majority of the first two-thirds of Monday's show. After that, John Cena, The Shield, Luke Harper and The Real Americans all made wading through the earlier flops worth it.

    WWE made two more WrestleMania matches official and announced that Razor Ramon will be in this year's Hall of Fame class.

    The following is a look at how well the company and the Superstars told their stories and thrilled the audience. Winners, letter grades and highlights come with the package, beginning with former members of Evolution bickering.

Opening Segment

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    A jovial Stephanie McMahon struggled to speak over the Brooklyn fans chanting for Daniel Bryan. She said that Bryan wouldn't be at Raw, that insubordination wouldn't be tolerated and promised that her husband would become WWE world champ at WrestleMania.

    Randy Orton took that as his cue to saunter in.

    He sucked up to McMahon but said that he couldn't be responsible for leaving Triple H badly beaten. Batista interrupted him, telling Orton that he was looking at the next heavyweight champ. His mic gave him trouble as he talked about Triple H never beating him before.

    "The Animal" got too disrespectful with McMahon, and she slapped his sunglasses off.

    Batista took his anger out on Orton, spearing him to the mat.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "People like you need to be led by people with intellect and character like me."—McMahon to the fans.

    "I'm sorry, Dave, you were going on and on about something."—McMahon to Batsta.

    "I think Steph's been drooled on before."—Batista to McMahon.






    McMahon continues to be one of WWE's best villains, exuding callousness and arrogance. She gets extra points for handling the mic issues so smoothly, actually working it into the scene.

    The downside is that this segment offered nothing new to the story.

    It felt much like every thing we've heard from Orton and Batista before. Aside from McMahon's slaps, there wasn't much of a highlight to take away, nor have the stakes been increased.

    The opener didn't kick the show off with much energy at all.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

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    Big E watched on as four Superstars competed for the right to face him for the Intercontinental Championship at Main Event.

    Alberto Del Rio pounded on Dolph Ziggler, while Sheamus and Christian battled on the outside. Once Sheamus entered the ring, Ziggler knocked him back with a number of speedy moves.

    The match overflowed back outside where Sheamus clotheslined Christian over the security barricade.

    Christian cracked Sheamus' shoulder against the ring post before trying to pin Ziggler. It was Sheamus, though, who dominated much of the action. The Irishman tossed his foes over the ropes, slammed them on the mat and clobbered anyone within reach.

    Ziggler had his moments as well. He earned a number of near-falls by way of a DDT and a sit-out facebuster.

    The match's pace quickened, each wrestler going for their biggest weapons, only to be thwarted by another man. Christian attacked Ziggler with everyone else down, using the Killswitch to get a three-count.

    Big E tried to shake Christian's hand, but the No. 1 contender pulled away, refusing.



    Christian wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ziggler face-plants Sheamus from off the top rope.

    Christian turns a Ziggler Fameasser into a powerbomb.

    The final sequence, which included Ziggler hitting a Zig Zag only to fall victim to Christian's finisher.






    Going after the Intercontinental Championship is a step down for the likes of Del Rio and Sheamus, but having them compete for a shot at it adds to the prestige of the title.

    WWE wisely gave the Battle Royal participants more reason to hate each other come WrestleMania while also addressing Big E's title reign. Christian gets a much-needed win after Sheamus defeated him so many times in a row recently. 

    The fast-paced, fun match was made better by the added stakes and the history between the opponents.

Sin Cara vs. Damien Sandow

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    Scooby Doo stood in Sin Cara's corner as the high-flyer darted around the ring. He whipped Damien Sandow to the mat and hit his handspring elbow.

    He followed it up with a senton bomb for the win.



    Sin Cara wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "We don't know if he's had his shots."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Scooby.






    The entrance lasted longer than the match. Scooby didn't add anything to the bout, not even a silly bit of comedy. He simply didn't have time.

    Sandow may not have even got in a single offensive move. It makes no sense to present him as so feeble that Sin Cara essentially got a shutout against him.

    The match offered no entertainment. Having Scooby along didn't help.

    The only thing saving this from an F grade is that WWE didn't take away from other wrestlers' time by dragging out Scooby's time on Raw.

Los Matadores vs. Curtis Axel and Ryback

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    Curtis Axel began the match by hitting a dropkick and clubbing a masked matador. The Shield then came down to ringside. The sight of the black-clad trio was able to distract Axel long enough for Fernando to pin him.

    The Shield then clobbered Axel and Ryback. After delivering a triple powerbomb, the group stood untied, fists touching.



    Los Matadores win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Roman Reigns get hyped after hitting Ryback with a spear.






    Since Ryback and Axel helped assault The Shield on Friday's SmackDown, it was satisfying to see Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose get their revenge on Monday. The whole story was rushed, though.

    The tag match could have gone on at least a little longer before The Shield came down. As it stands, there was not enough suspense built up with the predators stalking Axel and Ryback from the crowd.

    Right after the hurried affair that was Damien Sandow vs. Sin Cara, one would think WWE would slow the pace down rather than offer a moment that may have been missed by those headed to the fridge for a moment.

Triple H In-Ring Interview

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    Michael Cole interviewed Triple H about his actions last Monday.

    Cole asked him how he could justify his attack on Bryan. The COO said that Bryan and the fans got what they were asking for. He claimed that he was defenseless when Bryan hijacked Raw.

    Triple H said that the fans have become apathetic and soft. 

    His voice growing louder, he promised to end Bryan, the "Yes Movement" and win the WWE world title at WrestleMania. He dubbed this the "reality era."


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Daniel Bryan asked for 'The Game.'"—Triple H.

    "Now you're all going to cry about it, right?"—Triple H to the fans.

    "Why don't you send me a tweet to express your displeasure?"—Triple H to the fans.






    A strong-but-not-stellar performance saw him take jabs at "Internet fans" and twist the truth as we have come to expect from this version of him. Not having Bryan to patronize directly took away some of the energy. Cole slid into the background for the most part.

    Being a touch repetitive held it back some as well.

    Still, the COO added to the long list of reasons to hate him. Should his promises come true at WrestleMania, he'll generate animosity from the audience that hasn't been a part of the company for a long, long time.

Fandango vs. Cody Rhodes

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    Cody Rhodes' fists gave him the advantage at first, but Fandango took control with a flying leg drop and a hammerlock slam.

    When Rhodes later knocked Fandango down, Goldust slid in next to Summer Rae and began to mock her. Summer and "The Bizarre One" had an impromptu dance-off on the outside. Summer hurt her ankle while Goldust continued on doing the salsa.

    Seeing his woman in distress distracted Fandango enough for Rhodes to hit the Beautiful Disaster for the win.



    Rhodes wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Goldust's odd dancing.






    WWE delivers the second straight week of Goldust dancing more than he fights and the third match of the night that didn't have enough to develop any drama.

    Goldust and Rhodes could be building toward a brother vs. brother matchup, but instead are being wasted in throwaway matches will little entertainment value. 

Hulk Hogan Welcomes Arnold Schwarzenegger

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    The Brooklyn fans chanted Hulk Hogan's name as he stood in the ring. He reflected on the first WrestleMania, where he teamed with Mr. T.

    He introduced Joe Manganiello and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who talked up Hogan's muscles and career. Schwarzenegger asked if there were two more spots available in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

    The Miz took exception to that. He said that the two Sabotage stars weren't tough enough to enter the 30-man match, which he promised to win.

    Miz told Hogan that he didn't belong in WWE any more.

    Manganiello and Miz had a shoving match, which led to Schwarzenegger slapping "The Awesome One" and Hogan then tossing him out of the ring.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Look at the biceps, look at the triceps, look at the deltoids, look at the pectoral muscles."Schwarzenegger on Hogan.

    "You boo, but you know you watched it and you loved it."—Miz after fans booed him name-dropping his own movies.






    The fun of the early moments of this segment fell victim to an irksome ending.

    Having D-Generation X gang up on Damien Sandow is fine, but a movie actor shouldn't be booked to push a former WWE champ around. Much like when Michael Strahan came to Raw, Miz was not only made to look foolish, the moment made WWE itself look weak.

    The benefit of the cheap laugh this created doesn't outweigh the visual of a pair of actors overpowering a Superstar. While it's admittedly not the same situation, it smells too much David Arquette winning the WCW title.

Big Show vs. Titus O'Neil

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    Big Show's chops echoed throughout the Barclays Center. Titus O'Neil knocked down the giant, though, stomping on his head as Layfield cheered him on.

    O'Neil barked at Big Show as he pounded him with forearm shots.

    A spear from the big man ended O'Neil's run. The Knockout Punch ended the match.



    Big Show wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Don't let that big man up. Don't let him do anything."—JBL on Big Show.






    O'Neil continues to lose, unable to recapture the momentum he began at Elimination Chamber. He wasn't booked as a pushover, though. 

    He had the big man reeling for a few moments, but his night ended quickly, a theme for Monday's show. The announcers once again pegged Big Show as the favorite for the WrestleMania Battle Royal. 

John Cena vs. Luke Harper

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    Backstage, Bray Wyatt asked John Cena how he could harm him, if he can't feel. He then ranted in his usual unsettling style.

    When Cena prepared for the match in the locker room, he thought he saw Erick Rowan in his sheep's mask staring at him. There was nothing there, but Cena was clearly spooked.

    Luke Harper glared at Cena once the match began.

    The big man head-butted and smacked the former world champion. Cena tried to slug his way out of trouble, but a backbreaker brought him back to the mat. 

    Harper dominated Cena, snuffing out every offensive run.

    Cena went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Harper superkicked his head backward. He went for the STF, but Harper kicked him out of the ring.

    The fan favorite survived Harper's biggest moves, though.

    He powered out of a superplex attempt, punched his way free and hit a flying legdrop. Cena was too drained to do much more right after that. 

    A clothesline that hurt Cena's own arm had Harper in trouble, but the lights went off just as he tried to follow up the Attitude Adjustment. 

    The Wyatt Family tied Cena in the ropes, making him wear a sheep mask.



    The match ends in a no-contest.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I am the way into the city of woe."—Wyatt.

    "Let's go Harper!"—the Brooklyn fans.

    Harper hits a nasty superkick.

    Harper dives onto Cena through the ropes.

    Cena's face crashed into the mat courtesy of Harper throwing him down.






    An excellent showing by both Harper and Cena had the fans engaged and thrilled. This was even better than their battle on Friday's SmackDown and likely a preview of the vicious, hard-hitting kind of action we will see with Wyatt vs. Cena at WrestleMania.

    WWE continues to excel at this story.

    The image of Cena in the mask was haunting. It's an embarrassment that will fuel Cena in the future, and in terms of right now, it paints The Wyatt Family as a dangerous crew. 

AJ Lee vs. Naomi

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    AJ Lee mocking her eye patch inspired Naomi to fire off a number of dropkicks. A quick flurry sent AJ fleeing.

    She took a count-out loss on purpose.

    Vickie Guerrero announced that every Diva on the roster would be challenging her for the Divas Championship at WrestleMania, including Tamina Snuka. AJ responded by shrieking and pacing with her title close to her chest.



    Naomi wins by count-out.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You are a real bitch."—Guerrero to AJ.






    The opening moments of AJ vs. Naomi had a fire to them. It looked as if we were getting a quality Divas match when AJ's walk-out cut it short.

    Guerrero piling on the opponents against AJ would have had a bigger impact if WWE had actually been focusing on their rivalry. Instead, it feels like an idea that got tossed in at the last minute.

    The crowded Divas title bout, which will feature everyone from Layla to Rosa Mendes, promises to be a mess where none of the women get to shine, much like Survivor Series 2013.

The Shield vs. The Real Americans

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    Backstage, The Shield asked The Authority where the group stood with Triple H and Co. The COO claimed that Kane acted on his own when attacking The Shield on SmackDown.

    Stephanie McMahon offered them a chance to face The Real Americans.

    Jack Swagger and Cesaro couldn't make it to the ring before Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins started pounding on them.

    Once between the ropes, The Shield hit a Hart Attack-like double-team move on Cesaro. Rollins then paid tribute to Eddie Guerrero with a cluster of suplexes.

    Rollins and Ambrose punished Swagger, hitting him with chops and punches. When Cesaro made his way in, he snatched the momentum, turning Ambrose into the victim.

    Cesaro barked at him as he slapped his mouth. Ambrose enjoyed it.

    Once Rollins got a turn, he charged around the ring, knocking his foes on their backs. He flipped Cesaro over the top rope and flew out at both of them.

    Swagger tried to yank him from the ropes, but Rollins landed on his feet, kicked Swagger in the chin and finished him off for the win.

    Roman Reigns then took his shots, spearing Cesaro before triple powerbombing Cesaro through the announce table.

    The New Age Outlaws come out in suits with Kane. The director of operations announced that he and the Outlaws would face The Shield at WrestleMania.



    The Shield win via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Rollins and Ambrose hit a bearhug/neckbreaker combo on Cesaro.

    "The lunatic fringe is about to go swinging in the Barclays Center."—Layfield.

    The Real Americans swing Ambrose into the barricade outside.

    Ambrose begs for more slaps.

    Rollins gives a double dose of dives to the outside.






    The Shield and The Real Americans delivered a match that is sure to be better than what The Shield do at WrestleMania.

    There is little chance that Billy Gunn and Road Dogg can keep the kind of frenetic pace that Cesaro and Swagger did here. The two teams went hard at each other, compiling a collection of highlights by the end of the night.

    The best bout of Monday's Raw reminded fans of just how badass the The Shield is, giving the trio a stage to showcase their best attributes and cap it all off with a broken table.

Brock Lesnar and Undertaker Confrontation

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    Paul Heyman acknowledged the greatness of Undertaker's WrestleMania streak. He talked about how no one could match the streak, but that Brock Lesnar will end it.

    Lesnar yanked the mic away and called Undertaker out to fight.

    A brood of druids brought out a casket, blue light shining on them, fog billowing at their feet. Lesnar snickered uncomfortably as he stared at it.

    He tapped the casket with his foot. He then peeked inside before realizing that there was nothing in it.

    Angry, Lesnar slammed the casket lid and yelled that he wasn't there to play games.

    The casket opened once more. Undertaker lay inside. 

    "The Deadman" rose, brawled with Lesnar before tossing him onto the casket. Lesnar fled as the show ended.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Lesnar wears a "Eat. Sleep. Beat the Streak" T-shirt.

    "One era will end. Another era will begin."—Heyman.

    "I'm not here to promote. I'm here to fight."—Lesnar.






    The stunning visual of Undertaker popping up in the casket that was thought to be empty was fantastic. It adds to the images WWE can use to hype this upcoming match.

    Heyman was his usual brilliant self, but he again gave too much praise to The Undertaker. WWE has focused too much on building up Undertaker rather than convince fans that Lesnar can beat him.

    This marks another moment that Lesnar runs away from him. When will "The Beast" get his chance to be a danger to Undertaker?