WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 7

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 8, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 7

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The April 7 edition of WWE Raw didn't just follow WrestleMania 30; it set up a potentially incredible Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

    That show may feature Cesaro and Jack Swagger locking horns, AJ Lee trying to win back the Divas Championship against Paige and a war between The Authority and The Shield. 

    The post-WrestleMania crowd lived up to its raucous reputation, and Monday's Raw delivered a series of memorable moments, something we have come to expect from the night after The Show of Shows. Alexander Rusev debuted, and Rob Van Dam came back. Daniel Bryan, Cesaro and Paul Heyman all had the fans inside the Smoothie King Center chanting and roaring.

    It was a show with far more highlights than letdowns, taking all of the momentum built up at WrestleMania and running forward with it.

    The following is a look at how effective, shrewd and entertaining all the night's matches and segments were, compete with letter grades.

Daniel Bryan Celebrates

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    Daniel Bryan entered the ring with his newly won championships in tow as the arena welcomed him with booming "Yes!" chants. He tried to address the fans only to have even louder chants wash over his voice.

    The celebration ended quickly, though.

    The Authority stomped down to ringside, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon wearing matching sneers.

    Bryan lifted his titles right in front of the COO's face, tempting him to come into the ring. Triple H told him that his moment wouldn't last. He put him in a championship match against himself.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You deserve it!" chants break out.

    "The hairy Cinderella sees midnight."—John Bradshaw Layfield when Triple H came out.

    "This is my show and there's not a damn thing you can do about it."—Triple H to Bryan.




    WWE made the right choice in highlighting Bryan right away. That led to the show beginning with a fiery energy rather than having Undertaker's loss overshadow his moment.

    The magic that is Bryan's connection with fans remains awe-inspiring. 

    Bryan and The Game get a chance to continue the excellence they produced at WrestleMania. That main event allows Bryan's reign to begin in explosive fashion.

The Wyatt Family vs. Big E, Sheamus and John Cena

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    Big E Langston and Sheamus followed John Cena as he dove into the ring, fists flying. Cena opened the match against Bray Wyatt. He found himself on his back soon after thanks to a stinging right hand.

    Sheamus slugged it out with Erick Rowan. Big E soon came in, hitting a succession of backbreakers on Rowan.

    Luke Harper and Cena then met in the ring. The big man sent Cena's head into the mat via a DDT and then tagged in his "brothers" to add to the punishment. The Eater of Worlds stomped on his prey and flung him to the ground.

    Cena managed to tag Sheamus in. The Celtic Warrior knocked the entire Wyatt Family around before Rowan flattened him with a clothesline.

    Big E charged in, looking to finish Wyatt with a Big Ending, just before chaos broke out. Wyatt was left alone with Big E and knocked him off with Sister Abigail's Kiss.


    The Wyatt Family wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This Rowan is a moose."—Michael Cole.

    Big E hits three backbreakers in a row on Rowan.

    "What is your malfunction?"—Wyatt to Cena.

    Sheamus mocks Wyatt's trademark pose.

    Fans chant, "Wyatt's gonna get you."




    The Wyatt Family is beginning to pile up impressive matches the way The Shield did in its first year.

    WWE's timing with the commercials was bad, breaking up the momentum of the bout, but it was still highly entertaining. Credit Wyatt's crew, the brawling fan favorites and the electric crowd.

    The fans didn't look to take over the show as some post-WrestleMania crowds have in the past, but instead elevated the action in the ring.

Fandango and Summer Rae vs. Santino Marella and Emma

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    A peacock-inspired collar on his jacket, Fandango strutted to the ring with Summer Rae. The men began the match, but they were pitted against each other for just a few seconds.

    Emma dominated Summer, hitting all of her signature moves. She clamped on the Emma Lock while Santino Marella kept Fandango away.


    Santino and Emma win via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Fans do the Fandango in unison.

    "NBC wants its mascot back."—JBL on Fandango.




    WWE was wise to place a palate-cleanser match here, but the most entertaining thing about it was Fandango's outfit.

    The men didn't do much of anything, and Summer offered no resistance. Why not have this go on just a touch longer so that it can actually produce something memorable?

    Instead, the entrances took longer than the match, and little fun was had.

Paul Heyman Brags for Brock Lesnar

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    Paul Heyman bowed down to Brock Lesnar in the ring. As Heyman bragged about him ending Undertaker's streak, The Beast Incarnate grinned, donning a black eye.

    The fans responded with a non-PG chant.

    Heyman insulted the fans' intelligence, rambling on about how he told everyone that Lesnar would beat Undertaker. He talked about how Undertaker collapsed after the match and Vince McMahon rode with him to the hospital. 

    He went on to deride fans for giving Undertaker an ovation despite being beaten.

    Comparing Lesnar to WWE's greats, Heyman said that he was better than Hulk Hogan and The Rock, as he was the only to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship, NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship and WWE Undisputed Championship.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Brock Lesnar is not here to put smiles on people's faces. Brock Lesnar is here to shock the WWE Universe and put tears in the eyes of children."—Heyman.

    Heyman refers to Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler as "those two other things."

    "You're all a bunch wannabes."—Heyman to fans.

    "Brock Lesnar is the 'one' in 21-1."—Heyman to fans.




    Heyman was brilliant in how he toyed with the fans, playing up Lesnar's WrestleMania accomplishment and reacting swiftly to whatever fans chanted at him.

    He was in complete control throughout despite the volatility of the audience. He made it easy to get sucked into the story rather than second-guess WWE's choices.

    Putting this much attention on Lesnar's win was the right move. It needs to be treated like the biggest win of the industry. The question now becomes, what WWE will do with Lesnar's newly elevated position?

The Usos vs. Randy Orton and Batista (Tag Team Championship)

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    Batista and Randy Orton worked together well in the early going, pounding both The Usos in the corner and throwing them out of their ring.

    Orton and The Animal were too busy smashing the tag champs on the outside that they didn't realize the referee had counted both teams out. They continued their attack, rattling the brothers against the ring steps.


    The match ends in a double count-out.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Orton DDTs Jimmy Uso from off the security barricade.




    Having Orton and Batista become so enraged that they care more about destruction than winning is an interesting story, but there shouldn't have been such a dismissal of the titles' prestige. It makes them seem like trinkets.

    The Usos could have put up more of a fight as well. They looked like they were a minor league team getting manhandled by a major league one.

    Orton and Batista's alliance has promise, should it continue.

Rob Van Dam vs. Damien Sandow

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    Rob Van Dam returned to action for the first time since October. As he tried to play to the crowd, Damien Sandow attacked him.

    He hit Mr. Monday Night with elbows before Van Dam took control. 

    He kicked Sandow off the security barricade and hit him with Rolling Thunder. The Five-Star Frog Splash soon followed, and Sandow's night was over.


    Van Dam wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You still got it JBL, but nobody wants it."—Jerry Lawler to JBL.




    Having Van Dam back in WWE is fantastic. His first match of this latest run, not so fantastic.

    It was essentially a showcase for Van Dam's return, a one-sided affair that offered little drama. Sandow looked to be making a name for himself briefly, but that soon gave way to a quick defeat.

    It would have been fun had Sandow tested Van Dam more, but fans will have to wait until the high-flyer's next bout for something outstanding.

Bad News Barrett vs. Rey Mysterio

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    Bad News Barrett's first match in months inspired a raucous chant. He tried to deliver some bad news, but Rey Mysterio flew at him, knocking him out of the ring.

    Barrett collided with him on his way back in, hurling the masked man into the corner and smashing him against the mat. 

    He went for a superplex, but Mysterio fought out of it. Mysterio went to the top rope only to watch Barrett charge at him with the Bull Hammer.


    Barrett wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Fans root for Barrett and boo Mysterio.




    Bringing back Barrett to the wrestling side of being a Superstar was fun.

    The crowd elevated his match, a bit of action that reminded fans what he can do between the ropes. It was, however, too brief to tell much of a story. 

    This likely means that Barrett will split time between his podium and the ring, a far better use of his talents.

Alexander Rusev vs. Zack Ryder

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    Alexander Rusev made his singles debut, taking little time in showing his dominance. He kicked Zack Ryder in the ribs and flung him around.

    Rusev smashed his knees against Ryder's ribs and hit a Samoan Drop that shook the ring. Seconds after slipping on the Accolade, Rusev earned his first victory on Raw.


    Rusev wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Rusev hits a lightning-quick kick.




    Rusev delivered a standard squash match that made him look like a beast. It wasn't a classic, but it showed off how explosive and powerful he is.

    He's likely to walk a similar path to Ryback in 2012. Rusev, though, is a better athlete and is likely to deliver a better collection of matches in his early run of destruction.

The Ultimate Warrior

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    A red-faced Ultimate Warrior shook the ropes before riling up the crowd.

    He slipped on a mask resembling his old face paint. It took but a second to revert back to his over-the-top promo style.

    He talked of the fans, today's Superstars who had a warrior spirit and a number of other indecipherable things. Once he took off the mask, he exited, saluting the crowd.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior."—Warrior to fans.




    Seeing Warrior back in WWE was a nostalgia-satisfying moment, but there was no lasting image, no spark of electricity. He didn't interact with any current Superstars or do anything noteworthy.

    The mask on his face was an odd sight.

    On a weekend where fans saw The Rock, Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan in the same ring, a brief appearance by Warrior won't create many headlines.

AJ Lee vs. Paige (Divas Championship)

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    With Tamina Snuka at her side, AJ Lee bragged about her 295-day reign as Divas champ. She talked about overcoming the odds. 

    Paige, the NXT women's champion interrupted her, generating a loud chant from the fans, before congratulating AJ. The champion told her to go back to NXT. AJ challenged her and slapped her in the face before offering to put the title on the line.

    AJ peppered her with punches and skipped around her fallen body.

    Paige broke out of the Black Widow, hit the Paige Turner and got the three-count. She left the ring tearful as she held on to the Divas Championship.


    Paige wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I went from being a poor girl in New Jersey to being the best Diva in the world."—AJ.

    "Aren't you the sweetest little crumpet?"—AJ to Paige.




    The decision to bring Paige up to the main roster and kick off a feud with AJ is smart. The execution of her upsetting the champ was unsatisfying.

    The match was much too short. That prevented suspense from building. Fans still roared for Paige winning, though.

    That's largely because WWE was wise enough to have this moment happen in front of a crowd that was sure to be familiar with Paige's work at NXT.

Hulk Hogan Presents Cesaro with Andre the Giant Trophy/Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger

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    Hulk Hogan talking about the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal incited the crowd into starting a chant for Cesaro. Cesaro soon came out with Zeb Colter, pumping his fists into the air.

    Hogan congratulated him before letting him have his moment. 

    Colter swiped the mic from Cesaro and talked about how he made him a "Zeb Colter guy." Cesaro said he was a "Paul Heyman guy" instead, prompting Heyman to come out to the ring.

    Heyman dubbed Cesaro "The King of Swing."

    Jack Swagger rushed out, tossed Cesaro aside and destroyed the trophy. Cesaro responded with his fists. The two former partners then began an official match.

    Swagger controlled the bout at first thanks to his power, forearm smashes and knee strikes.

    Cesaro struggled to his feet and shifted the momentum with a superplex from the apron. He followed with a barrage of uppercuts. Swagger escaped once he saw a Cesaro Swing coming.

    Colter convinced him to retreat, taking the loss.


    Cesaro wins via count-out.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I know this comes as a shock to you, grandpa."—Heyman to Colter.

    Swagger throws Cesaro from the top rope.

    Cesaro hits a superplex on Swagger from the ring apron.




    Heyman provided one of Monday's biggest moments by taking over the managerial duties for Cesaro. Cesaro's expected rise up the ranks appears to be imminent.

    He not only gets away from his partnership with Swagger to be a singles star, but also gets paired with the best manager in the business today.

    It's clear after this unsettled business that Cesaro's first rival on this run will be Swagger, giving the audience a chance to also see Colter and Heyman collide along the way. That promises to be a mighty entertaining midcard feud.

Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Backstage, Kane spilled the secret that Triple H had ordered the beatdown on The Shield weeks ago on SmackDown. Still, Stephanie McMahon demanded that The Shield make sure Daniel Bryan lost the title.

    That's what Randy Orton and Batista had in mind as well. They ambushed the world champ right before his scheduled match with Triple H, Batista hitting a Batista Bomb on Bryan. 

    Kane added a chokeslam to the onslaught.

    That's when Triple H sauntered out to begin the match. The Game was just about ready to devour the already fallen prey when The Shield entered.

    Triple H ordered the trio to stand down. 

    Roman Reigns knocked Triple H over with a spear and a brawl erupted. The Shield surrounded The Game, who soon felt Bryan's knee crash against his jaw.

    Kane pulled Triple H out of the ring, and The Shield and Bryan stood side by side in the ring.


    The match ends in a no-contest.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This fairy tale could end."—JBL.

    Fans chant for 3MB to help Bryan.

    "We are not breaking this down to a war. This is not happening."—Triple H.


    A (as a segment, not a match)


    Rather than just repeat the same tired tale of The Authority cheating Bryan out of wins, WWE has shifted the stars of this drama. Adding The Shield creates a compelling dynamic. 

    This could be setting up a stable-versus-stable battle that will remind fans of the Attitude Era.

    It's not exactly clear where the company is heading, but in a good way. There are a number of forks WWE can take from a new version of Evolution re-forming to a Reigns vs. Triple H bout being set up for the future.

    Regardless of where WWE goes, the last moments of Monday's Raw kept fans wanting to watch how things develop from this point.