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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 14

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 14

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Evolution is back, and its effect on WWE was felt immediately by three of the brightest young stars on the roster.

    The Shield was the recipient of a brutal beatdown. Left lying in a heap for only the second time in their WWE careers, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose saw their dominance of the last month disappear before their very eyes.

    A tournament to crown the No. 1 contender to intercontinental champion Big E Langston dominated the remainder of the night's broadcast as eight men vied to advance to the next round of competition. Rob Van Dam, Cesaro, Sheamus and Bad News Barrett all scored big wins and moved one step closer to a showdown with the former powerlifter. 

    Paige made her first in-ring appearance as Divas champion, defeating Alicia Fox, and Fandango and new dance partner Layla picked up a win in their first mixed tag team match together.

    Most importantly, the monster was awakened, as Kane rediscovered his inner fire and promised to destroy Daniel Bryan.

    WWE delivered yet another noteworthy episode of Raw as it continues to ride the wave of momentum coming out of WrestleMania 30 and, in the process, set up several stories that should lead to a great Extreme Rules card.

The Ultimate Warrior Tribute

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    The WWE Superstars and Vince McMahon gathered on the stage to kick off the evening's program. In the squared circle, Jerry Lawler welcomed the fans and revealed plans to pay tribute to the late Ultimate Warrior.

    A video package celebrating his life and career aired. Hulk Hogan and Triple H provided soundbites, and Warrior's final address to the WWE Universe played over video of some of his greatest highlights. The most touching moment of the video came as the highlights from the Hall of Fame ceremony, where Warrior was accompanied to the stage by his two young daughters, aired.

    After the video, the company delivered a 10-bell salute and dedicated the evening's show to the former WWE champion.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    The show of love and respect by the WWE Universe after the 10-bell salute.

    The emotional video package, another outstanding production from WWE.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    A tremendous tribute to one of the greatest WWE Superstars of all time by a company that traditionally honors its fallen in the classiest way possible.

    The fans wearing Ultimate Warrior masks and the men and women of WWE sporting Warrior T-shirts was a nice display of unity by a community that lost one of its own.

Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio

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    The in-ring portion of this week's show kicked off with a quarterfinal-round match of the tournament to decide a No. 1 contender to Big E's Intercontinental Championship between Rob Van Dam and Alberto Del Rio.

    It was the renewal of a rivalry that unfolded last fall when Van Dam was trying desperately to wrest the world heavyweight title from the second-generation Mexican Superstar.

    Del Rio showed intensity from the bell, wearing Van Dam down to the mat. Van Dam recovered nicely and took his opponent over the top rope and to the arena floor as the crowd came alive with chants of "RVD! RVD!" A toss into the guardrail, however, turned the tide and won back control for the former world heavyweight champion.

    After a flurry of offense from RVD, Del Rio got his knees up during a split-legged moonsault attempt and delivered the Backstabber for two. He followed up moments later with the enzuigiri kick, which left Van Dam shaken. Mr. Monday Night fought back and landed the Five-Star Frog Splash to advance in the tournament.

     

    Result

    Van Dam, via pinfall, following the Five-Star Frog Splash 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    The enzuigiri by Del Rio more than made up for Van Dam's whiff earlier in the night.

    JBL's comments about "educated feet" being the most ridiculous statement ever was fun and echoed some fans' sentiments about one of Jim Ross' trademark comments.

     

    Grade

    B- 

     

    Analysis

    A very competitive match between two of the most established stars in the tournament. With that said, the Superstars continue to lack the chemistry necessary to deliver that really great match against one another. They were a bit "off" during the match, including a noticeable botch by Van Dam.

    Still, Van Dam picked up a big win over a former world heavyweight champion and will now face the winner of the first-round match between Cesaro and Mark Henry.

Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel

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    RybAxel attempted to keep its winning ways alive as it squared off with former tag team champions Goldust and Cody Rhodes.

    Goldust and Rhodes isolated Axel to start. Cody worked over his arm, and Goldust continued the methodical attack. A momentary distraction allowed the heels to take control of the match. Goldust played the babyface-in-peril role as Ryback pounded away with bodyslams and a middle-rope elbow drop.

    A sleeper from Ryback further wore down his future-Hall of Fame opponent while the crowd became restless. Goldust fought back and made the hot tag to his brother, who exploded into the ring, bringing great energy back to the bout.

    Rhodes' moonsault to Ryback was outstanding, but his attempt at the Disaster Kick ended with a meathook clothesline and a pinfall loss.

     

    Result

    Ryback and Axel, via pinfall, following Ryback's meathook clothesline on Rhodes 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    Michael Cole on Ryback: "He's got a big ol' knot on his head."

    JBL: "No, that's just his head."  

     

    Grade

     

    Analysis

    A suitable tag match that further positioned Ryback and Axel as the top contenders to the tag titles and continued the Rhodes' downward momentum since dropping the tag titles back in January.

    The action was solid and the heels showed continued improvement as a team, relying on quick tags while isolating Goldust from his partner. Ryback's sleeper on Goldust killed a great deal of the match's heat, but Cody's fiery comeback picked the crowd back up and led to an energized finish.

    Ryback and Axel still need more rebuilding, but with babyface champions and a lack of heel competitions, they make sense as The Usos' next challengers.

Paige vs. Alicia Fox

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    Just seven days after knocking off AJ Lee to end her 295-day Divas title reign, Paige took to the ring in her first official match since last Monday's Raw.

    Strong lockup to start and a shoving match turned into a vicious headbutt from the champion. Alicia came back with three big backbreakers to floor the rookie Diva.

    Alicia showed renewed aggression, perhaps trying to make an example of the newcomer. A northern lights suplex grounded Paige for a two count, but she showed resilience in kicking out after the onslaught from her opponent.

    A loud kick to the midsection started Paige's comeback, and a series of clotheslines built momentum for the champion. The breathtaking Scorpion Crosslock won it for the Divas champion.

     

    Result

    Paige, via submission, with the Scorpion Crosslock

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Paige is learning she has less friends than she thought."—Michael Cole 

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    A great showcase for Paige and a really solid performance from Alicia Fox, who may very well be one of the most underrated workers in the Divas division. Both ladies showed great intensity in the short bit of time they had to work, and the constant action meant the crowd never had time to get bored.

    Paige looked like a star and brought an aggression to the ring that fans of the poster girls from Total Divas are not familiar with. As her career in WWE progresses, it should be interesting to see how her performances adapt.

The Usos vs. Batista and Randy Orton

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    A week after being savagely attacked by Batista and Randy Orton, WWE Tag Team champions The Usos were looking for a measure of revenge as they took to the ring for their match against the former Evolution teammates.

    The Usos exploded at the bell, taking the fight to their opponents and forcing them to regroup early. The champions dominate early, taking the fight to Orton. The Viper turned the tide in his and Batista's favor, however, with his trademark backbreaker.

    Orton and Batista isolated one of The Usos, and Batista's spinebuster nearly scored his team the victory.

    Action spilled to the outside and, suddenly, The Shield came from out of nowhere to assault Orton. The trio finished its attack of the heels with a Superman Punch from Reigns to Batista. The Hounds of Justice then stood tall in the ring as Batista and Orton bailed up the ramp.

     

    Result

    Randy Orton and Batista, via disqualification, when The Shield interfered

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "As good as these guys are individually, they don't want this to be a wrestling match. They want this to be an old-fashioned pier-six brawl."—JBL on Batista and Randy Orton's plans for the match

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    There was not much of a match to speak of for the second week in a row, as The Shield's interference brought to a premature end what could have been a very good match between The Usos, Batista and Orton.

    The Shield's attack furthered the issues with Triple H and his former Evolution teammates but seemed really out of place at the time it took place. Perhaps if the match would have advanced further than it did and was in the middle of a hotter segment, it would have been more effective and organic than it ultimately would up being.

Mark Henry vs. Cesaro

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    The No. 1 contender's tournament raged on as the latest "Heyman Guy," Cesaro, took on former world heavyweight champion Mark Henry.

    Paul Heyman repeatedly hammered home the point that his client, Brock Lesnar, ended the streak and showed photographs of the match between Lesnar and Undertaker. He introduced Cesaro, who entered to no music.

    Henry locked up with Cesaro and pushed him into the corner and up the ropes. The World's Strongest Man forced Cesaro over the top, leaving him to meet with Heyman and regroup.

    A flurry of hard forearms and uppercuts could not stop Henry's onslaught, but a diving uppercut from the middle rope floored him. Seconds later, Cesaro landed the Neutralizer and advanced to the second round of the tournament, where he will meet Rob Van Dam.

     

    Result

    Cesaro, via pinfall, following the Neutralizer

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Isn't it ironic that it was a loss to my client that truly immortalized The Undertaker."—Heyman

    "Mark Henry has never been intercontinental champion."—Cole, highlighting one of the few accomplishments Henry has not achieved

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    A bad match but the perfect showcase for Cesaro, who is rapidly rising up the ranks in WWE. The partnership between Cesaro and Heyman has led to a much more aggressive and violent Cesaro. His uppercuts and forearms were particularly vicious and may have legitimately stunned Henry.

    The Neutralizer to Henry, as always, was incredibly impressive and only adds to the buzz around the Swiss Superstar.

Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev

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    Lana made her way to the stage, now accompanied by her own entrance music, and promised that Alexander Rusev would dominate WWE.

    Big high knees from Rusev from the bell as he beat and battered his former NXT co-worker. Shortly thereafter, Rusev applied the Accolade, and Woods had no choice but to tap.

    After the match, R-Truth came to his buddy's aid and found himself face-to-face with Rusev. Lana ordered Rusev back, showing the effect she has on him, then unleashed him on the former United States champion.

    Rusev and Lana stood tall as Truth and Woods were left lying.

     

    Result

    Rusev, via submission, with the Accolade

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "America, it is futile to resist. His dominance unfolds before your very eyes."—Lana

    "No wasted movement from Rusev."—JBL

     

    Grade

     

    Analysis

    Another showcase for a star poised to be a major force on WWE programming throughout the summer.

    Rusev was dominant in his victory over Woods, whose call-up to the main roster has been anything but memorable. The post-match activities introduced a new wrinkle into the act, as WWE fans got their first taste of just how instrumental Lana is in controlling The Bulgarian Brute. That instantly heightens her importance and adds layers to the otherwise one-dimensional act.

    Rusev benefits, and it comes at the expense of two Superstars who are extremely cold at this point. No harm, no foul.

Sheamus vs. Jack Swagger

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    In another No. 1 contender's tournament match, "Celtic Warrior" Sheamus took on "Real American" Jack Swagger.

    A motivated Swagger attacked from the get-go, but Sheamus was able to fend off the early onslaught and pound away at his opponent's midsection to gain control of the bout.

    Swagger regained control off a distraction by Zeb Colter. A belly-to-belly suplex cut off a potential comeback and further injured the back of the Celtic Warrior. A missed charge into the corner and a series of axe handles to the face got Sheamus back into the contest.

    The clubbing forearms to the chest of Swagger gave way to a battering ram from the top rope for two. Swagger sidestepped a shoulder block and applied the Patriot Lock. He fought through the pain and kicked Swagger off.

    A Brogue Kick from out of nowhere won the match for Sheamus and set him on course for a bout against either Dolph Ziggler or Bad News Barrett. 

     

    Result

    Sheamus, via pinfall, with the Brogue Kick 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "This is gonna be physical."—JBL foreshadowing the action we were about to witness

    "Why do you have to say ginger? Because Sheamus is in the ring?"—JBL

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    The best match of the night, thus far, as Sheamus and Swagger delivered a very hard-hitting, ultracompetitive bout.

    The win does little to elevate Sheamus, who has taken a significant step backward since returning from injury, whereas Swagger could have used the win to help energize his singles career. His feud with Cesaro has barely been spoken of to this point and seems to have been tabled to focus on the tournament.

Big Show Knocked Out Damien Sandow

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    Damien Sandow was in the center of the ring as we returned from break and called himself the most deserving Superstar in WWE. Big Show's music cut him off, and the giant made his way to the ring. 

    After minutes of talking, Sandow was greeted with a knockout punch from Show. The World's Largest Athlete walked away from the ring to a nice pop from the crowd.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Show, if you have anything to say, now would be the time to keep it to yourself."—Sandow to Big Show

    "You deserve it!"—Fans in agreement with Sandow, who claimed he is WWE's most deserving star

    "You look at me and you see a future champion."—Sandow

     

    Grade

    D

     

    Analysis

    The only redeeming quality of the entire segment was that it gave Sandow the opportunity to deliver some mic work. The frustration he exhibited and his claims that he is the most deserving Superstar on the roster could be pointing at a renewed push but was likely just a way to get both him and Big Show on the already-packed broadcast.

The Wyatt Family Promo

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Bray Wyatt cut a promo discussing his desire to bring the monster out of Cena. He promised not to let Cena deceive the audience anymore and called the former WWE champion out "to play."

    Cena came out, cracked jokes and discussed how the WWE Universe likes to have fun, something the crowd agreed with. Cena revealed a photo of Sister Abigail, which was Wyatt in drag, and photos of Rowan and Harper as new members of the family.

    Wyatt mentioned Cena's penchant for cracking jokes, and Cena got serious real quick. He mentioned Wyatt's history of talking but not necessarily backing it up. Cena challenged Wyatt to a cage match at Extreme Rules, which the enigmatic star accepted.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "You see what they want you to see and feel whatever they want you to feel, but I am different!"—Wyatt

    "John Cena has made a career out of lying to you all!"—Wyatt

    "Don't you worry about a thing, kids, I'm not going to let him do this to you anymore."—Wyatt

    "The last thing I need right now is another push. No one wants to see that."—Cena

    "When John Cena gets serious, your ass gets beat."—Cena

     

    Grade

    A+ 

     

    Analysis

    Exemplary promo work from both Cena and Wyatt here as they set up what will likely be one of the most anticipated matches come May 4's Extreme Rules pay-per-view.

    Wyatt's promo work has been long celebrated, and Monday night's work, longer than usual and in front of a live audience rather than in a pretaped segment, only added to his impressive resume.

    Cena really stood out as he leaned heavily on the jokes that have caught him heat with the fans in the past, but then turned the entire promo on its head by ratcheting up the intensity and seriousness and bringing his portion of the promo home with an exclamation point.

Santino vs. Fandango

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    Michael Cole and JBL recapped the Twitter breakup between Fandango and Summer Rae that led to Layla replacing the leggy blonde.

    Santino and Fandango started the mixed tag match off. A brief exchange led to Emma and Layla providing far more action than either of their male counterparts. Emma locked in the Dil-Emma, but Layla pulled Emma off the middle rope and covered for the win. 

     

    Result

    Fandango and Layla, via pinfall, when Layla pinned Emma

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I wish Twitter was around years ago. I got my divorce the old fashioned way. Cost me a fortune."—JBL

     

    Grade

    D

     

    Analysis

    Yes, the match introduced the new pairing of Fandango and Layla to the audience, but the fans were not into the very little action that unfolded, and the lack of time prevented it from being anything noteworthy. A waste of two minutes and another match in a feud that needed to end weeks ago.

The Big Red Monster Emerged

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    Stephanie McMahon met with Kane backstage.

    The principle owner of WWE berated the director of operations following last week's show, in which he let personal feelings get in the way of business, revealing to The Shield that The Authority played a role in its beatdown weeks earlier.

    Kane rose to his feet, retrieved his mask from the nearby glass display case and promised to end Daniel Bryan.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I am going to eviscerate Daniel Bryan and send him to the depths of hell."—Kane

     

    Grade

    A- 

     

    Analysis

    After months of appearing as a corporate yes-man, Kane rediscovered his inner monster and appears poised to challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, perhaps as early as Extreme Rules.

    Considering the lengthy history between them, it makes sense that they would have a substantial program. The feud would allow Bryan a successful title defense right out of the gate while Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton are tied up with The Shield.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Bad News Barrett

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    The final match of the first round of the No. 1 contender's tournament took to the ring as Dolph Ziggler took on Bad News Barrett.

    Go-behind to start and Barrett took it to the mat. Barrett's power and striking ability were offset by Ziggler's wrestling ability early, but he was able to take control following a cheap shot in the corner. Barrett tested the referee on several occasions but broke before the five count every time.

    Action spilled outside the ring, and Barrett sent Ziggler face-first into the ring post as we headed to break.

    Ziggler mounted a comeback, but Barrett ducked out of the way of a Fameasser and delivered Wasteland for two. Ziggler escaped a pumphandle slam and delivered a Fameasser that scored another two count. 

    Barrett withstood one last-gasp attempt by Ziggler to pull off the upset and finished the former world heavyweight champion with the Bull Hammer.

     

    Result

    Barrett, via pinfall, following the Bull Hammer

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    The finishing sequence, which saw Barrett throw Ziggler into the air and watch as he hit the mat before delivering his finisher for the win.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    A stellar wrestling match between two guys who have been so misused throughout their WWE careers.

    Ziggler and Barrett showed tremendous chemistry in working with one another, as the Brit's brute strength meshed well with Ziggler's energetic pace and crowd-pleasing spots. The action was tight, and the crowd completely bought into the match by the time the false finishes abounded late.

    Ziggler's loss does little to affect him because he has become insignificant again in the days following WrestleMania. For Barrett, the win continues a push following his return to the ring, one that could see him wrap gold around his waist.

    The upcoming match with Sheamus should deliver fans a hard-hitting, physically demanding match.

The Shield in Action

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The crowd erupted as The Shield made its way to the ring for its main event match against opponents selected by The Authority. 

    Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Fandango, 3MB, Titus O'Neil, Ryback and Curtis Axel, Alexander Rusev and Bad News Barrett all made their way to the ring for an 11-on-3 main event handicap match.

    Ambrose unloaded on Heath Slater, and the leader of 3MB further suffered at the hands of Reigns.

    Rollins became isolated from his partners as Titus O'Neil and Alexander Rusev took turns hammering away at the former tag champion. Ryback and Swagger continued their assault on Rollins until Reigns delivered a vicious spear to the "big guy" and Ambrose dove over the top rope onto all of their opponents. 

    A massive beatdown ensued inside the squared circle. The numbers game became too much for The Hounds of Justice to overcome.

    The Evolution theme song played and Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton made their way to the ring to pick apart whatever was left of The Shield. Orton delivered an RKO to Reigns, and Batista followed with a Batista Bomb. Rollins suffered the same fate, and Ambrose fell victim to a Batista Bomb into the neckbreaker by Orton.

    The COO finished the beatdown with a Pedigree on Reigns.

     

    Result

    No-contest 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "This is difficult to watch. Don't cross the boss."—JBL

    "Come on. You've got more fight in you."—Triple H goading a crawling Reigns

    "Believe in Evolution."—Triple H

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The actual main event match was nothing and only served to set up the beatdown of The Shield by the reunited Evolution.

    Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton's assault of Reigns, Ambrose and Rollins was brilliant in that they appear to be dominant but, in true heel fashion, only really achieved superiority over The Shield after the trio had been beaten down by 11 other guys.

    After a WrestleMania and Monday Night Raw that did not go as planned for The Authority, it regains some heat by leaving The Shield lying and creating questions as to what would have happened had Bryan been there.

    Speaking of the WWE World Heavyweight champion, how will The Shield react to him disappearing for his honeymoon and leaving it on its own when it was so quick to come to his aid last week? The same can be said about The Usos, who benefited from The Shield's rescue on last week's SmackDown.

    Has The Shield's history of attacking its fellow Superstars caught up to it? How will it affect its war with The Authority and Evolution? What affect will a rejuvenated Kane have on the ordeal?

    Lots of questions mean lots of answers to be had in the coming weeks and a much more exciting and entertaining show as a result.

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