WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 28

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 29, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 28

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just six days away from Extreme Rules, WWE Raw emanated from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

    The war between The Shield and Evolution had fuel added to the fire, as "Nature Boy" Ric Flair returned to Raw and publicly endorsed The Hounds of Justice. Enraged, Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton looked to deal out punishment to The Shield. Would Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns be able to withstand the assault, or would they fall at the feet of their Extreme Rules opponents?

    Bray Wyatt continued to play mind games with John Cena leading into the Steel Cage match this weekend. How severely would his recruitment of children mess with the former WWE champion? More importantly, would it be the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back and caused Cena to snap?

    Daniel Bryan returned to Raw after being brutally attacked by Kane on last week's show. What would The Devil's Favorite Demon have in store for Bryan and, more importantly, the WWE champion's wife, Brie Bella? How would Stephanie McMahon figure in?

    With Hugh Jackman in the house and the finals of the No. 1 contender's tournament taking place, one thing was for certain: The April 28 episode of Raw would be an action-packed one.

'He's Got the Whole Wide World in His Hands'

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    A steel cage surrounded the ring as the night's festivities started. John Cena's entrance music played over the PA system, and the crowd erupted in a chorus of boos.

    Much like Bray Wyatt did on this past Friday's SmackDown, Cena addressed the WWE Universe from inside the confines of the cage.

    He appeared to be disgusted by the crowd's choice to give him no chance in a three-on-one fight against The Wyatt Family. He discussed change in the WWE Universe and how he always put WWE first.

    Cena talked about the young up-and-coming stars coming through NXT and warned that Wyatt is dangerous, that he is not like the other young and passionate stars in WWE. 

    The Wyatt Family interrupted, and a child's voice was heard singing, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." The crowd joined in as Cena looked both shaken and terrified. When the lights raised, a choir of young children were singing the song.

    The arena went dark again, and The Wyatt Family appeared. Bray continued the singing and was accompanied to the ring by an army of singers in a cool yet creepy visual.

    When Wyatt blew out the lantern and the lights raised for a second time, all of the children were wearing sheep masks.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Why?"—Cena asks the WWE Universe why it chose him to compete in a three-on-one handicap match.

    "Someone once said, 'You either die a hero or you live long enough to become a villain.' I believe that."—Cena

    "I see greatness in the WWE Superstars of today."—Cena

    "If he escapes this cage this Sunday, so will his message."—Cena on a potential Bray Wyatt win at Extreme Rules

    "This is awesome."—the crowd, in response to the segment

    "Can't you hear them, John?"—Wyatt

    Grade: A+


    This was easily the most creepy, disturbing and awesome segment WWE has produced all year.

    Everything from the children singing to the visual of them wearing masks to the creepy Wyatt laugh to end the segment hit its mark. Most effective was how Cena appeared shaken and confused. He was disappointed in the WWE Universe and horrified by the sight of the children aligned with The Wyatt Family.

    For the first time in his WWE career, the unshakable Cena has been affected by what Wyatt has been doing, and it is making for some intriguing television.

    Great way to kick off the show.

WWE Tag Team Championship: The Usos vs. RybAxel

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    There was a big-match feel as the contest got the pre-match introductions.

    The faster tag team champions frustrated the No. 1 contenders, then took them out at ringside with a dive. Prior to the commercial break, one of the champions appeared to have injured his ankle, something Michael Cole brought up on commentary.

    Ryback and Curtis Axel controlled the match as the show returned from break. Cole and Jerry Lawler revealed that Jey Uso was being checked on by ringside medical personnel.

    Jimmy withstood head- and neck-focused punishment from the heels, while Jey remained at ringside.

    Moments later, Jimmy made the hot tag to Jey, who exploded into the match, planting Axel with a Samoan Drop.

    Ryback charged at Jey with a Meat Hook attempt but was caught with a side kick. The Big Guy recovered and looked to have the match won with Shell Shock, but Jey countered with a roll-up. Moments later, Jimmy received the blind tag and came up with a big splash to Axel, who had delivered a Perfect Plex to Jey, and picked up the title-saving win.


    The Usos, via pinfall, when Jimmy pinned Axel

    Highlights and Quotes

    The injury story, real or manufactured, did a great job of adding drama and doubt to the outcome. 

    Grade: B+ 


    This was a hard-fought wrestling match that showed just how far Ryback and Axel have come as a team and solidified Jimmy and Jey as the best regular tag team in WWE.

    Jey's ankle injury made the outcome less obvious, and the work between the ropes added to the drama. The counter out of Shell Shock was really well done, and the finish was clever.

    Ryback and Axel's work as a heel tag team is improving by leaps and bounds, and had they left with the titles, setting up a sustained feud between the teams, it would not have been as bad a thing as it would have been months ago.

Sheamus vs. Titus O'Neil

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    As Sheamus made his entrance for the match, Titus O'Neil brutally attacked The Celtic Warrior from behind as the referee tried to pull him away. The official asked Sheamus if he were OK to go and ordered the match started.

    O'Neil attacked Sheamus, but the official pulled him away. Moments later, Sheamus blasted him with the Brogue Kick for the win.


    Sheamus, via pinfall, with the Brogue Kick 

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Desperate move by Sheamus."—JBL in reference to the Brogue Kick from out of nowhere

    Grade: C- 


    What was the point of introducing a new, more aggressive O'Neil only to have him job after a Brogue Kick from out of nowhere?

    It was an admirable attempt to make over O'Neil, who has been wallowing in the midcard for months, but having him lose to a beaten and battered Sheamus will not change fans' perception of the former Prime Time Player.

Wolverine Gets Raw

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    Dolph Ziggler addressed the WWE Universe and put over X-Men: Days of Future Past, throwing to a trailer for the film.

    He welcomed Hugh Jackman back to Monday Night Raw, and the crowd greeted him with a nice pop. Jackman, as he did before, appeared happy to be on the show. He put over the fans and the show, and Ziggler brought up the last time the Wolverine actor was there.

    Damien Sandow appeared dressed as Magneto and spoke down to the WWE Universe.

    Ziggler and Jackman sarcastically poked fun at Sandow as the crowd chanted "knock him out."

    The segment ended when Sandow feigned magnetism abilities and Jackman answered with a hip toss. Ziggler finished with the Zig Zag.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "This is one of the biggest, most exciting shows out there."—Jackman on Raw

    "I'll be honest, Hugh, Jack Swagger's kicked me harder than that."—Ziggler on Jackman's right hand last time while, at the same time, eluding to the concussion that ended his push

    "This is not a joke."—Sandow, while wearing an adult-sized Magneto costume and looking ridiculous

    Grade: B


    The entire segment should have been a disaster, but thanks to the commitment from Sandow, Jackman and Ziggler, it turned into one of the funnier celebrity skits the company has produced in a long time.

    Sandow was spectacular, showing tremendous conviction in his character, and Jackman and Ziggler were great as the sarcastic babyfaces making fun of the delusional heel. This was a great use of Jackman, who followed up his first great appearance with a suitable sequel.

Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger

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    Jack Swagger tried to use his amateur skills, but Cesaro countered early and took him down with a gut-wrenching suplex.

    The action spilled to the outside, and Swagger took control of the bout. He worked over the back, but Cesaro fought back with an uppercut. At ringside, Zeb Colter tripped up Cesaro, leading to a scuffle between him and Paul Heyman at ringside.

    A German suplex finished Swagger moments later.


    Cesaro, via pinfall, with a German suplex

    Highlights and Quotes

    "My client Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania."—Heyman, adopting a new way to brag about his own success

    "He's got him by the mustache!"—Cole on Heyman's attack on Colter

     Grade: C-


    This was an incredibly sloppy match from two guys who are much better than what they showed Monday night. The scuffle at ringside between Heyman and Colter was fine, but not as good as what fans saw Friday night on SmackDown.

    This was a disappointing use of all four talents. Still, potential is there for a very entertaining tag match of sorts to end the rivalry appropriately.

Cody Rhodes vs. Alberto Del Rio

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    Alberto Del Rio attacked Cody Rhodes from the bell, and Rhodes turned the tide early.

    Del Rio took control with a side headlock. Rhodes fought out, but Del Rio caught him in midair with a shot in the midsection. A kick to the arm and the cross armbreaker ended Rhodes' night in disappointing fashion.

    After the match, a frustrated Rhodes shoved Goldust, as the schism between them continues to grow.


    Del Rio, via submission, with the cross armbreaker

    Highlights and Quotes

    None to speak of

    Grade: C-


    This was the second consecutive sloppy match between two guys with reputations for being strong ring workers. Time was limited, and that may have adversely affected the finished product, but it was still a poor match overall.

    The continued teasing of a split between Rhodes and Goldust was solidly done, and the resulting matches should be fun. It would have been nice to see them get the spotlight at WrestleMania, but now is better than never.

Xavier Woods vs. Alexander Rusev

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    Alexander Rusev dominated the competition and was prepared to lock in the Accolade, but R-Truth hit the ring and cleared Rusev out.

    Truth and Xavier Woods worked together to take Rusev out to the dismay of Lana.


    Rusev via disqualification

    Highlights and Quotes

    "She makes me want to move to Russia."—JBL on Lana

    "Power cannot be earned, it can only be taken by those destined to wield it."—Lana



    The segment gave Woods and Truth some momentum heading into Extreme Rules and proved that, if they work together, they can make a run at beating Rusev. Unfortunately, no one really buys them as a threat, and the crowd responded accordingly.

    This was a by-the-books segment that failed to hit its mark with the audience.

Los Matadores vs. Heath Slater and Drew McIntyre

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    The feud that no one asked for continues, as Los Matadores met 3MB in tag team action.

    Fast-paced action started as Los Matadores frustrated Heath Slater early.

    Hornswoggle and El Torito attempted to fight at ringside, providing a distraction that allowed Slater to pick up his first win in what felt like ever.


    3MB, via pinfall, when Slater pinned Diego

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I saw Hornswoggle backstage before the match eating mushrooms. He's trying to grow."—JBL

    "That was just splat."—Cole in reference to Hornswoggle's missed splash outside the ring

    Grade: D


    This was a short, offensive segment that focused heavily on Hornswoggle and El Torito at the expense of the competitors in the ring. The announcement that the small competitors will meet in the first-ever WeeLC match Sunday night during the Extreme Rules pay-per-view hopefully signifies the end of the painful feud.

Stephanie's Apology

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Principal owner of WWE Stephanie McMahon made her way to the ring to apologize for Kane's attack on Daniel Bryan last week.

    Bryan made his way to the ring with his wife Brie by his side as the crowd erupted into a chorus of "Yes" chants. He sported a neck brace to sell his injuries from last week. Stephanie insincerely applauded his appearance.

    Bryan said Stephanie was full of crap, leading to an exchange of truths between the two. Stephanie said she had ridden in ambulances with Triple H and knew how hard it is to watch a loved one get beaten up. She apologized, but Bryan refused the apology.

    Bryan refused to join Stephanie in the ring and promised to take Kane down with him this Sunday.

    Stephanie booked Brie against Paige for the Divas Championship as a way of making it up to the couple.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I almost believed you. Except everyone knows you're full of crap."—Bryan to Stephanie

    "We went to great lengths to stop you."—Stephanie

    "I wanted to give you a credible opponent at Extreme Rules."—Stephanie

    "If he takes me down, I'm taking him down with me."—Bryan on his match with Kane at Extreme Rules

    Grade: B


    Stephanie was at her insincere best here as she apologized to both Bryan and Brie. Bryan stumbled a bit on the mic, but given everything that has happened in his life as of late, it is understandable.

    The booking of Brie vs. Paige with Bryan at ringside is most definitely a trap, and the image of a glass case minus Kane's mask only supports that idea.

Brie Bella vs. Paige

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    Brie tried to end the match quickly, but Paige came back and used her superior ring skill to control the bout.

    Paige delivered a stiff series of knees to the chest of Brie, but the challenger came back with a dropkick. Paige caught Brie with a shot to the midsection and delivered a big superplex.

    Pyro exploded at the top of the ramp, interrupting the match. Bryan became distracted, and Kane popped through the mat. He tried to drag Brie under the ring, but Bryan interjected. Kane fought him off until Bryan blasted him with a wrench.

    Kane sat up and caught the WWE world heavyweight champion with a chokeslam.

    Brie escaped the ring as Kane set off his promo—an eerie grin painted his face to end the segment.



    Highlights and Quotes

    The repeated attempts to drag Brie under the ring made for some nice dramatic moments.

    Grade: B+


    This was a much more effective segment than the apology. Brie is a great sympathetic figure as opposed to her sister, and she did a great job of reacting to the threat of The Big Red Monster.

    Bryan using the wrench shows that he is resourceful, a trait that will work well in this weekend's Extreme Rules match. Brie could play a role in that match, as could Stephanie, making up for a lackluster buildup to the match thus far. 

    Overall, this was a surprisingly good segment.

Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Wade Barrett dished out some bad news for the WWE Universe prior to the match.

    Rob Van Dam cleared Barrett from the ring and delivered a moonsault from the ring apron as he took control early. Barrett turned the tide prior to the break, however, catching Van Dam with a kick that may have been south of the border, so to speak.

    Barrett wore Van Dam down, keeping the Superstar grounded. He cut a Van Dam comeback attempt off and continued to utilize a deliberate pace that went against Van Dam's trademark offense.

    Van Dam fought back, catching Barrett with a step-over heel kick just in time for Cesaro and Swagger to appear at ringside. Van Dam countered a Bull Hammer attempt and landed a kick. He climbed the ropes, missed the frog splash and fell victim to the Bull Hammer.

    Post-match, RVD delivered a Five-Star Frog Splash to Cesaro.


    Barrett, via pinfall, following the Bull Hammer

    Highlights and Quotes

    "'Then' was the last time Rob Van Dam was anywhere near relevant."—Barrett

    "...because of me, B-N-B."—Barrett

    Grade: B+


    This was a solid match that could have been that much better without interference from Cesaro and Swagger. With that said, the interference sets up a potential Triple Threat match between Van Dam, Cesaro and Swagger. That match could be a potential show-stealer.

    Barrett continues rolling since returning to the ring on April 7 as he heads into Extreme Rules and his WWE Intercontinental Championship match against Big E Langston. It is a match Barrett should win, setting up a rivalry with the very talented Big E in the coming weeks and months.

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Evolution addressed the audience prior to the main event. Triple H more or less promised to take out The Shield at Extreme Rules.

    The Shield headed to the ring for the match, but "Woooo!" sounded over the PA system, and Ric Flair made his Raw return.

    He made his way to the ring and embraced his Evolution teammates before grabbing a microphone from ringside. Flair spoke briefly about St. Louis and then recalled his days with Evolution and The Four Horsemen.

    Flair endorsed The Shield, and the match was under way.

    Action spilled to the outside, as Orton gained control of the bout. Reigns mounted a comeback after several minutes and caught Orton with a leaping boot to the face. Interference from Triple H incited a brawl outside the ring between Ambrose, Rollins, Triple H and Batista.

    Rather than finish Orton off, Reigns turned his attention to Batista and Triple H outside the ring.

    Evolution beat The Shield down for several minutes, but it was a flying Seth Rollins and a Spear from Reigns to Triple H that led to The Hounds of Justice standing tall to close out the program.



    Highlights and Quotes

    "They're starting to remind me of us."—Triple H in regard to The Shield

    "I brought you into this world, and you're looking at the three guys who will take you out of it."—Triple H

    Watching The Nature Boy walk that aisle is a highlight almost every time.

    "Ric Flair just offered his endorsement to The Shield."—Michael Cole

    Grade: B+


    The closing moments of Raw would have graded higher had it taken place in front of a hotter crowd. Still, it was an effective way to close out the final Raw before Extreme Rules.

    Evolution looked to be dominant in its last chance to make an impact prior to Sunday, but The Shield showed great resilience and fought back, proving it will not be an easy win.

    The beatdown went on a bit long, and the crowd seemed bored at one point, but the show was injected with a bit of energy as The Shield mounted a comeback and cleared the ring.

    According to WWE's booking methods, that would seem to indicate that Evolution will go over at the pay-per-view. With SmackDown playing more of a role as of late, however, the handicap match for Dean Ambrose's U.S. title may play a role in the outcome of Sunday's show.