WWE

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 12

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterMay 13, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 12

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The May 12 edition of WWE Raw will be remembered for Daniel Bryan's startling announcement and The Shield going hunting for Evolution members.

    Bryan told the world that he has to undergo neck surgery, putting his immediate WWE future on hold. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins spent much of the night ramming their fists into their enemies' faces. 

    WWE added a match to Payback and showed fans glimpses of potential new rivalries, one spawned from an awful painting, the other a modern-day version of Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago. In addition, Alicia Fox surprised, Ryback impressed and Jim Duggan came aboard.

    What matches thrilled, which Superstars grabbed our attention and which stories succeeded make up the following look at Monday's Raw, complete with letter grades and highlights.

The Shield Call out Evolution

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    The Shield stood glaring in the ring.

    Dean Ambrose scoffed about the beatings Evolution had given them. Seth Rollins demanded a rematch with a group he said isn't what it used to be. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns paced behind him.

    Reigns gave a speech through a snarl. He talked about how Evolution would eventually believe in him.

    Backstage, Evolution arrived via limo. The Shield sprinted toward the back where the group met its foes with rapid-fire fists. The brawl had them banging into a car and knocking over metal bars.

    Evolution ended the fight on their backs on the floor.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "We may go down, but we don't stay down."—Ambrose

    "Is that all you got?"—Reigns

    "We're going to teach you believe in the concept of Payback."—Reigns

    "The hunt has begun for Evolution."—Michael Cole

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Rollins and Ambrose weren't their usual confident selves. They both seemed a bit nervous, and both men have been far better and far smoother. Reigns overdid the "I'm so angry I can barely speak" act.

    Apart from those flaws, though, this was a strong response to what The Shield has gone through.

    The group expressed its desire for revenge and looked strong doing it. Animosity between the trios is increased heading toward their rematch. 

    In a fight where The Shield have lost a few rounds lately, they get a big one here.

    It's notable that Reigns singled himself out, saying that he would make Evolution believe in him. It's likely a hint of him eventually splitting from his partners.

Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger

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    Zeb Colter added Adam Rose to his deportation list. He questioned why he would hang around with men in bunny suits and warned him to keep his distance.

    Rob Van Dam and Jack Swagger had yet to begin their match when Rose pranced out with his entourage.

    Swagger tried to clock him, but Rose fell back onto his mobile party and crowd-surfed around the ring. Van Dam nailed a distracted Swagger with a kick to the mouth. A Five-Star Frog Splash later, and the bout was over.

     

    Result

    Van Dam wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Don't be a lemon, John, be a rosebud."—Michael Cole to John "Bradshaw" Layfield

    One of Rose's partygoers is dressed like a yellow version of Missy Elliott from the The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly) music video.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    The fun factor with the Rose elements was high. It had more energy than his appearance on last Monday's Raw. Rose is gathering an increasing amount of buzz heading into his showdown with Swagger at Payback.

    The Van Dam vs. Swagger match itself could have been more than two moves and had the same effect, though.

    Perhaps WWE wanted to give "Mr. Monday Night" an easy night, but it's disappointing to have his in-ring action go on for less time than his entrance.

Alicia Fox vs. Paige

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    Alicia Fox told Paige that she isn't liked in the locker room before taking a cheap shot and stomping on her.

    The Divas champ struggled to her feet. She told the referee she was ready to compete, but soon found herself crashing to the mat.

    Fox cracked her knee against Paige's ribs. She kicked and choked her, relishing it all. Paige kicked out of pin attempts and survived submission holds.

    Tearing free from a headlock, Paige hit the Paige Turner for a three-count.

    Fox threw a fit where she tore apart the announce table, slapped a WWE worker and sprayed a soda in the air. She walked out with John "Bradshaw" Layfield's hat.

     

    Result

    Paige wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Ask her if she's ready."—Fox to the referee.

    Fox hits a backbreaker and sends Paige out of the ring.

    Fox delivers a surfboard submission before sending her opponent face-first to the mat.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    The resilient Paige continued her winning streak, but the headline-making story here is Fox's performance.

    Vicious, indignant and the sorest of losers, Fox delivered her magnum opus in a short, one-sided match. She was at her best, the most compelling that she's ever been. Her heel tactics helped make Paige more sympathetic and got the crowd more behind her.

    Suddenly, a potential feud with Paige seems like a smart option.

    WWE is patiently building Paige up as an underdog champ, but eventually has to start making her a destroyer. Getting through enemies like Fox is a good start.

Daniel Bryan Addresses Fans

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    With the WWE title on his shoulder and the fans chanting "Yes!", Daniel Bryan talked about his road to becoming world champ.

    He told the fans that they helped him to overcome the odds. He talked about Kane attacking him and told the crowd that he needs neck surgery. 

    Vowing to come back, he said he wasn't sure when that would be.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "The hill was a little steeper than I thought it would be."—Bryan

    "So that's what it feels like to be John Cena."—Bryan when some fans chanted "No!" at him.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    The grade is for the performance, not the news. Bryan was as raw, honest and charming as he has been in his best speeches.

    There was real emotion in his words, disappointment obvious on his face.

    If this isn't some storyline injury, it's a stunner. As hard as Bryan has worked, having to step away from the ring now is hard for both him and for fans.

    Another lucky Superstars is about to get an unexpected chance at the spotlight. 

The Wyatt Family vs. John Cena and The Usos

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Erick Rowan, Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt took turns pummeling Jey Uso. Jimmy Uso eventually made his way in, offering fiery fists to Harper.

    He had Harper off-balance before Wyatt tugged at his leg, causing enough of a distraction that Harper could nail him with a clothesline.

    The Wyatt Family kept Jimmy on the mat, stomping on him and squeezing the air from his chest. The high-flyer fought back, but the backwoods cult dominated.

    John Cena made the tag and charged in. 

    The match soon went into chaos mode. Harper flung Cena to the mat. Jimmy Uso superkicked Wyatt. Wyatt broke up Cena's STF on Rowan with a running senton.

    That left Cena and Wyatt alone for a brief moment, but The Usos went on a kicking frenzy, knocking back their bearded foes.

    Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment on Rowan for the win.

    Wyatt then grabbed the mic and thanked Cena. He said he made him realize what he must now do.

     

    Result

    Cena and The Usos win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Harper hits a dropkick.

    "Luke Harper wouldn't even meet the dress code for the county fair."—Jerry Lawler

    The Usos each superkick Wyatt.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    Although it followed the standard pattern of many a tag match, this was an entertaining, engaging bout.

    The Wyatt Family was destructive as usual. The Usos inserted a frenetic energy to the end of the action.

    It's Wyatt's last line, though, that is most interesting. He hinted at doing something drastic in order to topple Cena. That's a smart move to get folks to keep tuned in to this story, one that promises to get more violent thanks to whatever Wyatt's eerie proclamation is leading to.

Evolution Responds

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    Evolution had its own chance to make threats.

    Randy Orton angrily appealed to Triple H. He said it was time to end The Shield.

    Triple H claimed that he built The Shield, that the group got too big for itself. He agreed to a rematch, but said that this time the gloves would be off. 

    The COO promised to make an example out of Roman Reigns.

    Just as Triple H was about to deliver his "adapt or perish" line, Seth Rollins tackled him. The Shield chased Evolution from the ring.

    Growling and fed up, Batista challenged Reigns to a match later in the show.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "It's time to put The Hounds of Justice to sleep."—Orton

    "I'm going to pull that hummingbird's wings off myself."—Triple H on Rollins

    "Roman Reigns will be the member of The Shield that does not come back from Payback."—Triple H on Reigns

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    In addition to adding to the stockpile of bad blood between these teams, this segment offered intrigue as well. What kind of match Triple H was describing is uncertain, possibly an elimination tag match. More importantly, his promise that Reigns won't come back is foreshadowing for something interesting.

    How that plays out is going to be one of Payback's biggest highlights.

    The surprise of The Shield's attack trumped their earlier brawl. Having Triple H handle the mic duties here was smart as he executed it better than Orton or Batista likely would have.

Natalya vs. Nikki Bella

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    WWE showed a clip from Total Divas of Nikki Bella mocking a painting Natalya made for her. 

    The women from Total Divas held up cards to judge the moves of the match. Nikki and Natalya traded slaps. Aside from an abdominal stretch there were few wrestling moves.

    It was mostly a fight where the two women pushed each other around.

    Nikki won with a sloppy victory roll. Natalya responded by tearing up the score cards and walking solemnly back to the locker room.

     

    Result

    Nikki wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "That's like something Rob Ford would paint."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Natalya's painting.

     

    Grade

    D

     

    Analysis

    It's hard to make Natalya look that poor in a match. She's usually making the rest of the division look good, but spent this bout trying to make up for awkward spots and a lack of chemistry.

    Having their tension come by way of anger over a painting doesn't help.

    Everything about this felt forced. The women judging on the outside didn't add much either. After seeing Alicia Fox and Paige tell a good story earlier in the night, this is especially disappointing.

    Natalya's post-match outburst hinted at a possible heel turn. That would certainly be a shift that gives her some added momentum.

Sheamus vs. Curtis Axel, Sheamus vs. Ryback

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    Ryback and Curtis Axel flipped a coin to see who would face the new United States champ.

    Axel earned that right and held his own against Sheamus at first. He hammered the powerhouse with forearms. A neckbreaker from the top rope had Sheamus wobbly. 

    Moments later, though, Sheamus clamped on the cloverleaf. Axel tapped out.

    Ryback attacked Sheamus after the decision, challenging him to a fight.

    "The Big Guy" used a kick to the gut and a bodyslam to ground the Irishman. He missed a splash and Sheamus charged back.

    Ryback survived a flurry full of right hands and turned a diving shoulder block attempt into a backpack stunner. He readied the meat hook clothesline, but Sheamus hit White Noise instead. The two Superstars smashed each other, unable to get a three-count for a good while.

    The battle finally ended thanks to a Brogue Kick.

     

    Result

    Sheamus defeats Axel via submission and Ryback via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I don't want to face Sheamus anywhere. I don't want to face him in Poughkeepsie."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield

    Sheamus escapes a powerbomb attempt and lands on his feet.

    Ryback catches Sheamus in mid-air and turns it into a backpack stunner.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    The Axel vs. Sheamus portion of this was forgettable. The other half was one hell of a match.

    Ryback hasn't looked this good all year. He showed off his explosiveness as Sheamus reminded us of his toughness and underrated agility. The hard-fought bout is the kind we've come to expect from Sheamus and haven't seen from Ryback nearly enough.

    Some will argue that Sheamus was booked as too much of a superman here, but the positive spin on that is that the United States title got a bump in prestige. Usually the midcard titleholder loses in non-title matches too often.

    This time, Sheamus looked like a warrior worthy of the gold.

Stephanie McMahon Addresses Daniel Bryan

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    Stephanie McMahon mocked Daniel Bryan for not being able to compete now that he needs neck surgery. She said that it was because of him being a B+ player that he just couldn't keep up with the physical demands of WWE.

    McMahon asked Bryan to meet her in the ring.

    Kane dragged him out, dropping his lifeless body on the entrance ramp. His face appeared to be burned. Medical staff loaded him on a stretcher and wheeled him out.

    An ambulance took him away after Brie Bella pushed McMahon in anger.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "His body couldn't keep up with what his heart wants."—McMahon

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    WWE using The Authority storyline as Bryan leaves for surgery is a sure-fire way to draw heat. Some fans are sure to take the shots aimed at Bryan personally.

    McMahon, as she so often is, was brilliant as an irksome, self-righteous executive. 

    The short segment leaves a number of unanswered questions including what happens to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Fandango and Dolph Ziggler interrupted their rapid-paced opening exchange with some hip gyrations. The ballroom dancer soon had Ziggler on the mat, peppering him with punches.

    He held "The Show-Off" down with a reverse chinlock.

    After Ziggler escaped and went on a brief run, Fandango hit a suplex for a two-count. He missed the diving leg drop, and Ziggler followed up with the Namedropper.

    Layla tried to distract Ziggler, but ended up costing her own partner the match. Fandango turned from his opponent to check on her and Ziggler nailed him with the Zig Zag. 

    Fandango told her that even though he lost he felt like a winner because she had won his heart. They kissed in the ring as John "Bradshaw" Layfield screamed for WWE to go to commercial.

     

    Result

    Ziggler wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "With any luck, he'll end up with both of them."—JBL on Fandango's relationship with Layla and Summer Raw.

    "My mom watches this show."—JBL on Layla and Fandango kissing.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    This was a marked improvement over the endless stream of Fandango vs. Santino Marella matches.

    Fandango was allowed to use his speed more than he has lately. In the ring with a show-stealer, he looked better than he has in a long time.

    A fast pace and a number of near-falls turned what could have been just worthless filler into an entertaining effort.

    WWE doesn't seem to believe Fandango can flourish on his own and is focusing more on his relationship with Layla. Does that mean there is a Layla vs. Summer jealousy-fueled battle coming or that the company has some stores in mind for this pair?

Jim Duggan Comes to Raw

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    "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, 2x4 in hand, promoted the WWE Network's Legends House for just a moment before Lana came out. She called him a laughingstock and talked about how the United States was crumbling.

    Chants of "USA!" erupted. Duggan called for more of them.

    Rusev soon came out, stomping toward the ring with "The Ravishing Russian." Lana told Duggan to beg for mercy. When he refused, Rusev broke Duggan's 2x4 over his knee.

    Just when he was about to attack Duggan, Big E sprinted out.

    Rusev put him away with a kick. He stood in the ring yelling as Duggan attended to Big E. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You continue to prove your country's inferiority."—Lana to fans.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Rusev just stepped up in terms of quality of opponents. Big E offers an intriguing adversary. He's not just going to get run over a la Xavier Woods so this match would have the most suspense of any of Rusev's clashes.

    The fans certainly popped when the two powerhouses met this time around.

    The Russia-versus-USA angle feels forced. Focusing on Vladimir Putin rather than Rusev is a cheap way out. Going up against Big E is a chance to emphasize Rusev's strength and destructive power, pushing the Cold War rhetoric to the background.

Damien Sandow vs. Cody Rhodes

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    Damien Sandow preceded the match by saying that people were afraid of him speaking his mind. Cody Rhodes' entrance music halted his speech.

    Rhodes countered much of Sandow's offense before "The Intellectual Savior" went after his knee. He barked at his former friend as he went on the attack.

    Although Rhodes rolled away from the Elbow of Disdain, Sandow stayed on him.  

    Rhodes' speed eventually shifted control. He sprung at Sandow with a number of high-flying moves. After sneaking in an eye rake, Rhodes hit the Disaster Kick for the win.

     

    Result

    Rhodes wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Sandow hits the Elbow of Disdain on the ring apron.

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    With Sandow's stock so low at the moment, this had none of the electricity that their bouts last summer did. Sandow has been far more compelling in the past, but was just satisfactory here.

    WWE still seems unsure of what to do with him.

    He's gone far away from his original character but hasn't really replaced it with anything distinctive. Not getting more than the amount of promo time he got sure doesn't help.

Roman Reigns vs. Batista

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    The rest of Evolution and The Shield waited just outside the ring as Batista rammed his shoulder into Roman Reigns' gut to begin the action.

    The two powerhouses took the match to the floor, Reigns grinding Batista's head against the steps. "The Animal" took control back with a number of power moves.

    Reigns fought back with a clothesline. He tried to follow up with his trademark dropkick to the outside, but the rest of Evolution waited for him.

    The match descended into a brawl, the referee forced to ring the bell.

    The Shield looked ready to devour their enemies when a horde of heels rushed to ringside. Brodus Clay 3MB, RyBaxel and others beat up on Reigns. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins came in swinging chairs.

    "The Hounds of Justice" cleared the ring, last triple powerbombing Ryback.

     

    Result

    The match ends in a no-contest.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ambrose and Rollins hit dual suicide dives onto Randy Orton and Triple H.

    Rollins jumps from the announcer table onto Triple H.

    Reigns escapes from the heels and hits Triple H with a spear.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The actual match was nothing special. Its role was to be the wood that The Shield and Evolution would build their fire on.

    The brawl flashed the kind of hectic action that made their Extreme Rules match so great.

    While some of the lower members of the roster suffered as easy-to-overcome goons, Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose add to their collection of impressive moments. After Evolution ended last week's Raw, The Shield gained aplenty this time around.

    They looked unstoppable here.

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