WWE

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 26

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from May 26

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The May 26 episode of Raw is in the books, and if your idea of a strong "go-home" episode of the show is subpar wrestling, terrible comedy angles and lazy, mediocre booking, you likely loved Monday's broadcast.

    For everyone else, it served as a major blunder on the road to Payback.

    The three main stories (Cena-Wyatt, Shield-Evolution and the Bryan saga) were the highlights of an otherwise poor episode of World Wrestling Entertainment's flagship show.

    The United States Championship match between Sheamus and Cesaro at Sunday's event was strongly hyped in two separate segments, while the build to Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett finished up on a solid note.

    Bo Dallas' debut on Raw was fine, and the crowd responded to him in a way they did not for Adam Rose, which signifies that the Dallas character may have a better chance at succeeding at the next level than his fellow NXT alumnus.

    Otherwise, the show produced some truly awful segments, including the Adam Rose vs. Davy Crockett and El Torito vs. 3MB debacles. 

    With the crew returning from an exhausting European tour, it is understandable that the show would be lacking in certain areas, most notably between the ropes. That it failed on nearly every level, most notably in giving fans any reason to care about Sunday's undercard, is an indictment on the creative team.

    With six days until Payback emanates from the AllState Arena in Chicago, find out what went down on a very disappointing Memorial Day episode of Raw.

The Authority Promo

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    Justin Roberts announced Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to the ring as this week's episode of Raw hit the USA Network airwaves. 

    Stephanie discussed Daniel Bryan handing over the WWE World Heavyweight title. Triple H echoed her thoughts, then turned his attention to his vendetta with The Shield. He discussed Sunday's match, then called Brad Maddox to the ring.

    The happy couple questioned Maddox's decision to appoint Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns as guest commentators last week. Kane's pyro exploded, Triple H flattened Maddox with a right hand and the Devil's Favorite Demon planted the Raw GM with a chokeslam, followed by a Tombstone piledriver.

    Cue the pyro.

    Stephanie fired Maddox to end the segment.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "That's right, yes, you know it. It's the right thing to do."Stephanie on the idea of Daniel Bryan handing over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

    "His heart is there, his mind is there. He wants to be WWE champion."Stephanie.

    "Unfortunately, his body...it's a B+"Stephanie on Bryan's injury.

    "Tonight is all about choices."Triple H, perhaps, foreshadowing the rest of the evening.

    "They remain dominant because of their ability to adapt."Triple H on Evolution and how they compare to Daniel Bryan who, apparently, does not do the same.

    "You can not stop Evolution."Triple H. 

    "Unfortunately right now, we feel like we don't have a choice."Stephanie to Brad Maddox, who promptly became the latest victim of the Big Red Monster, Kane.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The segment tied up a major loose end from last week's show. After Ambrose and Reigns arrived at ringside and Michael Cole revealed that it was Maddox that gave them permission to be guest commentators, questions abounded as to why the corporate stooge Maddox would go against the wishes of The Authority.

    We found out that he was roughed up by The Shield and, despite that nugget of information, he was assaulted by Kane and fired by his bosses.

    Otherwise, it did a fine job of foreshadowing the remainder of the night's broadcast, which carried the theme of "choices."

Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro

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    Just in case you haven't seen it enough over the last month, the in-ring portion of this week's broadcast kicked off with Rob Van Dam taking on Cesaro in a match that, immediately following Extreme Rules, appeared to be an all but certainty for Payback.

    Prior to the bell, Bad News Barrett appeared and addressed Van Dam.

    It was a quick-paced match to start, but Cesaro took over control of the contest with a gutwrench suplex.

    Cesaro caught Van Dam during a moonsault attempt to the outside and dropped him into the guardrail as the show headed to break.

    RVD rallied with his trademark offense and dove over the top rope, taking Cesaro out. He landed a superkick to Barrett, laying him out at ringside.

    Barrett attempted to climb in the ring, providing a momentary distraction that Cesaro capitalized on for the victory.

    Sheamus hit the ring after the bell and flattened Cesaro with the Brogue Kick to a fairly sizable pop, then mockingly shook his hand in a play on last week's show.

     

    Result

    Cesaro, via pinfall, with the German suplex

     

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "It's me, its me, it's BNB."Barrett on commentary.

    "Worst mistake of Rob Van Dam's career was winning the Beat the Clock Challenge because now, he has to face me at the Payback pay-per-view."Barrett.

    "Today's news is sitting right here, and today's news is bad."Barrett.

     

    Grade

    B+ 

     

    Analysis

    It was a much better match than Van Dam and Cesaro have had in the past, but the success of the overall segment is in the way that it put over the two midcard title bouts for Sunday's pay-per-view.

    Cesaro vs. Sheamus for the United States title has all the makings of a legitimate show-stealing contest. Both men are incredibly talented workers who have shown up some of the top stars in the industry in the past. Together, they could be responsible for the best match on a card chocked-full of solid ones.

    Barrett seems to be having the time of his life playing the Bad News character, but Monday night was a rough go of it for the Intercontinental champion. He had a few good lines on commentary, but the promo work was not as smooth as it has been in recent weeks.

    Chalk it up to a grueling overseas tour.

Eva Marie vs. Summer Rae

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    This could have been so much worse than it was.

    Eva Marie caught Summer Rae with a slap to start, followed by a hard forearm to the face. She blew kisses into the air as commentators Cole and Lawler mocked her.

    Summer slammed Eva's face in the mat, then she berated her opponent.

    Fandango and Layla appeared on the ramp, made out, distracted Summer and allowed Eva to score a win.

     

    Result

    Eva Marie, via pinfall, with a roll-up

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Daniel Bryan!"The fans clearly interested in the match unfolding in the ring.

    "It's a global phenomenon!"JBL on Fandangoing, which is apparently a thing again.

     

    Grade

     

    Analysis

    The Summer Rae-Layla story continued, and Eva Marie paid Summer back for the crooked referee's job on SmackDown.

    Otherwise, the less said about this one, the better.

El Torito vs. Drew McIntyre

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    Drew McIntyre bullied El Torito to start.

    El Torito caught McIntyre with a nice arm drag, but the Scot responded with a hard slam. He tossed El Torito around the squared circle, then posed for photos, as the crowd greeted him with a mixture of boos (from the kids and mothers) and cheers (from everyone else).

    El Torito fought out of a superplex attempt as action broke out at ringside. El Torito tripped McIntyre, who hit the post and was knocked out. Three seconds later, the Los Matadores mascot picked up another win. 

     

    Result

    El Torito, via pinfall, after McIntyre struck the ring post

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "My God, the humanity!"JBL describing Hornswoggle's ripping of EL Torito's tail (or echoing the fans' thoughts on the entire segment).

     

    Grade

     

    Analysis

    Remember when McIntyre was the "chosen one"?

    Neither does he.

    This feud was over a month ago when Hornswoggle and El Torito had an excellent Wee-LC match at Extreme Rules. Now, it has overstayed its welcome and is only worsening with every passing week.

    Between the awful Eva Marie-Summer Rae match and this, Raw is in dire need of a pickup.

    Enter Bray Wyatt.

The Wyatt Family Promo

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    Tennessee, they're here.

    Bray Wyatt sang to start the promo as cell phones illuminated the otherwise darkened arena.

    He discussed the upcoming Last Man Standing match against John Cena at Payback, then welcomed Jerry Lawler into the ring, for reasons unknown.

    JBL attempted to stand up for Lawler, but Luke Harper flattened JBL with a discus clothesline. Lawler finally gave into Wyatt's demands for an in-ring chat.

    Wyatt chastised Lawler for spreading the Cena message and had him set up for what one can only imagine was a meeting with Sister Abigail when Cena hit the ring.

    The Wyatt Family beat Cena down and had him set up to watch Lawler's demise when The Usos made the save.

    Cena denounced Wyatt's words and promised to beat him Sunday at Payback.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I truly got the whole world in my hands."Wyatt.

    "We sulk and we suffer while another man points his finger in our faces and tells us who to be and how to act."Wyatt.

    "Am I the snake, or am I the cure?"Wyatt.

    "I am the necessary evil that this world so badly needs."Wyatt.

    "If you are my brother or my sister, you will stand beside me. But if you are my enemy, you will fall at my feet."Wyatt.

    "To get to the king, you must first go through the pawns."Wyatt.

    "Don't you go playing hero, JBL, or else you'll be next."Wyatt.

    "Never once did you question his morality."Wyatt on Lawler spreading the pro-Cena propaganda for years.

    "Did you really think you were just going to get away with all of this?"Wyatt.

    "I am very sorry that it had to be you but this is that necessary evil we have been talking about."Wyatt.

    "You've had a taste of that power, Bray, and it's made you sick."Cena.

    "I believe, whether the Family likes it or not, you need to be stopped."Cena.

    "Justice may be blind but for you my friend, Payback will be a b----h."Cena.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    The involvement of Jerry Lawler made sense from the standpoint that he is one of the voices of WWE responsible for selling Cena to the audience. On the other hand, it felt a bit forced and was likely the result of the show emanating from Lawler's home state of Tennessee.

    The promo work from Wyatt was excellent, as always, but the content was not nearly as fresh as last week's extraordinary effort.

    Cena was strong on the microphone and did a much better job of putting over the Last Man Standing match this Sunday than Wyatt, which is not something this writer would have imagined.

Zack Ryder vs. Rusev

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    Zack Ryder made his return to WWE Raw and looked to address the crowd before the music of the "Ravishing Russian" Lana made her way to the stage. 

    Rusev tried to take the fight to Ryder right off the bat, but Ryder dodged his onslaughtmomentarily, at least. The Bulgarian Brute pounded Ryder to the mat, then applied the Accolade for the submission win.

    Rusev's refusal to break the hold resulted in Big E hitting the ring. A brief exchange gave way to E clearing the Bulgarian from the ring and waving the American flag, all to the dismay of Rusev and Lana.

     

    Result

    Rusev, via submission, with the Accolade

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Typical Americans, always dwelling on past accomplishments."Lana.

    "Those of you are who are not willing to move forward...will require disciplinary actions."Lana.

    "Behold your destiny."Lana before Rusev arrived.

     

    Grade

     

    Analysis

    It was a solid segment that played up the patriotic nature of Memorial Day and hinted at a program between Rusev and Big E, which would culminate as soon as Sunday at Payback with a match between the two raw powerhouses.

    E got a nice pop from the Tennessee crowd, and now that he has the anchor of the Intercontinental title off of him, he can be rehabbed and rebuilt. It may come after a loss to Rusev, but it is clear the company still believes in the former powerlifter as one of the top young stars to carry it into the future.

Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Randy Orton and Batista

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    Randy Orton and Batista worked over Goldust early, but the two decade-plus veteran fought back, catching the Viper with a powerslam and tagging Cody into the match.

    Rhodes exploded into the match, taking the fight to his former mentor before Orton caught him with a knee to the midsection and tagged Batista into the bout.

    Goldust was the recipient of the hot tag but was slowed with a spinebuster from Batista. Evolution took control as the show headed to break.

    Batista worked over the lower back of Goldust as Raw returned from break. The golden one caught Batista and Orton with hard rights but saw his flurry of offense end at the hands of The Animal.

    Cody got the hot tag and unloaded on Orton. He attempted the Disaster Kick, but as he sprung off the ropes, Orton caught him with the RKO. A second one ended Rhodes' night.

    After the bell, Justin Roberts announced that the match is an elimination match and that the second fall will be a No Holds Barred match.

    Evolution double-teamed Goldust at ringside, sending him into the timekeeper's wall before rolling him back into the squared circle.

    Batista delivered a spear and Batista Bomb to finish Goldust.

     

    Result

    Orton eliminated Rhodes following an RKO; Batista pinned Goldust following the Batista Bomb.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I don't know if it was a fight with Evolution they wanted or if they just wanted some action."Jerry Lawler with a very poor choice of words.

    "Are they thinking about Goldust right now, or are they thinking about the No Holds Barred match against The Shield?"Lawler.

     

    Grade

     

    Analysis

    The match itself was nothing special, but it played up the fact that Evolution can benefit from the power that Triple H has at any point.

    Orton and Batista made an example of the former WWE Tag Team champions ahead of their No Holds Barred Elimination match against The Shield Sunday at Payback, hyping that pay-per-view match in the process.

    Despite a mention of the ongoing storyline centered on the frustration Cody has been feeling in recent weeks and the teased split between him and Goldust, there was little in the way of follow-up as far as that was concerned.

Sin Cara vs. Bo Dallas

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    Dallas urged fans to Bo-lieve before the bout.

    A brief onslaught by Dallas early was answered by a dive to the outside by Sin Cara. Bo responded with three knee drops to the face as Lawler pointed out a mixed reaction for the third-generation star.

    Sin Cara caught Dallas with a fireman carry slam, but Dallas recovered and delivered the BoDog for the win.

    Dallas enjoyed a victory lap after the bell.

     

    Result

    Bo Dallas, via pinfall, with the BoDog 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I heard your commentary, and I had to come back out here and save this show."JBL upon his return to the broadcast position.

    "Monday Night Raw is the summit on the mountaintop of my dreams."Bo.

    "I think Winston Churchill is OK to compare to Bo Dallas."JBL.

     

    Grade

     B

     

    Analysis

    If you saw SmackDown, you had already seen this. If not, you were treated to a very competitive little match that did a great job of introducing Dallas to the audience.

    The crowd seemed more receptive of him than they were for Adam Rose nearly a month ago, which is a good sign for Dallas. Whether he can continue to make the most of his television time and receive a respectable push as a result remains to be seen.

The State of the WWE Championship

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    Stephanie made her way to the ring for the second time this evening, undoubtedly hoping that Bryan would hand over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

    Bryan made his return to Raw and was wearing a neck brace as the crowd erupted into a "Yes" chant.

    Stephanie tried to convince Bryan to give up the title as the crowd chanted "No."

    Bryan announced that the neck injury was worse than he thought. He teased handing the title over, but then he said that it would go against everything he and the people fought for. He refused.

    Stephanie gave Bryan an ultimatum, telling Bryan that he can surrender the title at Payback, or she would fire Brie Bella, who put her hands on Stephanie two weeks ago.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "We should add that the neck surgery was a success."Michael Cole, because fans couldn't tell by the fact that Bryan was walking to the ring.

    "I could just strip you of the WWE Championship, but that would just make you a martyr, and these people cheer you enough."Stephanie, with one of the lines of the night.

    "It is with a heavy heart that I announce the injury to my neck is worse than they thought."Bryan.

    "Oh yeah, I would just love to do it all over again."Bryan sarcastically addressing Stephanie.

    "You've wanted to strip me of this title ever since I beat your husband and won this title at WrestleMania 30."Bryan.

    "It would negate everything that I fought for, that these people fought for."Bryan on handing over the title.

    "I'm going to tell you a word you're not used to hearing."Bryan referring to the word "no."

     

    Grade

    A+ 

     

    Analysis

    It was a great segment that continued the war of attrition between Bryan and The Authority.

    Stephanie was delightfully evil as she stood silently, while Bryan ranted, only to hit him with a haymaker in the form of a threat to fire his wife Brie if he does not do "what is best for business" and hand over the WWE title at Payback.

    The segment left Bryan with a dilemma that he must resolve Sunday night. As a result, fans will tune in to see what his decision will be. It was smart booking all the way around.

    There is cause for concern, however, as Bryan announced that the neck injury is worse than originally expected. That was not reported on prior to Monday's show, and one has to wonder what that means for Bryan's immediate and long-term future.

Emma vs. Alicia Fox

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    What better way to gear up for a match against Paige than by taking on her main NXT rival, Emma?

    Emma locked in the DilEmma and delivered the Emma-mite Sandwich in the corner.

    Alicia suckered Emma in and delivered a big boot to take control of the match. Alicia bullied Emma in the corner and paid for it. Emma caught the No. 1 Contender with a roll-up for the upset victory.

    Alicia attacked Emma after the bell and sent her face-first into the guardrail in a nasty spot. She rolled her into the ring and delivered a backbreaker, dumping Emma out of the ring to a chorus of boos from the crowd.

    Alicia snapped post-match, relentlessly ringing the timekeeper's bell and taunting the audience. She bullied ringside personnel and delivered an atomic wedgie.

    The show went to break with her pouring soda over herself. 

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I'm saying if you gave her rhythm, she still would have none."JBL on Emma.

    "Oh my goodness, somebody call security."JBL as Alicia approached.

     

    Grade

    B+ 

     

    Analysis

    The "loose canon" element of the Alicia Fox character is catching on if the crowd's response to her latest meltdown was any indication. This week's episode may have gone on longer than necessary, but it proved the mental instability of the character.

    Fox has played her role nearly perfect and, to this point, is more interesting than Paige, who still has all the potential in the world to become a major breakout star for the company.

    At some point, however, WWE is going to have to stop leaning so heavily on the "crazy chick" gimmick for its female performances and come up with other characters for them to portray.

Adam Rose vs. Damien "Davy Crockett" Sandow

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    Adam Rose made his in-ring debut, taking on a fur-hat-wearing Damien Sandow, under the guise of Davy Crockett.

    The match descended into comedy early, before Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter interrupted.

    Rose fought off an attempt by Sandow to steal a win and, instead, picked up the victory following the Party Foul.

    After the match, Rose and Swagger brawled.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "The hits just keep coming."Cole sarcastically referring to the parade of crap that has overtaken this show at times.

    "JBL is feeling better. He's back to his old self."Lawler on JBL's miserable attitude.

     

    Grade

    D

     

    Analysis

    JBL referred to the segment as a train wreck prior to the commercial break, and that would be appropriate.

    The first in-ring appearance of the Rose character did nothing to help him get over with the American crowds, and the post-match brawl with Swagger was lethargic, at best.

    The Rose character is a blast, but it simply is not connecting with the audience at large like it did in NXT. If the company does not figure out the problem and correct it, Rose could prove to be more of a cautionary tale than a success story.

Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The United States champion Sheamus squared off against Alberto Del Rio in yet another rematch from SmackDown.

    Both competitors were physical and aggressive to start.

    Sheamus delivered a rolling senton and a knee drop off the middle rope to take control. The trademark forearms to the chest followed as the U.S. champion rolled over his longtime rival.

    Del Rio took control of the match as Raw headed to break.

    The Mexican aristocrat pounded away at Sheamus, catching him with a nasty kick to the head in the corner.

    Sheamus responded with the Irish Curse backbreaker for two. White Noise and the powerslam followed, but as he teased the Brogue Kick, it appeared as though he was suffering from a head injury. He fought through it, hit the Brogue Kick and picked up the win. 

    After the match, Paul Heyman appeared at ringside and distracted the U.S. champion. Cesaro attacked, leaving Sheamus lying there as commentators played up a head-injury angle.

      

    Highlights and Quotes

    "That hurt."JBL stating the obvious seconds after Sheamus delivered a barrage of forearms to Del Rio's chest.

    "This match had no meaning."Paul Heyman reminding the audience that they just wasted 15 minutes of their time.

     

    Grade

     B

     

    Analysis

    If WWE never books Sheamus vs. Alberto Del Rio again, it will be too soon.

    With that said, the head-injury angle introduces an interesting element to the Sheamus-Cesaro match Sunday night. At the very least, it provides an excuse for the Celtic Warrior should he drop the strap to the Swiss Superstar.

    At the most, it lays the groundwork for the story behind Sunday's match. Either way, it gives them something to work with that will separate the pay-per-view bout from the previous two bouts between them.

The Shield vs. Evolution Contract Signing

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just days from their match at Payback, The Shield and Evolution partook in one of the creative team's favorite crutches: the contract signing.

    Roman Reigns cleared the ring of chairs, while Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins addressed the crowd.

    Evolution appeared and Triple H claimed that, by signing the contract, The Shield would never compete on Raw again.

    The COO told the story of watching the three young stars sign their contracts to come to WWE and, now, he would watch them sign the contract that would be the end of them in the company.

    A brawl between the two teams broke out as chants of "this is awesome" spilled out from the audience.

    Evolution capitalized on Triple H's use of a sledgehammer to leave the Hounds of Justice lying there and establish their dominance heading into Sunday's pay-per-view. 

    Triple H, Batista and Randy Orton delivered a triple powerbomb through the table on Reigns to close out the broadcast. 

     

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "This is the last time you will see The Shield and Evolution in the same ring on Raw."Dean Ambrose.

    "Besides, who are we kidding with all of this nonsense out here?"Seth Rollins asking the question fans had been asking since hour one.

    "I'm going to stand here and watch the ink dry on the contract that will send you right back into obscurity."Triple H.

    "Get in the ring and fight."Reigns mercifully interrupting Triple H.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    Fans have seen the massive brawls between The Shield and Evolution before, so that aspect of Monday's contract signing was not new. What was new, however, was Triple H's introducing the sledgehammer to the ordeal and using it to help he, Batista and Orton gain the upper hand heading into Sunday's No Holds Barred Elimination tag match.

    The Shield had been so dominant up to Monday's show that they absolutely needed to be knocked down, if only to create doubt that they would leave Payback victorious. A hero is only as good as the villain, and, Monday night, the villains were presented as a united front with an advantage in the form of a single sledgehammer.

    Veterans of many No Holds Barred matches, they have suddenly established themselves as the favorites ahead of the war this weekend.

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