WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 9
One week after a shocking betrayal that generated a ton of buzz for the company, WWE Raw focused heavily on Seth Rollins, his motivations for joining Evolution and how The Shield would respond.
Rollins cited the evolution of himself as the reason for stabbing his so-called "brothers" in the back, and Ambrose and Reigns vowed revenge.
In an attempt to end The Shield once and for all, Triple H booked them in a six-man tag match against The Wyatt Family. Unfortunately for The Game, John Cena joined the Hounds of Justice for the main event war. Despite never teaming before, the babyfaces scored a huge victory over the Wyatts, proving that Ambrose and Reigns can thrive with or without Rollins.
Speaking of Triple H, he and Stephanie McMahon started the show by stripping Daniel Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and announcing that the Money in the Bank match on June 29 will now be for the top prize in the sport. Alberto Del Rio had previously qualified, and Randy Orton was added by Triple H "simply for being who he is."
By night's end, Sheamus and Cesaro would join them.
The feud between Layla and Summer Rae was highlighted, Alicia Fox continued her descent into madness, and Paige picked up a big win, as the Divas enjoyed some well-deserved airtime.
Rusev kept rolling, Bo Dallas improved to 6-0, and Goldust's latest tag team partner proved to be another failure.
With the June 9 episode of Raw now in the books, relive all of Monday night's action with in-depth analysis and grades for every match and in-ring promo.
The Authority's Blockbuster Announcement
Prior to the show, Triple H sent out a tweet in which he promised a blockbuster announcement to kick off Raw. He and Stephanie made their way to the ring as Raw hit the USA Network airwaves from the Target Center in Minneapolis.
The most powerful couple in professional wrestling appeared elated as they took to the ring.
Stephanie introduced a message from Dr. Joseph Maroon, who revealed that Daniel Bryan will not be able to perform at Money in the Bank.
The Authority took great glee in stripping Bryan of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, an announcement that was met with chants of "NO!" by the fans in attendance.
Stephanie announced that Alberto Del Rio, by way of his win last week, will enter the first-ever ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank. Triple H added that Randy Orton will be joining the Mexican aristocrat in that match because of who Orton is.
The discussion segued (and not smoothly) to Evolution's ongoing war with The Shield and Seth Rollins' shocking betrayal.
The Game announced that Ambrose and Rollins will compete in a six-man tag match against The Wyatt Family. He called into question The Shield's ability to find a partner, given the fact that they had torn through the entire locker room over the last two years.
Highlights and Quotes
"Triple H has been involved in a lot of blockbusters lately, one last week and one tonight." -Jerry "The King" Lawler, referring to Triple H's recruitment of Seth Rollins for Evolution
"It would be detrimental to his long-term health if he were to return too soon." -Dr. Joseph Maroon, Daniel Bryan's surgeon
"You just can't expect an A+ recovery from a B+ player." -Stephanie McMahon
"What's best for business is having a champion who can actually defend his championship." -Triple H
"Our condolences go out to your ungrateful wife Brie, who, as it turns out, quit for absolutely nothing." -Stephanie
"Daniel Bryan is not WWE World Heavyweight Championship material." -Triple H
"I don't know about all of you but I believe in Seth Rollins." -Triple H pledging his support for Seth Rollins
The opening segment of this week's show accomplished everything it set out to, earning it an "A" grade.
The Authority addressed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship situation and officially stripped Bryan of the title. It was handled the best way possible, with a doctor taking the decision out of Bryan's hands and saving him from looking weak.
Triple H and Stephanie relished in the opportunity to stick it to the fans and Bryan as they announced their decision: There will be two Money in the Bank ladder matches at the pay-per-view on June 29.
Finally, the COO addressed The Shield, revealed the night's main event and planted the seed for Reigns and Ambrose to not be able to find a partner for the six-man tag team main event thanks to the history between The Shield and the rest of the WWE roster.
A strong opening segment that set the stage for the rest of the night's show.
Money in the Bank Qualifier: Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett
The United States and Intercontinental champions kicked off the in-ring portion of this week's broadcast. Sheamus met Bad News Barrett in a qualifying match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Ladder match.
A "Bad News Barrett" chant broke out as Sheamus and Barrett exchanged stiff, hard-hitting blows early. The action spilled outside the ring, and Barrett fought out of Sheamus' clubbing forearms to the chest and knocked the Celtic Warrior off the apron and to the floor.
Sheamus delivered the forearms on a second try and brought the Intercontinental champion back inside the squared circle with a big suplex. A big, nasty high cross body block from the U.S. champion sent both wrestlers crashing to the arena floor as Raw headed to break.
After Barrett caught knees to the ribs following an attempt at an elbow drop, Sheamus mounted a comeback.
A scary spot saw Sheamus knocked off the top rope and into the barricade. He beat the count back into the ring but was met by Barrett, who delivered Wasteland for two. He set Sheamus up for the Bad News Bullhammer, but Sheamus caught him with White Noise for two.
Barrett unleashed on Sheamus in the corner but was caught with the Brogue Kick from out of nowhere. The Celtic Warrior celebrated a very hard-fought victory three seconds later.
Sheamus, via pinfall, following the Brogue Kick
Highlights and Quotes
"Once I climb to the top of that ladder and grab the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, I am never coming back down." -Bad News Barrett
"It was kind by The Authority to not have Bryan come out here before these people." -JBL, focusing on the opening segment rather than the great match unfolding in front of him
What a match to kick off this week's show!
Sheamus and Bad News Barrett are seemingly incapable of having a bad match together. No matter how many times they have been programmed against one another over the last two months, they continue to deliver fresh matches.
The finish saw Barrett allow his temper to get the best of him. He unloaded with fury on Sheamus and ended up paying for it via a Brogue Kick and a crushing defeat.
The only negative is that the Intercontinental champion had to suffer another loss by pinfall. Luckily, Barrett is still fairly hot right now, and if booked correctly, he can recover quickly and maintain his momentum.
Sheamus rolls into the Money in the Bank match, joining Randy Orton and Alberto Del Rio in a bout that will likely feature the biggest stars in the company competing for the industry's top prize. Where that leaves someone like Barrett and the rest of the talented midcard stars, most of whom live and die based on performances in the Money in the Bank Ladder matches, remains a mystery.
As one of the stronger workers on the roster and a Superstar who has excelled in the few Ladder matches he has competed in, Sheamus is a worthy entrant into the June 29 match, even if he and the previously announced stars are not the freshest.
Zack Ryder vs. Rusev
Black was Lana's color of choice this week as she made her way to the stage to address the WWE Universe.
The Ravishing Russian denounced America and its leader, Barack Obama, calling him a "sissy." She then praised Vladimir Putin and claimed that he would crush Obama.
Zack Ryder, having not learned his lesson to this point, was Rusev's opposition this week.
Like every other match Ryder has had with Rusev, he was completely run over before tapping to the Accolade.
After the match, Lana raised Rusev's arm in victory as the Russian flag unfurled from the rafters.
Rusev, via submission, with the Accolade
Highlights and Quotes
"The United States is led by a man who oozes weakness. He is what you call a 'sissy.'" -Lana
"President Putin created this medal himself. March 29, 2013." -JBL on the gold star Rusev was awarded on last week's show
"You're really up on your Russian statistics tonight, aren't you?" -Jerry Lawler to JBL
The good news is that the Rusev and Lana act is getting over with the audience. The crowd is reacting strongly to the pro-Russian dialogue from the latter, and Rusev has increased the aggression he displays between the ropes.
Unfortunately, the potential exists for Rusev and Lana to lose every bit of momentum they have garnered over the last month if the creative team reverts back to booking the Bulgarian Brute in the minute-long squash matches that failed to get him over in the first place.
He needs to beat recognizable stars in competitive matches, like the one against Big E at Payback, if he wants to advance and remain fresh. At this point, the audience gets that he is a dominant force.
Having him continue to be that force by running over established stars will only further convince the audience to take him seriously as a threat to all Superstars, not just those relegated to the job squad.
Goldust and R-Truth vs. Ryback and Curtis Axel
Cody Rhodes' ongoing quest to find a suitable new partner for his brother continued this week when R-Truth joined Goldust for tag team action against RybAxel.
Ryback and Axel wasted little time working over R-Truth before Goldust got the hot tag. The former Intercontinental champion caught Axel with a big snap powerslam and delivered a cross body block that took out both of his opponents.
Ryback dumped Truth over the top, and Goldust took him down. Axel capitalized and scored the win with a schoolboy.
RybAxel, via pinfall, when Axel rolled up Goldust
Highlights and Quotes
"There is nothing wrong with R-Truth. He is a great talent. But he's not a tag team guy." -JBL, forgetting that Truth was a tag champion with Kofi Kingston and once partnered with The Miz in a victory over CM Punk and Triple H
A very pedestrian tag match that was hurt by time constraints.
The story the creative team is telling with Cody searching for the perfect partner for Goldust is not nearly as effective as if Cody would have just turned heel, igniting a feud between the brothers.
Ryback and Curtis Axel may be developing into a really good heel team, but they will not benefit from being the also-rans in a program between the Rhodes brothers. Ryback and Axel deserve better (perhaps a tag team title program with The Usos), but the duo appears stuck in a feud that will ultimately be detrimental to their development.
3MB and the Shield
3MB were in the ring, and Heath Slater revealed that it was supposed to be The Shield's time to talk. "That ain't what we do," he said. The Shield's theme music cut him off, and Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns made their way to the ring.
They demolished 3MB. Reigns delivered a nasty spear to Slater at the top of the ramp and stood tall as a "Roman Reigns" chant broke out.
The Hounds of Justice returned to the ring and addressed the WWE Universe.
Ambrose discussed Seth Rollins' betrayal of The Shield last week, threatening to disfigure his former partner.
Reigns addressed each member of Evolution, vowing to finish The Shield's quest for revenge by taking out Triple H.
"Short, sweet and to the point," Michael Cole correctly observed.
Highlights and Quotes
"They're going to need a lot more." -JBL referring to the fact that 3MB is going to need more than a three-on-two numbers advantage to take out The Shield
"The Shield was untouchable and we will go down in the history books as one of the greatest groups ever." -Dean Ambrose
"We weren't healthy. We had a cancer inside of us. Little did we know. That cancer's name...that cancer's name was Seth Rollins." -Ambrose
"We're going to listen to every word of it, then we're going to beat the hell out of you." -Ambrose
"Seth, you committed the most unforgivable sin." -Roman Reigns
"There's things you don't do in life. You don't tug on Superman's cape, you don't p--s in the wind and you don't ever stab your brothers in the back." -Reigns
After last week's betrayal, The Shield needed a strong response, and that is exactly what fans got when Ambrose and Reigns laid waste to 3MB. They were explosive and dominant, and the crowd reacted to their swift disposal of the comedy jobbers.
Ambrose's promo was outstanding. He described, in great detail, what awaited Seth Rollins when they eventually meet. Reigns spoke softly, but his message got across loud and clear.
This was a phenomenal segment that got across just how angry The Shield is and how determined they are to avenge the unforeseen backstabbing from last week's show.
One really interesting element of the segment was that both men implied that they blamed Triple H for Rollins' betrayal. They spoke as if Triple H was the puppet master and Rollins his puppet. If that is the direction the creative team heads, Rollins could be irreparably damaged.
Hopefully that is not the case.
The Usos vs. Fandango and Damien Sandow
Fandango and Damien Sandow, the latter clad in a full-body suit, provided the competition for WWE Tag Team champions The Usos on this week's broadcast. Sandow continued his identity crisis.
The commentators played up the backstage segment from earlier in the show in which Summer Rae attacked Layla and poured milk over the former Divas champion.
A "let's go Sandow" chant broke out as the former Intellectual Savior performed interpretive dance at the expense of his in-ring performance.
The superkick and the top rope splash ended it after two minutes of "action."
The Usos, via pinfall, following the top rope splash
Highlights and Quotes
"Here we go! This is going to be awesome!" -JBL on the entrance of Damien Sandow into the match
"He should be wearing a girdle." -Michael Cole on Sandow
"If you want to see more of Layla after the milk bath, go to her Instagram account." -Cole, putting over the most important thing to come out of the match
The Sandow identity crisis story is fun in spurts, but when it overwhelms a match like it did Monday night, it becomes problematic.
The Usos have been one of the bright spots in all of WWE this year, and they deserve better than to be stuck in a comedy angle more concerned with interpretive dancing and Layla's milk-soaked hair than the tag team champions.
An awful use of a highly talented tag team and two singles stars that are capable of so much more.
Xavier Woods vs. Bo Dallas
The most inspirational man in WWE made his second appearance on Raw. He faced fellow NXT alumnus Xavier Woods in singles competition.
Woods caught Dallas off-guard with a fireman's carry takeover, but Dallas rebounded nicely, seizing control following a hard knee to the midsection.
Dallas thwarted a comeback attempt by Woods and delivered the Bo-Dog for the win.
He ran his celebratory victory lap to end the segment.
Bo Dallas, via pinfall, following the Bo-Dog
Highlights and Quotes
"This is like seeing Da Vinci right before painting The Mona Lisa." -JBL on the arrival of Bo Dallas
"The secret to Daniel Bryan's recovery...all he has to do is BO-LIEVE!" -Bo Dallas
"He's six-and-Bo." -JBL on Dallas' winning streak
Bo gets a bit of a break because the character is still in its infancy, but wins over guys like Xavier Woods will do little to help him gain anything in the way of momentum. Woods' push was botched early in his stint on the main roster, and his status as a glorified jobber does not lend itself well to getting new stars over.
The Bo character is completely over the top and goofy, but the fans seem to be buying into it in a way they were not willing to do with Adam Rose.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the match, but it did nothing to help Dallas stand out more than his wins against the more established Kofi Kingston and Sin Cara.
Money in the Bank Qualifier: Rob Van Dam vs. Cesaro
In case you were not tired of seeing these two wrestle yet, they met in a Money in the Bank qualifier on this week's show.
Paul Heyman was in the ring as Raw returned from the break. He once again touted the success of his client, Brock Lesnar, over Undertaker at WrestleMania. Heyman mentioned Lesnar's collegiate career at the University of Minnesota and teased an appearance by the Beast Incarnate. It was a fake-out, however, and Heyman introduced Cesaro to the dismay of the Minneapolis crowd.
RVD overwhelmed Cesaro early before the show went to break.
Van Dam fought out of a side headlock but fell victim to Cesaro's pure, unadulterated strength. The Swiss Superman continued to wear RVD down, but the ECW alumnus built some momentum for himself with a fast and furious comeback.
A big uppercut from Cesaro nearly put Van Dam away, but Mr. Monday Night proved resilient, fighting out of the pinfall attempt. RVD responded with Rolling Thunder for a two count of his own.
Cesaro took out the legs of his opponent and then finished him with the Neutralizer.
Cesaro, via pinfall, with the Neutralizer
Highlights and Quotes
"Paul Heyman reminds me of the tires on your car, Michael. Bald and over-inflated." -Jerry Lawler with the worst joke of the night
Heyman faking out the crowd by promising a Brock Lesnar appearance was brilliant.
Some pairings simply do not have strong chemistry with one another. Rob Van Dam and Cesaro are one of those pairings.
No matter how many times they have worked with each other since May, they simply do not click on the level that two performers of their talent should. They produce very physical matches, but there is something missing that does not allow them to turn in a great outing.
This week's match was on the lower end of their recent bouts. That the finish was so anticlimactic did not help matters.
Cesaro advances to Money in the Bank, as many expected him to, but the fact that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship is on the line rather than a guaranteed shot at the title hurts the Swiss Superman's chances—that is, unless Cesaro's push suddenly heads into hyperdrive.
Seth Rollins Interview
Michael Cole introduced Seth Rollins, who made his way to the ring with new theme music. He wore an all-black suit and was greeted with a chorus of boos.
Rollins cut Cole off for the most part, delivering a promo in which he referred to The Shield as his masterpiece and an outlet for him to succeed.
He called Ambrose and Reigns "business partners" before calling out his former teammates.
Suddenly, The Wyatt Family appeared and a beatdown of Reigns and Ambrose ensued. John Cena hit the ring, making the save for The Shield. The babyface trio stood tall as the Wyatts bailed.
Highlights and Quotes
"You don't think I have the right to destroy my own creation? It takes an architect, a mastermind to build a faction like The Shield." -Seth Rollins
"Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose are nothing without me." -Rollins
"You know what I learned from Evolution? I learned that, to be a success in this business, you have to evolve. You have to adapt." -Rollins
"I bought in to the evolution of Seth Rollins." -Rollins, in response to "you sold out" chants from the crowd
"To me, they were just business partners. And I severed a business relationship." -Rollins
Rollins delivered a solid promo that showcased his egotistical attitude and the fact that he believes he is solely responsible for all of The Shield's success. He cited the need to evolve as the reason for betraying his partners, and while that may be a bit of a copout thanks to the play on words, it made sense.
The attack by The Wyatt Family did not make sense, however, as they have no association with Seth Rollins. In fact, given the history between them and The Shield, they should have been more comfortable sitting back and letting Rollins get what was coming to him.
What Wyatt, Harper and Rowan's appearance did, though, was allow John Cena to make the save and set up the main event.
The creative team will have to be careful. Associating The Shield with Cena is a surefire way to kill the coolness factor of the Hounds of Justice. The Shield is a true alternative to the happy-go-lucky babyface, and they cannot be allowed to align with a character like Cena for long.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox is accompanied to the ring by Aksana for her latest match against Paige, as the creative team has suddenly remembered that FoxSana was a thing for a few weeks.
Paige sent Alicia into Aksana on the arena floor but paid for it as Fox delivered a dropkick. A headlock from the top contender to the Divas title wore Paige down, and a northern lights suplex continued her assault.
Fox tried for a running sidewalk slam, but Paige countered with a headscissors through the ropes and to the floor. A series of knee lifts to the face left Fox limp as the Divas champion mounted a comeback. Paige again sent Fox into Aksana, and the Scorpion Crosslock, now named the PTO (Paige's Tapout), finished the loose cannon of the Divas division.
After the match, Fox attacked Aksana with slaps before eyeing up the commentary team. She poured water and popcorn on her former partner before offering her an apology and more popcorn.
She shoved said popcorn in Aksana's face as the commentary team played up Fox's bipolar character.
Paige, via submission, with the PTO
Highlights and Quotes
"I'm trying to get people to leak pictures of me but no one will do it." -JBL, as the commentary team continued rambling
"Go to commercial before she gets up." -JBL following Fox's loss
"Where's the Minnesota police? Call Jesse Ventura." -JBL as Fox made her way to ringside
The match between Paige and Alicia was nothing fans have not seen before. The formula that is being used to book Paige's matches will one day backfire, as it resembles the one used early in John Cena's run. The Divas champion often takes a beating, makes the miraculous comeback and scores the win from out of nowhere.
That style of match doomed Cena to be the recipient of mixed reactions for the rest of his career, and if the company is not careful, Paige will suffer a backlash as well.
The commentary team planting the seed for Alicia's character to be bipolar is interesting and could lead to some fun performances from the talented former Divas champion.
With that said, one has to wonder how long it takes for mental health agencies to speak out against the lighthearted portrayal of a very real disorder.
Santino Marella vs. Jack Swagger
Santino Marella, sans Emma, made his way to the ring for a match against Jack Swagger that is the result of Zeb Colter's quest to deport any foreigners on the WWE roster.
Marella frustrated Swagger early, and Colter made sure to fire up his man with a series of hard slaps to the face.
Swagger dismantled Marella, but a charge into the corner missed, and the former World Heavyweight champion collided shoulder-first with the post. He recovered quickly and finished Marella off with a gutwrench powerbomb.
Swagger, via pinfall, with the gutwrench powerbomb
Highlights and Quotes
"I believe Zeb Colter should be deported back where he came from, which is Hell." -Santino Marella
"Colter has unleashed Jack Swagger." -Michael Cole
What was a nondescript match was elevated slightly by a potential storyline development for Swagger, who has been wandering aimlessly since the split with Cesaro back at WrestleMania.
After being outclassed and embarrassed by Santino early, Swagger found himself on the receiving end of slaps from Colter. Those slaps motivated the Oklahoman, who dispatched Santino shortly thereafter.
Fans have seen so many start-and-stop pushes for Swagger over the years that it is unlikely they will ever accept him as anything more than a midcard performer. At the same time, the creative team continues to find ways to keep him relevant, which is more than can be said for stars in similar positions.
Isn't that right, Kofi Kingston?
John Cena and The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family
With 25 minutes of television time left, The Shield hit the ring for the night's main event.
Ambrose was on fire to start, taking the fight to both Erick Rowan and Luke Harper and proving himself to be more than just the chihuahua of The Shield. After a brief appearance by Reigns, Ambrose returned to the match and targeted the knee of Harper.
A big boot from Harper brought Ambrose's onslaught to an end.
The Wyatt Family isolated and worked over Ambrose. The crowd tried to will the "Lunatic Fringe" of The Shield back into the bout.
Ambrose dodged a charge from Bray Wyatt and appeared poised to make the hot tag, but he was caught and driven to the mat by the "reborn" Wyatt. A huge clothesline after bouncing off the ropes gave Ambrose the opening to make the hot tag to Cena.
Cena exploded into the match with his trademark comeback, but Rowan planted him with a big shoulder block. Bray Wyatt tagged in and landed a running senton for two. Harper tagged in and delivered a Torture Rack neckbreaker for two.
A missed running senton from Wyatt ignited the babyface comeback, and Cena made the tag to Roman Reigns.
Reigns, a ball of fire, tore through the opposition as the crowd erupted and rose to its feet.
Cena took out Rowan but was a recipient of Sister Abigail. Ambrose dove through the ropes as the action began to break down.
Reigns recovered from a big boot at the hands of Harper to deliver a spear and score the win.
Triple H and Seth Rollins were shown watching from backstage.
John Cena and The Shield, via pinfall, when Reigns pinned Harper
Highlights and Quotes
"Did you ever think you would see this? John Cena standing side-by-side with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose." -Michael Cole
"The numbers game [is] working against The Shield." -JBL, making absolutely no sense since the presence of Cena negates any numbers advantage The Wyatt Family would have otherwise had
"I think Ambrose's brains miss the Architect." -JBL on The Shield missing Seth Rollins
It is nearly impossible to mess up a six-man tag match in today's WWE thanks to a formula that the company has perfected in booking those bouts. Monday's main event followed said formula, and the product was a very good contest between six of the hottest stars on the roster.
The only issue that could have derailed the match came in its middle portion, which generated heat at the improper time.
After Ambrose had been worked over, he made the hot tag to Cena and started what should have set up the finish. Instead, the match went another eight minutes after Cena found himself isolated like Ambrose before him.
The crowd went silent and did not really pick up again until the tag to Reigns sent the bout to its conclusion.
That one complaint, however, is not enough to soil an otherwise great main event.
The Shield proved the overconfident Triple H wrong thanks to their strong showing and, more importantly, Cena continues to put himself in the crosshairs of The Authority. Fans witnessed it last week when he interrupted Stephanie McMahon, and he has now surely drawn the ire of Triple H by agreeing to team with Ambrose and Reigns.
What that means for the immediate future is a mystery. What is not a mystery is that The Shield should remain a dominant force on Raw if Monday's booking is any indication.