WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 7

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 7

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    Credit: WWE.com

    With The Authority on vacation, the July 7 episode of Monday Night Raw focused almost exclusively on in-ring content and was headlined by a huge main event pitting WWE World Heavyweight champion John Cena against Money in the Bank winner Seth Rollins. 

    Rollins' former Shield teammates also made their presence felt, as Roman Reigns brawled with the Demon Kane, while Dean Ambrose gave The Viper Randy Orton all of the fight he could handle.

    Fandango cost Dolph Ziggler a big match and, in the process, intensified their burgeoning feud. A backstage segment featuring Layla and Summer Rae indicated that the love triangle between them and the ballroom dancer is far from over.

    Nikki Bella was the target of an absent Stephanie McMahon's wrath, booked in a match with Alicia Fox in which her hand was tied behind her back. Bo Dallas thankfully defeated El Torito, and Rusev continued his dominant run, defeating future Hall of Famer Rob Van Dam in a highly competitive match.

    With another stop on the road to Battleground on July 20 in the books, relive all of the action and drama of Monday Night Raw by taking a look at the grades, analysis and highlights of the July 7 episode.

Roman Reigns Promo

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    The man formerly known as the Powerhouse of The Shield made his way to the ring to kick off this week's episode of Raw.

    Reigns discussed the Battleground pay-per-view main event and each of his opponents in the Fatal 4-Way WWE World Heavyweight Championship match. He was short and to the point before Kane's pyro exploded at the top of the ramp and the Devil's Favorite Demon made his way to the stage.

    Reigns goaded him into a fight, which spilled around ringside, into the crowd and settled down back into the ring. Referees attempted to break them up, but Kane delivered a big chokeslam to one of them before senior officials finally separated the massive competitors.

    That is, until Reigns broke free and delivered a spear to Finlay. A big Superman Punch from Reigns to Kane ended the segment as the crowd in Montreal came to a fever pitch.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Unlike some people, when I come down to this ring, I come with a point."Reigns

    "When Roman Reigns is in the house, you're damn right Cena sucks!"Reigns, in response to the crowd's chants of "Cena sucks!"

    "Kane is looking down at Roman Reigns and saying, 'assess this.'"Jerry Lawler on the appearance of Kane

    "Lately, it looks like you're just Randy Orton's b---h."Reigns to Kane




    An incredibly hot way to kick off the show. The crowd was receptive to everything Reigns said, and the fact that he played to them, responding to their chants of "Cena sucks," only enhanced the cheers that greeted him.

    The brawl with Kane was outstanding. The crowd loved the chaotic nature of it and popped even louder when referees and officials ended up on the receiving end of assaults by the competitors. Reigns as the last man standing was exactly the way to kick off the show and leave the audience wanting more.

    This was a great start.

Non-Title Match: The Usos vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

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    The Usos and The Wyatt Family met for what felt like the 100th time in the last month, as they kicked off the in-ring portion of the night's broadcast. 

    Luke Harper and Erick Rowan took control of the action, isolating Jimmy Uso from his corner of the ring and wearing him down with their pure power-based offense.

    Rowan missed a big leg drop, allowing Jimmy to make the hot tag to Jey. A big shoulder tackle by Rowan ended Jey's comeback with a thud.

    Both Harper and Rowan missed charges into the corner, and Jey made the hot tag to his brother as the crowd came alive. Jimmy had much more success than Jey, taking both opponents down and mounting some momentum for the WWE Tag Team champions.

    Jey dove over the ropes, taking Rowan out with a big dive. Inside the ring, Harper blocked a kick from Jimmy and delivered one of his own.

    Harper crotched Jimmy on the top rope, delivered a massive sitout powerbomb, only to have pinfall attempt broken up by Jey.

    A huge discus clothesline by Harper finished Jey off and gave The Wyatt Family a huge non-title win over the champions.

    After the match, Jimmy argued with the official, claiming that he was the legal participant.


    Harper and Rowan, via pinfall, when Harper pinned Jey Uso 

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I don't know if Harper and Rowan have strategy. I think they may just seek and destroy."Jerry Lawler

    "If you can figure out the difference between Jimmy and Jey, you oughta be able to figure out the stranger between Harper and Rowan."Lawler to Michael Cole

    "The Usos came out here and started a fist fight with the wrong guys."JBL, on The Usos making a strategic mistake




    This was a pay-per-view quality match between two teams with uncanny chemistry. They had a phenomenal match back at Money in the Bank and followed up with a match that may very well have exceeded its original.

    The story about Harper pinning the illegal Uso is tag team storytelling that is not told often and only adds to the legitimacy of the bout.

    Another bout between the teams at Battleground will be welcomed, but one has to wonder how many times the same pairing can be used before involving Goldust and Stardust or RybAxel to freshen things up a bit.

Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox

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    As announced on the WWE Network's Raw pre-show, both Divas were to compete with one arm tied behind their backs.

    Alicia Fox toyed with the referee, not allowing him to tie her arm behind her back. She jumped Nikki Bella before the bell.

    She booted Nikki to the arena floor and threw her into the guardrail. She repeatedly bashed her head into the barrier and trash-talked the fans at ringside.

    Fox grabbed sodas from under the ring and poured them on Nikki and herself before leaving to a chorus of boos.

    Highlights and Quotes

    None to speak of




    This was a flat segment that the live crowd lost interest in quickly. The fact that Nikki is not necessarily the most likable Diva on the roster hurts the crowd's ability to feel sympathy for her in the face of Stephanie McMahon's mistreatment of her.

    The Alicia Fox character has lost a ton of momentum over the last three weeks, and it really showed here. Nothing she did felt fresh or interesting, and the crowd reacted accordingly.

    The only reason the segment avoids a failing grade is the fact that it, at least, furthered the Bella Twins vs. Stephanie angle, which will hopefully culminate in a match between the boss and Brie at SummerSlam in August, if not sooner.

Rob Van Dam vs. Rusev

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    Rusev and Lana were in the ring as we returned from the break. Lana cut a brief promo before being cut off by Rob Van Dam.

    Van Dam unloaded on Rusev early with hard rights and kicks. He outclassed Rusev early on, frustrating The Bulgarian Brute and Lana at the same time.

    Rusev tossed RVD off the top and began wearing the smaller competitor down. An intense Rusev pounded away at Van Dam, using clubbing forearms and knees to keep him grounded.

    Van Dam fought out of a slam attempt and rolled Rusev up for two. The Rolling Thunder missed, and Rusev delivered his crushing sidekick. The Accolade followed, and RVD had no choice but to tap out.


    Rusev, via submission, with the Accolade

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Rob Van Dam...a true test tonight for the super athlete Rusev."Michael Cole

    "I think Rusev was angry at RVD for interrupting his honoring of Vladimir Putin."JBL

    "Rusev, this is going out straight to you. Why don't you step out from behind that commie skirt of yours and face Jack Swagger at Battleground?"Zeb Colter in a pre-taped promo aired during the match

    "You'd think if a guy could figure out how to crack the shell of Rusev, it would be RVD."JBL



    This was a very competitive match, which is exactly what Rusev needed. The win over Van Dam takes him to a new level of legitimacy. Van Dam is a former heavyweight champion, one of the generation's best, and beating him still means somethingat least for now.

    The cut-in promo by Zeb Colter kept the focus on the program with Jack Swagger and introduced the possibility of a match at Battleground.

    This was a solid segment that continues Rusev's evolution.

Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton

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    The Viper made his way to the ring amid a chorus of boos from the Montreal crowd. The crowd was completely behind Ambrose as the bell sounded to signal the start of the bout.

    Ambrose frustrated Orton early, using forearms and face rakes to control the contest. A flurry of hard rights and a big dropkick continued the Lunatic Fringe's early dominance.

    A huge clothesline stopped any and all momentum Ambrose had built early on, turning the tide in the former WWE World Heavyweight champion's favor. Orton used a barrage of rights and stomps to floor Ambrose, but the former Shield member exploded with offense to get himself back into the match as we headed to break.

    During the break, Orton sent Ambrose shoulder-first into the steel steps and zeroed in on the injury as we returned from commercial.

    Ambrose caught Orton with a big DDT that got him back into the match after minutes of playing defense. A cross body block was followed by a series of hard rights that peppered the head of Orton. A Figure Four leglock followed.

    An ugly botch occurred as Ambrose came off the top rope, and Orton was not prepared for it. This was an ugly spot that killed the heat of the match. Orton tried to win the crowd back with his trademark pose, then upped the aggression with an uppercut. A big clothesline by Ambrose finally won the audience back.

    Ambrose sent Orton into the barricade and tossed chairs into the ring. Orton sent Ambrose shoulder-first into the post and sent him into the timekeeper's area. A DDT from the barricade to the floor followed.

    Ambrose avoided several attempts at an RKO by Orton but rebounded off the ropes and right into the finisher.


    Orton, via pinfall, following the RKO

    Highlights and Quotes

    "When's the last vacation you got?"Michael Cole on JBL sucking up to the vacationing Authority

    "Totally caught Orton by surprise."JBL on Ambrose using the Figure Four, a move Ambrose has not used to this point

    "You're not going to like this, Randy."JBL as Ambrose rolled Orton into a ring filled with steel chairs

    The spot where Ambrose threw the chairs into the ring was great and drew one of the biggest reactions of the night.




    This was a very good match plagued by the noticeable, ugly botch in the middle. Lesser performers would have been unable to win the crowd back, but Ambrose and Orton crafted a great match from that point on and recovered as best they could.

    The finish, with several pinfall attempts from Ambrose before falling prey to the RKO, was done well.

    That said, Ambrose could have used the win. Orton is a great wrestler and is as over as one can get. Losing a match to Ambrose, who has yet to score that one defining singles win, would not have been a bad thing and would have enhanced Ambrose's star.

    As it stands, Ambrose remains the scrappy pitbull-like performer whose showdown with Seth Rollins should be one of the matches of the year.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

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    Fandango is at ringside as we return from break. He announced that he is involved in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at Battleground. Alberto Del Rio was already in the ring when Ziggler entered to a big pop.

    Del Rio caught Ziggler in the ring apron and delivered a big kick to take control of the bout.

    Ziggler fought out of a headlock but missed a dropkick. He mounted a second comeback attempt but missed a charge into the corner. A reverse superplex from the top netted a two count for Del Rio.

    A big DDT allowed Ziggler to fight his way back into the bout. As he was about to pick up the win, Fandango climbed on the announce table and danced, distracting Ziggler and allowing Del Rio to deliver the straight kick to the head for the win.


    Del Rio, via pinfall, following the kick to the head

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Fandango, that wasn't really a kiss. That was more like they were playing tonsil hockey."Lawler

    "Sometimes I like blondes, sometimes I like brunettes."Fandango on his dance partner preferences

    "Layla's in the back listening right now. You think I'm going to say anything about that. Trying to blow my cover?"Fandango on if there were other "dance partners"




    Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio have tremendous chemistry, but this was definitely on the lower end of their televised bouts.

    More important than the action on the inside was the spotlight put on Fandango at the commentary table. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL appeared far more interested in playing along with the Fandango character than anything Del Rio or Ziggler were doing, and that is detrimental to all involved.

    Del Rio earns a U.S. title match against Sheamus on Main Event, but the impending program between Ziggler and Fandango is far more interesting than the 1,000th match between those two—no matter how good those matches may be.

Bret Hart Returns

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    Bret "The Hitman" Hart made his return to WWE in front of his fellow countrymen and the home of the most infamous incident in wrestling history. He was greeted by a predictably huge reaction.

    Joining him in the squared circle was Jerry Lawler, whose last trip to Montreal saw him suffer a very serious heart attack.

    Hart addressed the audience, pandering to them, before Damien Sandow appeared dressed as The Hitman. 

    Sandow ran down Canada and Hart before being knocked down with a single punch.

    Hart's music played as the crowd paid him respect. Sheamus hit the ring and received the approval of The Hitman, hugging him as he prepared for his match.

    Highlights and Quotes

    Lawler thanking the medical professionals in Montreal for saving him was a nice moment.

    "I speak from the heart when I say if I could have one more match, it would be right here in Montreal in front of the best fans in the world."Bret Hart

    "My one regret is that, throughout my entire career, I was actually proud to be from a third-world country like Canada."Damien Sandow




    It's always good to see Bret Hart back in a WWE ring, but the segment was ultimately an excuse to get Hart in front of the Canadian fans and further the Sandow stupidity.

    This was an otherwise useless segment.

Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow

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    Back from break, the match between Sheamus and Damien Sandow was underway.

    Sandow trapped Sheamus in a sleeper, attempting to wear the champion down in hopes of scoring a major upset. He followed up by mocking Bret Hart's signature offense. He teased the Sharpshooter, but Sheamus grabbed his beard, forcing him to break the hold.

    The Celtic Warrior mounted a comeback, delivering the trademark forearms to the chest and the Brogue Kick for the win. 


    Sheamus, via pinfall, following the Brogue Kick 

    Highlights and Quotes

    "This place will erupt if Sandhart wins this match."JBL

    "Not Montreal! Not again!"JBL




    This was a showcase for Sheamus, who will defend the U.S. Championship against Alberto Del Rio on Main Event.

    JBL's commentary at the conclusion of the match was hilarious, as he compared Sandow's loss to the Montreal Screwjob.

    Otherwise, this was a meaningless and forgettable segment.

Chris Jericho vs. The Miz

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    One week after returning to Raw, Chris Jericho and The Miz took to the ring to settle their differences in a high-profile bout.

    The Miz stomped away at Jericho to start, but Y2J fired away with a few chops and a springboard dropkick that sent The Miz to the floor. Back inside the squared circle, The Miz shoved Jericho over the top rope during a Lionsault attempt and took control.

    Jericho caught The Miz with a series of flying forearms and tried for the Walls of Jericho. The Miz countered and delivered a big boot that scored a near fall.

    The Miz applied the Figure Four, a spot that would have been much more effective if Ambrose had not used it earlier.

    A single punch to the face led to the Walls of Jericho and a win for Jericho.

    After the match, the lights dimmed, and Bray Wyatt appeared at the top of the ramp. He cut a promo on Jericho, who interrupted him and threatened to fight him. 

    Luke Harper and Erick Rowan appeared, and a staredown took us to commercial.


    Jericho, via submission, with the Walls of Jericho

    Highlights and Quotes

    "In his hometown of Cleveland, when he returns, its bigger than LeBron James."Lawler

    "Not the face. It's like an ATM."JBL on The Miz's face

    "How can you save an entire universe when you can't save yourself?"Wyatt

    "Actions speak eternities to a generation with no tongue."Wyatt

    "These people that you used to call Jerichoholics now sing to a new tune."Wyatt




    The match between Jericho and The Miz was good but rushed. A combination of television time and the post-match promo from Wyatt limited what they could do, leading to a more fast-and-furious approach from the performers.

    The promo from Wyatt featured excellent delivery from the Eater of Worlds but really did nothing to explain why he and Jericho were feuding. The reasoning is irrelevant. As long as the in-ring work backs up what is sure to be awesome mic work, everything will be fine.

Paige and AJ Lee vs. Cameron and Naomi

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The unlikely pairing of Paige and new Divas champion AJ Lee took on the Funkadactyls. Paige introduced AJ in an over-the-top enthusiastic manner.

    Paige and Naomi started the match for their respective teams. Naomi took control early and tried to tag Cameron, but the former Tough Enough star looked bored and disinterested.

    Cameron finally tagged into the match but found herself on the receiving end of the Paige Turner and another loss.

    After the match, the Funkadactyls argued. Cameron poked Naomi's forehead and then shoved her. A catfight erupted, which Naomi got the best of. A referee tried to separate the Divas but failed miserably for the most part.

    The fight spilled to the floor before Cameron retreated.


    Paige and AJ Lee, via pinfall, when AJ pinned Cameron

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Are you kidding me? She's doing her nails."Jerry Lawler on Cameron's nail-painting ways




    The match itself was secondary to the post-match angle that resulted in a major catfight between Naomi and Cameron. Their pull-apart brawl came across better than the crowd treated it and should lead to Cameron becoming one of the breakout heels of WWE's second half of 2014.

    Paige's introduction of AJ just screams insincere and is likely to end in a heel turn for the former Divas champion.

Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro

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    Cesaro and advocate Paul Heyman were in the squared circle following the brief look back at last week's Kofi Kingston beatdown by Cesaro. Heyman ran through his tired spiel before Cesaro insulted the French-Canadian fans.

    Kingston took the fight to Cesaro but ended up having his previously injured ribs targeted by the King of Swing. Cesaro military-pressed Kingston overhead, then he brought him down with a gutbuster.

    For the second straight time, Kingston used a rollup to upset Cesaro.

    After the match, Cesaro attacked Kingston but was stopped by Big E, with whom Cesaro had an intense brawl on SmackDown. 


    Kingston, via pinfall, with arollup

    Highlights and Quotes

    "The French can't stand them. Neither can the rest of Canada."Cesaro on the Quebec fans




    Why Cesaro is being wasted in a program with Kofi Kingston, Big E and, potentially, the Intercontinental Championship is a mystery. After WrestleMania, he appeared to be on the fast track to a major singles push. Instead, he is still floating around the same midcard he was in a year ago at this time.

    There is still hope that he will be able to wade through the rest of the guys in his path to achieve the main event status so many believe he is capable of. However, being saddled with the IC title and losing matches to Kingston is not the direction he wants to be headed in.

Bo Dallas vs. El Torito

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    The product of Bo Dallas' attack on El Torito this past Friday night on SmackDown, Dallas took on the Los Matadores mascot Monday night.

    Poor comedy reigned supreme, nearly killing any and all momentum that Dallas had built for himself over the last month. Just a minute into the match, Dallas delivered the Bo-Dog and scored the win.

    During the post-match victory lap, Dallas knocked a recovering El Torito over.


    Dallas, via pinfall, following the Bo-Dog

    Highlights and Quotes

    "So inspiring. Like watching a moon landing."JBL on Bo Dallas' entrance

    "I take on all comers...little guy."Dallas

    "Bull-lieves. That's good. I like it."Jerry Lawler, in the driest way possible




    The match was a joke and exactly the type of bad comedy Dallas cannot get involved in. He got over with the audience because of the quirky nature of the character. He made every joke work within the context of the character and within the content of the matches he competed in. 

    Throwing him into contrived and unfunny comedy situations will kill the character quicker than anything. Letting him get over organically is what he really needs to remain a success and not another underwhelming NXT call-up.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE World Heavyweight champion John Cena hit the ring to a chorus of boos for the night's main event.

    The possibility of Rollins cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase hung over the match like a black cloud.

    Rollins dodged a bulldog attempt by Cena and took him down early as we headed to break.

    Rollins worked over the left arm of Cena as we returned from commercial, but Cena powered out and flattened him. The Architect of The Shield fought out of an Attitude Adjustment attempt and delivered a DDT that netted a two count.

    Cena made his comeback to a chorus of boos, delivering the Five Knuckle Shuffle and setting up for the Attitude Adjustment. Rollins landed on his feet coming out of the move but found himself trapped in the STF. Cena pulled him back into the center of the ring.

    Suddenly, the pyro exploded at the top of the ramp, and Kane made his way to the ring. Orton attacked from behind and a two-on-one beatdown ensued.

    Reigns made his way to the ring, delivering another Superman Punch to Kane and then one to Orton. Rollins laid him out with the briefcase and then followed up with one to Cena.

    Before he could cash in Money in the Bank, Ambrose attacked. He brawled around the ringside area with Rollins before fighting to the back.

    Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment, and Kane tried to chokeslam of Cena. Reigns exploded with a spear onto the Demon and was left standing tall.

    He raised Cena's arm high in the air before the two engaged in a staredown to close out the show. 


    Cena via disqualification

    Highlights and Quotes

    "We'll find out how good Seth is."JBL"

    "That is how close we came to having a new WWE World Heavyweight champion."JBL on Rollins nearly cashing in




    This was a competitive main event that told a great story of Rollins' attempts to beat Cena down bad enough to cash in his guaranteed title opportunity. The finish was wildly predictable and was a bit too close to what went down to close out last week's show. With that said, the quality of the match prior to those closing moments was enough to earn it a solid thumbs up.

    The Dean Ambrose-Seth Rollins feud remains the best in all of WWE. As long as Rollins has the briefcase, Ambrose will look to get revenge by preventing him from cashing in. It is a basic, simple storyline that every fan can associate with and understand and, thus, it's the most effective.

    Reigns continued his meteoric rise, again being one of the last men standing. His staredown with Cena helps create intrigue for a potential match between them at some point in the near future.

    That match, more than any other WWE can produce, will help Reigns achieve the stardom the company so desperately hopes he does.