WWE

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 21

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 21

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    Credit: WWE.com

    With WWE Battleground in the books, the company turned its attention to SummerSlam on August 17. In one night, fans got a glimpse at what the card for that show may look like, thanks in large part to several extremely strong segments of television on Monday night's Raw.

    Brock Lesnar made his return to the company three months after conquering The Undertaker's undefeated streak. The Beast Incarnate became the No. 1 contender to John Cena's WWE World Heavyweight Championship, setting up a monumental main event for the biggest event of the second half of the year.

    Stephanie McMahon's vendetta against the Bella Twins was taken to a whole new level as she physically assaulted a visiting Brie Bella with a slap to the face, then found herself in handcuffs and charged with battery later in the show.

    The fan reaction to those two segments alone indicate that the company may have the most anticipated women's match in recent history on its hands.

    Roman Reigns continued to wage war with The Authority, Chris Jericho found himself on the receiving end of a vicious beating by The Wyatt Family, Paige unleashed a new side of herself on WWE and Divas champion AJ Lee may one day hope she never returned to the ring.

    A show much more noteworthy than the pay-per-view the company produced 24 hours earlier, the July 21 episode of Raw set the stage for what should be a wildly entertaining road to SummerSlam.

    Relive this week's broadcast by taking a look at the results, analysis and grades for everything that went down Monday night.

Triple H Promo

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Justin Roberts introduced COO Triple H to kick off the show. Just 24 hours after watching John Cena successfully retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, he prepared to reveal who will challenge Cena at SummerSlam.

    Triple H feigned being so angry that he would tweet or Instagram his anger. Then, he revealed that he would relax and enjoy the fact that he would win the war in four weeks at SummerSlam. He guaranteed that Cena will not be champion after that show, then teased who would be the man to challenge the champ.

    Randy Orton interrupted, attempting to get Triple H to hand him a match against Cena at SummerSlam. The COO told Orton that he would give the whole roster a chance to impress him.

    After a brief insult by Orton, Kane made his way to the ring, coming face-to-face with his Authority cohorts. The Big Red Monster made his argument for the title opportunity but was cut off by Roman Reigns, who made his way to the ring to a huge pop.

    Reigns stood on the ring apron and addressed the heels. He said everyone wants to see Cena vs. Reigns before clearing The Authority from the ring.

    Triple H responded by announcing Reigns vs. Kane and Randy Orton in a Handicap match to take place right now!

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I'm going to jump on social media and I'm going to tweet about until my fingers bleed."—Triple H on how to deal with the anger he is feeling after Cena's win at Battleground

    "I could relax knowing that sooner or later, I always win."—Triple H

    "If I have to wait four more weeks until SummerSlam to win, then so be it."—Triple H

    "At SummerSlam, I can guaran-damn-tee that John Cena will no longer be the WWE World Heavyweight champion."—Triple H

    "I want someone to impress me!"—Triple H

    "I know I can be the one to bring the title back to The Authority."—Kane, believing in himself way more than anyone else does at this point

    "Last time I checked, no one wants to see John Cena vs. Kane. And don't nobody want to see Randy Orton vs. John Cena again. It seems like everyone wants to see John Cena vs. Roman Reigns! Believe that!"—Reigns

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    A mediocre opening to the first Raw on the road to SummerSlam.

    Kane, Randy Orton and Roman Reigns all staked their claim for a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, which was to be expected, but it fell flat. After all three failed to take the title at Battleground, the idea of any of them challenging Cena failed to excite the audience.

    Since Handicap matches tend to be less-than-stellar, the announcement of that bout also caused a decided lack of enthusiasm from the WWE Universe.

Roman Reigns vs. Kane and Randy Orton

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    Roman Reigns faced the wrath of Triple H in a match that started right after the first break of the night.

    Reigns found himself on the receiving end of offense from both The Big Red Monster and The Viper but managed to stay in the battle with brief spurts of his own offense throughout the contest.

    The second-generation star mounted a comeback late, then capitalized on the continued dissension between Orton and Kane to score the win following a Spear on The Devil's Favorite Demon.

    After the match, Orton casually walked away from the squared circle while Reigns celebrated the win.

     

    Result

    Roman Reigns, via pinfall, following a Spear to Kane

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Better check on your guard dog."—Reigns telling Orton to check on the downed Kane

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    As a match, it was nothing special. In fact, all three performers appeared to be in cruise control as far as their ring work was concerned, but that did little to hurt the overall effect of the contest.

    Kane and Randy Orton continued to show cracks within The Authority, while Reigns scored another huge victory as he makes his way to the top of the industry.

    Most importantly, the outcome kept Reigns and Orton away from one another, leaving open the option for a huge singles bout between them at SummerSlam.

Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Eva Marie and Cameron

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    The result of Stephanie McMahon's ongoing vendetta against Brie Bella, Nikki Bella's torment continued this week as she was forced into a Four-on-One Handicap match.

    Speaking of Brie, she was shown at ringside.

    This brought Stephanie to the stage. She made her way to ringside and exchanged some words with Brie before a fight nearly broke out. Brie was escorted out of the building as the match was underway.

    The four Divas brutalized Nikki for a moment before Alicia Fox pinned her following a Scissors Kick.

     

    Result

    Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Cameron and Eva Marie via pinfall

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I think Nikki is walking to the gallows."—JBL

    "Oh look, it's the quitter Brie Bella. My favorite Bella."—Stephanie McMahon, completely sarcastically

    "I'm glad you're here because you get to watch Nikki get demolished by four other competitors."—Stephanie

    "You're such a b***h!"—Brie

    "You're doing this because I left my handprint on your face."—Brie

      

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Triple H wishes he was as effective a heel as his wife, who carried the entire segment and suddenly has fans anticipating a match between herself and Brief, if that is the direction the company chooses to take the story.

    Nikki, to her credit, has done an excellent job of making fans care about her. More impressively, she has made them feel sympathy for her throughout the ordeal, which is a testament to her and WWE Creative.

Bo Dallas vs. Damien Sandow

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    Damien Sandow made his way to the ring wearing a LeBron James Heat jersey and garnering a huge chorus of boos from the Miami crowd.

    His opponent, Bo Dallas, showed great babyface fire early before being taken down by Sandow.

    Sandow played to the audience, basking in its jeers as he worked over Dallas.

    Moments later—and from out of nowhere—Dallas landed the Bo-Dog for the win.

     

    Result

    Bo Dallas, via pinfall, following the Bo-Dog

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "No one's from Ohio."—JBL

    "Who would choose to go to Cleveland? Was Biloxi busy?"—JBL

    "They may have lost LeBron, but they gained Bo!"—JBL

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    The match accomplished two different things in that it continued to tell the story of Bo Dallas' meteoric rise while also allowing Damien Sandow to do his identity crisis deal for the week. Other than that, there was very little worth mentioning here.

The Highlight Reel with Bray Wyatt

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    Just 24 hours after Chris Jericho defeated Bray Wyatt at Battleground, Y2J hosted The Reaper of Souls on his Highlight Reel talk show.

    Prior to the arrival of Jericho, Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler discussed something that occurred between the Wyatts and Y2J on the WWE app. Suddenly, The Wyatt Family made their entrance, a sea of cellphones greeting them.

    Wyatt addressed Jericho's absence, then video from the backstage assault by the Wyatts aired.

    Wyatt discussed how he is a true savior, how he never left the way Jericho did. He downplayed the loss from Battleground and bragged about himself.

    Backstage, medics and Superstars checked on Jericho.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Where, oh where could Chris Jericho be?"—Wyatt

    "Sooner or later, they all fall down."—Wyatt, to a fallen Jericho in the pretaped video

    "Do you really think I would burden myself with such petty, squeamish things?"—Wyatt, on not being concerned with losing the battle when there is a war to be won

    "Unfortunately for you, Chris Jericho, I am forever."—Wyatt

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    Wyatt's promo work was strong, as always, but there was still no explanation for why he continues to target Jericho. Worse yet, the segment did nothing to further the feud whatsoever.

    As a result, the entire segment felt like a placeholder, not unlike the entire Battleground pay-per-view from Sunday night.

Intercontinental Champion the Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    After seeing his WWE Intercontinental Championship dreams dashed by The Miz at Battleground, Dolph Ziggler attempted to gain a measure of revenge in a non-title bout on Raw.

    Ziggler took the fight to the ringside area early and teased bashing his face into the ring steps.

    The Showoff frustrated Miz, delivering his 10 elbow drops before falling prey to a big boot and a headlock from the champion.

    Miz took control of the match, sending Ziggler into the ring post and to the arena floor as we headed to commercial break.

    The intercontinental champion pounded away at Ziggler as we returned from break. Ziggler fought back, and the Superstars exchanged several near-falls.

    Miz tried for a figure-four leglock, but Ziggler rolled him up for two. Another attempt proved successful. Ziggler fought through the pain and made it to the ropes.

    Miz countered a Zig Zag attempt and tried for the Skull Crushing Finale, but Ziggler countered and landed his second attempt at his finisher for the win.

    Miz had Justin Roberts announce him as champion despite the loss.

     

    Result

    Dolph Ziggler, via pinfall, with the Zig Zag

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I'm from Texas. English is not natural to me."—JBL after misunderstanding Michael Cole

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    A strong match between two guys with considerable chemistry.

    The win puts Ziggler in title contention and creates a rivalry over the intercontinental title that will not only benefit the competitors but the title itself.

    Ziggler is money any time he steps foot inside the squared circle, and Miz has proven himself to be more motivated than he has in years since returning. A series of matches between the polar opposites could do wonders to re-establish a title in desperate need of it.

Paige and AJ Lee vs. Natalya and Emma

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    Paige and AJ teamed up just one night after a physical battle at Battleground.

    AJ and Emma started the match for their teams. Emma outwrestled AJ early before Paige and Natalya took over.

    Natalya applied the Sharpshooter, but AJ tagged herself in. Moments later, she won with the Black Widow.

    Paige and AJ embraced after the match before Paige brought AJ down and unleashed with tremendous fury on the Divas champion.

    Paige sent AJ over the announce table to finish off the assault.

     

    Result

    Paige and AJ, via submission, when AJ forced a tapout from Natalya

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "My house!"—Paige

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The heel turn from Paige was exactly what the story needed, and the crowd response was proof of it.

    Paige looked better in one night than she did in the three months that preceded it because she was allowed to showcase some of the attitude and edginess that set her apart from the other Divas. She looked completely comfortable playing the angry, vengeful Diva, and the crowd responded accordingly.

    AJ, being the established Diva, is the perfect babyface competition.

    Most of all, the matches between them should rejuvenate the Divas division.

Zack Ryder vs. Fandango

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    Zack Ryder was accompanied to the ring by Layla and Summer Rae.

    After a brief back-and-forth match, Ryder delivered the Rough Ryder. Fandango draped his foot over the bottom rope, but Layla knocked it off.

    This allowed Ryder to pick up his first Raw win in quite some time.

    After the match, Ryder celebrated with the lovely ladies while Fandango watched from the ramp, his losing streak slowly starting to wear on him.

     

    Result

    Zack Ryder, via pinfall, following the Rough Ryder

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Zack Ryder doesn't have any idea what to do with these ladies. He's a geek."—JBL

    "For the first time in his life, Zack Ryder has lipstick on his face from someone except for his mom."—JBL

     

    Grade

    D

     

    Analysis

    Fandango's tough luck continued Monday thanks to Layla and Summer Rae, proving the old adage about women scorned correct.

    The most surprising aspect of the entire match is that Ryder was given the win. Considering his permanent place in the doghouse, it was quite improbable when the night began.

    The match was nothing special, and the angle itself is in danger of overstaying its welcome at this point.

    Fandango played both women. They got their revenge on several occasions now. Time to move on.

Stephanie Gets Arrested

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    Following a brief concert by Flo Rida, detectives arrived at ringside and arrested Stephanie McMahon for assault and battery following her actions earlier in the night.

    Brie showed up, eliciting a vow of revenge from the boss' daughter.

    The detectives took her through the backstage area and drove her away in an unmarked car while Triple H promised to get her out.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I don't want to go to jail!"—Stephanie

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    A great segment that received a tremendous pop from the fans.

    Brie vs. Stephanie is suddenly one of the most anticipated matches in WWE thanks to a night of extraordinary build and a storyline that every fan can appreciate and understand.

    Stephanie is such a strong heel that she can instantly turn anyone she opposes into one of the biggest babyfaces in the industry, something fans have seen with both of the Bella Twins. She is invaluable at this point and will justifiably be one of the key pieces of the SummerSlam puzzle.

Kofi Kingston and Big E vs. RybAxel

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    After weeks of teasing a friendship between them, Kofi Kingston and Big E formed a team and battled Ryback and Curtis Axel Monday night on Raw.

    The heels isolated Big E, wearing him down until he was able to fight back and make the hot tag to Kingston. Action reigned supreme late in the bout, leading to Kingston climbing the ropes and attempting a high cross-body block.

    Ryback rolled through the move and scored an upset pinfall victory.

    After the match, Xavier Woods appeared inside the squared circle and addressed the losers. He told them to come together and start taking what they want rather than waiting to be handed it.

     

    Result

    RybAxel, via pinfall, when Ryback pinned Kingston

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "All the problems in Dade County, and they arrest Stephanie?"—JBL

    "Together, it's our time to find purpose."—Woods

    "We do not ask. We take."—Woods

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    The segment grades as high as it does not because of the match, which was largely nondescript, but because talented performers such as Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods are finally on the verge of having something meaningful to do.

    While there will be plenty of speculation as to where the company is headed with the three Superstars, one should just be glad that they will be involved in something above and beyond being fodder for their fellow midcard stars.

The Great Khali vs. Rusev

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    After a physical war with Jack Swagger at Battleground, Rusev made his way to the ring accompanied, as always, by the "Ravishing Russian" Lana.

    Before she could say anything, The Great Khali's music played, and the big man made his way to the ring.

    Rusev used speed and agility early to dodge any offense from the former world heavyweight champion. It worked until Khali stunned him momentarily and delivered one of his trademark chops. Khali overwhelmed the rookie Rusev with more chops.

    A big kick to the shoulder and a side kick to the face by Rusev turned the tide in his favor. The Accolade finished Khali off.

     

    Result

    Rusev, via submission, with the Accolade

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Rusev is big, but he's not that big."—JBL

    "This man is completely unstoppable."—JBL

     

    Grade

    F

     

    Analysis

    An awful match that did more to hurt Rusev than help him.

    Sure, beating a Superstar as big as Khali is always impressive, but doing so in one of the worst televised matches of the year does no one any favors.

    JBL did a fine job of putting over how great a performance it was from Rusev, who overcame a bum ankle to knock off the former heavyweight champion, but even his attempt at polishing this turd proved ineffective.

Dean Ambrose vs. Cesaro

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    After making a splash by assaulting Seth Rollins on three separate occasions during the Battleground pay-per-view, Dean Ambrose would be forced to take on the suddenly Paul Heyman-less Cesaro.

    Ambrose attacked at the bell, firing away with forearms to the face of his opponent. Cesaro answered with some elbows to the head before finding himself clotheslined over the top rope and to the arena floor. Ambrose sent Cesaro into the guardrail and appeared to be in control, but he found himself sent shoulder-first into the steel post.

    A big suplex on the arena floor by Cesaro sent pain coursing through the body of Ambrose.

    Cesaro targeted the injured shoulder of Ambrose, pulling and twisting on the arm. Never one to quit, Ambrose fought back. He dove over the ropes and right into an uppercut from Cesaro, who regained control leading into the commercial break.

    The Swiss Superstar continued to control the pace of the match as we returned from break.

    Ambrose changed that, fighting out of a superplex attempt and delivering a dropkick from the top rope. A cross-body block and a tornado DDT nearly scored him a victory, but Cesaro, desperate to prove himself to Triple H, fought out at two.

    A suicide dive and a big clothesline from Ambrose continued a fiery comeback, at least until Cesaro landed a stiff clothesline of his own.

    Cesaro caught Ambrose headed up top, crotching him in the corner and tying him to the Tree of Woe. Ambrose recovered, sent Cesaro shoulder-first into the post three times and grabbed a chair from ringside.

    A shot from the shoulder brought an end to the match, but the wild and unpredictable babyface did not seem to care.

    He chased Cesaro off to end the segment.

     

    Result

    Cesaro, via disqualification, when Ambrose used a chair

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "A significant amount of more guts than brains is Dean Ambrose."—JBL

    "He's jockeying for position in The Authority if he can knock off Ambrose here tonight."—Michael Cole on Cesaro

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Ambrose vs. Cesaro was easily the match of the night, but the lack of a definitive ending was somewhat disappointing.

    The competitors worked extremely hard to send the crowd home happy, especially given the fact that the night's main event was a promo segment. The action was crisp, the hitting stiff and Ambrose continued to build upon the momentum he has garnered for himself over the last month.

    The finish did put over the unstable Lunatic Fringe gimmick while also protecting Cesaro, who could use it. As a result, the grade for the bout is not as adversely affected as it would have been had the match itself not been so strong.

Triple H's Announcement

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    With an announcement to make that was so important that he was willing to let his wife sit in jail rather than being by her side, Triple H made his way to the ring to cap off this week's episode of WWE's flagship show.

    Triple H introduced the No. 1 contender to John Cena's WWE World Heavyweight Championship, and Randy Orton made his way to the ring. Suddenly, Roman Reigns came from out of nowhere to attack The Viper, sending him into the crowd. They would brawl out of the arena, leaving Triple H stressed.

    Paul Heyman appeared and addressed Triple H.

    He told Triple H to implement plan C, which turned out to be Brock Lesnar, who made his return to WWE to a thunderous ovation by the Miami fans. Three months after ending The Undertaker's WrestleMania undefeated streak, Lesnar came face-to-face with former rival and WWE COO Triple H.

    Triple H shook Heyman's hand, indicating that he had made a deal with the devil.

    Heyman cut a passionate promo, detailing the pain and suffering Lesnar will deal to Cena at SummerSlam before capturing the WWE World Heavyweight title.

     

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Randy Orton was running to begin the night, and he's running to end it."—Jerry Lawler

    "I'd hate to point out the obvious but plan A just isn't working with Randy Orton. Not while Roman Reigns is around."—Paul Heyman

    "You need to make the dangerous choice of implementing plan C."—Heyman

    "My client officially announces his intention to conquer John Cena and take the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at SummerSlam."—Heyman

    "My client officially recognizes this divide that currently runs through the WWE Universe."—Heyman

    "There are those fans, whose mommies don't tuck them into bed at night, that will chant with great vigor 'Cena sucks!'"—Heyman

    "John Cena...you can't escape this beating!"—Heyman

    "Fifteen world titles in 10 years...now that sounds like something worth conquering."—Heyman

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    Paul Heyman delivered a promo that sold more pay-per-views and subscriptions to the WWE Network for the SummerSlam showdown between his client, Brock Lesnar, and WWE World Heavyweight champion John Cena than anything the company has done to this point.

    Heyman was masterful as he talked up the accomplishments of his client, discussed the disdain that a large portion of the audience has for Cena and promised to bring about the end of the Cenation come August 17.

    The match may not be a fresh one, but with Heyman handling Lesnar's side of the promotion for it, expect fans to be completely sold on the bout by the time the biggest show of the summer arrives.

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