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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 28

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 28, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 28

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    Credit: WWE.com

    SummerSlam grew by two matches after the July 28 edition of WWE Raw.

    Chris Jericho demanded and received a chance to step into a monster's den. Brie Bella had demands of her own, holding battery charges over Stephanie McMahon's head until there was a bout between them at the upcoming pay-per-view in place.

    Houston's Toyota Center hosted a show that began on fire and later had filler douse its flames.

    Fans who skipped the first 20 minutes of Monday's Raw missed the best promo and best match the show had to offer. John Cena, Paul Heyman and Cesaro excelled.

    Several wrestlers from Adam Rose to Naomi, Bo Dallas to Fandango, where later held back by limited ring time and a lack of creativity. The end result of those ups and downs is the proverbial mixed bag, a Raw that marched toward SummerSlam at times and dawdled toward the event at others.

    The following is a breakdown of Monday's Raw highlights and results, complete with letter grades assigned to all the action.

John Cena Talks Brock Lesnar Match

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    With his championship belts hanging around his neck, John Cena strode into the ring with a focused, intense glare. That expression shifted to one of unease once he took the mic.

    He talked about The Authority making him a marked man and having to face Brock Lesnar, whom he called the biggest destructive force in WWE.

    Cena revved up the fans by saying that even though he was going to suffer hell at SummerSlam, he would prevent Lesnar from becoming champ. 

    He noted that Paul Heyman couldn't control Lesnar, at which point Heyman himself slipped out from behind the curtain. The manager promised that Lesnar would conquer Cena. 

    Heyman warned Cena about Lesnar, reminding everyone that no one has seen or heard from Undertaker since losing to his client at WrestleMania. Angering Cena with every threat, Heyman painted a picture of a sadistic monster set on torturing the champ.

    The champ roared that he loved the WWE and that he had the ultimate passion for it. Just as he wrapped up a speech about having more heart than his opponent, Cesaro stepped onto the entrance ramp.

    He insulted Cena before challenging him. Cena accepted, saying it would be his pleasure to wrestle circles around him.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "The WWE Universe quite frankly maybe wants to see Brock Lesnar beat the hell out of me."—Cena.

    "There is a beast in my windshield and at SummerSlam. I'm going to get my ass kicked. I know that."—Cena.

    "I don't think you understand that those are mighty big words coming from a man who is about to become a victim."—Heyman to Cena.

    "The only thing that Brock Lesnar is passionate about is the sadistic pleasure when he realizes that he is inflicting pain on his victim."Heyman to Cena.

    "You can't wrestle in sneakers. Oh, that's right, you just can't wrestle."—Cesaro to Cena.

     

    Grade 

    A+

     

    Analysis

    This is Cena at his best—intense, passionate and a warrior ready for combat.

    He maximized the power of this promo, playing up Lesnar's strengths and his own gutsiness. He sold this upcoming bout as more than just a wrestling match. It is a hero battling a monster.

    Heyman was tremendous as well.

    With performances like these, not having Lesnar around every week won't be an issue. Cena added plenty of hype to the title match. 

    Cesaro's mic work wasn't as effective as his peers but had some funny moments. WWE was wise to include him here, even if he isn't going to play a factor in SummerSlam's marquee bout.

    He gets the rub of tangling with Cena. As a bonus, he gets brownie points with the IWC for taking a jab at Cena's wrestling ability.

Cesaro vs. John Cena

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    John Cena took Cesaro to the mat, looking to prove his wrestling ability. Headlock takedowns kept Cesaro's momentum from building.

    The King of Swing caught Cena in midair and flipped him over for a backbreaker before curtsying.

    On the apron, Cesaro smashed his boots into Cena's sternum. He gloated as the champ struggled to his feet outside the ring.

    The match morphed into more of a brawl, Cena and Cesaro turning to right hands rather than wrestling holds. Cena managed to slip out of Cesaro's grasp and nail the Swiss strongman with a powerbomb. A boot to the face soon shifted the advantage in Cesaro's favor.

    He then amped up the crowd by swinging Cena in the center of the ring.

    A Five Knuckle Shuffle had Cesaro stunned. Cena looked to take advantage of his dazed foe by going for an Attitude Adjustment from the top rope. That move was the first of many to fail.

    Each man blocked or countered the other's signature moves until Cena had Cesaro back on the top rope. An Attitude Adjustment from on high ended the match.

     

    Result

    Cena wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Cena hits an awkward hurricanrana.

    Cesaro has Cena's head bounce off the mat with a DDT.

    Cesaro lands on his feet during an Attitude Adjustment attempt.

    Cena ends the match with an Attitude Adjustment from the top rope.

     

    Grade 

    A-

     

    Analysis

    This bout felt a lot like a light version of Daniel Bryan vs. Cena at last year's SummerSlam thanks to the champ going for moves he doesn't often use. That led to some awkward moments, though, Cena clearly not used to going for monkey flips and hurricanranas.

    Both wrestlers still managed to tell a compelling story here.

    Cesaro was out to prove himself to be on Cena's level, which he did to a degree in pushing him so hard. Cena needed a big win on the path to SummerSlam and got it, relying more on his mat game than his brawling skills.

    It's not a strategy he should turn to often, but it made sense here and gave fans something other than the typical Cena match.

Paige and AJ Lee Clash

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    Just after WWE showed a clip of Paige attacking AJ Lee, the recent NXT transplant claimed that she and the Divas champ were still friends. An apology followed, one soon interrupted by AJ.

    AJ told Paige that real women don't pretend to like each other and gossip behind their back. Paige slipped in a crack about AJ's mental health. 

    The champ pounced on Paige, tagged her with punches before throwing her around outside. The Brit still claimed to be AJ's friend after all of this.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I don't play little-girl games."—AJ to Paige.

    "Come and get it."—AJ to Paige about her Divas title.

     

    Grade 

    C+

     

    Analysis

    Either Paige's acting skills need fine-tuning or this role is a poor fit. She's most thrived as a predator at NXT. This coy, manipulative version of herself has underwhelmed.

    There's not a ton of intensity between the two foes yet, either.

    It's great to see WWE starting the build to this probable SummerSlam matchup early, but the story needs major work. When Paige turns up the viciousness and makes AJ suffer, the narrative will pick up. For now, it remains listless. 

Triple H Defends Stephanie McMahon

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    Triple H looked to cheer up a sorrowful McMahon on their way to the ring. Triple H said that he was disappointed and disgusted that fans laughed at his wife's arrest. He promised to never forgive them for that.

    In his words, the Brie Bella and McMahon situation was merely a misunderstanding.

    McMahon struggled to speak when she had the mic. She urged Brie to come out and meet her.

    Instead, Chris Jericho sauntered out. He sang the Cops theme song until the audience joined in. Mocking McMahon and Triple H, he rambled on about the WWE Network and Triple H's hesitance to head down to the police station on last week's Raw.

    The chief operating officer told him he would have to wait until SummerSlam to face Bray Wyatt. Monday night, he would face Seth Rollins. Rollins punctuated the announcement by nailing Jericho with the Money in the Bank briefcase.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You had the guts to laugh and sing at my wife when she's thrown into a cruiser like a common criminal?"—Triple H to the fans.

    "Don't be ashamed. It's 2014. Orange is the new black."—Jericho to McMahon.

    "Stephanie is nothing more than a filthy, dirty, brutal, bottom-feeding, trash bag..."—Jericho to McMahon.

     

    Grade 

    B

     

    Analysis

    Triple H did well to play up McMahon's embarrassment and urge the fans to continue to harass her. 

    Jericho was excellent in his familiar role of insulting McMahon. It was strange that he was involved here and didn't feel natural.

    This would have been a great spot for Dean Ambrose to further make his mark and to deepen his rivalry with Rollins and The Authority had he taken Jericho's place.

The Miz, Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. The Usos and Dolph Ziggler

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    The Miz, still wearing his sunglasses, began the match against Dolph Ziggler. The Showoff charged at his enemy, but Ryback entered the fray. He and Curtis Axel kept Ziggler grounded.

    Knees to the chest had him stunned, but Jey Uso soon made his way in. The match's pace quickened with both Usos flying at their opponents. 

    Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E eventually walked out to watch the action from ringside.

    They saw Axel and Miz beat up on Jimmy Uso. The heels kept the high-flyer in their corner, but Jimmy slipped away to let Ziggler in.

    Ziggler nearly scored a three-count with a DDT, but The Miz saved his partner. Chaos unfolded from that point on, fists swinging everywhere and The Usos diving out of the ring. Ziggler eventually hit Ryback with the Zig Zag for the win.

     

    Result

    Ziggler and The Usos win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Jimmy leaps off the barricade onto Ryback.

     

    Grade 

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Fans expecting more action here because of The Usos' involvement had to be disappointed. The match didn't give anyone much chance to catch fire.

    This was no showcase of the tag champs. Instead, it was meant to be a reminder that Woods and company are still a group and are lurking.

    Hopefully, this rivalry with RybAxel is a placeholder and not what WWE has in mind for The Usos at SummerSlam. The Woods-led stable would be a far more intriguing opponent. 

Bo Dallas vs. R-Truth

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    Bo Dallas mocked R-Truth for not being undefeated like him. 

    After just a handful of moves, Dallas took a premature victory lap around the ring. When Dallas re-entered the ring, R-Truth rolled him up for a three-count. Dallas went on a rampage afterward, wrapping R-Truth's head in the apron and cracking the mic against R-Truth's head.

     

    Result

    R-Truth wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Actually, you lost a lot of matches in your career, a lot."—Dallas to R-Truth.

     

    Grade 

    D-

     

    Analysis

    It felt as if WWE got tired of telling the story of Dallas' streak. Without drama or much shock value, his run of wins ends against R-Truth of all people.

    Dallas' nasty side is a welcome sight, but it comes after a match without emotional power. Seeing him finally lose should have been a cathartic experience that had the fans delighting in his pain. Instead, it was an underplayed moment, destined to be quickly forgotten.

Rusev and Jack Swagger Meet Again

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    At first, chants of "USA!" prevented Lana from beginning her rant on the U.S. flag. Eventually, she wormed her way in, trashing Old Glory.

    As usual, she praised Vladimir Putin's strength and Barack Obama's weakness. She threw in a shot at George W. Bush as well.

    Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter stormed out with the American flag in hand. Colter delivered a speech filled with images of Americana. 

    Swagger and Rusev brawled outside the ring, The Bulgarian Brute hurling his enemy into the security barricade. An ankle lock soon had Rusev in retreat mode, both men proudly holding up their flags.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "It is a faded banner for a ruined nation ruled by cowards that get fat off of your apathy."—Lana on the U.S. flag.

    Rusev sends Swagger flying into the barricade.

     

    Grade 

    B

     

    Analysis

    Nothing new from this pair of rivals here. The same, effective nation-vs.-nation storyline carried the segment. 

    It lacked the energy that some of their other collisions have had, simply because the stakes weren't raised. 

    WWE is going to have to add some twists into the narrative to keep it from getting dull. Perhaps Rusev attacks Colter or destroys an American flag.

    However WWE arrives there, it seems clearer each time out that the destination is sure to be a Flag match at SummerSlam.

Damien Sandow vs. Adam Rose

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    Damien Sandow donned a spacesuit and waited in the ring with his helmet in hand. Adam Rose and the Rosebuds soon followed.

    Rose called him a sour spaceman and told him to be a Rosebud. Sandow responded with punches. The match ended just moments after the first blow was thrown.

    The Party Foul kept Sandow down for three. 

     

    Result

    Rose wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    None

     

    Grade 

    F

     

    Analysis

    Squash matches have their place, but the entrances shouldn't be longer than the in-ring action. Rose had no chance to showcase his skills or his move set.

    The sigh-inducing bout followed a string of cheesy lines. Sandow continues to be wasted as a punching bag, and the fun in Rose's act is being drained. 

    How can fans connect with him if he only shows up for such brief bursts?

Kane vs. Roman Reigns

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    Backstage, Randy Orton demanded to know why Brock Lesnar was going to challenge John Cena at SummerSlam and not him. Triple H explained that until he took out Roman Reigns, there would be no title shots.

    Orton snarled at his boss before storming out. 

    His frustrations over Reigns costing him a chance at the championship later compelled him to ambush Reigns on his way to the ring. The brawl moved from the crowd to ringside, Kane soon getting involved.

    The Viper and Kane overpowered Reigns. Kane chokeslammed Reigns and gave Orton a look of distrust before exiting. 

    Orton then mauled the former member of The Shield. 

    He threw him over the security barricade, DDT'd him on the floor and smashed his head on the ring steps. Orton capped off the beating with two RKOs on the announce table. He posed over a fallen Reigns, wires and broken wood strewn around Reigns' body.

     

    Result

    The match never started.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You wanna steal from me?"—Orton to Reigns. 

    With Reigns' hair in his hand, Orton lifts Reigns' face from the steps and cackles.

     

    Grade 

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Orton has so often been Triple H's lackey in recent months. This was his rare shot at being a predator on his own.

    He worked to make the crowd hate him, to drum up sympathy for Reigns and make it clear why those two men will be clashing at SummerSlam and not Kane or Triple H taking Orton's place.

    The simple, but dependable method of increasing hatred created a memorable lasting image of Reigns out cold on a broken table, a red-faced Orton towering over him. 

Fandango vs. Diego

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    Layla and Summer Rae continued their trend of making Fandango jealous by accompanying his opponent to the ring. They dressed in bullfighter-inspired gear and cheered on Diego.

    Fandango struggled to stay focused with his former partners dancing outside the ring.

    He looked to finish off Diego early with his diving leg drop. El Torito stood on the opposite corner to distract him. Fandango turned his back, allowing Diego to use a schoolboy pin to end the match.

     

    Result

    Diego wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    None

     

    Grade 

    D

     

    Analysis

    The brevity and lack of highlights that plagued Adam Rose vs. Damien Sandow came up again not long after that bout.

    At least this time, the result served to further a story. It's unclear where WWE is heading with this, but Fandango is suffering. Jealousy could lead to rage, but against whom?

    Will he charge at one of Layla and Summer's new pals or find a new Diva to send after them? There's at least a smidgen of potential in that narrative. Plus, Layla and Summer in bullfighter garb is a more appealing sight than Sandow in a spacesuit.

Natalya and Naomi vs. Cameron and Alicia Fox

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    The former Funkadactyls started the match on the apron.

    Natalya took Alicia Fox to the mat before dropkicking her in the face. The match soon turned into a brawl once Naomi got involved. She turned away from Fox to attack her former friend.

    When Cameron entered the fray, she punished Naomi by throwing her into the turnbuckle. Naomi responded with a leg scissors that forced her to tap out.

     

    Result

    Naomi and Natalya win via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Naomi leaps off the apron onto Cameron.

     

    Grade 

    C-

     

    Analysis

    It's clear that the Naomi and Cameron feud isn't over, and the flashes fans have seen of the women at their nastiest have been intriguing. Too often, though, like this match, their time onscreen is limited.

    Natalya looked good in her brief ring time. Naomi exuded the kind of passion that helps make a babyface popular. The action was over quickly with no chance to escalate the drama between the former partners.

    Naomi does get a measure of payback with the win, making the rivalry feel more even. Just a few less recaps would have allowed WWE to add a few beats to this song and make it more powerful.

Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins

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    Moments after Chris Jericho and Seth Rollins locked up, the veteran had the emerging star scurrying out of the ring. Jericho clocked Rollins with forearms, thwarted his attempt at a suicide dive and had his foe writhing with a suplex.

    Rollins went on a brief flurry or two, but Jericho kept knocking him off-balance.

    He would fly at the former world champ only to have Jericho sidestep him. Dropkicks failed, and clotheslines missed.

    It took Rollins ramming Jericho's head into the mat to shift the advantage his way. He began to punish his opponent at this point, sending Jericho face-first into the turnbuckle.

    Jericho, though, sent Rollins on his back with a back body drop from the top rope. Both men now, pegged each other with punches.

    Rollins missed the Curb Stomp. He then escaped the Walls of Jericho as the two foes traded signature moves. Jericho hit his finisher as Rollins came flying at him, but The Wyatt Family was soon in the ring hungry to hurt him.

    Bray Wyatt smashed Jericho with Sister Abigail and posed over him wearing a grin.

     

    Result

    No-contest.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Jericho knocks spit from Rollins' mouth with a forearm shot on the apron.

    Rollins calls Jericho "trash" while standing over him. 

    Jericho hits a midair Codebreaker.

     

    Grade 

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Rollins and Jericho were a few moments away from delivering the night's best match. Their chemistry seemed to improve as the action wore on.

    The Wyatt Family attack was expected and keeps Jericho in the role of the hunted. It would be beneficial to vary things up between them and to have Wyatt explain himself more. WWE still has three weeks to accomplish both of those goals.

    Rollins and Jericho, meanwhile, flashed the kind of spark that would make a future rivalry between them the attention-grabbing kind.

Stephanie McMahon and Brie Bella

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    Stephanie McMahon's voice wavered as she described how her arrest affected her. Brie Bella soon stomped into the ring.

    McMahon asked Brie to drop the charges against her.

    Brie refused, shouting at her former boss. She demanded that she get her job back. McMahon accepted begrudgingly, but Brie also wanted to face McMahon at SummerSlam.

    Amid "Yes!" chants and with tears in her eyes, McMahon agreed to the terms. She soon clocked Brie, inciting a brawl between the two that had Jamie Noble, Triple H, Finlay and other officials come out to break things up.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I think one Bella is enough in the WWE."—McMahon.

    "I refuse to lower myself to get in this ring with you."—McMahon to Brie.

    "I'm going to make you my bitch."—McMahon to Brie.

     

    Grade 

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Brie's acting ability is limited and promises to take away from the emotions this storyline is going to try to create. McMahon outshone her here in a big way.

    The executive held the segment together much like she will have to do with this feud in general.

    It's refreshing to see someone new in the night's final segment, especially two women, but it's odd how much time and effort WWE is putting into this match. Like McMahon mentioned in the ring, she hasn't competed in nearly a decade.

    Brie is not the type of performer to carry her opponent, either.

    The animosity between them here was strong. McMahon's transition from tears to a snarl was memorable. The lack of potential for where this path is actually leading to, though, tempers one's enthusiasm about the feud.

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