WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from August 4
With just under two weeks until SummerSlam, World Wrestling Entertainment rolled into the great state of Texas for the first Raw of August.
Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon once again took center stage Monday night as they signed the contract for their huge match at SummerSlam. They exchanged verbal smackdowns, but it was Stephanie turning to physical assault that led to her standing tall to close out the night's broadcast.
John Cena and Brock Lesnar's monumental clash on August 17 was hyped courtesy of a video package that put the emphasis on the importance of the match. Neither man appeared before the live audience nor did they have to.
Chris Jericho evened the odds for his match against Bray Wyatt by defeating Luke Harper but ultimately found himself meeting Sister Abigail once again.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns each got the best of The Authority and, as a result, enter Main Event and SmackDown riding a wave of momentum. Can they maintain it, or will Seth Rollins and Randy Orton turn the tides back in their favor entering the biggest show of the summer?
Missed the show or simply want to relive this week's episode of WWE's flagship show? Do so now with the grades, analysis and results of the August 4 episode!
The Authority Promo
Triple H, Randy Orton and Kane joined Triple H and Stephanie McMahon to kick off the evening's broadcast. The Authority was greeted with a chorus of boos, as Michael Cole, JBL and Jerry Lawler welcomed viewers.
The COO repeatedly shilled the WWE Network and ran down the SummerSlam card, which now features Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose. He announced a Beat the Clock Challenge featuring Rollins and Ambrose with the winner choosing the stipulation for the bout. Ambrose will face Alberto Del Rio and Rollins will take on Rob Van Dam.
Stephanie began to talk and was nearly drowned out with boos, which she mocked. She vowed to put Brie in her place later in the night, if necessary.
The shilling for the WWE Network continued, and the crowd played along.
Randy Orton took the microphone and began to address Roman Reigns and his actions from last week when Reigns made his way through the crowd to a huge ovation. He offered to destroy Orton, but Triple H booked a Last Man Standing match between Reigns and Kane instead.
The match, he revealed, started immediately.
Highlights and Quotes
"I think, quite frankly, this could be the biggest SummerSlam card in history."—Triple H, giving himself a verbal pat on the back for crafting such a card
"I'm glad to see you, too. Look, I'm even wearing cowboy boots."—Stephanie on the boos
"If Brie Bella gets out of line, I will slap her so hard she'll end up in a hospital bed right next to her husband Daniel Bryan."—Stephanie on her contract signing with Brie later in the night
"I promise you will see me continue to methodically decimate Roman Reigns."—Randy Orton on his plans for SummerSlam
"I took everything the Viper had last week and I'm still standing right here!"—Reigns
"I'm gonna come down there, and I'm gonna beat the Viper's ass for free, tonight!"—Reigns
WWE Creative has done a tremendous job of crafting the SummerSlam card and deserved to have its hard work celebrated here. Three or four of the biggest matches could conceivably headline the show given the build put into them, and that was evident by the crowd response to Triple H's reveal.
Reigns' return to television and his desire to fight Orton following last week's brutal attack was perfect and put over his considerable toughness. That he did not blink when the match with Kane was made continued that trend.
Stephanie was easily the biggest heel in the ring, and the crowd responded accordingly. Her brief promo put heat on the contract signing later in the night, a segment that should be spectacular given the work she and Brie Bella put into the program thus far.
Last Man Standing Match: Roman Reigns vs. Kane
The action was hot from the bell with Reigns taking the Devil's Favorite Demon down with a big clothesline. Kane responded with a hellish DDT.
Outside the ring, Reigns whipped Kane into the steps, leaving him prone to the referee's count. Moments later, Kane returned the favor, but Reigns recovered.
The Big Red Monster grabbed a kendo stick from underneath the ring and unleashed his fury on the second-generation star before blasting him in the face with the steel steps. Reigns turned the tide just as we headed to the second break of the night.
Back from break, Reigns reversed an Irish whip into the corner, sending Kane face-first into a steel chair. Reigns fired away with few big rights and delivered a huge leaping clothesline. A series of corner clotheslines left Kane reeling and prone to the jumping boot to the skull.
Reigns sent Kane into steel steps that had been set up on the ramp earlier in the night. The referee reached the count of six, but Kane made it back to his feet. Reigns' answer? A table.
Kane caught Reigns during a Superman Punch attempt and delivered a chokeslam through the table. Reigns made it to his feet at the count of nine, leaving Kane visibly frustrated.
Reigns countered a Tombstone attempt on a chair with a DDT, delivered the Superman Punch on his second try and delivered the Spear. The official began the count as Kane's body tried, unsuccessfully, to make it back to his feet.
Roman Reigns via referee count
Highlights and Quotes
"I don't think Roman Reigns is thinking anything about this being his first Last Man Standing match."—Jerry Lawler
"Reigns has done enough to Randy Orton. He can wait."—JBL
"A Cessna attack. That's what Reigns is all about."—Michael Cole
Trying to get a good match out of Kane at this point in his career, without a plethora of Superstars to pick up the slack, is like pulling teeth. Monday was the exception, as he and Reigns had a fun, entertaining, hard-hitting gimmick bout that continued to put Reigns over on the road to SummerSlam.
With a huge match against Orton on the horizon, Reigns proved that he can get hardcore and violent when the situation calls for it, something that makes him incredibly dangerous to The Viper.
It was a fine way to continue positioning Reigns as a threat to someone as established and accomplished as Orton, something that he and any other Superstar looked at as what the future of the industry needs if he is to be accepted by the audience in that role.
It was a much better match, with much better booking, than expected.
SummerSlam Main Event Preview
As the company continues to hype the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Cena and Lesnar, it produced a video package that played very much like a hype video one would see in the NFL or UFC.
Highlights and Quotes
"Bad things happen to good people when you step into the ring with Brock Lesnar."—Paul Heyman
"Who is Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar is an ass-kicking son-of-a-b****."—Lesnar
"As long as I get my hands on my opponent and make him feel my pain, that's what makes me happy." —Lesnar
"I'm coming off the biggest win of my career in WWE. I just beat The Undertaker. But the thing is, I knew I was going to beat The Undertaker. Everyone knew I was going to beat The Undertaker. They just didn't want to believe it."—Lesnar
"It's not rocket science, people. Why wouldn't Brock Lesnar be able to beat The Undertaker? Why wouldn't Brock Lesnar be able to beat John Cena?"—Lesnar
"I'm going to rip John Cena limb from limb. It's going to be ugly, people."—Lesnar
"Come get some."—Cena, unimpressed with the threats of Heyman from last week.
"I want to be the one who beat the one."—Cena
"If I would have stayed here, there would have been no John Cena. He would have been buying boxes of Fruity Pebbles and eating them at home instead of getting paid to eat them."—Lesnar
"For 12 years, I have dedicated my life to this company—12 years, every show, all the time. I'm not going in to lose."—Cena
"I'm going to leave him in a pile of blood and urine and vomit."—Lesnar
It does not get any better than this. WWE's production company came through in a big way, producing a video that made John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar feel like the biggest match of all time.
Major props to Lesnar, who cut the best promo of his career, a promo born in honesty and bluntness that Superstars adhering to the script elsewhere on the show simply are incapable of. It was outstanding, as was Cena's straight-forward approach to the video.
If one was not excited about this match prior to Monday night, odds are the stellar work from all involved with the hype piece have changed their mind.
Mark Henry vs. Damien Sandow
The Oklahoma fight song played, and Damien Sandow came to the ring in Oklahoma Sooners garb, eliciting a huge chorus of boos from the University of Texas faithful.
Justin Roberts introduced Mark Henry, who made his return in front of his home-state crowd.
Seconds into the match, Henry caught Sandow and planted him with the World's Strongest Slam for the uncontested win.
Mark Henry, via pinfall, with the World's Strongest Slam.
Highlights and Quotes
"Throughout history, the Oklahoma Sooners have dominated the Texas Longhorns."—Sandow
"This guy couldn't be in the band."—JBL on Sandow talking football
"I have a feeling the boy from Silsbee doesn't take too kindly to this Dr. Death wannabe up there."—JBL
"It's not like they're known for their aptitude."—JBL on Oklahomans
"God bless Texas...and may God close Oklahoma."—JBL
This was an excuse to reintroduce Mark Henry to the WWE Universe and get some cheap shots in at Oklahomans, most likely at the expense of Jim Ross, because Vince McMahon still thinks it's 2005.
Beat the Clock Challenge: Dean Ambrose vs. Alberto Del Rio
Ambrose made his way to the ring to a fairly sizable pop as he prepared to do battle with Del Rio, with the opportunity to name the stipulation for his match against Rollins at SummerSlam at stake.
Del Rio was aggressive early, using kicks to attack his opponent. Ambrose answered with a flurry of right hands and a quick nearfall.
The former WWE and World Heavyweight champion forced Ambrose to chase him around ringside, then he sent him into the guardrail as he attempted to buy time, undoubtedly at the behest of The Authority. He wore the Lunatic Fringe down with a headlock as the Texas fans tried to will the babyface Ambrose back into the match.
Del Rio targeted the injured shoulder of Ambrose in an attempt to set up his vaunted Cross ArmBreaker. Ambrose caught his opponent with a big suplex on the arena floor as he mounted somewhat of a comeback.
Ambrose caught Del Rio coming off the top rope with a shot to the midsection, a series of punches and a cross body block. Del Rio countered a Tornado DDT and leveled Ambrose with the straight kick to the face before sending him to the arena floor as we headed to break.
Back from the break, Ambrose found himself on the receiving end of a beating before avoiding a charging Del Rio and diving through the ropes at his opponent.
A second attempt at the Tornado DDT proved successful, but Del Rio shot his shoulder off the mat just before the three-count.
Ambrose ultimately countered the Cross ArmBreaker with Dirty Deeds for the win.
Dean Ambrose, via pinfall, following Dirty Deeds
Time to beat: 15:42
Highlights and Quotes
"We're jumping the gun here thinking Dean Ambrose is going to set the time. He's gotta beat Alberto Del Rio."—JBL
"For $9.99, you can watch all of my matches on the WWE Network."—JBL
"I think Mexico's greatest export took it personally that Dean Ambrose thought he was going to come out here and beat him."—JBL
"Dean Ambrose just won this match with one arm!"—JBL
Ambrose and Del Rio had an outstanding match here, one that was probably five minutes too long. Early on, it felt every bit like two wrestlers who knew they were going for a while, and as a result, it killed the urgency of the match.
Only after the commercial break in the middle of the contest did it ever feel like Ambrose realized the importance of beating Del Rio.
With that said, the match was outstanding. Ambrose is just a great babyface, and Del Rio's work continues to be far better than it should be for someone who has become as much of an afterthought as he has over the last year.
It is a shame that an extended program between them, one that could help restore some of the luster to Del Rio, is unlikely given their positions on the card.
Sin Cara vs. Rusev
Rusev and Lana made their way to the squared circle, much to the dismay of the Texas crowd. Michael Cole hyped the Flag match between the Bulgarian Brute and Jack Swagger upcoming on August 17 at SummerSlam as we headed to break.
The entire match between Sin Cara unfolded on the WWE App during the commercial. As one could guess, Rusev destroyed his opponent and forced a tapout with the Accolade.
After the match, Lana sang "Happy Birthday" to President Obama in Russian, to the disapproval of the WWE Universe.
This brought out Swagger and Zeb Colter to one of the biggest pops of the night.
Colter expressed his disgust with Lana's constant support of Russia, then he told the story of the men and women Swagger is fighting for come SummerSlam.
"We the people!" ended the promo, but Rusev got the upper hand, assaulting Swagger and leaving the former World Heavyweight champion lying at ringside. Rusev turned his attention toward Colter. He backed him into the corner but did him no harm, leaving the ring on Lana's orders.
Rusev, via submission, with the Accolade
Highlights and Quotes
"No wonder Russian men drink so much vodka."—Colter on Lana's shrill voice
"Jack Swagger is going to be fighting for the fifty stars and 13 bars, defending its honor. But you're going to be fighting every American in the world."—Colter
"The only thing that's going to get crushed, Natasha, is your ego."—Colter
The match between Rusev and Sin Cara was entirely unnecessary. The segment could have existed exactly as it was, and it would have had the same impact.
Colter's promo was passionate, and the crowd in Texas ate all of it up. It was exactly what it needed to be as Swagger and Rusev get ready to blow off their program at SummerSlam.
How they manage to get fans to care going forward, after they have seen just about everything the feud has to offer at this point, is the real question.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro
Dolph Ziggler continued to put himself in Intercontinental Championship contention as he took on Cesaro on this week's show.
Cesaro caught Ziggler with a big boot and wore him down with a headlock. He caught the Showoff in a backbreaker and scored a nearfall out of it.
Cesaro showed off strength with a one-armed suplex but Ziggler fought out and landed the Zigzag for the win.
After the match, The Miz confronted Ziggler, as a chant of "you can't wrestle" was directed at the champion. Ziggler teased a superkick, which The Miz ducked out of the way of, leaving Ziggler standing.
Michael Cole announced that Ziggler vs. The Miz has been added to SummerSlam.
Dolph Ziggler, via pinfall, with the Zigzag
Highlights and Quotes
"Why is your voice so hoarse? Because you talk about yourself so much?"—Michael Cole to The Miz
"Losers think about losing; winners think about winning."—Miz
This was as textbook as it gets from a booking standpoint. It was by the numbers with nothing new added to the program.
Cesaro has fallen off tremendously over the last two months and was a glorified jobber during Monday's show.
Ziggler is the perfect first opponent for The Miz in that he can get a great match out of the champion and get his title reign off to a hot start.
Goldust and Stardust vs. RybAxel
The feud that will NEVER end continued Monday night, as Goldust and Stardust returned to the ring to take on RybAxel.
Goldust got off to a quick start but found himself isolated from his partner. After a few minutes, he made the hot tag to Stardust, who exploded into the ring with a furious offensive attack. A hiptoss into a dropkick floored Axel and Dark Matter, and a facebuster variation won it for the babyface.
Goldust and Stardust, via pinfall, when Stardust pinned Axel
Highlights and Quotes
"Stardust is insane!"—JBL
"Bottom line, King, this has to be Dusty's fault."—JBL
"Ryback's not exactly far up on the evolutionary chain. He's got close relatives on all fours."—JBL
"Go ahead John. I want your expert analysis of that."—Michael Cole
The crowd was not nearly into the match, as one would have expected, given all of the Goldust and Stardust vignettes that have aired recently.
With that said, the fans did come alive somewhat when Stardust got the hot tag and were receptive to the finish, though that may have been because the match was over rather than their genuine excitement for the action unfolding before them.
It was not the best way to reintroduce the brothers to the live crowd.
Chris Jericho vs. Luke Harper
As was the case Friday night, a Jericho win over Luke Harper would ban another Wyatt Family member from ringside for Y2J's match against Bray Wyatt.
Harper was accompanied by Erick Rowan, but there was no sign of Wyatt. The big man assaulted Jericho from the moment the bell rang, wearing him down with a few uppercuts and running over him with a big shoulder block.
Harper applied a headlock, but Jericho fought back, only to find himself on the receiving end of the Michinoku Driver. He caught Y2J with a big boot and a sit-out powerbomb that netted a two-count.
The running bulldog grounded Harper momentarily, and a dropkick took Rowan off the ring apron. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho, but before Harper could tap, the arena went dark and Bray Wyatt appeared in the aisle.
Rather than being distracted, Jericho caught both Rowan and Harper with Codebreakers, then he won the match by disqualification when Wyatt got involved.
Wyatt caught Jericho in the throat, leaving Y2J gasping for air and finishing him off with Sister Abigail to a chorus of boos.
Chris Jericho via disqualification
Highlights and Quotes
"The stakes are absolutely huge, Michael. All SummerSlam hangs in the balance."—JBL on the importance of Wyatt losing both Harper and Rowan
This was a hugely disappointing match from two guys capable of so much more than what they showed Monday night. The crowd hardly did them any favors, the length of the show wearing on them. Still, that does not make up for the lackluster bout they were presented.
Even the post-match angle involving Wyatt was as generic and tired as anything involving the Reaper of Souls since his debut last July.
It was completely ineffective in making fans any more or less excited about the Jericho-Wyatt match at SummerSlam.
Diego vs. Fandango
Summer Rae, Layla and El Torito accompanied Diego, while Fandango was seconded by Hornswoggle.
Diego used speed to keep Fandango off guard, and a miscommunication spot with Hornswoggle led to a Backstabber by Diego for the win.
After the match, Layla and Summer convinced Hornswoggle to dance with them, drawing the ire of Fandango. When all was said and done, the dancer was gone, and Hornswoggle and El Torito danced with Divas.
Diego, via pinfall, with the Backstabber
Highlights and Quotes
"Look at this crew. Good God, no wonder we lost at the Alamo."—JBL
"He was just dancing for you, John. Perhaps you can get a private session."—Michael Cole
"We're going to commercial with me saying nothing."—JBL
Layla and Summer Rae can wear the heck out of daisy dukes. Other than that, it was a completely unproductive segment with absolutely no barings on SummerSlam or anything happening at that show.
R-Truth vs. Bo Dallas
The inspirational Bo Dallas made his way to the ring just one week after losing his first match. His opponent this week? The same man that knocked him off last week, R-Truth.
Truth showed tremendous babyface fire, catching Dallas in the face with a big splash and delivering a heel kick. Seconds later, Dallas reversed a rollup and held the tights for the win.
After the match, Truth assaulted Dallas, sending him into the guardrail. Dallas responded by sending Truth into the steel steps and delivering the Bo-Dog on the floor.
Bo Dallas, via pinfall, with a rollup
Highlights and Quotes
"Vince Young was here earlier. I'm sure he's inspired."—JBL
"Bo Dallas defended himself, and suddenly he's the bad guy."—JBL
"Teach your kids to grow up and win at any cost!"—JBL
Bo Dallas avenged the loss from last week by defeating R-Truth, but having to cheat to beat someone largely considered to be a glorified jobber at this point in his career is hardly the way to put Dallas over strong. It is not a feud with said overhyped enhancement talent.
The post-match angle was interesting, as Dallas showed a hint of intensity and aggression that he had not previously, indicating that there may be an edginess to the character that WWE Creative is planning to explore in the coming weeks.
Beat the Clock: Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins...or Is It?
The second match of the night's Beat the Clock Challenge featured Rob Van Dam returning to the ring for the first time in weeks to take on Rollins.
Justin Roberts announced prior to the match that Van Dam will not be Rollins' opponent. Instead, it will be Heath Slater.
Slater refused Rollins' offer to walk away, firing away with rights, but finding himself in the corner, the recipient of brutal stomps about the upper body.
Ambrose appeared at ringside, distracting Rollins, and allowing Slater to execute a neckbreaker that netted him a two-count.
Ambrose taunted Rollins, tearing the title contract that was inside the Money in the Bank briefcase in half, then thirds. Slater nearly scored the win off of another nearfall, while Ambrose grabbed a drink from a fan and emptied it into the briefcase.
Throughout the match, Rollins found himself distracted by Ambrose and ultimately paid for it as Slater rolled him up for the huge upset win.
Heath Slater, via pinfall, with a rollup
Highlights and Quotes
"Can he beat RVD?"—JBL, who has been quite good throughout the night when not making stupid jokes
"You have to believe Seth Rollins can beat Heath Slater in less than 15:42."—Michael Cole really putting Slater over strong
"What does he get if he wins? He earns the ire of the Authority, for starters."—Jerry Lawler with a great point
Last week, R-Truth became the first Superstar to beat Bo Dallas. This week, Slater became the first Superstar to pin Rollins since he joined The Authority.
Ambrose distracting Rollins at ringside was outstanding and exactly the type of thing the unpredictable Ambrose would do as he attempted to infuriate Rollins and cause the desired outcome.
Slater is a lovable loser, the type that fans grow to love, regardless of his win-loss record. Giving him a win over someone as protected as Rollins was a great reward for the hard work he has put in over the last three or so years.
Contract Signing: Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon
For the second consecutive week, the rivalry between Brie Bella and Stephanie McMahon closed out Raw, this time with a huge contract signing for their match at SummerSlam.
Stephanie was accompanied to the ring by husband Triple H and seemed to bask in the jeers that greeted her return to the squared circle. Nikki accompanied Brie.
Brie and Stephanie exchanged insults to start before footage of the latter's arrest from two weeks ago aired.
Brie cut a lengthy promo, promising to get revenge for every single person that has been tormented by Stephanie and The Authority.
Stephanie slapped Brie, who found herself trapped between the table and the corner, forced to watch as Stephanie delivered a Pedigree to Nikki.
Brie slapped Triple H but was slammed face-first off the table before enduring a Pedigree of her own. Stephanie locked lips with her husband and stood tall to close out the show.
Highlights and Quotes
"Usually when an icon steps out of retirement for such a major match, I oversee the entire thing."—Triple H, clearly proud of his wife
"Where is your puny little hippy, dippy husband anyway?"—Stephanie
"I'm not going to just beat you, I'm going to embarrass you."—Brie
"I'm going to send a message to the entire world that the powerful Stephanie is nothing but a fraud, a failure, an embarassment to the McMahon family."—Brie
"This is for Vickie Guerrero, the Big Show, the Rhodes family."—Brie
"You are nothing more than a wannabe reality star, abandoned her husband and stole the spotlight from her sister just to make a name for herself off of me at SummerSlam."—Stephanie
"I'm embarrassed just to be in the same ring as you, and at SummerSlam, I'm going to put an end to your pathetic attempt to make history."—Stephanie.
This was not as heated as the previous segments between the two but the contract signing featured some strong promo work from both women. More importantly, it featured an emphatic exclamation point in the form of two Pedigrees by the hated McMahon.
It is so refreshing to see WWE Creative putting so much emphasis on a Divas rivalry. Sure, it featured the boss's daughter and, thus, was sure to benefit from increased television exposure. With that said, the program is proof positive that if a little effort is made, the feuds between female talent can be just as hot and energetic as those involving their male counterparts.
It was a fine way to close out this week's show and a great next chapter in the Brie Bella-Stephanie McMahon saga.