WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Aug. 11

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterAugust 12, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Aug. 11

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    Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

    The Aug. 11 edition of WWE Raw celebrated SummerSlam's feuds and, for the most part, effectively sold fans on the pay-per-view.

    John Cena prevented Brock Lesnar from sending a ring full of legends to the emergency room, Dean Ambrose tore his way out of a gift-wrapped present and Stephanie McMahon had Brie Bella sent to a jail cell.

    Fans in Portland, Oregon, witnessed some heavy-handed pushing of the WWE Network and a handful of compelling matches. They saw Heath Slater's winning streak live on as well.

    The show was not without its flaws or questionable decisions, but it did well to amp up animosity between SummerSlam's rivals. Hulk Hogan and a physical therapist played their part in adding depth to existing feuds.

    How well did WWE gets the audience hyped for SummerSlam? How well did it entertain en route to that event?

    The following is a look at the victors, highlights and letter grades for all the matches and segments on the SummerSlam go-home show.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar Open the Show

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    Brock Lesnar entered the ring area with an adjustment to his T-shirt. It now reads: "Eat. Sleep. Conquer John Cena."

    Paul Heyman introduced himself and charged right into talk of Lesnar becoming WWE champ at SummerSlam. He spoke of Cena suffering, Lesnar defeating Undertaker and The Beast Incarnate's past conquests.

    Heyman said that after SummerSlam, Cena wouldn't be around any longer.

    He showed images of Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 and him bloodying Cena at Extreme Rules 2012. Heyman then spit a methodical rhyme where he called himself an "advocating Jew." 

    Lesnar glared into the camera as Heyman smirked behind him.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "If I have to come out here right now and explain the history-making beating that John Cena will suffer this Sunday at SummerSlam, you're missing the entire point."—Heyman.

    "The beating that awaits John Cena is that of a Shakespearean tragedy."—Heyman.

    "My client wants you to know that this is Brock's house now."—Heyman.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Heyman, as usual, was masterful here.

    The same threats and the same promises came from Heyman's mouth. He then added a semi-rap to add variety.

    A lack of confrontation from Cena or Hulk Hogan or anybody limited how memorable this could be, though.

    As good as this was, Heyman already delivered the perfect version of this speech on July 21.

Roman Reigns vs. RybAxel

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    Once again wearing a suit and tie, Kane announced that he was resuming his Director of Operations duties. Per The Authority's orders, he booked Roman Reigns for a Handicap match against Curtis Axel and Ryback.

    Axel mocked Reigns before they locked up. He tried to get the powerhouse into the corner, but Reigns brushed him off.

    Ignoring the insults coming his way, Reigns knocked Ryback off his feet with a clothesline. He followed up with a series of right hands. 

    RybAxel's numbers advantage eventually allowed them to gain control. Even after his enemies pounded on him, though, Reigns countered with hard shots.

    Ignoring the referee's orders, Ryback and Axel repeatedly smashed Reigns into the ring post. The referee called for the bell, but the villains charged on. Reigns would not stay down, though.

    He knocked both men onto their backs with Superman punches and spears. 

    Afterward, Renee Young asked him if he was ready for SummerSlam. He played to the crowd, threatening to take Orton down.

     

    Result

    Reigns wins via disqualification.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You're nothing but a punk kid."—Axel to Reigns.

    Ryback powerbombs Reigns out of the corner. 

    "Does the Roman Empire stand? It did tonight."—JBL.

    "What's a viper when you knock its fangs down its throat? A worthless, little worm."—Reigns.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    There's no guessing required when it comes to WWE's opinion of Reigns. He not only survived this two-on-one battle, he came away victorious, felling both foes.

    This match paints Reigns as a destroyer, thrusting him forward for his SummerSlam match with Randy Orton.

    It's a logical move, as The Authority looks unjust in putting Reigns in this situation and Reigns looks valiant in overcoming it. Attaching big wins to a Superstar's resume makes him a believable champion, something the company seems to preparing Reigns for.

    The match was nothing special, a showcase of the usual Reigns' highlights. This doesn't rank as one of his most compelling bouts. 

    He did connect well with the crowd in his brief promo. He seemed to be loose and having fun. That allowed him to surpass his usual mic work.

    Ryback and Axel fall lower on the card with the loss. It's hard to take them serious as threats when just one man topples them...even if that man is WWE's new Superman.

Rob Van Dam vs. Seth Rollins

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    Rage fueled Seth Rollins early on. He bashed Rob Van Dam with punches and forearms.

    He soon had Van Dam on the mat where he smashed his boot into his chest. Mr. Monday Night fought back with some swift kicks. Van Dam draped him across the barricade and dove at him, but Rollins evaded the blow, sending the former world champ crashing.

    Neither man sustained the advantage for long.

    Rollins tried to ground Van Dam. The high-flyer fought back with Rolling Thunder and his usual array of exciting moves, getting a few near-falls in the process. 

    In just moments, though, Rollins drove Van Dam's head into the mat with the Curb Stomp. 

    After his win, he walked by Hulk Hogan's presents on the entrance ramp. He nervously dug around the gifts. His suspicions were right on.

    Ambrose tore out of a gift-wrapped box to attack Rollins. He chased down his old friend who scurried through the audience like a cockroach.

     

    Result

    Rollins wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Van Dam sends Rollins wobbling around the ring with a kick to the brow.

    Ambrose tears through wrapping paper to attack Rollins.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    The short match featured a few bursts of thrills. Rollins and Van Dam had good chemistry, but it was more of a means to boost Mr. Money in the Bank rather than produce a standout bout.

    Ambrose's attack afterward was the real highlight.

    After weeks of the same brawling scene playing out, WWE wisely changed things up. It ranks as one of the most memorable ambushes in these two enemies' rivalry.

Stephanie McMahon's Confession

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    Stephanie McMahon invited Daniel Bryan's physical therapist, Megan, down to the ring. McMahon reminded her that she was a victim as she encouraged her to tell her story.

    Megan tearfully explained that she's been having an affair with Bryan.

    Brie Bella soon came storming down to the ring. She got in Megan's face, while McMahon mocked her. Brie slapped the physical therapist and then put McMahon in the Yes! Lock.

    McMahon then growled that she wouldn't wait until SummerSlam. The two women would fight on Raw.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "He called you a dead fish."—McMahon to Brie.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    For this SummerSlam match to be successful, it is going to have to lean on emotion to carry it. That element was strong here as a frenzied Brie went after McMahon.

    McMahon was her usual effectively irritating heel, and Brie showed the kind of fire she'll need to have to make their pay-per-view match work.

    The introduction of the affair comes off as a bit cheap, but it adds new motivation for Brie. It's just one more reason she will have in wanting to tear McMahon's hair out.

Jack Swagger vs. Cesaro

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    The opening moments of the bout looked like an amateur wrestling match, but Cesaro stomping on Jack Swagger's sternum quickly stopped that.

    Cesaro attacked Swagger's taped ribs with knees, punches and a suplex. An abdominal stretch continued the punishment. 

    The patriot momentarily held off Cesaro's attack with a belly-to-belly suplex, but The King of Swing kept walloping his old tag team partner. A shot off the apron had Swagger writhing on the floor.

    Fighting through the pain, a red-faced Swagger threw big right hands and gritted through a Swagger Bomb. They battled on the ring apron before Cesaro threw Swagger in the air and smashed him with a knee to the gut.

    It took Swagger sending Cesaro flying off the top rope while clutching to his ankle and cranking the Patriot Lock to give The All-American American the win.

    Swagger and Rusev had another staredown after this bout. The Russian flag hung behind Zeb Colter as he talked up SummerSlam.

     

    Result

    Swagger wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Cesaro bites off some of Swagger's rib tape.

    Cesaro hits a senton onto Swagger's torso.

    Swagger grabs Cesaro's ankle as he dives onto his chest and turns it into the ankle lock.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Cesaro looked like a cunning strategist here. He adjusted his move set to focus on Swagger's weak point. Swagger looked gutsy and resilient.  

    That kind of mutually beneficial effect is what every match should strive for.

    The story of the match and its intensity made it one of the most entertaining of the night. Looking forward, it gave Swagger a big win heading into SummerSlam, but it also highlighted the weakness Rusev will surely look to exploit.

Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt Interview

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    Michael Cole attempted to interview Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt, but The Eater of Worlds shooed the announcer away.

    Jericho angrily looked on as Wyatt rambled. The Wyatt Family leader talked of his mission to help people through hurting them, along with not being subject to consequences for his actions and self-hate.

    Y2J responded by saying that Wyatt wouldn't know what side of Jericho he was getting at SummerSlam. He promised to be the first WWE Superstar to leave Wyatt speechless.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You can't just whisper them words anymore. You have to scream it until their ears bleed."—Wyatt to Jericho.

    "I have hurt a lot of people. For this, I am not the least bit sorry."—Wyatt to Jericho.

    "I hate everything this whole damn world has ever created including me."—Wyatt to Jericho.

    "I'm going to follow the buzzards. I'm going to grab them and shove them down your throat."—Jericho to Wyatt.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    A unique format and two mic masters created a chilling scene.

    Wyatt delivered some of his best lines to date, and Jericho borrowed from his past, exuding the coldness that he expressed during his heel run back in 2008.

    The result was a surplus of tension and a peek into Wyatt's motivations. WWE could certainly have been clearer early on in this feud about what this fight was all about, but the company may be unfolding the narrative slowly to let it stretch out for a number of pay-per-views.

    Both men accomplished the goal of upping interest in their SummerSlam meeting here.

AJ Lee vs. Eva Marie

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    AJ Lee and Eva Marie barely got their match started when Paige came down to the ring. The distraction allowed Eva to roll the champ up for the win.

    Paige then recited a poem to her "friend." In it, she mentioned a desire to punch AJ's face and promised to leave SummerSlam with the Divas title.

    A sour AJ took out her anger on Eva. She smashed her head against the announce table and rammed her into the side of the ring.

     

    Result

    Eva Marie wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Roses are red, wood chips are beige. I'm sorry I pushed you right off this stage."—Paige to AJ.

    AJ throws Eva into the barricade.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    The overdone distraction finish ended a match that may have run about 30 seconds.

    The rage-filled AJ who emerged from this clash was a welcome sight, but WWE could have arrived at that point in a much more entertaining way. Fans could see the outcome coming as Paige's music hit and AJ began to stare her down rather than focus on Eva.

    The AJ and Paige story has had some moments to keep the animosity flowing, but it hasn't been given nearly the same attention as Stephanie McMahon vs. Brie Bella has.

    If fans went to the fridge for a snack, they may have missed this entire segment, match, beatdown, poem and all.

John Cena Responds

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    Cena mocked Heyman decked in gear that looked like something an employee at a fast food chain would be forced to wear.

    He promised that Lesnar would not beat him. He painted Lesnar as an outsider, as a man undeserving of the WWE title. 

    Cena tallied all the chants that came his way before promising a darker, more aggressive side of him at SummerSlam. It's necessary to become a beast in order to fight a beast, he explained.

    Taking off the championship belts, he challenged Brock Lesnar to come down and face him. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I am not lying down for Brock Lesnar."—Cena.

    "When does John Cena unleash hell?"—Cena.

    "This is your house."—Cena to the fans.

    "There's a stranger in your house. Come and try to kick me out."—Cena calling out Lesnar.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    Cena hit the ideal balance of humor and intensity, reaching both the diehard and casual fans in the process.

    Most of his promo was articulated rage. The bits of humor he threw in elevated it. In addition, Cena said that he was going to undergo a heel turn of sorts, becoming a version of himself he's not proud of.

    The powerful performance grabbed hold of the audience's attention and added new expectations for his match with Lesnar. It's a moment like this that has Cena reminding us all why he's been WWE's top guy for so long.

Brie Bella vs. Stephanie McMahon

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    Brie Bella waited in the ring. Stephanie McMahon, though, came out not dressed to compete.

    She explained that Daniel Bryan's physical therapist had decided to press charges. Two police officers read Brie her rights, handcuffed her and escorted her out of the building.

    McMahon grinned as she mocked her SummerSlam opponent.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Are those handcuffs tight?"—McMahon to Brie.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    McMahon gets the final blow in before SummerSlam. It's not as if Brie needs more motivation, but she got it here with a mirror image of what she did to McMahon weeks ago.

    It wasn't a great standalone segment because of its brevity, but as a part of the larger story, it's a good addition. WWE will have plenty of clips to show in the promo video for this match.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Heath Slater

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    Heath Slater reveled in the support the crowd gave him. Dolph Ziggler ignored The Miz the best he could as he knocked his foe around.

    Slater got a few near-falls, but The Showoff kicked out each time.

    He went for a neckbreaker, but Ziggler dodged it and hit the Zig-Zag. The Miz jumped into the fray at that point, and he and his SummerSlam opponent brawled outside the ring.

    Ziggler tried to break away from that fight, but he couldn't do so in time to beat the referee's 10-count.

    After the loss, Ziggler tried to shake Slater's hand. The One-Man Band went in for a kick, but Ziggler caught him and brought him to the mat with a Zig-Zag.

     

    Result

    Slater wins via count-out.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    The fans chant for Slater before and after the bout.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    There was not much to savor from the match itself. The focus was on The Miz and Ziggler's interactions for the most part.

    It was fun to see Slater's winning streak continue. Varying up the usual distraction finish was welcome as well.

    Ziggler will agree a lot with The Miz come SummerSlam.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

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    The bout began as a slugfest, Sheamus and Randy Orton trading hard shots.

    The Celtic Warrior gathered momentum with a flying knee to Orton's shoulder. He then tore at Orton's face and cracked him in the spine with a knee.

    Orton slipped away from him, but Sheamus stayed on the attack. The Viper shimmied his way out of The Beats of the Bodhran. 

    Eventually, Orton grounded Sheamus, choking him in the ring and hurling him into the furniture around it. The Irishman, though, charged back, knee lifts making Orton teeter. He pounded on Orton's chest and sent him crashing into the mat.

    The two men knocked each other over, two titans colliding.

    The advantage shifted several times over until Sheamus went flying off the top rope. Orton caught him in the air with an RKO for the win.

     

    Result

    Orton wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Orton smashes Sheamus into the announce table.

    Orton mimics Hulk Hogan's hand-to-the-ear gesture.

    Orton hits a mid-air RKO.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Two familiar faces delivered the match of the night. Orton and Sheamus excelled in their attempt to push each other to their limits.

    Orton's win has him looking strong heading into SummerSlam. Unfortunately for Sheamus, his standout performance won't net him anything in the short term.

    He's without a foe at the pay-per-view and adds this to the long list of times a midcard champ has lost a non-title match.

Hulk Hogan Birthday Celebration

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    Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" played in the background as clips of Hulk Hogan's career showed on the screen. 

    The majority of the roster stood on the entrance ramp and clapped as an emotional Hogan soaked up the love from the crowd. Gene Okerlund interviewed The Hulkster who talked birthday gifts and the WWE Network.

    Hogan was in the middle of appreciating the fans when Ric Flair came down to the ring. Paul Orndorff, Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall soon joined him. Hall asked the crowd if they liked Hogan in his nWo attire better.

    Nash began to sing "Happy Birthday" when Lesnar stomped out from the backstage area.

    The Beast Incarnate stared down each of the legends, stopping at Hogan. Just when it looked like Lesnar was about to go on the attack, Cena stepped in.

    Lesnar retreated, smiling, biding his time. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Orndorff sports a robber baron-like mustache.

    Hogan tears off his red and yellow gear to reveal an nWo T-shirt underneath.

    "Brock Lesnar didn't come down here to sing 'Happy Birthday' I can assure you that."—JBL.

    "Party's over, grandpa."—Lesnar to Hogan.

     "I'm a mercenary."—Lesnar to Cena.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    There are things to nitpick in the closing segment, but in the end, it did its job.

    It was fun and helped amplify excitement over Cena vs. Lesnar. Lesnar looked more dangerous, merciless and cowardly after this. Cena was portrayed as a protector.

    Fans have to wait until SummerSlam to see those two collide which is a letdown in a way. A frenzied brawl like the one they had leading up to Extreme Rules 2012 would have been perfect here.

    Even without the violence, it was a unique segment filled with faces from the past. It's too bad that none of the legends took a bump, as Lesnar hitting Piper or Hall with an F-5 would have been an awesome sight.

    As it stands, WWE ended Raw with fans wanting more. To get it, they will have to order SummerSlam.

    Mission accomplished.