WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from September 1
See the bunny? It was one of those shows...
Apparently WWE Creative joined the rest of the United States in celebrating work by not working, turning in one of the most uninspired episodes of Monday Night Raw in quite some time.
The writing was lazy, with repetitive segments involving the WWE World Heavyweight and Divas Championships and a tag team match between The Big Show, Mark Henry, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan that would bore an insomniac to sleep.
With the return of the NFL and Monday Night Football, WWE has stacked next week's program with two huge SummerSlam rematches. First, Reigns and Orton will square off in a huge singles bout. Then, Jericho will clash with Bray Wyatt inside a steel cage.
It is just unfortunate that the company turned in such a blatant placeholder of a show Monday night.
For a complete recap of the September 1 episode, check out the grades, results and analysis from this week's Raw.
The Highlight Reel with Randy Orton
After missing last week's television broadcast, Chris Jericho and Randy Orton returned to WWE program to kick off this week's show with the latest edition of "Jericho's Highlight Reel."
Jericho attempted to introduce Orton after a brief promo, but "King of Kings" played, and The Authority made its way to the ring. Triple H, Seth Rollins, Kane and Orton stalked toward the ring as JBL hyped the possibility that Jericho could find himself on the receiving end of a beating.
Y2J and Triple H traded insults with one another before The Game turned his focus toward Night of Champions and a potential new No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the show.
Each member of The Authority tried to make his case for the title opportunity, followed by Jericho, but Cena's music played, and the former champion made his way to the ring.
Cena threatened a lawsuit if he is not awarded his obligatory rematch, to which Triple H responded by saying Cena's career ending at the hands of Lesnar at Night of Champions is not best for business.
Rollins and Orton changed their tune, persuading Triple H to give Cena his title shot. The Viper tried to talk the COO into a title shot against the winner of Cena-Lesnar, but Jericho interrupted. After some insults were thrown around, Reigns made his way to the ring.
Eventually, Triple H booked a huge Six-Man Tag Team match for the night's main event: Cena, Jericho and Reigns versus Rollins, Kane and Orton, with The Game sitting ringside to scout exactly which Superstar deserved the title shot.
Rollins attempted a sneak attack, but Reigns cut him off and tossed the Money in the Bank briefcase at him, punking him out to end the segment.
Highlights and Quotes
"I'm bored already!"—JBL on Jericho's opening lines during the Highlight Reel.
"I hope it's not good. I love it!"—JBL on the arrival of The Authority.
"I'd love to see them all gang up on Chris Jericho."—JBL, apparently revisiting his feud with Y2J from 2007.
"Randy, I was expecting you to come out here on your own, not with your law firm or Sellout, Suck Up and Schnoz."—Jericho.
"Chris, Chris, Chris...there's only one man in this arena who can beat Brock Lesnar."—Randy Orton.
"Or maybe the future has arrived."—Seth Rollins staking his claim for a match against Lesnar at Night of Champions.
"At Night of Champions, I'm not just going to beat Brock Lesnar; I'm going to beat Brock Lesnar's ass." —John Cena.
"That's a new t-shirt, I think. Hustle, loyalty, respect, lawsuit."—Triple H on Cena's threats to sue if he isn't rewarded his title shot.
"Since WrestleMania, you've had how many title shots and succeed, how, when? How about never?!"—Jericho on Randy Orton.
It was not a bad way to kick off the show but certainly an overly long one.
It was incredibly convoluted segment with too many Superstars staking claims to the Night of Champions title shot.
Jericho made it clear that Orton has lost more than he has won lately, Kane's claim about putting on the mask and unleashing the demon was particularly funny since he lost a string of matches during the last run in the red and black, and Jericho is fresh off a loss to Bray Wyatt, thus hurting his credibility.
No one really expects anyone but Cena to wind up with the title shot, leaving the other five Superstars to find something else to do come September 21.
The main event that resulted from the segment should be excellent, given the talent involved, so that is most certainly a plus.
Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz and Cesaro
The product of events that occurred this past Friday night on SmackDown, Intercontinental champion Dolph Ziggler and United States champion Sheamus teamed up to meet The Miz and Cesaro in the night's opening contest. Damien Sandow, The Miz's so-called "stunt double," was at ringside.
Cesaro and Ziggler started the match for their respective teams. Cesaro took Ziggler down and mocked the IC champion's repetitive elbow drops, then he caught the Swiss Superman with a big dropkick to the face.
The Miz dropped off the apron at the first hint of danger and proceeded to have his makeup done at ringside by a real makeup artist.
Back inside the ring, he took the fight to Ziggler, cockily stomping away at him before trapping his rival in a side headlock. Ziggler fought back, and The Miz bailed, leading to Sheamus getting the tag and pounding away on the Hollywood star at ringside.
Sheamus delivered 16 forearms to the chest of The Miz, then he followed that up with a rolling senton for two.
Cesaro was tagged in and delivered a big dropkick as we headed to commercial break.
Back from the break, Cesaro had his Night of Champions opponent trapped in a sleeper as "we want Ziggler" chants broke out. Sheamus mounted a comeback, but Cesaro cut him off. The United States champion delivered the Battering Ram from the top rope and made the hot tag to Ziggler, much to the delight of the Iowa fans.
Ziggler scored a near-fall on The Miz, but Cesaro broke up the pinfall. Moments later, The Miz called his stunt double, Sandow, into the ring. Ziggler delivered the Zig Zag, then he left himself open for the Skull Crushing Finale from The Miz for the win.
The Miz and Cesaro win, via pinfall, when Miz pinned Ziggler following the Skull Crushing Finale.
Highlights and Quotes
"Kick Dolph in the face and you couldn't even tell the difference."—JBL.
"Dolph could care less about Miz's face!"—Michael Cole.
"Who said it was fair? I said it was genius!"—JBL on The Miz using Sandow to his advantage.
This was a very energetic and entertaining opening match that shined the light on both midcard title programs, particularly the one between Ziggler and The Miz.
The use of Sandow as The Miz's stunt double and the introduction of the makeup artist at ringside were nice touches to The Miz's Hollywood act and will do wonders to continue rehabbing the former WWE champion as a valuable heel.
Ziggler was incredibly hot here, feeding off the incredible crowd reaction and turning in an outstanding performance as a result.
Sheamus vs. Cesaro is hardly a fresh rivalry, and fans seemed very disinterested in the action involving the two of them. It is hard to blame them considering the lack of a storyline or any substance to the feud. The impending match will be great, but WWE Creative cannot rely on excellent matches to tell stories that it is too lazy to write.
Summer Rae, Layla and Naomi vs. Rosa Mendes, Cameron and Eva Marie
Wow...this could be ugly.
What started as a Six-Diva tag match devolved into a six-woman catfight between the Divas.
Naomi caught Cameron with the Rear View, and Summer and Layla sent Eva Marie and Rosa Mendes into one another to end the segment.
Highlights and Quotes
"I don't want to talk about it, I want to see it! I watch it and DVR it."—JBL on Total Divas.
F (Unless F- is a real grade.)
This was easily one of the worst "matches" in WWE Raw history and the worst segment on television all year, including all of the Los Matadores-3MB stuff from earlier this summer.
It was simply an advertisement for Total Divas; though, why anyone would watch the show following this is a mystery.
The Big Show and Mark Henry vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
The most one-sided rivalry in WWE continued Monday night as The Big Show and Mark Henry squared off with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. Would the outcome remain the same or would the Wyatt Family regain momentum following last week's awful performances.
Henry overwhelmed Rowan early, pounding away at his face, then smashing him in the corner as a "Sexual Chocolate" chant broke out. The crowd was largely silent as Henry wore down Rowan. Fortunately, a distraction by Harper allowed Rowan to clip Henry's knee and take control as we headed to break.
Rowan worked over Henry before tagging Harper into the match. Rusev appeared and a huge "USA" chant broke out.
The Big Show got the hot(ish) tag and ran over both Rowan and Harper. He charged at Harper but had his knee clipped and slammed into the timekeeper's area. The referee started his count, making it to the count of nine before the World's Largest Athlete managed to slide into the ring.
The heels pounded away at the former heavyweight champion, as Rusev watched on, his eyes focused on Henry on the apron.
Rowan delivered a huge bodyslam in what was the brightest spot of the match to that point.
The bearded ginger tried for a second slam, but The Big Show countered with a DDT and made the tag to Henry, who took down both opponents. The Big Show sent Rowan out of the ring but found himself slammed face-first into the announce table.
Henry lifted Harper for the World's Strongest Slam, but Rusev entered the ring and planted Henry, drawing a disqualification.
After the match, The Big Show fended off both Harper and Rowan with a chair.
Henry and The Big Show win via disqualification.
Highlights and Quotes
"Harper and Rowan remind me of Brody and Hansen."—JBL.
This was a very lethargic match, as evidenced by the crowd's complete lack of interest in the action unfolding before it. It was nowhere near as good as the countless number of bouts the two teams had recently.
The introduction of Rusev implied that the feud between him and Henry will, in fact, continue.
The biggest question is what Harper and Rowan did to anger those in power. The big men have become punching bags for the main event stars, despite being one of the most over acts for the majority of 2014. Bray Wyatt was not even at ringside with his partners, and he was not mentioned during the match.
Booking the Wyatt Family as it has been over the last month will descend it into mediocrity and ruin one of the better, more original and interesting acts the company has produced in recent years.
Paul Heyman Promo
Paul Heyman made his way to the stage and talked up current WWE World Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
Heyman downplayed Cena's anger and rage from last week and warned Cena that more pain and suffering awaits him on September 21.
Highlights and Quotes
"Triple H sees John Cena as a cash cow, a cash cow that will be milked for the last time at Night of Champions."—Heyman.
"You can stack that entire locker room together and multiply it by infinity, and it still will not equal half of the brutality John Cena will be subjected to at Night of Champions at the hands of my client, Brock Lesnar!"—Heyman.
Heyman can do no wrong right now, and he demonstrated that Monday night. His promo was full of conviction and made fans believe that he believed what he was saying. That is the hardest part of sucking the audience in, and Heyman has perfected the art form.
He did more to sell the main event of Night of Champions than anything else to this point, even though Triple H is apparently considering changing the contest.
That's something everyone and their mother knows is not going to happen.
Jack Swagger vs. Curtis Axel
Curtis Axel provided the opposition for Jack Swagger this week.
Axel got more offense in than one would have imagined, landing a beautiful dropkick at one point and sending the former World Heavyweight champion to the outside to regroup. A brief pep talk by Zeb Colter, who made his return, led to a more aggressive Swagger.
The third-generation star attempted to fight through the pain but had no choice but to tap to the Patriot Lock.
After the match, Bo Dallas introduced Swagger to a few of the Americans whom he supposedly let down at SummerSlam when he lost to Rusev. Richie, a farmer, lost his savings and farm. Angelo is an immigrant, an up-and-coming tailor who failed his citizenship test and is now being deported to Italy. Jennifer's son was a Swagger fan but now wants to be like Vladimir Putin after SummerSlam.
Dallas had the fans and his guests pledge to Bo-Lieve to end the segment.
Swagger wins, via submission, with the Patriot Lock.
Highlights and Quotes
"I'm enlightened. I'm the only unbiased guy out here."—JBL.
This was a decent overall segment with Swagger picking up a much-needed win, even if it did come against the ice-cold Curtis Axel, and Bo Dallas cutting a promo that will continue his blossoming feud with the Real American.
The way Dallas said Vladimir Putin's name during his post-match promo was golden. He said the Russian leader's name with such disgust that one could not help but laugh at his over-the-top delivery.
Adam Rose vs. Titus O'Neil
Titus O'Neil's power advantage proved to be the difference early, as he destroyed Adam Rose with a shoulder block. He choked Rose in the corner as the bunny and Slater had a confrontation.
The bunny took Slater down and pounded away at him, leading to a distraction that allowed Rose to score the win over O'Neil.
After the match, Rose and the bunny sent Slater into the ring steps and commenced partying.
Adam Rose wins via pinfall.
Highlights and Quotes
"I wish someone would bite off that bunny's head."—JBL.
"Des Moines people are dying to do anything."—JBL insulting the host city.
"The rabbit just double-legged Slater!"—JBL.
"I've got one Clothesline from Hell left, and I'll take that bunny's head off!"—JBL.
The extracurricular activities involving the bunny and Slater were fun, but as an overall segment, it was useless.
JBL's commentary was hilarious, though.
Zack Ryder vs. Rusev
Rusev and Lana made their way to the ring as we headed to break, undoubtedly feeling confident following the Bulgarian Brute's attack on Mark Henry earlier in the night.
Zack Ryder provided Rusev with no competition, falling victim to the fallaway slam, the superkick and the Accolade in short order.
After the match, Henry sprinted to the ring. Rusev retreated, much to the dismay of the WWE Universe.
Henry claimed that Rusev was scared and then talked up the United States.
Rusev wins, via submission, with the Accolade.
Highlights and Quotes
"In contrast, in Russia today, we celebrate the day of knowledge, where we celebrate the knowledge and education of our youth. In other words, you and your Labor Day...what is that American word...you suck."—Lana.
"I'm scared of what I might do if I get my hands on you."—Henry.
"I've just opened an international wing of the 'Hall of Pain,' and you're gonna be the first inductee."—Henry.
The match itself was a Saturday-morning squash-match special from the 1980s. The meat of the segment came in the promo cut by Mark Henry afterward, in which he laid down the challenge to Rusev and vowed to induct him into the "Hall of Pain."
As beneficial as the program with Swagger was for Rusev, beating Henry will do more to legitimize the Bulgarian Brute than anything else thus far.
Stephanie McMahon and Nikki Bella Promo
Principal owner of WWE Stephanie McMahon made her way to the ring following the break.
Stephanie introduced Nikki Bella. The two women discussed the supposed jealousy and selfishness of Brie before the boss awarded Nikki a shot at the Divas title.
Brie interrupted and confronted her sister.
Nikki again tried to paint her sister as a selfish woman and then said that Daniel Bryan will one day realize what she already knows and will then divorce Brie.
AJ Lee made her way to the ring, drawing a big pop from the fans in Des Moines. She staked her claim to a title shot.
Paige made her way to the ring and confronted AJ. Nikki brushed her off and turned the attention back to her issues with Brie. She tried to convince Brie to quit, but Brie responded by knocking Nikki down, who in turn knocked Paige down.
AJ retrieved the Divas title and skipped around the ring with the championship before coming face-to-face with the boss.
Stephanie grabbed the championship from the unstable Diva, who proceeded to skip away from the ring.
Highlights and Quotes
"What a great person."—JBL continuing to be all sorts of awesome and sarcastic.
"Do you think we've already heard enough of Nikki's story?"—Jerry Lawler echoing the thoughts of most fans.
"These fans understand what it's like to be in the shadow of people greater than them. Like me."—Stephanie.
"You are exactly the face of the Divas division I am looking for, and as a result, I am officially granting you a shot at the Divas Championship."—Stephanie.
"I think we can all agree that I don't play well with others."—AJ.
The hottest angle of the night involved five WWE Divas. Take a second and let that sink in for a moment.
That does not necessarily mean that the segment was good. In actuality, it was eerily similar to the opening segment, with each woman staking a claim to a title shot before descending into a huge cluster...you get the point.
Still, WWE Creative is showing more interest in the Divas division than it has in years, and that is a good thing. AJ and Paige turned in a strong performance at SummerSlam, while the Bella Twins' drama has hooked audiences.
The staredown between AJ and Stephanie was a nice tease of a potential future match between the two, and it drew a decent reaction to boot.
Jimmy Uso vs. Goldust
The continuation of the budding rivalry between the Usos and Goldust and Stadust continued this week as Jimmy Usos went one-on-one with Goldust.
Goldust attempted an insincere apology, but the Usos attacked before the bell.
The veteran Goldust controlled the action early, grounding Jimmy with a headlock. The tag champion fought back, landing a big Samoan Drop and a superkick. Stardust put Goldust's foot on the rope, to which an injured Jey tried to object.
With all of the action at ringside, Goldust was able to capitalize on the distraction, plant Jimmy and score the victory.
After the match, Goldust and Stardust attacked Jey, the latter using a steel chair on the injured knee of the tag team champion.
Jey was left screaming in pain as the segment came to an end.
Goldust wins via pinfall.
Highlights and Quotes
"You can judge sincerity?"—JBL.
Goldust and Stardust continued to show a new edginess, a vile and vicious side of themselves that led to an assault on Jey Uso that could sideline the young star.
It was a step in the development of Goldust and Stardust as a the team that was absolutely necessary. They need to be taken seriously as heels or risk stealing heat from the champions, who have been too good in 2014 and deserve better than to have that happen to them.
John Cena, Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns vs. Kane, Randy Orton and Seth Rollins
Triple H and Stephanie made their way to the ring for the night's marquee match, followed by John Cena. After all of the babyfaces made their entrances, Seth Rollins entered to a sizable pop. Kane was greeted by crickets, and Orton followed.
Reigns and Orton, who square off next week, started the match for their respective teams. They traded some offense as we headed to another break.
Back from commercial, Kane planted Reigns with a big DDT. The Demon tagged The Viper back into the contest, and the third-generation star delivered a headbutt. Reigns fought back, catching Orton with an explosive clothesline and a Samoan Drop for two.
Orton delivered his trademark backbreaker from the middle rope and collected another two-count.
Outside the ring, Rollins continued the assault on Reigns before taking the action back into the squared circle.
Reigns made the hot tag to Jericho, who took Rollins down with a big bulldog and the Lionsault. The Walls of Jericho followed, and Mr. Money in the Bank found himself with nowhere to go. Orton broke the hold up.
Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment to Kane, Rollins caught him with a flying knee to the head and Jericho caught the hometown boy with an enzuigiri kick. Action was fast and furious, with Y2J flooring Rollins with the Code Breaker.
Orton controlled the match for the heels following the break, working over Y2J. A dropkick to Rollins seemingly set Jericho up for a hot tag to either Cena or Reigns, but Kane cut the former Undisputed champion off.
Orton set Jericho up for a superplex, but Jericho fended him off and caught The Viper with a cross body block. Moments later, he made the hot tag to Cena, who exploded into the squared circle and planted both Kane and Rollins.
He tagged in Reigns, who speared Kane for the win.
After the match, Rollins attacked Cena but wound up suffering an Attitude Adjustment onto the announce table.
Cena, Jericho and Reigns win, via pinfall, when Reigns pinned Kane.
Highlights and Quotes
"If I could have thought about that coat when I was WWE champion, I would have had one."—JBL on Jericho's jacket.
"John Cena does not have the match. Triple H said he's going to do what's best for business."—JBL, apparently the only commentator to have watched the show some two hours later when the COO said as much.
The main event saved what was an otherwise awful episode of Monday Night Raw. Considering the talent that was involved, it should be no surprise. The main event had plenty of time to develop a quality match, and with so many teases and hints at a hot tag, it was filled with drama.
Cena exploding into the mat in the closing moments was not a surprise, and neither was the fact that Reigns was allowed to net the pinfall on Kane.
The quality of the match more than made up for what was a miserably and lazily booked show featuring mediocre wrestling, uninteresting segments and a horrid Six-Divas tag bout.