WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Nov. 17

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterNovember 18, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Nov. 17

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Nov. 17 edition of WWE Raw finalized the field for the Survivor Series main event and injected more animosity into that matchup.

    On a night long on talking, WWE zeroed in on that marquee bout for the most part. The result is that the upcoming pay-per-view has an intriguing Elimination match at the top of the card and little else beyond it to entice.

    WWE is banking on John Cena's popularity and the audience wanting to see The Authority collapse.

    Little energy flowed through the undercard's storylines. The company only added one tag title match to the show.

    How well did WWE sell Survivor Series? How much did the matches and segments entertain?

    The following is a look at those questions, recapping the night's events and assigning letter grades to all of it, Grumpy Cat included.

Team Authority Kicks Off the Show

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    Triple H
    Triple HCredit: WWE.com

    The Authority walked to the ring with Luke Harper, Mark Henry and Rusev by their side. His soldiers in line behind him, Triple H talked about the stipulation of the Survivor Series main event.

    He took a shot at WCW, talking about the inmates running the asylum. 

    In his mind, WWE would thrive if Team Authority won. He promised victory for his team and that he and Stephanie McMahon would continue to run the company.

    Ryback eventually interrupted The Authority, a weight belt tight around his waist. McMahon showed clips of John Cena trash-talking Ryback during their feud last year. The Big Guy told her he was his own team.

    Triple H then announced that Harper would take on Dolph Ziggler.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "You're just sheep. You need to be led."—Triple H to the fans.

    "WCW, we picked them up at the auction."—Triple H.

    "I'm a team player."—Harper.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    The segment ran like a recap, The Authority spending much of its time explaining the Survivor Series match. It worked fine to move the story along, but it wasn't especially creative.

    Triple H was excellent in his usual smug role. 

    This did well to set up what was to come for the rest of the show, but it could have accomplished the same thing in less time. The segment dragged at times.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper (Intercontinental Championship)

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    Lilian Garcia announced just before the bout that it would be for the Intercontinental Championship. Luke Harper and Seth Rollins' stooges attacked Dolph Ziggler before the bell rang.

    Ziggler struggled to get to his feet, but he demanded that the match start. 

    Harper dominated, slamming The Showoff to the mat, prowling around him before landing hard strikes. Ziggler dodged the bruiser and hit a Fameasser for a near-fall. That flurry didn't last, though.

    The champ spent much of the match writhing on the canvas and being on the wrong end of Harper's offense. 

    A spinning clothesline was enough to keep Ziggler down. Harper held his new championship; Rollins finished Ziggler off with a Curb Stomp.

    Result

    Harper wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "Ring the bell!"—Ziggler to the referee.

    Harper nearly gets the win with a big boot to open the match.

    Ziggler hits Harper in the temple with a superkick.

    Grade

    A

    Analysis

    Ziggler's reign ends with yet another good match. In less than two months, he has delivered more memorable matches than most recent champs with far longer turns with the title.

    He'll have ample reason to go after The Authority come Survivor Series. He gets to play the gutsy hero as well.

    For Harper, his singles push pays quick dividends. He'll make quite the intriguing champ and would be a fun foil for Ziggler going forward.

Grumpy Cat Segments

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    The Miz and Damien Mizdow tried to cheer up Grumpy Cat. The Miz donned a movie-preview voice and made a litter joke. Nothing worked.

    Mizdow introduced a stunt cat (a stuffed cat toy).

    Later, The Miz tried to negotiate with Grumpy Cat. That's when Erick Rowan came in being creepy. He took the stuffed cat and left.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    Grumpy Cat looks like she falls asleep. 

    Grade

    F

    Analysis

    The segments earned a smattering of boos at one point, but it was mostly a lack of reaction. Fans must have felt like that cat did—confused and uninterested.

    When a segment's best trait is that it was not nearly as terrible as it could have been, that's not a victory. That's a less painful failure.

Adam Rose vs. Tyson Kidd

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    Adam Rose and The Bunny
    Adam Rose and The BunnyCredit: WWE.com

    Adam Rose took issue with The Bunny crowdsurfing with The Rosebuds. He then ordered him to stand in his corner as he tied up with Tyson Kidd.

    Rose was in control for most of the bout, but he was distracted by The Bunny's antics. That included him flirting with Natalya at ringside.

    The lack of focus allowed Kidd to clamp on the Sharpshooter for the win. 

    Afterward, Rose tried to attack The Bunny as he has done the last few weeks. The Bunny, though, dodged this time and grabbed him from behind. He humped him before slipping out of the ring.

    Result

    Kidd wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "We got a bunny, a grumpy cat, maybe next week we can have some puppies on."—Jerry Lawler.

    "It's just nature, guys."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on The Bunny's thrusting.

    Grade

    D-

    Analysis

    The antics overshadowed the in-ring action. Rose has had trouble connecting with the crowd because he has to rush through his matches to get to the shenanigans afterward.

    This time, those shenanigans saw The Bunny follow in Viscera's footsteps, adopting a humping gimmick.

    Hopefully, WWE drops this part of the story. If The Bunny is Darren Young as many have suspected, it's in poor taste to have the first only openly gay active Superstar be reduced to bumping his crotch against Rose's butt.

Bray Wyatt Wants to Save Dean Ambrose

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    Bray Wyatt
    Bray WyattCredit: WWE.com

    In a darkened ring, Bray Wyatt rambled on about Dean Ambrose. He said that Ambrose was destined for misery, that he had to get his attention through violence.

    The Eater of Worlds talked about Ambrose's broken family and promised to save him.

    Ambrose appeared on the big screen. He said he was tired of hearing Ambrose's rants. The speech was pre-recorded which allowed The Lunatic Fringe to ambush Wyatt in the ring.

    Wyatt retreated.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "That momentary suffering was a gift."Wyatt to Ambrose.

    "At Survivor Series, you need to just worry about saving yourself."—Ambrose to Wyatt. 

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    Some fun promo work from each man here, but the rushed nature of this story is hurting it. 

    It's lacking the spark that it should have. Where Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins had months to build, this bout is only getting a few weeks. That has it not being as anticipated as it could be.

    At least, the narrative is getting clearer. Wyatt wants to save Ambrose from his own inner pain. That's something Wyatt could dig deeper into over time. WWE would be wise to keep this feud going past Survivor Series to allow it to reach its potential.

Ryback vs. Cesaro

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    Ryback held his own in what began as a mat wrestling-heavy battle. The Big Guy forced things into a brawl soon, though.

    He and Cesaro traded blows and power moves. 

    John Cena watched from backstage as Cesaro briefly took control. A powerbomb out of the corner earned Cesaro some space, and he then coiled his arm around Ryback's neck. Ryback tried to fight back, but Cesaro kept grounding him.

    The match saw both men slug it out. Forearm shots and suplexes kept coming.

    Each man went for their signature moves, only to have their foes counter. Ryback eventually nailed Shell Shocked to get a three-count.

    Result

    Ryback wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    Cesaro flings Ryback across the ring with a T-bone suplex.

    Ryback catches Cesaro in midair and delivers a overhead belly-to-belly suplex.

    "Wasn't really a splash; More like a falling sofa."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Ryback's move from the second rope.

    Cesaro hits a succession of German suplexes a la Kurt Angle.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    A buffet of suplexes were the highlights from this hard-hitting match. Ryback and Cesaro don't have great chemistry, but both men had good performances.

    WWE has made an effort to protect Ryback, giving him all wins since returning from injury save for a disqualification loss to John Cena. Signs point to The Big Guy doing big-time damage at Survivor Series.

    The company has clearly rediscovered its passion for him.

Rusev vs. Heath Slater

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    Lana
    LanaCredit: WWE.com

    Lana trashed Americans for drooling over Kim Kardashian's recent photos. She teased that she would show a topless photo, but instead she flashed a picture of Vladimir Putin on horseback with his shirt off.

    Heath Slater came out in an Uncle Sam outfit, defending America.

    The match was over just after it began. Rusev smashed Slater to the mat and clamped on The Accolade. 

    Slater soon tapped out.

    Result

    Rusev wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "No American woman can compare to this ravishing Russian."—Lana.

    "Ding, ding, you son of a b---h."—Slater to Rusev.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    Slater's new role appears to be dressing up in silly costumes before taking his usual beating. He did the same for Ryback on Halloween in scarecrow garb.

    He showed some eye-catching emotion, but Rusev soon ran him over. This was fine overall, another victory added to Rusev's resume, but with only moderate entertainment value along the way.

Big Show vs. Sheamus

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    Stephanie McMahon told Big Show that he has always been in someone's shadow. She told him not to pander to fans and instead listen to her and The Authority.

    She offered him a Hall of Fame spot if he quit Team Cena.

    Sheamus walked out, proclaiming his pride about being on that team. McMahon took his joking in stride and pitted both men against each other. The winner would get a shot at the WWE title.

    The match started out in amicable fashion, but tempers exploded in mere moments. Big Show cracked Sheamus with chops; The Celtic Warrior threw haymakers.

    The World's Largest Athlete dominated for a good stretch. He headbutted and bodyslammed Sheamus until he had trouble getting to his feet.

    After each man traded signature moves, Rusev and Mark Henry emerged from backstage and attacked the fan favorites. Henry sent Sheamus threw a table, while Big Show lost consciousness, thanks to The Accolade.

    Result

    Match results in a no-contest.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "It's a giant honor for a giant of a man."—McMahon to Big Show.

    Sheamus hits Beats of the Bodhran to a kneeling Big Show.

    Big Show spears Sheamus in midair.  

    Henry hits the World's Strongest Slam on Sheamus onto a table.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    Sheamus and Big Show tend to bring out each other's best. They delivered another physical matchup, this one powered by the intriguing added element of them being on the same team.

    As good as both men looked, Henry and Rusev's attack has them looking like destroyers. They are more convincing threats heading into Survivor Series, helping to add uncertainty about how the match will play out.

Nikki Bella vs. Brie Bella

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    Brie and Nikki Bella
    Brie and Nikki BellaCredit: WWE.com

    Nikki Bella had her sister dress up like AJ Lee for what Lilian Garcia announced would be an exhibition match. The real AJ came out to provide commentary.

    Brie followed Nikki's instructions which mostly involved her taking bumps. Nikki pointed over at AJ after hitting a backbreaker and throwing her sister in the corner. 

    AJ distracted Nikki, allowing Brie to get a schoolboy for the win.

    After the match, Nikki tried to wallop her sister in response, but AJ took both Bella out, skipping out of the ring with the Divas title.

    Result

    Brie wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "I never quite saw all this coming."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    This match furthers Nikki and Brie's bad blood, but it wasn't fun to watch.

    Brie's payback here, although it was short-lived, came too early here. The moment Brie fought back should have been the climax of this story. Instead, it gets tossed in without much emotional weight.

The Usos, Los Matadores vs. Goldust, Stardust, The Miz and Damien Mizdow

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    Stardust
    StardustCredit: WWE.com

    Los Matadores made sure the match's pace remained fast early on. They flew around the ring, knocking all the heels out of the ring.

    Stardust shifted the momentum back his team's way. He punished Diego in the corner, and his teammates soon took turns pounding on the bullfighter.

    Damien Mizdow was the clear star of the action, even with The Usos coming in and soaring as they usually do. Stardust's Dark Mattery on Jimmy Uso put the former tag champ down for a three-count.

    Result

    Mizdow, The Miz, Goldust and Stardust win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "It's voodoo!"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Mizdow's antics.

    The crowd roars for Mizdow when he enters the match.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    The biggest takeaway from this is just how over Mizdow is. Fans responded to his goofiness more than anything else in this match.

    The match was muddled, a lot of bodies and little story. It didn't do much to make the upcoming Fatal 4-Way title match any more enticing. There's no real animosity added and no new subplots.

    It looks and feels as if WWE is just tossing all these teams together because it doesn't know what else to do. The Survivor Series clash should be more focused and better as a result, but Mizdow threatens to steal the show again.

Team Cena vs. Team Authority Contract Signing

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    Ryback
    RybackCredit: WWE.com

    After a brief display of fear, Triple H shouted that his team couldn't lose. He gave everyone on Team Cena a chance to back out of the match at Survivor Series.

    John Cena came out alone. The Game was quick to mock him.

    Cena declared that Team Authority would lose and that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon would be out of power. He said he would even resort to picking fans out of the crowd to field his team.

    He circled around the ring, pointing out potential members of Team Cena. Sitting in a chair, he then mocked each of his opponents.

    A slap from McMahon set him off, and he readied himself for a fight. One by one, Ziggler, Big Show and Rowan joined Cena's side. Cesaro followed suit, but he quickly started laughing and joined the Team Authority side.

    Ryback joined for real, and a brawl broke out in an instant. The Big Guy stared Triple H down just before Cena sent the COO through a table.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes 

    "Every molecule of your being is this."—Triple H on the importance of the wrestling industry to him.

    "I can't see the rest of your team."—Triple H.

    "Excuse me, I need a prop."—Cena as he grabbed a chair from an employee.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    Some impressive acting from Triple H provided a peek into his fear going into Sunday. Cena's portion was at times moving, but at others, it was too centered around cheap humor.

    In the end, there is good momentum heading into this match.

    Team Cena gets a surprise addition in Rowan, adding a subplot of two former Wyatt Family members having to face each other. WWE has done well to have the other members filled with a hunger for revenge. Ziggler and Big Show just suffered Authority-ordered beatings this same night.

    It's no Team WWF vs. Team Alliance, but this is still one of the most anticipated and most promising Survivor Series Elimination bouts in recent memory.