WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 8, 2014

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistDecember 9, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from December 8, 2014

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just six days away from the TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view, World Wrestling Entertainment rolled into Greenville, South Carolina, for a very special episode of Raw.

    Monday night, the company celebrated the best of 2014 with its annual Slammy Awards, dedicated to everything from Superstar of the Year to OMG Moment of the Year.

    With John Cena, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt all under the same roof, awards were not the only thing dealt out as the final spectacular of the year drew near.

    What happened when those four men, involved in two of Sunday's biggest matches, were in the same building with one another?

    How about Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Big Show, four more men involved in two of the highest-profile bouts at TLC?

    Special guest host Seth Green would certainly have his hands full overseeing the night's festivities.

    Who would be snubbed by the fans' vote and who would be left lying in a heap just six days before the Superstars and Divas do battle at tables, ladders and chairs event?

    Find out now, with this week's results, grades and highlights from Raw!

Slammy Award Winners

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    Monday night, World Wrestling Entertainment announced its Slammy award winners. While there were numerous trophies handed out both during and before Raw, here is a brief analysis of the night's most important awards. 

    All winners and categories can be found over at WWE.com!

    Superstar of the Year: Roman Reigns

    Roman Reigns had a huge year in 2014, but it is difficult to argue against Brock Lesnar winning Superstar of the Year, considering that he absolutely dismantled Undertaker, Cena, and Big Show in significant pay-per-view bouts.

    Match of the Year: Team Cena vs. Team Authority, Survivor Series

    Really surprising that The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family was not up for consideration. Both Shield vs. Evolution and Cena vs. Wyatt were better matches, but the importance of the Survivor Series main event helped catapult it to the forefront here.

    Diva of the Year: AJ Lee

    There was really no other choice. AJ was robbed last year so, even if 2014 was not as strong as her last two years, she more than deserved the award to make up for 2013.

    Tag Team of the Year: The Usos

    The WWE Universe nailed this one on the head. Jimmy and Jey Uso revitalized tag team wrestling in WWE and for a period of time, battled alongside Cena in one of the biggest feuds in the company. Matches against Harper and Rowan earned them this award all the way back in July, if we are being honest.

    Rivalry of the Year: Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority

    Another easy win as Bryan vs. The Authority not only resulted in a legitimate feel-good moment at WrestleMania XXX as Bryan defeated Triple H and then went on to win the WWE Championship but also carried on into the summer as Bryan's wife, Brie, feuded with Stephanie McMahon.

    OMG Shocking Moment of the Year: The Streak Ends

    When fans look back at WrestleMania XXX, the images of the fans sitting in shock as Undertaker's streak ended at the hands of Lesnar are some of the most vivid. No one expected that the Phenom would ever lose at the Showcase of the Immortals and for his defeat to come at the hands of a part-time star was even more unfathomable, especially when a young star could have used the victory to catapult himself to stardom.

    NXT Superstar of the Year: Sami Zayn

    Very few wrestlers anywhere had the consistently great string of in-ring performances that Sami Zayn did in 2014. Whether he was working Titus O'Neil or Tyler Breeze, Cesaro or Adrian Neville, Zayn brought pay-per-view quality performances to the table every time. He more than deserved this award.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins

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    Credit: WWE.com

    J&J Security members Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble again proved their worth to Seth Rollins Monday night as a distraction by one allowing the other to shove Ziggler off the top rope.

    From there, Rollins executed the Curb Stomp and scored the pinfall victory, reversing his fortunes for the first time since Survivor Series and picking up some much-needed momentum ahead of Sunday's TLC match against Cena. 

    Result

    Seth Rollins pinned Dolph Ziggler.

    Highlights and Quotes

     "We are a ship without rotors. And that happens; you hit icebergs and sink into the bottom of the Atlantic." —JBL.

    "He's solely responsible for putting The Authority out of business."—Rollins on Sting.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    Ziggler and Rollins simply do not have bad matches with each other. Monday's bout may have been on the lower end of their bouts, but it was still incredibly entertaining and continued to demonstrate why they are among the best workers on the roster. 

    Did Ziggler need the loss? No, but he was well-protected in that it took three guys to beat him.

    That he left the show with two Slammys and was heavily featured late in the show only cemented his spot as a surging babyface on a show full of them.

Kofi Kingston vs. Stardust

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sunday, during the TLC preshow, The New Day will battle Gold and Stardust in tag team action.

    Monday night, in a preview of that bout, Kofi Kingston battled Stardust one-on-one.

    Despite a warning from Goldust that darkness will fall on the New Day, Kingston was able to net a big victory over Stardust with a high cross-body block from the top rope.

    Result

    Kofi Kingston pinned Stardust.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "There will be jealousy between these guys. Who knows if they'll even be around next year."—JBL.

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    Kingston and Stardust are two of the more underrated and underappreciated workers on the roster, but even the very best would struggle to put together something truly spectacular in only three minutes.

    With that said, there is great potential for this rivalry if WWE Creative can be bothered to go beyond the bare minimum. All five men involved are immensely talented, and the matches that result could be great fun.

    Raw was a nice little preview and, if given time Sunday, expect to see a match that kicks off the TLC event on the right foot.

Charlotte vs. Natalya

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    Credit: WWE.com

    NXT Women's champion Charlotte made her Monday Night Raw debut in the same city her father, the legendary "Nature Boy" Ric Flair wrestled so many iconic matches. Her opponent? The woman she defeated back at NXT Takeover, Natalya.

    Unfortunately for the rookie Diva, she would not experience the same level of success she did that night, dropping the match to her veteran opponent with a rollup in just over two minutes of action.

    Result

    Natalya pinned Charlotte. 

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I like watching Charlotte in action. It's like watching Ric Flair wrestle. Only prettier."—Jerry Lawler.

    Grade

    F

    Analysis

    Can anyone possibly think of a worse way to debut Charlotte than WWE did Monday night? Not only did she lose to Natalya via rollup, but she also lost in two minutes. Not only does that kill the aura of invincibility that she has built up in NXT, but it also hurts her reputation with the WWE Universe before she even gets out of the gate. 

    Sure, she was out-wrestled by one of the best in the business, but it was absolutely the wrong way to introduce her to the largest television audience she has ever competed in front of.

Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose Promo

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    Credit: WWE.com

    As Paul Heyman bragged on and on about his client, Lesnar, conquering Undertaker's fabled streak at WrestleMania XXX, Bray Wyatt interrupted and made his way to the ring to address Ambrose and his actions from last week.

    Wyatt, for the first time, lashed out at the fans and vowed to defeat the Lunatic Fringe come Sunday's Tables, Ladders and Chairs match.

    Suddenly, an ambulance rolled into the arena and from inside came Ambrose, complete with a neck brace. He introduced tables, ladders and chairs to the mix, accidentally striking Wyatt in the head with one of the latter.

    The second time he hit the Reaper of Souls, it was no accident.

    Ambrose vowed to send Wyatt out of the arena in an ambulance to close out the segment.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "I despise everyone of you. If you get too close to me, I will burn you."—Wyatt to the fans.

    "That was her chair. Dean Ambrose destroyed me that night."—Wyatt.

    "The only way you're leaving TLC on Sunday, Bray, is in the ambulance."—Ambrose.

    Grade

    A+

    Analysis

    On a night in which a lot of the hype segments for Sunday's TLC were hit or miss, Wyatt and Ambrose delivered a grand slam.

    Wyatt showed vulnerability as he mentioned how Ambrose's destruction of the chair emotionally destroyed him. More importantly, he finally lashed out at the very same people he was trying to convince to follow him.

    Ambrose, on the other hand, is clearly in the driver's seat and has the Reaper of Souls reeling entering this weekend's huge match.

    Will that be enough to earn him a victory, or will Wyatt have a new parlor trick in his arsenal?

Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The Wyatt Family exploded Monday night as Harper and Rowan battled one-on-one for the first time.

    The battle was short-lived, however, as Harper grabbed hold of a ladder he had brought to ringside with him and used it on Rowan, drawing the disqualification.

    After the match, Rowan turned the tables on Harper, slamming him face-first into the ring steps.

    Result

    Erick Rowan defeated Luke Harper by disqualification.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "He's a genius, but he's not that smart."—JBL on Rowan.

    "I don't believe Big Red needs a weapon."—JBL.

    Grade

    F

    Analysis

    There was absolutely no need for this match to happen. In fact, WWE risks losing money every time it has a throw-away segment or a match between Harper and Rowan because, based on fan response, there is demand for a battle between the two.

    Why waste the potential money feud on a throw-away episode of Raw that is remembered more for the awards than the matches.

    Rowan or Harper could have done the exact same thing with literally anyone else on the roster and still had the same effect that this did. 

    Just a big mistake all around.

Jack Swagger Attacks Rusev

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Rusev and Lana made their way to the ring to cut a promo but were interrupted by Jack Swagger.

    Swagger pummeled Rusev at ringside, slamming his ankle into the guardrail and applying the Patriot Lock. Rusev screamed in agony, and even tapped out, as referees pulled Swagger away from the United States champion.

    Chants of "we the people" broke out as Swagger's music played to end the segment.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "You want to know what the real LOL Moment of the Year is? How about your American economy?"—Lana.

    "You broke Zeb's leg; I'm going to snap your ankle."—Swagger.

    Grade

    A

    Analysis

    Swagger is never going to be taken seriously as a promo guy, but segments like this, where he is able to showcase his intensity and aggression, will always work. 

    This was a great way to really put him over as a threat to Rusev come Sunday. 

Ryback and The Usos vs. Kane, The Miz and Damien Mizdow

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    In a preview of two of the more high-profile undercard bouts on Sunday's TLC broadcast, Ryback teamed with The Usos to battle Kane and WWE Tag Team champions The Miz and Damien Mizdow in a huge Six-Man Tag Team bout.

    The Miz came face-to-face with Jimmy Uso late in the bout. Begging off, he could be overheard saying, "I'm only trying to help her," in reference to Jimmy' wife Naomi. It was a ploy as he dumped Jimmy over the top rope. 

    Unfortunately for The Miz, he turned right into the Meathook clothesline from Ryback, who proceeded to end The Miz's night on a sour note, courtesy of Shellshocked.

    The Usos hoisted Seth Green on their shoulders and celebrated with Ryback to close out the segment.  

    Result

    Ryback and The Usos defeated Kane, Damien Mizdow and The Miz.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Ryback likes to keep it simple. Only about four generation walking on all fours."—JBL making no sense while talking about The Big Guy.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    While the match was nothing special, it did allow six men involved in two big pay-per-view contests to get some airtime.

    Jimmy Uso played up his disdain for The Miz late in the bout, something that will undoubtedly be the centerpiece of Sunday's title match, while Ryback picked up more momentum by pinning The Miz ahead of his big Chairs match with Kane.

    It was a fine way to showcase the two stories without taking time away from much more important events later in the evening.

AJ Lee vs. Summer Rae

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    Credit: WWE.com

    2014 Slammy award winner for Diva of the Year, AJ Lee made her way to the ring for a singles bout against Summer Rae just six days before she challenges Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship.

    Summer planted AJ face-first for two and then caught her with a standing heel kick for another near-fall. She grounded AJ and applied a cobra clutch. The crowd got behind the Diva of the Year, but Summer cut off a comeback attempt.

    AJ eventually overwhelmed Summer and applied the Black Widow for the submission victory. 

    Result

    AJ Lee defeated Summer Rae.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "We know what kind of heart AJ's got."—Michael Cole.

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    AJ made short work of Summer Rae as she prepares to square off with Nikki Bella for the Divas title. Summer, to her credit, looked much better here than she did at the Survivor Series. Considering that she had less time to really have her weaknesses exposed, that should be no surprise.

    It was a nothing match in the grand scheme of things but one that was good enough for what it was in the moment.

John Cena vs. the Big Show

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In the match that no one wanted to see, John Cena squared off with Big Show in what felt like their one millionth meeting since Cena's rise to prominence in 2004.

    Like their previous bouts, the match was slow, plodding and did neither man any favors.

    After pending minutes absorbing Big Show's power-based offense, Cena mounted a comeback and was about to put the giant away when Rollins hit the ring, drawing the DQ from the official. After a two-on-one assault, Rollins retrieved a ladder and was about to execute the Curb Stomp from the top of it when Ziggler's music played and he made the save.

    Eventually, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Ryback and Kane all got involved.

    Rollins put Cena through the announce table, and the heels stood tall to the end the show. 

    Result

    John Cena defeated Big Show via disqualification.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Cena has a long road back to Brock Lesnar and that road could end Sunday."—JBL.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    As a match, Cena vs. Big Show was awful. That should be no surprise to anyone who has ever watched a match between the two.

    As a show-closing angle, however, the entire sell was an excellent selling point for the TLC pay-per-view. The show is comprised of the chaotic and wild moments of the year, so to see those elements at the end of this week's Raw was a nice little hint of things to come Sunday.

    The heels standing tall seems to foreshadow a strong night for the babyfaces at TLC, but given that there is still one big episode of SmackDown to come, anything can change between now and Sunday.