WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Aug. 29

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterAugust 30, 2016

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from Aug. 29

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    The shocking coronation of a new universal champion highlighted the last WWE Raw of August. Kevin Owens emerged with the red-tinted title in his grasp—the beneficiary of a chaotic scene.

    His victory, the action that proceeded it and Triple H's motivations will be the talk of the WWE world in days to come. It's a good thing, too, because the rest of the show had but a few talking points to offer.   

    Many of Raw's narratives inched along.

    Braun Strowman and Nia Jax continued their winning streaks. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson pestered The New Day again. Sheamus increased his series lead over Cesaro by one.

    Not much of that will create much buzz in the days ahead. Owens outlasting three other Superstars, though, left Raw feeling energized—the red brand armed with promise aplenty.

    From Owens' claiming the Universal Championship to the dead-on-arrival feud between Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, the following is a look at Raw's highs and lows.

Fatal 4-Way Forum

1 of 10

    Corey Graves moderated a panel featuring Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Big Cass and Roman Reigns, the four men set to clash for the WWE Universal Championship later in the night.

    Rollins was his usual cocky self. Owens mocked the format of the proceedings. Big Cass talked about his place in WWE. Reigns used his fists to speak.

    The Big Dog sparked a brawl between all four men. Reigns emerged the winner of the brief clash, standing tall as he eyed the universal title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "I'm feeling benevolent tonight. I would like to donate my speaking time to someone who needs it."—Rollins.
    • "You're just tall. You think that actually counts for something?"—Owens to Big Cass.
    • "I'm no underdog. In fact, I'm the biggest dog in this fight."—Big Cass.
    • Rollins compares Owens and Chris Jericho to Bert and Ernie.
    • "There are only three things certain in life: death, taxes and Seth Rollins beats Roman Reigns every time."—Rollins.
    • Reigns and Big Cass stare each other down in the center of the ring.

    Grade 

    B

    Analysis

    Everyone delivered their lines well, but it's hard not to be corny in this format. The segment felt like a faux talk show rather than an intense showdown between fighters.

    WWE did well, though, to make sure to highlight Big Cass. He helped make himself feel like less of the match's dark horse by talking up his size.

    And WWE nailed its presentation of Reigns here. Rather than have him fire off one-liners like everyone else, he was the brooding, belligerent alpha male of the group. The more the company pushes him in this direction, the better.

Chris Jericho vs. Neville

2 of 10

    Neville flustered Chris Jericho in the opening moments, forcing the heel to retreat.

    It took a thumb to the eye for Jericho to take control of The Man That Gravity Forgot. That didn't last long, however. Neville soon overwhelmed his foe with high-flying moves.

    Jericho managed to survive and eventually clamp on Lion Tamer to get the win.

    Result

    Jericho wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "That little muscle-bound Mighty Mouse freak."—Jericho on Neville.
    • Jericho hides behind the referee.
    • Jericho blocks a superplex attempt and throws Neville off the top rope face first.
    • Neville hits a springboard moonsault to the outside.
    • Neville counters a running bulldog, flinging Jericho into the corner.

    Grade 

    B+

    Analysis

    Neville's electric offense was the centerpiece of a fun match. While Jericho came out on top, Neville ended up looking strong in defeat. 

    The focused, angry version of the high-flyer is one that needs to return. Neville is in need of a storyline, feud and direction in general. He delivers every night, but he has minimal momentum right now as he waits for WWE to decide what to do with him.

Nia Jax vs. Hyan

3 of 10

    Backstage, Hyan talked about her battle with Nia Jax.

    Jax then rolled over her foe. She casually flung Hyan around the ring. A powerslam ended the quick bout.

    Result

    Jax wins via pinfall. 

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Let's hope your heart is still beating after the match."—Andrea D'Marco to Hyan.
    • "A million-dollar smile on a wrecking ball."—Corey Graves on Jax.

    Grade 

    C-

    Analysis

    Oddly, Jax's narrative continues to be a parallel of Braun Strowman's. Their hapless foes issue their reasoning for taking the match they have no chance of winning before getting destroyed.

    The idea is fine, but Jax has been inconsistent as a monster. She was not nearly as vicious as she can/should be against Hyan. WWE would be smart to have her be more destructive, be it by attacking her opponents after the bell or smashing them against the ring steps.

    If WWE is going to sell us on Jax being a predator, we need to see her tearing flesh from the bone.

Sami Zayn vs. Jinder Mahal

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    Working through a (storyline) ankle injury he suffered last week, Sami Zayn still outwrestled Jinder Mahal.

    That weak point allowed Mahal to gain an advantage over Zayn. He yanked on the babyface's ankle, leaving him limping.

    Zayn, though, fought through the pain. A Helluva Kick earned him the win.

    Result

    Zayn wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "You gotta give the adrenaline an assist. That's all Sami Zayn is running on tonight."—Corey Graves.

    Grade 

    C+

    Analysis

    The match was clearly designed for Zayn to play up his heart and toughness. That's the right strategy with The Underdog from the Underground. He'll just need better opponents moving forward to make the most of it.

    Mahal has already run out of steam after his return.

    Zayn, meanwhile, is a marquee babyface waiting to happen. WWE has to find a better spot for him at Clash of Champions than it did at SummerSlam where he was thrown onto the card at the last minute.

The New Day and Bayley vs. Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and Dana Brooke

5 of 10

    Backstage, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson ditched their doctor shtick. They claimed they are now in the retirement business. Dana Brooke appeared as a nurse ready to assist them.

    For the actual match, Charlotte sat in on commentary as Bayley joined The New Day for the night.

    Bayley handled Brooke with little effort. Big E and Kofi Kingston built on that momentum, taking turns clocking Anderson. The heels eventually took control, pounding on Kingston in their corner.

    Bayley later charged in, knocked Brooke around, and even with chaos surging around her, suplexed her foe to get the three-count. 

    Result

    Bayley and The New Day win via pinfall. 

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Kingston slings Bayley into Anderson.
    • Kingston hits a flying double stomp as Anderson ran toward him.

    Grade 

    C

    Analysis

    Bayley joining forces with the tag team champs was a fun moment to help kick off her Raw run. She ended up being the star of the show, getting both the hot tag and the pinfall.

    The presentation of Gallows and Anderson remains baffling, though. WWE brought in two intimidating bruisers and decided to make them court jesters. The retirement segment had the same tone as their corny doctor bits.

    WWE is confused about who it wants Gallows and Anderson to be. They jump from predators to fodder, contenders to stooge every few moments.

Sheamus vs. Cesaro (Match 2 of 7)

6 of 10

    Before the match started, Sheamus talked about being better than Cesaro.

    Cesaro frustrated Sheamus by outworking him on the mat. The Celtic Warrior soon started favoring his left elbow, which Cesaro took as an invitation to zero in on it.

    The match turned more intense as it went on, with each man hitting the other with his best shots. Sheamus tried to use the ropes for illegal leverage. Cesaro instead relied on a flurry of uppercuts.

    After The King of Swing hurt his back, Sheamus quickly applied the Texas Cloverleaf to secure the win.

    Result

    Sheamus wins via submission, going up 2-0 in the series.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "You deaf or something? They're deaf."—Sheamus responding to the crowd's "What?" chants.
    • Cesaro pulls Sheamus away from the ropes and hits a modified powerbomb.
    • Sheamus flips Cesaro onto the ring post.

    Grade 

    B+

    Analysis

    This was not their best match, but it was still one of the night's most entertaining contests. Sheamus and Cesaro worked a different bout than they have in the past. That kind of variety will be key to making this series compelling.

    Cesaro falling into a 0-2 hole opens the door for The King of Swing to go on a dramatic comeback, perhaps even from 0-3. 

    In the end, this rivalry is likely to elevate Cesaro the most, but for the moment, Sheamus is the one who's rejuvenating himself. He has started to become a believably destructive force once more.

Braun Strowman vs. Americo

7 of 10

    Braun Strowman's presence stunned Americo into silence. Strowman then throttled the smaller man. The big man put away Americo in just moments. 

    Result

    Strowman wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Strowman slaps Americo with his mask.
    • "That is annihilation on call."—Byron Saxton.

    Grade 

    C

    Analysis

    The blueprint followed with Nia Jax repeated just a few segments later. That's strange timing.

    Strowman is better at executing the devour-lesser-foes formula than Jax at the moment. It helped that he unmasked his opponent and left him unable to speak. 

    Like Jax, he needs this story to shift into a more intense gear, though. He has to start picking apart low midcarders or leaving a path of destruction via the commentary table. The current chapters of this story are simply hard to connect to.

Paul Heyman Speaks for Brock Lesnar

8 of 10

    Stephanie McMahon demanded Paul Heyman apologize for Brock Lesnar attacking her brother Shane.

    Heyman admitted Lesnar crossed the line and said he was ready to pay his client's fine. He began to offer her one dollar at a time, tossing the money on the mat. 

    The two bickered. Heyman talked up Lesnar's value to the company before McMahon accepted his apology.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "I purchased ECW from Paul Heyman quite a long time ago. Thank you."—McMahon to the fans.
    • "My client Brock Lesnar is the storm!"Heyman.

    Grade 

    C+

    Analysis

    Too much reliance on drama about the WWE boardroom made it hard to buy into this. And a segment setting up a Lesnar-Shane feud featured neither man. As a result, this was one of the least interesting Heyman promos in a long while. 

    Why WWE believes it's a good idea to use Lesnar in this story is unclear. Shane-O-Mac vs. Lesnar has little potential.

Titus O'Neil vs. Darren Young

9 of 10

    Bob Backlund fired up Darren Young before his showdown with Titus O'Neil. It clearly helped. Young blasted O'Neil in the early going.

    The powerhouse snatched back the momentum, though, smashing on his former tag team partner and slapping him around.

    Young managed to roll up O'Neil for the surprise win. He celebrated in the ring with Backlund, but not for long. The Real Deal assaulted both men.

    Result

    Young wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • O'Neil flips Young over the ring onto a cameraman.

    Grade 

    D+

    Analysis

    For enemies with so much history, it's confounding WWE isn't weaving in Young and O'Neil's time as tag team partners more. The rivalry needs a spark of some kind. It has been flatlining from the beginning.

    Young hasn't established himself enough for fans to care about his journey. O'Neil has been underwhelming as a heel.

    This has the look of a story set to wrap up after one pay-per-view meeting so both guys can find new avenues to travel down.

Seth Rollins vs. Kevin Owens vs. Big Cass vs. Roman Reigns (Universal Title)

10 of 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE spotlighted each wrestler in a video package. The clips showed their recent highlights and their thoughts on the match.

    The elimination Fatal 4-Way bout began with Kevin Owens waiting away from the action while he watched everyone else trade shots. Roman Reigns then focused on Owens, while Big Cass and Seth Rollins battled on the other side of the ring.

    The battle grew more chaotic with control of the match continually shifting from Superstar to Superstar.

    Owens eliminated Big Cass with a Frog Splash. It took a long time to then shrink the field from three to two. 

    Just as it looked like Reigns was going to take out both Owens and Rollins, Triple H ambushed The Big Dog. He clocked Reigns to help The Architect eliminate him. Triple H then hit Rollins with a Pedigree to clear the path for Owens to win. 

    Result

    Owens wins via pinfall to become the universal champion.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Tonight, I shock the world!"—Big Cass.
    • Big Cass kicks Rollins over the top rope out to the floor.
    • Owens hits Big Cass with a diving elbow off the ring apron.
    • Reigns powerbombs Owens as the former intercontinental champ superplexes Rollins.
    • Reigns catches Rollins in midair with a Superman Punch.
    • "Nobody's giving up; nobody's giving in!"—Michael Cole.
    • "What did we just witness?"—Cole.

    Grade 

    A

    Analysis

    WWE excelled in giving this bout a proverbial big-fight feel. The vignettes were a big part of that. Giving the match so much time certainly helped, too.

    Before Big Cass's elimination, he looked like a world-beater. He was a giant among men, flooring each of his foes with his massive boot.

    A whirlwind ending capped off an electric matchup. Owens' win was a welcome surprise, WWE getting behind a potential cornerstone for the New Era. The way in which he won the belt was cheap, and the focus was a bit too much on Triple H, but that won't matter if the story following this is told well.

    WWE left fans wondering what's ahead. Has Triple H gone renegade? Why did he have it out for Rollins? Is Owens replacing him as Triple H's protege?

    Those questions swirling left one eager to watch next week and beyond. And that is the kind of victory WWE is looking for each Monday night.