WWE Raw Results: Winners, Report Card and Highlights from Sept. 23

Jonathan Snowden@JESnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterSeptember 23, 2013

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Report Card and Highlights from Sept. 23

0 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    For most of the past decade, John Cena has been the WWE's lead babyface. He's the protagonist of almost every big match, sells the most merchandise and gets the plumb media appearances.

    He's the true face of the WWE. Or, at least, he was. Because, while the superstar of superstars has been out with an injury, the emergence of Daniel Bryan and CM Punk has left fans with only one question—Cena who?

    For the second pay-per-view in a row, Punk and Bryan will be in the top two matches. For the second show in a row, the crowd is molten hot for both angles. We don't know yet if this will translate into productivity at the box office. But as art, WWE Raw is as good as it's been in years.

    As always, I've graded every major segment from A to F. Disagree? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Triple H and Stephanie McMahon Interview

1 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Result

    Was it going to be a firing squad or your common, garden-variety harassment?

    The 10 wrestlers who ran in to save Bryan gathered on the ramp to find out, awaiting their fate. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon come out to...thank them?

    Triple H was convinced that they weren't supporting Bryan, but rather, were angry with The Shield. The 10 were therefore booked in an elimination match with The Shield. The catch? Bryan was to be their partner. Hmm.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Stephanie McMahon doing the world's most awkward "yes."

    "Thank you for finally being men," Stephanie McMahon to the WWE 10.

    "The fact is, and I think I'm speaking for everybody up here, we were fighting for Daniel Bryan. You screwed him over. You would do the same to us. We were only fighting for what is right," RVD.

    "I've never known a WWE superstar who fought for a WWE champion. I always thought WWE superstars fought to be WWE champion," Triple H. Touche.

    "Last week's show of unity had to do with frustration with The Shield," Triple H.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Stephanie's performance during this angle has been fantastic. The delivery here was fine, but I didn't quite understand what was going on. Based on the crowd's response, I wasn't alone.

    For once, it made sense when they chanted "What? What? What?" It wasn't an ode to Stone Cold. They were legitimately confused.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston

2 of 10

    Result

    Alberto Del Rio submits Kofi Kingston with the cross armbreaker.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Mexico's greatest export, Alberto Del Rio," JBL. Are tacos an export? Because tacos are awesome.

    Kingston turns an Irish whip into the corner into a headscissors takedown. 

    Kingston with a high-flying Tope con Hilo dive over the top rope.

    Kofi stops a suicide dive in mid-dive when Del Rio bailed out. Incredible.

    Del Rio's armbar over the top rope.

    Del Rio counters a body press with a German suplex.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    The longer this match went, the worse it got. What started as a fun little sprint kind of fell to pieces, turning into a disjointed mess. I'm not sure what was to blame—but this didn't really work.

The Wyatt Family vs. the Prime Time Players

3 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Before the match Miz came out, but he never said a word. Instead, Triple H told him to stay away from Randy Orton. But there was a carrot to go with that stick. Triple H booked a special edition of Miz TV with the sport's most controversial man—The Big Show.

     

    Result

    Luke Harper pinned Titus O'Neill with a clothesline.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "How you feeling Miz? Sore?" Triple H, telling Miz he can't go near Orton.

    "Boo!" The Chicago crowd after Triple H says Chicago wants its Miz TV.

    Harper working stiff. Especially the clothesline.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    The Wyatts are a great act. I love the "People of Wal-Mart" vibe and can't wait to see who Sister Abigail is going to be. If it's somehow Charlotte Flair, I will laugh and laugh. Is there anyone in developmental who seems particularly demented and evil? Is it too late to cast Eva Marie? 

Miz TV

4 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Result

    The Miz came out like an old gloomy Gus thanks to that bully Orton. He introduced Big Show, who last week knocked out 250 pounds of scar tissue, aka WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes.

    Everything was fine when Miz was simply razzing Big Show for his cowardice. But when Miz called Stephanie a castrating witch, well, business picked up. She told him he failed his family, his friends and himself.

    Then, to add literal injury to insult, she had Big Show knock him out. Ouch.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Randy Orton, let it be known that it's a lot easier to knock me down than to keep me down," the Miz.

    "Payback will come, and it will be awesome," Miz. 

    "How could you do that to Dusty Rhodes?" Miz, cutting to the chase.

    "If they break you, they can break everybody," Miz.

    "Your line of questioning is disrespectful and as far as me and my husband are concerned, borderline slanderous," Stephanie McMahon.

    "You know you're not a major player, Miz. There's nothing worse than a WWE Superstar that peaks too soon," Stephanie. Wait. Does that mean what I think it means?

    "Once again, you just couldn't measure up," Stephanie.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Notice that Big Show didn't hesitate, even a second, before knocking Miz out? Great segment, but it's too early for a Stephanie McMahon face turn. And no one who humiliates The Miz can ever be a real heel.

Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam

5 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    The WWE Universe chose the challenger in this match via the WWE app. After a near-record number of votes, Rob Van Dam ended up with 57 percent of the vote.

     

    Result

    Double countout after Orton brutalized Van Dam outside the ring. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm sitting right here. You don't have to yell," JBL to Michael Cole. These two are deep into their Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon routine. Or is it Vince McMahon and Jesse Ventura? 

    Van Dam with a crisp spinning back kick.

    Cool leg scissors pin attempt by RVD.

    "Stephanie has unleashed the Viper," Michael Cole.

    Orton with a hanging DDT off the top rope.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Pretty decent for a match with no storyline or direction. Orton, as everyone but the WWE seemed to know, is much better as a bad guy. Hopefully he stays one for some time. He has a face that just screams "sociopath." No sense in wasting those dead eyes on a vanilla babyface.

Fandango vs. Santino

6 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Result

    Fandango pinned Santino with a top-rope leg drop. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Santino's spandex no longer fits quite right. That amuses me for some reason.

    "Summer Rae! Summer Rae," the crowd letting the WWE brass know which part of the act is working.

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    Fandango has a nice leg drop. That's really all I've got. This was a time filler if there ever was one.

CM Punk Interview

7 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Result

    The Chicago Blackhawks didn't give up against Detroit. And CM Punk, Chicago native, isn't going to give up either.

    Heyman came out, baited Punk into confronting him and Axel, and Ryback eventually gave him a beatdown, including a press slam through a table. After Punk was helpless, Heyman got up and revealed he could walk all along. Scoundrel.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "How about this ovation?" Jerry Lawler on the crowd's huge response to the hometown hero.

    "You completely ruined a perfectly good bad mood," CM Punk.

    "In Detroit, at Night of Champions I let all of you down...in Grey's Sports Almanac it's going to read that CM Punk lost to Paul Heyman," Punk.

    "I don't deserve to say that I'm from Chicago, Illinois," Punk.

    "That's the Chicago way...we pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and go to work the next day," Punk.

    "I've got 18,000 people who are going to bail my ass out when I get my hands on you," Punk to Paul Heyman.

    "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, just to prove my point, I present to you exhibit A," Heyman rubbing it in.

    "I may be a walrus, but I pinned the biggest shark in the city of Chicago," an amused Heyman.

    "Can your two goons get to me faster than I can get to you?...Two seconds is all I need. I'm no longer going to break your face. I'm going to rip your face off," Punk.

    "Not only did I beat you, I beat you with both hands tied behind my back. And, with that, I bid you a fair adieu," Heyman, right before his scooter wouldn't start.

    Punk's dive off the ramp onto Ryback.

    Ryback's press slam through a table.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The people from Chicago might have been riled up for Punk's Blackhawks speech. For the 99 percent who don't watch hockey? It was a giant "eh."

    Once the Mick Foley-esque pandering was over, things got interesting quickly. Punk took an amazing bump through the table, landing hard on the cold concrete. These guys will do whatever it takes to get an angle over.

Total Divas vs. AJ Lee, Aksana, Layla, Alicia Fox and Tamina

8 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Earlier in the evening, Stephanie McMahon put AJ Lee in her place, telling her that she isn't above this or any match. She will compete, or she will lose her title.

     

    Result

    Brie Bella pinned AJ Lee. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Brie's solid dropkick.

     

    Grade

    C

     

    Analysis

    Wow, did I blink and miss it? Total Divas has breathed life into the Diva division, but they have to be given a chance if they're going to get over.

11-Man Elimination Match: Team Bryan vs. The Shield

9 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    The Shield is interviewed backstage. They realize their backs are against the wall—but are they the hunted or the hunters?

    Bryan came out before the match to say a few words. Eventually The Shield made their way to the ring too. Bryan seemed outnumbered, but, before things got ugly, the Rhodes boys came out of the crowd to even the odds!

     

    Result

    Ambrose pinned Rob Van Dam with a bulldog driver; Ambrose pinned Kofi with the bulldog driver; Reigns pinned Titus with the Spear; Reigns pinned Gabriel with the Spear; Reigns pinned Ryder with the Spear; Uso pinned Reigns with a Superfly Splash; Rollins pinned Darren Young with a top-rope knee to the head; Ziggler pinned Ambrose with the Zig Zag; Rollins pinned R Truth with a stomp; Bryan pinned Rollins with a flying knee.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You don't need to fast count a man when he's already knocked out," Daniel Bryan.

    "That's weird," Bryan on Scott Armstrong's severance package courtesy of Triple H.

    "In two weeks, I take back what's mine. The WWE championship," Bryan.

    "I'm sick and tired of Randy Orton hiding behind his boss's skirts," Bryan.

    "When he wakes up from the beating that this B+, goat-face troll gives him, when all their plans to screw me over have failed, he's going to hear one word, chanted over and over again," Bryan. Spoiler alert—he's talking about "Yes."

    Goldust apparently sitting incognito in the crowd—with his makeup on!

    Even 11-on-three, The Shield controls the match. Now that's a team.

    Ambrose working the arm against Kofi. Are we sure Ole Anderson isn't a WWE Performance Center instructor?

    Crowd chanting along with Zack Ryder. That was fun.

    Rollins with the hyper knee.

    Usos land a stereo superkick and stereo topes.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Really fun match that allowed almost everyone to work in some of their signature spots. I wish they had gotten rid of some filler, because this was a match that really needed another 10 minutes to be something special.

The Aftermath

10 of 10

    via WWE.com
    via WWE.com

    Business picked up after Raw went off the air according to wrestlinginc.com. Local boy CM Punk hit the ring and asked the crowd if they were ready for a "Chicago style beat-down. Heyman and his guys, Ryback and Curtis Axel, were up to the challenge:

    Paul Heyman, Ryback, and Curtis Axel then came out and surrounded the ring. Jerry Lawler handed Punk a kendo stick to beat down Axel and Ryback. Punk then held Heyman down with his foot in the ring and struck him in the back with the kendo stick before Axel and Ryback made the save.

    Punk knocked Ryback out of the ring with a steel chair and then pinned Axel with the GTS to send the crowd home happy.