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

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterFebruary 17, 2014

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

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Chaotic energy powered the buildup to Elimination Chamber on the Feb. 17 edition of WWE Raw.

    At its best, it was a showcase of overflowing tension and animosity that couldn't wait for the pay-per-view. At its worst, the midcard's stories felt tossed together right before the show aired.

    Randy Orton continued his gauntlet against his Chamber foes. It was a match between two other wrestlers in that match that will have everyone talking. As he showed against John Cena on Monday's Raw, Cesaro is ready for his close-up.

    The Wyatt Family, Daniel Bryan and The Real Americans all played their parts in adding subplots and intrigue to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

    The following is a look at who won on Monday night and how well WWE entertained through in-ring action and storylines, with letter grades given to all the action.

Opening Segment

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    John Cena began the train of boasting on Raw.
    John Cena began the train of boasting on Raw.Credit: WWE.com

    John Cena welcomed fans to Raw and hyped the Elimination Chamber match. He said that the wrestler with the least amount of momentum heading into that bout was the "thumb-sucking" Randy Orton.

    Cesaro and Zeb Colter interrupted him.

    As Cena did before him, Cesaro bragged about beating Orton and promised to be the next WWE world champ. Not long after those two stared off, a conveyor belt of Chamber opponents walked out, each with a mic in hand.

    Sheamus, Christian and then Orton had a chance to promise to spit out a few bravado-soaked lines.

    A frenzied crowd then welcomed Daniel Bryan. Kane followed right behind him. The Director of Operations booked Cesaro to face Cena and Christian vs. Bryan.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm not just going to be the new face of the WWE, but I'm going to be the new face of America"—Cesaro.

    "Both of your faces are going to look pretty funny when I kick your teeth in"—Sheamus to Cena and Cesaro.

    Fans chant "You sold out!" to Kane.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    This certainly won't go down as the most creative segment in Raw history, but it did put great emphasis on the coming match and shined a light on each man's goals.

    It was wise for WWE to lead with such a star-studded opening. Having the two singles matches added to the episode provided incentive to watch on as well.

    Even so, parading each guy out to deliver mostly expected lines isn't nearly as exciting as this could have been.

Christian vs. Daniel Bryan

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    Christian pounced on Daniel Bryan before the bell rang. "Captain Charisma" showed off his darker side, attacking his Chamber opponent and seemingly enjoying the pain on Bryan's face.

    Once the bout officially began, Bryan had a chance to fight back.

    The bearded warrior fought with a pained shoulder, though. Christian slammed him into the ring steps and then wrenched his arm.

    With the crowd chanting for Bryan, Christian stayed focused on the arm, kicking, pulling and twisting it in between bouts of mocking the fans.

    Bryan fought back by diving out of the ring onto his foe but slammed his arm into the security barricade. He began to make a comeback, but Christian drove his knees into his gut and took back control.

    Christian seemed close to victory, attempting his finisher twice, but Bryan reversed it and rolled him up for the win.

    Kane offered his congratulations but added that Bryan had to face him as well.

     

    Result

    Bryan wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I like this Christian"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Bryan counters a Killswitch attempt into the Yes! Lock.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    This is an example of smart booking that makes both the winner and loser look strong.

    Christian's newfound villainy seemed to invigorate him. He was not only more aggressive, but more energized. He dominated the match and left Bryan wincing, so the loss doesn't kill his momentum.

    Bryan is made to look gutsy by surviving the pre-match attack and sneaking in a three-count.

    The match's story was well-told, but the action didn't have as many highlights as we've seen from both men's recent battles with Orton. In retrospect, it makes sense why so much of the match was rest holds because WWE had plans for Bryan to wrestle twice.

Daniel Bryan vs. Kane

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    Kane tore off his jacket and stepped in between the ropes. Bryan threw a flurry of punches, but Kane soon tossed him outside.

    The Director of Operations suplexed Bryan back inside and then pounded on his arm. A missile dropkick earned Bryan a respite from the beating. He tried to follow it up with a kick to the head, but Kane chokeslammed him over the ropes.

    Kane ignored the referee's warnings and used every piece of metal in range to inflict more punishment. He continued after the match was over and then walked away grinning as Bryan writhed on the floor.

     

    Result

    Bryan wins by disqualification.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Kane twists Bryan's arm around the ring post.

    "Yeah, I know, I'm disqualified"—Kane.

    "Pick a fight with a monster, that's what happen's to you"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Story-wise, this was great. It adds drama going into the Elimination Chamber match. Bryan is going to have to battle through shoulder pain as well as five foes in order to win on Sunday.

    It continues The Authority's plans of preventing Bryan from ascending the WWE, which could set up the Triple H vs. Bryan match at WrestleMania that many are expecting.

    The journey to all those story elements was only somewhat entertaining, though.

    One-sided bouts like this have a low ceiling in terms of excitement. It was dramatic and unsettling at moments but not compelling enough to not be tempted to reach for the remote.

Santino Marella vs. Fandango

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    WWE introduced Emma by way of clips of her NXT work. She then sat back as Santino Marella locked up with Fandango.

    Fandango's aggressiveness overpowered Santino's goofy antics in the opening moments. Santino fought back with a hip toss and whipped out his cobra.

    When Summer Rae tried to interfere, Emma upended her and spun her around. That soon led to a moment with Emma and Santino where they were about to kiss before Fandango kicked Santino in the head. 

    The ballroom dancer finished him off.

     

    Result

    Fandango wins by pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Her and Santino are two car wrecks in one garage"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Emma and Santino.

     

    Grade

    D+

     

    Analysis

    There is at least somewhat of a story going on here, even if it's a silly one. 

    The issues between Summer Rae and Emma are the most interesting elements, but there is too much focus on Santino. He forces the direction of the narrative to the goofy when a feud between those Divas has as much dramatic appeal as comic potential.

    Another Fandango and Santino match has little entertainment value.

Roman Reigns vs. Mark Henry

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    Before Roman Reigns took on Mark Henry, The Shield showed more signs of dysfunction in an interview with Renee Young backstage.

    Dean Ambrose bragged about the beating he gave Henry, and his teammates laughed at him. Still, the trio promised that they were united.

    Henry spat that this match was not about titles; it was about putting Reigns into the Hall of Pain.

    Once the action began, Henry's size and power gave him the advantage. He pounded Reigns in the corner, but The Shield's powerhouse brought him down with a thunderous Samoan drop.

    A Superman punch knocked Henry on his back, and the spear did him in.

    Ambrose seemed upset about how easily Reigns won his match and so attacked Henry himself. The Wyatt Family broke up the beating as Bray Wyatt ranted. He looked to intimidate The Shield, but Reigns called the clan down to fight.

    Wyatt accepted, and the two trios were soon staring each other down at ringside.

    They teased a collision, but The Wyatt Family only walked away. 

     

    Result

    Reigns wins by pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "The Shield was born and bred for war"—Seth Rollins.

    "How do I look like I'm going to fare?"—Henry to Young.

    Ambrose's smirk when Reigns delivered the Samoan drop.

    "Your shattered bones will line the roads of my kingdom"—Wyatt.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    The match itself was forgettable, short and just a means to make Reigns look strong and increase tension in The Shield. Everything around it was enthralling, though.

    The interviews further showcased The Shield's infighting. The post-match staredown was the kind that forces fans to slide to their edge of their seats. The only problem is that it looked exactly like the one from last week's Raw.

    Changing it up slightly would have elevated this. 

    Each team offered WWE's production team a number of choice lines to plug into the promo video for their match. This continues to be the most anticipated bout at Elimination Chamber, largely because of performances like these.

Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger

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    Jack Swagger burst into action as the bell rang, clocking Kofi Kingston in the corner. Kingston tried to pull one of his trademark high-flying moves, but Swagger caught him and suplexed him to the mat.

    The No. 1 contender for the Intercontinental Championship dominated the match until Kingston hit a missile dropkick.

    Kingston's speed earned him the advantage for a few moments.

    He hit the SOS, but the three-count didn't hold as Swagger's foot was on the rope. Swagger soon clamped on Kingston's ankle and forced him to tap.

    Big E, scheduled for action after Swagger, entered and stared his Elimination Chamber foe down. The Real American ducked out of the ring and retreated.

     

    Result

    Swagger wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Kingston bounces off the ropes and lands on his feet.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    Nothing much to store in the memory bank from this one, but it's smart to give Swagger some momentum here but, at the same time, give Kingston the near-win as well.

    There wasn't an electric energy to the Swagger and Big E staredown, largely because they have not had any buildup to this point.

Big E vs. Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre

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    Zeb Colter and Swagger stuck around as Big E took on two members of 3MB. Colter did running commentary during the match.

    In the ring, Drew McIntyre dropkicked Jinder Mahal into Big E. The 3MB members' numbers advantage proved not to be enough.

    Big E suplexed both men onto each other before hitting a double running splash. Two Big Endings later, the champ secured the win.

     

    Result

    Big E wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Jack Swagger is going to beat you like the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos"—Colter to Big E.

    Big E suplexes Mahal into McIntyre.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    A few bursts of fast-paced action made this a touch more exciting than the Swagger vs.  Kingston match that preceded it. 

    Colter's commentary, though, was grating. It was done on a live mic rather than through a headset at the announce desk which gave it a Jimmy Hart-type effect. He seemed desperate for lines as well. 

    Langston looked impressive in manhandling two wrestlers at once, even if they are among WWE's bottom-feeders. His bout, like Swagger's, was merely a warm-up, a reminder that he has a title defense and a way to give him added momentum.

Cesaro vs. John Cena

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    Cena controlled the match at the outset. He kept Cesaro grounded with a headlock and slammed him to the ground with a hip toss.

    Cesaro slipped out of the ring to regroup and soon clamped on a headlock of his own.

    The Swiss Superstar hit Cena with an uppercut and stomped on his chest before ducking out of the way to send Cena tumbling outside of the ring. He maintained his advantage, but even pulling out a elbow drop from the second turnbuckle wasn't enough for a three-count.

    Cesaro stalked Cena and halted a comeback attempt with a sleeper hold. 

    The two foes traded counters, the Attitude Adjustment morphing into the Cesaro Swing eventually into a gutwrench suplex. Cena hit a DDT and looked to capitalize by leaping from the top rope. Cesaro uppercutted him off the turnbuckle instead. 

    Cesaro seethed as he was unable to put Cena away.

    He was finally able to hit the Cesaro Swing, but Cena kicked out. A frantic finish saw both men desperate to use their biggest weapons. It was Cena who nailed his, the Attitude Adjustment ending a great match.

     

    Result

    Cena wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Cesaro hits a beautiful tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.

    A mid-air European uppercut to Cena.

    Cena counters the Cesaro Swing into a DDT.

    Cesaro suplexes Cena into the ring from the apron.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    The mission here appeared to be to further convince fans that Cesaro is a legitimate threat in the Elimination Chamber match. Consider that mission accomplished.

    As a bonus, the Match of the Year race has a new entry.

    Cesaro was magnificent as the predator, his body language telling as much of a story as his slick counters. His and Cena's battle was a touch slow at times, but it built toward the last third of the bout which had the crowd engaged and chanting, "This is awesome!"

    The Elimination Chamber match just got more enticing.

Randy Orton and Batista Backstage Segment

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    Orton chatted with Triple H backstage. He talked trash about Batista, saying that they both carried him in Evolution.

    Batista, of course, was right behind him. He insulted Orton, causing "The Viper" to slink away. Alberto Del Rio, donning a neckbrace, rushed in to issue a few threats.

    "The Animal" pushed his Elimination Chamber foe into a forklift and walked off.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You're not the face of the WWE; you're the ass"—Batista to Orton.

    "I hope you don't plan to use your arms for your WrestleMania match because I'm going to break them"—Del Rio to Batista.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Daniel Bryan fans aren't going to want to hear the foreshadowing that WWE laid out here, hinting at Orton vs. Batista at WrestleMania. 

    This was more about Batista's more immediate opponent. Del Rio got a chance to threaten Batista, but he ended up looking like he's out of his league against Batista.

    Their match is looking more and more like a glorified squash match. Don't count on Del Rio putting much of a fight as WWE looks to make Batista look unstoppable before WrestleMania.

The Wyatt Family vs. Sin Cara and Los Matadores

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    Erick Rowan made the first impression, colliding with Diego and roaring afterward. Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt piled on, taking turns smashing the bullfighter into the mat.

    Diego managed to create some space between him and Harper, tagging Sin Cara in.

    The luchador knocked The Wyatt Family around for a few moments. A discus clothesline courtesy of Harper halted that. Wyatt stepped in and added Sister Abigail's Kiss to finish Sin Cara off.

     

    Result

    The Wyatt Family win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Roman tosses El Torito onto the apron as Los Matadores dive onto the big man.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    This was nowhere near as fun as their match from last week's Main Event. It was shorter, more one-sided, but that's because WWE's purpose was to give The Wyatt Family momentum heading into the Elimination Chamber event.

    Why choose such a goofy set of opponents then?

    Roman Reigns got to dominate Mark Henry, while The Wyatt Family had to settle for bullfighters and a mini bull. The difference in importance of those victories is a chasm.

Jey Uso vs. Billy Gunn

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    Michael Cole announced that The Usos would challenge The New Age Outlaws at Elimination Chamber for the tag team titles.

    Jey Uso tossed Billy Gunn around before the tag team champ chose to regroup outside the ring. Gunn grounded him after a running clothesline.

    Road Dogg and Jimmy Uso sat in on commentary, bickering and taking jabs at each other.

    In the ring, Jey used a schoolboy to get the pin. The Usos followed that up by attacking Road Dogg as well.

     

    Result

    Jey Uso wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Billy didn't even know that the match had started; that was the issue there"—Road Dogg.

    "Slick Willy is about to teach this boy a lesson in humility"—Road Dogg.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    The match offered little to enjoy as it was over before much happened. The commentary provided the bulk of the entertainment.

    Road Dogg and Jimmy's chemistry was odd but compelling. There's definitely a clash of generations and styles in this upcoming title bout, highlighted by a similar clash on the headsets.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

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    Randy Orton had to bail often as the fight began. Sheamus met him each time he returned to the ring, overpowering the world champ. 

    That was true even after Orton rammed Sheamus into the ring post.

    "The Celtic Warrior" went for his Brogue Kick but caught only the top rope. Orton used that moment to pounce on his foe, hitting him against the ring post once more.

    Stomps and headbutts followed.

    Sheamus responded by launching himself shoulder-first into the champ. The brawl moved outside, and Orton slammed Sheamus through the announce table.

    The referee reached a nine-count before Sheamus rolled back into the ring, more punishment awaiting him.

    Sheamus charged back, slugging it out with Orton and smashing his chest with forearm shots. He blocked an RKO attempt before hitting three consecutive backbreakers.

    The Shield attacked just as victory seemed certain for the Irishman.

    John Cena, Christian and Daniel Bryan joined the fray. The Wyatt Family soon followed, the ring soon a mess of flying fists. Raw closed with everyone still brawling.

     

    Result

    Sheamus wins via disqualification. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Orton sends Sheamus through a table.

    Orton dodges the knee lift and hits a powerslam.

    "This is going to hurt a lot"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Sheamus attacking Orton.

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The intense, dramatic match would have been a fine way to close out Raw. WWE wisely went with the "throw everyone in the ring and watch them fight" method instead.

    The collision fans pined to see between The Wyatt Family and The Shield finally happened. 

    Merging it with the Elimination Chamber foes' own brawl added to the chaos and highlighted the overlap between the two stories. The Shield still have ties to The Authority. Cena has issues with The Wyatt Family.

    Fans will be wondering if any of that has an effect on the Chamber-match outcome. Even if it doesn't, ending Raw with such chaos was a fun way to go.

Off-Air Notes

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    Dean Ambrose had a bad night after Raw ended.
    Dean Ambrose had a bad night after Raw ended.Credit: WWE.com

    Raw officially ended mid-brawl. Fans in the Pepsi Center watched it rage on once the camera were off.

    As reported by WrestleZone.com, "the brawl in the ring continued, until Sheamus, John Cena, Cesaro, Ambrose and Daniel Bryan were all faced off in the ring."

    Cesaro caught hold of Dean Ambrose and spun him around almost 30 times. Ambrose stood up to see Sheamus' Brogue Kick coming his way.

    Cena and Bryan then both took turns hitting their finishers on him as well. The night came to a close with Ambrose lying in the ring and the arena awash with chants for Bryan.

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