WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 10

Jonathan Snowden@JESnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterMarch 11, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 10

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    via WWE.com

    WrestleMania is no mere destination event. It's more than an iconic spectacle, more, even, than a piece of legitimate Americana. It's bigger, in fact, than the sum of its pieces. 

    WrestleMania isn't just a wrestling show—it's a state of mind. Everything is bigger as the event approaches. Lights shine a little brighter on the Road to WrestleMania, powered not by fluorescent lights but by the stars of days gone by. 

    This year, in place of the Rock, we get Hulk Hogan and Batista. The Undertaker, too, makes an all-too-rare appearance for his annual epic match. 

    This year, however, unlike The Rock's star turns, the part-time players are almost afterthoughts. No matter who is on the poster or where the match ends up on the card, fans have made themselves heard.

    They will tolerate Hulk Hogan. They will give The Undertaker his due.

    But they want Daniel Bryan. In Memphis, WWE finally bit the bullet and gave the crowd what they craved. I don't know how it will play out in the long run. In the moment? It was a piece of wrestling history.

    This, in fact, was a strong episode of Raw top to bottom. I've graded every segment from A-F, but I'm certainly not the definitive word. Disagree? Let's talk it out in the comments.

Hulk Hogan Introduced the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

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    Hulk Hogan announced a 30-Man Memorial Andre the Giant Battle Royal. John Cena came out to name himself the first entrant. When Bray Wyatt came out to interrupt, Cena changed his mind and challenged Wyatt to a match at WrestleMania instead.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Real American," the greatest of all wrestling themes, kicked off Raw with a bang.

    "My last two weeks have been totally off the chain."—Hulk Hogan, a man who is 60 years old. 

     The Andre the Giant trophy looks pretty boss.

    "It's good to have you home. Thank you."—John Cena, in the ring with his fellow legend.

    "What you going to do, brother?"—Cena's Hogan impression needs work.

    "Hey kids, take your vitamins and say your prayers. All praise be to the virtue of hustle, loyalty and respect. As if they can do you any good."—Bray Wyatt, skewering both main eventers.

    "Hope is dead."—Wyatt.

    "I see a homeless dude who spent too many years wasting away in Margaritaville."—John Cena, asking Wyatt to prove it. 




    It's always great to see Hulk Hogan standing in a WWE ring. Add Cena to the mix and you have two of the biggest stars in recent memory breathing the same oxygen. Pretty special stuff.

    And yet, Bray Wyatt blew all that star power out of the water. His energy, cadence and palpable insanity make him one of the most compelling talents we've seen in years. This could be the start of something truly amazing.

    Perhaps, in 10 years, Wyatt will be the icon standing in the ring giving some other fresh new talent his first big break. The wrestling world—how it turns.

John Cena vs. Erick Rowan

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    John Cena pinned Erick Rowan with a rollup

    Highlights and Quotes

    Rowan's fallaway slam always makes me think of Scott Hall. And smile.

    "Unbelievable, the strength of Rowan."—JBL as Rowan does a very believable bear hug.

    Hogan and Cena flexing together to close the statement. That's something.




    That match was all sorts of ugly. The two never seemed to really find their rhythm and never got a chance to look for it. Before it started, it was all over.

The Authority Promo and Ryback/Curtis Axel vs. the Usos

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    Stephanie McMahon demanded that Daniel Bryan apologize to Triple H for attacking him last week.

    The Usos beat Ryback and Axel when Jimmy pinned Axel with a splash.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Now Daniel Bryan's actions are grounds for immediate termination."—Stephanie McMahon, who instead "apologized" because it was what was best for business.

    "There's a certain niche following."—Stephanie, the best heel in the game, killing with kindness.

    "I just misspoke there."—Road Dogg. Honesty. 

    Jey Uso has a great superkick. He nails both Ryback and Axel before flying over the top onto the big man. Tremendous spot.




    Stephanie is such a gifted heel, practically winking at the audience but never becoming a straight-up parody of the evil authority figure. The WWE really has something here. If she had this kind of delivery 10 years ago, she and Triple H might have been a main event act truly worthy of their spots on the card.

Kane and The Shield Segment and Big E vs. Jack Swagger

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    Kane booked the Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins into a match with the Rhodes Brothers. The Shield, in turn, wondered if he wasn't trying to deflect attention from his own failures against Daniel Bryan.

    Big E rolled up Swagger after Jack was distracted ringside by his own crew. Zeb Colter demanded Cesaro and Swagger shake hands after the match.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "So, is there a point to all this?"—Dean Ambrose to Kane, echoing the audience no doubt.

    "I got this."—Swagger to Cesaro, trying to head off any problems.

    Big clothesline from Swagger. I love a good clothesline.

    Cesaro holstering his own hand after a handshake was the epitome of cool.




    The slow burn toward a Cesaro face turn continues. It should come as no surprise that I consider him one of the WWE's great underdeveloped talents. Now is the time to turn him loose and see what happens.

Undertaker Promo

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    Paul Heyman encouraged The Undertaker to walk away from a match with Lesnar. The Undertaker refused.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "If he says he's going to break the streak, the streak could be broken."—JBL on Brock Lesnar accomplishing what he sets out to do.

    "I came out here tonight to advocate the position that, Undertaker, you preserve the greatest streak in sport, the greatest streak in entertainment, the greatest streak in sports entertainment."—Paul Heyman, coming out to encourage The Undertaker not to take on Lesnar.

    Heyman built The Undertaker up to make tearing him down all the more special.

    "Everybody needs something to worship. And the WWE Universe worships you and the streak."—Heyman.

    "If you step into the ring at WrestleMania 30 with my client, your streak will be conquered by Brock Lesnar."—Heyman.

    "The fear of death is far greater than the death itself. But the fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all."—The Undertaker, speaking in riddles. Or is it nonsense?




    My wife asked me if Undertaker was going to be at WrestleMania until they had to roll him out in a wheelchair. Unfortunately, we're almost there. 

    Heyman is doing hero's work to build this match. But worrying about Mark Calloway, the man behind The Undertaker, is going to distract me from investing emotionally in his match.

    Here's hoping The Undertaker can live up to what are now enormous expectations, bury one final opponent and walk straight into wrestling immortality, never to return.

The Shield vs. the Rhodes Brothers

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    Seth Rollins pinned Cody Rhodes with a curb stomp.

    Highlights and Quotes

    Seth Rollins has been hitting the weight room hard. Either that or he had bicep implants. Are there bicep implants? Asking for a friend.

    Delayed vertical suplex by Cody Rhodes. Old school.

    Rhodes tried to yank Rollins out of the corner, but he countered with an acrobatic reversal. He's something special.

    The grandsons of a plumber with dueling dives to the outside. They didn't learn those moves from dad, I'll tell you that.

    Reigns' Samoan leap is the best highspot in the WWE at this moment in time.




    For the last year, in the midst of some seriously bad wrestling, two things have consistently stood out. First and foremost, of course, is Daniel Bryan. But right behind him, delivering over and over again, no matter the size of the stage or the spotlight, has been The Shield.

    This was a great match. That's practically a given at this point. And, while I'd be thrilled to see them populate the midcard with tremendous wrestling for the next decade, I also know that wouldn't be fair to them. They deserve a chance at more. 

    Intellectually, I understand why they have to break up. That won't make it hurt any less when it finally happens.

AJ Lee/Tamina Snuka vs. the Bella Twins

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    Nikki Bella pinned AJ Lee with her Torture Rack backbreaker to get the win.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "AJ, by statistics, may be one of the greatest Divas of all time."—Natayla, building up her competition as you should.

    "She has made each and every one of the Divas in the WWE fight harder than they ever have in their life."—Natayla.

    AJ Lee's guillotine choke is a pretty nifty spot.




    This match, perfectly acceptable technically, was for the purpose of putting over a Natayla vs. AJ match on WWE Main Event. The hard push for the WWE Network continues.

Daniel Bryan Occupied Raw

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    Bryan "occupied" Raw as fans surrounded the ring. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H came out. When fans refused to vacate the ring, Triple H eventually relented and agreed to a match at WrestleMania 30. Bryan added a new stipulation—if he beats Triple H, he gets added to the main event that night.

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Did any of you think that was sincere? Yeah...me neither."—Bryan, rejecting Stephanie's apology.

    "I am going to fight!"—Bryan, letting Triple H know how it's going to be.

    "I don't got two words for you. I've got one. NO!"—Bryan, telling Triple H it ends tonight.

    "Tonight we are going to occupy Raw."—Bryan, with last year's hot topical reference. 

    I wonder if having Bryan fans "occupy" the ring will come back and haunt WWE the way encouraging ECW fans to throw drinks wreaked havoc on their house shows at times?

    "I'm sure all the other little hippies and trolls that live underneath the bridge are very happy for you."—Triple H. 

    "I know the fat guy right up front doesn't have very much more in him."—Triple H. I just flashed back to Ric Flair mocking the "fat boy" in every crowd.

    "All of you are being manipulated by Daniel Bryan...Daniel Bryan is the wrong horse to back. You really think Daniel Bryan is worth it?"—Stephanie McMahon.

    "You don't own any of this. We. Own. This. Ring."—Bryan.

    "When I was born this place became mine. It is mine. I do own you."—Stephanie, just owning this segment.




    God, imagine if Stephanie could wrestle Bryan? I think I would faint. She's the most incredible heel in years. 

    It was the little things that really made this—the passion of the fans, the way Stephanie's voice devolved into a shriek as she got more and more angry, the way she threw her hands in the air as Triple H lost his cool. Could it be that WWE was a step ahead of us all this time?

Sheamus vs. Christian (Memphis Street Fight)

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    Sheamus and Christian in previous action.
    Sheamus and Christian in previous action.Credit: WWE.com


    Sheamus pinned Christian after hitting the Brogue kick right through a drum kit. 

    Highlights and Quotes

    Christian dropped Sheamus hard with a DDT on the floor.

    Christian went to work with a kendo stick. Somewhere, likely drinking a Natty Ice, Tommy Dreamer felt suddenly relevant.

    "I'm a commentator just like you you, moron."—JBL, explaining to Michael Cole why he didn't stop the Occupy Raw movement.

    "I think it's you, Jerry Lawler...I think you're in cahoots with Daniel Bryan."—JBL. 

    Christian with a frog splash onto two chairs. I'm not sure, to quote Konnan, that makes logic.




    Apparently, to the WWE, a Memphis Street Fight involves a full band and about 10 guitars. Shouldn't someone have taken a shot to the ear with a mason jar of moonshine instead?

    Pretty entertaining spotfest. Too bad JBL and Michael Cole got into one of their lame yelling matches instead of calling the action. The guys in the ring deserved better.

Big Show/Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton/Batista

10 of 10

    This was Daniel Bryan's night.
    This was Daniel Bryan's night.Credit: WWE.com


    Daniel Bryan pinned Randy Orton with a flying knee. 

    Highlights and Quotes

    "Has he gone insane?"—Randy Orton, questioning Triple H's decision and complaining to Brad Maddox.

    "I'm willing to make it work if you are."—Orton, looking to square things with Batista before their tag team match.

    Alexander Rusev was introduced. Neither he nor his manager, a nice looking blond, spoke a word of English. They were probably putting over the WWE Network.

    Daniel Bryan plays Ricky Morton for a bit, but his hot tag to Big Show wasn't so hot.

    "I like Dave. Dave hasn't done anything wrong."—JBL, defending Batista from harsh name calling like "Bootista."

    "There's no glass slipper here. There's no glass slipper here, Prince Goat."—JBL, moments before Bryan got the win.




    The Stones told us that you can't always get what you want. In Memphis, WWE fans got exactly what they've wanted for month. Daniel Bryan is a prime-time player, not just in crowd response but in card placement as well.

    Now is the time to rejoice, but don't get too comfortable. They'll screw it up again as a matter of course.