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

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterMarch 18, 2014

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

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The March 17 WWE Raw produced a number of moments that make waiting three more weeks for WrestleMania a difficult task.

    John Cena and Bray Wyatt traded words once more. The Shield refused to be controlled. Daniel Bryan suffered again in a story that has been centered around his pain.

    On a night where WWE announced that Mr. T will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, WWE had the audience gasping at times and yawning at others. All the matches and segments are recapped, graded and analyzed on the following slides.

    The show began with the spotlight aimed at the same man who ended Raw as the king watching the rebel leader unable to rise to his feet—Triple H.

Opening Segment

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    Boos thundering around him, Triple H told fans that it would be their fault once he crushed their dreams and ended the "Yes! Movement." He promised to deal with Daniel Bryan face-to-face later in the show, just as Batista entered wearing a scowl.

    "The Animal" barked about Bryan getting a spot in his match. 

    Randy Orton interrupted their spat and agreed with Batista. Triple H said there was no way Bryan would beat him.

    Orton asked for a chance to face Bryan in a No Disqualification Match before telling Batista that no one cared about him returning. The two WrestleMania foes argued.

    A red-faced Triple H told them both he was sick of them. He announced that if he won against Bryan at WrestleMania, he would be inserted into the Triple Threat main event.

    Orton capped off the moment by hitting an RKO on Batista.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm gonna do what I do in this ring at WrestleMania to Daniel Bryan, cold, calculated and without remorse, just like I always have."—Triple H.

    "You're a paper champion. You wish you could be me."—Batista to Orton.

    "I'm sick of technically gifted guys who can't win match without me holding their hand."—Triple H to Orton.




    While most fans are still going to assume that Bryan wins against Triple H at WrestleMania, the new stipulation gives that match at least the appearance of being less predictable. It ups the stakes, which is a wise move.

    These three men's issues with each other made sense; they were both logical and added tension.

    This segment didn't boast top-level animosity, though. It did its job in adding intrigue to the WrestleMania match but won't be the most memorable moment in this story by a long shot.

The Real Americans vs. The Usos

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    Jey Uso dominated Jack Swagger to open the match. Cesaro failed to get better results, suffering a right hand and a flying headbutt from Jimmy.

    The Real Americans titled the advantage their way and soon had Jimmy gasping for breath in their corner.

    Jimmy tried to slug his way out of danger, but Swagger slammed him to the mat, and Cesaro stomped on his chest. The Real Americans showed off the chemistry they had during their best days together. It took a jaw-rattling kick from Jimmy to allow him to tag his brother in.

    Jey's offense then had Cesaro staggering. 

    The Usos worked together to hit Cesaro with a Samoan Drop and then crack Swagger with a superkick. It looked like the champs would be adding to their victory total, but an uppercut sent Jimmy into the land where dreams live.


    The Real Americans win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Jimmy hits a corkscrew dive onto Swagger.

    Swagger knocks Jimmy outside of the ring with a nasty kick to the head.

    Cesaro uppercuts Jimmy as he tries to dive over the top rope.




    Just like with The Shield, as soon as the audience expected The Real Americans to break up, they bonded together even stronger. Both Swagger and Cesaro were noticeably more aggressive, amping up the speed of their offense.

    A solid match featured a stellar ending with Cesaro's uppercut being the kind of moment that gets a fan to leap off the couch.

    Apparently we can't count on a Cesaro and Swagger collision at WrestleMania during the battle royal, but we can count on The Real Americans getting a title shot in the near future.

Sheamus vs. Titus O'Neil

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    Bad News Barrett cut short Hornswoggle handing out St. Patrick's Day swag, so he could deliver his take on the holiday. He called it stupid and said that everyone was going to vomit all night and do things they'd regret after drinking too much.

    Hornswoggle stuck around at ringside as Sheamus battled Titus O'Neil. Christian sat in on commentary.

    O'Neil wore an orange beard and a green top hat. He and Sheamus traded big blows before Sheamus sent him crashing to the outside.

    O'Neil started smacking Hornswoggle around before Sheamus used the little man as a weapon, drilling O'Neil in the gut. A few power moves later and Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick for the win.

    Renee Young interviewed "The Celtic Warrior", who announced he would be entering Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Christian took that as a cue to attack him from behind, hitting the Killswitch outside the ring.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "There's a real-life leprechaun."—Barrett on Hornswoggle.

    "I'm undefeated. The only times I've been beaten is when I beat myself."—Christian.

    "You have a worse record than the Washington Generals."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield to Christian.




    Christian, who will enter the battle royal as well, will continue his feud with Sheamus, but within the confines of that 30-man match. That adds another subplot to the battle royal and doesn't use up a WrestleMania spot for a singles match between them.

    The St. Patrick's Day-themed elements weren't as cheesy as many might have expected. The match wasn't memorable in the least, though.

    More fans will probably remember O'Neil's strange-looking beard more than any of the actual in-ring action.

John Cena Addresses The Wyatt Family

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    Credit: WWE.com

    John Cena talked about how long he has been with WWE and that he always gives his best.

    He said that Bray Wyatt was not like any man he has ever faced. His emotions rising with every sentence, he talked about Wyatt wanted to destroy him and how much their match at WrestleMania meant.

    Wearing a Cena T-shirt, Wyatt interrupted. He rambled on about his dark childhood and how Cena lives an empty life.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm afraid of Bray Wyatt."—Cena.

    "At WrestleMania XXX, I will fight for everything; I will fight for my legacy."—Cena.

    "I've got a few scars too. The world gave them to me."—Wyatt to Cena.




    After a brief bout of the silly banter Cena is famous for, he barreled ahead into a great speech that elevated the importance of his match with Wyatt. He played up Wyatt's strengths just as much as he did his own.

    Wyatt followed with one of his better promos that was unsettling, poetic and helped add another layer to their upcoming match.

    He's made victory and defeat less important than the psychological undertones of the bout. This was the best showcase of the two characters' contrast so far, a moment that delivered a number of lines that will echo in the audience's head.

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan (No Disqualification)

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    Bryan withstood Randy Orton's early strikes and took control of the match with kicks and focused attacks on Orton's left knee.

    He flew out of the ring at Orton, but "The Viper" whacked him with a kendo stick. He then slammed Bryan on the announce table, shouting at anyone who would listen.

    Orton took batting practice on Bryan's back with the kendo stick before smashing him into the ring post. Bryan writhed in pain, reaching for his low back.

    Eventually, Bryan knocked Orton on his back and grabbed the stick for himself. He cracked it on Orton's torso, kicked him in the head and got an extremely close two-count.

    A superplex had the advantage swing back to Orton.

    Stomps and rope-hung DDT had Bryan hurting, but the bearded warrior brought the fight to the outside and knocked Orton over the barricade. Batista charged in suddenly and speared Orton. Bryan knocked "The Animal" aside and pinned the world champ.

    Batista then handed out a Batista Bomb to Orton.


    Bryan wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "There is no bell to ring."—Orton after hitting Bryan with the kendo stick.

    Orton begging for Bryan to not hit him.

    Bryan dropkicked Orton into the timekeeper's area.




    Raw's main event came in the middle of the show. Orton and Bryan delivered the violent, dramatic work fans have grown accustom to.

    It was a touch slower than some of the best bouts together, but Orton's brief burst of insanity once he wielded the kendo stick along with the surprise attack from Batista upped the excitement level.

    WWE offered a potential glimpse of how the WrestleMania XXX main event could play out while giving Orton more reason to hate Batista and Batista to hate Bryan. 

Paul Heyman's Testimony

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Paul Heyman pointed out that Undertaker's last few WrestleMania opponents have nearly defeated "The Deadman," while Brock Lesnar dominated those same foes.

    WWE showed a series of clips of Undertaker taking beatings at that event, playing up that he's getting older.

    Heyman wrapped up by saying that Undertaker's streak would rest in peace.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "At WrestleMania, he shall conquer death himself."—voice-over narration about Lesnar.




    It's an odd choice to use Heyman so sparingly here. This was about 80 percent video and 20 percent Heyman. 

    The concept was spot on, though. Zeroing in on Undertaker's age and Lesnar's destructive resume is the absolute right move.

    The company showed Mark Henry, Shawn Michaels and Triple H in those video highlights but not CM Punk. Having to sidestep him like that takes away from the point of the video, leaving out a key example for Heyman's point.

Fandango vs. Goldust

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    Goldust and Cody Rhodes mockingly danced on their way to the ring. Fandango tried to show "The Bizarre One" up with his own dance moves, but Goldust's creepily crawling soon unnerved him.

    Goldust spent much of the match dancing and later much of it bleeding when he and Fandango butted heads.

    Rhodes caught Summer Rae when she fell from the apron. She enjoyed being held before Fandango got angry at her.

    He took out that rage on Goldust, choking and kneeing him. The ballroom dancer held Goldust in a chinlock, but he couldn't keep him down. Goldust hit his finisher for the win.

    He looked legitimately upset.


    Goldust wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I literally have two left feet. When I go to the beach, I have to wear flip flips."—Jerry Lawler.

    That will affect your dancing skills, those inverted atomic drops."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Fandango stumbles during a suplex attempt.




    Goldust played the comic-relief role usually reserved for Santino Marella, as he did more goofing around than fighting. His and Fandango's match featured a handful of awkward moments, likely botches that led to Goldust's anger afterward.

    There is little of consequence here in terms of storyline.

    WWE seemed to need some filler, and that's exactly what the match felt like.

The Shield and Kane

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    The Shield and Kane faced off backstage. Kane warned there would be consequences if the group didn't follow orders; they would become a liability if The Authority can't count on them.

    The black-clad trio snickered at him but said they would do what was best for business.

    Later in the show, Kane told fans that Bryan's "Occupy Raw" violated safety codes. He concluded that Lawler used his hometown connections to orchestrate the demonstration. 

    The Shield then marched down to ringside. Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns stalked Lawler, ordering him into the ring.

    Kane asked Lawler if he'd like to say anything before the beating. Rollins said that Bryan wasn't coming to save him.

    He and his partners then turned their glares toward Kane.

    The Shield surrounded him like jackals around a bear. Kane fought them off for a few moments, but a Reigns spear felled him. A triple powerbomb ended the fracas for good.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This is no time for pettiness, Dean."—Kane to Ambrose.

    "I believe you will do the right thing when asked, or you'll find out just how replaceable you are."—Kane to The Shield.

    "I hope they don't hurt him too bad, but this is deserved."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Lawler.




    We have yet to see where this story is going, but it's adding intrigue as it travels forward.

    The tension created when Lawler awaited his punishment was excellent. Watching The Shield bond once again and set their sights on Kane has been fun so far, even if it's unclear what it all means for WrestleMania.

    "The Hounds of Justice" seem to have officially turned face, which is a surprising and exciting direction.

The Funkadactyls vs. Tamina Snuka and AJ Lee

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    The Bella Twins sat in on commentary as Tamina Snuka and AJ Lee dominated Cameron. Naomi, who just returned from injury, stood on the apron wearing an eye patch.

    Cameron dropkicked her way out of trouble and tagged her partner in.

    Naomi kicked Tamina out of the ring and then powered out of AJ's guillotine choke. She hit the split-legged moonsault, and that was enough for the victory.

    After the match, AJ freaked out on Tamina, yelling about losing all the time. Tamina pushed her down, and they then stared off.


    The Funkadactyls win by pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Naomi returns wearing a funky eye patch.

    AJ screams at Tamina.




    After having a standout match against Natalya last week on Main Event, AJ is back to getting pinned in short, hurried matches on Raw. 

    Naomi's return wasn't as fun as her eye patch. The match was forgettable. The Bellas advertising Total Divas on commentary didn't add to it either.

    What fans will talk about after this bout, though, is witnessing the most tension that we've seen between AJ and Tamina. That's a story brimming with intrigue, one that seems to have started in earnest.

8-Man Tag Match

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    Big Show, Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler and Big E took on Curtis Axel, Ryback, Damien Sandow and Alberto Del Rio, all of whom had been confirmed for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

    Big E and Henry tossed Ryback and Axel around. Ziggler joined the fun, hitting a neckbreaker before Axel tossed him in the bad guys' corner.

    Sandow pounded on Ziggler. Ryback held him up for a suplex, but "The Show-Off" turned into an inside cradle for a two-count.

    Ziggler took the majority of the punishment onward, Sandow and Axel keeping him grounded. When he finally tagged Big Show in, the giant went in and barreled over Sandow.

    Everyone in the match came in, chaos taking over. After the fight cleared the ring of everyone but the legal men, Big Show chokeslammed Sandow for the win.


    Ziggler, Henry, Big E and Big Show win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ziggler dropkicks Ryback on the back of the head.




    The eight-man tag format was an effective way to get a number of the battle-royal entrants involved. Big Show emerged as a favorite in that bout, looking the most dominate here.

    It was a solid match, but there was little offered in terms of feuds and storyline. Del Rio seemed to have extra anger in his kicks when they were directed at Ziggler, but other than that this was just a burst of fun meant to build toward the 30-man contest.

Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston

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    The bout began with a fast past, Bray Wyatt leaving Kofi Kingston on the mat after the first series of blows. He rammed into him with an elbow to the jaw and cracked his knee against his collarbone.

    Wyatt flung Kingston around, his eyes rolling back in his head, a sickening grin washing over his face.

    He nailed his foe with Sister Abigail's Kiss, and Kingston couldn't kick out.


    Wyatt wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Joy, joy, joy, down in in my heart."—Wyatt singing mid-match.

    One of Kingston's dreads lies on the mat.




    Wyatt and Kingston's match on last Friday's SmackDown was far superior to this one. This was one-sided from bell to bell, simply a demonstration of Wyatt's dominance.

    As fun as it was to see Wyatt's signature moves and to watch him start singing a hymn, the lack of resistance left this without any tension to savor.

    WWE did make Wyatt look strong here, though it would have been smart to increase his level of competition. He's beaten Kingston handily before.

Triple H and Daniel Bryan Meet in the Ring

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    Triple H first faced off with a frustrated Stephanie McMahon backstage. She questioned his decision-making and demanded that he right things Monday night.

    In the ring, Triple H was collected as he talked about how much has happened between him and Bryan since SummerSlam. He said that none of it was personal. The COO said that Bryan couldn't understand the burden of his position.

    He took a thinly veiled shot at CM Punk, saying that Bryan didn't take his ball and go home like others would have.

    Triple H promised to shut down Bryan's uprising and put out his hand to shake. Bryan refused.

    "The Game" said that Bryan earned his respect. McMahon came out, announcing that she was pressing charges against Bryan for his hijacking last week.

    Uniformed officers strolled in as Triple H and McMahon bickered. They threw him to the ground, threw in a few punches and handcuffed him.

    Triple H revealed that this was all a ploy. He ordered the fake cops to stand down as he stomped on the handcuffed Superstar.

    Bryan tried to headbutt his way out of trouble, but Triple H mauled him, McMahon cheering him on. McMahon took a few shots of her own, tagging Bryan with slaps.

    The beating ended with a Pedigree and a shirtless Triple H standing over his prey.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Are you even thinking at all tonight?"—McMahon to Triple H.

    "I'm not going to apologize one bit for what I do to you in that ring."—Triple H to Bryan.

    "I have dumped a world on top of you, and yet you're still standing here."—Triple H to Bryan.

    "This belongs to us. There is no Yes Movement."—Triple H.




    With this ending, WWE churned up the anger in the audience, pumping up the desire to see Triple H get his comeuppance. 

    Before the nasty beatdown, Triple H said a lot of positive things about Bryan. This is one of the first times he has elevated him while elevating himself, even if was just a ruse.

    McMahon was brilliant, from her irksome facial expressions to her getting into Bryan's face once he was down.

    The shot at Punk was unnecessary, but other than that, this was an engaging segment that moved the story forward. Bryan has even more reason to want to beat Triple H, and the COO looks as merciless as ever after this.

Off-Air Notes

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    Credit: WWE.com

    As noted by WrestlingInc.com, after Raw went off the air, the medical staff took Daniel Bryan out of the ring area on a stretcher.

    Bryan was supposed to tag with John Cena's against The Wyatt Family. Since Bryan unable to compete, Cena found himself a new partner—The Undertaker.

    The two fan favorites attacked Luke Harper and Erick Rowan as Bray Wyatt scurried away.