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WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 21

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 21, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from April 21

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Beatdowns bookended the April 21 edition of WWE Raw.

    The show opened with Kane returning to his savage past, leaving Daniel Bryan in need of medical attention. The night ended with Bray Wyatt holding John Cena's limp body in his arms.

    In between those striking images, WWE provided thrills, such as the tournament to decide who challenges Big E for the Intercontinental Championship, and letdowns, such as Emma becoming the female Santino Marella.

    Several Extreme Rules feuds generated momentum. WWE hinted at a handful of additional matches on the card.

    The following is a breakdown of Monday's Raw, picking apart what didn't work and giving kudos to what did. See who won, what highlights the Superstars provided and what letter grades all the action earned.

     

Kane Attacks Daniel Bryan

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    "Yes!" chants welcomed Daniel Bryan to the ring. Brie Bella awaited him there, hugging the world champ.

    Stephanie McMahon cut their celebration short, sauntering to the ring in a red dress.

    She mocked the "crunchiness" of Brie and Bryan's wedding. After announcing that Bryan would have to face Kane at Extreme Rules, McMahon warned that Brie better stay out of Kane's way.

    "The Big Red Monster" ambushed the newlyweds, smashing Bryan into the barricade and hitting the Tombstone piledriver on the outside. He delivered the move once more, this time on the ring steps.

    Medical staff helped Bryan onto a stretcher, but Kane was still in attack mode.

    On the announce table, "The Devil's Favorite Demon" gave Bryan a third Tombstone piledriver. WWE medical officials managed to get Bryan back on the stretcher, Brie standing at her man's side.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Kane drags a lifeless Bryan to the ring steps.

    McMahon screams "That's enough!" as Kane attacks Bryan.

    "I've never seen anything like that. Daniel Bryan never moved."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    The vicious attack created a somber mood throughout the crowd.

    The dramatic, violent moment reestablishes Kane as a monster. Memories of his corporate run are replaced with the haunting image of him leaving Bryan unconscious.

    Kane vs. Bryan is bettered by this collision, giving Bryan a fresh hunger for revenge going into that battle.

Sheamus vs. Bad News Barrett

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    Bad News Barrett and Sheamus met in the second round of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 contender's tournament. 

    Before the match, Barrett claimed that Sheamus' Irish luck would run out. The two foes then traded stiff punches.

    Sheamus then dove from the top rope onto Barrett on the outside. Barrett slipped out of the Beats of the Bodhran and knocked Sheamus off the apron via a boot to the face.

    The Irishman flew at his opponent, hitting a high knee in the corner and a flying shoulder block.

    Each man went for signature moves, but each man evaded the other. Sheamus slipped out of Wasteland, and Barrett ducked under a Brogue Kick before White Noise earned "The Celtic Warrior" a very close near-fall.

    It took a Bull Hammer to Sheamus' chin to end the hard-hitting match.

     

    Result

    Barrett wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This isn't St. Patrick's Day."—Barrett.

    Sheamus falls over the top rope after hitting high knee in the corner.

    Sheamus flies into Barrett, knocking both men over the top rope.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Two bruisers delivered a tremendous match. Sheamus took more risks than usual, giving the match a more significant feel. The IC title itself got a boost as well with as hard as these men fought.

    For Barrett, this marks his second straight week with a standout performance in the tournament. He gets a chance to make it three in a row in the finals next week.

Los Matadores vs. 3MB (with Hornswoggle)

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    Drew McIntyre slapped Hornswoggle to fire him up. The little man then traded slaps with El Torito.

    El Torito landed some impressive high-flying moves before having to face McIntyre. He hit the Scot in the onions before teaming up with Los Matadores, hopping onto his chest as the bullfighters slammed him to the ground.

    That was enough for the three-count.

     

    Result

    Los Matadores win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Shouldn't you call PETA? Are you allowed to hit miniature bulls?"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Jinder Mahal yanks El Torito off Hornswoggle.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    This was a shorter, fun version of the matches these groups have had over the last week.

    El Torito's leaping ability is phenomenal. That was on display in this well-paced comedy match.

    There is no explanation as to why he wasn't disqualified for hitting McIntyre with a low blow. It's probably the same reason he's allowed to hit his opponents with horns.

The Shield Faces off with Evolution

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    Triple H mocked The Shield, and Randy Orton said the trio sparked the inspiration for Evolution's reformation. They showed clips of Evolution's history of beatdowns. 

    Batista added that The Shield don't know what it got itself into.

    That's when "The Hounds of Justice" stormed down to the ring. Evolution slipped away to avoid their seething foes.

    Dean Ambrose reminded Triple H why he hired the group to protect Orton. Seth Rollins promised war at Extreme Rules, predicting that Evolution would disband at that show.

    Roman Reigns threatened to fight Evolution right now. When he and his teammates charged, a wall of heels came out to protect Triple H and company.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "And then one day, your daddy comes out and spanks you in front of the world."—Triple H.

    "Do we look humbled to you?"—Ambrose to Triple H.

    "Here in a few seconds, I'm gonna drop this mic and we're coming up that ramp and we're going to beat your asses."—Reigns to Evolution.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Both teams barked. Both teams looked confident and strong.

    Rollins flourished during his airtime. He was the most compelling man on his squad, something that hasn't always been the case. 

    It's surprising that WWE hasn't announced a stipulation for this bout yet. It appears that this will get more contentious first.

    Kudos to the WWE production team. They did a great job with the Evolution highlights, especially in how they had images of Evolution's past mirror its present and vice versa.

The Usos vs. Goldust and Cody Rhodes

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    Ryback and Curtis Axel sat in on commentary as The Usos took on Cody Rhodes and Goldust. 

    The Usos controlled the match early using their speed and high-flying moves to keep the Rhodes brothers off balance. Rhodes later tagged himself in. As he attempted a Cross Rhodes, Jey Usos kicked him in the mouth.

    A three-count later and the match was over.

    Rhodes pushed his brother in frustration before heading to the backstage area. Ryback and Axel ambushed the tag champs, leaving them writhing on the mat.

     

    Result

    The Usos win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You did announcing for years and you still suck."—Ryback to the announcers.

    "Cody Rhodes just went poof."—Ryback.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    WWE dropped a big hint that Ryback and Axel are facing The Usos at Extreme Rules. There was also some foreshadowing of splintering between Rhodes and Goldust.

    The match itself was nothing special, as it was too short to develop any suspense.

    Ryback's commentary was more entertaining and ups the grade some. He thrived as he mocked the announcers, threw in stories of his childhood and chuckled derisively at everything. We need to see more of this Ryback.

Layla vs. Emma

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    Fandango attacked Santino Marella on the apron, which was enough of a distraction to have Emma leave herself open to Layla attacking her.

    Layla mocked her opponent's dance moves and barked at her.

    On the outside, Marella hit Fandango with the cobra. Emma pulled out a pink version of the sock puppet snake and knocked Layla out with it. Marella and Emma played with their fake snakes together in flirty fashion. 

     

    Result

    Layla wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I think the cobras just kissed."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

     

    Grade

    D+

     

    Analysis

    WWE has not only wasted Emma's talents with short, silly matches like these, but it hasn't moved this feud along at all. Adding a pink cobra to the mix is not narrative advancement.

    It's a feud where everyone's wheels are spinning. The El Torito vs. Hornswoggle battles have been more entertaining, both humor-wise and in terms of in-ring action.

    Emma needs to be placed elsewhere, stat. Otherwise, fans are going to sour on her before she even has a shot to show off what she's capable of when involved in something less ridiculous.  

Cesaro vs. Rob Van Dam

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    Paul Heyman bragged about his new client and reminded us yet again that Brock Lesnar conquered Undertaker's undefeated streak at WrestleMania. Rob Van Dam's entrance music interrupted Heyman's rant. 

    The second semifinal of the Intercontinental Championship No. 1 contender tournament could then begin.

    Van Dam soon found himself on the mat, Cesaro driving his elbow and knees into him. "Mr. Monday Night" responded with a monkey flip that sent Cesaro soaring. He then dove at "The King of Swing," hitting the ring post instead.

    Cesaro took control once more. He used his power advantage to wobble Van Dam, clubbing him in the chin and tossing him around the ring.

    Kicks and Rolling Thunder gave Van Dam back the momentum. He readied himself for the Five-Star Frog Splash, but Cesaro charged at him and hit a European uppercut.

    Cesaro pulled out a Tiger Bomb before Jack Swagger came down to ringside, distracting him. Van Dam tried to dive out on Cesaro, but he had an uppercut waiting for him.

    Swagger cracked Cesaro's head against the ring post, allowing Van Dam to win by count-out. Swagger attacked his former partner, but Cesaro later swung him around.

     

    Result

    Van Dam wins via count-out.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "This guy's a legend in his own mouth"—Jerry Lawler on Paul Heyman.

    Cesaro blocks a sunset flip attempt and stomps on Van Dam's chest.

    Heyman's fearful look when Van Dam got a near-fall after a moonsault.

    Cesaro's uppercut on a diving Van Dam.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    A number of memorable spots don't make up for a lack of chemistry. Van Dam and Cesaro didn't click for much of the match.

    There was little flow to the action, but fans will instead be talking about Cesaro's new air raid siren-heavy entrance music, the fact that Cesaro lost and that the defeat sets up a Swagger vs. Cesaro bout.

    Many folks picked Cesaro to win the tournament, but it's clear that he will have his rivalry on his mind at Extreme Rules, not Big E's title.

     

Aksana vs. Paige

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    Aksana attacked first, but Paige landed the first blows. The Divas champ evaded Aksana before kneeing her in the chest and grabbing her hair.

    Aksana fought back, stomping and choking her foe. She held the champ down with a grinding hold before Paige elbowed her way out.

    Paige couldn't maintain the advantage, though. She fell victim to Aksana's power moves before making a comeback that culminated in the modified scorpion crosslock.

     

    Result

    Paige wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Paige slams Aksana's face into the mat several times.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Although it was too slow in spots, the intensity of the bout made it more entertaining than most Divas fare.

    WWE continues to have Paige take the majority of the punishment during her matches, only to survive and make a comeback. The company seems to be painting her as an underdog, which works for now.

    Eventually, though, it will have to start portraying her as the badass that she is. 

Alexander Rusev vs. Sin Cara

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    WWE announced that Alexander Rusev would face both Xavier Woods and R-Truth at Extreme Rules. Before that, though, he battled Sin Cara.

    The luchador used his speed to evade Rusev early.

    "The Bulgarian Brute" caught and squashed him. He wrenched Cara's arm and bashed him with his forearm.

    Cara hit a number of offensive moves. At times, it only seemed to annoy the big man. At other times, he had the powerhouse off balance.

    Rusev responded by barreling over him. He locked in The Accolade for the win.

     

    Result

    Rusev wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Rusev rolls over Cara as he grabs him for a suplex.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    Cara's surprising flurry had Rusev veer from his usual squash-match script. It was exciting to see him stumble for a few moments. 

    The less one-sided bout allowed him to show off more of his moves, looking mighty impressive in the process.

    Woods and R-Truth are sure to give him a bit of trouble as well, but the smart money is for him to continue his winning ways.

The Wyatt Family vs. John Cena

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE fans had the choice to have John Cena face one, two or three members of The Wyatt Family. They went the sadistic route, pitting him against Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan.

    Backstage, Wyatt cackled about the bitter taste of truth and his desire for change. He proclaimed that The Wyatt Family stands against Cena.

    He also said that he would take Cena's followers from him.

    Renee Young later interviewed Cena backstage. He said he respected the WWE Universe while wearing a sad-dog expression. Cena told Wyatt that he should never count him out.

    Once the bout began, all three members of the Wyatt clan stomped on Cena. Harper bashed him with forearms and Rowan slammed him before Wyatt danced with him in the ring.

    Harper's next turn saw him miss a wild uppercut, after which Cena hit a suplex. His offense didn't last, though.

    The Wyatt Family traded chances to use Cena as a punching bag.

    Cena fought back with a DDT to Harper. Wyatt came in seething, planting Cena into the mat. "The Eater of Worlds" then took the time to sing to the crowd.

    The former champ made an impressive comeback, looking as if he was going to pull out the upset. Harper and Rowan started attacking him rather than let him pin Wyatt. Wyatt cradled Cena's head in his arms as he sang and sneered.

     

    Result

    Cena wins via disqualification. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "What have we become? Just a nation full of mindless sheep, led by wolves and owned by pigs."—Wyatt.

    "It will not matter which monster has the longest teeth or the sharpest claws."—Wyatt.

    Wyatt slow dances with a woozy Cena.

    "The Wyatt Family destroying Cena live on Raw."—Michael Cole.

    Wyatt holds an unconscious Cena in his arms and sings, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."

     

    Grade

    A

     

    Analysis

    The match impressed even for how one-sided it was, but the real entertainment was the character work. Cena is beginning to seem more resigned in this feud, unhappy that his fanbase is leaning more and more toward Wyatt.

    Wyatt showed off a wide range of skills, reciting a dark poem on the mic and unsettling the audience with his odd behavior in the ring. 

    The image of him holding Cena's head in his arms and singing is one of the best of the year. He and Cena head into Extreme Rules, just as they did at WrestleMania, with a show-stealing story.

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