WWE

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 16

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 17, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from June 16

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    Credit: WWE.com

    On the June 16 WWE Raw, the company all but shouted to its fanbase that a new generation of headliners is coming. 

    Rising stars Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose all stood on center stage several times throughout the night. The end result was a pair of excellent matches bookending a number of limping efforts. 

    Monday's Raw decided who will enter the WWE title Ladder match at Money in the Bank, amped up the hatred between Rollins and Ambrose, all the while pointing toward the future. Cena and Kane main-evented, but there were plenty of signs of change on top.

    How well did the old guard and the new guard perform under the spotlight? How well did WWE make Money in the Bank more appealing?

    The following is a look at the winners and highlights of Monday's Raw, assigning letter grades for every battle or segment.

Opening Segment

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    Credit: WWE.com

    With the bulk of the roster standing on the entrance ramp, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H smugly glided past them down to the ring. The Authority mocked Daniel Bryan, questioning his heart. 

    McMahon and Triple H hit the usual talking points about him not being good enough to be champion.

    They announced that (minus Ambrose, Reigns and Cena) all the Superstars on the ramp would compete in a Battle Royal to determine who would next enter the WWE title Ladder match. Cena would have to win a Stretcher match against Kane to earn his spot.

      

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Yeah, that's right, he is a B+ player," McMahon to fans chanting "Yes!"

     

    Grade 

    B-

     

    Analysis

    Deciding the last spot via Battle Royal is smart in that it adds an element of surprise. A standard qualifying match provides only two choices as winners. A feeling of "anybody can win this" comes courtesy of the Battle Royal format.

    It's also a bonus to get a physical match between Kane and Cena, although the latter enters as such a favorite that there's little suspense there.

    What drags this down is the tired "Bryan isn't good enough" routine. It has worked to a degree in the past to get heat on The Authority, but it's overkill to pile on him while he's injured. A better direction would have been to have McMahon and The Game focus more on treating The Shield and Cena unfairly, a narrative pool they only dipped their toes into.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins

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    The Cleveland fans gave Dolph Ziggler a hometown welcome before Rollins climbed into the ring with a devious grin stretched across his face.

    The Show-Off frustrated Rollins early, inspiring him to roll out of the ring for a respite. Rollins returned more focused. He whipped Ziggler into the corner before wrapping his hands around his neck. 

    Energized, Ziggler came fighting back. An enzuigiri ended his brief flurry, though.

    Each wrestler knocked his foe to the ground, but it was only for moments at a time. Each escaped the other's signature moves, including Rollins avoiding the sleeper and reversing a DDT attempt.

    The former member of The Shield then grew more aggressive. He hit a nasty Curb Stomp, but Ambrose flew into the ring before he could get the pin.

    Ambrose peppered him with punches. Rollins scurried away as Ambrose challenged him to a fight. Triple H popped up on the big screen, announcing that Bad News Barrett would be fighting him instead.

     

    Result

    Rollins wins via disqualification.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ziggler hits Rollins with a right hand to prevent a suicide dive.

    Ziggler counters a turnbuckle powerbomb, getting a two-count of it.

    Rollins misses a moonsault but lands on his feet. 

    "This aint going to be over until I get my hands on that smug, corporate, extremely punchable face of yours."—Ambrose to Rollins.

     

    Grade 

    A-

     

    Analysis

    A combination WWE has turned to certain wrestlers a number of times in the last few weeks, and it's worked yet again. Rollins and Ziggler's chemistry is fantastic. It makes their matches must-watch even if few would believe Ziggler has a chance each time.

    Ziggler is so tremendous at making other guys look good that he's likely never to escape that role. He has done that for Rollins several times in a row now.

    He walks on without a storyline, while Rollins continues a battle with Ambrose that is increasing in temperature.

Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose

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    Ambrose, dressed in his street-fighting gear, brawled with Bad News Barrett. He began the match in charge, thanks to raking his forearms against Barrett's face, stomping on his fingers and kicking him in the ribs.

    Barrett managed to slow the match down with a chinlock, but Ambrose suplexed himself free. 

    They brought the fought outside of the ropes where Ambrose looked to be in control. A spill to the outside changed that, though. The Shield member injured the shoulder Bray Wyatt was working on during their bout on last Friday's SmackDown.

    The IC champ then tore at the limb, cracking it against the ring post and bending it awkwardly.

    Ambrose fought back, but he did so with one arm. Everything he did, including kicking out, hurt him.

    Rollins then climbed onto the apron, looking to distract his old ally. Ambrose chased him out into the crowd as the referee count to 10.

    After the match, Ambrose nailed Barrett from behind. He hit Dirty Deeds before exiting.

     

    Result

    Barrett wins via count-out.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ambrose springs to the outside onto Barrett.

    Barrett clotheslines Ambrose out of the ring onto the apron.

    Ambrose punches his own shoulder to get the blood flowing to it.

    Ambrose dives out of the ring onto Rollins and Barrett.

    "He shouldn't be walking the same streets as everybody else."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on Ambrose.

     

    Grade 

    B+

     

    Analysis

    WWE booked this well. Barrett didn't have to absorb a loss as midcard champs too often do. Ambrose and Rollins' feud isn't built on anything innovative; it's just old-fashioned animosity. 

    Ambrose showcased his off-kilter qualities and looked like a rabid dog at times.

    His chemistry with Barrett was solid, but he was too wild at times. Swinging rapid-fire punches is a boost to his character, but at times they looked more like swats. 

    It looks clear that WWE is heading for a Ambrose vs. Rollins matchup at Money in the Bank, especially with Reigns getting into the Ladder match.

Bray Wyatt Sermon

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    Credit: WWE.com

    His brothers stood at the two sides of a ladder as Bray Wyatt addressed the crowd. He talked about power and influence.

    Pointing to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, he claimed that it represents all the power he needs.

    He promised that Erick Rowan and Luke Harper would beat The Usos and that he would win the WWE title Ladder match. His rendition of "He's Got the Whole World In His Hands" capped things off. 

    Sheamus interrupted, telling him it's bad luck to walk under a ladder. Wyatt cackled as Sheamus threatened him. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "A weak man is less valuable than the dirt that stains his clothes."—Wyatt. 

    "Hanging above this ladder is my absolution. Hanging above this ladder is my glory. Hanging above this ladder is the change you have all been praying for."—Wyatt. 

     

    Grade 

    A

     

    Analysis

    Wyatt can sometimes wander off with his ideas, but he focused on the important key points here. He pumped up The Wyatt Family's tag match, expressed and explained his desire to win the world title, all while being the mesmerizing force that he usually is.

    It's airtime like this that proves that even if he doesn't win the championship, he's set to benefit from being in the Ladder-match field.

Bray Wyatt vs. Sheamus

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    Sheamus and Bray Wyatt locked up while growling and snarling. 

    The Celtic Warrior headbutted Wyatt in the corner, clotheslined him to the mat and rocked him with uppercuts. They soon scuffled on the canvas, Wyatt grinning as he went on the attack.

    Moments later, knees to Wyatt's temple had him wobbling. The Eater of Worlds retreated outside where Rowan and Harper lurked. Just when it looked like Sheamus would be battling three men, The Usos charged out to even things up.

    That left Wyatt and Sheamus to battle unmolested in the ring.

    They traded punches before Wyatt eventually floored his foe. He tried to slam the Irishman, but he found himself suffering elbows to the head and then forearms to the chest.

    The match exploded into chaos as The Wyatt Family and The Usos got involved. Harper and Rowan tried to attack the tag champ with a ladder, but the fan favorites turned the weapon against them.

     

    Result

    The match results in a no-contest.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Sheamus clobbers Wyatt off the apron.

    The Usos leap from a ladder onto Harper and Rowan.

    Sheamus hurls a ladder at The Wyatt Family.

     

    Grade 

    A-

     

    Analysis

    A good, physical matchup ends in frenetic fashion. The brawl at the end helps build the tag team title match and adds more bad blood between Sheamus and Wyatt, which elevates the WWE title Ladder match.

    It's this kind of wild energy that Raw too often fails to deliver. 

    Like with Rollins and Ambrose, simple booking proves effective. Make future matches mean something and make the wrestlers involved hate each other. This post-match tussle is an excellent example of that working. 

Rusev vs. Heath Slater

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    Heath Slater, his 3MB crew no longer at his side, waited in the ring, peering at his opponent through sunglasses. 

    Lana told the chanting fans that the U.S. was founded by weaklings. She talked of new monuments replacing the old ones, showing a Mt. Rushmore featuring Rusev, Vladimir Putin and Lenin. Slater had his say as well.

    He told Lana and Rusev to go back to Russia if they love it so much.

    Slater began with a series of punches that shocked Rusev. The flurry ended with a kick to Slater's jaw and then The Accolade.

     

    Result

    Rusev wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Your emasculated nation will be forced to drop to its knees."—Lana to the fans.

    "You're going against the American rock star in the USA"—Slater.

     

    Grade 

    C+

     

    Analysis

    WWE has established Rusev's character enough that Lana doesn't need to do a promo every night, especially ones that last longer than the match that follows it.

    It's understandable that the company wants to continue building Rusev up in squash matches, but the bouts can go a lot longer than three moves. It's just as important to showcase his move set and overall destructive power as is to play up his character. 

    Slater played the babyface role, likely something that sticks now that he's back to being a one-man band.

Roman Reigns Uses Vickie Guerrero to Get at Stephanie McMahon

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    Vickie Guerrero was set to give The Authority its coffee. Reigns stopped her. He noted that she better put sweetener in it.

    When she went to go get some, Reigns put something in the drinks.

    Triple H didn't drink his because Guerrero spilled it. That meant that Stephanie McMahon was the only one to suffer the effects of Reigns' doctoring.

    She raced to the bathroom during an interview with Renee Young before splattering Guerrero with a bucket's worth of vomit. Reigns found her afterward and convinced her to put him in the Battle Royal.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    McMahon throws up on Guerrero.

     

    Grade 

    F

     

    Analysis

    Reigns going from being a destroyer who sends through tables to a guy who spikes someone's coffee is a lame journey. 

    Involving a wrestler whom WWE has built up as such an elite soldier in bathroom humor is misguided. Who benefits from this segment? Reigns doesn't look better for poisoning a woman, and Triple H, his rival, doesn't take the brunt of this; his wife does.

    Out of the ideas on the table for ways to get Reigns in the Battle Royal, it's hard to imagine there were worse ones.

    The pursuit of a cheap laugh cheapened the show and gives Reigns a moment we're not likely to see on his career retrospective DVD.

Fandango and Layla vs. Summer Rae and Adam Rose

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    Backstage, Adam Rose introduced himself to Kevin Hart, telling him to think like a rosebud. Hart wasn't having it, rejecting the party-lover's charms.

    Hart came out to the announce table, dishing out high-fives on the way.

    The Cleveland fans sang Rose's theme as the battle began. Layla smacked Summer Rae and then tagged Fandango. She ran backstage with Summer chasing her.

    Rose soon hits the Party Foul and got the win. Hart soon joined him, dancing in the ring before crowd-surfing up the ramp.

     

    Result

    Rose and Summer Raw win via pinfall. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Don't sing in my ear." —Hart.

    "The pants are distracting me."—Hart on Fandango.

     

    Grade 

    D

     

    Analysis

    Putting Hart on commentary was a smart way to use him. He had some funny moments, but the match ended before he had a chance to say much.

    Short matches are a part of the product, but the credits shouldn't run longer than the movie so to speak. Giving Rose and Fandango such little time takes away their ability to tell a story, even if it was supposed to be a silly one.

Ladder Match Qualifying Battle Royal

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    Damien Sandow, in a LeBron James jersey, lasted only a few seconds. A wave of foes pushed him over.

    Bo Dallas sent Santino Marella out next. Rusev took out both Los Matadores. Reigns hurled Titus O'Neil over the top rope.

    The pace then slowed, each corner filled with brawling Superstars, no eliminations coming for a while.

    Ryback then flung Kofi Kingston out and punched Ziggler off the apron. He began to work with Curtis Axel, trying to fell Reigns. Reigns knocked down everyone in sight, including eliminating Fandango via the Superman punch.

    Bad News Barrett and Rob Van Dam slugged it out with Dallas, adding some shots to Van Dam as well. Dallas knocked Van Dam out, hugged Barrett and then saw a Bull Hammer fly at his head.

    After a chaotic flurry where the field thinned, Reigns threw out the "Bo-liever," leaving Rusev and him alone. Rusev hit a nasty kick before crushing him in the corner. 

    A Superman punch knocked Rusev off the apron, giving Reigns the win.

     

    Result

    Reigns wins the Battle Royal. 

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ziggler kicks Rusev from the ring apron.

    Reigns hits a double spear on RybAxel.

     

    Grade 

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Like most Battle Royals, this started slowly and didn't engage right away. The match picked up intensity near the end, though. It certainly wasn't a surprise that Reigns won, but WWE did a good job of making other wrestlers look good en route to that climax.

    Dallas had a number of big moments, Rusev got a boost by coming in second, and RybAxel had a few highlights as well.

    Putting Reigns in the WWE title Ladder match adds another emerging star to the field. Cesaro and Bray Wyatt are already competing for the championship in a match that signals more forward movement for the company. 

    Getting the next wave of stars opportunities like these are key to building them up to top-tier status.

Cameron vs. Paige

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    An angry Paige attacked Cameron. She dragged her around by her hair and headbutted her repeatedly. 

    Cameron ran from Paige and begged her off. She shook Paige's hand and slipped in a kick to the stomach. After slapping the Divas champ, she went for a cover several times.

    Paige fought back and clamped on the P.T.O. for the win. 

     

    Result

    Paige wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Cameron reels back and slaps Paige.

     

    Grade 

    C

     

    Analysis

    There is still not a lot to celebrate about the match as a whole. Cameron was awkward during her offensive flurry, seemingly unsure of what to do next.

    There weren't many highlights, and most fans will forget about the bout a few minutes after watching it.

    The positive to take away is how aggressive Paige was. She often spends much of her matches taking a beating rather than delivering one. Here, she had moments of the kind of viciousness that made her such a success at NXT.

    This is what WWE needs to tap into more often.

Curtis Axel and Ryback vs. Goldust and Star Dust

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    The new teammate Cody Rhodes promised his brother was himself dressed up as a Goldust lookalike.

    Star Dust sprinted around the ring and knocked Ryback down. He slammed Curtis Axel's head to the mat and earned a three-count.

     

    Result

    Goldust and Star Dust win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Rhodes comes out with a star painted on his face and a Goldust-like outfit.

     

    Grade 

    D+

     

    Analysis

    This may end up being an interesting way to head down the expected brother-versus-brother path, but for now it's stuttering. It makes sense that Rhodes would try to emulate his brother, but it came off flat here. 

    How WWE handles the explanation for Rhodes' transformation will help determine this story's success.

    The match was awkward, forgettable and far too brief. Perhaps one can simply blame some of that on Rhodes having to figure out how to work in his new, skin-tight duds.

Kane vs. John Cena (Stretcher Match)

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    Before his battle with a demon, Cena was cracking jokes backstage. He did a bit with Renee Young where it looked like he was going to give the middle finger. He didn't, of course.

    Kane opened the match in full control. 

    He cracked Cena with punches and sent him into the ring steps. He prowled around his foe's fallen body before handing out more punishment.

    The Devil's Favorite Demon tried to push Cena on the stretcher, but the former world champ rolled off. Kane then took to thumping Cena with a steel chair.

    Cena sent Kane crashing face first into the steps, but he soon found himself in Kane's arms, the big man slamming him into the steel. Kane looked to finish his enemy off, but Cena lifted him into the announce table.

    Carrying Kane on his shoulders, Cena dumped him on a stretcher, but both men fell over.

    Rollins and Randy Orton pounced on Cena just as he seemed to be on his way to winning. Rollins couldn't nail him with a chair because Ambrose attacked him. Kane chokeslammed Ambrose, leaving the two combatants alone.

    They struggled on the entrance ramp, but it was Cena who pushed Kane on the stretcher over the line.

     

    Result

    Cena wins.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Kane catches Cena in mid-air and chokeslams him.

    Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment on Kane through the table.

    Cena throws the ring steps at Kane.

    Kane sits up right before the stretcher goes across the finish line. 

     

    Grade 

    A

     

    Analysis

    No surprise with the result here, but intense, violent action was certainly an exciting way to send Cena into the Money in the Bank main event.

    Kane looked monstrous at times, as he had in his interrupted feud with Daniel Bryan. The chaos at the end not only created doubt about Cena's victory, but it also put added spotlight on the Rollins-Ambrose feud.

    An outstanding brawl caps off a Raw with a number of snoozers in the middle, finalizing the intriguing WWE title Ladder-match field and turning up the animosity between the former members of The Shield.

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