WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 14

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 15, 2014

WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from July 14

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    On the July 14 WWE Raw, the company limped more than it strode toward Battleground.

    The go-home show before Sunday's pay-per-view added anticipation for Rusev vs. Jack Swagger and the Fatal 4-Way main event, but the night featured a lot of tepid fare. A number of solid-not-great bouts, a brief appearance by Ric Flair and Damien Sandow's latest costume change left fans underwhelmed.

    Fans won't find any Match of the Year candidates here, but the in-ring action had its moments. 

    The biggest talking point coming out of Monday's Raw will be something that wasn't actually a part of the show—a commercial for WWE 2K15 featuring Sting.

    The following is a look at how entertaining the matches and segments were, how well WWE told its stories and built hype for Battleground. Results, letter grades and highlights provide the full picture of what went down in the Richmond Coliseum.

Opening Segment

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    With his championships around his neck, John Cena entered the ring smiling.

    He reminded fans to sign up for the WWE Network before discussing his title match at Battleground. It didn't take long for Roman Reigns to interrupt. The former member of The Shield stood across from the champ.

    Reigns told Cena to get to the point before tension slowly rose between the two men.

    Before they could collide, Dean Ambrose appeared on the big screen. He talked about taking down The Authority but looked around to see Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Kane prowling around him. He swung wildly at his attackers before Rollins and Orton soon sent him rattling against a shutter gate.

    Rollins finished off a feisty Ambrose with a Curb Stomp on a wooden box. 


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Your message is loud and clear: You are not to be ignored."—Cena to Reigns.

    "We ain't dancing tonight, boys. We're fighting."—Ambrose to Cena and Reigns.

    "Is that all you guys got?"—Ambrose to Rollins, Orton and Kane.






    Rather than stand in Triple H's shadow as they have done so often, the three heels looked like a pack of wolves here. The segment showcased Ambrose's chutzpah as well, but Rollins, Orton and Kane's viciousness was the star of the show.

    It wasn't a scene that will live on forever, just an effective one that gives Ambrose one more reason to want to destroy Rollins in the ring.

    The attack would keep Ambrose out of the main event later. The six-man tag morphed into a Handicap match.

    This marks the second straight week that WWE has pointed the spotlight at the simmering tension between Reigns and Cena. That is an increasingly important subplot to the Authority-heavy storyline.

    WWE is doing a good job of interweaving the animosity in the Fatal 4-Way. 

The Miz vs. Sheamus

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    The Miz announced that he will enter the Battleground Battle Royal and that his mug would be shown on the big screen throughout the match against Sheamus.

    As fists headed his way, The Miz scurried out of the ring. He dodged The Celtic Warrior a few times before hurling him into the barricade. That allowed him to take control, but only for a short while.

    Sheamus caught The Miz mid-kick and soon had him caught in the ropes suffering forearms to the sternum.

    The two foes traded flurries before a limping Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick. The Miz sidestepped it and rolled up the U.S. titleholder for the win.



    The Miz wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    The Miz does the Dikembe Mutombo finger shake to Sheamus.

    Sheamus hits the back of The Miz's head with a lariat.

    "He's tougher than John Wayne."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on The Miz.






    After The Miz lost with little resistance to Chris Jericho last week, WWE wisely gave him an upset victory. His new persona and a surprise win leave The Miz with more momentum than he's had in recent memory.

    The announcers again mentioned the possibility of Sheamus winning the Battle Royal and unifying the titles. Planting that idea in fans' heads is a sign that's possibly the direction WWE is going.

    The Sheamus loss could just be a bit of sleight of hand. While the audience begins to think The Miz is one of the favorites, The Celtic Warrior could be stomping his way to both the Intercontinental and United States Championships.

Fandango vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    Dolph Ziggler found himself in defense mode early as Fandango clubbed him with right hands and tore at his eyes. The Showoff used his speed to recover, soon clotheslining the ballroom dancer to the mat.

    Fandango's music came on to both men's surprise. 

    Summer Rae and Layla danced on the announce table, which derailed the match. The distraction cost Fandango as Ziggler ran in for the Fameasser to get the three-count.

    The women then danced around a grinning Ziggler as Fandango jealously watched on.



    Ziggler wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ziggler snaps Fandango to the mat with a nasty hip toss.

    "His smile may have to be surgically removed."—Jerry Lawler on Ziggler.






    Ziggler fans saw him get a win, but not in the way they envisioned.

    A fluky victory over a low midcarder in a feud that is more about the dance partners than the rivals isn't a great sign of where Ziggler is heading. He can at least tell himself WWE didn't dress him like a Sonic Employee like it did with Damien Sandow.

    Fandango's end may be coming soon. He didn't even get a proper entrance here.

    Without a dance partner, he's going to have to undergo a change to a part of his gimmick that's been vital so far. 

Sonic Promotion

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    Dressed in a Sonic uniform, Damien Sandow argued with Adam Rose over a hot dog. The Rosebuds cheered on everything Rose said and booed all of Sandow's responses.

    Sonic lingo made its way into the skit, as did plenty of product placement.

    Eventually, Rose snagged the hot dog from Sandow. "This is how you Sonic," he said.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes







    If Zack Ryder ever gets down about not appearing on WWE programming, he can flip on this video. It's better to not be seen at all than to be involved in corny, product-hocking segments.

    Sandow's character has completely dissipated. There's no reason for his costume changes. He has no clear motivation.

    Rose hasn't wrestled on Raw in a while and is instead becoming WWE's go-to pitchman.

    It's not the first time WWE has overlapped it advertisements and its programming, but at least some of them have been funny. This offered nothing in terms of entertainment.

The Usos Suffer an Ambush

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    When The Usos emerged from backstage, urging the crowd to shout "O!", The Wyatt Family were waiting for them.

    Luke Harper and Erick Rowan pounced on them. Harper kicked one of The Usos over the barricade around the ring. 

    The bearded bruisers left the champs out cold. They stared at the camera from the center of the ring, their prey unmoving behind them.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    The Wyatt Family stands over a fallen Uso.






    There needed to be something in this rivalry other than just another rematch. A blindside attack isn't a creative choice to fill that need, but it gives The Usos extra motivation heading into Battleground.

    The Wyatt Family could have delivered a far more vicious beating, though.

    This one didn't pull at the audience as it should have. The attack lacked true barbarity.

USA-Russia Detente

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    Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger looked to have a tension-easing discussion with Lana and Rusev, complete with podiums and Michael Cole as moderator.

    Lana responded to Colter's challenge at Battleground by speaking Russian and then calling everyone "stupid." The crowd thundered their disapproval. She demanded that Colter admit the United States' mistakes.

    Colter refused.

    He then directed his speech to Rusev. Colter challenged him again and Rusev told him, "This is war!" Swagger and Rusev soon brawled on the mat, the Bulgarian Brute smashing the Oklahoma native into the podium.

    Swagger caught the powerhouse with an ankle lock, forcing him to squirm out of the ring.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Chants of "USA!" drown out much of the detente. 

    "Shut up, America!"Lana.

    "Is it a 'yes' or is it a 'niet'?"—Colter.






    The so-called detente followed successes with awkwardness and vice versa.

    There was too much Lana and Colter early on. Not until Colter called Rusev out did the two wrestlers seem to be more than figures in the background. 

    The crowd's energy, though, spoke to how much potential this match has. Fans want to see Rusev fall and are fully behind Swagger.

    It was the most fearful Rusev has been, making him look more vulnerable than usual. A few moments of the folks in the ring seeming unsure of what to say or do next dampened the segment's high points.

    Rusev is set to get a stockpile of momentum should he beat Swagger at Battleground. Should he win, he'll emerge with the most heat he's had yet.

    That's what stomping a patriot will do for you.

Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio

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    Alberto Del Rio charged at Rob Van Dam early on. Van Dam withstood the flurry of strikes and soon had Del Rio crashing outside the ring.

    Mexico's Greatest Export had Van Dam caught in the ring apron before kicking him in the head. Del Rio was vicious throughout, bending his foe's neck, yanking on his hair and stomping on his chest.

    Van Dam fought back with kicks of his own.

    He darted around the ring, knocking Del Rio down with his boots. A pair of knees to the gut thwarted Van Dam's Five-Star Frog Splash attempt.

    Del Rio then slipped on the cross armbreaker to earn the victory.



    Del Rio wins via submission.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Van Dam gets caught in the ring apron.

    Del Rio mockingly does Van Dam's "RVD" gesture.






    This was a shorter match, but one that had some exciting bursts of action. Van Dam surprisingly took another loss. He's suffered far more losses during this run than last year.

    WWE is going to need to balance that out. Too many defeats hampers the energy around him being back.

    Del Rio is at his best when he's nasty and aggressive, which he was here. This win's definitive nature makes him one of the favorites heading into the Battleground Battle Royal along with Sheamus and The Miz.

Nikki Bella vs. Alicia Fox and Cameron

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    Stephanie McMahon talked down to Nikki Bella, telling her that she was all alone again. She said not to blame The Authority for all of the recent abuse she's suffered but to blame her sister.

    Nikki began the bout in control, outwrestling Fox. 

    Cameron soon tagged in, and Nikki sent her crashing into Fox. Fox had to soar in to save Cameron after Nikki's Alabama Slam.

    Nikki had a few more chances, but Fox yanked her off the top rope, cracked her head against the mat and got the pin. Cameron and Fox cackled in celebration.



    Fox and Cameron win via pinfall. 


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Nikki blocks Fox's slam attempt, bounces off the ropes and gets a near-fall.






    This is better than Nikki has looked in the ring. She did well to provide bursts of excitement.

    WWE gave the women more time than usual, which not surprisingly led to a better told story in the ring.

    It's the McMahon vs. Brie Bella feud that's suffering. It lacks spark, largely because Brie isn't around to further it.  

Cesaro vs. Big E

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    Cesaro entered the ring alone with the announcers wondering why Paul Heyman wasn't with him. Big E had Kofi Kingston in his corner.

    The two foes traded ring-rattling slams before Big E kneed Cesaro off the ring apron. 

    On the outside of the ring, Cesaro smashed his opponent on the barricade. He brought him in the ring to tag him with hard strikes. A powerbomb had Big E teetering.

    The powerlifter came back with a series of suplexes. Just as he tore down his straps, Cesaro slipped out of the ring to grab a steel chair.

    Kingston yanked the chair from The King of Swing and Big E finished the bout with the Big Ending. 



    Big E wins via pinfall.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Come on, do something."—Cesaro to Big E.

    Cesaro flings a chair at Kingston.






    A hard-hitting match ended a few beats soon in order to keep folks hungry for more come Battleground. Cesaro's losing streak has united Kingston and Big E and now makes the upcoming Battle Royal mighty interesting.

    He's sure to enter the bout enraged, looking to redeem himself.

    It's unclear whether WWE is going somewhere with this Big E and Kingston pairing or it's just a way to propel Cesaro at Battleground. It would be wise to show more of why those two are allies, other than that they are both babyfaces.

Chris Jericho Asks for Answers

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    Chris Jericho said that WWE was home to him, talking about all the odd things he's seen while with the company.

    After a quick side challenge to Bob Barker, Jericho rattled off his accomplishments. He then said that he'd never seen anything like Bray Wyatt. 

    Even so, he promised to get crazy at Battleground with all the fans behind him. Wyatt appeared on the big screen and talked about children's frail minds and made it no clearer why he attacked Jericho.

    Luke Harper and Erick Rowan stood in the ring after the lights went off and on. Jericho slipped out of their grip and backpedaled up the entrance ramp. Wyatt waited for him there, greeting him with a forearm shot.

    He then hit Sister Abigail on the steel before kneeling over his prey.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I've seen Yurple the Clown, I've seen naked Mideon, I've seen three-minute warnings and five-minute poses."—Jericho.

    "Wyatt is an anomaly. He's a manipulator, an ominous presence, a shadow in the dark, a freak surrounded by freaks, a seemingly unstoppable force."—Jericho.

    "I've been to war with very powerful men."—Wyatt.






    While it would be good to have more of an explanation for why Wyatt is seeking Jericho out, the mystery of his intentions is adding suspense to the story. Count on this rivalry continuing past Battleground and for the story to get more detailed.

    This was a fantastic job by Jericho in painting Wyatt as a dangerous threat and pumping up the upcoming match.

    Wyatt's sneak attack punctuated the segment and leaves a lasting image WWE can use in hype videos for the pay-per-view. This story could use some more spacing out, but it's been entertaining nonetheless.

AJ Lee vs. Eva Marie

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    Paige sat in on commentary as AJ Lee and Eva Marie squared off. Eva tossed the champ down before seeing AJ's feet flying at her.

    Outside the ring, Eva kicked AJ against the ring apron. A knee to the gut and a backbreaker had Eva's confidence soaring, but AJ clamped on the Black Widow to end the bout.

    AJ then crosslegged on the announce table, chatting with Paige.



    AJ wins via submission.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Paige and AJ trade compliments with the champion sitting on the announce table.






    Eva's best ring work so far came in a short bout that few will remember. She is showing improvement in selling and showmanship, but she is still a raw prospect called up too early.

    WWE is going in a strange direction with the Paige and AJ story. Hopefully, something thrilling is planned to capitalize on the women's budding friendship. 

    There hasn't been enough screen time devoted to this to do much foreshadowing, though.

The Great Khali vs. Bo Dallas

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    Bo Dallas boasted about his win over El Torito before issuing an open challenge. The Great Khali answered it.

    A chop sent Dallas to the mat. The big man then pushed Dallas into the corner and reddened his chest while Dallas squealed.

    Dallas attacked Khali's knees. A Running Bo Dog on the outside was enough to keep Khali stunned while the referee counted to 10. 

    He attempted to console Khali, but the giant interrupted his speech with a chop to the head.



    Dallas wins via count-out.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "He might be tiny, but his heart is huge."—Dallas on El Torito.






    The match was more comedy than action, but Dallas was effective. He entertained, annoyed and looked a bit dangerous in the process.

    WWE hasn't found the right formula for the Dallas character yet. Each week seems to be an experiment, and this week resulted in solid results.

    More time in the lab is needed, though.

Randy Orton, Seth Rollins and Kane vs. John Cena and Roman Reigns

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    Ric Flair told the fans that he's had a ton of fun in Richmond, Virginia. He strutted in the ring around Renee Young.

    Young asked him who he thought would win the Battleground Fatal 4-Way. He backed Cena, saying that he was going to be "the man" in WWE.

    Roman Reigns soon shuffled through the crowd to greet the Hall of Famer. They shook hands before Flair exited. Before Flair could leave, though, Cena met him at the top of the entrance ramp.

    Cena and Seth Rollins began the bout for their respective teams. 

    Rollins left early, tagging in Randy Orton. Cena elbowed Orton to the mat, compelling him to tag Kane in.

    Reigns tagged himself in. He stepped into the fray as Cena looked on distrustfully. Reigns controlled his slugfest with Kane at first, but a distraction from Orton had him in the wrong corner. 

    After surviving an onslaught, Reigns tagged Cena in. The world champ steamrolled his opponents at first but was soon in the same position Reigns was in. Backbreakers and legdrops had Cena in trouble.

    Rollins further weakened him with a sleeper hold.

    Eventually, Reigns exploded in again. The Richmond fans howled as he went on the attack. He punched Kane out and threw Rollins out of the ring.

    He had Orton lined up for the spear, but Kane attacked him. He and Orton refused to listen to the referee. Their double-team forced Charles Robinson to disqualify them.

    The post-match chaos saw Reigns accidentally spear Cena and Orton hit an RKO on his ally Kane.



    Cena and Reigns win via disqualification.


    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "There's no greater lover alive than The Nature Boy."—Flair.

    Cena hands Flair the world title to hold as a symbolic gesture.

    Cena fails to get Kane up for an Attitude Adjustment when his legs give out.






    The best match of the night didn't come until the end of the show. It was a showcase of all the major players in the drama that is the Battleground main event.

    This tag match entertained with several streaks of momentum for each team. The result isn't as important as all the narrative elements set up for Battleground.

    Kane and Orton will have issues trusting each other. Reigns and Cena will have plenty of motivation to attack each other. Rollins waits, briefcase in hand, as the plan B.

    The episode overall disappointed, but WWE got the hype for this match right.