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WWE Raw results, recap, reactions (July 7, 2014): Changing of the guard

WWE returned to the USA network for Monday Night Raw last night (July 7, 2014) from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, featuring all the latest build to the upcoming Battleground pay-per-view (PPV) scheduled for later this month in Tampa, Florida. There were plenty of highs but just as many lows.

Click here to get full results with the live blog. Let's get to reacting to all the night's events:


It's the one that says bad motherfucker on it

I'm a victim of my own emotion just as much as any mark for pro wrestling. When I watched Roman Reigns raise John Cena's hand at the close of the show, I was so filled with immediate outrage that I didn't bother to pay attention to what was actually happening.

I thought of the opening promo when Reigns expertly responded to fan chants by saying "when Roman Reigns is in the house, you're damn right Cena sucks" to a thunderous ovation.

I thought of his stepping to Cena on SmackDown, and his making clear to him that he was coming for the WWE world heavyweight championship and there wasn't a soul on Earth who could keep him from it.

I saw Reigns raise Cena's hand and immediately put my head down and ignored everything that came after it.

Stupid me.

Thanks to our friend Alex Greenfield, I was made to view the replay to see that not only was I wrong but Reigns pulled an even bigger bad ass move than his opening promo ad lib.

He raises Cena's hand and then you see him sneer. The response was exactly what he expected. Applause, but not all that much. Cena understands what's happening but plays along, returning the favor and raising Reigns' arm.

The fans explode, Reigns smirks and nods while looking right at Cena, and the WWE champion is forced to acknowledge what is becoming increasingly clear as each episode of WWE programming goes by.

He's coming.

And there he's one bad motherfucker.

Segment grade: A


Sandhart screwed Sandhart

This probably says a lot more about me than it does about Bret Hart and his status in Montreal but when he came down the aisle, I found myself missing Shawn Michaels.

Is that awful?

Hart looks every bit his age, ravaged by time and poor health. Michaels, meanwhile, could probably come back at WrestleMania 31 next year and have the best match on the card.

I felt bad thinking this while Hart was there in the ring talking about having goosebumps at being in front of the best fans in the world, his fans, and getting one more really great pop. Why can't he have that without me thinking about his greatest rival, one of the people who made his life miserable for such a long time?

I half expected "Sexy Boy" to hit the speakers to cut Bret off. Instead, his own theme played again and confusion gave way to the kind of joy you feel only when you get something you always wanted, even if you didn't know it.

You know what's really great about what Damien Sandow is currently doing? He can get away with saying anything. He can come out dressed as a young Bret Hart and tell an old Bret Hart right to his face that the Montreal Screwjob was a work and Canada is a third world country.

How awesome is that?

If you can watch the above clip and not die every time Sandow opens up his jacket to the fans, I just don't even know. We have to end all this nonsense about Sandow getting buried and how he should be doing so much more.

This is exactly what he should be doing. It's fun.

Segment grade: B-


The sympathetic psycho

Can we talk about how great Dean Ambrose is as a professional wrestler? Because he is absolutely a perfect professional wrestler and we got to see so much evidence of this during his long, somewhat sloppy but psychologically solid showdown with Randy Orton last night.

Ambrose is so good at playing his character, you almost wonder if he's actually playing a character or just being himself but embellishing just a little. He's so very good at being the psychotic piece of wacko we see on TV, you just assume if you ran into him on the street he would be the exact same way even if you know this to be untrue.

Watching the match with Orton, you see him work like a lunatic. There were various points in this match when he was literally trying to pry Orton's jaw apart like he was wrangling a crocodile and trying to keep him from biting.

He was rubbing his wrist tape on the back of Orton's head. That's Dean Ambrose offense. There is no "hey, we're in a wrestling match I better do a wrestling move" it's "hey, I'm an insane person, I'm going to attack like a feral dog".

Here's another thing to think about: Ambrose is everything I just described and he's completely accepted as a babyface. He's the good guy in all this.

Dean Ambrose is, somehow, a sympathetic psycho.

Segment grade: B-


But not least:

  • Seth Rollins has become the perfect smarmly little shit who sneaks his way into everything and everyone hates him for it. He is the guy who always shows up to the party uninvited and drinks all the beer and he NEVER brings any beer himself. He's Snoop from Half Baked.
  • There were two instances of a wrestler sticking up for Canada in this show: United States Champion Sheamus, an Irish fellow, squashing Damien Sandhart, and Kofi Kingston, who hails from Ghana, rolling up and defeating Cesaro. At least there's always Renee Young, I guess.
  • I'm not sure I've ever seen worse acting than this Fandango/Layla/Summer love triangle nonsense storyline that badly, badly needs to end. I'm not sure when it happened either but Fandango wasn't giving out that "smooth dancer with a hot body" vibe; no, he was giving out that "might sneak something in your drink when you're not looking" vibe. Creepy.
  • You know what sucks? When good matches like The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family happen and you can't muster up the energy to care because you've seen it six thousand times already.
  • What do you think Rob Van Dam's reaction was when they told him what his creative was for the night?
  • Alicia Fox vs. Nikki Bella is in contention for worst segment of the year. I don't know what that was or why it happened or who had the bright idea to do it but let's not bring it up again until the year is almost out and it's time to give the award of hottest garbage.
  • It's good that WWE finally decided to turn Miz's natural douchiness up to 11 with this "Hollywood" gimmick he's working. His whole "no, don't hit me in the face" is perfect for a guy whose face constantly screams for someone, anyone to punch him in it.
  • Anyone else looking at Chris Jericho these days and thinking time is catching up? For that matter, is anyone else disappointed that in two segments with Bray Wyatt, Jericho has had nothing interesting to say? Here's to hoping they find an angle for him to attack soon.
  • Why did I not see "Dusty Rhodes'" as a tag team name suggest for Stardust and Goldust until last night?
  • El Torito sold death twice in his match with Bo Dallas, the second time coming when Bo barrelled over him while doing his victory lap. Might be the moment of the year so far.
  • This AJ Lee-Paige thing is interesting, isn't it? Like they took the concept behind the fact that they baited each other into losing the Divas title and just turned it all the way up to the most annoying degree. "Oh my god, I respect you so much, you're amazing, let's tag together!" ... "I super respect you too, you're such a great champion, it would be my pleasure and actually an honor!" Who snaps first? Has to be Paige, right?
  • Where's there a moment in that Naomi vs. Cameron brawl that they tried to recreate the Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis finish from UFC 175?

This show's highs mostly outweighed it's lows.

Overall grade: C+

That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?

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