It was Daniel Bryan who ended Monday's WWE Raw hoisted on the shoulders of several Superstars, but other men claimed the biggest victories of the night.
One night after Night of Champions, Bryan had his WWE Championship stripped from him. So even if he did get some measure of revenge against Randy Orton and The Shield, his transition to titleless competitor balances out his highs.
Bryan's Night of Champions opponent and a man who was reminded what winning tastes like are among the episode's biggest winners.
On the opposite side, a tag team's momentum faded, and Damien Sandow continued his recent slide. That braggart's former best friend ranks among the night's victors without lacing up his boots.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
The Rhodes family drama continues to be one of the main storylines from week to week.
Despite not being on the show for the last two weeks, Rhodes has remained a source of pathos. His Hall of Famer father spoke with Stephanie McMahon about bringing him back to the company.
McMahon gave "The American Dream" an unenviable choice: WWE could only hire either Cody or Dustin, and Dusty had to decide which.
He refused to choose, and the tension quickly escalated between the two. The headlines during the week will center around Big Show knocking Dusty out, but in reality, it's his son Cody who is the main beneficiary.
With all the focus being paid to his firing and possible reinstatement, it's clear that WWE has big plans for him when he returns. He has a built-in storyline to dive into.
He'll be powered by anger as he seeks revenge for the company embarrassing his brother and sending his father to the hospital.
Cody is getting a major push without even being in the building.
Loser: Damien Sandow
When Orton held the WWE Championship Money in the Bank briefcase, he stalked his potential victims. The briefcase felt like an axe that Orton could slam down on someone's neck at any moment.
For Sandow, the briefcase has felt more like an anchor in recent weeks.
The self-proclaimed "uncrowned champion" added another loss to his record on Monday's WWE Raw. Rob Van Dam beat him after landing a Five-Star Frog Splash, just as he did on SmackDown Aug. 30.
His feud with Rhodes had him in the spotlight, especially on WWE SmackDown, but with that over, Sandow has been given less promo time and been relegated to stepping stone for world title contenders like Van Dam and Christian.
Like Dolph Ziggler before him, it may be a long while before Sandow cashes in, so WWE seems to be making his story less of a priority knowing it can return to it when it's needed.
For fans pulling for Sandow to become champ, an abundance of patience will be required.
Winner: Randy Orton
One night after losing the WWE Championship, Orton regained the viciousness that was his trademark at his most captivating.
McMahon berated him for losing the belt, saying that he'd gotten too soft. She demanded that he go back to the same Orton that had once DDT'd her. He did.
The Miz, performing in his hometown of Cleveland, greeted his parents before his match with Orton. "The Viper" broke up the touching moment by mauling Miz.
He didn't even care that he and Miz were both counted out; he was too focused on pounding Miz and flinging him over the announce table. Orton then slipped a steel chair over Miz's head and left him with "an upper thoracic injury," per WWE.com.
This merciless predator persona is a natural fit for Orton.
He seems most comfortable in this role, relishing the punishment he doles out. This attack generates heat for Orton going forward, and the incident keeps him in the headlines despite not holding the now-vacated WWE title.
Losers: The Prime Time Players/Winners: The Usos
In a battle for the No. 1 contender's spot, The Prime Time Players were not among the three teams chosen.
Even though Titus O'Neil and Darren Young just had a good showing against The Shield at Night of Champions and seemed on the verge of beating the champs several times, it was Tons of Funk taking on The Usos and The Real Americans instead.
Not automatically being the top contenders is one thing, but how did The Prime Time Players fall to fourth in the tag team standings?
A sustained feud with The Shield would have been great for O'Neil and Young as a way to elevate them as heroes to the crowd, but it appears they've been overtaken.
The Usos are the beneficiaries of The Prime Time Players being out of the title picture for the time being. Jimmy and Jey outlasted their opponents and won via a splash on Jack Swagger.
With The Shield heavily involved in Triple H's regime storyline, there's a real chance that Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins are busy come Battleground. The Usos may then have to settle for a title shot on a future WWE Raw.
Considering how good The Shield vs. The Usos was at Money in the Bank, the rematch promises to be a thrilling one.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Being in contention for the United States Championship is certainly a downgrade from holding the world title as Ziggler did earlier this year, but it's a step up from where "The Show Off" has been in recent weeks.
Ziggler earned a victory over Dean Ambrose early on Monday's episode.
After slipping out of Ambrose's headlock driver, Ziggler snapped his foe's neck back with the Zig Zag. The non-title win earned Ziggler a future title shot against the member of The Shield.
While it seems likely that Ziggler will then simply be used as a way to elevate Ambrose again, he comes away from this WWE Raw with far more momentum than he had after the episodes where he was Bray Wyatt’s victim or endured a triple powerbomb.
He was, however, part of the group that helped Bryan to end the night, so expect Triple H to punish him and others, striking back with no remorse.
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