The biggest winners from Monday's WWE Raw in Nashville took important steps in their promising careers.
One wrestler completed the journey from TNA to NXT to WWE, while a rising powerhouse won championship gold. The Miz joins them as winners despite his team losing, thanks to "The Awesome One" returning to what he does best.
The go-home show's biggest losers had it worse than Brad Maddox, who ended the night wearing a torn shirt and several microphone-shaped bruises.
Damien Sandow's loss on Monday hurt more than anybody else's. At least he was in the ring, though. The night's other biggest loser only appeared on the show backstage, just long enough that a lengthy blink would have caused fans to miss it.
Who had the most to gripe about post-Raw Country, and who had the most to celebrate?
Winner: Big E Langston
Langston's triumphant moment came later than planned, but it felt big nonetheless. After having both his title matches at Hell in a Cell and the Nov. 6 Main Event cancelled, the powerhouse finally received his shot against Curtis Axel.
The challenger and champion's chemistry wasn't great, but once Langston began to bowl Axel over, the crowd's volume rose.
Langston tore off his straps as he clotheslined and clobbered Axel, then hit the Big Ending for the three-count and the Intercontinental Championship.
Even with the stuttering schedule and lack of buildup beforehand, this felt like a significant title change. It marks a huge step in Langston's career, giving him his first singles title on the main roster.
The Intercontinental Championship has already been a buzz magnet for him, as he was among the biggest topics after the show. Hopefully, Langston is given better feuds as champ than Axel had, and that WWE capitalizes on the electricity this win has created.
Loser: Damien Sandow
For those who argued that Sandow's career would be elevated from failing to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on John Cena, the image of Sandow lying inside a drum provides evidence to the contrary.
On June 28, Sandow lost a Dublin Street Fight to Sheamus. In that match, Sheamus dumped a bag of potatoes onto Sandow.
Fast forward to five months later, and little has changed for Sandow. On Monday's Raw, he took on Dolph Ziggler in a "Broadway Brawl" which featured various musical instruments as legal weapons.
Sandow did some damage to his opponent, but like in the fight with Sheamus, he was on the wrong end of the most embarrassing spots. Ziggler stuffed him inside a drum before pinning him.
This loss hurts the audience's perception of Sandow. After seeing him get plunked with potatoes and now made into various punchlines surrounding drums, it feels as if he's made no upward movement despite that Money in the Bank win in July.
Winner: The Miz
His team lost, but The Miz is in a better position going forward after Monday.
The Real Americans had been punishing Kofi Kingston in the ring when the high-flyer tried to tag Miz. Miz pulled his hand away, grinning as he watched Jack Swagger finish Kingston off.
No one is going to confuse the drama of this heel turn with Hulk Hogan joining Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, but Miz is freed from being a babyface, a role that was always an awkward fit. Miz has been at his best when asked to be arrogant, dismissive and obnoxious.
He gets a chance to return to those traits, possibly forcing his career trajectory upward.
WWE.com announced that Miz and Kingston would battle on the Survivor Series pre-show. While that's far removed from main eventing WrestleMania, it represents a step up for a man who was not yet on the pay-per-view card and spent both Battleground and Hell in a Cell as a healthy scratch.
Loser: Zack Ryder
Fans who stepped away from Monday's Raw to grab a snack may have missed Ryder's only contribution to the show.
He appeared backstage with country duo Florida Georgia Line before 3MB warned the band that they would be a hard act to follow.
Maddox briefly had the WWE champ on his knees, and the resident of WWE's doghouse, Ryback, got to show off his strength in a loss to Big Show. Ryder, on the other hand, followed an episode of Raw where he hawked WWE merchandise with one where he was a blip on a three-hour program.
If this is all WWE wants to do with Ryder, he should explore alternative career options in Japan. His physical prime isn't best spent making seconds-long appearances.
Winner: Xavier Woods
Woods leaped from NXT to the main roster on Monday night.
Teaming with his old partner from TNA, R-Truth, Woods earned a tag team victory in his first outing on Raw. The majority of the highlights of Woods and Truth vs. 3MB (calling themselves The Rhinestone Cowboys) belonged to the debuting Superstar.
Woods sped around the ring to avoid Jinder Mahal and later landed a headscissors takedown. Woods also hit his Lost in the Woods finisher to get the pinfall for his team.
While he didn't get any of the hype that The Wyatt Family had before their first appearance, having Woods on board is a welcome sight.
He's a fresh face who has stellar athletic ability and the kind of charisma that wins fans over. Teaming with R-Truth will add depth to the tag team division if WWE continues that partnership.
Should Woods and Langston have great WWE careers, we can look back at this night as the crucial catalyst.