Daniel Bryan added two losses to his record on the Jan. 13 episode of WWE Raw, but the lasting image from the night is him celebrating atop a steel cage.
He was among the night's biggest winners, a list that includes an underdog scoring an upset, Damien Sandow earning a moral victory and a tag team taking a big step forward. Monday's Raw also saw a number of Superstars and one champion's prestige slide downward.
As the roster looked to gain momentum heading into the Royal Rumble, Sandow and Bryan pointed the spotlight at themselves with big moments.
Winner: Damien Sandow
In his loss to Cena on Monday night, Sandow looked like a more dangerous, convincing threat than he has in a long time.
He hurt Cena several times throughout the bout, and much of the narrative focused on Cena struggling to keep Sandow down. Even when the former champ pulled out moves he rarely uses, such as the tornado DDT, Sandow kept kicking out.
At one point in the match, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, a wrestling commentator, said, "Cena can't put Sandow away."
It won't make up for failing to cash in his Money in the Bank contract last year, but the repeated image of Cena looking stunned after Sandow kicked out does plenty to propel The Intellectual Savior forward.
He looks ready to get out of his slump, something that seemed unlikely when he had his head shoved into a toilet a month ago.
Loser: The Real Americans
Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger have sometimes been portrayed as legitimate title contenders and other times been asked to play pushovers. Monday's Raw had The Real Americans serving in the latter role.
Being Big Show's warm-up opponent for Brock Lesnar is one thing, but Swagger put up little resistance against the big man.
His punches had little effect on Big Show. He spent much of the match looking a crash-test dummy, flopping around in a series of car accidents. His showing was a far cry from what he and Cesaro had done against Cody Rhodes and Goldust recently.
After the match, Cesaro scurried away from The World's Largest Athlete, looking more like a mouse than a warrior.
The Real Americans are sliding down the tag team rankings, as The Wyatt Family and The Usos have moved up to take control of the top spots. WWE can't seem to decide if it takes Cesaro and Swagger seriously.
Winner: Kofi Kingston
Kingston pinned the world heavyweight champ.
In what looked to be a one-sided bout designed to showcase Randy Orton's dominance, Kingston hit the SOS and got a three-count that few expected.
Orton controlled much of the action, but Kingston held on and bolstered his resume with a major upset.
It appears that the victory was just a way to incite Orton into a fit of madness. It ended with him attacking Cena's father, but it's still the biggest win that Kingston has earned in a long time.
His momentum goes from stagnant to soaring in a single night. He now heads into the Royal Rumble with something to brag about, something for the announcers to play up.
Loser: Curtis Axel
Ryback and Axel both lost to Cody Rhodes and Goldust, but one member of that tag team is being talked about while the other is drifting further from the spotlight.
The commentators brought up Ryback's Twitter rant from the weekend and worked it in as part of his character. They portrayed The Big Guy as unpredictable and nutty.
Ryback's outbursts are actually working to get him noticed.
Axel, meanwhile, was rarely mentioned during the match.
The conversation was either about the Rhodes brothers' excellence or Ryback's eccentric behavior. Serving as a predator higher on the food chain, Axel made little impact on Monday, continuing a recent trend.
Title belts and tangling with CM Punk seem like distant memories already.
Axel's going to need something—whether it is a tweak of his gimmick or a marquee feud—to regain the momentum he had, or he'll soon end up riding the bench on Raw.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Bryan lost two tag team matches on Monday's Raw, but he ended the night as the show's biggest star and the center of an electric reaction from the crowd.
Teaming with Bray Wyatt, he lost the opening match by disqualification. Kane offered him a second opportunity, this time inside a steel cage.
After he and Wyatt were unable to keep The Usos from escaping the cage in the main event, Bryan's tensions with his new family exploded.
Wyatt tried to push him around again, mixing violence with softly spoken words of encouragement, but Bryan had had enough. He attacked the leader of the clan he joined a few weeks ago and stripped off the uniform he'd been wearing as part of The Wyatt Family.
The old Bryan reemerged, cracking Wyatt in the head with a flying knee and soaking up the thunderous response from the fans in Providence, R.I.
The moment freed Bryan from the group, which suddenly made him one of the favorites going into the Royal Rumble. It also reminded the WWE brass that Bryan's momentum hasn't waned at all; he is still the hottest commodity in the company right now.
Loser: Divas Championship
AJ Lee is just days away from breaking the record for the longest reign as Divas champ, but even that didn't inspire WWE to book her in a title match.
AJ was instead put into a tag match against The Funkadactyls.
If Dean Ambrose were closing in Lex Luger's record U.S. title reign, the company would certainly be making a bigger deal of it. Challengers would be demanding a shot before he could claim that record.
The Divas title is clearly not a priority.
The fact that a wrestler as talented and popular as AJ approaching a historic mark isn't enough to get the Divas any love is a sign of how insignificant the championship is in WWE's eyes. Here was a chance for drama—to further elevate AJ and to have one of the more important Divas matches in recent history—and WWE instead chose to put together an everyday tag match.
One has to wonder if that title will eventually go the way of the Cruiserweight Championship.
Winner: The Usos
It appears that 2014 is going to be a huge year for Jimmy and Jey Uso.
On Monday's Raw, The Usos worked both the opening match and the main event, delivered a unique, energy-filled promo and earned a major victory inside a steel cage.
The Usos won their first go-round with Bryan and Bray Wyatt by disqualification. That would have been a successful Monday night for the duo, but they weren't done.
In a cage match to close Raw, The Usos withstood every kick to the chest, every smash into the steel.
Even with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan trying to claw their way into the match, The Usos escaped the cage and walked away the victors.
Getting this amount of spotlight along with a decisive win is among the brothers' biggest accomplishments. They look like a major force in the division, headed forward with promise.
They joined Bryan, Kingston and Sandow as Superstars with plenty to celebrate once Raw went off the air.