Bray Wyatt showed Chris Jericho how painful defeat can be on the July 21 WWE Raw.
Wyatt scored a victory in their rivalry—no official match needed. He was among the show's winners, joining Xavier Woods and Dolph Ziggler as members of the roster who most benefited from WWE's trip to the AmericanAirlines Arena.
Fandango and R-Truth won't remember the visit to Miami as fondly.
They each slid down the company ladder thanks to a loss for the former and only earning a cameo role in the case of the latter.
Brock Lesnar officially became the No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Monday's Raw. That was expected, though.
It was a surprise win, the tease of a new group forming and brutality washing away the glow of celebration that most elevated Raw's biggest winners.
Paige gets an honorable mention after turning on AJ Lee and becoming more engaging in the process. Their feud instantly has more spark thanks to her heel turn.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Wyatt shook off his Battleground loss, saying that he didn't mind losing a single battle. His goal, he told the fans in Miami, is to win the war.
His appearance on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel segment had him ranting on the set without the host. Cackling, he showed the audience video of why Jericho wasn't around. Wyatt and his followers had ambushed the former WWE champ in the locker room and cracked his head against a wall.
Blood dribbled from Jericho's ear as medical staff attended to him.
That image did well to erase the one of Jericho pinning Wyatt the night before. With one act of violence, Wyatt felt significantly more dangerous.
His boasting afterward was his latest hypnotizing performance. He talked of living 100 years in a single day and how he was immune to the danger of seeking vengeance.
It's clear WWE is having his feud with Jericho continue, letting it sit under the heat of SummerSlam's spotlight. The path to that collision is sure to be lined with more destruction that will highlight Wyatt's darkest elements.
Zack Ryder pinned Fandango. That marked Ryder's first win on Raw since 2012.
Usually it's Ryder who serves as everyone's victim. Fandango is beginning to take on that role.
His dance partners have been moving from man to man after abandoning him. At Battleground, they partied with Adam Rose. On Monday's Raw, they dotted Ryder's face with lipstick marks.
Fandango is not only without his women, but he hasn't felt like a threat in a long time. He used to mix in viciousness with his dancing antics. He's not even getting much of a chance to do that anymore.
Losing to the roster's resident loser won't help his perception. This angle involving Layla and Summer Rae increasingly feels like a way to boost those women. Fandango, meanwhile, is trending downward.
He has moved further down WWE's hierarchy, sitting just under where Ryder is.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Given ample ring time, Ziggler and The Miz put on the night's best match.
The Showoff failed to capture the Intercontinental Championship at Battleground when The Miz popped out of hiding to last eliminate him. Ziggler got some payback a day later. He bested The Miz in non-title action.
Beyond the win, Ziggler also had a great opportunity to showcase his skills.
He helped make The Miz's offense look tremendous with his dramatic selling. When his foe clamped on the figure-four, Ziggler howled like The Miz was jabbing him with nails.
The well-paced match's near-falls and big shifts in momentum had the Miami fans roaring.
The bout was another piece of evidence in the case to give Ziggler a more high-profile spot. He's made everyone who steps in the ring with him look better and continually produces showings like he did here.
The Great Khali and Damien Sandow both competed on Monday's Raw while R-Truth did not.
He was yet again among the forgotten. R-Truth has been relegated to doing most of his work on the little-watched Superstars.
He only appeared on Monday's Raw as a concerned friend after Jericho was attacked.
That's a long way from his peak, his feud with WWE champ John Cena in 2011.
There may be a way out of obscurity ahead, though. Woods seemed to begin the process of uniting WWE's African-American Superstars. Should that group include him, he goes from being an extra to something much more significant.
Winner: Xavier Woods
It's amazing what a costume change and a bit of narrative direction will do for a wrestler.
Up until Monday's Raw, Woods was faltering. His character had no pull. Momentum was a foreign concept to him.
If he got a chance in the ring, it was either to be someone's punching bag or to be the first man eliminated from a Battle Royal (as he was at Battleground).
Donning a white suit and glasses, Woods appeared transformed after Kofi Kingston and Big E lost to RybAxel.
No longer was he the grinning, friendly man he once was. The new Woods spoke firmly and passionately. This is the first time he's forced the audience to take notice of him.
He told Kingston and Big E that they can't move ahead by "singing and dancing like a puppet."
This speech and shift in persona signals the possible formation of a new stable. It confirms what Bryan Alvarez of F4WOnline (h/t Lords of Pain) had reported back in May—WWE had been considering a rehash of the Nation of Domination group.
That would be a career-changer for Woods.
Rather than be just card filler, he could be the head of a new faction. The first glimpse of his transformation showcased a more compelling character, giving Woods fans far more hope for him than they had just a night before.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!