WWE Raw Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from August 17

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2015

Credit: WWE.com

On Monday night, WWE rolled into Minneapolis' Target Center for the final Raw before this weekend's gigantic SummerSlam pay-per-view, and the company did not disappoint, providing adequate hype for nearly every match on the card as well as some hot angles that elevated some of the more underwhelming programs leading into Sunday's extravaganza.

One such program was the headline involving The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, which was hyped to perfection with several gems by WWE's production staff and a phenomenal promo by the always great Paul Heyman.

Another was the high school love drama involving Rusev, Summer Rae and Lana. Dolph Ziggler returned just in time to set up a bout between him and The Bulgarian Brute for Sunday's show, while Lana's kick to the head of her rival proved that she is no longer content to sit back and be the damsel in distress.

John Cena and Seth Rollins signed the contract for their match, Randy Orton and Cesaro picked up a big tag team victory heading into their singles matches against Sheamus and Kevin Owens, respectively, and Team PCB stood head and shoulders above their rivals.

But which of the aforementioned stars were the biggest winners of the night? Who will enter SummerSlam riding a tidal wave of momentum?

And which Superstars need a major boost as WWE prepares to tape SmackDown Tuesday night, the final opportunity for them to make their marks?

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Let's take a look.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

The Showoff returned after a hiatus Monday night, receiving a huge ovation from the Minneapolis fans as he hit the ring and took out Rusev—payback for the vicious assault he suffered at the hands of The Bulgarian Brute a few weeks back.

In reality, Ziggler was shooting a film, and Monday was his first night back in front of a WWE Universe that still clearly loves him. The reaction he was greeted with as he rushed the ring was among the biggest of the night and proves that no matter how many times WWE Creative books him to lose, he still remains one of the most popular stars on the roster, thanks to a dedication to his craft that has made him one of the better workers on the roster.

And despite the criticisms that his ongoing program with Rusev has garnered from this writer, the segment devoted to it Monday night was among the hottest on the entire broadcast. Thus, it is clearly working and should benefit the majority of the participants in the long run.

Loser: Becky Lynch

Becky Lynch picked up a big singles victory Monday night, defeating Tamina, but did so in a match that did not necessarily suit the skills of the Irish-born Diva.

An immensely talented wrestler, she was stuck working with a second-generation performer who has regressed as the years have passed, to the point that she is clearly the worst worker of all nine Divas involved in the ongoing storyline.

Lynch played tackling dummy for Tamina for the brief bit of time allotted, then scored a fluke Disarmer for the submission win.

That's hardly the way to convince casual fans that she is as talented as everyone else knows she is.

Winners: Roman Reigns and Luke Harper

The match between Roman Reigns and Luke Harper was arguably the match of the night and showcased two big men who continue to change perceptions as to what heavyweights are capable of between the ropes.

At one time, WWE's featured heavyweights were big, slow and somewhat painful to watch in the ring. Sure, they were larger than life and a nice draw for Vince McMahon's company, but they lacked that spark and excitement, not to mention the work rate, that ensured a quality contest.

That has completely changed, thanks in large part to both Reigns and Harper. They are fast, agile, athletic and interesting workers who have wicked chemistry with each other. Their match Monday night was fantastic and really gave fans a taste of what they can expect to see Sunday night when Reigns teams with Ambrose to battle Harper and Bray Wyatt in what could be the wildest and most chaotic contest on the SummerSlam card.

Reigns' clean win over Harper righted a wrong from Thursday night, giving fans the definitive finish, which is exactly what catapulted this one over their last bout in terms of overall quality.

Loser: The Miz

There is no argument that can be made for jobbing out one of the top contenders for a championship as cleanly and definitively as WWE Creative did to The Miz Monday night, just days before he is to challenge Ryback for the intercontinental title in a Triple Threat match also involving Big Show.

The Hollywood A-lister is a great and natural heel, despite the company's uneven use of him over the last three years. He has been the one piece holding the program together and yet was so unfairly destroyed Monday night that it all but erased his credibility ahead of this weekend's IC title bout.

It made absolutely no sense to wipe him out the way the company did, especially when the roster has a plethora of guys like Adam Rose and Bo Dallas doing nothing better backstage. Booking them to eat a Shell Shocked from Ryback would have been so much more effective than leaving poor Miz (I said it) to endure another ridiculous loss that hurts his legitimacy as a top contender.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

The Beast Incarnate returned home to Minnesota, where he was greeted with the biggest pop of the night, not to mention one of the most thunderous of his career.

Chants of "Suplex City" rang throughout the arena as he stood in the center of the ring, almost embarrassed by the reception of the WWE Universe. Paul Heyman sold him as the destructive competitor he is, promoted the match with Undertaker and allowed his client to soak in the admiration of the audience.

While it is still unclear whether Lesnar or Undertaker is meant to be the heel in this scenario, Lesnar was greeted with the roars of a fanbase excited to welcome back its hometown hero in a moment that even wrestling's most dangerous man is not likely to forget.


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