WWE Raw Results: Biggest Winners, Losers and Moments from August 21
In the wake of an explosive SummerSlam pay-per-view, Raw presented a show that aimed to build toward No Mercy on September 24. To do so, it introduced the Universal Championship rivalry between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar and even teased Roman Reigns vs. John Cena.
None of those four men were awarded "winner" or "loser" status coming out of the show.
Instead, those labels were reserved for intercontinental champion The Miz, whose frustration manifested itself in a scathing promo directed at the two biggest stars in the industry.
They were resolved for a crop of talented cruiserweight Superstars, whose careers thus far have not lived up to the hopes that fans set for them beginning last September due to forces beyond their control.
Who else joined Miz and the high-flyers as the most notable Superstars, for reasons right and wrong, coming out of Monday's broadcast?
Find out with this recap of Monday's broadcast.
Winner: The Miz
At SummerSlam, The Miz was trotted out in front of a few dozen spectators for the first Kickoff Show of Sunday night.
It was embarrassing and humiliating for the former WWE champion. At the height of the professional wrestling and a relatively big star for the most prominent wrestling organization in the world, he plied his craft in front of a "crowd" that would make Global Force Wrestling cringe.
Monday, he channeled that and all of his professional frustration into another superb promo in which he targeted John Cena and Roman Reigns and decried the numerous opportunities they have had over the course of their careers.
He was critical, convincing and passionate, a magical combination that typically results in some of Miz's best mic work.
Even in defeat later that night, he left a fantastic impression that likely reflected the attitude of his peers and won him favor in the locker room.
It is nice to see Emma getting television time again, but as a fan searching for the eventual end game with her current story, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find.
What is the point of her current narrative?
She is a heel who believes she is worth a greater opportunity than what she has been granted, but every time she goes to the ring, she is beaten and humbled. Monday night was no different as she was bowled over by Nia Jax in short order.
Does she ever reverse her fortunes and earn a victory that catapults her into title contention, or is this one of those infuriating instances of management humbling her on live television, perhaps as punishment for the failure of the Emmalina gimmick?
Whatever the case may be, it seems foolish to continue trotting her out on television without any obvious direction. Especially when she is as talented as she is.
Winners: Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose
After an impressive victory over Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Championships at SummerSlam, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins appeared poised to enjoy a grand celebration Monday night.
Until The Hardy Boyz interrupted.
Matt and Jeff challenged the new champions to a match, and the former Shield mates accepted. What resulted was a hotly contested bout that saw the new titleholders go over the future Hall of Famers clean in the center of the ring.
Yes, The Hardy Boyz have seen their roles on Raw decrease since losing the tag titles to Cesaro and Sheamus earlier this summer, but they have still been fairly protected by WWE Creative. They do not lose often and are positioned favorably, and their popularity has remained steady since their monumental return at WrestleMania.
Beating them means something.
Rollins and Ambrose's victory lends credibility to their title reign and sets them up as the undisputed faces of the Raw tag team division for the foreseeable future.
And it strengthened the in-ring portion of this week's show. That is the definition of a win-win.
Losers: Cruiserweight Division
The disappointing reality of the cruiserweight division is that a lack of character development, interesting stories and WWE's unwillingness to program the likes of Cedric Alexander, Neville and Akira Tozawa against main roster competition have devalued that portion of the roster to the point that fans could not possibly care less about anyone involved.
Monday night, eight highly talented professional wrestlers hit the ring in an era when in-ring talent is valued above all else, and the fans greeted their Eight-Man Tag Team match with relative silence.
The Superstars were relegated to guys doing moves, stringing together sequences and executing a finisher for reasons no one can quite comprehend. No one came out of the match looking better than they had before. Fans did not suddenly care more about Drew Gulak or Gran Metalik any more than they had before the bout.
It was a match that existed for no good reason, was unnecessary and only served to magnify the issues facing the cruiserweights.
Neither Gulak nor Metalik, Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Ariya Daivari or Tony Nese should be so wantonly disregarded by the writers like they have been since the division's inception.