The Raw before SummerSlam was all about sending home those final notes on the red brand's biggest feuds. In some cases, WWE did a fine job. In others, things weren't as smooth.
Elias and Lashley lost the WWE Universe at the sake of promoting his Saturday concert while Heyman and Reigns had everyone on the edge of their seats wondering if a heel turn for Reigns might actually be a reality.
Rousey was strong, Ambrose returned and Baron Corbin took up way too much television time. Here are your winners and losers for Raw, August 13, 2018.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
What fans got on Monday was a mixed bag with Ronda Rousey, but all good. She kicked off the show and addressed the sad news that Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart had passed away and that, of course, Natalya wasn't going to be on Raw. She did a commendable job of sharing the moment with the WWE Universe.
She then switched gears and got right to work being her bad a$$ self and taking it to Alexa Bliss, Alicia Fox, and their security, setting the stage for what should be a destructive match at SummerSlam with just a hint of uncertainty. For her part, Bliss was great on the mic so overall, this was a strong segment.
Loser: Baron Corbin
There was a lot of Baron Corbin on Monday's show. Perhaps too much. He started making backstage appearances and then he had a match with Tyler Breeze only to introduce Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens and eventually come back to provide one last shot to Finn Balor before their match on Sunday.
First, this all could have been done without the need for a match with Breeze. Second, the time should have been used on someone whose match is actually a draw for the red brand on Sunday. Balor vs. Corbin is not exactly high-quality material amidst all the other good stuff SummerSlam will offer. The ratio of Corbin to the rest of the Superstars on the pay-per-view just didn't make sense.
Winner: Tag Team Triple Threat Match
There's not much more to say about this contest other than it was extremely well put together and whoever booked the layout should be commended.
The result of this fast-paced contest hints at a Revival win at SummerSlam which would be a huge boost for them as a team. Dawson and Wilder deserve an opportunity. Hopefully, Sunday is when they get it.
Loser: Elias/Lashley/Ricky Roberts
The entire segment between Ricky Roberts and Elias was simply a way to put over the idea that Elias will have a concert the Saturday before SummerSlam. This was the company's promotion to try and sell tickets. To have Lashley interrupt and no one seemed to care just speaks to how silly the idea was.
The only positive part here was that budding country star Roberts blasted Lashley with the guitar and it didn't even phase the big man. It was a quick match showing Lashley had power but then it was all ruined when the camera showed Elias who had absolutely no reaction. It was utter garbage and the participants couldn't even be bothered to show up and act like they cared.
Only Lashley seems to be trying here and he's already proven he's not enough on his own to carry this feud forward.
Winner: Heyman and Reigns Segment
When a Brock Lesnar beatdown is the least effective part of a segment, that means other participants did their job extremely well. The entire time Paul Heyman was appealing to the good senses of Roman Reigns and asking him to accept Heyman as his advocate, the audience must have been thinking, 'could this actually happen?' It was clear it wouldn't happen that night, but now it feels like Sunday, things could dramatically switch directions.
The fact the WWE Universe was so keen on the idea of Reigns and Heyman teaming up has to give WWE pause for thought. If WWE was worried about how the fans would react to a Reigns win, they've found their way around the problem if they want it.
Winner: IC Contract Signing
Another segment that was strong from start to finish, Ziggler was on point, Rollins was Rollins and Ambrose returned with a new look that seems to give a sense something could go down on Sunday — something that might not be good for Seth Rollins.
That could be just an idea and a far-fetched one at that but Ambrose coming back early, looking so dark and heavy seems to signify a change. How that change progresses will be interesting to watch. Perhaps we're over-thinking things because Ambrose looks so much like Triple H now, but this match just became must-see.