WWE: The Good, The Bad and The NXT - this week's winners and losers
By Phillipa Hopwood
Last Updated: 08/03/18 12:54pm
We are on the eve of Fastlane, the final pay-per-view ahead of this year's WrestleMania, and are now just a month away from the biggest event of the year.
The blockbuster announcement this week was that Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle will team up to take on Stephanie McMahon and Triple H on "The Grandest Stage Of Them All" in the former UFC champion's debut WWE match.
While Monday Night Raw is full steam ahead towards WrestleMania, SmackDown's full attention is on this weekend's Fastlane event, where the WWE Universe will finally find out who will be confirmed as Shinsuke Nakamura's opponent at the Showcase of the Immortals.
Braun Strowman (Raw)
This week on Raw, Braun Strowman and Elias collided in a Symphony of Destruction match where the Monster Among Men proved why he is fast becoming one of the most popular WWE stars in the company right now.
Once again Strowman had to take it one step further when he lifted a car to prevent Elias from running away from him again before he then managed to defeat him in a match that featured a number of musical instruments.
Strowman's WrestleMania match hasn't yet been announced but it seems that he has again put the locker room on notice with this most recent performance.
Even though Carmella lost her match to Becky Lynch on SmackDown this week, it was a return to television for Miss Money In The Bank and it was also a match that showcased a number of new moves and a new fiery attitude.
Carmella only has three months left to cash in her contract and it seems that with the women's title on the line this Sunday, she could have her eyes on the champion and finally lifting her first title in WWE.
Aleister Black (NXT)
Aleister Black has been on an incredible run in NXT over the past year - other than the one defeat he suffered at the hands of Johnny Gargano. He more than made up for that this week when he was able to defeat the Beast From Belfast, Killian Dain, which means that he will now go on to face Andrade 'Cien' Almas at NXT Takeover: New Orleans in a few weeks' time for the NXT Championship.
Black is still undefeated in singles matches, so it will be interesting to see who will come out on top of the title-versus-streak when these two stars collide as part of WrestleMania weekend.
Nia Jax (Raw)
Nia Jax was billed as a monster heading into Elimination Chamber before she was defeated by Asuka.
This week she was once again beaten by the undefeated Empress, but this time she was given the humiliation of having to tap to an armbar. It seems that this was the breaking point for Nia, who was then seen crying backstage following the loss and the fact that she was belittled by her best friend Alexa Bliss.
Nia's back-to-back losses to Asuka mean that she doesn't have a match at this year's WrestleMania, so the future is looking quite bleak for The Irresistible Force right now.
Kevin Owens (SmackDown)
Kevin Owens thought he had the backing of his long-time friend Sami Zayn heading into the six-way match for the WWE Championship this weekend at Fastlane. Zayn himself stated that he would lie down for his friend if it came down to it because he deserved to be champion, but this now won't be the case.
The main event of this week's show was a fatal five-way preview where Zayn picked up the win after he pinned his best friend and then claimed that he was the most "underlooked" performer on SmackDown - and deserved to be champion.
It seems that Owens has no backing this weekend as the match has now become every man for himself for the right to become WWE champion heading into the biggest event of the year.
TM61 were dealt quite the blow last year when injury kept them on the sidelines for a number of months, but they returned afresh a few weeks ago and looked to be progressing well in the tag team division, until they come up against The Authors of Pain this week in the opening rounds of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
TM61 needed the boost of a win over the current holders of the trophy since they were defeated by AOP in the tournament last year. But that wasn't meant to be and the Australian duo simply became the latest in a long line of victims for the team that is controlled by WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellering.
But what does this mean for their future on the brand with so many other teams set to be formed as part of the annual tournament?
Do you agree with our selection of this week's winners and losers? Let us know your picks using the commenting facility below!