Kevin Eck is a former member of the WWE creative team and now blogs about pro wrestling for PressBox.
Here's a look who is trending upward and who is trending downward in WWE.
SummerSlam Main Event Participants: I typically prefer marquee singles matchups at signature events such as WrestleMania and SummerSlam rather than multi-man matches, but the main event at SummerSlam Aug. 20 -- a Fatal Four-Way between Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Braun Stowman and Samoa Joe -- is an exception. I'm also a proponent of having well-defined babyfaces and heels in programs, but, again, the rivalry between these four is an exception. There isn't a true babyface in the match, but that's not an issue when four guys the fans view as legit badasses are all going after the same prize. Their program got off to a hot start with a pull-apart on "Raw" July 24, and the announced main event for the July 31 episode of "Raw" that pits three-fourths of the SummerSlam main event (Reigns, Strowman and Joe) against each other in a Triple Threat is one of the most-anticipated "Raw" matches in recent memory.
Dean Ambrose And Seth Rollins: While they've both become big singles stars, the former Shield members turned bitter enemies are better together right now. Ambrose has been stuck in a seemingly never-ending program with The Miz, and Rollins has never fully gained momentum after the powers that be failed to book him as a babyface when he returned from injury in 2016. I really like how the Ambrose-Rollins reunion angle has been paced, as Ambrose doesn't fully trust Rollins yet, which makes perfect sense given their history. It'll be a cool moment when they are truly back on the same page, but just imagine how big the pop will be if Reigns eventually embraces his former Shield brethren. The Shield -- perhaps with Reigns as Universal Champion and Ambrose and Rollins as Raw tag team champions -- wreaking havoc as a band of anti-heroes would be the creative shot in the arm WWE needs. Believe that.
Elias Samson: WWE has done a good job of booking Samson, who has a great look and main-event potential. His guitar-strumming character generates significant heat, and participating in competitive matches with the likes of Ambrose and Finn Balor has established Samson as a credible threat in the ring. Samson's victory against Balor in a no-disqualification match was one of the highlights on "Raw" July 24.
The Usos: Any worries that Jimmy and Jey Uso would be de-emphasized after losing the SmackDown Tag Team Title to New Day in the show-stealing match at Battleground July 23 was quelled when they ambushed and laid out the new champions on "SmackDown" July 25. The Usos are doing the best character work of their careers, and I wouldn't be shocked if they end up regaining the belts from New Day.
Bayley: Her victory against Sasha Banks in a No. 1 Contender's Match on "Raw" was a pleasant surprise. It's no secret Bayley has been damaged by bad booking since she's been on the main roster -- with the low point coming at Extreme Rules in Baltimore this past June when the crowd turned on the lovable babyface in favor of heel Alex Bliss -- but her character gradually has been rehabilitated. Hopefully, Bayley regains the Raw Women's Title from Bliss at SummerSlam and that leads to Banks turning on her to ignite a heated program between the two women who had such a great rivalry in NXT.
Jinder Mahal: I'm in favor of WWE giving a main-event push to a guy like Mahal, who was under-utilized and is a welcomed addition to the WWE Title picture, but it just hasn't clicked. The Mahal-Randy Orton program -- which thankfully seems to finally be finished -- wasn't compelling, and the fact that their Punjabi Prison Match at Battleground wasn't well-received is a surprise to no one not named Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Hopefully, working with either John Cena or Shinsuke Nakamura at SummerSlam will bring out the best in Mahal.
Charlotte: The best all-around performer in the women's division -- and one of the best-all-around performers in WWE regardless of gender -- has been spinning her wheels as of late. Charlotte isn't in the SmackDown Women's Title picture, and on the July 25 episode of "SmackDown" she was relegated to a meaningless tag match in which she teamed with Becky Lynch against Lana and Tamina. "The Queen" deserves much better. I originally thought her babyface turn was going to make her an even bigger star than she already was, but to steal a famous line from Mae West, it's clear now that when Charlotte is good, she's very good, but when she's bad, she's better -- just like her father, Ric Flair, was in his day.
Maria and Mike Kanelis: When they were in Ring of Honor, I thought they'd eventually make it to WWE and become stars. Well, they've made it to WWE, but they're not off to a great start as far as the becoming stars part is concerned. Not only did Mike lose clean to Sami Zayn at Battleground in a match that was put in the buffer spot before the main event, but he also dropped the fall in the tag match on "SmackDown" in which he and Aiden English lost to Zayn and Tye Dillinger. It's still very early in Mike and Maria's WWE run, but so far these two lovebirds are getting no love from WWE creative.
Tye Dillinger: The self-proclaimed "Perfect 10" definitely rates in the lower single-digits on my scorecard after losing to English on the Battleground kickoff show. The crowd has fun chanting "10" with Dillinger, but he's destined to be a one-dimensional mid-card act unless his character is given more layers.
Emma: Poor Emma. She has so much potential, but the former NXT star has been misused in WWE since joining the main roster more than three years ago. When she interrupted Kurt Angle's interview on "Raw" July 24, I thought Emma might actually be getting a bit of a push, but it turned out she was just being fed to Nia Jax in a squash match. Maybe it's not too late to give Emmalina another shot.