From Instagram shots of soon-to-debut NXT stars to the very real prospect of having the most legitimate athlete in WWE hold the World Heavyweight Championship, it seems like the summer slump is about to come to an end.
However, in terms of in-ring competition, WWE is still in something of a holding pattern. Out in Japan, the stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling are blowing the roof off with the G1 Climax 24 tournament, but things are a little bit more pedestrian at present in WWE. However, this week wasn't without a couple of standout matches that are well worth your time.
The fresh pairing of Dean Ambrose with the ever-consistent Alberto Del Rio produced a rather engaging match on Main Event this week. One of Del Rio's great strengths is how well he can adapt his style to fit an opponent, and seeing him show a bit more aggression to match Ambrose added further interest to the bout.
Del Rio might just be this week's in-ring MVP, working matches on nearly every show broadcast this week and doing so after sustaining a nasty cut to the eye. Chris Jericho is certainly in contention as well, as he looked great in his matches on Raw and SmackDown.
Many fans were no doubt left wanting more after Jericho's encounter with Seth Rollins last Monday, but it was his clash with Erick Rowan that might have surprised some. Rowan is generally accepted as being the weakest member of the Wyatt Family, but he looked rather impressive in the main event of SmackDown.
Does Erick Rowan have a future in WWE outside of the Wyatt Family?
A few months back, few would have imagined that Rowan would be able to perform so well in a singles match. Of course, Jericho needs his share of the credit for making the big man look good, but Rowan has been steadily improving since he moved up to the main roster.
The way the Wyatt Family has been booked might not be on the level of the excellent work that was done for the Shield, but if the trio keep maturing as performers—as they have done thus far—they could each be valuable singles competitors in their own right after the group inevitably splits.
Match of the Week for August 2: Cesaro vs. John Cena on Monday Night Raw
Even though his position on the WWE roster seems to fluctuate rather wildly, in terms of in-ring performance, there's few wrestlers who can compete with Cesaro's consistently excellent work. The opening match of Monday Night Raw this week was a thoroughly enjoyable contest that benefited greatly from fired-up performances from both men.
John Cena is capable of putting on a very formulaic match, but when he's paired with a good opponent and wants to get the crown going, he can pull out something very special. This match was just that, and it bodes very well for his title defence at SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar.
Cesaro's feats of strength are always fun to watch, but it was nice to see Cena match him with some impressive lifts of his own. It certainly livened up the sometimes pedestrian offence that Cena has in his war crate and made the match feel special.
There's sometimes a tendency for WWE television matches to seem like the throwaway variety, but this certainly wasn't the case here. The massive shift in the way that WWE does its business thanks to the WWE Network should mean that we see more top-notch TV matches like this on a regular basis.
What was your favourite match this week? Who was the most impressive in-ring performer across WWE's programming? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.