Happy Birthday, Hulk!
While the show-closing segment of Raw may have appeared to be unnecessary ego stroking of The Hulkster, the man is an industry icon for a reason. He helped take the business to heights it had never been before and transcended professional wrestling, becoming a pop culture phenomenon. He earned the right to celebrate his birthday in the middle of the ring, joined by the likes of Ric Flair, Paul Orndorff, Roddy Piper, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.
John Cena and Brock Lesnar still managed to benefit from the spotlight by interrupting the festivities and engaging in a tense staredown to send Raw off the air and put added heat and attention on their SummerSlam title bout.
WWE Creative killed two birds with one stone and did so effectively. Kudos to the production team that knocked it out of the park with another exceptional video dedicated to the career of the all-time great Hogan.
Intercontinental Title Hype and Slater Wins Again
With SummerSlam opponent and intercontinental champion The Miz lurking around ringside, Dolph Ziggler squared off against the suddenly red-hot Heath Slater Monday night. Unfortunately for the Showoff, he focused too much on his opponent Sunday night and took his eye off the ball. He lost track of the official's count as he fought Miz on the entrance ramp and got counted out as a result.
Slater celebrated a fifth straight victory, while Ziggler was left speechless. It was great booking in the sense that Ziggler was not beaten by pinfall or submission this close to his big title match against Miz, while Slater was allowed to continue his winning ways. Again, WWE Creative accomplished two things at once and deserves recognition for its quality and effective booking.
Paige Gets One Over on AJ; Eva Wins...and Pays for It
Monday night, Paige distracted AJ Lee long enough for the current Divas champion to be rolled up and defeated by Eva Marie in a non-title match. The loss, an embarrassing one for AJ, who once tore down everyone involved in the cast of Total Divas, adds fuel to the fire that is the rivalry between her and the young Brit.
The post-match poem by Paige, including the line about AJ having a face she wants to punch, was great, and AJ's attack on Eva Marie helped get some of her heat back.
While the program has taken a backseat heading into SummerSlam, AJ and Paige are strong enough workers that, if given the time, they can deliver a match that blows the other women's contest on the card out of the water.
As for Eva winning, it really is no big deal. Considering the fact that she is improving with each passing week and is still only in her first full year of training, it was a nice confidence boost for someone who is harshly and, at times, unfairly criticized for her involvement on a reality show.
Remember, WWE management put her on TV and in matches before she had enough experience. Send some of the heat that way.
Seth Rollins Beats RVD, and Ambrose Attacks!
Just six days away from his showdown with Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam, Seth Rollins defeated former WWE and ECW champion Rob Van Dam and proved that he was more than capable of defeating his one-time Shield partner and friend.
After the match, he made his way to the top of the ramp, where he investigated a large gift box supposedly meant for Hulk Hogan. The idea that Ambrose would be inside, ready to pounce on his former partner, was too ludicrous even for Rollins to believe, and he began walking away. Suddenly, the Lunatic Fringe exploded out of the box and attacked Mr. Money in the Bank, forcing him to run away like a coward.
Ambrose cut a brief promo to end the segment, vowing that he would get all $9.99 worth, and more, when he beat Rollins Sunday night on the WWE Network.
The entire segment was straight out of an old-school booking room. The giant box and the wrestler bursting out of it to attack his foe has been done before, and the fact that WWE went back to it in 2014 is an indicator of just how effective it is every time.