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Sources close to WWE.com have said that Randy Orton plans to call out Hulk Hogan and challenge the 12-time World Champion to a match this Monday night on RAW.
Speculations regarding why the Legend Killer would issue a challenge to Hogan a mere six days before their epic encounter at SummerSlam have been running rampant since the rumor began circulating. An insider close to Orton told WWE.com that although publicly Orton has proclaimed that Hogan is bluffing about his injury, privately he's acknowledged that he knows the WWE Hall of Famer's knee is ailing.
According to one of the sources, one reason for luring Hogan into the ring on RAW would be so the Legend Killer can focus an attack on the Hulkster's partially torn meniscus in his right knee so their match at SummerSlam would be a shoo-in for Orton.
Hulk Hogan has always stood up for his Hulkamaniacs and has never backed down from any challenge that's stood in front of him during his prestigious career, but one has to wonder if it would it be wise for him to push his injured knee and risk further damage less than a week before he meets Orton on the grand stage at SummerSlam?
With an already-injured knee, what would the Legend Killer have to say to provoke Hogan to accept the match on RAW? Would he pray on the Hulkster's ego? Insult the integrity of Hulkamania? Use more tactless attacks on the Hogan family?
As arguably the most celebrated Superstar in WWE history, Hogan has battled some of the most notorious Superstars in WWE history, but none of his rivalries have ever been this personal. By involving the entire Hogan family in his vile actions, the abrasive Orton has taken the Hulkster into uncharted territory—causing Hogan's behavior and decision-making to become more erratic and extreme than ever before.
Last week, after WWE.com broke the news that the partial tear in Hogan's right meniscus had the potential to keep him out of his SummerSlam match, a shameless Orton was audacious enough to question the legitimacy of the injury—and the integrity of Hulkamania. Then, after Hogan made an appearance on "Live with Regis and Kelly," the Legend Killer had more ammunition for his theory of the injury being a sham.
"It's clear Hogan can move around on his ‘bad' knee pretty well," a pompous Orton stated. "He's trying to get out of the match…if he faces Randy Orton in that ring [at SummerSlam], he'll be destroyed." (Read Orton's comments)
Orton's accusations prompted a quick and irate retort from Hogan.
"I've been really concerned about hurting it more [his right knee]…but I realize what's important to me and my family and that's answering the bell once again in my career" he said. "I'm going to show up in Boston, which has always been the hotbed of Hulkamania, brother. [At SummerSlam], I'm going to walk into the ring with my red and yellow and kick Randy Orton's ass," he added.
Will the Hulkster accept the challenge on RAW if he's called out less than a week before he's slated to compete at the biggest party of the summer? For the answer, tune into RAW on Monday night at 9/8 CT on the USA Network.