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By Aaron Oster and The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
Alberto Del Rio was fired by World Wrestling Entertainment on Thursday, ending his four-year run with the company. On Thursday night, this message was posted on WWE.com: “WWE announced the release of Del Rio due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.” According to Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly , Del Rio slapped a WWE.com staff member this week. While the timing of and speculation surrounding his firing is surprising, his departure from the company isn't.
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By Aaron Oster | August 16, 2014
In 2013, Summerslam might have been the best pay per view of the year, with two Match of the Year candidates. While it might not reach that level, the card this year certainly has the potential to be memorable. Last year, both the Brock Lesnar/CM Punk match (which was my pick for match of the year) and the John Cena/Daniel Bryan match were showered with praise both from fans and critics. They were the top of a great pay-per-view, which also included an overlooked match featuring Alberto Del Rio and Christian.
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By Adam Testa | April 6, 2012
The weeks following WrestleMania have traditionally been a time when WWE calls up talent from developmental, giving them a chance on the main roster. This year has proven to be no different, though not all of this week's debuts were superstars new to the main brands. Lord Tensai , a returning A-Train with a new gimmick, returned on Raw, while former Nexus member Skip Sheffield made his comeback on Smackdown, repackaged as Ryback . Damien Sandow , who has been talked about as a standout in WWE's developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling, also made his debut, albeit in the form of a pre-recorded promo.
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By Aaron Oster and The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2014
Alberto Del Rio was fired by World Wrestling Entertainment on Thursday, ending his four-year run with the company. On Thursday night, this message was posted on WWE.com: “WWE announced the release of Del Rio due to unprofessional conduct and an altercation with an employee.” According to Wrestling Observer/Figure Four Weekly , Del Rio slapped a WWE.com staff member this week. While the timing of and speculation surrounding his firing is surprising, his departure from the company isn't.
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By Arda Ocal | January 11, 2013
WWE posted an article last Tuesday night announcing that Alberto Del Rio had won the World Heavyweight Championship from the Big Show at that week's Smackdown tapings. Revealing a title change isn't uncommon as of late. With so many fans reading spoilers anyway, why wouldn't WWE bring that traffic to their own platforms? That's not the most interesting part of the scenario. What's interesting to me is the timing. With Friday being the first Smackdown after the holiday season, and The Rock in the building, this was already projected to be a highly watched episode.
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By Arda Ocal and The Baltimore Sun | August 20, 2013
It was a familiar scene on WWE Raw for longtime wrestling fans. In the ring stood the authority figures -- in this case Triple H, Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon -- talking about what's right for WWE, their thoughts on the look of a proper champion and why their actions were all for the benefit of the fans. Daniel Bryan is the victim of their crimes. According to the "decision makers," he doesn't look like a champion. He's not an A, but a solid B+, they say. Earlier in the show, he was escorted away by security.
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By Arda Ocal | November 7, 2012
Let me start by saying this -- I want more WWE televised events to happen outside the U.S. Maybe that's not entirely true. Let me rephrase -- I want more WWE televised events where we hear reactions like the ones we heard this week. Both Raw (Monday) and Smackdown (Tuesday) were in Birmingham, England this week. The crowd was so good, that even on the second consecutive night of WWE action, the crowd reaction and party atmosphere rivalled many WWE crowds stateside. Many segments and matches felt even more special just because the Birmingham crowd was so vocal.
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By Aaron Oster | January 21, 2014
"The Animal" Batista returned with a bang Monday night, taking out Alberto Del Rio and declaring his intentions to go after the WWE world heavyweight championship on the final WWE Raw before the Royal Rumble. Batista last appeared in the WWE in May 2010, ending an eight-year run with the company. He was part of the oft-talked about Class of 2002 from Ohio Valley Wrestling -- the WWE's feeder organization before they moved it to Florida -- along with John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar.
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By Arda Ocal | August 19, 2012
This year I've had the opporrtunity to enjoy all the action from Los Angeles in the days leading up to Summerslam 2012. Here are the tidbits I have collected from several WWE Superstars: Stephanie McMahon gives an interesting answer on whether or not she will return to WWE TV. Wade Barrett  says he is 99 percent healed from injury and details the character changes we can expect when he returns to WWE TV. Antonio Cesaro...
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The Baltimore Sun | October 5, 2012
CM Punk has been on a campaign for respect. The on-screen character has lambasted WWE at every turn for giving priority treatment to other superstars instead of the reigning WWE champion. This week, though, it's hard to argue that Punk had the spotlight that a champion deserves. He was featured in the main event of Raw in a tag team match, was part of the centerpiece attraction of the debut episode of Main Event on Wednesday and main evented tonight's Smackdown in a match against Dolph Ziggler.
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By Aaron Oster | January 21, 2014
"The Animal" Batista returned with a bang Monday night, taking out Alberto Del Rio and declaring his intentions to go after the WWE world heavyweight championship on the final WWE Raw before the Royal Rumble. Batista last appeared in the WWE in May 2010, ending an eight-year run with the company. He was part of the oft-talked about Class of 2002 from Ohio Valley Wrestling -- the WWE's feeder organization before they moved it to Florida -- along with John Cena, Randy Orton and Brock Lesnar.
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By Arda Ocal | October 8, 2013
I know the drill. When I'm watching WWE, sometimes (often) I have to suspend my disbelief. Check some logic at the door and just enjoy the moments that are unfolding in front of me. Last night on WWE Raw, The Big Show finally KOed Triple H. The fans loved it. Daniel Bryan stood atop Triple H, fixed his tie, and led the entire crowd in a "Yes!" chant. This is a moment that has been building for weeks. Of course, this happened after Stephanie McMahon fired The Big Show to start the night, after calling him out for ruining the WWE championship main event between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan at the WWE Battleground pay-per-view.
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By Arda Ocal | September 10, 2013
I have a confession to make. I know this is The Baltimore Sun, but I actually live in Toronto. Yes, I know I'm letting several of you down by saying this. Kevin Eck, who currently works for WWE and started this column, lived in Baltimore. I do not. Luckily, with the advent of television and the Internet, I'm able to be at the helm of this blog. The reason I bring this up is because Raw was in Toronto on Monday, and I was there. Jerry Lawler doesn't call Toronto "Bizarro World" for no reason -- the crowd is always expected to be lively, bordering on self-indulgent, much like a "Raw after WrestleMania" crowd.
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By Arda Ocal and The Baltimore Sun | August 20, 2013
It was a familiar scene on WWE Raw for longtime wrestling fans. In the ring stood the authority figures -- in this case Triple H, Vince McMahon and Stephanie McMahon -- talking about what's right for WWE, their thoughts on the look of a proper champion and why their actions were all for the benefit of the fans. Daniel Bryan is the victim of their crimes. According to the "decision makers," he doesn't look like a champion. He's not an A, but a solid B+, they say. Earlier in the show, he was escorted away by security.
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By Arda Ocal | July 30, 2013
WWE Raw ended Monday night virtually the same way it ended two weeks ago -- John Cena raising the WWE title in the air (this time after beating Ryback in a tables match), and Daniel Bryan yelling "Yes" in his face, along with pretty much every fan in the arena. Slowly but surely, there are cracks beginning to show in the armor of respect in this match -- though it will still be an underlying theme in this rivalry, there will be more intensity seen in the weeks to come. What we aren't seeing a lot of (rather who)
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By Arda Ocal | June 18, 2013
It's June. The "Wrestlemania hangover" is now far in the rear-view mirror. Some fans may have moved away from WWE for the time being. SummerSlam is in 2 months. It's in this sweet spot where something spectacular seems to happen on WWE Raw -- something that gets people talking. Last year, Vince McMahon returned to Raw for the first time in over a year. In 2011, CM Punk dropped a "pipe bomb" on television. In 2010, the Nexus formed. In 2009, Donald Trump bought Raw. In 2008, Vince McMahon vowed to give away $1 million.
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By Adam Testa | October 12, 2012
"Tonight is all about Big Show and Sheamus. " General Manager Booker T dropped that line early in the broadcast of tonight's Smackdown. So the show focuses on the World Heavyweight Champion and his challenger for the upcoming pay-per-view? What a novel concept. Maybe CM Punk should move to the blue brand. I've praised WWE's treatment of Sheamus and Big Show in recent weeks, and their program continues to be well booked. The two are remaining, for the most part, physically separated.
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By Arda Ocal | July 30, 2013
WWE Raw ended Monday night virtually the same way it ended two weeks ago -- John Cena raising the WWE title in the air (this time after beating Ryback in a tables match), and Daniel Bryan yelling "Yes" in his face, along with pretty much every fan in the arena. Slowly but surely, there are cracks beginning to show in the armor of respect in this match -- though it will still be an underlying theme in this rivalry, there will be more intensity seen in the weeks to come. What we aren't seeing a lot of (rather who)
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By Arda Ocal | June 17, 2013
Last night's WWE Payback pay-per-view had a little bit of everything. First, there were title changes. Dolph Ziggler returned from a concussion only to lose to Alberto Del Rio in an entertaining match that was eerily similar to Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13 (in the same AllState Arena, then known as the Rosemont Horizon). Dolph (the villain) was cheered throughout the match, while Del Rio (the hero) was vilified by the consistently loud Chicago audience. After winning the gold, Del Rio cut an eyebrow raising promo, further perpetuating his likely turn.
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By Arda Ocal | January 11, 2013
WWE posted an article last Tuesday night announcing that Alberto Del Rio had won the World Heavyweight Championship from the Big Show at that week's Smackdown tapings. Revealing a title change isn't uncommon as of late. With so many fans reading spoilers anyway, why wouldn't WWE bring that traffic to their own platforms? That's not the most interesting part of the scenario. What's interesting to me is the timing. With Friday being the first Smackdown after the holiday season, and The Rock in the building, this was already projected to be a highly watched episode.
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