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By Arda Ocal | June 25, 2013
Last week on RAW, Brock Lesnar attacked CM Punk, possibly setting up a match in the future, with some guessing SummerSlam. The story continued last night with CM Punk wanting answers and Paul Heyman assuring him that he wasn't behind the attack. Both Lesnar and Punk are big-ticket players, so a match between them will generate lots of interest. Paul Heyman being in the mix adds intrigue and drama, particularly with the "is he lying" question lingering. With CM Punk in the Money in the Bank ladder match, I look for him to get screwed out of the briefcase by Heyman's client -- because money maters more to Heyman than friendship -- setting up a match at the biggest event of the summer.
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By Arda Ocal | December 10, 2013
The Slammy Awards will always have a special place in WWE history. Not only do they have a nostalgic feel (with the first Slammys awarded in 1986), but they also plant seeds for future rivalries. On this edition, we saw a slight dissension among members of The Shield, while Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels shared an extended stare down that had fans buzzing about a possible future matchup between the two. Much of the 2013 Slammy Awards made me more excited about potential matchups that may be coming in 2014 than matches that will happen Sunday at WWE's TLC pay-per-view.
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By Arda Ocal | November 25, 2013
It was a scene we have (sort of) seen before: John Cena and Randy Orton, face to face, two champions in the ring. We have seen John Cena and Randy Orton square off. We have seen John Cena, as champion, stare down another champion (CM Punk). Where this will lead is the big question. Among many in the WWE fan base there has been discussion of title unification -- the World Heavyweight title today feels more like the Intercontinental title of 20 years ago, as opposed to a major championship equal to the WWE title.
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By Arda Ocal | December 3, 2013
Both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan both have 3 on 1 matches ahead of them at TLC - Daniel Bryan will meet the Wyatt Family, while CM Punk tackles the Shield. This creates two interesting matches at the PPV that will likely battle for the title of show-stealer. Much of RAW including the last segment, was spent highlighting the past rivalry between Randy Orton and John Cena and how their match at TLC will be guaranteed to unify the WWE/World Heavyweight titles (I'm still not 100 percent sold)
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By Arda Ocal | July 15, 2013
Money in the Bank has become a destination pay-per-view for WWE fans, mostly because of how much can happen in both MITB matches. Much like the Royal Rumble match, MITB has multiple participants, lays out upcoming rivalries and reveals the winner of a big stake. Last night's event was no different. The last image was Randy Orton standing tall, holding the Raw MITB briefcase. During the match, Paul Heyman turned on CM Punk, furthering along the highly anticipated Punk vs. Brock Lesnar tilt at Summerslam.
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By Arda Ocal | November 12, 2013
Yesterday on this blog I wrote about John Cena giving praise to Antonio Cesaro in the ring in Munich, Germany . I talked about the differences between John Cena the human being (who is among the most charitable faces of a company anywhere) and John Cena the character (whom many people dislike because he is often portrayed as super human, often beating superstars when the odds are gravely against him). On this week's RAW we got another example of the latter. John Cena faced the Real Americans in a handicap tag team match.
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By Arda Ocal | September 12, 2013
Randy Orton (champion) vs. Daniel Bryan -- WWE championship This has been a great story line to follow, particularly the way it has unfolded since SummerSlam -- Triple H and the evil "regime" have been getting the better of Daniel Bryan and the rest of the WWE roster week after week, with Bryan beaten down every episode. Then, finally, on the two television events before the pay-per-view, Bryan gets his revenge and looks like he can win. It's been excellent storyline, with The Big Show subplot sprinkled in as spice.
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By Arda Ocal | August 6, 2013
It's the entertainer vs the wrestler. More generally, it's the WWE Universe vs. the hardcore pro wrestling fan. Daniel Bryan has played his role perfectly in the build up of his match against John Cena at SummerSlam. He is the darling of the internet wrestling community, the guy every hardcore fan is cheering for -- very similar to when Rob Van Dam, the ECW star, in the middle of a hostile ECW crowd at an ECW reunion event, defeated John Cena for the WWE title. Even in a segment loosely resembling the time Mr. McMahon tried to make Steve Austin more "corporate" during the Attitude Era, Daniel Bryan hit a home run and kept us interested.
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By Arda Ocal | December 3, 2013
Both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan both have 3 on 1 matches ahead of them at TLC - Daniel Bryan will meet the Wyatt Family, while CM Punk tackles the Shield. This creates two interesting matches at the PPV that will likely battle for the title of show-stealer. Much of RAW including the last segment, was spent highlighting the past rivalry between Randy Orton and John Cena and how their match at TLC will be guaranteed to unify the WWE/World Heavyweight titles (I'm still not 100 percent sold)
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By Arda Ocal | September 24, 2013
Since this only happens once in a while, it's not necessarily the most annoying thing in the world, but it definitely is an emerging trend. It's not new, either -- through signs and chants, fans have always wanted to be a part of the show. Especially with WWE -- where receiving 15 seconds of fame through being a member of the audience seems more likely than any other form of entertainment -- colorful fans have always stood out. What I have been noticing is an emerging pattern of chants among crowds who have been traditionally classified as "informed" WWE fans.
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By Arda Ocal | November 26, 2013
WWE Raw ended Monday night with Randy Orton holding up both the WWE and World Heavyweight titles, with a match set for the TLC pay-per-view where both titles will be on the line. It must be noted that this hasn't been billed as a "unification" match yet, implying right now that the winner will hold both titles and not make them one single championship. The timing is interesting. It will certainly boost interest for TLC, a pay-per-view that isn't a traditional big hit for WWE. To generalize that point, what might raise eyebrows is the fact that we aren't seeing a match of this magnitude on a bigger pay-per-view stage, leading me to believe that we won't get a definitive winner at TLC and that the saga of crowning a unified champion (if that is the path that will be taken)
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By Arda Ocal | November 25, 2013
It was a scene we have (sort of) seen before: John Cena and Randy Orton, face to face, two champions in the ring. We have seen John Cena and Randy Orton square off. We have seen John Cena, as champion, stare down another champion (CM Punk). Where this will lead is the big question. Among many in the WWE fan base there has been discussion of title unification -- the World Heavyweight title today feels more like the Intercontinental title of 20 years ago, as opposed to a major championship equal to the WWE title.
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By Arda Ocal | November 19, 2013
It's that time of the month again -- when we talk about the last WWE Raw before a pay-per-view and gauge whether the show made us want to spend money on the upcoming event at the end of the week. Right now, I'm lukewarm at best on the whole card (and Raw, for that matter). There were some bright spots for me -- seeing Xavier Woods finally make his WWE main show debut as R Truth's tag team partner was a #ThisMakesMeHappy moment for me. The circumstances of the debut were even more interesting because, in 2007, Woods debuted in TNA also as R Truth's partner.
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By Arda Ocal | November 12, 2013
Yesterday on this blog I wrote about John Cena giving praise to Antonio Cesaro in the ring in Munich, Germany . I talked about the differences between John Cena the human being (who is among the most charitable faces of a company anywhere) and John Cena the character (whom many people dislike because he is often portrayed as super human, often beating superstars when the odds are gravely against him). On this week's RAW we got another example of the latter. John Cena faced the Real Americans in a handicap tag team match.
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By Arda Ocal | November 5, 2013
The Big Show has won the WWE title twice. Both times, he won at a Survivor Series pay-per-view event. The first time, in 1999, he defeated Triple H. Funny how things come back around, in a way. This year, The Big Show will get a WWE title shot against Randy Orton at Survivor Series, given to him by Triple H, much to the latter's chagrin. The entire scenario was a little odd -- The Big Show suing WWE over discrimination, defamation and abusive treatment at work (which, realistically, happens to every WWE superstar on a weekly basis)
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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 | November 5, 2013
The Big Show has won the WWE title twice. Both times, he won at a Survivor Series pay-per-view event. The first time, in 1999, he defeated Triple H. Funny how things come back around, in a way. This year, The Big Show will get a WWE title shot against Randy Orton at Survivor Series, given to him by Triple H, much to the latter's chagrin. The entire scenario was a little odd -- The Big Show suing WWE over discrimination, defamation and abusive treatment at work (which, realistically, happens to every WWE superstar on a weekly basis)
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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 | September 24, 2013
Since this only happens once in a while, it's not necessarily the most annoying thing in the world, but it definitely is an emerging trend. It's not new, either -- through signs and chants, fans have always wanted to be a part of the show. Especially with WWE -- where receiving 15 seconds of fame through being a member of the audience seems more likely than any other form of entertainment -- colorful fans have always stood out. What I have been noticing is an emerging pattern of chants among crowds who have been traditionally classified as "informed" WWE fans.
SPORTS
By Arda Ocal | September 12, 2013
Randy Orton (champion) vs. Daniel Bryan -- WWE championship This has been a great story line to follow, particularly the way it has unfolded since SummerSlam -- Triple H and the evil "regime" have been getting the better of Daniel Bryan and the rest of the WWE roster week after week, with Bryan beaten down every episode. Then, finally, on the two television events before the pay-per-view, Bryan gets his revenge and looks like he can win. It's been excellent storyline, with The Big Show subplot sprinkled in as spice.
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