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By Arda Ocal | November 20, 2012
There are still many unanswered questions following Raw, 24 hours removed from the Survivor Series pay-per-view event. Once again, the 3 NXT alums dressed in black attacked Ryback and put him through a table, with no explanation of who, what or why. At this point, building intrigue through mystery is a great strategy, which is why I'm looking forward to the eventual "explanation" even more. CM Punk celebrated one full fiscal year as WWE champion with great work on the microphone. It was preceded with a mini "pipe bomb" by Paul Heyman, who called out members of the WWE Universe who criticized his and CM Punk's mocking of Jerry Lawler's heart attack, essentially saying that the same fans who clamor for the "good ol' days" of the Attitude Era, complain and are offended when an event that was inspired by that era is seen in WWE today.
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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 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 Aaron Oster and The Baltimore Sun | June 30, 2014
Sunday night's Money In The Bank ended with a familiar sight: John Cena celebrating as he became the WWE world heavyweight champion. Cena outlasted seven other men to achieve his goal this time. The match was actually fairly brutal, even for a ladder match. Randy Orton took a shot to the top of his head early in the match which ripped open a cut. By the end of the match, the blood was freely running down his face. While it wasn't a true Crimson Mask, it was as close to one as we've seen in quite a while in the WWE. There was also a fantastic spot where a ladder was forced through the rungs of another ladder, which led the ladder to be tilted without falling and caused Sheamus and Cesaro to have to climb around to stay up. It was a very cool visual spot that, to my knowledge, had never been done before.
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By Adam Testa | January 30, 2012
The Royal Rumble has long been recognized as one of the premier American wrestling events of the year, coming in second to only WrestleMania. This year's event featured a number of surprises, both in the 30-man Rumble match itself and on the rest of the card. Both the WWE and World Heavyweight champions retained their titles, two unannounced matches were showcased and a number of WWE veterans and superstars returned to the ring. I had a bird's eye seat for the spectacle, as I sat two rows removed from the floor-seat section of the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
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By Arda Ocal | August 22, 2013
It might not be a hardcore classic, it might not even be a typical wrestling match, but as Mick Foley said in an interview Saturday night, there is a small chance he could return to WWE for one more match. And he even picked an opponent! Watch the full interview below, which includes an extended cameo by Dolph Ziggler.
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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 | June 20, 2013
WWE is bringing a live event and an episode of Monday Night Raw back to Maryland. Ocean City will host a live event on July 6 , with Randy Orton, World Heavyweight champion Alberto Del Rio, Dolph Ziggler, Fandango, Jack Swagger and more scheduled to appear. Two days later, WWE's television trucks will roll into 1st Mariner Arena for Raw . Also scheduled to appear at both events is WWE superstar Brodus Clay, who I had a chance to speak with over the phone this week.
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By Arda Ocal | December 17, 2012
WWE pretty much saved the best for last, in terms of pay-per-view offerings.   Even with WWE champion CM Punk off the card because of injury, WWE TLC was a terrific pay-per-view event with several great things to write home about. First and foremost, many fans were pleasantly surprised with the final image of the broadcast -- a victorious Dolph Ziggler holding his Money in the Bank briefcase, having defeated John Cena. Yes, you read that correctly. John Cena didn't win. Dolph Ziggler did, and the match was great.
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By Arda Ocal | April 9, 2013
Everything that Wrestlemania wasn't, for the hardcore WWE fan, Raw was. It had twists, it had turns, and most of all, it had chants. Lots of chants. Chants never heard at a WWE event before. In fact, for much of Raw, the fans hijacked the show. It started with Dolph Ziggler. Fans were chanting for him throughout the show, until he appeared to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase, and the place went wild. Nobody sat down during the 2-3 minute match where Ziggler finally won the World Heavyweight title, with most fans in the audience having the opinion that he more than deserved it. It was a surreal moment ... a "WrestleMania moment," just the following day. Once fans got what they asked for with Ziggler, they turned their attention elsewhere.
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By Aaron Oster | June 10, 2014
As mentioned in yesterday's column , Daniel Bryan's rehab wasn't going as well as hoped.  On Monday's RAW, that was made official when the Authority vacated the title and announced it would be put on the line in a seven-man ladder match. They announced the first two participants of the match quickly, saying Alberto Del Rio earned his shot last week, and also put Randy Orton into the match.  Later in the night, Sheamus and Cesaro also earned their shots in qualifying matches.  You can read about my early thoughts on who should win the match in yesterday's column, but there are two questions that remain after RAW. The first is who will the three remaining competitors be?
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By Arda Ocal | December 16, 2013
Randy Orton became the WWE World Heavyweight champion, unifying both top WWE titles and defeating John Cena in the lone match bearing the Pay Per View's name at TLC on Sunday night. Like most matches on the card, the match was entertaining, with some excellent dramatic moments, particularly near the end of the contest. At one point, Orton handcuffed Cena to the bottom rope and began to climb the ladder to retrieve both titles, only to have Cena unhook the bottom rope in hot pursuit.
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By Arda Ocal | December 5, 2013
After decades of terrorizing enemies in the ring (and a famous stint becoming one himself), Robert Remus, better known to fans as Sgt. Slaughter, is a public ambassador for WWE. He can be seen on many nights representing the company at charity events and at local independent wrestling events. "Part of my job is to send new talent [to WWE]", Slaughter, 65, said in a phone interview on Tuesday promoting WWE's latest DVD releases ("RAW 20th Anniversary Collection" and "The History of WWE: 50 Years of Sports Entertainment")
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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 | October 7, 2013
The crowd in attendance in Buffalo for Saturday night's  WWE  Battleground pay-per-view event were quiet for the most part, with few signs of life -- until the cameras went off the air. The WWE championship match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan ended with no clear winner after the Big Show KO'ed Orton, Bryan, referee John Cone and the returning referee Scott Armstrong (sent to the ring by Brad Maddox, who was left in charge)....
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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 | April 23, 2013
Ever since the day after WrestleMania, when "Fandangoing" became a thing, we knew that when WWE returned to the United Kingdom just weeks later, that it would all resume. Sure, the Fandango theme singing craze took a dip in between, but it's genesis was truly fans in the United Kingdom who made the trip to WrestleMania. So it comes as no surprise that the singing and dancing was out in full force on WWE Raw. I think WWE did a great job with the trend and weaving it into the show -- from using the theme song as a distraction for Chris Jericho in his match against Dolph Ziggler to having Fandango match up against William Regal (perhaps one of the only guys on the roster who could shift the crowd's attention)
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By Arda Ocal | January 8, 2013
This one wasn't even close. CM Punk delivered another "pipe bomb" in the final segment on Monday Night Raw -- another blend of honesty and little lines that put smiles on hardcore fans' faces. This one had a more heel-ish twist, as expected given CM Punk's character on TV for the past several months. Then, after CM Punk got the crowd in a frenzy for several minutes, out came The Rock ... and again we saw that familiar Rock "Big Mac Formula" -- Catchphrase (bun), plot point (meat)
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By Arda Ocal | September 17, 2013
As part of WWE's social media package on Raw, Tweets from fans and superstars (past and present) scroll across the bottom of the screen during segments. One tweet in particular caught my eye last night. The short tweet, composed by @JDaugherty1081, simply stated: "Jeez. #RAW is brutal tonight. " Justin Daugherty , who wrote the Tweet, was very proud that it made Raw. He noted on his timeline that he had applied three times to be a WWE writer. "I guess I sort of got hired," he wrote in another Tweet.
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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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