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By Adam Testa | April 24, 2012
With a special three-hour Raw, WWE had an opportunity to present a special go-home show to Sunday's Extreme Rules. That extra hour could mean lengthier matches, or more contests. Instead, the show featured the typical amount of wrestling featured in a routine two-hour episode and an overabundance of promos, segments and video packages, many of which were unnecessary. Perhaps the writers thought this should would actually build toward Extreme Rules, which at this point only has five announced matches, or maybe episodes like this show the lack of depth in the WWE roster.
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By Aaron Oster and The Baltimore Sun | May 31, 2014
The WWE routinely goes through highs and lows during the year. Unfortunately for wrestling fans, the WWE is in one of those lulls, and Sunday night's 8 p.m. Payback pay-per-view reflects that. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that this will be a bad pay-per-view. However, since Extreme Rules, the storylines have been more or less stagnant. There are two rematches on the card - three if you include Hornswaggle-El Torito  - and those storylines are more or less exactly where they were a month ago. Throw in the fact that the top title won't even be defended, for the first time on pay-per-view since December 2012, and you can see why there isn't a whole lot of buzz for this show.  This is one of those pay-per-views that shows why the WWE might want to consider dropping down to nine or 10 a year, especially now that the shows are on the WWE Network.
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By Aaron Oster | May 5, 2014
At the end of an entertaining Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Daniel Bryan retained his title in a main event that brought many wrestling fans back to the Attitude era. The match, an extreme rules match, featured savage beatdowns with chairs, kendo sticks and other weapons, a brawl that went through the backstage area to the parking garage, cars being destroyed, a forklift being employed, and finally, a flaming table that Kane went through. It was the kind of violence in a match that, for the most part, had been toned down over the past decade.
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By Aaron Oster | May 5, 2014
At the end of an entertaining Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Daniel Bryan retained his title in a main event that brought many wrestling fans back to the Attitude era. The match, an extreme rules match, featured savage beatdowns with chairs, kendo sticks and other weapons, a brawl that went through the backstage area to the parking garage, cars being destroyed, a forklift being employed, and finally, a flaming table that Kane went through. It was the kind of violence in a match that, for the most part, had been toned down over the past decade.
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By Arda Ocal and For The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
A "go home" Raw (the last episode before a pay-per-view event) is always watched with extra attention, mostly because critics have the same question -- did this particular show do anything to increase my interest in buying the pay-per-view on Sunday? Lately, many of these critics have answered no. Many people feel that Raw last night was no different -- that it was flat, lacked spark and didn't do very much to push the figurative "buy rate" needle. These, of course, are criticisms that always arise for this particular (mostly monthly)
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By Aaron Oster | April 29, 2014
Every now and then the WWE has a legend return, for various reasons. Sometimes it could be to get a simple pop, or ratings. Sometimes it can make sense in a storyline. Other times, it can be to put young talent over. On Monday night, the WWE did the last of these, using Ric Flair to give a rub to The Shield, despite his previous Evolution ties. When it was announced on Twitter that Ric Flair would be coming back on Raw, it was assumed it would be part of the Evolution storyline.
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By Arda Ocal | April 19, 2012
I would like nothing more than for Brock Lesnar to score a convincing and emphatic win over John Cena at Extreme Rules. Ridiculous match name aside (really, what's the difference between an Extreme Rules match, a no-DQ, no-countout match, a Chicago Street Fight, a No-Holds Barred Match and a match where “anything goes” other than the name?), Lesnar scoring a clean win at the upcoming pay-per-view has multiple benefits. For one, it solidifies Lesnar as a killer, the anti-superstar that fights and wins.
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By Arda Ocal | April 16, 2013
Yes, you read that headline correctly. Kofi Kingston, a WWE Superstar who was hard-pressed to find a win on television in 2013, defeated a man in Antonio Cesaro who, weeks earlier, was taking on several challengers, showing impressive feats of strength. Then, Cesaro seemed to fall off the face of the earth around WrestleMania time. He didn't appear at WrestleMania. He didn't appear on Raw the next night. Then, he starts yodeling and loses the U.S. title. Is Antonio Cesaro in the dog house?
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By Arda Ocal | April 30, 2013
What a difference a week makes. It's not like the members of The Shield weren't already on an upward trajectory to main event status. But, when you get to interact with The Undertaker to the degree the trio did last week in WWE, that's a game changer. On Raw last week, The Shield beat The Undertaker, Kane and Daniel Bryan. On Smackdown, The Undertaker beat Dean Ambrose, but then The Shield left the Dead Man laying and vulnerable. This week, The Shield was victorious again, against the team of Team Hell No and John Cena.
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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 Aaron Oster | May 4, 2014
Remember when WWE Extreme Rules used to feature “extreme” matches? Before 2012, Extreme Rules (or One Night Stand, as it was previously called) was a pay-per-view event that featured big stipulations in every match. In 2012 and 2013, although not every match had these stipulations, a majority of the matches still were considered “extreme.” This year, even if you include the WeeLC match, there are only three matches that have an extreme stipulation to them. Now, that doesn't mean that this won't be a good pay-per-view.
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By Aaron Oster | April 29, 2014
Every now and then the WWE has a legend return, for various reasons. Sometimes it could be to get a simple pop, or ratings. Sometimes it can make sense in a storyline. Other times, it can be to put young talent over. On Monday night, the WWE did the last of these, using Ric Flair to give a rub to The Shield, despite his previous Evolution ties. When it was announced on Twitter that Ric Flair would be coming back on Raw, it was assumed it would be part of the Evolution storyline.
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By Aaron Oster | April 7, 2014
"What just happened?" "Did someone screw up?" "Did the ref wave it off?" Those were just a few of the things I heard in the seconds after the unthinkable happened at Wrestlemania 30: Brock Lesnar pinned Undertaker cleanly. Nobody could believe that Lesnar had won that match. I saw one tweet from a wrestler say that it was the most shocking ending to a wrestling match since 1997 (the Montreal Screwjob), and I'm not sure I can disagree. The crowd certainly reacted that way, going from a surprised pop when the pin was made, to a mild confused buzz in the time between the pin was made and the decision was read, to a cry of disbelief when they finally announced Lesnar as the winner.
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By Aaron Oster and For The Baltimore Sun | March 4, 2014
In the days leading up to RAW, the buzz was about the upcoming crowd in Chicago, and the possible return of CM Punk. By the end of the night, the talk was mostly about Daniel Bryan and Triple H. The two advanced their storyline Monday night, starting with a verbal rundown by Triple H and culminating in Triple H hitting a Pedigree on a motionless Daniel Bryan. Earlier in the night, Bryan came out to call out Triple H once again. He appealed to the crowd, even saying that they would “hijack RAW” together (which is what a movement in Chicago had said they would try to do)
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By Arda Ocal | May 21, 2013
Two major developments unfolded on Monday's episode of WWE RAW. The first was a big one in many ways - Paul Heyman revealed a new client, Michael McGillicutty, now known as Curtis Axel (Curtis after his father "Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig, Axel after his grandfather Larry "The Axe" Hennig). Though many fans complained about it not being a bigger name (RVD was speculated throughout the day), this is a great move and an even greater opportunity for a superstar to not only have instant credibility being aligned with Paul Heyman (arguably the greatest mouthpiece in pro wrestling history)
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By Arda Ocal | May 20, 2013
This year's Extreme Rules pay-per-view event left us with some unanswered questions but also some new beginnings. In the main event (a rare moment in WWE history where all wrestlers in a final match on PPV weren't on a full-time WWE schedule), Brock Lesnar defeated Triple H in a cage match. Lesnar went up 2-1 on "The Game" and is likely poised for another future match in WWE (not against Triple H), perhaps at Summerslam or Wrestlemania 30. Questions coming out of this match are: will Triple H wrestle again?
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By Arda Ocal | May 21, 2013
Two major developments unfolded on Monday's episode of WWE RAW. The first was a big one in many ways - Paul Heyman revealed a new client, Michael McGillicutty, now known as Curtis Axel (Curtis after his father "Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig, Axel after his grandfather Larry "The Axe" Hennig). Though many fans complained about it not being a bigger name (RVD was speculated throughout the day), this is a great move and an even greater opportunity for a superstar to not only have instant credibility being aligned with Paul Heyman (arguably the greatest mouthpiece in pro wrestling history)
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By Arda Ocal | May 17, 2012
WWE.com recently released its list of the top 25 Intercontinental champions of all time. All the greats are listed: Chris Jericho, Honky Tonk Man, Mr. Perfect and No. 1, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, who in my opinion is the perfect example of someone that exemplifies what the IC title used to mean -- the slow but steady springboard to the main-event level. In October of 2011 I wrote a piece about the value of the Intercontinental title with regard to several superstars' careers, including breaking down how many title changes occurred each year and what percentage of IC champs went on to world-title prominence.
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By Arda Ocal | May 17, 2013
Here are my predictions for WWE Extreme Rules:  BROCK LESNAR VS. TRIPLE H: CAGE MATCH I think Brock Lesnar needs the win here, because I see him continuing on for another big match, while I see Triple H returning in the future only if absolutely necessary. Perhaps Paul Heyman's "newest" client (or clients) interferes in this match, helping Lesnar get the win. Because it's a cage match, neither superstar has to be pinned or submitted, one can simply exit through the cage, which means that the loser doesn't look as weak in a loss.
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By Arda Ocal and For The Baltimore Sun | May 14, 2013
A "go home" Raw (the last episode before a pay-per-view event) is always watched with extra attention, mostly because critics have the same question -- did this particular show do anything to increase my interest in buying the pay-per-view on Sunday? Lately, many of these critics have answered no. Many people feel that Raw last night was no different -- that it was flat, lacked spark and didn't do very much to push the figurative "buy rate" needle. These, of course, are criticisms that always arise for this particular (mostly monthly)
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