First Mariner Arena - Baltimore, MD
Baltimore’s First Mariner Arena has hosted many notable WWE events. Beginning in 1988, the Great American Bash was held eight times at the then-named Baltimore Arena. At No Mercy in 2003, Vince McMahon beat his daughter, Stephanie, in an “I Quit Match,” forcing her to lose her job as SmackDown General Manager. At 1994’s King of the Ring, Owen Hart defeated Razor Ramon to win the tournament. At No Way Out in 2006 at the First Mariner Arena, Kurt Angle defeated Undertaker to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. The arena also held WCW’s SuperBrawl in 1995, when Hulk Hogan defeated Vader by disqualification to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Aside from its storied sports-entertainment history, the city-owned First Mariner Arena has also been home to many notable events and concerts since the venue opened in 1962 as the Baltimore Civic Center. It hosts 800,000 people annually. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, Shania Twain, Elton John, Britney Spears and U2 have all played the arena. The U.S. National Figure Skating Championships, the final Vans Triple Crown of Freestyle Motocross, the 2006 Miss USA pageant, and boxing, circus and non-competition ice skating events have also been held at the First Mariner Arena. The Major Indoor Soccer League’s Spirit plays there as well.
Maryland’s largest city, Baltimore has a population of approximately 640,000 and is a major U.S. seaport. The city’s downtown Inner Harbor area is experiencing a building boom as the city’s skyline is growing. City museums and attractions include the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum; the downtown festival marketplace, Harborplace; and the National Aquarium in Baltimore.
Cultural notables of the Charm City include its association with blue crabs from the nearby Chesapeake Bay, which are steamed with rock salt and Old Bay Seasoning; a local beer called Natural Bohemian, or Natty Boh; an old-fashioned, seedy neighborhood affectionately known as The Block; rowhouses; and outdoor marble steps. The city’s “Hon” culture and Baltimorese slang is often parodied by film director and city-native, John Waters. Famed 20th-century journalist, satirist and social critic H.L. Mencken was a Baltimore native. The sitcom Roc, the film Ladder 49 and the musical Hairspray were set in Baltimore.
Major universities in the city include Johns Hopkins University, Coppin State University and Morgan State University. Despite its proximity to Washington D.C., which is 45 minutes south by car, Baltimore is a major media market with 10 newspapers, six television stations and 15 radio stations. Major city sports teams are Major League Baseball’s Orioles and the National Football League’s Ravens.
Famous people who were born in or have lived in Baltimore include WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff, baseball players Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken, Jr., rappers DMX and Tupac Shakur, actor David Hasselhoff, actresses Parker Posey and Jada Pinkett-Smith, author Tom Clancy and talk show host Montel Williams.