April RAW Report Card

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
The April RAW Roster Report Card!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his April promotion report card for the good folks at WWE’s RAW.

About the Report Cards
Each month, I issue a report card for RAW. I examine and grade the promotion in all the vital areas. I discuss strengths and weaknesses and chart the ups and downs. The grades in parentheses are for the previous report card.

WrestleMania 25 and the annual talent shuffle are receding in the rear view mirror as WWE moves into the summer. Many changes will become evident in the next 30 days, but let’s take a look at where North America’s number-one TV wrestling show is as we head into May.

Talent Pool
On paper, RAW was the huge winner in the talent reassignment. The draft brought 13 new faces to the show, while the significant defections were limited to Chris Jericho, CM Punk, and Rey Mysterio

That sounds like a lot of talent going out the door, until you count off RAW’s talent gains. The top names include Triple H, Big Show, Matt Hardy, Mr. Kennedy, the Colon Brothers and MVP.

There is one slight catch, though. The RAW roster, star-studded though it is, includes quite a few performers who are not current competing. Right now, that includes Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Mr. Kennedy and, maybe, John Cena. (It looks like Cena will work Judgment Day, but he maybe making a movie after that.)

The talent level is probably not much different than it was before the draft, but that will change as various superstars get back to the action.
Grade: B (B)

Star Power
A main event group that consists of Triple H, Randy Orton, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Batista and Big Show is pretty impressive, especially when Matt Hardy, Mr. Kennedy and the resurgent MVP are also on hand. It is quite possible that one or more of the faces will either leave or have to turn heel when everyone is back at full strength.
Grade: B+ (B+)

In-Ring Action
The in-ring has its ups and downs, but the average quality of matches in about the same as in the last few months.

They’ve had some hellacious women’s matches, low-lighted by that ridiculous ladder match. The women coming to RAW, such as the Bella Twins, look great, but it remains to be seen whether or not they can actually contribute more than eye candy.
Grade: B (B)

Booking & Dramatics
WWE has put on two tremendous pay per views in a row,
WM and Backlash. However, the existing storylines have either ended (Hardy-Hardy, Colons-Miz/Morrison, HBK-JB and Edge-Cena) are done or have passed their peak (Orton-McMahon Clan).

The promotion is still living off the momentum, but the RAW bookers are going to have to get some plots moving forward.
Grade: B (C+)

Announcing
RAW is currently stable, though there has been a change in the pay per view announcing set-up. It now includes Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler from RAW with Jim Ross as a second color commentator.
Grade: B (B)

Overall
Things are looking good for RAW right now. The task will be to get all that talent into play, improve the backstage interview segments and upgrade the in-ring performance in women matches.
Grade: B+ (B)

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fast-0rising pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

– Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
Crossfire4@cox.net
(4/30/09)

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