Katz Files: My Weekly RAW Notebook!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

My Weekly RAW Notebook!

The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analysis and insights inspired by the 8/18 episode of RAW

Chris Jericho came out to the ring to start this RAW from Chicago’s All-State Arena.

Jericho branded Shawn Michaels as the one responsible for the injury to Rebecca, because he put his wife in harm’s way. He claimed that HBK was just trying to grab the spotlight one last time and hear the fans beg him not to retire.

The Kingfish Comments: You can see the headlights of this gimmick from miles down the road, but I still admire the way Jericho has re-worked his act to make himself one of wrestling’s unique villains.

Batista d. Paul Burchill

Katie Lea didn’t accompany her brother to the ring. The announcers explained that she had to get ready for her match, up next on the card.

Burchill started out strong, targeting Batista’s knee. It wasn’t long before The Animal had the British Bully at his mercy, whipping him from turnbuckle to turnbuckle. When Batista tried for a Bodyslam, Burchill slipped out of his grasp and brought him down with a Crack-Back Block.

Batista stunned Burchill with a Spear and took him in the corner for a barrage of knees and Shoulder Blocks! After Batista dealt Burchill a Spinebuster and a BatistaBomb, the pin was a mere formality.

Grade: C+

The Kingfish Comments: This wasn’t as boring as some of the recent squashes WWE has presented on its TV shows, but it wasn’t a match of the year candidate, either. The decision to feed Burchill to Batista is questionable, too. Paul Burchill’s status plummets as a result of this match, which makes him far less useful to the bookers and much less appealing to fans.

Mike Adamle briefly introduced Primo Colon, Carlito’s younger brother.

The Kingfish Comments: Fans have looked forward to the arrival of the younger Colon since he started to tear up the development promotions. It wasn’t clear whether he will be a babyface, as seems natural, or a heel like his older sibling. There might be a tendency to match the brothers against each other, though hopefully not right at the start, but a better idea could be to turn the always lovable Carlito face and team him with his brother.

In the back, John Cena approached Batista, shook his hand and congratulated him on being the better man – but only for that night.

The Kingfish Comments: This was a nice moment, but it’s the calm before the storm. Both men will be in the championship match at Unforgiven.

Mickie James & Kelly Kelly d Jillian Hall & Katie Lea Burchill

Jillian tried to get the fans on the other side with her rendition – and she certainly rended it – a classic Chicago tune.

Kelly Kelly pulled off a picture=perfect Huracanrana on Katie Lea. The heel isolated Kelly and worked her over pretty thoroughly, including a very powerful Backbreaker delivered by Jillian Hall.

Mickie James finally got the tag and took revenge on Jillian and Katie Lea. She uncorked a Tornado DDT and pinned Katie Lea Burchill and covered for the pin.

Grade: C+

The Kingfish Comments: Kelly Kelly looked much, much better in this match than in the previous one on RAW. She was graceful, fluid and fast. It was an impressive performance and shows that the young competitor is trying very hard to master ring skills.

A video reviewed the matches at SummerSlam.

John Bradshaw Leyfield d. Jamie Noble

JBL was all offense. He scored with a Fall-away Slam (with a release) early in the match and that pretty much ended things for Noble.

A series of short-arm Clotheslines convinced the referee to simply stop the match and award it to Leyfield, who showed no interest in scoring the actual pin.

Grade: D

The Kingfish Comment: Remember when people used to say that the RAW after a pay per view was often better than the big show? Forget it. This was just another chunk of nothing on the pile. It can’t hurt Noble, who is in the midst of a “never wins” gimmick, but t didn’t offer the fans much entertainment value.

Mike Adamle announced the Five-Man Scramble for Unforgiven. The participants will be Kane, CM Punk, JBL, John Cena and Batista. It seemed like Cena got the biggest pop when the General Manager spoke the names.

The Kingfish Comments: I’m ambivalent about this match. The idea isn’t bad, sort of like the climactic segment of a Battle Royal without the over-the-top aspect, but the title is strong if it changes in a singles match. It looks like it might be a way to give C< Punk a little more time at the top without having him actually beat anyone.

John Cena d. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
Handicap Match

Instead of Cena, Cryme Tyme swooped down to ringside and swiped the tag belts.

The tag team champions tagged off frequently and tried to keep the pressure on Cena.

Cena made several comebacks, but the tag kingpins kept him from getting on a roll through most of the contest.

When Rhodes took too long to set up his big punch, Cena took control with Clotheslines, the Inverted Front Suplex. That led to the Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Cody Rhodes took an STFU to give Cena the victory by submission.

Grade: B-

The Kingfish Comments: For a meaningless, ill-advised match, this turned out to be less horrible than expected. But I simply can’t understand why WWE would have the tag team champions, one of the rising attractions on the show, lose to any one wrestler. Talk about shortsightedness!

Harley Race, seated among the ringsiders, got a deservedly fulsome introduction.

After a video that recapped the Michaels-Jericho incident from last week, Michael Cole introduced a previously unreleased video interview with Shawn Michaels done immediately after the previous RAW.

Shawn took a while to do anything but Stare Intently at Todd Grisham. When he finally did talk, HBK said he was going home to0 comfort his wife and kids. He started to say something about what he planned to do after that, but emotion choked off the final words.

The Kingfish Comments: The fact that Chris Jericho is not included in the Five-Man Championship Scramble might mean that e will fight HBK sooner rather than later. Still, it’s not impossible that it will become a six-man event after the Punk-Jericho match on this card.

In an interview with Todd Grisham, CM Punk hyped his coming match against Jericho and related it strongly to what Chris did to Rebecca Michaels on the previous RAW.

D-Lo Brown d. Santino Morella (with Beth Phoenix) via DQ
Non-Title Match

Kofi Kingston joined the announcers for this match.

D-Lo Brown got off to a strong start, but Santino Morella sidestepped an aerial move and got in a series of painful blows.

D-Lo came back with a Clothesline, a Bodyslam and a Legdrop. When D-Lo went to the top, Beth Phoenix entered the ring and placed herself between Brown and her man. When she slapped D-Lo, the ref called for the bell and awarded the match to D-Lo Brown.

After the match, D-Lo Brown hit a Clothesline and then Back Body Dropped Santino Morella all the way to the announce table. Kingston couldn’t resist and banged the Intercontinental Champion’s head against the table before Beth Phoenix rescued him.

Grade: C+

The Kingfish Comments: It’s hard to figure D-Lo’s place in the show. He doesn’t seem like a guy who is going to get a championship run, but nothing has yet happened to disqualify him from that opportunity.

For now, the title focus will be on Morella and Kingston. Kofi probably should be allowed to regain the gold in a title match at Unforgiven.

A WWE 24/7 classic clip presented a bikini contest. Tajiri scared off Torrie Wilson, then his ex girlfriend. Stacy Kiebler thought that made her the winner by default until Trish Stratus came to the ring and, though not part of the contest, and won.

Kane interrupted the hype for WWE 24/7 by coming to the ring to talk about why he has Mysterio’s mask.

He called Rey Mysterio a “slithery little slam who hides behind a mask.” Kane boasted that he’d eviscerated Mysterio in a parking lot six weeks ago. He claimed that he’d left the Masked Marvel alive, but that he had killed Mysterio’s soul.

Kane cackled over Mysterio’s dire fate, which brought Batista to the ring! Batista executed a Spinebuster, but Kane took out his knee before The Animal could do anything else.

Kane left Batista lying in the ring.

The Kingfish Comments: This little segment looks like an attempt, and not a bad one, to make Kane a little more relevant to the Championship Scramble. Now Batista has personal heat with him. It wouldn’t be surprising if Kane developed some hostility with Cena and Punk by the time the pay per view arrives in three weeks.

Chris Jericho (with Lance Cade) d. CM Punk
Non-Title Match

CM Punk led off with some effective punches and then mixed in the kind of kicks that have helped him become champion. He treated Jericho to a version of th4 Atomic Drop, but he couldn’t gain the pin.

Jericho turned the tide with a sneaky punch. He backed Punk into a corner and pounded away at him! Punk did a Float Over to escape a corner charge. He ended up wound around Jericho like a pretzel. The referee broke it up because both men were halfway through the ropes.

During the commercial break, Chris knocked CM off the turnbuckle and went right to punishing him on the mat and seized a Rear Chinlock that was nearly a Sleeper Hold! Punk escaped, but Jericho leveled him with a Running Clothesline.

Jericho caught Punk in an Over-the-Knee Backbreaker. The former fan favorite held the champion in that position, trying to wring a submission, but Punk refused to surrender. CM Punk broke out with well-placed knees, but Chris trapped him in the Abdominal Stretch! Punk fought free, but Jericho tried to Squash him in the corner. The champ moved out of the way. Punk landed a stiff kick.

When CM Punk missed a High Knee in the corner, Jericho made him pay with a ring-rattling Bulldog. Jericho added a Lionsault, but Punk kicked out at “two.” The pair exchanged near falls as each failed to connect with finishers.

Punk lifted Jericho onto his shoulders for the GTS, but Chris wriggled around so much that CM couldn’t set himself for the actual move! Jericho got loose and nearly took the match with the Walls! Punk finally made the ropes to stop the agony.

With a sudden lunge, CM Punk scooped up Jericho for the GTS, but Chris again evades the trap! Punk connected with a High Knee charging into the corner and a ferocious Bulldog coming out of it!

Lance Cade got up on the apron to interfere. CM Punk dealt with him, but it left him vulnerable to Chris Jericho’s Codebreaker to the back of the head. Jericho covered for the three count!

Grade: B+

The Kingfish Comments: A non-title victory for Chris Jericho would seem to draw him another step closer to a legitimate title opportunity, but it’s hard to see when that might occur. They could’ve let Chris take the title in this match, but that would have made the main event at Unforgiven the Number-One Contender Scramble, which has a lot less juice.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll come back then – and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(8/21/08)