July RAW Report Card

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
The July 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.

Donald Trump is gone, The Bash is history and there’s been a big talent reassignment. That’s a lot of change in a short period of time and RAW has still not yet fully become what it will be in the wake of all this.

Still, it’s time to fill out the RAW Report Card and give the good news (and the bad) to the fine folks at RAW.

Talent Pool
Any time a promotion — “brand” in WWE parlance – van add five high-profile wrestlers in one shot is a Good Time. WWE’s decision to restructure ECW has gained RAW some gilt-edged talent.

That’s fortunately, because injuries have hit RAW heavily of late. The sidelining of Batista hurt the most, though making him a “Guest GM” kept him somewhat more visible than others on the disabled list.

RAW released three performers who would seem to have a lot of value, or at least potential value: Umaga, Kennedy and Candice Michelle. WWE wanted them gone for various reasons, which may ultimately be to TNA’s benefit, but all had big positives for RAW.
Grade: B+ (B)

Star Power
Jack Swagger and Gail Kim are ready for main events, though the lame angle with Orton hasn’t helped the All-American American. The other newcomers are useful, but none is likely to hold any of the titles this year, whereas both Swagger and Kim are likely to capture some form of gold during 2009.

MVP is getting a huge push, including the “VIP Lounge” segments, but he may have to do a job for Swagger. The two are on a collision course, probably by the end of summer.
Grade: B+ (B+)

In-Ring Action
The Women’s Division has improved noticeably since the notorious run of bad matches coming out of WrestleMania. It’s not that they have suddenly become wonderful wrestlers, but at least they are working the matches competently again.

Mark Henry tries hard, but he is a bit ungainly for the ring. Booking has harmed Big Show’s in-ring performance.
Grade: B (B-)

Booking & Dramatics
The Trump angle was awful in every respect except one: it achieved a huge ratings boost for RAW. Much as I hatred it, that’s a powerful argument in its favor.

Randy Orton’s angles continue to burn hot, despite the removal of Batista from the mix. He and Triple H have done some great stuff in the last two months and always give the payoff of top matches when the plot sends them into the ring.
Grade: B (C+)

Announcing
RAW is currently stable, though Josh Mathews is doing more backstage interviews now that Todd Grisham has announcer duties on other shows.
Grade: B (B)

Overall
RAW has aired a few weal episodes since WrestleMania, but strong mic work has kept fan interest high. More compelling stories are starting to develop and, if the brand can withstand the injuries, it looks like RAWI> could be fairly strong between now and SummerSlam
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
[email protected]
(7/90/09)