The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly RAW Notebook!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analysis and insights inspired by the 8/11 episode of RAW
The last RAW before SummerSlam opened with a video that reviewed the mounting tension between Dave Batista and John Cena. It also covered their title win on the previous episode.
John Cena came to the ring. He told fans he had nothing personal against Batista, but somehow he has a match against him scheduled for SummerSlam.
Cena observed that, though Mike Adamle didn’t know what he was doing, he had blundered into a really exciting match, putting them in a match against each other for the first time. Cena said it didn’t need a contract signing or other hype of that type.
Batista came to the ring in response to Cena’s invitation. The erstwhile rapper told The Animal that they needed to find a way to co-exist as tag team partners or Rhodes and DiBiase might beat them.
Cena went off on a digression in which he compared Batista’s career to his own. He stated that, while he had to learn by going out there every single week, Batista had the benefit of two outstanding mentors, Triple H and Ric Flair.
Cena positioned the coming confrontation as a test to see which man is truly the better wrestler.
Batista referred to them as “two different sides of the same coin.” He pointed out parallels in their careers and praised Cena for going out there whether the fans cheered him to the rafters or booted him out of the building.
“I do plan to beat you senseless,” Batista advised. He admitted, however, that he always feels that way going into a match.
They shook hands/
The Kingfish Comments: This could well be a terrific match, but the plotting leaves something to be desired. When John Cena said he didn’t know why they were fighting, he spoke for all the fans, too.
I don’t think it’s wise to match Cena against a strong babyface, because it encourages the stupid booing he gets in some arenas.
What a pity WWE didn’t actually skip all the awkward hype for the match. Watching the two heroes shuffle around the ring, trying to make some heat, was not altogether a pretty sight.
Beth Phoenix (with Santino Morella) d. Kelly Kelly
George Thorogood was at ringside and got a few seconds of face-time.
Morella sat at the announce table, but the match didn’t offer a lot of scope for humorous chatter.
Kelly Kelly slapped Beth Phoenix in the face at the bell and jumped on her back,. That was about the only thing you accomplished in this lopsided squash.
The Kingfish Comments: I don’t think, at this stage, that Kelly Kelly should ever wrestle and definitely not on television. She’s a beautiful girl, but she is unskilled and clumsy inside the ropes.
Kofi Kingston and Mickie James hit the ring to save Kelly Kelly from further humiliation.
Santino Morella challenged Kofi Kingston to a match. The IC title-holder immediately accepted.
Then it turned out that Morella meant to challenge Mickie James. He said he needed to practice beating women for the inter-gender tag team showdown at the pay per view.
Kofi Kingston d. Santino Morella
Santino Morella d. Mickie James
Beth Phoenix interfered and Santino Morella rolled up Mickie James for the victory.
The Kingfish Comments: It’s not every day that you get two awful matches for the price of one. If anyone had any interest in the inter-gender match, surely this killed it.
The pointlessness of it is actually a little depressing. It looked terrible and helped no one.
Todd Grisham and Mike Adamle talked together back stage. The General Manager congratulated Todd on his ECW gig and said that he wanted to be like Ronald Reagan and interfere only when necessary.
The Kingfish Comments: For those younger fans unfamiliar with Ronald Reagan, he was a cornball wrestling announcer in the late 1940’s.
When Kane paid a visit to Adamle, the G< booked him against Chris Jericho for this RAW. The Big Red Machine didn’t mind that, but he got very upset when Adamle said he planned to take the burlap bag from Kane after the match and force him to open it.
A video flashed back to the night Ivan Putski and Tito Santana beat Johnny and Jerry Valiant for the tag team title.
The Kingfish Comments: They neglected to mention that Jerry was a bogus after-thought when Handsome Jimmy left.
Cody Rhodes, flanked by Red DiBiase, said that he and his partner learn from wrestling history. Tito and Ivan won because they were a team – and he and Ted would win the titles back, because of their teamwork.
The Kingfish Comments: Did anyone else think it was strange that the team that regularly disrespects all veteran wrestlers would suddenly be spouting about learning from history?
Cryme Tyme d. The Highlanders
Shad Gaspar gave Rory a Military Press that bounced him out of the ring. He then drove Robby to the canvas and quickly pinned him.
The Kingfish Comments: That was the battle between two teams that initially failed in WWE. The difference is that Cryme Tyme looks like they’re going to bounce back and become a viable part of the tag team division. They’ve toned down the exaggerated mugging and stereotypical behavior and the announcers are trying to treat them more seriously, too.
The same kind of rehabilitation effort could be made with the Highlanders, but WWE doesn’t look ready to bother.
John Bradshaw Leyfield came to the ring, followed shortly by CM Punk. When JBL started his usual rant about the champ’s unworthiness, Punk told him to shut his mouth!
Punk promoted SummerSlam, “the biggest blockbuster of the summer,” and forecast victory.
JBL referred to CM Punk as “Cinderella.” He said that midnight was only six days away.
The Cowboy Financier challenged him to another contest. He poured a drink and said that Punk would win if he drank it. Mr. Straight-Edge refused to compromise his principles and didn’t rise to the bait.
JBL switched tactics. He raised the glass of liquor and said he was going to toast his coming victory. Punk announced he’d changed his mind and took the drink from JBL’s hand. Punk said he would make the toasts. He raised the glass – and then splashed it in JBL’s face!
The Kingfish Comments: This proved to be a very effective dramatic scene. CM Punk played it the right way, rejecting the drink forcefully and with a minimum of dithering. After all, that’s the essence of his character.
A video reminded fans that Shawn Michaels will reveal the results of medical tests and his career decision at SummerSlam
Chris Jericho (with Lance Cade) d. Kane
Kane took over the match right from the opening bell. He connected with a Low-Altitude Dropkick, stampeding Jericho into a turnbuckle and then Bealing him across the ring! When he missed an Elbow Drop, Jericho broke out with a Dropkick and some spirited stomping on the mat!
Lance Cade distracted the Big Red Machine so that Chris could land a Dropkick! Jericho stopped Kane in his tracks on a Corner Change, but when Lionheart went airborne, Kane simply swatted him to earth!
Jericho attempted to tie up Kane in the Walls, but the big man broke free and rocked the insolent blond with a Side Slam!
Kane went to the top turnbuckle. Chris went after him, but got thrown to the canvas, Kane leveled his foe with a Flying Clothesline. Just as he was about to seal the deal with a Chokeslam, Adamle and his security force flooded into the ringside area.
Kane became so distracted that he fell easy prey to Jericho’s Codebreaker.
After the match, Mike Adamle confronted Kane in the ring. The GM offered some seat-of-the-pants psychoanalysis about the meaning of the bag. He went on at great length, explaining that the bag held Kane’s own violent self.
After a suitable amount of delay, Kane opened the bag to reveal – Rey Mysterio’s mask!
The Kingfish Comments: We have a winner! This is certainly the most ridiculous blow-offs seen in wrestling in many a year. Why would Kane go around babbling about someone being alive when everyone saw Mysterio on TV a few weeks ago.
You have to wonder what the original idea was, because surely it couldn’t have been this lead balloon.
A video recapped the story of William Regal, Layla and Jamie Noble.
William Regal; d. Jamie Noble
Regal hit a Suplex and a Knee to the head to win.
The Kingfish Comments: The match didn’t do much, but William Regal looks years young and much more fit than he has at any previous time in his WWE career. It’s going to be hard to get him over as anything more than a mid-carder after so many years in that slot. I definitely would not try to do it on the basis of his :King of the Ring: win. He has to do something in the here and now, something more than beat the highly beatable Noble, to raise his status among the fans.
A long video brought fans up to date on Smackdown most exciting plotline, the Edge-Undertaker-La Familia situation.
The Kingfish Comments: This is one of WWE’s best angles of 2008, thanks largely to fine dramatic work by Edge and Vickie Guerrero. Edge’s facials have gotten pretty scary, what with the Rated R Superstar’s increasingly skull-like physiognomy.
Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase d. John Cena & Batista
World Tag Team Championship
The champions showed friction right from the start. They argued about who would open the match. Cena let Batista have the honor – and then tagged in about five seconds later!
Cena hit a Clothesline, a Shoulder Block and a Face Plant on Rhodes. He went over to Batista and gave him the “You can’t see me sign.” He then administered the Five-Knuckle Shuffle to Rhoades. John turned to his partner and gave him that exaggerated Marine salute.
Batista got the tag and went wild on DiBiase. The second-generation wrestler met a couple of ring posts up close and personal and also absorbed a Shoulder Block each time. Batista uncorked a Spinebuster He tagged in Cena with a slap in the face.
Batista had Rhodes lined up for a Powerbomb. Cena got into the ring and, in the confusion, DiBiase got in a low blow and pinned John to re-take the tag titles.
Cena called Batista back to the ring. When the animal obliged they somehow ended up fighting against Rhodes and DiBiase.
Batista left, but this time it was John Cena who called him back to the squared circle.
Before anything could happen, security jumped into the ring and swarmed around each man.
They both wanted to fight and broke free a couple of times. As the show went off the air, Batista and Cena tore into each other on the mat.
Grade for this episode of RAW: C
The Kingfish Comments: Nothing like laying an egg on the eve of the second biggest pay per view of the WWE year.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I’ll have my preview and predictions for SummerSlam Hope you’ll be ale to join me.
— Arnie Katz