The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly RAW Notebook!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analysis and insights inspired by the 9/1 episode of RAW
RAW, from St. Louis, MO, opened with a placard that honored the recently deceased Walter “Killer” Kowalski.
Randy Orton, left arm in a sling, opened the show by coming down the aisle to the ring to address the fans. Michael Cole reminded fans that Orton sustained an injury at One Night Stand in June.
The third-generation wrestler said he didn’t intend to return until he was 100%, but he felt compelled to speak up. According to Orton, RAW has become a joke. He started to itemize the faults and flaws of the current champions, much to the crowd’s delight, since his first comments referred to heels Beth Phoenix, Santino Marella, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase.
Then Randy got down to what he considers the biggest problem, which he said was that CM Punk disgraces the championship. He reminded fans that he is not medically cleared to wrestle and vowed to take back “what is mine” when he finally does return to action.
The Kingfish Comments: Randy Orton did a terrific job on this spot. He sucked the marks by first attacking the heel champions, which made them hate him twice as much when he got around to his real target, CM Punk.
CM Punk came to the ring and stood nose to nose with Randy Orton. He told the returning ex-champ that not everyone has relatives to get them into WWE and that he had done it under his own power. Punk also referred to Orton’s motorcycle accident, which delayed his return by several months.
CM Punk said that, after he wins the Battle Royal on this RAW and the Championship Scramble at Unforgiven, he will take up this conversation with Orton again. .
Randy Orton had only gotten about two-thirds of the way up the ramp when John Bradshaw Leyfield passed him, walking toward the ring.
JBL told Punk that “fairy tales aren’t real” and predicted that midnight would strike for Cinderella at the pay per view. Leyfield talked about the ”one in four chance” of Punk losing his title and, correctly, claimed that those were not the actual odds. The Broadway Cowboy warned the champion that it would take only one Clothesline from Hell to usher in a new title reign for JBL.
Kane’s arrival interrupted JBL’s rant. The Big Red Machine said he’d been to Hell and didn’t see Leyfield’s Clothesline. He then declared that Rey Mysterio was in Hell, his body broken and his soul destroyed.
Kane was explaining how he had moved one step closer to the World Heavyweight Championship, because Mysterio would never show up for the Scramble, when Batista joined the party.
Batista Speared JBL – and then went on to do the same to Kane and then CM Punk!
The Kingfish Comments: Despite some very good moment, this went on far too long for a segment that didn’t include a match. With the Battle Royal already announced and hyped, it came across as overkill, It didn’t help that Leyfield, Punk and Kane didn’t have a lot of new material.
Kofi Kingston d. Charlie Hass
This time, Charlie Hass came out as John Cena. “The Haas is here and you can’t see me!” he told the fans.
After Hass connected with a right hand, he gave the “You-can’t-see-me” sign. It turned out that Kingston could, in fact, see him well enough to stagger him with a kick to the head as Haas bent over him in preparation for the Five-Knuckle Shuffle.
Kingston went on an offensive run that featured a Flying Forearm off the ropes, a Russian Legsweep and a Standing Legdrop. Haas brushed off the cover and tried to hoist the form Intercontinental Champion on his shoulders. Kingston rolled through for a near-pinfall, but Haas leveraged a reverse. He might’ve stolen the match if all that movement hadn’t carried the pair into the ropes.
They’d no soon gotten back to their feet than Kingston pulled off a match-winning Enzuiguiri.
Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase confronted Randy Orton about his comment that they are “worthless.” Orton disparaged them for allowing Cryme Tyme to filch their belts.
Orton asked Rhodes if he remembered how Randy slapped Dusty in the face. Then he tried to relive a little history by doing the same to Cody!
DiBiase held back his partner so there was no retaliation.
The Kingfish Comments: This little confrontation turned out to be a tease rather than a foreshadowing of a turn for Orton, Rhodes or DiBiase.
Teddy Long and Tiffany visited Mike Adamle in his backstage office. Adamle thanked Long for setting up the ECW Battle Royal for this episode of RAW. “It’s like the Jerry Lewis Telethon without all the sick kids,” Adamle quipped.
The Kingfish Comments: Maybe Mike should’ve waited to see the match before he thanked anyone. It was not pretty.
Kane came into the office to protest Adamle’s announcement, on the previous RAW, that Rey Mysterio would be at this one. “Rey’s body has been massacred, his soul extinguished,” Kane intoned.
The Kingfish Comments: Kane got off the line of the right with his description of Mysterio.
Mark Henry won the Five-Man ECW Battle Royal
It began with everyone trying, unsuccessfully to get rid of Mark Henry. He threw them off. They then attacked him one at a time until The Miz and Chavo Guerrero tried to double team him. It just got Henry a bit irked at them. He soothed his nerves by dumping both men over the top rope.
After the World’s Strongest Champion fought off a combined attack by Finley and Matt Hardy, he focused on the Fighting Irishman and quickly sent him over the top and out of the match.
Matt Hardy went for a Twist of Fate. Mark Henry picked him up and threw him out to win the match.
The Kingfish Comments: The booking on this one surprised me a little. Mark Henry looked so invincible, so impregnable, that it looks like a set-up for a Henry loss in the ECW Championship Scramble at Unforgiven. As Jay Shannon – and if you aren’t reading his columns here at OnlineWorldOWrestling.com, you’re missing one of the rising stars of Internet wrestling journalism – has said, it would make no sense not to have at least one title change out of three scrambles. His prediction that it will be Mark Henry who takes the fall is starting to look very good.
Jamie Noble d. William Regal
Noble took the mic before the match to beg Layla to give him another chance to prove his mettle. She sat in the ringside area and watched the match, but didn’t take an active part in it.
Michael Cole summarized the history between Regal and Noble. He emphasized the incident in which Regal interrupted Layla’s dance routine.
The match stayed even until Regal landed a tremendous punch to the side of Noble’s head. That shook the brash Pitbull and made him vulnerable to some vicious stomping and punching in the corner!
William Regal pulled off a Suplex, but he made the mistake of gloating. Jamie Noble capitalized on his foe’s arrogance by rolling him into a small package for the pin and the win.
After the match, Noble talked to Layla, pointing out that he had shown he was a winner. They walked up the aisle side by side, but not yet really together.
The Kingfish Comments: What’s with all the love stories in WWE these days? I’m beginning to think that maybe some of the writers aren’t Getting Any and that this run of romance is an unconscious reflecting of their thwarted desires.
Mickie James, Kelly Kelly & Candice Michelle d. Jillian Hall, Katie Lea Burchill and Beth Phoenix
Six-Diva Tag Team Match
The Kingfish Comments: The St. Louis fans went wild for Candice Michelle when she pranced down the aisle to the ring. Her body looked in peak shape and she did well in the match, too.
Candice Michelle worked hard against Beth Phoenix and controlled the action despite Beth’s greater size and strength. Candace used a Flying Cross-Body Block from the top turnbuckle. At first it looked like Beth Phoenix would roll through, but Michelle stayed on her and won the match for her team.
The Kingfish Comments: If Candice Michelle can avoid injury, not necessarily an east task for such a petite performer; she will probably work a title program against Phoenix. And if she shows the same strong work that she did before her injury, she has an excellent chance to wear the crown for a while.
A long video reviewed the Shawn Michaels-Chris Jericho story, starting with HBK’s retirement speech.
Jerry Lawler announced a contract signing for this unsanctioned match for later in the program.
Santino Marella bragged that he would be the greatest Intercontinental Champion of all time. A graphic appeared on the screen that showed that the Honky Tonk Man held the title for 64 weeks. He stated that he’d already held the belt for two week, so another 62 would be nothing.
Santino Marella d. D-Lo Brown
Brown hit a kick to the face as Marella bounced towards him off the ropes and a Clothesline in the corner. He covered, but the champ kicked out in time.
D-Lo dealt Santino a Headbutt. He bounced off the ropes – but Marella fell down before he could even make contact.
D-Lo Brown scored with a Leg Lariat and went to the top turnbuckle. His Frogsplash misfired, though, and Marella rolled over onto him to score the pin.
The Kingfish Comments: This match suggests that D-Lo Brown will not soon be fighting for the title against Santino Marella. Well, at least not if WWE is smart. Once a guy loses a non-title contest to the champ in a clean finish, he’s pretty much closes the book on championship aspirations.
Cryme Tyme d. The Miz & John Morrison
The heels came out to meet the babyfaces and a brawl started in the ringside area. The melee had barely started when Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase made it four-to-two.
Rhodes leveled Shad Gaspar with a chair and then went into the ring and DDT’d JTG on a chair!
The champions took back their belts.
The Kingfish Comments: A scene like this was pretty much mandatory to retain credibility for Rhodes & DiBiase. The way they did it was fairly clumsy, though. It shouldn’t look like the match is an excuse for the plot element.
The tag team champions encountered Randy Orton in a hallway. Orton didn’t say anything, but he saw that they’d recaptured their belts and looked pleased.
Mr. Kennedy, Mickie James and John Matthews spoke from the Republican National Convention. Kennedy plugged the “Smackdown Your Vote” campaign. Asked about the election’s big issues, James managed not to name the war or the economy.
Asked about his plan for the Battle Royal and the Championship Scramble, Batista said, “Destroy everyone!”
Kane d. Batista, JBL * C< Punk
RAW Battle Royal
The Battle Royal started without Rey Mysterio.
Batista seized control of the match right from the bell. When JBL targeted him for a Clothesline from Hell, The Animal struck first with a Spear!
Kane attacked Batista from behind and, before he could recover, The Animal got Clotheslined over the ropes by CM Punk.
Leyfield charged at Punk, who easily flipped him over the top rope.
Kane battered Punk from ring post to ring post. The champ fought off Kane’s first attempt to eliminate him, but he suffered a kick to the head and a Side Slam. When Kane missed a Corner Charge, Punk gave him the High Knee to the chest. That worked so well, that he backed up and did it again – and then a third time!
Punk tried to bring him out of the corner with a Bulldog, but the Big Red Machine blocked it! Kane banged the ropes and then knocked the champ flat on the canvas! He threw Punk over the top rope, but CM caught himself on the apron. He went to the top, but he came off right into Kane’s clutches! The big man tossed the champ out to win the Battle Royal.
After the match, Punk approached Orton and the two stared at each other. Finally, the champ douses Randy with his own water bottle.
That’s when Rey Mysterio’s pro hit and the Masked Marvel came to the ring to confront the man who has said such horrifying things about him.
He smashed Kane from every direction and brought him low with a Chop Block. A Mysterio Drop Toehold put Kane across the middle rope, but he escaped to the ringside area before Rey could uncork a 619.
Rey followed his foe into the ringside area and destroyed him with a Huracanrana. Then he scored with a 619 that bashed Kane against a ring post!
The Kingfish Comments: Welcome back Rey Mysterio! He will be the loose cannon in the Scramble.
Jerry Lawler, who officiated, warmed both men that the WWE would cancel the unsanctioned match if they engaged in a physical confrontation at the signing.
Each man expressed his great desire to massacre the other and signed the contract with surprisingly little delay.
Chris Jericho convinced Shawn Michaels to dispense with WWE security once both combatants signed the contract. From out of nowhere, Lance Cade attacked the Heartbreak Kid!
It looked bad for Michaels at first, but he soon put Jericho to flight and then obliterated Cade in the ring.
The Kingfish Comments: This was a weaken ending for the show and a weak scene for the promotion’s hottest feud. Please, let’s have a moratorium on contract signings until someone figures out something fresh to do during one of them.
Overall Grade for the show: B-
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