The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly RAW Notebook!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his analysis and insights inspired by the 9/22 episode of RAW
RAW, from Cincinnati, OH, opened with a shot of the World Heavyweight Championship belt hanging over a ladder set up in the middle of the ring.
Chris Jericho came to the ring and took a seat on top of the ladder. Once all the catcalls and negative chants subsided, the newly crowned champion scolded fans for believing HBK’s claim of expertise in ladder matches. Jericho pointed out that he has won more ladder matches than Shawn Michaels has entered.
Jericho pulled down the belt and said that it would happen again when he faces Michaels at No Mercy.
The Kingfish Comments: This was the proverbial sound and fury signifying nothing. The visual of Jericho on the ladder worked well, but there really isn’t a lot to add to the build-up for the PPV match.
Randy Orton came to the upper stage to tell Jericho that he has the title on borrowed time. Orton claimed that it wouldn’t matter who won the ladder match, because he would beat them for the title very soon.
Chris Jericho said that Orton had a big mouth.
Randy revealed that, in a discussion with Mike Adamle, the General Manager had ruled that Orton could not physically attack anyone nor could anyone attack him.
Jericho said he was tired of listening to Orton and left.
The Kingfish Comments: This exchange between Orton and Jericho suggests that Randy will return to action and go directly for Jericho’s title as soon as Lionheart finishes his program with Shawn Michaels.</B?
CM Punk, still smarting from his previous encounter with Orton, joined him in the ring. They had a close-range stare-down, after which Punk slapped Orton!
Mike Adamle came to the ring and suspended CM Punk.
“Here Comes the Money” hit the PA and Shane McMahon moonwalked his way down the ramp to the ring. He declared Punk’s action a “receipt” for the earlier attack and un-suspended him! When Orton protested, McMahon suspended him.
Shane then made a Punk-Rhodes match to begin next and then set Batista-Michaels versus Chris Jericho and JBL as the night’s main event.
The Kingfish Comments: Since this was, as they told us repeatedly, the 800th episode, they wanted to bring Shane McMahon on as a guest and this was a reasonable way to accomplish that goal. I’m not sure it was quite the big deal that WWE thinks it is, though.
If Shane wants to get back in the ring, which should never be an automatic assumption, it could be that he will battle Orton, perhaps at No Mercy.
CM Punk d. Cody Rhodes
CM Punk nailed Rhodes with a High Knee in the corner. Cody broke the attempted Bulldog, but he fell victim to the GTS,
Ted DiBiase and Mannu attacked Punk Kofi Kingston came out to help the former World Champion.
The Kingfish Comments: The loss is reasonable for Rhodes at this stage in his career. He is in the tag team division and it’s fairly standard to have a tag team specialist lose when facing a singles specialist in one-on-one competition.
It’s time to find something for Mannu to do. He is becoming RAW’s Johnny Devine; hanging around a tag team, but not really getting to do much of interest.
Punk and Kingston, the two former champions, would make a good team while they get ready for new assaults on the gold.
As Shane McMahon assured Mike Adamle that he was doing a good job, Kane came in to thank the GM for scheduling him against Evan Bourne. Adamle announced Kane-Mysterio for No Mercy.
Kane sent greetings to Shane’s mom. After he left, McMahon explained the reference to Adamle.
Kelly Kelly, in her usual abbreviated costume, entered Adamle’s office, followed shortly by Santino Morella, wearing a face shield, and Beth Phoenix. They accused Kelly of laughing
Batista joined he party. Phoenix said she intended to take revenge on his little friend. Santino boasted that he would stop the Animal from interfering.
Santino Morella d. Deuce
Marella got the decision with a roll-up.
The Kingfish Comments: Like most of Morella’s matches, this was pretty perfunctory.
The Kingfish Comments: They continued to work the countdown gimmick. Santino has now held the title for five weeks; 59 to go to equal Honky Tonk Man’s record reign as Intercontinental Champion.
If he is going to hold the title that long, it would be nice if his matches had a little more to them than this squash of Deuce.
Kane d. Evan Bourne
Kane executed a Tilt-a-Whirl Backbreaker and two conventional Backbreakers. He then hoisted Bourne into the Piledriver position, but instead he crushed him, back first, against the turnbuckle.
Kane pounded Bourne into the mat with a Powerslam and then finished off the match with his patented Chokeslam.
When Kane attacked Evan Bourne after the match, Rey Mysterio came to his rescue.
The Kingfish Comments: Kane needed a win against credible opposition, but it would’ve looked a lot more credible if they’d allowed the young wrestler to look a little better in defeat. Bourne may be the next newcomer to break through, but i6 won’t happen if they feed him to guys like Kane in squash matches.
Jaime Noble asked Mike Adamle for yet another match against William Regal.
Dolf Sigler came in to introduce himself.
Randy Orton protested Shane McMahon’s earlier decision and said it wasn’t cool.
Orton said that it would be a shame if a couple of third-generation stars got on each other’s wrong side. Shane replied that he is fourth generation.
The Kingfish Comments: This looks like another brick in the wall for a McMahon-Orton confrontation. Shane will do his annual high spot and Orton will win the decision.
Kelly Kelly d. Beth Phoenix (with Santino Marella)
Beth Phoenix reversed in mi-Huracanrana and sent Kelly flying into the turnbuckle.
Kelly Kelly pulled off what was probably the best offensive run of her ring career. It climaxed in a Corkscrew Cross Body Springboard off the middle rope. Beth Phoenix’s strength could not be contained on the canvas.
Beth tried to Clothesline Kelly, who ducked out of the way. Phoenix ran into her boyfriend, standing the apron, and Kelly Kelly executed the roll up to steal a win.
The Kingfish Comments: Kelly is getting better and better in the ring. She’s still not an outstanding wrestler or anything, but she is working faster and more fluidly.
When Batista came to the ring after the match, Beth Phoenix got between the Animal and her boyfriend and slapped him in the face a couple of times. Batista moved her out of the way and decked Santino.
The Kingfish Comments: Batista and Santino Morella don’t really figure as legitimate combatants in a program, though WWE could decide to end Santino’s reign at any time with a quick loss to Batista if the countdown gimmick doesn’t work.
Mostly, this is to position Kelly Kelly as the challenger to Beth Phoenix. Batista is there to show fans that Santino won’t necessarily be able to interfere the way he usually does.
Cryme Tyme and the team of John Morrison and The Miz had dueling videos. Each accused the other of being poseurs.
At one point, Shad Gaspar catapulted JTG over the top rope for a Cross Body that leveled both heels.
Cryme Time gained several near falls. Miz absorbed a Front Suplex from Shad while their partners battled in the ringside area. He barely escaped the follow-up cover!
Morrison kicked JTG in the back of the head while the referee’s attention was elsewhere. The Miz pounced and pinned him.
The Kingfish Comments: This match played very well, though no one really loves a finish that’s quite this random. It is amazing the way Cryme Tyme has changed from a garbage comedy act into a decent tag team/</.V<
Charlie Haas donned a blonde wig for a parody of the legendary Mr. Perfect video in which Curt Hennig showed his perfection at a number of sports.
The Kingfish Comments: This was very clever and, as rarely happens in wrestling, quite funny. Haas didn’t invent this gimmick, but he is using it very well at the moment.
The big thing now is the WWE must decide if Haas is a babyface or a heel. The whole thing works a lot better if he is one or the other. At the moment, fans can’t really get a sense of where Charlie’s coming from with the impersonation. He seemed to be a heel on the last Smackdown, but this bit on RAW had more of a babyface feel./B>
Chris Jericho, JBL & Lance Cade d. Shawn Michaels & Batista
The heels goaded Mike Adamle into messing up Shane McMahon’s booking by making it a three-on-two handicap match.
JBL looked strong against Shawn Michaels. When he tried for a Fall-away Slam, however, Michaels reversed it into thunderous DDT!
Batista took a while to get into the match. When he did, he went absolutely wild on the heels. Jericho took the biggest hit, a Spinebuster as he came off the ropes.
Batista Powerslammed Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels scored with a Frogsplash. Shawn Michaels missed Sweet Chin Music. Jericho alertly rolled him up, but the Showstoppa kicked free in time!
Jericho connected with a Bulldog, but he blew the Lionsault! Michaels revved up to give Jericho Sweet Chin Music, but he didn’t notice that Lance Cade was actually the legal man. When JBK rushed Jericho, Cade took him out with a match-ending Powerbomb!
The Kingfish Comments: I wish I could tell you why they made a perfectly good tag team main event into a handicap match, but even my powers of reasoning and deduction have some limit.
It looks like the first step in a possible disagreement between Shane McMahon and Mike Adamle, but why they’d want to do that is an enigma (non-charismatic variety).
Overall grade for this show B-
The Kingfish Comments: With all the crowing they did about it being the 800th episode, they might’ve tweaked the card a bit better than they did. This was another in the current run of so-so RAW episodes – and that hasn’t done much to perk up those slowly downward trending ratings.
I’ll be back on Monday 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