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 10/13 episode of RAW

RAW, from Anaheim, CA, opened with Mike Adamle and Chris Jericho arguing in the back. The General Manager criticized Jericho’s stint as substitute G<, while Jericho complained that Adamle should “protect the champion.”

Adamle announced that his plan for this show would feature matches in which Jericho and Batista named each other’s opponents.

The Kingfish Comments: I assume Chris Jericho is whining about “protecting the champion,” because it is so annoying. It certainly isn’t a very sensible concept; it’s only one of those things that guys say during rants when they haven’t got any good material.

Chris Jericho came to center-ring to tell the world that he doesn’t like the choices for his match on Cyber Sunday. (The vote is to pick a special guest referee from among Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin.)

Jericho called on the McMahons to abolish the stipulations in his match.

Shawn Michaels told fans that, if they vote for him, he’ll make Cyber Sunday the worst day of Jericho’s life.

HBK then attacked Jericho and drove him from the ring. As an act of revenge, Chris Jericho picked Shawn Michaels as Batista’s opponent.

The Kingfish Comments: If you liked Jericho-Michaels, the future now looks pretty bright for the renewal of the feud. WWE obviously want Michaels as the special referee so that he can have a set-to with his nemesis, the World Heavyweight Champion.

In that scenario, the logical thing would be for Batista to win the title with Michaels’ help. Jericho would then fight Michaels and, a month later, challenge Batista.

Kane & Mark Henry d. Matt Hardy * Rey Mysterio

Matt Hardy connected with a DDT and tagged in Rey Mysterio, who came off the top with a Flying Press that earned a two-count against Kane.

Mysterio went from a Flying Leg Scissors to a 619 on Kane. When he launched a Missile Dropkick, Jane swatted him out of the air and pounced on him for the pin.

Grade: B=

The Kingfish Comments: Kane and Henry certainly make a hulking tag team. The World’s Strongest Man isn’t that much fun to watch, but the duo is a monster heel combination if ever there was one.

This match was a textbook piece of booking. It put two feuds together in the ring, plus gave the fans a look at two intriguing tag teams. Obviously, there are no plans for Mysterio-Hardy to become a regular team or else they wouldn’t have lost.

Kane attacked Mysterio after the match. The Masked Marvel blocked the Chokeslam and chased Kane out of the ring with well-placed kicks.

The announcers ran through the three possible stipulations for the Rey Mysterio-Kane match at Cyber Sunday. They are falls count anywhere, no holds barred and two-out-of-three falls.

The Kingfish Comments: I’m not sure fans would pick any of these if they truly had a choice of stip. Of what’s here, no holds barred probably yields the most exciting contest.

Batista said some nice things about Shawn Michaels. He also said that if Shawn wanted to get rough, he would beat him to the punch.

JBL reprised his lament about the country’s financial problems and how the bail-out would drain tax payers for his benefit.

The Kingfish Comments: Based on the pools, it appears that Leyfield doesn’t exactly have his finger on the pulse of America, something that is also evident when he spouts this stuff on the radio.

Somehow, blaming specific Democrats for the problems sounds a little too much like Republican propaganda to make a good premise for a wrestling rant.

When John Bradshaw Leyfield started to crow about being a real American, Haas Hogan came to the ring for their match.

John Bradshaw Leyfield d. Charlie Haas

JBL beat Haas Hogan until the Haaster “Haased up” for a short offensive run. When the man in yellow and red missed a Legdrop, Leyfield finished his night with a Clothesline from Hell.

Grade: C+

The Kingfish Comments: This is a million-dollar gimmick with 10-cent implementation. Charlie Haas has done some great imitations and his Hulk Hogan was one of his best so far, but look what they’re doing with this guy! They seem to have figured out that he has to be a babyface all the time, not just every other match, but what’s the use of the gimmick if he’s going to lose glorified squashes?

Haas has always had pretty decent ring skills, but no personality that could captivate the fans. Now he has something that, clearly, the fans like and all WWE can think to do with him is have him job.

Todd Grisham introduced Johnny Knoxville at ringside. They showed pictures from the Jackass website that poked fun at the size of Great Khali’s endowment and called him a “sissy.”

A video celebrated John Cena. Even the heels said nice things.

Randy Orton came tout to complain that no one said nice things about him when he was hurt.

He told fans not to vote for him, because he didn’t want to risk reinjury this close to returning to ring action.

Shawn Michaels vs. Batista NC

Just before the start of the match, Chris Jericho appeared on the Titantron to make it a Lumberjack match. When the Lumberjacks came to the ring, it became obvious that Jericho had picked all the heels.

Shawn Michaels applied the Figure-Four Leglock. It caused Batista a bit of pain until he summoned the strength to roll over, reverse the pressure and force a break.

HBK scored with a Neckbreaker, but almost immediately took a Shoulder Block in the corner after The Animal reversed a Whip.

Batista tried a variety of maneuvers, including a big Back Body Drop, but all he got were near-falls. Even his Tilt-a-Whirl Sideslam couldn’t get that elusive three count.

When Batista Clotheslined Michaels over the top rope, Mark Henry attacked savagely. He clamped on a Bearhug and, after attempting to squeeze the life out of the Showstoppa, tossed him back under the ropes.

Batista had his little trip to hell, too. Randy Orton got in a vicious kick, but The Animal fought off him and several other Lumberjacks.

William Regal distracted the referee while John Bradshaw Leyfield attacked Batista!

The Animal had JBK ready for a Batista Bomb, but their struggle carried both men out of the ring. The referee ruled the match a “No Contest.” Batista and Michaels ended up showing off their finishers at the expenses of a couple of the Lumberjacks.

Grade: B

After the match, Batista extended his hand and, after a little consideration, Michaels shook it.

The Kingfish Comments: The booking was on target, but the actual match came across as rather tepid. There was, of course, no heat between the combatants – and the Lumberjacks really didn’t do all that much to add to the excitement. The finish was pretty much expectable once the Lumberjacks appeared and t was a reasonably good way to match these two fan favorites without forcing either of them to job in an inconsequential match.

As Santino Morella and Beth Phoenix came to the ring, the announcers reviewed the choices for his opponent at Cyber Sunday: Roddy Piper, Golddust and Honky Tonk Man.

Santino has now been Intercontinental Champion for nine weeks.

He characterized all three potential challengers as “perverted beyond your wildest imagination.”

The Kingfish Comments: What a trio of choices! Why not thrown in Jim Duggan and Bruno Sammartino?

Morella invited Johnny Knoxville into the ring, where he asked why the Jackass star was insulting Great Khali. Knoxville went on the offensive by suggesting that Beth Phoenix was a man, so she slapped him and then treated him to a Bodyslam.

Suddenly, Hornswoggle appeared on the top turnbuckle to deliver a Tadpole Splash!

When Knoxville’s sidekick came into the ring to help him, Big Dick Johnson came to the ring. He and the sidekick stripped down to bikini bottoms and danced.

The Boogie Man came to the ring to deal a Clothesline and eat some worms.

A somewhat disheveled Johnny Knoxville took the mic to tell fans that, on the whole, it was all right. That brought out Great Khali. He gave Knoxville the Head Crush and the Khali Bomb.

The Kingfish Comments: No one can say that Johnny Knoxville doesn’t excel at being obnoxious. I ever cheered a little for Khali while the Punjabi Nightmare was delivering his two moves.

As JTG accompanied Shad Gaspar and Kelly Kelly to the ring, he stopped to pick up a hockey mask out of a pin in the back.

Cryme Time & Kelly Kelly d. John Morrison & The Miz

The Miz and John Morrison tried to challenge Cryme Tyme with a little rap. They were so-so, but Jillian Hall’s alleged singing did not help the performance.

The referee wasn’t looking when Shad hit Morrison with the Dicks’ hockey mask and pinned him.

Grade: B-

The Kingfish Comments: They’re continuing to build the feud between the two teams. It started on the Internet, but now it’s time to bring it to the ring. This seems like a good pairing for a program, but this specific match didn’t do much. Presumably, the collision is earmarked for a pay per view where, hopefully, they’ll have more time to do the match of which they are capable.

CM Punk d. Chris Jericho
Non-Title Match

Just before the match started, Batista appeared on the TitanTron to give Chris Jericho an unwelcome surprise. He announced that he would be the special guest referee. This mesmerized Jericho to the extent that Punk rolled him up and nearly scored an insta-pin.

When CM Punk threw the World Champion out of the ring, Chris simply started walking up the ramp to go home. Batista raced out of the ring and brought him back to CM Punk by force!

Batista waived the five-second rule when CM Punk battered Chris Jericho in the corner. Chris took a lot of damage, but even Punk’s top rope move couldn’t end the match at this point.

When Punk started to climb again, Jericho yanked him down from behind and then Suplexed him. The Animals slow count saved Punk from defeat.

Jericho tried his Running Bulldog, but Punk turned the tables by firing him into a turnbuckle! The former champion began using his hands and feet to dish out the kind of striking moves that won him the title.

Punk rolled out of the Walls of Jericho and tried to apply the Go To Sleep. Jericho blocked it and scored with the Codebreaker. Batista’s slow count rescued Punk again.

When Chris Jericho berated him for his action, Batista went over the top and blasted him with a BatistaBomb! CM Punk staggered over to his foe and fell on top of him for the pin!

Grade: B

The Kingfish Comments: This was an entertaining gimmick match that didn’t hurt any of the participants. Too bad that it didn’t help any of the three guys, either. Jericho took a screwjob loss, Punk got a victory in which he was portrayed as incapable of getting it on his own and Batista did exactly what every fan knew he’d do before the match even started.

What it did accomplish was to keep the pot boiling on the Jericho-Batista match. Still, it didn’t really add much to what they have already done – and I’m not sure it helps Batista for people see see him as a crooked referee.

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]
(10/19/08)