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 8/4 episode of RAW

Mike Adamle opened the 8/4 episode of RAW from the University of Tennessee by begging fans not to be ruled by their first impressions. Drawing a parallel between himself and President Ronald Reagan, he admitted to being a poor announcer.

Adamle would not apologize, however, for matching Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler on last week’s show, even though it didn’t work out very well.

Adamle had just announced the World Tag Team Championship match when John Bradshaw Leyfield came out to congratulate him – and lobby for a match against CM Punk at SummerSlam

Chris Jericho joined the pair to stake his claim for that title match. Jericho and Leyfield argued, each believing that their wins at the last pay per view entitled them to the opportunity.

The General Manager set up a handicap match that would pit both heels against CVM Punk. If the rulebreakers win, the one who scores the pin gets to fight CM Punk for the gold. If CM Punk overcomes the odds, neither man gets the match.

The Kingfish Comments: Adamle’s message is one he has to sell or he is going to end up as a “transitional” General Manager. Adamle’s lack of wrestling knowledge made him an awful announcer, despite a good voice and polished delivery. Assuming he can learn his lines, he figures to do much better in his new role.

Of course, it would help if they didn’t give him the gimmick of making weird matches, but every performer has obstacles to overcome.

Kofi Kingston d. Paul Burchill
Intercontinental Championship

Burchill’s power overcame Kingston’s speed during the early portion of the match. The British Bully knocked the champion around the ring. Once Kingston got airborne, though, he soon had the challenger at his mercy in the corner.

Katie Lea distracted Kingston for a moment, but that was all her brother needed. He bashed Kingston from behind and crumpled him to the mat. It was too soon for a pinning cover, though. Burchill did some stomping and pulled off a Neckbreaker, but it still wasn’t sufficient.

Kofi worked his way out of a painful Camel Clutch and whipped Burchill across the ring with a picture-perfect Armdrag. He hit a Dropkick to the jaw and a Flying Forearm. Kofi added a Cross Body Block from the second rope, but all that offense still fell short of a pin.

Burchill jumped right up after Kingston’s Standing Legdrop, but a Dropkick had a more lasting effect. Kingston covered for the win to retain his belt.

Grade: B-

The Kingfish Comments: Paul Burchill almost ruined the finish by no-selling the Legdrop. That’s not his usual style, so maybe this was just a little mistake.

A more serious question is why they’ve booked the Kingston-Burchill program like this. It seems as if Kingston defeats him with relatively little trouble. Only a Burchill victory, albeit tainted, can breathe life into this series of matches. Let Burchill take the title unfairly and Kingston will thrive on the underdog role.

After the match, Katie Lea distracted the champion so that her brother could attack him from behind. Mickie James ran out to even the sides – and because she was scheduled to defend her title against Katie Lea.

Mickie James d. Katie Lea
World Women’s Championship

Mickie James had things her own way until Katie Lea snapped her neck on the top rope.

Mickie James survived a Bow and Arrow and came back with a devastating Huracanrana. Mickie scored with a Neckbreaker, but it turned out to be just a near fall.

Katie Lea stopped Mickie with a Jawbreaker and rocked her with a Suplex, but it didn’t lead to a pin.

Mickie James executed a Suplex and covered for the pin and the win.

Grade: C+

The Kingfish Comments: The match had some good moments, but the finish fell flat. Winning on a simple snap Suplex is not very convincing in today’s wrestling.

After the match, Beth Phoenix attacked Mickie James and threw her all the way to the outer barricade. She followed Mickie to the outside and bashed her against the side of the ring.

Once the two women got back inside the ropes, James scored with a Low-Altitude Dropkick. Phoenix retaliated with an Inverted Sit-out Powerbomb.

Beth Phoenix walked to the upper stage, where she greeted Santino Morella and patted his ass as she walked past him. When he did the same, after some dithering, she gave him a strange look and continued on her way to the back.

The Kingfish Comments: WWE has clearly decided against making Beth Phoenix a babyface. That’s the right move, too. Pairing her with Santino Morella, WWE’s top comedian, has some interesting possibilities, though Morella’s matches are not nearly as good as his microphone work.

John Cena conferred with Cryme Tyme before his big match as Batista’s partner against the World Tag Team Champions.

In his office, Mike Adamle talked to Stephanie McMahon on the phone. He thanked her and Shane for the opportunity as GM and congratulated her n the birth of her daughter.

Santino Morella and Beth Phoenix entered the office to ask for championship matches at SummerSlam. When the General Manager told them that there was room for only one more title match, Morella said that he wanted to make Beth happy – so he would fight for the IC title. Phoenix didn’t think much of that logic and said she wanted the chance to meet Mickie James.

Adamle booked a SummerSlam match between the teams of Phoenix and Morella and James and Kingston. The team that gets the victory, wins both belts.

The Kingfish Comments: You have to wonder what Cosmic Law decreed that there could only be one more championship match, but you have to admit that WWE has shown a little imagination with this one. Unfortunately, all the booking in the world doesn’t make these inter-gender matches any better.

Batista said he wasn’t sure he liked the idea of teaming with someone he will have to fight at the pay per view.

His advice to Cena: “Stay out of my way!”

When the show returned from a commercial break, Layla was doing some kind of clothed stripper act on the ramp.

A video showed Layla and Jamie Noble talking earlier in the day. He wanted to take her to the Waffle House. She called him a loser.

“I don’t associate myself with losers,” Layla told him.

William Regal came out to the ramp, interrupting the indefatigable Layla’s dance. He reminded fans that he is their King, because of his King of the Ring victory.

Jamie Noble came out and went hammer-and-tongs with Regal. The Man from Blackpool beat Noble to the ground. Jamie wanted to continue the fight, but a bunch of referees held him in check.

The Kingfish Comments: This is a new take on the traditional “the jobber loses and loses until he wins one” gimmick, with the intended extra spice of having Noble keep trying in an effort to win Layla.

If I were booking it, I would introduce a second woman, make Layla a little more of a heel and have the new girl battle for Jamie Noble’s soul.

Prior to the start of the match, Mike Adamle announced that if it reached the 190minute time limit, the match at SummerSlam would be a Triple Threat.

John Bradshaw Leyfield & Chris Jericho d. CM Punk

The two heels argued as much with each other as they fought Punk. At times they double-teamed the champion very effectively, but they also tended to break up each other’s pin attempts so that they wouldn’t lose out on the title contest at SummerSlam.

CM Punk Hiplocked his way out of Chris Jericho’s Abdominal Stretch, but both men fell to the mat, weakened by their exertions. The Cowboy Financier returned to the ring and leveled Punk with a Clothesline, but Jericho prevented the count from reaching “three.”

As the champion lay prone on the mat, seemingly ripe for pinning, a fight broke out between JBL and Jericho! Naturally, each wanted to be the man to pin Punk and neither wanted to take a backward step.

A little later, Chris thought he had the match when he hit a Lionsault, but once again Leyfield prevented a pin! That got the heels fighting each other again, a break for the battered CM Punk. The champ came off the top rope and got them both.

Punk used a High Knee and a Bulldog to prepare JBL for a Go To Sleep. He would’ve won the match, if Jericho hadn’t disrupted the cover.

When Punk tried to down Jericho with another GTS, Chris raked his eyes before the champ could execute the maneuver.

With one second remaining, Leyfield broke up Jericho’s attempted pin, rolled Punk onto his back and claimed the triumph! John Bradshaw Leyfield is going to SummerSlam.

Grade: A-

The Kingfish Comments: Adding the 10-minue time limit and the additional stip about the Triple Threat match made the story behind this one a little more credible. It might’ve been better to answer those aspects at the time Adamle first announced the match rather than right before the opening bell.

The wisdom of devoting so much time and energy to trying to inject mystery into something that’s already a lock, that JBL will fight CM Punk at SummerSlam.

Has anyone else noticed that they are calling JBL “Bradshaw” a lot lately? The first couple of times might’ve been slips of the tongue, but it is happening so often that it must be part of some plan. Maybe we’ll find out after Leyfield and Punk finish their program.

After a video which showed the match during which he sustained the eye injury, Shawn Michaels addressed fans from his Texas home.

He revealed that he has a key doctor’s appointment on August 15. If the doctor says it is inadvisable for him to compete, JBK said he planned to take the advice. Shawn promised fans that he would be at SummerSlam, where he will brief fans on his future in pro wrestling.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed performing for the WWE universe,” he said, “but there’s one thing I love more and that’s my family!”

Matt Stryker did his teacher gimmick on RAW for the first time.

Stryker assured fans that General Manager Mike Adamle would give him an opponent who would allow him to showcase his abilities. That’s when Kane’s entrance package hit.

Kane d. Matt Stryker

Kane mauled him for a couple of minutes, scored with the Chokeslam and ended this one fairly quickly.

Grade: D

“I’ve been in a bad place, but I’m better now,” Kane told fans from center-ring. “He’s not alive. He’s dead.” Kane seemed pretty happy at that state of affairs.

The Kingfish Comments: So much for Matt Stryker. If you want to tell the fans that someone is not important, having them lose their first match in a squash is as good a way as any to get across that message.

I’m sticking to my prediction that the “he” is Kane’s speech refers to Paul Bearer.

John Cena said that watching a video of Batista reminded him of how much the Animal can do in the ring. He called his forthcoming match against Batista “the ultimate showdown.”

Layla visited Mike Adamle in his office. He told her that he would make Kane reveal the contents of the mysterious bag on next week’s RAW.

Batista & John Cena d. Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase
World Tag Team Championship

Cena started strong against DiBiase, whipping him from turnbuckle to turnbuckle before bringing him low with a Bulldog.

Batista gave Cody Rhodes a Back Body Drop and then bulled him into the corner for a series of Shoulder Blocks! He added a Shoulderbreaker. Ted DiBiase tried to take the heat off his partner, but Batista dealt with him quickly and turned his attention back to Rhodes.

Cena entered and cleaned house against both men. He attempted to give Rhodes the FU, but Cody had already tagged his partner who disrupted the move.

DiBiase and Cena brawled at ringside. Ted got the better of the exchange and shoved Cena back into the ring for his teammate. Rhodes and DiBiase pulled off a Stereo Suplex, but the pin proved elusive.

The champions isolated John Cena and took turns punishing him. Rhodes trapped Cena in a Sleeperhold, climbing up his back to increase the hold’s power. Though still caught in the hold and with Rhodes on his back, Cena struggled toward his corner in a bid to tag in Batista.

The Animal first held back his hand and then moved out of range entirely rather than help his partner.

Cena used brute strength to break the Sleeper. He threw Rhodes into the ropes and caught him in a Sleeperhold on the rebound! DiBiase jumped in quickly to end the threat.

Cena forced a tag. Batista channeled his ire at Cena into pain for his two opponents. Batista rocked DiBiase with a Spinebuster and then Snake Eyes! Cena then took out Rhodes, knocking him all the way out of the ring!

Batista hit the Sit-out Powerbomb on DiBiase and covered for the pin. John Cena and Dave Batista are the new World Tag Team Champions!

Grade: A-

After the match, Cena and Batista didn’t shake hands or even seem to congratulate each other. They took turns raising their newly won belt in the air to see who would get the biggest pop from the crowd. Alternating like that, they soon had the crowd screaming itself hoarse.

The Kingfish Comments: This storyline could go several places from here. The most obvious, and therefore the most likely, is that a rematch will give Cena and Batista another reason to hate each other when they lose the belts due to a misunderstanding.

If the bookers elect to give Mike Adamle another chance to do something weird, maybe John Cena and Dave Batista will fight for possession of both belts at SummerSlam.

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(8/7/08)