Katz Files: The February RAW Report Card

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The February RAW Roster Report Card!

The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his February promotion report card for the good folks at WWE’s RAW.

About the Report Cards
Each month, I issue a report card for RAW. I examine and grade the promotion in all the vital areas. I discuss strengths and weaknesses and chart the ups and downs. The grades in parentheses are for the previous report card.

WrestleMania 25, here we come! A better-than-expected No Way Out has lined up everything for the WWE’s biggest event of the year. It’s time to take stock of where RAW is as WWE heads into its gilt-edged showcase.

Talent Pool

They’re getting ready to refresh the rosters with another of those ridiculous draft lotteries. Though the mechanism is pathetically shabby, the outcome can be expected to pump a little life into all three shows. (Well, at least it’s likely to help RAW and Smackdown; if ECW gets any dinkier, Jack Swagger will have to wrestle himself.

WWE’s recent additions haven’t made a big dent on RAW Sim Snuka and Manu have disappeared into WWE limbo and Rosa Mendes has already dissipated her introductory push.

Shane McMahon has rejoined the show. It’s a two-edged sword. Vince’s son can be dynamic, but there’s a tendency to push him beyond reason and his own ability.

Grade: B (B+)

Star Power

The Edge storyline that emerged from No Way Out gives the Rated R Superstar even more fan interest than he had when he returned after his short rest. He’s now the World Champion and will meet John Cena at WM.

John Bradshaw Leyfield’s star is also on the rise. Very clever booking and a string of entertaining matches has helped Leyfield grow in importance even as he loses a lot of high-profile matches.

The tag team division is down, again. The reunion of DiBiase and Rhodes gives the division a lynchpin, but there just isn’t a lot of story support. I’m glad to see Cryme Tyme act less clownish, but they need to put them in some high-profile matches that they can win in impressive style.

Batista is greatly missed, even if the booking for him was a little shaky before his injury. I’m not sure you’ll see him do anything much until after WrestleMania 25.

Grade: B+ (B+)

In-Ring Action

The in-ring content continues on an even keel. That’s not good news for the Women’s Division, which is sorely in need of someone who can give Beth Phoenix a real wrestling match. Melina is colorful and exotic, but she is not yet that skilled with holds and maneuvers.

Grade: B (B)

Booking & Dramatics

The Shawn Michaels-JBL feud reached a climax at No Way Out, but WWE seems bent on continuing it for some reason. The new story about how they both want to end Undertaker’s streak us lame and artificial.

The Randy Orton-McMahon Family storyline also could’ve, and should’ve, ended at No Way Out or else the match at that pay per view should have been booked differently. There really doesn’t seem to be any reason for the McMahon clan to fight Orton, but they’re going to do it anyway.

The Mike Knox-Rey Mysterio plot is a little… mystifying. He sporadically continues to attack the Masked Marvel at every opportunity, but nothing moves forward and no motivation becomes clear.

It’s fine for DiBiase and Rhodes to be part of Legacy, but they still need a program. It seemed obvious that Sim Snuka and Manu would provide that opposition, but the young guys are currently among the missing.

Rosa Mendes’ started so strong, but it’s just fading away.

Grade: C+ (B-)

Announcing

It’s time to do something about the backstage interviews. They need at least one mic man who can be a character in the spirit of Jeremy Borash. They ought to be more than glorified microphone stand.

Grade: B (B)

Overall

Give WWE credit for a good February pay per view. The taming down of the show to achieve a PG rating is misguided and is likely to hurt the promotion just a little down the road, but it has not made a big difference so far.

Grade: B (B)

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fast-0rising daily pro wrestling column. I hope you’ll join me then and, please, bring your friends.

— Arnie Katz
[email protected]
(2/18/09)