Katz Files: The January RAW Report Card

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The January RAW Roster Report Card!

The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his January 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.

WWE is fond of calling Royal Rumble the start of the road to WrestleMania. In one sense, that’s certainly true. What happens at the Royal Rumble has a direct bearing on what’s in store for WWE’s biggest annual event.

In another way, you could say that the show is already on the road to WrestleMania. Everything that has happened leading up to the Royal Rumble is part of storylines that are meant to carry WWE into WM.

With that in mind, let’s look at the major aspects of a wrestling promotion and hand out some grades.

Talent Pool

Stephanie, looking and talking better by the week, has become part of the show and, as of the 1/19 episode, her father has returned, too. Nothing against Mike Adamle, but that is a big upgrade.

No sooner did my December Report Card column appear with its question about Ted DiBiase than the man himself returned to RAW and became part of Legacy. So far, that hasn’t had the impact that might’ve been expected, because DiBiase hasn’t said much, but he is definitely a plus already and is likely to become more valuable as he works his way back into the flow.

Sim Snuka and Manu can both work and there’s a program underway that will probably pit them against Rhodes and DiBiase in some very exciting matches. They have flashed some mic talent, too, which would be very valuable on RAW.

Rosa Mendez is the only notable addition to RAW’s female contingent. See my comments under “Dramatics &^ Booking.”

Grade: B+ (B+)

Star Power

Vince McMahon has more “star power” than any non-worker in professional wrestling. His return generated a rating spike for a show that has trended downward for years. I wouldn’t look for Vince to maintain that high pitch of excitement, but he has done it before and may do it again in the drive to WrestleMania.

Manu and Sim Snuka may be the tag team of tomorrow, but it is still today. They have
negligible star power, though a hot program and storyline versus Legacy

Grade: B+ (B+)

In-Ring Action

The only real weak spot at the moment is the Women’s Division. No one stands out as much worse than the rest, but there aren’t any really good female wrestlers on RAW, either, except for Beth Phoenix. Kelly Kelly shows the determination to improve and, if she continues, could become the perfect foil with the Glamazon.

Grade: B (B)

Booking & Dramatics

The Shawn Michaels storyline, in which is sells himself to John Bradshaw Leyfield, has entered a new stage. Now, people are telling Michaels that he is selling himself short and that he can work his way out of his financial hole without abasing himself before JBL. Even though JBK will probably continue to follow orders for a while, his great physical acting has heightened fan interest around the Cena-JBL title match at Royal Rumble.

Stephanie McMahon’s fights with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton weren’t outstanding writing, but the three of them carried off these scenes about as well as one could expect. The arrival of Vince McMahon signals some big happenings on the way.

It’s hard to know what to say about the Rey Mysterio-Mike Knox feud. Knox doesn’t exactly light up the arena and no reason is offered for the way he is stalking the Masked Marvel. Ordinarily, this would be all right, but they just finished a story in which Kane pretty much did the same thing.

The Rosa Mendez storyline was the best thing to happen to the Women’s Division, until they brought her in from the cold and had her speak like a simpering fool. It reminds me of how WCW built up the mysterious Crow-like Sting, it went great until Sting came down from the rafters and started talking just like the old Sting.

Grade: B- (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

It looks like, in the words of RAW’s former voice, that “business is about to pick up” as WrestleMania approaches.

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]
(1/24/09)