Katz Files: The November RAW Report Card

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The November RAW Roster Report Card!

The Kingfish Arnie Katz presents his November 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.

Survivor Series and the return of John Cena are coming soon. Before any big changes take place, let’s give the good folks at RAW their November grades.

No Mercy is history, It didn’t really change much about RAW, but it presents the right time for me to hand out the monthly grades.

Talent Pool

Randy Orton hasn’t gotten involved in ring action as fast as one might’ve hoped, but he is back and he certainly adds some life to the storylines. It’s now pretty clear that Randy will stay a heel, so it’s likely that he will face John Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship not too far down the road.

Free Mannu! They let him stand between Rhodes and Orton on last Monday’s RAW, which is about his most significant action since he came to the big-time. He could add to the talent pool if actually given a chance.

D’Lo Brown is back. He has already settled into an enhancement role, but it seems unlikely that WWE has any serious plans to use him in a starring role.

Mike Knox made his RAW debut on the 11/10 RAW after working in ECW on and off for some time. He’s bigger and shaggier than I remembered. I don’t think he will soon rise above the lower mid-card.

Grade: B+ (B+)

Star Power

This month, the changes in Star Power are due more to some ups and downs in the status of established performers rather than newcomers or subtractions. Chris Jericho has really clicked as the lead heel, while John Bradshaw Leyfield hasn’t exactly caught fire.

William Regal has gotten a couple of boosts. They gave him Layla and they let him win the Intercontinental Championship. It’s doubtful that he will hold onto the belt for long, but holding it, even briefly, does push him up the card a little.

The push for The Brian Kendrick has petered out, leaving him little more than the mid—carder he was when it began. He and Paul London made up a star tag team, but now London is gone and Kendrick is still not quite getting over with the fans.

Grade: B+ (B+)

In-Ring Action

RAW has just completed a round of tying up old plots, most likely to clear the way for some new ones the bookers have in mind. That has given WWE a chance to present some pretty good TV matches in recent weeks.

Overall, though, the TV matches come across as too short and lack variety. Rey Mysterio, one of the in-ring greats, really needs to freshen up his act. It just doesn’t work to have every match follow the same well-trodden road. The Masked Marvelous is outstanding, but predictability is the enemy of heat.

Grade: B- (B-)

Booking & Dramatics

It’s difficult to comment much on the booking, because, as previously mentioned, RAW has wrapped up a lot of the plotlines. It was time to end HBK-Jericho and Mysterio-Kane. Kudos to the bookers for finishing off both programs.

Santino Morella’s loss and the end of the countdown meter represent a swerve – and also some missed opportunities. If Santino was going to lose the title, why didn’t they have Honky Tonk Man (with lots of help) beat him at the pay per view? Losing the strap on the London RAW didn’t have nearly that much impact.

Randy Orton now sounds like a man who is going to stay a heel. That’s probably for the best, because Randy’s real personality doesn’t seem conducive to becoming a fan favorite. He’s talented enough that he could pull it off, but he is much more natural and convincing as a villain.

Batista recent appearance suggest that WWE is contemplating making him a heel so that, down the road, there will be extra heat on his return match against John Cena tentatively planned for WrestleMania. I think it would be a huge mistake. Granted, Batista can play the role, but how many guys can play the role he has now? He is the closest thing to Bruno Sammartino to come to WWE in a long, long time.

Grade: B (B-)

Announcing

Michael Cole still won’t make anyone forget Good Ole JR, but he is doing a very competent, professional job as RAW’s play-by-play man. Cole is also a little more mobile than Jim Ross, which makes it easy for him to jump into the ring for a special interview or segment.

Grade: B+ (B)

Overall

RAW is now past the 800th episode and Cyber Sunday and is barreling toward Survivor Series They are being a little slow to hype anything except John Cena’s return, but the card should clarify during next week’s TV shows.

Grade: B (B)

That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column.

— Arnie Katz
[email protected]
(11/14/08)