Katz Files: The September RAW Report Card!

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz

The September RAW Roster Report Card!

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

About the Report Cards

Each month, I issue a report card for TNA. 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.

RAW is barreling toward Night of Champions, where all titles will be up for grabs. Before the draft and the likely title changes, though, it’s time to give out the monthly grades.

Talent Pool

This is a period of big additions and big subtractions. On one hand, Rey Mysterio, Randy Orton and Candice Michelle have come back from injuries, while on the other, RAW is without the services of John Cena and Shawn Michaels/

There are some new guys, primarily Mammu and Dell Sigler, but it is too early to judge their impact.

Grade: B+ (B_

Star Power

The loss of John Cena, again, for an extended period is hard to overcome, but Orton, Michelle and Mysterio should be quite a help in that regard. Any time the lead face is out, it’s a problem. Still, RAW does have Batista there to star, a terrific fall-back.

Chris Jericho’s star is clearly on the rise. After getting a lukewarm reception as a returning babyface, he has found fresh heat as a rulebreaker. His championship win at the pay per view enhanced his image.

Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase have fit into the show far better and quicker than many would’ve predicted. They give the tag team division a credible title team for the first time in a while. Now all RAW needs is an equally credible babyface duo or two to challenge them in and out of the ring.

Grade: B+ (B+)

In-Ring Action

RAW ‘s current main event group includes some guys who can really wrestle, which almost guarantees strength at the top of any card, whether TV or pay per view. Batista, Chris Jericho, John Bradshaw Leyfield, Rey Mysterio, CM Punk and Kane represent RAW at less-than-full strength, but they are a capable group nonetheless. The returning Randy Orton brings similar promise of strong matches.

Grade: B- (B-)

Booking & Dramatics

RAW has had to make some significant adjustments in recent times, owing to the Draft, injuries, the arrival of fresh talent from the development leagues and returning stars. The results haven’t always been ideal, but the company has weathered the worst of the storm. It will head into the cooler months with some good storylines.

The Rey Mysterio-Kane feud, which started so fitfully, has taken on new life with the actual return of Mysterio and Kane’s superbly acted rant on the 9/15 RAW. It might’ve been better if Kane had donned his mask before the feud started, so that it could be hood versus hood, but this version will play well, if somewhat predictably.

John Bradshaw Leyfield needs a new feud and a program to go with it. They put him into matches, often certain losses, because he works so well, but he is also very skilled with the mic when he has a proper target. One possibility would be to continue and expand the feud with CM Punk.

A rest for the HBK-Chris Jericho feud isn’t such a bad thing, either. Jericho will defend his title against the faces while Michaels rests – and then they can bring him back to challenge for the title against the man who put him on the sidelines.

Cody Rhodes is showing improved mic skills lately. The title run has increased his face-time and he has made the most of it. Ted DiBiase hasn’t done quite as well, but he almost doesn’t have to as long as Rhodes does the heavy lifting in the interviews.

Grade: B (B)

Announcing

The shuffle that put Michael Cole with Jerry Lawler on RAW has worked out somewhat better than many had feared. Cole is still no Jim Ross and The King doesn’t seem quite as energetic as when he is sitting next to Good Ol’ JR, but they do a solid, professional job on RAW.

Grade: B (B+)

Overall

RAW has come through the summer fairly well, though there is a bit of a vacuum at the top, due to the absence of a really compelling feud. That state of affairs won’t last long, though, as things heat up for some of the year’s biggest pay per view events.

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]
(9/18/08)