My Weekly RAW Notebook

The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
My Weekly RAW Notebook
The Kingfish Arnie Katz discusses and analyzes what we’ve been seeing on WWE’s flagship television show.

Bring Bacq Shaq
Count me among the groaners when Mr. McMahon, on RAW, upheld Trump’s “Guest Host” plan. Special guests sometimes add life to the pro wrestling show, but WWE offers more duds than stars.

In that context, the choice of Shaquille O’Neal has to rank among the best special guests in WWE history. The Big Aristotle – he has even more nicknames than Paul Levesque – seemed totally at home in the wrestling environment and actually added to the show’s entertainment value.

Shaq not only got right into the groove of the show, but he has a good look, too. Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman looked a little puny next to Triple H and Batista, but Shaq looked pretty damn credible when he stood toe to toe with Big Show. (Shaq was clearly taller than Show.)

His action sequence with Big Show showed the NBA Great’s limitations in the ring. Still, he went at it with gusto and delivered what the fans wanted to see – and he could be taught more of the fundamentals in connection with more visits to RAW.

And WWE should definitely book him for another guest shot as soon as possible. Except for the financial side of things, I’d recommend that WWE hire him as permanent RAW General Manager. Shaquille O’Neal could add a lot of entertainment to the program as well as a bit of authentic star power.

Bring Bacq Shaq!

Let’s Re-think ‘Beat the Clock’
It’s hard to see how “Beat the Clock’ could be done much better on a free TV show than it was done on the 7/27 RAW. The matches held interest, the final result was believable and everyone worked hard.

Yet as good as it was, it could be seen as evidence that “Beat the Clock” is basically not a good idea. In fact, it is based on concepts that may do more harm than good.

That’s a good place to start. The format of “Bea the Clock” is that several main event and high mid card wrestlers have matches in which they attempt to win in the shorter possible time.

In other words, the match is not a competitive contest between relative equals. It’s more like the calf-roping event in rodeo. You know the calf is going to get roped; it’s simply a question of how quickly the wrangler can perform the process.

The classic format for “Beat the Clock” is a series of squashes. On the 7/27 RAW, WWE tried to improve that aspect by upgrading the opponents. It made for better matches, but it also saddled the “opponents” with the stigma of being a guy expected to lose. Having two of the human obstacles actual win was good, but it doesn’t erase the feeling that they would’ve been the ones being timed if they were really good. What it did, though, was make the “Beat the Clock” competition less interesting.

One possible answer might be the take “Beat the Clock” up yet another level. Pick out eight top guys, match them against each other and record the times of the winners to find out who gets the reward. That way it wouldn’t seem like stars versus stiffs.

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

— Arnie Katz
Executive Editor
[email protected]
(8/3/09)