The John Report: WWE Draft '09 Reaction
This past Monday night on Raw, World Wrestling Entertainment held its annual “draft” “lottery” special. Like all the quotes? I think it’s fitting since I watch most of the shows and I still didn’t know who was supposed to be on what show after the previous draft. The lottery part is in quotes because the term lottery usually refers to a random drawing, which if true in this case means that somebody like Festus would get drafted on Monday night instead of only people that were either champions or main event level talents. I could go on and on about the holes in this entire process because believe me there are many. As a fan of the actual in ring action more so than the overall absurdity of the business I figure I might as well talk about the people that really matter in this: the wrestlers…err sports entertainers. See what I mean about the absurdity thing?
I feel like going on a bit of a rant before I get started. Just for fun, the following paragraph is something I’d write to explain the draft if I was one of the puppets that wrote on WWE.com albeit with a little edge to it:
You, the fan, have questions about the draft. You’re wondering why does one even exist when many superstars (like Morrison and Miz) appear on all three shows sometimes every single week? It’s because Vince McMahon wants one to exist, that’s why. Who are you to question him anyway? Now, when somebody gets drafted to Raw it means that they’ll only be appearing on Raw. The same applies for Smackdown and that third show too, but not the fourth show that’s debuting this week because that includes all three other shows. Confused yet? It’s because you’re dumb, go to school and spend less time on the internet. It’s evil. Sports entertainers being exclusive is hard to do considering Vince McMahon has to change his mind on storylines so much these days. What’s the cause of him changing his mind? You, but more specifically your friend known as the internet. That pesky thing that Brock Lesnar once threatened to “kill” (or something of the sort) during some talent meeting six years ago. See, Vince is finding out that word gets leaked out on the internet about his genius plans. Basically what that means is instead of the intricate (*cough* bastard child *cough*), detailed (*cough* set falling on him so he doesn’t have to give anymore money away *cough*), and sophisticated (*cough* Katie Vick *cough*) angles we’ve come to know and love from Vince we get mixed up storylines with no attention paid to history or detail. And it’s all your fault! That means you have to forget about the fact that you watched HHH physically assault Vince as well as Shane on multiple occasions a couple years ago because they’re family now! Sure, they were family then, but they assumed you (and by you I mean “stupid sports entertainment fan that lives under a rock”) didn’t know that. How would you know that? The internet? Lies! See, all this impromptu storytelling is not because of Vince. Oh no, don’t blame the writers. Blame you, the fans and your pesky little friend called the internet. You think the geniuses that created epic television shows like the Facts of Life and Blossom had to deal with storylines being leaked? No! Only Vincent Kennedy McMahon has to deal with it. Okay? Don’t blame the writing. Blame yourself…and the internet.
Vince, I love you, big guy. No, not in that way. More of the bromance kind of way. Yes, I feel like less of a person for even typing the word “bromance” or knowing of its existence, but for you I can do that. Okay? Good. Now onto the column.
For the sake of this column, I’m going to assume that the people drafted to Raw will only be on Raw just like Smackdown and ECW. If I don’t assume that then writing a column about the draft is as much of a waste as that three hours of TV on Raw was. The rosters aren’t taking effect on this Friday’s Smackdown, so I’ll assume it kicks in next week. What I’m going to do first is run down the 12 picks from Raw by brand and then toss the supplemental picks into one big pile broken up by show and give some quick thoughts on them too. See, I don’t want to leave anybody out, not even you Festus. That’s the ring bell guy, right? Yes it is. Great success.
MVP (and the US Title) to Raw
I’m not excited about this. MVP’s probably my favorite wrestler that has yet to be a World Champion in WWE, so he’s the one guy I want to see get that big push that I feel he deserves. Now that he’s on Raw he’s behind Cena, HHH, Batista and Michaels on the babyface side of things over there. Those four are all injury prone and I feel that HHH or Batista’s going heel pretty soon, so maybe that’ll allow MVP to move up in the rankings a bit. Still, I’d rather see him on Smackdown where he had a better chance to move up the card sooner. I’m not sure what his future is on Raw except that it will probably take him longer to move up the card there, which is a shame. As I said in the post Mania column, WWE needs fresh blood at the top of the card more than anything and now it’s looking less likely that MVP will be one of those people before next year’s Mania.
Big Show to Raw
I like Big Show quite a bit, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about his future considering how poorly he was booked between last year’s great feud with Floyd Mayweather up until this year’s Mania. He basically had his 434th feud with the Undertaker before being tossed into the Edge/Cena feud because Vince felt that had been done too many times. Now he’s probably going to feud with Cena or HHH even though those have been done to death too. I feel bad for the guy because he’s got a lot of talent, but it’s really hard to give him fresh booking now. This is another example of no new fresh talent at the top.
Melina (and the Women’s Title) to Smackdown
Apparently Melina cried in the ring during the commercial when she found out she was being moved to Smackdown. What a great endorsement of that show, huh? I’m sure she was just emotional because she wouldn’t see the friends she’s used to seeing as much, but it’s probably a good example of what some workers think of the blue show. I think she’s being used poorly as a babyface because it takes away from the personality she clearly has. I hate when wrestlers are put in roles that they clearly don’t enjoy as much as the alternative. She’ll probably drop the belt to Michelle McCool because I guess that’s a fresh matchup, but she needs to be a heel because that’s the best role for her.
Matt Hardy to Raw
A month or so ago Matt Hardy went to Smackdown. Not sure how or if they explained it by saying anything more than “Matt’s on Smackdown now.” I liked it because I thought it would allow the feud with Jeff to build up more. I liked the Mania match and I think I’ll like the Backlash match too. And then what? It’ll just end? Jeff’s going to win and they’ll be on separate shows just like that? Weak. There is room for heels on Raw, though, so maybe it’ll be good for Matt in the long run. I have my doubts, of course.
Triple H to Raw
Does it matter with him, really? He was on Raw for months anyway. What’s funny is that last year he was moved to Smackdown because they switched to MyNetwork TV and they wanted to draw some big ratings there. So what happens when HHH’s star power doesn’t draw those big ratings? He gets to go back to Raw because more people watch that show. As long as he’s a face he’ll continue to bore me. Turn him heel. I don’t care if it makes little sense now. It never makes sense. Just let him be the heel that he’s supposed to be. He’s been in main events for 10 years now. The babyface years are way worse than the heel ones. And it’s not even close.
CM Punk to Smackdown
Good. I’d like to see Punk in a long feud against Edge as soon as possible. Hopefully he’s able to actually stay in the main event this time around as opposed to last year when he was never seen in main events after dropping the belt. I like this move.
The Miz to Raw
I’m fine with this because he was the most improved performer in WWE in 2008 and I think he’s ready for a singles run as a solid mid-level heel. He’ll probably be in the US title hunt although that belt rarely gets defended even on PPVs, so how valuable is it really?
Kane to Smackdown
I’d love it if somebody could email me how many times Kane has turned face and heel because in the 12 years he’s been with WWE I’d venture to guess it’s been at least seven or eight times. On Smackdown he’ll do what he always does: Beat the guys below him and lose to the guys above him. Don’t forget about the excitement of teaming up or losing to the Undertaker like usual. Same shit, different year.
Chris Jericho to Smackdown
Love it. They clearly ran out of people for Jericho to feud with after the Michaels feud and even when they did give him that legends storyline there was nobody for him to wrestle at Mania in a singles match. With Orton getting the huge heel push on Raw, Jericho needed that fresh start. I’ll look forward to feuds with people like Jeff Hardy, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and even the Undertaker because that’s one we haven’t seen before. Plus, how will real life close friends Jericho and Edge work together? That will be a fun clashing of the egos.
Vladimir Kozlov to ECW
He’s still employed? I guess so. I…uh…like his theme music. Kinda. Sorta.
Maryse (and the Divas Championship) to Raw
Isn’t it amazing how a “lottery” has something random happen like secondary belts both switching shows, thus avoiding the problem of having two champions on the same show? Amazing. I like Maryse despite the fact that she’s from Quebec (hey, nobody’s perfect), so seeing her on Raw is fine by me. At least it’s a fresh feud for my girl Mickie James.
Rey Mysterio (and the Intercontinental Championship) to Smackdown
He never should have left. I read in the most recent Observer that Smackdown’s ratings were often in the top ten English shows among Hispanics and with him gone it never made it back. Now he’s back and I’m completely fine with it since he was booked terribly on Raw. Did he even have a feud you can remember from Raw? I can’t. Just things I want to forget. Glad he’s back on Smackdown.
This was done on WWE.com throughout the day today. What I’m going to do is break it up via the brands, list the person’s name and try to throw in some kind of interesting thought beside it. If I can’t think of anything interesting then the smart ass route is the way to go, I feel.
Mr. Kennedy – Third straight year he’s gone from Raw to Smackdown and now back to Raw. It’s probably because he’s been hurt so much that it’s hard for him to really find a “home.” Here’s hoping there’s good health in his future because he’s somebody with a lot of potential. And who know where his career would be if he didn’t test positive for steroids and he was “named” the bastard son of Vinny Mac, thus starting a serious main event push?
Primo Colon – They moved one half of the tag champs early in the draft and then added Carlito later, which probably meant the nerds chatting on WWE.com were having fits trying to figure out what would happen. Oh those crafty WWE decision makers.
Nikki Bella – They’re so crafty they did it with the Bella’s too. Wow, such genius.
Chavo Guerrero – At least now the wheelchair pusher won’t be appearing on the wrong show.
Hornswoggle – So they split him up from Finlay despite the fact that the novelty of this act is way over. Doing stupid things because you feel the need to do something is not usually a good idea.
Carlito – He’s better as a heel in singles, but he’s fine as part of a babyface tag team. It’s nice that they have the team together on Raw considering they hold both of the meaningless tag titles. Question is who are they going to feud with other than the Legacy team? And how do you move the Smackdown belts back without destroying any credibility that this draft has? Oh wait, it has none. Nevermind.
Festus – Maybe he can team with Hornswoggle. The mute and the guy that only wakes up when he hears a bell. Yes kids, dreams can come true. By the way, now that Kizarny’s fired the worst gimmick in the company belongs to Festus again. Congrats big guy.
The Brian Kendrick – Remember when he was in that title match at Unforgiven and he had a good showing? That’s not happening again. The Brian Kendrick will now become The Jobber to the babyfaces on Raw. Waste of talent.
Brie Bella – They waited till the last “pick” to move the other Bella. What drama. I’m sure the three people that cared were really worked up about it. Maybe they can act like there’s only one of them again and the announcers can pretend they’re a bunch of idiots. That was fun.
Shad – He’s over as a babyface part of his tag team. They sure loved doing the “one person of the team is gone, what will happen to the other?” act today huh? I guess it was a boring day for the writing team, or whoever was in charge of this stuff.
Alicia Fox – Only in sports entertainment does a wedding planner that makes out with the groom turn into a diva. It’s so realistic, people.
Mike Knox – I’m already dreading the inevitable feud with the Undertaker. But hey, that’s a nice beard. I can admit that.
Candice Michelle – She’s been injured a lot in the last year or so. When she does come back she’ll be fresh although it’d be nice if she could have a character that’s different than all the others. Good stripper picture on WWE.com too. Family friendly!
Ricky Ortiz – Don’t know much about him, so I checked his Wiki page. He’s 33, but doesn’t look it. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him now that he’s on the show that I actually watch.
Layla – Um, she’s a good dancer. Yeah. Real good.
John Morrison – This is the best move of the entire supplemental portion of the draft. He’s got the athletic ability to be best under 30 in ring worker in the company and I hope he soaks up all the knowledge that the likes of Edge and Jericho can give. An immediate feud with Rey Mysterio would be just fine. Let him shine on his own by showcasing him in long matches and he’ll prove just how good he can be.
JTG – Another team is restored. What a shock.
Dolph Ziggler – Hi, I’m still not interested. But good luck.
Charlie Haas – I remember him. I guess the whole dressing up as somebody else act got old huh? He’s a talented worker who never will be used right because Vince either loves the big guys or super athletic guys, not necessarily the technical guys like him. At least he’s on the same show as Shelton Benjamin again.
Ezekiel Jackson – Makes sense since this show is basically another developmental system for WWE. Now he’ll get his chance to show how good he can be in the ring. He’s very much an unknown at this point.
Zack Ryder – Haven’t seen much of him sine Edge’s feud with Undertaker ended and there was little need for people to get beat up. I guess he’ll be a heel jobber to the faces on ECW.
DH Smith – I’m disappointed with this because I’d rather see him joining Legacy on Raw as the power guy of the group instead. Oh well, at least it’s better than being in the minors.
Natalya – Didn’t she move from Smackdown to ECW without so much of an explanation? I guess it’s official now. This is a terrible waste of her talents because she should really be one of the belt holders. Move her boyfriend Tyson Kidd to SD if you want them together, don’t waste her skills by doing this. This is what it says about her on WWE.com: “And with the Divas division heating up on ECW, look for this third-generation powerhouse to take complete control.” Heating up? I checked the ECW page because I was curious. There are three women on the ECW roster and the other ones are Katie Lea Burchill and Tiffany, the interim GM who looks about as clueless as she is gorgeous. Do people read the things they write on WWE.com at all? I don’t think they do. Better not put another woman on that show, it would heat things up too much.
Hurricane Helms – See the names Jackson and Smith up above? Helms will be putting them, as well as the other heels on ECW, over. Have fun with that.
Here’s how things look on Raw in terms of top five faces and top five heels:
Top Faces: John Cena, Triple H, Batista, Shawn Michaels and MVP
Top Heels: Randy Orton, Big Show, Matt Hardy, Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes
The heel side is really hurting although that’s largely because they’re really only pushing Orton and everybody else gets tossed aside. There’s plenty of opportunity for guys like Diabise and Rhodes, as well as Miz, to get elevated because the lack of top heels on this show. As I’ve said many times previously, a heel turn by Batista or HHH would be very welcome in terms of bringing freshness to the show.
Here’s how things look on Smackdown in terms of top five faces and top five heels:
Top Faces: The Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio and R-Truth
Top Heels: Edge, Chris Jericho, Shelton Benjamin, John Morrison and Kane
Look at the first four on the heel roster. I love it. All good, natural athletes that make me want to see them in the ring. The face side’s pretty damn good too. I would have liked it more if Matt Hardy stayed on this show, but I’m fine with Morrison essentially taking his place. Not moving Christian to Smackdown was a terrible mistake. Hopefully they just do it at some point in the near future because he should be on the same show as Edge. Make it happen, WWE!
I’m not going to waste time talking about ECW. I like Swagger and I just hope he’ll be given even more opportunities to have longer televised matches. That’s the best way for him to improve in the ring. The rest of the show is pretty simple and by the book. It reminds me of the older one hour wrestling shows back in the day albeit without the true jobbers these days…other than Dreamer.
I guess the question now becomes who wins and who loses? The answer is I have no idea. It all depends on what you prefer. I think Raw has more star power because their top six guys (Cena, HHH, Batista, HBK, Orton and Show) have all headlined recent WrestleMania shows while Smackdown’s really only got Edge and Undertaker that can claim that. However, Smackdown has the better in ring talent for the most part. At least they’re the type of wrestlers I prefer to see in the ring. Clearly, though, the goal of this thing was to load up Raw with more talent because the future of SD being on MyNetwork TV is in serious question while Raw is the stable ship that just keeps on rolling.
If you like stars you’ll like Raw better. If you like in ring action you’ll probably like Smackdown better. Me? I’m leaning towards liking Smackdown more mainly due to the fact that I feel like Edge and Jericho are the best overall talents in the company. However, knowing that it’s likely HBK’s last year in the ring full time means I’ll probably try to enjoy Raw as much as I can. Just please end this HHH/Orton feud soon, alright?
Ultimately, though, none of this stuff really matters unless they honor the idea that the draft exists to make superstars exclusive to one brand. I won’t hold my breath.
Smell ya later,
John C. – firstname.lastname@example.org
MSN: email@example.com – Do not email me here! Will not be read!
Visit My Archives to view ten years of columns from over the years.