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WRESTLING COLUMNS

I GOTTA SAY THIS
Looking at the Draft from Four Viewpoints
May 22, 2005 - by Brad Dykens

I gotta say this: There has been a lot of talk about the upcoming draft scheduled for the WWE. Vince McMahon appeared on RAW and announced what everybody already knew; That they were going "shake things up!" again with a draft lottery and - dramatic pause - nobody is exempt. They've already set several different angles in motion with the tease of Christian going over to Smackdown! where he actually has a chance of getting a respectable push. Also they've made clear that Randy Orton wants to stay on RAW away from Undertaker, who Orton claims will pull strings to stay on Smackdown! to stay away from him. There's been rumors circulating about Shawn Michaels & Chris Jericho going to SD!, and Kurt Angle & Bradshaw going to RAW. No matter what the outcome, interest will remain high until the final moment, and they've decided to stretch the draft over several weeks. Good idea. Now the way I see it, there's four different perspectives involved as far as the WWE Superstars are concerned. They are:

The RAW to Smackdown! Excitement: There are actually several wrestlers out there would benefit from being switched to Smackdown!. For the last 3 years Christian has floundered on RAW with no chance in hell of making it to the top of the ladder, despite being an underutilized MVP on the RAW roster. Over on SD!, he would fit in nicely with the main event division of Bradshaw, Guerrero, Cena etc (All fresh new feuds). They've obviously been teasing this for weeks, and if they screw us with a swerve it would be very unfortunate, both for us AND for Jay Reso. With La Resistance recently crumbling before our very eyes, it might be a nice touch if Sylvain Grenier was traded over to SD! and reunited with Rene Dupree. Chris Jericho, like Christian, has been given the shaft on RAW for the last four years, mostly due to the fact that Triple H doesn't like him. But if he still has that fire within him, imagine the battle of wits he could have with Cena, Bradshaw or Kurt Angle. Not to mention the entertaining matches he could have with Guerrero, Mysterio and EVEN The Undertaker! I'd also like to say I was against Chris Benoit going to RAW in the first place; I want him back on SD! again so he can get back into wrestling matches with Kurt Angle, and (don't laugh) Nunzio! If only one of my ideas come to fruition let it be the following. I don't care what show it is on, but I am frothing at the mouth anticipating the possibility of a Benoit vs Bradshaw feud. Nobody is talking about this but I think those two guys would share a chemistry equivalent to Rock vs Austin, Angle vs Mysterio, or HHH vs HBK. I want it Vince, and I want it NOW!

The Smackdown! to RAW Excitement: For some of the wrestlers on Smackdown! busting their asses week after week for a show that nobody (management and fans) cares about. Such stars as Bradshaw, The Big Show, Kurt Angle, would absolutely DOMINATE on RAW and get the exposure that they deserve. With Smackdown! going to Friday nights and expecting a major drop in ratings, who would even want to stay on that show? Let's face it, Smackdown! is a sinking ship right now. The idea of jumping to RAW right now has to interest each and every wrestler right now.

The RAW to Smackdown! Fear: In the same breath, if you're a current wrestler on RAW you have got to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown waiting to learn the fate of your career. The very notion of being switched from the WWE marquee show to the show that is being slammed in the ratings and nobody seems to care about. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to recognize that Smackdown! has been going way downhill in the last two years because they are not putting any effort into pushing it up to the same level as RAW. With all due respect to JBL, Eddy Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, and Rey Mysterio that show simply sucks, compared to its potential. There are a whole bunch of RAW wrestlers on the verge of stardom on that show who are scared to death of moving to Smackdown! only to be lost in the shuffle and demoted. There are rumors of Edge being switched to Smackdown!. This would be a huge mistake in my opinion since his mega-push has all happened on RAW and it would be useless to jump to SD! and start from scratch after so many people put him over on RAW. Kane is another wrestler rumored to be traded to SD!. I will admit that SD! is the land of the Giants and Kane could feud with Big Show, Matt Morgan, Heidenreich, and -- wait that would be a complete demotion from feuding with the RAW guys. Muhammad Hassan has been shoved down our throats for months and putting him over onto SD! would kill his act since it is a taped program. Triple H, even though he would only get switched if he wanted to, must be the most paranoid. Triple H has been over on RAW portraying himself as the biggest Star in history. According to HIM, he's the reason people watch WWE. The "biggest star" should be the one to save Smackdown!, but if he goes over to that show and it fails, then he will be exposed for the fraud he is. Unless he took some the supporting cast from RAW with him. I mean let's face it, after his feuds with Angle, Taker and Bradshaw where can he go? We can definitely agree that for a WWE Superstar, the idea of jumping from the stud show to the dud show is scary as hell.

The Smackdown! to RAW Fear: On the other hand, some of the guys who are getting over huge on Smackdown! (Guerrero, Angle, Bradshaw, Cena, Booker T) have got to be feeling the pinch with the idea of going over to RAW. I'm sure they watch on Monday nights as talented wrestlers consistantly get buried by the almighty Triple H. At least on Smackdown! there is a level playing field and guys will get rewarded for their efforts. Do you think Cena, Bradshaw, Guerrero, Mysterio, Booker T, Carlito or Hardcore Holly would have achieved the same exposure on RAW. Hell no. It's a two-sided coin however as these same wrestlers have to worry about the prospect of Triple H coming to SD! and dominating that show while burying its existing talent. Sucks to be you.

With all of that said, there are always several break-out stars that come out of the draft. Last year it was Shelton Benjamin, Booker T and Edge. It would be really had to predict a break-out star, as you're not really supposed to see it coming, otherwise it defeats the purpose. Christian is the no-brainer. I could really see a main event run in William Regal's future if he were traded to Smackdown!. I also believe if Rob Conway stays on RAW by himself, he could really "break on through to the other side", so to speak.

I think a great way to introduce Frankie Kazarian would be for one of the General Managers to pick his name out of the lottery bin and say "What? Who the hell is Frankie Kazarian?" and the other GM says "Oh no! I signed him two months ago and was hiding him until after the draft!" and then people would be like, "I wonder who this guy is?!" And on the winning program, they would play vignettes about his arrival.

In conclusion, I'd just like to clarify my stance on Triple H. He is a great wrestler, one of the best, if not THE best. But he has to modify is political motives. And I also think he should stay on RAW and let the hungry stars save Smackdown!.

by Brad Dykens


Dan Morrison wrote:
I am sat here 2 hours before WWE Judgment Day and I am thinking about last Mondays Raw. What Vince McMahon said this past week has left a bittersweet taste in my mouth. 4 weeks of draft I just hope this aids the fans as it will aid his pocket and ratings I say this as I am looking at the Judgment day card and wondering if it is worth my £14.95? I mean this is just a Wrestlemania repeat as Backlash was and Summerslam probably will be so what can the draft change? Who will face the champions at Summerslam? I would love to see Christian vs. John Cena as the Smackdown main event but I'm not banking on it. People are drooling over all the teasers that are been put over but I not following the hype. Vince is smart and he knows Raw is solid so I'm not expecting to see Kurt on Monday nights or Randy on Fridays. There are 10 superstars moving show or maybe less with trades! How many main eventers need a new challenge? Within my opinion all of them Batista needs big guys to give him the time frame his matches should be and Cena needs technical guys to improve him all round. I expect backstage and higher powers know this but I doubt the titles will move shows. If anything I would love to see a Shelton Benjamin style rise on Smackdown or some solid tag teams formed by the draft but again within my opinion I cant see anything worthwhile in the draft as the choice is risk it all or play safe and the lack of mainstream competition means as last year Vince can play it safe.

This wrestling fan isn't getting excited by the draft not because I am trying to be smart as I could be wrong but I don't see there been a reason to gamble I'll buy whatever i'm not excited about Cena vs. JBL after there wrestlemania match but I know that no matter how stupid the gimmicks and storylines there is wrestling to be seen and that's all I could ask for.

In conclusion the draft may be great or bad depending who you are but the product will always be wrestling don't forget that.
Erkka Järvinen wrote:
Sometimes it's just hard that my favourite wrestling site host (Brad Dykens) hates my favourite wrestler ;)
Steven Brooks wrote:
I think what you have to say, Brad Dykens, is actually very clever. You took on 4 viewpoints and talked about them. And I agree totally about what you say about Triple H. However, I think we have Drafts every year for 2 reasons.

1. So we can have unique Wrestlemanias every year. I mean let's face it, everything all year round, even our 12 or 13 PPVs, is just to build up tension for Wrestlemania.

2. The second reason is to help Smackdown!. Everyone is talking about how Smackdown! is a sinking ship and whoever goes over, with the exception of Christian and Sylvain Grenier, will just go down with it. I think whoever goes to Smackdown! is going over to help it. You say that they'll fail but I say they will make it. Big Time.

I'm going to end my thoughts by saying that I have a lot of trust in Vince McMahon and that I know he will make the right choices.

P.S. I hope Vince does what you said about Kazarian.
Antonio Figueroa wrote:
I really agree with a lot of the points you have made here, Brad, but there is one thing I strongly disagree with, and that is the notion that Smackdown! is a sinking ship. It is completely unfair to say that when the people directly responsible for Smackdown!'s ratings drop are NOT the Superstars, NOT the writing team, and definately NOT the fans. The ones responsible are Vince and the board of directors for DELIBERATELY doing everything possible to make sure that the casual fan thinks Smackdown! is the "B" show. Think about it; JR's never-ending speeches about how RAW is the "flagship brand"; the fact that a RAW match has headlined EVERY ONE of the "Big 4" PPVs, (WM, Summerslam, Royal Rumble, Survivor Series) since Summerslam '03; the use of big-name stars (so to speak) such as Scott Steiner, Goldberg, Kevin Nash, the Rock, SC Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, and Mick Foley on RAW, while Smackdown! gets worthless losers like Roddy Piper and Rey Mysterio. When you take a look at the rosters, storylines, and PPVs, Smackdown! is very, VERY far ahead of RAW. The only reasons why it continues to draw lower ratings are that it is up against MUCH stiffer competition, and that Vince and his buddies pull every string possible to make sure the show fails.
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