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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Draft Lottery: Where WWE Stands Now
July 11, 2005 by Bruce C.


Every year the draft lottery has been held, 2002, 2004, and now 2005, it has taken on a different structure. There was a lot of debate as to which structure is the best, and it appears to be, now, that the general consensus is that the latest draft was the most successful.

For those of you who haven't been watching, take a look at the draft results on the front page. To sum it up, John Cena, Kurt Angle, Carlito, Big Show, Rob Van Dam have defected to RAW, while Chris Benoit, Randy Orton, Muhammad Hassan, Christian, and Batista have joined SmackDown!. Now, the Draft unfolded in the structure that over four weeks, each side would receive five picks, one each week, two on the last week. In 2004, it was a six person trade from each side, all done in one show, randomly. Similarly, in 2002, every wrestler was put into a pool, which each owner could then choose wrestlers from the pool to make up their roster, all done in one show as well.

The element that made this years' draft cool and what REALLY boosted ratings was the fact that the suspense factor is kept up every week. Nobody would have guessed every week a huge pick would have been made, as the case with this weeks' draft. When I tuned into the first RAW edition of the Draft Lottery, I was completely amazed to see such a daring move: John Cena was on RAW. This sent a message to the fans; this draft had absolutely no limits whatsoever, unlike last year. I could tell you, if SmackDown! was live and no one had any spoilers to read, EVERYONE would have clamoured to turn on the TV to see SmackDown!, and how it would react to its Champion being lost. Alas, spoilers were posted across the internet, and it soon became common knowledge that SmackDown! had selected Chris Benoit. Compare that to last years' draft, I sure as heck wasn't excited when people like Nidia were switching sides, followed with mid-carders at bests, like Jindrak and Dupree. The Triple H stunt was very obvious that it was a swerve. The draft BEFORE that, the 2002 one, wasn't obvious, but as it unfolded, the picks made absolutely no sense, in addition to being unrealistic, and as soon as they said Triple H and Stone Cold were not available for draft, it was obvious that they were both going to RAW, as it was the flagship.

Now, further in review, how did the draft do" Did it really help the WWE" Well, RAW, at least. I think it was a great move to switch the titles around, because any wrestling fan with brains will say that the WWE Championship is more prestigious than the World Championship, as RAW is kind of like the old WWF now, and SmackDown! has been made to be like WCW (the shape of the old WCW belt, the US title, and the Cruiserweight title).

Personally, I think Chris Benoit going to SmackDown! was awesome, as he really didn't have a place on RAW anymore and was getting lost in the shuffle, and being on SmackDown should help that. Same with Kurt Angle and Big Show going to RAW, they had hit a dead end on SmackDown, both of them and had no one more to feud with, but the very likely danger is that Angle will be buried by Triple H as the top heel, and Angle maybe will basically have his title hopes diminished by Trips. A long Michaels vs. Angle feud would be very welcome by most, I would think, but those same people know that Angle deserves another title run. I thought it was kind of obvious Carlito was going to beat Benjamin as soon as his music hit. The final week, Big Show and Rob Van Dam were sent to RAW, and unfortunately, it's quite obvious neither of them will make a huge impact, as Big show may be shoved to the mid-card, and RVD will probably not be wrestling for a while, let alone be in the main-event. Randy Orton going to SmackDown! is the best possible thing for him to do, as I think Orton's destiny is to become the top heel in the business next to Triple H. I hope at Summerslam there will be an Orton vs. Taker match, maybe some sort of gimmick match, where Taker will put over Orton, because it sure as hell would make no sense to make Taker win.

The other significant move was sending Muhammad Hassan to SmackDown!. In my opinion I don't see a huge point to this, as either moving one person to another show opened up new feuds and more possibilities for their character, but Hassan was doing great on RAW, and I don't see how this would be beneficial at all to either Hassan or SmackDown!. I'll be honest, I'm not a huge Hassan fan, mostly because of his gimmick, granted his mic skills are very good, though his in-ring work his not fantastic. I believe making Hassan challenge for the US title would be a great thing, but the thing that kind of makes me believe Hassan is being pushed too hard is that he already got a title shot, and now is facing Taker for another one. Something tells me Hassan will actually win that title shot, seeing as how I don't see Taker winning it, because it would make no sense because he should be in a feud with Orton. There is also the looming and inevitable return of Brock Lesnar, who has already signed a deal with the WWE. So I don't think that Hassan winning a title shot is a great thing to do, they should have him waste the title shot on a regular show, and challenge Chris Benoit, who will hopefully take the US title off of Orlando Jordan.

These are basically my views on the draft, and the generic view of a lot of people. I think in a large part, the draft was a success, as the WWE product will be better, especially RAW.

by Bruce C. ..


Kevin Luu wrote:
In my opinion, SD! got the short end of the stick in the draft. Mainly because of the guys they lost. Two of their best heels on SD!(other than JBL) Angle and Carlito, and possibly the biggest face in WWE at the moment, Cena. I think Cena is too over with the fans to even be overshadowed by HHH's dominance. Can't wait to see Jericho main-eventing at Summerslam against him (about time for Y2J). There'll be competiton for top heel between HHH and Angle unless one of them turns face. I hear we should be expecting a "new" HHH when he returns. Maybe he'll turn face. Just a thought.

A quick note on Benoit, great to see him on SD! Although I'd rather see him challenge for the World Title rather than the U.S. He's proven he's one of the big dogs. I agree Hassan is being pushed to hard. I would've liked to see him have a decent reign as I.C. or U.S. champ first.

One good thing about the SD! draft picks is that they are all capable of winning the title. Unlike Show and RVD. Maybe Show given the right storyline. RVD might be Mr. Pay Per View but it would be nice to see him become Mr. Main Event too. I'll leave it on that note. Thanks for your time.
Luke O'Neil wrote:
In my opinion, Raw got the better of the draft and the trades. Raw got 2 major heels while smackdown got 2 good heels ( Hasson and Orton) and 1 ok heel in Christian. Hasson can replace Carlito with his mic skills, everyone hating him and his ok wrestling skill. There is no Orton or Christian can replace Angle. Orton and replace Angle as a heel but aa worse heel ( I am not sayin Orton is bad heel at all.) Also with Angle moving to Raw, who will be the best heel" I personially think HHH will turn face for 2 reasons: 1- With HBK turning heel and 2- HHH's absents of Raw. I dont have much to say about the Big show and RVD moving to Raw.

I think Jericho should have moved to smackdown because Carlito's Cabana moved to Raw. I also think Jericho did all he could on Raw and it was time for him to move to Smackdown. He is just like Orton , he did all he could on Raw. The only difference is Orton moved to Smackdown and Jericho did not.

I think moving Benoit to Smackdown was a great think. I agree with Kevin Luu that Benoit should get a World Title shot not a U.S and everyone drafted is capable of winning the title. Everyone knows Benoit is one of the best on smackdown. Why are they pushing him down"

Moving Cena and the WWE Title to Smackdown was a good and bad. Good because the WWE title fits more on Raw than smackdown. Cena fits the same on both shows. Moving Cena to Raw could hurt smackdown's ratings.

Now to Hasson. Why was he moved to Smackdown" He was moved to help his charactor. With Hasson fueding with the Undertaker and getting a #1 contender shot, Why" Hasson will most likey win because Taker will most likey face Orton at Summerslam. Now with Hasson winning a title shot, WWE can do some of these ideas i come up with. Brock Lesnar returns, challenge Hasson for his title shot and win. This could mean Brock could face Batista or JBL for the title. Brock v.s JBL for the title could be good ( Brock as a face) or Brock v.s Batista for the title could be even better ( Brock as a heel) . I want Brock to be a face personally.

I think this Big BLOCKBUSTER trade was really bad for both shows. They destroyed BOTH TAG DIVISIONS. No more Bashems (SD), Regal and Tajiri ( Raw) and La Resistance also Raw. Right now there are only 2 official tag teams on each show. Raw- the Super Heros (C) and the Heart Throbs ( they need to learn to be a better tag team. Smackdown- MNM (C) and JBL's cabinet ( they dont even tag anymore). There is also the mexicools ( Very stupid), who are a faction right now and being really stupid.
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