Another year, another draft has come and gone, and boy was this one full of surprises!! As usual, the picks loaded things in favour of RAW, but Smackdown did gain a few pretty interesting picks along the way.
The picks break down was as follows....
Joining Raw are:
Rey Mysterio: Man, I should have seen this coming!!! I was quite close to making that prediction, but I thought that he had a sure-fire return match feud with Edge that they just couldn't pass on. Either way, this opens up a lot of fresh matches that we haven't seen, I for one am excited to see his inevitable show-downs with Cena, Jericho, and Michaels now (the Michaels one I predicted would happen at last year's Wrestlemania at one point...who knows, maybe it'll happen at Wrestlemania 25 now).
I think that this really is a great move in a lot of ways, as it took someone who has been on Smackdown since he debuted, and brought him over to really freshen things up. Also, it separates him from Chavo and Vickie, two people who he will always be stuck with in storyline purposes. This lets him branch out and develop some meaningful feuds with other wrestlers instead.
CM Punk: CALLED IT!!!!! While I did see this moving, I have mixed emotions of it. The RAW side is pretty loaded with top-level faces, and I am not certain if Punk will be able to make much upward movement especially with Mysterio joining as well. That being said, I think that there is a lot of potential for CM Punk to be a major heel on this show. I really do think that this is the natural fit for him, as his straight edge style blends well to being a bad guy. If you don't believe me, then you probably haven't seen his ROH work.
Michael Cole: Now this is a risky decision, as JR really is the voice of RAW, and has been for a long time. They have tried repeatedly to replace him, but yet they always end up back to where they started. Cole and Lawler did have a certain chemistry at the beginning of Smackdown, so perhaps it will go well.
Batista: CALLED THIS ONE TOO!!!....last year....I was on the fence about calling this one as well, but I thought that they would keep Batista on Smackdown due to his draw among Latinos. However, it really does make a lot sense, considering just how many matches with Edge and The Undertaker he has had in the past year and a half, surely he needs somebody else to face.
By the way, I'm calling it now. Wrestlemania 25 will be main evented by Cena vs. Batista.
Kane: Now this was probably the second biggest surprise of the night for me. They announced earlier that the titles would go with the wrestlers (the opposite of what happened last year with Bobby Lashley), so we now have a RAW wreslter holding the ECW Title. Interestingly, he is scheduled to face The Big Show, a Smackdown wrestler for that title this Sunday.
This seems like it will be a positive move for RAW, but a negative move for Kane. They were in need a of a new monster to serve as a solid obstacle, and Kane is one of the best around. However, Kane seemed like he was just fitting into his niche as ECW Champion. He will surely drop that title to The Big Show on Sunday, and go back to floundering on RAW.
ECW only made one pick in the draft and it was a pretty big one...
Matt Hardy: This is a really big pick for ECW. First off, he is the US Champion, so that counts a great deal. But Hardy has potential to give a lot of help to young guys like Elijah Burke and Kofi Kingston, which was the plan for Chris Benoit when he moved over last year. Plus, since ECW and Smackdown have a talent exchange, he can move back to Smackdown all he wants. Not a bad move, especially considering the first pick Smackdown received...
Jeff Hardy: Once more, called it!!! This move really just seems logical. For starters, Hardy was getting lost in the shuffle on RAW, and it gives the option of a Hardy Boyz reunion, without forcing it. See if they were officially on the same brand, they would almost have to team up again, and really they are both ready for singles runs. This gives them an option to team up for a match or two, and then forces them to go their own way, it's all too perfect. Also, this gives a great chance for us to have a Hardy vs. Hardy match at Wrestlemania. Gee, where did we see that one before?
Jim Ross: I'm really not sure about this, like I said already, Ross is the voice of RAW, and it just seems weird to have him on Smackdown. Apparently, Ross wasn't told about this in advance, and even considered quitting. I just don't know how Ross and Foley are going to work together, but I guess it added to the whole "anything can happen" aspect of the draft.
Umaga: Great move for everyone, it was absolutely needed. I hope that they let him run roughshod over the roster for a while before switching on to the bigger names. There's not much more for me to say here that I didn't say yesterday.
Mr. Kennedy:...KENNEDY!!!! This is a great pick for Smackdown, and is probably the one that benefits the most amount of people. When Kennedy came out and pointed at Edge, I was reminded that Edge first moved to Smackdown after winning the briefcase from Kennedy (...Kennedy!!!) and cashing it in on the Undertaker. Then before Kennedy could get his revenge on Edge he was drafted away. As such, these two do have a history that can and hopefully will get played off. I would love to see a feud between the two, as it would be great on the microphone if nothing else.
Triple H: Now here is a total shock!!! He was always drafted a few years ago to Smackdown, but was then traded back to RAW for Booker T and the Dudleyz and well, none of them are still around to get traded back for. This does add some intrigue as it gives Smackdown a huge name, to hopefully keep their ratings up when they find a new home in the fall. I do worry a great deal about Edge, who has done a tremendous job of carrying the Blue Brand on his back for over a year now. Triple H rarely sits on the sidelines and a showdown between the two is pretty much inevitable. Hopefully they are able to keep them apart until Wrestlemania, but I somehow doubt that.
It does raise some interesting questions for this Sunday's Night of Champions Pay-Per-View. When Batista was drafted to RAW it seemed like it was a given that Edge would retain, however, now that Triple H, and the WWE Championship, are on Smackdown, one has to wonder how they plan on balancing them out. If they want to keep thigns as they are, they will have Edge retain and Cena win (thus bringing the WWE Championship back to RAW with him). However, if they really want to pull a swerve, they could have Triple H retain and have Batista win, thus returning the titles to how they were pre-2005 Draft.
In total then, there were 11 moves, and for most of hte night it appeared that RAW was the big winner, however, the move of Triple H really does change things up, and it could end up being pretty even between the two, for a change.
Apparently, there is talk of doing another Supplemental Draft focusing on the lower card talents, like last year. If that does happen I could see Deuce, Trevor Murdoch, Santino Marella, and Elijah Burke all moving around. I just hope that them moving around doesn't make anything blow up....
Until next time,