It’s deja vu for Vince McMahon at WWE draft
Perhaps Vince McMahon should consider staying home the next time there is a draft on Raw. On last year’s draft episode, McMahon’s limo exploded into flames seconds after he got into it, kicking off the “Who Blew Up Vince McMahon” story line that was scrapped after a couple weeks in the wake of the Benoit tragedy.
Last night, the three-hour Raw draft special concluded with McMahon being taken out on a stretcher after part of the set collapsed on him. To show that it was “real,” Triple H, John Cena and Edge all broke character and tried to come to McMahon’s aid. When McMahon regained consciousness, he called out for “Paul,” which is his son-in-law Triple H’s real name.
The “accident” is being used as the story line reason for ending McMahon’s Million Dollar Mania. WWE announced on its Web site after the show that the weekly money giveaways have been suspended for the foreseeable future.
I suppose this is leading to another whodunit. It might end up being a good story line, but I would be more enthusiastic about it if I hadn’t seen something so similar a year ago. No matter how it turns out, it has to be better than the McMahon illegitimate child angle, right?
As for the draft, much of it was predictable, although Triple H being sent to Smackdown was a big surprise. It was no secret that WWE was going to be moving around major stars, but I never believed that Triple H would leave the flagship show. Based on what had gone on earlier in the draft, it was obvious that the final selection was going to be a huge name, but I would have bet anything at that point that it was going to be John Cena.
Hopefully, this isn’t a swerve and Triple H really is going to Smackdown. If you recall, Triple H was drafted to Smackdown in 2004, but he quickly was traded back to Raw in exchange for Booker T. and The Dudleys. Yes, Triple H was worth a multi-time world champion and one of the most decorated tag teams of all time. But I digress.
The other surprise for me was the switching of play-by-play men, as Jim Ross went to Smackdown and Michael Cole went to Raw.
Unlike past years, when ensuring that Raw remained the top brand seemed to be the priority, Raw and Smackdown benefited equally from this draft. ECW, however, once again got the short end of the stick. It lost its top two babyfaces – ECW champion Kane and CM Punk – to Raw and gained just one wrestler – Matt Hardy from Smackdown.
Before the show began, just for fun I jotted down some moves that I thought made sense. Here’s what I came up with: Raw gets Batista, MVP and CM Punk; Smackdown gets Jeff Hardy, Mr. Kennedy, Umaga and Carlito; ECW gets Rey Mysterio, Mark Henry and Santino Marella. Like I said, some of the moves seemed obvious, but I’m pretty surprised that guys who clearly need a change of scenery such as MVP, Carlito and Marella are staying put.
My biggest complaint about the draft is the lack of logic regarding how the picks are decided and what happens when a champion is drafted. Last night, the winning brand of each inter-promotional match got a draft pick. But what is the wrestlers’ motivation for winning? Why would they care if their show gained a wrestler? Wouldn’t a heel especially not want more competition? For example, Edge went all out to win the battle royal so that Smackdown could gain two picks, which turned out to be Triple H and Mr. Kennedy – two guys that will likely be gunning for Edge’s world heavyweight title.
It would have made more sense if WWE had announced at the beginning of the show that the winner of each match would receive some type of bonus. That way, at least, they would have incentive for winning.
It also makes absolutely no sense that Kane, the ECW champion, is drafted to Raw and gets to take the belt with him. What exactly is he the champion of if he isn’t on ECW anymore? It’s the same thing with WWE champion Triple H going to Smackdown, which already has world heavyweight champion Edge. So, Smackdown has two world champs, Raw has the ECW champ and ECW has no champ.
I know some people will say that it’s just wrestling and that I’m over-thinking it, but this kind of stuff drives me crazy. Of course, as far as the belts are concerned, that all could be rectified Sunday at the Night of Champions pay-per-view.
Here’s a look at each of the draft selections in the order in which they occurred:
Rey Mysterio (Smackdown to Raw): It was time for Mysterio to leave Smackdown, but I thought he would have been a perfect choice for ECW. That show needs him a lot more than Raw.
Jeff Hardy (Raw to Smackdown): Raw had much more depth on top than Smackdown, so this is a great move. My first two thoughts were that a Jeff Hardy-Edge title program will be fantastic, and we’ll finally get the long-awaited Jeff Hardy-Matt Hardy feud. I had it all planned out: Jeff challenges Edge for the title, but Matt turns on his brother and costs him the belt because Jeff got the title shot that he never received.
CM Punk (ECW to Raw): It was pretty obvious that Punk had outgrown ECW, so the only question was whether he would end up on Raw or Smackdown. Hopefully, he won’t get lost in the shuffle on Raw.
Matt Hardy (Smackdown to ECW): So much for that Hardy Boyz feud. I’ve thought for a while that Matt was worthy of a bigger push, but being the leader of the “C” show wasn’t what I had in mind.
Jim Ross (Raw to Smackdown) and Michael Cole (Smackdown to Raw): I certainly have mixed feelings on this one. I think the addition of Ross certainly enhances Smackdown, and he and Mick Foley could make a fine team. However, I think it’s a shame that Ross will no longer call the action on the “A” show, and I’ll miss the chemistry between Ross and Jerry Lawler. I think Ross will miss it too, because he’s either a great actor or he was legitimately upset after the switch was announced. I do think that Cole is underrated, although he obviously has big shoes to fill. At least it’s Cole trying to fill them and not Mike Adamle. I thought it was interesting that Foley buried his own show by saying that he wanted to work with Ross but he was hoping to do so by being drafted to Raw.
Batista (Smackdown to Raw): He had run out of fresh match-ups on Smackdown, so this one seemed like a lock.
Umaga (Raw to Smackdown): This move also seemed like a sure thing, as it had been talked about for months.
Kane (ECW to Raw): Even though Kane is ECW champion, I think he technically was on the Smackdown roster. Whatever. On Raw, Kane won’t be regarded as anything special.
Mr. Kennedy (Raw to Smackdown): Like Jeff Hardy, Kennedy will have a better opportunity to be a main-eventer on Smackdown. A Kennedy-Edge feud could be interesting, as Kennedy never did get retribution for Edge stealing his Money in the Bank title shot last year.
Triple H (Raw to Smackdown): It’s not that the move doesn’t make sense; it’s just that I never thought Triple H would leave Raw. The one person who has to be nervous about this is Edge. He’s clearly the top star on Smackdown, but that could change with Triple H in the mix.