So I'm back from my aforementioned journey to Texas. I've missed a lot of wrestling as a result of the trip, but I can't let this post pass without discussing WWE's 2008 draft. The short results of the draft, including after-show trades and picks, are as follows: The Raw brand gained Batista, CM Punk, Kane, the injured Rey Mysterio, Michael Cole, Kofi Kingston, Chuck Palumbo, Deuce, Jamie Noble, Layla, and Matt Striker. SmackDown got Triple H, Jim Ross, Jeff Hardy, Ken Kennedy, Umaga, Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Brian Kendrick, Trevor Murdoch, Maria, and DH Smith. Likewise, ECW is now the home of Finlay (and presumably Hornswoggle), Matt Hardy, John Morrison, and Super Crazy.
I have several thoughts about the draft picks themselves. We'll get to them one by one, starting with ECW. First, I have to say that one part of the draft bothered me tremendously. Matches were held to determine which brand received a draft pick. I'll accept that. What I refuse to accept is ECW's almost total lack of involvement. Each match should've featured a member from all three brands, if only to give them the appearance of equality. This didn't happen. ECW got the short end of the stick and it was obvious from the start that they would. If WWE wants us to take this draft as seriously as the draft of any other major sport, they need to make us believe the playing field is even from the start. That being said, I'm happy to see Super Crazy back on the ECW brand. It adds another Original to the roster, and with none of the WWE brands currently featuring a lightweight division of some sort, ECW is likely the best home for Crazy.
DH Smith being a part of SmackDown is also rather interesting. No, seriously! His presence on the blue brand kills the rumor that he'll be revealed as the partner of Ted Dibiase Jr. at Night Of Champions. Many times, the wrestling business won't do what's predictable just because it's so predictable, even if the majority of fans know it's coming and want to see it. Many times, this logic blows up in the faces of the promoters/writers/bookers. For proof of this, see Hornswoggle being revealed as Vince McMahon's son instead of Ken Kennedy. With DH Smith out of the picture on Raw, it should be interesting to see who Ted's new partner is going to be. Only time will tell if it turns out to be a better or worse choice than the Bulldog's kid. Likewise, Carlito is now a part of SmackDown, which is where he began his WWE career. Carlito recently complained about his status in WWE, and has now been "demoted" because of it. Interestingly enough, he remains on the same brand as the man he buried, Triple H. Jeff Hardy, who also recently got in hot water with WWE management, is also now a part of the B show. For Hardy's health if not his career, I hope this serves as a wake-up call.
Does CM Punk's move to the Raw brand suggest a larger push for his character? One would think so. Deserved or not, WWE is currently in the aftermath of a steroid scandal. Considering this, a "straight-edge" smaller wrestler seems like the perfect person to feature on their lead brand. It should also be pointed out that the last time WWE rebounded from a steroid accusation, wrestling saw the rise of smaller wrestlers including Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. That worked out rather well. Furthermore, Punk's Money In The Bank title shot has yet to be cashed in. The storyline says he has between now and next year's WrestleMania to do so. How this will play out, especially with different champions switching brands in the draft, will hopefully make for fascinating TV. Kane re-joining Raw is also a good move in my opinion. He's far more associated with the red brand than with ECW. This move could be used to explain the upcoming working relationship between the Raw and ECW brands. Night Of Champions will now feature Raw versus SmackDown matches for two of the company's Heavyweight titles. How WWE writes themselves out of those corners should be fun to watch. Or just very confusing. Unfortunately, the results of the pay-per-view seem a bit more predictable now that the trades have been made.
In other news, WWE has launched an official t-shirt line similar to the Afflication brand. "WWE Top Rope" shirts will retail for about $45 USD. Normal WWE shirts sell for around $20-$30 USD. It is currently unknown whether the Top Rope shirts are of a better quality. The first two shirts in the Top Rope line are for Shawn Michaels and Triple H. They can be viewed at the links below:
Lastly, I'm happy to announce that this blog will soon feature a female's perspective in addition to my own. A friend of mine who through the years has worked with me on various wrestling-related projects will soon be joining this blog with a regular column. We're still working out the specifics, but I assure you, her work will be worth reading.
Enjoy your weekend, loyal readers.