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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Draft Lottery Revisited: The Winners and Losers

On the May 28th edition of *Raw, *Shane McMahon announced that there would be another Draft Lottery on June 11, 2007. For the first time in WWE history, the Draft Lottery occurred across three brands. Today is July 25th, one month and 14 days after the draft lottery. I thought it might be appropriate to go back and take a look at the winners and the losers of the WWE's attempt to restructure their rosters.

The first pick in this years draft was The Great Khali. Khali moved from Raw to Smackdown with his translator Runjin Singh in tow. A month and a half ago, Khali was being fed to the unstoppable John Cena. Now, he is unbelievably a World Heavyweight Champion. Khali scored a win in a triple threat match over Kane and Batista, and there is no doubt that when it comes to the draft, Khali is a big winner.

The second draft choice was The Boogeyman. Moving from Smackdown to ECW, Tazz was forced to feign interest in the bizarre superstar. Being placed in a makeshift tag team with Kane and feuding with Finlay seemed like it was not doing much for the Boogeyman's career. After getting the best of Matt Striker, Boogey has been served up to a repackaged Viscera, and while it remains to be seen who will get the better of this feud, it's fairly safe to say that this worm eater has taken either a lateral step or a step down. I would consider the Boogeyman a draft loser.

Next up was King Booker with Queen Sharmell. Booker was on the shelf on Smackdown, and has returned to active competition on Raw. Despite being an entertaining part of his new brand, it cannot be denied that King Booker was a legit main eventer on Smackdown, and he is lost in the shuffle on Raw. From what I have read, Booker himself understands this, and was against the move in the first place. During his last Raw run, Booker contemplated retirement. He seems to have found his passion again, however losses to John Cena, Bobby Lashley, and Triple H aren't likely to do much for his royal demeanor. I would not be suprised to see Booker retired and focused on his PWA by this time next year. King Booker is a draft loser.

Torrie Wilson was taken from the Raw brand and situatied on the Smackdown brand. As a non-wrestling diva, this seemed to be a wise move for her. Featuring her on the same brand as the Women's Championship was a little too much for one night's broadcast. Wilson is fairly irrelevant to whatever brand she is on, but she is being featured much more frequently on Smackdown, and that's a good thing. Torrie Wilson is a draft winner.

Chris Masters went from jobbing on Raw to jobbing on Smackdown. While this would seem like a lateral move, the talent pool on Smackdown is probably weaker than Raw, and this was supposed to be an opportunity for Masters to break out. Moving to a new brand and being placed directly back into the rut you were in before makes you a big draft loser.

Bobby Lashley made his way from being an ECW World Champion to feuding with Carlito on Raw. This is a tough call, because the brand is better, but position is worse. So the question is would you rather be a Raw midcarder or an ECW champion? Ask Johnny Nitro that question. I would say that Lashley has taken a step down since losing to John Cena, and with Triple H and Shawn Michaels returning, there is going to be heavy competition at the top. Turn him heel? Well, Ken Kennedy, King Booker, and Randy Orton are no slouches either. Lashley is now a medium sized fish in a big pond. On any other brand he would be a dominate world champion. On Raw, he is an afterthought. Lashley is a loser.

Ric Flair moved from feuding with Carlito to being an injured member of the Smackdown roster. Spoilers show he will make his return this week. Flair has a chance to wrestle new opponents, and possibly hold that big gold belt one
more time. With a World title picture that has Khali and Mark Henry, a tired Batista, and an out of position Kane, Flair actually has some possibilities. His biggest competition will be a returning Rey Mysterio. Flair hasn't had too much of a chance to show what he can do on Friday nights, but I am going to go ahead and call him a draft winner.

Snitsky moved from ECW to Raw in an attempt to make us give a damn, but I don't think it is working. This is another example of a medium sized fish moving to the big pond. WWE wants to push Snitsky much the same way as Umaga was pushed. The problem? Umaga is featured already on that brand and basically does the same thing with a more exciting character and offense. The pumphandle slam is about the least intimidating move Snitsky could use. From a possible main event ECW feud with Lashley to squash matches on Raw? I am going to go ahead and say it's a step down. Raw has a powerful midcard, and it will be easy to get lost in the shuffle. Don't believe me ask the next guy.

Mr Kennedy... Kennedy! You were money in the bank and a top title contender. Then you got hurt. You would have been in perfect position to feud withEdge. Heck, he got hurt, so it’s almost as if the wrestling God’s wanted to return the favor. Unfortunately you are on Raw losing matches to Super Crazy and Jeff Hardy. With Lashley, Orton, and Triple H ahead of you in line, it doesn’t seem like you will be holding gold anytime soon. In March, no one would have denied you being a World Champion by the end of the year. You could be that champion on either of the other two brands. In fact, those brands need you. Moving to Raw, a step down. Mr. Kennedy, you are a draft loser.

London and Kendrick were over on Smackdown, and were the longest reigning tag team champions. Now they are featured about as often as Cryme Tyme and the Highlanders. Why does the WWE insist on flooding the Raw roster with talent that can’t even get TV time. Your big mouths were the reason for the move. Who would have thought going to Raw was a punishment? For most of the guys that got drafted there, that’s exactly what it has been. It will get worse when the big dogs heal. I wouldn’t expect to see these on TV more often than any other Raw tag team. That’s a definite contrast from where they were on Smackdown. Losers...

Kenny Dykstra was a hot prospect, but no matter how much the smark money was on him, he still has a ways to go before he is ready for a run at the big money, and there are more than enough guys in front of him. When he ditched the Spirit Squad, I think he lost some of his interest. Kenny Dykstra?
Really? The good news for this kid is that if he remained on Raw, he would never get on TV. A wiped out Smackdown pool has to make some use of him. Slight winner...

Viscera. Talk about a big fish in a small pond, this is your guy. Not to say he’s a big fish when it comes to being over and having charisma. He’s a big fat fish. Well, ask Khali, Mark Henry, Snitsky, and Umaga what being big will do for you in the wrestling business. Big Daddy V is likely to be a dominating force on Smackdown. That is until they finally turn Marquis Cor Von babyface and have him pounce right through V’s fat milky man tits. Still, V is likely to get wins over the other 6 dudes on the ECW roster at some point or another. That my friends, makes him a winner.

The Sandman’s home is ECW. Why the hell is he on Raw? Well let’s face it, there was no homefield advantage for the Sandman. He was constantly getting his ass whipped. Now after a decent program with Carlito, despite the fact that it really had no build or purpose, he is looking to get a few singapore cane shots on the head of William Regal. Could it be that a move to Raw has actually benefitted the Sandman? I will say he’s a winner for now, but as time goes on, he won’t be able to hang with other stronger babyface characters like Cena, Lashley, Michaels, HHH, and Hardy, and he will probably lose a lot of face time. Before long, he will be teaming with Val Venis on Heat, and losing to the World’s Greatest Tag Team. Present winner, future loser...

Hardcore Holly. What do you do for Smackdown when you steal Ken Kennedy and King Booker right out from under them? Give them a heaping helping of Hardcore Holly. WWE is likely to give Holly one last run to get over as a main eventer. Why they won’t do this once for Val Venis I will never know.

Both men are stuck in their WWE Attitude gimmicks, but the difference is Val can wrestle and talk. All Holly can do is suck. We saw how believable of a threat he was to the World Title when he got a shot at Brock Lesnar. He must have some sort of dirt on some McMahon. When he comes back, he is likely to be a winner, although it’s hard to say, as the last time he was on the Smackdown brand, they hardly used him. I would say teaming with Charlie Haas is the kiss of death, but it’s really only hurt Shelton Benjamin. Holly’s career was already dead.

The Miz. Smackdown’s joke becomes ECW’s stud. Is anyone really buying this?
I doubt it, but facts are, Miz has a long undefeated streak on Smackdown, and is now being cast as a cool dude on ECW. Someone in the office this buffoon. Taking him off Smackdown is a good way to keep him from being overexposed as being the hoorah spouting doofus that he is. A little time in the ring on ECW is likely to get him primed for, dare I say it... a push on a greater brand. God forbid this is what we have to look forward to, but if we all take a serious reality check, it appears that The Miz is on his way to mediocrity, just don’t assume he won’t be forced down our throats before he gets there.

Daivari. What brand is this dude on now? Oh yeah, Raw. What is he? A crusierweight? Oh, well that’s stupid right there. Hornswaggle is basically holding this dude’s belt right now. Daivari can get over with his Arab-American asshole character, and I would guess that he stillgenerates heat just from that sweet Muhammed Hassan music he enters to. So what does he get to do on Raw? Nothing likely, because he will never show up on there.

Perhaps a Daivari/Melina vs. Maria/Marella match is in the works. Ah, who cares. Both of those guys and one of those divas should be on Smackdown, where the chicks don’t wrestle and the little guys have a title reserved just for them. The only way Daivari is remotely a winner is for making me realize that if Santino and Maria get hitched that her name will be Maria Marella. Daivari, you are a loser.

The Major Brothers. How green are these guys? Smackdown has no tag teams at all, and they still aren’t seeing the light of day. Well, by default these guys are likely to take the Smackdown gold from Deuce and Domino before becoming job meat to Festus and Ray or whoever they are. Since there were no tag teams or tag belts on their old brand, that’s a step up. You gotta think that there are three or four tag teams on Raw that would love to trade places with them. Winners.

William Regal. Smackdown reestablished Regal as a wrestler. Raw looks to reestablish him as a character. But will they pull the trigger? If he gets a run as a commissioner, Regal is a winner. If he goes to wrestling Duggan on heat, he is a loser. Speaking of Duggan, if his backstage segments on Raw are as lame as the one he just did with Duggan, he is an even bigger loser. Time will tell for Mr. Regal...

Victoria. She ain’t the lady to mess with. Despite having nothing to really wrestle for, she is ready to show why she is the best wrestling diva in the WWE again. The problem? She has no one to show it with. Still, getting constant TV time with her gal pal Torrie Wilson is better than riding the pine until you are needed to team up with Raw’s heel diva of the moment.Isn’t that right Beth Phoenix and Jillian Hall? Victoria is in some strange way a draft winner. Now if we can only get her into Playboy by next march so she can get a women’s title match at Wrestlemania.

Jillian Hall. I think I said enough when I was talking about Victoria. With the return of Beth Phoenix, there has been literally nothing for Jillian to do. Still, somewhere in the rotation she will get a shot at Candice Michelle and the women’s championship. That has to be worth something right? A non-factor on both brands, I hate to call her a winner or a loser. She’s a linner, although I think that’s the meal between lunch and dinner.

Eugene. Oh Eugene, they still have you doing that same schtick. You weren’t one of the lucky repackaged ones were you? Too bad. You should havetaken a ticket to ECW. That’s regimmick city. You went from being a losing comedy character on Raw to being a losing comedy character on Smackdown. If something doesn’t happen quick, you will be a losing comedy character in the unemployment line. When you move brands and you don’t get over with a new audience, the most mention you get on WWE.com is when they are wishing you the best in your future endeavors. Eugene, you are a loser.

Johnny Afterthought. You were the last man traded in the supplemental draft.
You were a Raw IC champion a year ago. Before the draft you were buying Kenny Dykstra fur. No one seemed to know what to do with you. No one seemed to care. You go to ECW and become a World Heavyweight Champion. I am torn about your new gimmick, because while it may be cool, Johnny Nitro had money written all over it. A cocky young Hollywood hobknobber? That’s gold.

There are at least thirty guys that needed repackaged before you, but hey, I am guessing that the corporate brass just didn’t see Johnny Nitro as a main eventer. Getting repackaged then is a step up. Moving brands was also a step up. You were last, but you certainly aren’t least. Much to the contrary. You are the biggest winner in this years WWE draft. The only down side? You don’t have Melina’s stuff in your face when you make your entrance anymore. Well, you can’t win them all Johnny.

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