Reality + Fantasy = Another Obnoxious Draft Prediction
That’s right? I?ve conformed.
Everyone and their grandmother seem to be going to WWE.com and predicting their results from this Monday’s 3-hour draft special. That also includes me. While wrestling enthusiasts can vigorously sit back and scoff at me for being led into this ?fanboy? dream, there is just something entertaining about WWE’s somewhat-annual tradition. It is the one time in WWE’s calendar year where we can act as the owner of a major corporation and decide what we would do.
I know you?re making fun of me right now, mocking me from behind your computer monitor. Alright then, let me ask you a serious question: Do you play any fantasy sports? Baseball? Football? Dare I ask, NASCAR? If so, then you have no reason to laugh. What difference is there between your pre-season drafts and predicting the aftermath of upcoming WWE draft? None! That’s what makes this production so enjoyable; sitting back with your own personalized draft board, watching the selections, and vigorously nodding your head in agreement with your predictions or vehemently spouting every negative word in your feeble vocabulary when you are wrong.
Now granted I?m not ?that? into said draft, but this is probably one of my favorite times of the year next to the Royal Rumble and Wrestlemania. The sheer enjoyment of making predictions like these and seeing them played out is entertainment in its purest form. I have spent five days toiling over current rosters, results from matches, and the current status of all involved formulating what may or may not happen. Before I go into my predictions and why I have made them so, we need to look back at last year’s draft. This flashback is not because of the talent involved but the raw data, the statistics of it all. Break out the abacus, kids? let’s do some math.
ACCORDING TO THE 2008 DRAFT LAST JUNE:
26 talents switched brands ? 11 of these talents were traded during the 3-hour program. Two of those talents involved were announcers. Kane, then ECW Champion, was traded to Raw, and then lost his title in the following pay-per-view to Mark Henry. Six of these talents traded during the program would later become champions (Batista, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Rey Mysterio, and Triple H).
During the supplemental draft later in the week ? Only two Divas switched brands (Maria and Layla). Three talents were later released (Big Daddy V, Chuck Palumbo, and Super Crazy). Of the fifteen talents traded, only four became champions (Carlito, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry, and Shelton Benjamin).
After the June 2008 Draft, eight talents switched brands ? Four of the talents involved were not in-ring talent (Matt Striker, Tazz, Todd Grisham, and Theodore Long). Speaking of Long, Striker and Matt Hardy, they are the only three talents in WWE history to switch brands then later go back to the brands they had previously left (Striker drafted from ECW to Raw to return to ECW as announcer, Long switching to ECW from Smackdown to act as General Manager only to return to Smackdown and continue his managerial role, Hardy drafted from Smackdown to ECW then returning to Smackdown).
Are you confused yet? No? Well you will be because my predictions are soon to follow. By the numbers, here are my statistics for this year’s draft:
24 talents will switch with 12 of these occurring during the 3-hour program ? This is solely based on last year’s results. The talents involved are obviously main event talent or soon-to-be-pushed talent. Champions are obviously no exception to these changes, as well as announcers.
Smackdown’s roster maintains its number of talent while Raw gains one and ECW loses one ? Smackdown’s future on MyNetwork TV is in limbo which warrants the need to keep its roster number as is. ECW losing one of its performers is not due to its performance in the ratings but rather its knack for promoting new talent, as is the case with Jack Swagger and Tyson Kidd. With Raw being the flagship of WWE, changes to its roster have largely been to push mid-card talent to main event status; such was the case with Kofi Kingston.
*whew* Alright, now it’s time for the predictions. I will begin with the talent that I believe will switch because of the supplemental draft later in the week. And away we go!
Candice (From Raw to Smackdown) ? This switch is largely in part due to her proneness to injury and her lack of action in the ring. Seeing her vie for the Diva’s Title would also be a welcome change? she is the embodiment of the term devolving from female wrestler.
Evan Bourne (From ECW to Raw) ? What Kofi was in last year’s draft; Bourne will be in this year’s. It is very easy to view him wearing the Intercontinental Title within the calendar year.
Ezekiel Jackson (From Smackdown to Raw) ? Just because you are being drafted to Raw does not necessarily mean you are going to be pushed immediately. As you recall, Jamie Noble and Sin Snuka (then ?Deuce?) were drafted to Raw during the supplemental draft.
Hurricane Helms (From Smackdown to ECW) ? This is a very welcome change for all parties involved. The ECW Title has gradually changed from a ?big man’s? title to a ?wrestling? title with champions like Matt Hardy and Jack Swagger. Expect to see this title become one of the most competitive and credible in the company.
Matt Striker (From ECW to Smackdown) ? This will be understood later on?
Michael Cole (From Raw to ECW) ? See where I?m going with this?
Natalya (From Smackdown to ECW) ? This is apparent with her involvement with Tyson Kidd; A no-brainer basically.
Sin Snuka (From Raw to ECW) ? I would expect Snuka to be released soon with his relevancy dropping considerably. This empty slot could be utilized to promote rookie talent.
The Brian Kendrick (From Smackdown to Raw) ? I coupled Jackson and Kendrick together to go to Raw more for the purpose of performing dark matches and making the tremendously obnoxious assumption that brighter things are to come from this duo, from on-air spots to a potential rivalry with Crime Time.
The Miz (From ECW to Smackdown) ? A MizMo split has been seen on the horizon for quite some time and unfortunately Miz will be ?The Anvil? of this awesome duo. Remember the tremendously horrible spots he was doing with the Divas in ECW? Pray that doesn?t happen Friday nights.
Todd Grisham (From ECW to Smackdown) ? Do you see the announcing changes coming full circle now? A full explanation will appear as you read my 3-hour draft predictions.
William Regal (From Raw to ECW) ? Regal has been a wonderful performer and with his days in the industry feeling like years, I see him closing them out with a bang in ECW with a great storyline/rivalry with Finlay. Anything involving Regal and Hornswoggle, WWE’s Timmy (HA HA, TIMMMAAAH!), would be well received. No? Well bite me, it’s funny!
Well, that does it for the supplemental draft. While I know there are many assumptions I?ve made that leave you scratching your head and looking at me like a dog that’s been shown a card trick, there were many others that were effected by the predictions I have made for tonight’s Raw. In the only order I believe in, alphabetical, here are my hair-brained projections.
Big Show (From Smackdown to Raw) ? With Vickie Guerrero self-appointing herself as General Manager of Raw and the world’s ugliest love triangle ending hopefully last week, there is no better reason for this move. It is wonderful to finally see this performer utilized in a full time capacity. I?m sure many of you were like me fearing that Show was going to descend into mediocrity like so many times before after Wrestlemania 24.
Chris Jericho (From Raw to Smackdown) ? After being responsible for the AARP genocide for the past few months, it’s about time for ?Lionheart? to have a change in scenery. Potential rivalries will be found aplenty for him on Fridays, as well as quite possibly making him the number one heel on that day of the week.
Jack Swagger (From ECW to Smackdown) ? While many of my cohorts and co-conspirators are postulating Swagger will be moving to Raw, I believe a move to Smackdown would be more beneficial for both the federation and Swagger. Slowly building his microphone skills will be the goal, grooming him into what I could see as a junior varsity Kurt Angle; phenomenal wrestling skills to compliment a fresh face without the lengthy resume. With this said, expect Swagger to lose the ECW Title come Backlash? and no, it will not be Tommy Dreamer.
Jim Ross (From Smackdown to Raw) ? This is seen as a no-brainer to all involved. His goal was to establish Smackdown on MyNetwork and he did what he could. It’s not Ross? or anyone else’s fault that the network is poorly promoted or funded. The emerging and most-pressing question following the main draft would be how WWE will reorganize its announcing teams. After reading through my supplemental draft, I think you?ve gotten an idea with where I?m going and that is the compensation for Grisham and Striker’s work on ECW. It is not so much an indictment on Michael Cole’s work as an announcer sending him to ECW, but more about promoting new talent? even when they have paid their dues and are hardly considered rookies.
John Cena (From Raw to Smackdown) ? ?Duh,? you proclaim emphatically. With the World Heavyweight Title match set in stone for Backlash against Edge, there is no reason why Cena should not be sent to Fridays and maintain the most consistent rivalry WWE has to offer.
John Morrison (From ECW to Raw) ? His talent in the ring is unparalleled, his microphone skills and camera presence has been fine-tuned and well-groomed. Thanks to ?The Dirt Sheet? and his workhorse-like utilization (at times wrestling twice in one house show); Morrison does not only deserve of a main event push to Raw, his effort within the company demands it. Expect at least two different titles around this young man’s waist within the calendar year.
Kofi Kingston (From Raw to Smackdown) ? ?Doug, in last week’s column where you were watching Wrestlemania and writing it in real time, you were buying first class tickets on Kofi’s bandwagon!? I know which is why he needs to go to Smackdown where there will not be as much competition for airtime.
Montel Vontavious Porter (From Smackdown to Raw) ? Another great performer in all facets deserving to work live on Monday nights, MVP has been a consummate mid-card talent worthy of main event status. Although he holds the United States Title, there is nothing saying that he might bring the title with him to Raw and keep it there. Both the Intercontinental and United States titles have often been viewed as stepping stones to the WWE and World titles respectively. So why not traded places with the two?
R-Truth (From Smackdown to ECW) ? In last year’s draft, we saw Matt Hardy go to ECW. This year, Killings seems to be a safe bet to be the lone performer to go to the land of extreme on Monday night. Imagine the rivalries he could have with Mark Henry, Tyson Kidd, and the inevitable Christian.
Rey Mysterio (From Raw to Smackdown) ? While it may seem sacrilege to have a performer drafted in consecutive years, with Rey holding the Intercontinental Title and my projection of MVP going to Raw, it seemed only apparent to make this move. On top of that, Smackdown needs a rejuvenation of sorts. With it being on network television, a return of superstars who are kid-friendly is needed, thus the shipment of sugar-coated Cena and Rey to appease the pip-squeak masses.
Triple-H (From Smackdown to Raw) ? ?Triple Duh,? you expound obnoxiously. It was tremendously odd seeing ?The Company Man? on Fridays and like Jim Ross sitting along ringside, never seemed to look or sound right. With the MyNetwork establishment done and over with, it is time to return to normalcy. Maybe now we will see a ?real? feud between him and Randy Orton and not be reduced to the watered-down version we are been fed right now.
Vladimir Kozlov (From Smackdown to Raw) ? This is what I would like to call ?the experiment?. This was the same experiment that was used in the form of Mr. Kennedy. I would definitely consider The Great Khali’s move from Smackdown to Raw a couple of years ago as ?an experiment? also. I see Kozlov making a push for a title of some form, only to lose, and then dive into mediocrity barring some kind of miraculous innovation in charisma injections by the federal government making him enjoyable to listen to.
After countless hours of toiling at my dry-erase board, you have now witnessed what my caffeine-fueled mind can produce. While I will admit most of my assumptions seem painstakingly obvious, there are some that I have placed enormous amounts of confidence in. Expect me to apologize next week for being an idiot and completely misjudging WWE, because as we all know, they never do what is the most logical or most obvious when it comes comforting the wrestling enthusiasts. So, with that said, forget everything I just predicted and enjoy the draft?
Until next time, mouth-breathers!