Iâ€™ve got full breakdown of every pick from this yearâ€™s Draft. Plus Jim Ross finally clears the air about his contract status and WWE Studios has the gall to options a film about a wrestler.
Opening Witty Banter
Good riddance to Bubba The Love Sponge. I know I donâ€™t talk about TNA here because itâ€™s not my thing but Iâ€™m so incredibly excited to see that waste of talent leave TNA. Wrestling fans have always complained about nepotism in pro wrestling and Hogan hiring Bubba for TNA was the highest form of nepotism. Good riddance, and classy way to exit via your Twitter comments.
Letâ€™s take some â€˜Eâ€¦
The News of the Week
With the 2010 Draft in the books after Monday nightâ€™s live draft lottery and Tuesdayâ€™s supplemental draft a total of 20 talents switched brands. Here is my expert analysis of each draft pick means for the wrestler involved, starting first with Monday nightâ€™s live picks.
Kelly Kelly (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ Kelly isnâ€™t known for her impeccable wrestling ability and is more known for her looks and sunny disposition. While she has greatly improved since she began her wrestling training she isnâ€™t a five star athlete. With Mickie James being released recently, moving Kelly to SmackDown will fill a void of a â€œgood girlâ€ who can provide foil for SmackDownâ€™s villains like Michelle McCool and Layla. She should do well on SmackDown as partner to new Womenâ€™s Champion Beth Phoenix and fellow cheery blonde Tiffany. Plus she was being both Gail Kim and Eve Torres on the wrestling pecking order on RAW and being The Bella Twins when it came to arm candy.
The Big Show (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ The Big Show is the largest utility player in pro wrestling. Just like I said last year when he was moved from SmackDown to RAW, he has portrayed the ruthless monster, a big friendly giant, an enforcer, an under-utilized big man who didnâ€™t live up to his potential, amongst a variety of other roles. Since his initial debut in WWE back in 1999, The Big Show has changed from villain to hero probably more times than anyone. He has been used quite well in the past year and a half and that wave of momentum should continue upon his return to SmackDown. He is a multi-time World Champion and built-in main event star that will make him a valuable commodity on the top of SmackDownâ€™s roster, which is admittedly lacking in major league star power.
John Morrison (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ John Morrison was quizzically turned into a â€œgood guyâ€ when he was transferred to SmackDown last year during the supplemental draft. While it allowed him to display his flashy offense much easier, he never really broke out like it seemed he would. The Morrison character works much better as a villain but now that he is back officially on the RAW brand he will find himself stuck behind a plethora of talent on either side of the fence. At the very least he can rekindle his feud with his former partner The Miz and make a solid impact on the mi-card.
R-Truth (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ R-Truth is the definition of mid-card filler. His entrance and sing-along theme music make him a hit with fans but doesnâ€™t seem destined to climb the ladder up the card. On the bright side he was drafted alongside his current tag team partner John Morrison so their partnership can continue on the RAW brand. At the very least a permanent move to RAW will give Truth the most consistent exposure he has experienced since he returned to the company in 2008.
Edge (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ Where ever Edge moves to is a big move. His return in 2004 and subsequent draft to RAW put him in the main event stratosphere gave him the moniker The Rated R Superstar. Then in 2007 he made a hasty move back to SmackDown by cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase and started to earn his reputation as The Ultimate Opportunist. After returning from another injury at Royal Rumble 2010 he was welcomed by the fans as he looked to take out his former tag team partner and even bigger villain, Chris Jericho. While he worked in the hero role in his war against Jericho, now that he is back on RAW it looks as if his true wily colors are back. In first appearance back on RAW he made an enemy of former World Tag Team Championship partner Randy Orton and then on the following episode of SmackDown Edge confirmed a return to his villainous ways during a confrontation with his long time partner Christian. Edge will surely excel once again as the top villain on the companyâ€™s flagship and mix it up with the companyâ€™s top players.
Kofi Kingston (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ There was no bigger move that needed to be made in this Draft than the transfer of Kofi Kingston to SmackDown. Since his arrival in 2008, Kingston had been a happy-go-lucky babyface with an aerial offense, a flashy smile and a bright look that was a great undercard show stealer. Then in late 2009 he got his chance to move up the card with a hot feud against Randy Orton that made Kingston into more of a player than he had ever been. Unfortunately his push got completely stalled out in early this year, and he barely made the WrestleMania XXVI card. This move to SmackDown will instantly freshen up Kingston and hopefully propel him back up the card. SmackDown is much more wide open when it comes to main event talent and this move has the potential to put Kingston higher up the card than he has ever been to this point.
Christian (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ Like Kingston, this move should instantly benefit Christian and his stock in the company. Since his return to WWE back in early 2009 he was the big fish in the small pond of ECW. He was the focal point of the brand and it made him look like a big star. But once ECW folded and he was absorbed to the RAW brand he had become just a cog in the mid-card. On SmackDown he will instantly look like a player, especially that his old rival Jack Swagger is the current World Champion. And now that his fellow blonde Canadians (and former World Tag Team Championship partners and subsequent rivals) Edge and Chris Jericho are both on RAW, Christian will have an easier time moving up the card in their absences. Christian will match up well against guys like Swagger, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk on the blue brand and not look completely out of place while still work great in the underdog role against SmackDownâ€™s giants like Undertaker, Kane and The Big Show.
Chris Jericho (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ With this move it is evident that once again RAW is the flagship brand in WWE and where the main event guys truly play. With Jericho (and Edge) transferring to RAW, the red brand will now boast seven current and former World Champions that also includes John Cena, Randy Orton, Batista, Sheamus and Triple H, who will be out of action for the foreseeable future. However Jerichoâ€™s move is really more of clerical one than anything else as even though he was drafted to SmackDown last April he had spent the majority of the past year as one half of the Unified Tag Team Champions, which allowed him to appear on RAW regardless. This move just puts Jericho back in the upper echelon of WWEâ€™s talents, where he should be.
Here is my take on those who switched brands via wwe.com on Tuesday afternoon.
The Great Khali and Ranjin Singh (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ Khali has played many roles since debuting in WWE back 2006 and has roamed all across WWEâ€™s brands. After playing the menacing monster and winning the World Heavyweight Championship, Khali has slipped comfortably into the role of big friendly giant. With a man of his stature and limited in ring skills his appearances have more impact when they are spread thin and not overexposed. After a loss to Dolph Ziggler weeks ago on SmackDown, Khali and his handler Ranjin Singh announced that the big man would be returning to India for a stay in order to recharge. When he does return it will be to the live brand where he will most likely be used sparingly in comedy segments. Plus putting him on RAW will keep him away from the companyâ€™s other giant, The Big Show, who is now on SmackDown.
Chavo Guerrero (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ Last year Chavo moved to RAW, which was seen as a good sign so that he could be next to his aunt Vickie Guerrero. Since then he has been embarrassed at every turn by RAWâ€™s celebrity guest hosts and the diminutive Hornswoggle. A move to SmackDown should be a good thing for Chavo. He canâ€™t get any worse than he was on RAW. He will be away from the RAW guest hosts and be back with his aunt Vickie, who again is back in power on SmackDown.
Cody Rhodes (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ This is another move I pegged to happen from the onset. After Legacy imploded at WrestleMania XXVI it was obvious that one of the three would have to leave the RAW brand. And with Rhodes coming out of the feud with the least upward momentum it seemed logical he would be the one to move to the blue brand. On SmackDown Rhodes will be able start anew and rebuild himself way from his old cohorts.
Natalya Neidhart (from SmackDown to RAW â€“ Natalya is the manager of the new Unified WWE World Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty and thus can travel to any show they choose in order to defend the Tag Championships. So this move was more of a clerical one that anything else as it gives Natalya (and The Harts) a home base once they inevitably lose the Tag Championships. She also brings something new to the Divas division on RAW and provides fresh match-ups for the women of the division, including Eve, Gail Kim, Jillian Hall and Maryse.
Chris Masters (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ Since Masters returned to WWE in July 2009 he has done absolutely nothing of note. Upon his return he resumed his old gimmick as the prima donna Masterpiece and reintroduced The Masterlock Challenge. Then during the Ozzy and Sharon Osborne hosted episode of RAW, Masters displayed his talent of making his muscled pecs â€œdanceâ€ and thus he was transformed into a comedy character. This new trait led to a brief push as a good guy and the services of Eve Torres as a valet, but the push all but evaporated in the build up to WrestleMania XXVI and he hasnâ€™t been seen since. While a move to SmackDown could help revitalize his career I personally donâ€™t expect much of a change for Masters, only a new crew of wrestlers to lose to.
Ezekiel Jackson (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ Big Zeke had all the momentum in the world coming out the death of ECW. He defeated Christian to become the final ECW Champion and received a lot of fanfare upon his return to SmackDown. Unfortunately a family tragedy kept him away from WrestleMania XXVI and an unfortunate knee injury while on the most recent European tour has kept Jackson from reaching the heights expected. While injuries are never a good thing, the timing of his most recent one may help him in the long run. Shad Gaspard has filled in his â€œbig scary black guyâ€ role on SmackDown and a rejuvenated Jackson returning to the flagship RAW brand once he is healed may be the best thing for his career.
Goldust (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ At this point in his career Goldust works well as an in-ring trainer for younger talents and in comedy skits where the bizarre nature of the character can be played up. While a move back to RAW wonâ€™t help him climb the ladder of in-ring success, it should give him plenty of face time to interact with the weekly RAW guest host and work with new and young talent. Plus it keeps him separated from his legitimate half-brother Cody Rhodes, as that is apparently a story the company is not ready to work with at this point.
Hornswoggle (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ As much as I completely dislike what the Hornswoggle character has become he is popular with WWEâ€™s young fans and provided â€œcomedyâ€ relief on the RAW brand. A move back to SmackDown will hopefully reunite him with his â€œfatherâ€ Finlay, who has been completely absent from WWE TV for months now.
Rose Mendes (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ Mendesâ€™ move is one of the few bad moves of the supplemental draft I feel. She had been gaining traction on the RAW brand as the valet of Zack Ryder. The two were a great Jersey-like obnoxious couple that could have grown into an entertaining attraction. A move to SmackDown separates her from Ryder and puts her at the bottom of the pecking order of SmackDownâ€™s female villains.
WWE Unified Tag Team Champions The Hart Dynasty: Tyson Kidd & DH Smith (from SmackDown to RAW) â€“ It only makes sense to keep The Hart Dynasty all together one brand, as they are more useful at this point all as one unit. Like I mentioned earlier with Natalya, this move was more of a clerical one that anything else as it gives the entire Hart Dynasty a home base once they inevitably lose the Tag Championships. But it is also a great move by having young talents like Smith and Kidd showcased on the companyâ€™s biggest program, where their superior in-ring talents will be seen by the most eyeballs.
Montel Vontavious Porter (from RAW to SmackDown) â€“ MVP came over to RAW in last yearâ€™s Draft as the United States Champion and with all the promise in the world to rise the card. Unfortunately his potential star-making feud with Randy Orton was given to Kofi Kingston instead and MVP has been stuck on the low end of the card and in a tag team with Mark Henry. While the team with Henry actually showed some potential and promise, the company didnâ€™t full get behind the pairing and it just kind of wilted apart. Hopefully a return to SmackDown, where Porter has enjoyed his most profitable days in WWE, will reignite his career. The SmackDown upper card is wide open after the draft and Porter has just a good a any to make the climb up the ladder of success.
In the wake of the Draft, WWE quietly displaced the remaining five members of the ECW roster. The bios for Tyler Reks and Vance Archer have been officially moved to SmackDown roster page on WWE.com. The respective bios of Abraham Washington, Tony Atlas and announcer Byron Saxton were removed outright. In addition, Curt Hawkinsâ€™ bio was removed from the SmackDown roster page. He is currently situated in developmental as he has not appeared on television in over a year.
I know Reks has been working the house show loop with SmackDown for months now. It remains to be seen if he will be used on TV, even in a jobber role. As for Archer, I would expect him to be brought back with a small push and promotion before falling into the old Mike Knox role. Good riddance to Abraham Washington. How come he didnâ€™t the boot instead of his old sidekick?
Speaking of Tony Atlas, WWE gave him the olâ€™ future endeavors line on April 30. While the release was not a huge surprise, it was reported than many of the boys were sorry to see him go, feeling he could have been used well on RAW as comedy fodder for the guest hosts.
While Iâ€™d normally abhor more bad comedy on RAW, I admit I would just lose it every time Atlas would laugh horrendously during Abraham Washingtonâ€™s monologue. Just like Ron Simmons got over with â€œDamn,â€ Atlas got over with just that obnoxious guffaw.
In more release news, Yoshi Tatsu recently posted a blog that explained that Funaki was having neck issues and opted to leave WWE to heal and rest up. Funaki was very popular backstage, made his opponents looked great and was a great asset in promoting the WWE in Japan. He hadnâ€™t been seen on TV since the SmackDown tenth anniversary special. It is also being reported he will be working for the ZERO-ONE promotion shortly.
Funaki really seemed like the guy that would have a WWE job for life. Perhaps he just homesick and wanted to go back to Japan. Perhaps he actually wants to be able actually wrestle again for a change. I could also see him being brought back in the future in an ambassador or trainer type role.
In more leaving news, it became apparent Batista wasnâ€™t leaving after Extreme Rules. The new news now shows him on the booking sheets for the Mexico tour and will not be leaving WWE until after the May PPV.
Even though he has been money with this much needed and overdue heel turn, I canâ€™t see Iâ€™ll miss him too much if/when he finally goes away for awhile.
In even more leaving news, the always cryptic Jim Ross finally explained his ever elusive WWE contract situation:
â€œThere is rampant speculation on the internet about my future. This is understandable as I’ve talked a great deal about it here on my blogs. Plus, it’s provided various wrestling sites, etc with some nice cannon fodder over the past few weeks.
This matter is much more simple than many perceive. My WWE ‘talent contract’ has ended after a 17+ year run with the company.
However, I am still a WWE employee handling the same talent relations functions that I have executed for the company for the past few years including since moving to Oklahoma. I simply do not have a ‘talent contract’ as WWE has no plans to utilize me as an on air talent at this time.
The WWE engaged in talks with me on Thursday of this week to discuss a new job description that would include what I am now doing along with other talent relations oriented matters. I am considering this offer and I trust that a decision will be made soon regarding this opportunity.
In the meantime, I am still interested in a variety of projects and opportunities.
While some may feel that it is in their best interest that I not remain in broadcasting, I do not share in that belief at this time. â€
So heâ€™s still a company employee, which is good. While I canâ€™t say Iâ€™ve missed his commentary as much as many other fans have, his presence was surely missed during the WrestleMania XXVI main events. Judging by this post it seems as if he still has the bug to be behind the microphone. While Iâ€™m sure he wouldnâ€™t lower himself to TNA, I could definitely see him doing some MMA or college football broadcasting in the future.
Deadline Hollywood reports that WWE has picked up the film option in regards to the Gorgeous George autobiography. The film would be made through WWE Studios. The article mentions that WWE paid “six figures” for the rights.
WWE Studios producing a wrestling film??? GASP! Iâ€™m guessing this had something to with George getting inducted into the Hall of Fame this year.
Wrestler of the Week
Week of April 26 â€“ May 2: Edge/Christian
There were a lot of notable names this past week due to the Draft and subsequent weeklong fallout that ensued. Jack Swagger was all over the shows, The Hart Dynasty picked up the Tag Titles and Batista earned another WWE Championship shot but for me nothing was more exciting then the face-to-face confrontation between Edge and Christian on this past weekâ€™s SmackDown. While their relationship has been retconned into them being childhood friends rather than brothers it was still great to see the two men finally interact after being apart for so long. Once again the two men will find themselves on opposing brands it was great to see their long history finally acknowledged. Hopefully that one meeting will plant the seeds for a big bout between the two at WrestleMania XXVII.
RAWâ€™s On Tonight!
Wayne Brady will guest host RAW tonight from Jacksonville, Florida. The comedian, actor, singer and television host has not worked with World Wrestling Entertainment in the past but should actually do quite well in the role. He is naturally charismatic, has tons of actual hosting experience and has proven his impeccable improvisation skills thanks in big part to his past work on Whoâ€™s Line Is It Anyways? While it doesnâ€™t seem as if Brady will be promoting anything special during his appearance other than perhaps his current hosting gig on the current incarnation of the classic game show Letâ€™s Make It a Deal. That being said he should do quite well in the crazy atmosphere of Monday Night RAW and play a great straight man to the cast of characters around him. Expect either a takeoff of Whoâ€™s Line or Deal featuring WWE personalities to take up some valuable airtime during his hosting tenure. No actual matches have been announced but surely the new roster members from last weekâ€™s draft will be promoted. Plus the continuing issue between John Cena and Batista should be addressed, The Hart Dynasty should be highlighted and more the new rivalry between the former members of Rated RKOâ€¦all this and more on the pro wrestling flagship.
How They Rated
SmackDown! (4.16.10) â€“
Superstars (4.22.10) â€“ .64
A.M. RAW (4.25.10) â€“ .44
RAW (4.26.10) â€“ 3.1
Impact (4.26.10) â€“ .5
NXT (4.27.10) â€“ .79
This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
What the World Was Watching
Check out issue seven of The Wrestling Press, featuring yours truly, among many other talented scribesâ€¦
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Tags: batista, chavo guerrero, chris jericho, chris masters, christian, Cody Rhodes, curt hawkins, draft 2010, edge, Ezekiel Jackson, Funaki, goldust, Gorgeous George, Hornswoggle, Jim Ross, John Morrison, Kelly Kelly, Kofi Kingston, mvp, NXT, R-Truth, Raw, Rosa Mendes, Smackdown, the big show, The Great Khali, The Hart Dynasty, Tony Atlas, Tyler Reks, vance archer, wayne brady, WWE, WWE Draft, wwe ratings