Monday, April 25, 2011

Bloggin' the Draft

So it's been awhile and I did explain we had both Passover and Easter plans over the last week ... and lost in the shuffle was me mentioning tonight is the brand extension draft, where WWE Raw and WWE Smackdown exchange performers based on the winners of matches throughout the show. So while we'll do an ITVR podcast Friday to talk about the draft and look ahead to Extreme Rules PPV, I'm going to sort of live blog the draft edition of Raw as we go.

BTW - those who expected the draft would occur in June - that was the plan. However, with Edge's sudden retirement, there is a dirth of main event 'good guy' talent on Smackdown, so the draft was moved up to address that disparity. While I'm a bit dubious of the draft being held so close to a PPV, making some of the matches on the card less relevant, it's still always an interesting show so let's get to it.

Raw opened with a battle Royal between the two brands, with the winner's brand getting a Draft pick. At the end of the day, Smackdown luminaries Big Show and Kofi Kingston were the last men standing, and won the first draft pick of the night for their brand. BOTTOM LINE: John Cena to Smackdown! As the locker room goes crazy. John Cena cuts an enthusiastic promo, and already the face of the WWE has shifted a bit. SD needed a main event 'babyface', and they got THE babyface. Not a bad move, if you want my opinion.

We go on to some promotion on Michael Cole's part for his match later this evening with Jim Ross, and R Truth cutting a not-atypical heel promo saying that doing things for the fans had gotten him nowhere, and he was now determined to look out for himself. Not a bad heel promo as far as that goes - it will be interesting to see if R Truth DOES indeed go further as a heel.

We then enjoy another vignette for Awesome Kong, who will now be known as Kharma going forward, beheading another Barbie Doll, before Eve Torres came out to fight Layla El. Cue the usual Michael Cole insulting the Divas interruption, before Eve's hand was raised in victory. After a fight was broken up between Layla and her tag team partner Michelle McCool, Rey Mysterio was announced as the latest draft pick over to Raw ... cut to Jim Ross warming up for his match, up next, with Cole ... cut to commercial.

Cut to a decent Cody Rhodes promo on the newly-drafted Rey Mysterio, before Sheamus (Raw) and Kofi Kingston (SD) fight for another draft pick. In perhaps a bit of an upset, Kofi Kingston wins, resulting in another big draft trade as Randy Orton is heading over to Smackdown.

Which brings us to the Michael Cole-Jim Ross match, which resulted in a decimated cowboy hat (also a recap of the disgusting Raw moment from last week where JR had to kiss Cole's athlete's foot-infested foot). Nonetheless, this was exactly what one would expect, a joke match, about which my only complaint, in that context, was much like Cole's match at Wrestlemania, went on a bit long. I had patience for him longer than some, but I think the Michael Cole character has jumped the shark for me the last week or two also. DQ finish with a win for Jim Ross ensues after Jack Swagger interferes and attacks JR. A post-match beatdown ensues, due to JR having bloodied Michael Cole's lip, where Swagger has JR in the ankle lock while Michael Cole whips him with a belt, until Jerry Lawler makes the save and delivers a few lashes of his own with said belt. Cue the Anonymous Raw GM beep ...

"This Sunday at Extreme Rules - Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole and Jack Swagger will now be a Country Whipping Match." Oh how fun ... lol.

We now have Randy Orton (Smackdown) vs. Dolph Ziggler - amazing how they were able to make a match ahead of time for two draft pics, projecting that Randy Orton would have been drafted beforehand ... lol. Jokes; but this was actually a pretty solid match with an Orton win on Smackdown's behalf. The draft pick in this match was interrupted by a CM Punk promo promising to, of course, cause mucho bodily harm to Randall Kenneth Orton at Extreme Rules in their Last Man Standing match. Randy threatened much the same in reverse before the draft continued ... after a commercial break, of course. This match enhanced the Smackdown roster by Mark Henry, and Sin Cara. For those keeping score, that has Raw at having gained one wrestler (Mysterio) and Smackdown having gained four (Orton and Cena, as well as Henry and Cara).

This disparity was evened out a bit however in the next match as Rey Mysterio defeated Wade Barrett (in Smackdown Blue, just as the Nexus was in Raw Red earlier - as Jason Powell pointed out over at, how far we've come - or perhaps receded? - in a year. This also won Raw two draft picks; welcome Big Show and Alberto del Rio, who didn't seem happy about his trade.

The show wound down with an ad for the Rock's birthday party next week, as well as Michael Cole coming back out to join Booker T, Josh Matthews and Jerry Lawler (four announcers?! and these four?! really?!) to run down the Extreme Rules lineup before Teddy Long entered to announce the last match of the evening; The Miz, Alberto del Rio and CM Punk representing Raw, vs. John Cena, Christian and Mark Henry for the last draft pick of the night. This resulted in Raw winning, and welcoming back John Cena as their final draft pick. Not sure if I'm a fan of exactly how that played out - I was kind of surprised at TWO big drafts in Cena and Orton, and expected one of them would be undone in relatively short order - if pressed, I probably could have even predicted it being Cena - but maybe that could have been handled tomorrow (today now - 12pm as the 'supplemental' draft continues on, or at/after the PPV, or even in conjunction with the Rock's birthday party next week.

Nonetheless though, a fun Raw overall to watch and enjoy - the Draft is usually at least somewhat newsworthy and this was no exception. It also ensures more wrestling action than usual given drafts occur by the winning and losing of matches ... albeit that means somewhat short matches to maximize the number of draftees. Even with the John Cena switcheroo, there were definitely some shakeups to the roster, and as I said, it will be interesting to see how they play out going forward.

Be sure and continue to join me as I blog through the week, and definitely tune in Friday night to catch up on your ITVR listening (as we catch up on our ITVR podcasting lol). Can't wait to see you then ... in this very ring.


blog analyzer
HammerMill Copy Paper