Greetings everyone. Welcome back to your weekly installment of the Internet Wrestling Community’s only happy place, A Look on the Bright Side.
In Memoriam: Charles Nelson Reilly. Dude, you brightened many mornings of my childhood when I stayed home from school (though not as many as Charlene Tilton – hubba hubba). Godspeed.
Major shift in the Bright Side – I’m only going to covering Raw and ECW from here on out. Mostly, it was to save my sanity – 5 hours of wrestling a week, with everything else going on in my life, was too much. Plus, it was agreed that me posting commentary on a show in a Wednesday column, which the show was actually taped the *previous* Tuesday, was just silly. (Hell, sometimes we had spoilers for the next show posted before my column got up.) So, that’s what we’re all about here now – timeliness.
This week, the list will be a bit short – but oh, will we be making up for it next week, when we get Saturday Night’s Main Event, and One Night Stand, and Raw, *and* ECW. It’ll be like Christmas came early for you, folks.
So, on that note…
It appears there’s going to be a WWE Draft Special on June 11. Cool. As a big fantasy sports geek and a huge NFL fan, this gives me the chance to do something that I’ve always enjoyed reading in other formats: a mock draft. I’m going to run through the first 8 rounds of draft choices, with the assumption that the draft will work like the NFL: show A picks first, show B picks second, show C picks third, show A picks fourth, show B picks fifth, etc. (I’d be surprised if they showed 8 rounds of picks on live TV, but it seems a reasonable amount for a three hour show.) Now, this will be somewhat influenced by whoever is chosen to make the picks for Raw and ECW, since there are no GMs on those shows. But, I think the storyline influence will make little difference, since the picks will mostly be done for storyline purposes.
My second assumption is that the draft order will be: Raw, Smackdown, ECW. This will, of course, affect the final draft picks more than anything else. But hey, it’s just something I’ll deal with in order to get the IWC’s first mock draft published.
My final assumption goes somewhat along the lines of what Scherer predicted: Raw will go after the sports entertainers, Smackdown will go after wrestlers, and ECW will (mostly) grab young guys with potential.
I compiled a list of all available wrestlers by walking through the “Superstars” pages for Raw, Smackdown and ECW. My first list consisted of 67 names: I had eliminated very few choices, and included all of the women, as well as choices like Val Venis and Eugene. I think cut the list down to 24 in a very pain-staking process, and then organized it into the actual draft order.
Here’s a list of wrestlers that just missed the cut (often due to their current tag team affiliantions, but also due to the fact that I don’t think WWE sees them high enough on the card yet): Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Johnny Nitro, Kenny Dykstra, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, Chavo Guerrero, Brian Kendrick, Jimmy Wang Yang, Paul London, William Regal, Kevin Thorn, and Snitsky.
And so, let’s get to it. My first two choices seem completely obvious to me.
1. John Cena: there’s just no way he’s not the first pick, considering what an unbeatable Hogan-esque figure he’s been made into. Plus, he has to stay on the A show – I just can’t believe Vince would consider anything else.
2. Edge: see above. He’s far and above the top marketable heel in the company now
Now, after this, the obvious choice would be Lashley for ECW. But, I think they have bigger and better plans for him (i.e. a feud with Edge for the World Heavyweight Title), so the ECW GM goes outside the box and picks…
3. Randy Orton – yes, I know, they’re supposed to be “punishing” him. And as soon as you show me one bit of evidence supporting that, I’ll believe it. He’s the last of the truly “big names” that is healthy, and credible as a champion (and isn’t Bobby Lashley), and can almost give a promo.
And from there, we have to consider who will match up with whom:
4. The Great Khali (RAW)
5. Bobby Lashley (SD)
6. Mr. Kennedy (ECW)
7. Batista (RAW)
8. MVP (SD)
9. Chris Benoit (ECW)
10. Kane (RAW)
11. Triple H (SD)
12. CM Punk (ECW)
13. Undertaker (RAW)
14. Mark Henry (SD)
15. Rey Mysterio (ECW)
16. Umaga (RAW)
17. Shawn Michaels (SD)
18. Booker T (ECW)
19. Carlito (RAW)
20. Elijah Burke (SD)
21. Finlay (ECW)
22. Marcus Cor Von (RAW)
23. Shelton Benjamin (SD)
24. Ric Flair (ECW)
So, feuds that we have when we’re done:
Raw: Cena vs.The Great Khali finishes up, with Cena/Batista waiting right after that. Meanwhile, Kane/Undertaker/Umaga get to heal up, and Carlito and Marcos Cor Von get to enter the main event picture (or, at a minimum, fight over a secondary title).
Smackdown: Edge/Lashley, with MVP and Shawn Michaels waiting, and Triple H looming over the whole process.
ECW: Orton/Benoit for a moment, then Punk enters the main event scene (after feuding with Booker T and/or Finlay). Soon enough, Rey Mysterio comes back, then Mr. Kennedy.
YouTube Video of the Week
This entire concept has me so upset that I can barely speak about the subject. So, I’ll let Keith Olbermann do it for me.
Around the Pulse
Kace appears to be trying to steal my bit. But it’s cool – I harbor no ill feelings towards someone else on the site that chooses to focus on the good stuff.
Nick writes about Cindy Sheehan. Man, I am not even ready to discuss this yet. Give me a week.
My next Vs. opponent (oh, and how badly did I get screwed in the last one, eh?) Danny discusses anger. Grr.
The Week That Was
And now, we get to the meat of the column. The idea is fairly simple: I point out (at least) 5 things from each major show that should be getting more attention, but aren’t. (And occasionally, I just point out some absurdity just to tweak the rest of the IWC.) There’s way too much negativity infused into columnists who write about pro wrestling: this is just my little attempt to balance it out a bit.
Love the concept? Hate it? Think I missed something important from last week? See something this week that you think should be here? Email me by Tuesday evening.
And be sure to take part in the Inside Pulse Forum for A Look on the Bright Side thread too.
Monday Night Raw
1. And so we celebrate our troops with… an exploitive T&A fiasco that takes almost 10 minutes (with entrances)
2. (NOTE: this was all previously about the draft. Since I covered that pretty well in the opening to this column, it seem somewhat redundant to continue it here.)
3. Freakin’ Murdoch came off the top rope to the floor? Are you kiddin’ me? Did he lose a bet in the locker room or something?
4. So, we’ve got these four teams all bringing it tonight (even Nitro and Dykstra are pulling off some innovative double-team moves). Wait, didn’t someone just ask me about why tag team wresting was on the decline just a week or so ago?
5. Well, if it leads to some portion of the audience actually learning something about concussions, then I guess some good might actually come out of this HBK/Orton fiasco.
6. I’m just somewhat impressed that Torrie Wilson was willing to take that Back Stabber spot – it just really looks painful.
7. “Worst. Prom Couple. Ever.” Nice, but there was quite a bt more comedy potential in that setup.
ECW on Sci Fi
1. I’m just thankful that someone remembered that Tommy Dreamer is indeed the heart of ECW, and deserved to make this speech to Randy Orton. (Hey, look – they could have gone with Balls Mahoney.)
2. Finally, someone has figured out how to translate Orton’s total lack of emotional investment into an “unemotional character”. Hey – you play with the cards that are dealt you, right?
3. Hey, I’m just happy that Styles knew enough to state the “No DQ” stipulation once Elijah grabbed a chair – because honestly, I had already forgotten about it.
4. In general, teasing a table spot is almost always better than actually throwing out a table spot (especially when they come with no build-up, like most of the late-era WWE Dudleys). Burke and Punk did an excellent job of making sure everyone was aware of the table, and trying to build moves around it – without giving away the whole match right away after the table appeared.
5. Yeah, Punk slipped off that top rope on his springboard… whatever… attempt. (The half-hearted “You f*cked up” chants were pathetic, btw.) But Burke showed his potential in immediately going for the pinfall in an attempt to cover it – really, he’s just a smart guy. Give me about 6 months, and Elijah could easily be my favorite wrestler in the entire company.