Rasslin’ Roundtable: 2008 WWE Draft

So the 2008 WWE Draft has come and gone, resulting in the following roster moves…

Draft Lottery: RAW, 06.23.08
1. Rey Mysterio is drafted from SD to RAW.
2. Jeff Hardy is drafted from RAW to SD.
3. CM Punk is drafted from ECW to RAW.
4. Matt Hardy is drafted from SD to ECW. (The United States Championship moves to ECW.)
5. Jim Ross is drafted from RAW to SD.
6. Michael Cole is drafted from SD to RAW.
7. Batista is drafted from SD to RAW.
8. Umaga is drafted from RAW to SD.
9. Kane is drafted from ECW to RAW. (The ECW Championship moves to RAW.)
10. Ken Kennedy is drafted from RAW to SD.
11. HHH is drafted from RAW to SD. (The WWE Championship moves from RAW to SD.)

Supplemental Draft: WWE.com, 06.25.08
1. Mark Henry is drafted from SD to ECW.
2. Jamie Noble is drafted from SD to RAW.
3. Trevor Murdoch is drafted from RAW to SD.
4. Big Daddy V is drafted from ECW to SD.
5. Deuce is drafted from SD to RAW.
6. DH Smith is drafted from RAW to SD.
7. Hornswoggle is drafted from SD to ECW.
8. Super Crazy is drafted from RAW to ECW.
9. Chuck Palumbo is drafted from SD to RAW.
10. Brian Kendrick is drafted from RAW to SD.
11. Matt Striker is drafted from ECW to RAW.
12. Maria Kannelis is drafted from RAW to SD.
13. Shelton Benjamin is drafted from ECW to SD.
14. Finlay is drafted from SD to ECW.
15. Carlito is drafted from RAW to SD.
16. Layla El is drafted from ECW to RAW.
17. Kofi Kingston is drafted from ECW to RAW.

Overall Results
RAW Gets
1. Rey Mysterio from SD
2. CM Punk from ECW
3. Michael Cole from SD
4. Batista from SD
5. Kane from ECW (with the ECW Championship)
6. Jamie Noble from SD
7. Deuce from SD
8. Chuck Palumbo from SD
9. Matt Striker from ECW
10. Layla El from ECW
11. Kofi Kingston from ECW

SD Gets
1. Jeff Hardy from RAW
2. Jim Ross from RAW
3. Umaga from RAW
4. Ken Kennedy from RAW
5. HHH from RAW (with the WWE Championship)
6. Trevor Murdoch from RAW
7. Big Daddy V from ECW
8. DH Smith from RAW
9. Brian Kendrick from RAW
10. Maria Kannelis from RAW
11. Shelton Benjamin from ECW
12. Carlito from RAW

ECW Gets
1. Matt Hardy from SD (with the United States Championship)
2. Mark Henry from SD
3. Hornswoggle from SD
4. Super Crazy from RAW
5. Finlay from SD

We got some of our regular Raw, ECW and Smackdown writers together for a little roundtable to discuss the ramifications of the draft on each brand, and here’s what everyone had to say… Oh, and post your comments below!

(Note: The following analysis was written prior to Trevor Murdoch’s release.)

Paul Marshall (RAW LIVE Recapper)

Up until after the first RAW after the Night of Champions was over, I was hellbent on continuing my speech about RAW being raped and losing credible main event heels and faces, but one thing has caused me to do a complete 180 degree turn. Looking at what RAW ended up getting with this deal was two new “young and fresh” champions in Kofi Kingston and CM Punk. I’ve realized that the WWE is really trying to make new stars. It will become interesting to see what happens in the coming weeks with the landscape of RAW constantly changing. With the additions of Kane, Jamie Noble, and Layla (who did not debut on RAW yet), RAW has a solid midcard and a soon-to-be solid main event level talent. I feel confident in abandoning my position that RAW got raped. RAW came out a winner with the well-timed changes that gave the IWC a reason to rejoice.

CM Punk: GOD
Kofi Kingston: Well deserving of the Intercontinental Title
Jamie Noble: Comedy will ensue, anyone have dibs at a possible Santino/Jamie tag team?
Kane: Out of “The Land of the Giants”, will do good on RAW
Layla: Can’t comment, but hopefully she’s getting better.

—–

Hatton (RAW Rabbler)

By far this has been the best draft to date. Admittedly, ECW got beaten down, but it’s made room for new developmental talent to show up and be maneuvered around the roster. Raw is flush with newer blood like Kofi, CM Punk, and even guys like Jamie Noble, and Deuce. With Cody, Cade, and DiBiase already on the roster – all it will take is some good booking, and RAW might become the best show for the mid-carders to see their way up to the main event.

With the exception of Batista, there aren’t even any BIG guys to have to feel squashed by such as Umaga or Big Daddy V. I’m looking forward to seeing who shines and who fails.. but I have a feeling we’ll see a couple guys rise to stars this year.

The Raw roster is now primed for a new blood take over.

—–

Rob Blatt (ECW LIVE Recapper)

CM Punk:

I know that this move was inevitable, and that the entire ECW roster was nothing more than a springboard for Punk, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not pissed off about this. Punk was the reason for watching ECW week in and week out and now he’s heading to Raw, where he can flounder in the mid card and eventually say the wrong thing backstage and lose his Money in the Bank opportunity like Mr. Kennedy did last year. There was no one on the roster that could have been drawn to ECW that would replace CM Punk. I will admit though it was pretty friggin sweet to see CM Punk win the big gold belt.

Matt Hardy:

So the US Championship is going to be on ECW now? I suppose that’s supposed to be a good thing, but I liked having one title on ECW. Matt Hardy hasn’t had a real place on the roster ever since he came back from losing his feud to Edge years ago. Perhaps being apart from everyone on the roster that matters, Matt Hardy can make a name for himself. Maybe that was their plan all along, or maybe they had nothing else for him and figured that he can be the big fish in the small pond for a while. I’d like to see Hardy beat Mark Henry for the ECW title on PPV to give the ECW brand some cred, but we’l have to wait to see if that happens.

Kane:

Kane is my favorite big man in the WWE right now and having him on ECW was quite pleasant. While he drew two guys from other shows to ECW to feud for the title, he was still a name that people recognized from all the brands. It hurt less to have him drafted away once he lost the ECW title.

Mark Henry:

I guess it makes sense to have Henry join ECW now that he’s the title. Now we got rid of Kane and Big Daddy V, we need someone who weighs a ton and will fight 2 on 1 handicapped matches and win. Whatever, he’s a lame duck champion anyway.

Big Daddy V:

Next.

Hornswoggle:

I guess they plan on continuing the feud between the Irishmen and the Douches. That could be entertaining, but I’d rather see two serious tag teams fighting for the gold.

Super Crazy:

There’s a simple rule on ECW right now. If you were a part of the original ECW, you stand no chance of being anything except enhancement talent. You can see the recent careers of Tommy Dreamer, Stevie Richards and Nunzio for proof. While I hope that Crazy can help bring up a new guy from FCW, I also remember that being drafted to ECW and not used is one step away from being released.

Matt Striker:

Without Big Daddy V around, Striker loses half of his purpose. Maybe they are planning on letting him win a few matches, but they all but ruined his credibility on ECW by having him lose so many matches. Did you know that the Boogeyman is technically still on the ECW roster?

Shelton Benjamin:

I’m surprised at this draft pick because Shelton was carving out a nice niche for himself on ECW, but I guess that no one can stay on the program for all that long anyway. In the coming months I bet we’re going to see a large turnaround rate on guys leaving ECW to go to the other brands. Shelton should have gone to the same place that Kofi Kingston went, because I would bet that the people who watch the other programs didn’t watch ECW and didn’t see their set of great matches.

Shelton and Kofi could have gone on to RAW to feud over the IC title for a few months. It’s a shame.

Finlay:

There’s a few good matchups on the ECW roster, and most of them include Finlay. There are three guys who could hold the ECW title and Finlay is one of them. It’s amazing to think what Finlay was doing in WCW while the original ECW was raging. That’s ancient history now and here we are with the three ECW main eventers being one guy from the Nation of Domination, one of the Hardy Boyz and the guy who was wrestling Brian Knobbs for the WCW Hardcore title.

Layla El:

Ummm… this will not impact me even a little bit. Next!

Kofi Kingston:

You can see my comments about Shelton Benjamin. I would have loved to see these two been drafted to the same show to feud over a title. Kofi could have helped the RAW crowd remember Shelton Benjamin and Shelton could have continued to make Kofi a name in the WWE. I suppose we’ll have to see what’s next in store for Kofi.

—–

Jonathan Kirschner (ECW Reviewer)

Matt Hardy to ECW: I was never a big Matt Hardy fan. Hopefully that can change now that I have to watch him every week. Hardy’s move to ECW was logical because on RAW, he would only be looked at as a mid-carder. On SmackDown he would be left feuding with MVP and occasionally teaming with Jeff Hardy. On ECW, he could be a big time player and can hand off the United States Title to guys like Elijah Burke and Mike Knox. While he’s working on elevating ECW mid-carders to the next level, he can elevate himself to ECW World Title status. Good move.

Mark Henry to ECW: WWE doesn’t want to admit it, so I’ll just say it for them. Mark Henry was never World Title material. Whether it is SmackDown, ECW, or even Ohio Valley Wrestling, he never was World Title Material. Henry to ECW was a horrible move because he is now the only “big” man on the roster. He is the type of “big” that gets winded after two minutes of wrestling and can’t do more than five rest-holds. Kane was a great “big” champion because he had great endurance and could actually move around. For those of you who are excited about Henry being ECW Champion, expect that excitement to wear off quick. Bad move.

Finlay to ECW: Finlay being drafted to ECW was not a bad move. Since Bobby Lashley, they have yet to establish an ongoing feud for Finlay so he’s not being torn away mid-feud. The only gimmick he has is that he “loves to fight”. There are endless possibilities for Finlay on ECW. He could just dominate young talent like Colin Delaney and Armando Estrada week in and week out, or he could challenge Mark Henry for his ECW World Title. Good move.

Hornswaggle to ECW: I am still very angry about this move. I don’t even want to talk about it. Horrible move.

Super Crazy to ECW: Super Crazy hasn’t had a real purpose in WWE since his three way dance against Nunzio and Tajiri at One Night Stand. I wouldn’t mind seeing Crazy and Nunzio put their differences aside to challenge Morrison and The Miz for their WWE Tag Team Titles. Good move.

ECW may have lost Kofi Kingston, Shelton Benjamin and CM Punk, but we still have a lot of great talent. If you remember, ECW had nothing at the end of last year’s draft. ECW Management took it upon themselves to make the show watchable and tried to build new stars, and they succeeded. They built Kofi so well he became Intercontinental Champion in his first match on Raw. ECW is in a never ending re-building process. ECW may look horrible now, but give it time.

—–

Troy Hepple (Smackdown Recapper)

Triple H: Some people might worry that SmackDown will now exchange places with RAW as the miserable place. Frankly, the only member of the SmackDown roster who is still there that could possibly be hurt by HHH’s presence is MVP, and SmackDown’s main event scene was seriously lacking as well. I think Trips makes a good addition to the roster and I cannot wait until the subsequent feud with either Undertaker, Edge or both.

Jeff Hardy: Yeah, like I have any problem with this. So long as he doesn’t get coupled up in a “they’re not doing anything else” feud with Montel Vontavious Porter, then I’ll be satisfied.

Umaga: The only negative of this, is no more ‘Umanga’ from Regal. I am seriously against Umaga growing to be able to cut promos, I think they’d be best off starting small with one word and one word only – Championship, that’s the million dollar word – and maybe wait a few years for his vocabulary to widen … However, having said that, I’m glad to see Umaga off of RAW and onto SmackDown.

Mr. Kennedy: Not sure what I think of this. On one hand, he’s become a name that people can get behind and with heels like Edge, Umaga and eventually HHH on the same roster, I think it will be much easier for him to be given that ‘Stone Cold’ attitude. However, this move really didn’t affect me at all. It’s not that I’ve grown apathetic to him, it’s just that I’m not a big fan of him.

JR: I lost a lot of respect for JR when he said he considered retiring after this move. I felt worse for Michael Cole, who stated that he’d called every SmackDown in the last near decade bar two. In the past week, it’s come to light that this is near a promotion for good ol’ JR – with SmackDown now becoming more of a priority. JR and Foley are a great team, probably the best of nowadays second only to Cole and Layfield.

Trevor Murdoch: Hey, I like both Murdoch and Cade. The split (while rushed) was good for both of them, and so is keeping them apart. The only question is, though, do they keep Murdoch on his own or pair him up with Jesse and Festus and create what could be one of the most fun trios today. So long as they do something with Murdoch, then good move.

Brian Kendrick: Awesome.

Maria: There had to be a Diva move and I’m glad it was this. Maria has potential and a good work ethic, and that’s pretty much what SmackDown’s women’s roster needs. I think Kelly would have been a smarter choice to swap instead of Layla, though.

Carlito: Oh, uh, okay? Send him to ECW. Outside of his weak Orton feud, I’ve never been much for Carlito. But, apparently he’s happy with it, so that’s good.

Shelton Benjamin: I don’t get why they moved him to SmackDown. Should’ve stayed put or went to RAW if they needed to move him so badly. I’m under the impression that this, much like V and Smith, are moves just for the sake of moves. Colour me apathetic.

Big Daddy V: Well, I guess they needed a monster with Mark Henry going off to herald ECW. Makes more sense than Benjamin, but only by a little bit more.

DH Smith: Unless this begins the new Hart Foundation, then this seems like another move for the sake of moving. I haven’t seen much of Smith, so hopefully he’s not that bad.

I’m pretty satisfied with how SmackDown turned out with this draft, as well as RAW. A lot of people have a problem with ECW but the fact is that it’s ECW job to build the stars, they shouldn’t have too many big names. Matt Hardy, Finlay, Morrison and Miz are a great quartet for the show to be based around I think. RAW and SmackDown got their much needed refresh and are now both relatively strong rosters. That’s good.

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