This Week in ‘E – Big Trades and Hurt Heels

Edge goes down with an incredibly ill-timed injury, the WCW three-disc set takes shape and the rosters get shaken up once again thanks to a Donald Trump trade.

Opening Witty Banter
Sorry for the lateness of this column but I’m still coming down from a fantastic Independence Day high. My extra-long Fourth of July weekend was amazing (thanks for asking) and I was completely “off the grid” and away from the Internet for over forty-eight hours straight, and it felt great. Now back into the grind of things, here’s what we learned this past week.

Let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week
This past week on RAW, WWE executed a fifteen performer trade, instituted by Donald Trump, during the brief one week era where he owned the RAW brand.

Traded to the RAW brand:
Evan Bourne (from ECW) – I expected Bourne to be moved to the RAW brand back in the company wide Draft back in April so this move isn’t that big of a shock. Bourne will be exposed to a larger audience on the RAW brand, as long as he can survive with the industry (and size) giants like Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton and The Big Show. At any rate he should be able to have great matches with guys like The Miz, Chavo Guerrero, Kofi Kingston, The Brian Kendrick and the inevitable “David versus Goliath” showdown with The Big Show.

Jack Swagger (from ECW) – Swagger is a legitimate main event superstar waiting to happen and a move to the “A-show” will only help his status. He’s already been the ECW Champion and dominated the third brand. A step up to RAW is the best thing for him.

Mark Henry (from ECW) – Judging by last night’s RAW it looks as if the former ECW Champion is heading for big things on the RAW brand as he beat WWE Champion Randy Orton during a gauntlet match. Plus judging by his wide smile and lack of manager Tony Atlas, it looks as if Henry is heading towards his first good guy run since 2002.

Alicia Fox (from SmackDown) – In just around a year Fox has gone from SmackDown to ECW back to SmackDown and now to RAW. Fox has never been in one spot long enough to really make an impact and so it will be interesting to see what her role will be on the RAW brand.

Gail Kim (from SmackDown) – Gail re-signed with WWE in late 2008 to much fanfare from the Internet crowd, but once she showed up SmackDown in early 2009 she never really gained a foothold. A move to RAW could be good for her to get her career back on track as she can challenge for Maryse and her Divas Championship.

Traded to the ECW brand:
Shelton Benjamin (from SmackDown) – Benjamin is the most talented athlete that the company has that has never been able to truly find his niche or gain the foothold he so richly deserves. He has bounced from brand to brand to brand since his debut in early 2003 and has never been able to break into upper card status. I would say this would be his shot at finally becoming a top card guy, but I’ve been saying that since probably 2006 and it still hasn’t happened, so I’m not holding my breath this time around either.

Goldust (from RAW) – I don’t really understand this pick as he was working great as an undercard comedy guy on the RAW brand, and there isn’t room for a lot of comedy things like that on the one-hour ECW show. At the very least he will be a veteran presence of the rookie-heavy ECW roster.

William Regal (from RAW) – Regal is a veteran that has been never been able to break through into the top of the WWE cards. This move to ECW could be the best thing for Regal and his chance at finally gaining some semblance of a World Championship.

Brie and Nikki Bella (from RAW) – This is another quizzical move as there is no women’s championship on the ECW brand, so look for them to be valets for some of the male roster, cheesecake interludes in between matches or pawns in various storylines.

Traded to the SmackDown brand:
Matt Hardy (from RAW) – Hardy recently just went out with an abdominal injury that could keep him out for weeks or months, so when he finally is able to return to action some new scenery on SmackDown could be just what Hardy needs to remain fresh and relevant.

Finlay (from ECW) – Finlay was the veteran presence on ECW previously, which now looks to be occupied by Regal. The Irish veteran is a great utility player and fits in anywhere on the card, on any brand and can play virtually any role, hero or villain.

David Hart Smith, Tyson Kidd and Natalya Neidhart of The Hart Dynasty (from ECW) – All three members of the Hart Dynasty make a climb up the pecking ladder with this move to SmackDown. As long as all three remain together for the time being while they still grow and improve they will find success on any of the brands.

State of the Brands:
RAW: RAW came out smelling like roses with this trade as young prospects like Bourne and Swagger have nowhere to go but up by being on RAW. The veteran Mark Henry has worked on all three brands and by the looks of his work on Monday he should provide some mid-card stability to the brand. Gail Kim also provides some depth and star power to the show’s women’s division.

SmackDown: They remain in a fairly solid position as they didn’t get rid of any of their big stars. They basically traded Benjamin for Finlay star power wise, picked up Matt Hardy who will be useful after his injury and gained a wealth of talented young talent in The Hart Dynasty. In fact SmackDown came out looking pretty good in the whole deal.

ECW: The third brand got absolutely raked over the coals in the trade. They lost all their hot young prospects in Bourne, Swagger and the Harts and veterans like Mark Henry and Finlay. In return they only gained a couple of journeymen veterans in Regal and Goldust. As a concession Shelton Benjamin will be a great addition to the roster, but I fail to see how the Bella Twins will be able to replace the wealth of young talent removed from the show. ECW got the shaft here.

In the fall out of the trade the ECW brand introduced four new talents on last week’s show in order to replenish the ranks of young stars who “graduated” up to the big brands. Yoshi Tatsu already picked up a fluke win over Shelton Benjamin and looks to be headed to a min program with Benjamin. Sheamus is looking to get the prototypical new guy undefeated push and Tyler Reks may be able to play a great underdog babyface as he finds his niche. Abraham Washington’s debut show was fairly painful to watch but I think with a little time he could develop into something decent.

WWE has signed Serena Deeb to a developmental contract. The signing was confirmed by those at SHIMMER, who congratulated her on the signing.

I can’t say I have much (if any) of Serena’s work but anyone who can fulfill their dream by signing with World Wrestling Entertainment then I say can simply say congratulations.

After appearing on RAW last week Batista has told people that his rehab is already on schedule, and he should be able to start working out again in 4 – 6 weeks, with a planned return by Survivor Series. He will have to miss out on the company’s planned trip to the Philippines this summer, where he is treated like a hero due to his Filipino background.

It just seems as if Batista has just never been able to keep a consistent run going with getting injured. I’m thinking when he returns he can get one more really good main event run before he starts to back away from the spotlight a little bit.

Speaking of main event superstars that often get the injury-prone moniker, Edge tore his Achilles tendon in a house show match on Friday against Jeff Hardy. About 5 minutes into the match, Edge went down after simply planting his foot wrong. The match was immediately stopped and EMTs came to the ring to help Edge, who apologized to the fans before being taken to the back.

A torn Achilles tendon will require surgery and a long recovery time, probably taking him out for the rest of the year at least. Apparently WWE is currently looking for a way to get the tag titles onto Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. The company is also looking at footage shot for this past week’s SmackDown to see if there is a spot in the footage where they can claim the injury took place.

Edge was on such a hot streak this past couple of months and was such a cornerstone of the new SmackDown Six that was forming. This injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. I’m kind of intrigued to see where the go with the Tag Titles at this point. If I’m a guy like John Morrison or Dolph Ziggler I am looking at this unfortunate injury as their chance to skyrocket up the card.

Here’s the official match listing for the upcoming Rise and Fall of WCW three disc documentary.

Disc One:

* Jim Crockett Promotions
* Georgia Championship Wrestling
* Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
* Black Saturday
* The Expansion
* Crockett Sells to Turner
* Greatest Talent in the World
* New Management
* Bill Watts Era
* Bill Shaw Hires Eric Bischoff
* Hulk Hogan Arrives
* Nitro Debuts
* nWo
* Cruiserweights
* Goldberg
* WCW Ratings Champ
* Celebrities
* Goldberg vs. Hogan
* Mistakes Begin
* Vince Russo
* A Corporate Merger
* McMahon buys WCW
* Legacy of WCW

* Lost in Cleveland (Cactus Jack vignette)
* Bill Watts Defends Himself
* Spam Man
* The Origin of Goldberg
* Bischoff Gives Away RAW Results

Disc Two:
* $1,000 Challenge Match: Ric Flair vs. Magnum T.A.
NWA World Championship Wrestling – June 15, 1985

* Sting, Lex Luger & Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ JJ Dillon)
The Main Event – April 3, 1988

* United States Championship Match: Dusty Rhodes vs. Barry Windham
Great American Bash – July 10, 1988

* NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
Chi-Town Rumble – February 20, 1989

* The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express
Wrestle War – February 25, 1990

* NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match: The Midnight Express vs. The Southern Boys
Great American Bash – July 7, 1990

* WCW World Tag Team Championship Match: The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting & Lex Luger
SuperBrawl – May 19, 1991

* WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Sting vs. Big Van Vader
Great American Bash – July 12, 1992

* WCW International World Heavyweight Championship Match: Rick Rude vs. Sting
Spring Stampede – April 17, 1994

* WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan
Bash at the Beach – July 17, 1994

Disc Three:
* WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Ric Flair vs. The Giant
Nitro – April 29, 1996

* WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match: Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko
Clash of the Champions XXXIII – August 15, 1996

* War Games Match: Team WCW- Sting, Lex Luger, Ric Fair & Arn Anderson vs. Team now – Hollywood Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall & a Mystery Partner
Fall Brawl – September 15, 1996

* United States Championship Ladder Match: Syxx vs. Eddie Guerrero
Souled Out – January 25, 1997

* United States Championship No Disqualification Match: Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
Uncensored – March 16, 1997

* WCW Cruiserweight Championship Title vs. Mask Match: Chris Jericho vs. Juventud Guerrera
SuperBrawl VIII – February 22, 1998

* WCW Unified World Tag Team Championship Match: The Steiner Brothers vs. The Outsiders
SuperBrawl VIII – February 22, 1998

* Diamond Dallas Page & Karl Malone vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Dennis Rodman
Bash at the Beach – July 12, 1998

* WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Goldberg vs. Diamond Dallas Page
Halloween Havoc – October 25, 1998

* WCW World Heavyweight Championship Match: Booker T vs. Lance Storm
Nitro – August 7, 2000

I absolutely cannot wait for this set. The documentary should be fun regardless of the revisionist history included and the match listing likes like great fun as well.

The Road to…Night of Champions
World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk (c) v. Jeff Hardy

WWE Championship
Randy Orton (c) v. either John Cena or Triple H

WWE Divas Championship
Mickie James v. Maryse (c)

Wrestler of the Week
Week of June 29 – July 5: Edge
For the fourth straight week, “The Rated R Superstar” has had his hand in the Wrestler of the Week proceedings. He has been putting on consistent main event matches on SmackDown, Superstars and on pay per views, and this week was no different. After defending the Unified Tag Team Championships with Chris Jericho against The Colons on Monday night, beating CM Punk by forfeit on Superstars and then teaming with Jericho again in the main event of SmackDown to beat CM Punk and Jeff Hardy, Edge once again looking like the top star in the company. Unfortunately his injury on Friday will put a stall on Edge’s momentum. After his pre-taped appearance on tonight’s RAW it may be the last time we will see Edge in a long time.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Tonight’s RAW was taped last week as the crew is overseas right now. Expect to see “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase hosting tonight’s show as well as Mark Henry battling Cody Rhodes, Randy Orton taking on the younger Ted DiBiase, a divas tag match, Edge’s final television match for the foreseeable future, Evan Bourne against Kofi Kingston and an apparently really good John Cena-Triple H main event.

On Last Week’s Episode…
Boss manWidro steps in to provide live coverage for SmackDown.

Innarelli recaps the new look ECW. Has there ever been a show when so many new guys all debuted in one show?

Marshall and Kirschner cover RAW.

How They Rated
Superstars (6.25.09) – .9

SmackDown! (6.26.09) – 1.7

A.M. RAW (6.28.09) – .3

RAW (6.29.09) – 3.9

ECW (6.30.09) – 1.2

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Wiswell picks the best of Jimmy Jacobs just as Jacobs looks to possibly step out of the ROH limelight for the time being.

Glazer gives his own analysis of what the big fifteen person roster trade meant for everyone involved.

Wheeler provides his own live musing on last week’s RAW.

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