Tonight on WWE RAW
twelve superstars changed brands in the annual tri-branded draft show. Josh Mathews got off to a bad start as ECW
’s new announcer; the ECW
champion set out to win the fans over; two men turned on their friends at very unexpected moments; and one brand got absolutely hosed. If you didn’t see the show don’t worry. I was taking notes, and writing my editorial remarks in the margins.
8:06 Josh Mathew is apparently the ECW
play-by-play man, taking over for Tazz, who left the company shortly before Wrestlemania. Matt Striker threw it over to Mathews to do the ECW
introduction for the tri-branded show, but Mathew obviously isn’t quite ready for primetime considering that he immediately picked up a crumpled piece of Kleenex and started wiping his nose on camera.
8:14 Triple H has been getting a lot of criticism lately but hear me out, because I think people have been a bit tough on him. His work on the Randy Orton feud building to Wrestlemania was very intense - so much so that I expected a vicious main event. At the event I was one of those people who was barely paying attention during the match and frankly, that was the majority of those in attendance at Reliant Stadium. But watching it again on pay-per-view I realized why it didn‘t work live, and it wasn’t because the match was slow. Rather than going the weapons and stunts route that the Hardy brothers and Money in the Bank had already gone earlier in the evening Triple H and Orton opted for a stiff match. You may have heard the term ‘cauliflower’ to refer to one performer actually hauling off and socking another. Every punch in that match was a cauliflower. That viciousness and intensity worked on camera but didn’t reach the balcony section. Sure, Triple H is overexposed right now and the writers seem to have no idea how badly they need to get him away from that world title. But the hate has gone a little far. Okay, back to the show.
8:27 We only got a taste of Rey Mysterio and Evan Bourne, with Bourne barely getting in any offense. That’s not surprising. The matches on draft night are always especially short.
8:28 - MVP has been drafted to RAW
. Excellent choice. RAW
is where you go to get noticed. This guy is ready. If they just give him a compelling storyline he can do the rest.
8:35 Kane beat The Brian Kendrick in about sixty seconds. That’s just not good television. Kane has so little gain from showing a guy up that badly, and Kendrick has a lot to lose from having his credibility shredded every time he’s on RAW
8:36 The Big Show has been drafted to RAW
. I’m not sure I see what’s won or lost by that. I enjoy The Big Show but he’s pretty much found his spot on the card, and it’s where he belongs. He’ll play the same role on either brand.
8:43 Putting Jack Swagger in a promo with Cena? Now there’s a gutsy move I admire. It’s no secret that Swagger has struggled to get over with the fans but Cena could get a Portuguese water hound over as a top heel. Swagger’s “All American American” shtick was a little redundant to “Mister Kennedy Kennedy” but having him work with Cena somewhat validated Swagger’s legitimacy as a world champion.
8:50 I am loving how much we’ve been seeing of Mickie James lately. The finish, with Michelle McCool side kicking Mickie on her descent from the top rope, looked brutal.
8:52 Melina has been drafted to Smackdown
. Melina will shine on either brand. But if you’re not going to sex up Diva wrestling either way you might as well move Melina to Smackdown
, where she’ll probably get longer matches.
8:58 John Cena and Jack Swagger. This is Swagger’s chance. If he can put on a great show it will help his credibility a lot. If Cena wipes the mat with him consider his career all but over. Swagger is taking his time but the moves he’s hit have been hard and well executed. He even makes a full nelson look vicious. I have not been a fan of Swagger whatsoever but he’s working the crowd like his job is on the line. Cena eventually wins but that’s only as it should be. Swagger still took a step in the right direction.
9:12 Matt Hardy has been drafted to RAW
. I’m not sure I approve of this one. I don’t see Hardy competing seriously with the big guns on RAW
. I would expect him to get lost in the shuffle fairly quickly and lose the momentum he’s been building since the Rumble.
9:13 Triple H has been drafted to RAW
, and The King and Michael Cole are freaking out like a couple of kids. This clears the way for new talent to rise on Smackdown
, especially with The Undertaker likely to take time off at some point this year. Jeff Hardy fans rejoice.
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