As the world knows by now, there was an announcement of a forthcoming draft in one month's time. I figure it's a perfect set up to take a little space, and try and decipher some of the potential movements that I believe are liable to happen between the three brands.
I would have to believe the first opportunity will be taken to move CM Punk to another brand. Question is, which one? It's kind of obvious he's been kicking it around between Smackdown and ECW, and losing at an alarming rate for reasons that, if the reports are true, are just beyond compare. However, with Smackdown set to go alone in the near future, according to reports, I would suspect that Punk may be moved to Raw with the premise of keeping him floating between two brands. No matter how much the suits in the back may hate Punk, and its obvious they do, Punk has the ability to draw crowds and receive some good audience reaction. With that being said, the most exposure for Punk that WWE can provide him, the better. On Raw, he'd get prime exposure. And still on ECW, he's a top draw, so I think a move to Raw, with the ECW brand headed there shortly, is a virtual lock for the Money in the Bank champion.
In my personal opinion, another possible move may occur for a champion. Specifically, the World Tag Team Champions, Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes. Why, you ask? Simple. WWE has to realize that the tag team division on both brands is just plain awful. Smackdown and ECW have legit and powerful tag team champions in the Miz and John Morrison. (Who ever thought that the Miz would be considered a powerful title holder?) With that being said, and virtually all challengers in the tag team division on Smackdown and ECW going by the waste side, who's next? A potential unification bout with Holly & Rhodes? I would say that could be a good contest for all four men. Holly is as tough as they come, and could teach the young bucks Miz & Morrison a few lessons in pain. Morrison has some payback in mind for Holly, I would think, based back on the treatment he and his mates got back on Tough Enough, and with the way Miz & Morrison have been mowing down competition, this is the only option I would think is feasible. I thought it was lock Kane and Punk would win the WWE Tag titles when they had the chance, but with that defense under the chick magnet's belts, this, I think, is the most viable option for the lackluster, to say the least, tag team division. If for no other reason, it would stimulate a portion of the product that is severely lacking at the present time.
Let's also say right off the bat, that I think there would not be any movement of significant major title holders. Yes, the World tag team championship is major, but not according to what WWE has done with the titles at this point. Let's just say that I doubt the WWE title and World title will be switching shows.
Next, I believe, once the feud is over involving the World Heavyweight Championship, that the Undertaker may need a new challenger, and/or a feud could be reignited by the move of this next man that I would consider a lock to be moved to Smackdown. Umaga. Umaga has some heat with the Animal, Batista from his match at Wrestlemania, and he has some plans, from reports I read, for a rivalry upcoming with the Undertaker. Also, compared to the fact that there really isn't much left for the Samoan Bulldozer to do on Raw, he had a title shot, and failed, he's been Intercontinental champion, and with no mouthpiece for him, there's not much left to put the big monster through on the main brand. On Smackdown, he could potentially feud or team with Henry or Khali, as well as Taker, and that is definitely something that would be interesting to see.
It's kind of tough to predict these potential moves because you could have the creative minds of someone who wants to see change happen in the product, or you could be the suits of WWE who need a book to be smashed over their heads before they change anything major around the shows, hence, the lousy ratings. I could go around and come up with some more names to consider as potential moves, but the fact is simple, it's absolutely pot luck to try and predict what could happen when this draft goes down. I don't remember the previous draft involving the three brands, I think there was one other, but the obvious question is, how the format would be, how many talents are going to change shows over the course of this proceeding, and then, what happens to these men when the deal is done. It's all very complicated when the deal is actually done.
Another possible idea to move a talent could be, hell, why not, John Cena. With his current schedule being as such that he is split between both the movie and wrestling, along with the fact he's had shots at the WWE title and has not gotten the brass ring back, perhaps a move back to his roots on Smackdown would help revitalize, and bring together a feud with Edge again, possibly Batista, MVP, or eventually, the world champion, whomever that may be. Batista vs. Cena or MVP vs. Cena would be matches I would enjoy immensely. It would freshen up a character that I am sure most fans around the world would like to see "re-born", in a figurative sense.
I would probably suspect a diva or two to be moved to Raw to compete for the Women's title. I don't know about you, but Natalya vs. Beth Phoenix I would pay to see. Two good looking women who know how to throw down and get dirty when they have to. Any woman who has the blood of the Anvil, Jim Neidhart, needs to be fighting for a championship, and on Smackdown, she's simply going to be spinning her heels. If she were to turn face and face off with Phoenix and/or Melina, if she remained a heel, it would be some interesting television on the Raw side in the women's division.
Here's another valid question. Most debuts of developmental talents, that I can remember, have gone down on Smackdown, for the benefit of being able to edit the matches on tape. With Ted DiBiase debuting last week on Raw, when his "first match" happens is anyone's guess, but would WWE move him in the draft to Smackdown prior to his first match, in order to get his experience at the big league level with the safety net in place of taped television, or are they going to keep him on the flagship and have him learn the ropes of the big time without a net to protect him on Raw? It's a valid question, and one that may be tough to answer in the coming weeks.
I'll try and come up with some more possible theories in the coming weeks leading up to Raw in San Antonio. Next week will be a little special for me, as I will be making my schedule available to check out Raw one week from Monday. In the meantime, with the One Night Stand PPV coming up tomorrow, let's get down to business of picking the PPV.
I Quit Match
Beth Phoenix vs. Melina
First question, is Melina a babyface now? I think she is, but I doubt it's full fledged yet. I am really stunned that WWE is going this direction with the woman's division. Not since Trish vs. Victoria back at Survivor Series '02 do I remember a match in the woman's division booked as brutally as this one can be. Question is simple here, can Melina's "technical" ability outlast the power of Phoenix? Truthfully, I doubt it. I think Phoenix will win this match, and propel herself back in to title contention and Mickie James.
Winner: Beth Phoenix
Batista vs. Shawn Michaels
I like how Batista performed going in to this match off of Smackdown last night. He seemed much more intense than usual, and its actually nice to see him involved in a feud that doesn't involve the World Heavyweight championship. Now, the question is, which one of these two ENORMOUS egos will be willing to take the fall in this match? Who needs it more? Batista or Shawn? It's a viable choice for both men. Both men could use a push back in to the world and WWE title pictures, and both men don't truly need it as they are pretty much there on a regular basis. While I think this will be an intense match, there could have been more interaction between the two leading up to this match to intensify the "tension" between the two men. Shawn and Batista are going to have work extra hard to get this match to the spectacle it SHOULD be, and I am not sure they're going to be able to do it. Why? No true reason, just a gut feeling. Same goes with the pick I am going to make here.
First Blood Match
John Cena vs. John Bradshaw Layfield
It's really ironic how these two men have crossed paths so soon after JBL's return to WWE, since JBL passed the torch of the WWE title to Cena, and Cena has turned it in to three reigns, and now, eventually, two movies. Now, as the circle concludes, this match still needs a better stipulation. I know they did I Quit, and I doubt they'd repeat it, but First Blood just stops the match when it truly can get interesting. I would have liked something a little more brutal. Even perhaps Hell in a Cell would be more appropriate for these two men, because they can go to the level that needs to be executed to handle that type of a match. I think this match will conclude just as the action gets to a pitch that the fans are desperate for, especially in the environment of this pay per view format. As for the victor, I got a feeling that JBL will take it, because he's much more active right now, and can use the push of beating the multiple time former WWE champion. I am becoming more and more convinced that maybe Cena may be moved at the draft to re-ignite his character. It's almost needed, and that's something for me to say, being as huge a Cena fan as I am.
Winner: John Bradshaw Layfield
Wow, that hurt to type.
Falls Count Anywhere
Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga
Two questions here. Is this a push for Umaga, or a final blow to Umaga before he is drafted away from Raw? I also stand firm by the fact that the Bulldozer is done with Raw, and will be sent somewhere when Raw hits San Antonio. Second question is, is this Vince's way of punishing Jeff Hardy for him blowing up WWE's plans for Money in the Bank? Think about it, Jeff is as close to the WWE title as he has ever been before 'Mania, he's planned to win MitB, screws up, gets suspended, Punk wins MitB, and has sufficiently been buried since, and now with Jeff back, all he has fought since is men twice his size. Perhaps this is Vince's eye for an eye thing to tell Jeff that if you screw me out of my product, I'm gonna screw you out of some fun nights at the office. Ok, maybe it's a bit far fetched. Anyway, Hardy can pull this out, as he has had the experience in these types of matches against men bigger than him, most specifically, his program in TNA with the Monster Abyss. I think Jeff will figure out a way to pull it off. I also watched his steel cage match with Umaga off the Twist of Fate DVD, and he showed me something in that match. I think that will continue. I still believe that Jeff will never see the WWE title in his sights again, but another run as IC Champion is deifnitely not out of the question, especially since Jericho has basically been non existent in defending the title since he won it.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Singapore Cane Match for a shot at the ECW Championship at Night of Champions
Big Show vs. John Morrison vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. CM Punk vs. Tommy Dreamer
This is confusing. Punk has the briefcase, so why put him in this match? I know there's not many "former" ECW title holders in the new ECW, but this is still confusing to me. Here's the second question. Think ahead to the Night of Champions PPV. Which of these matches has the most marquis value for the buck? Kane vs. Morrison? Kane vs. Chavo? Kane vs. Dreamer? Kane vs. Punk? Kane vs. Show? My personal thought would be the Big Show. However, I would not be surprised in the least if the WWE throws a curve ball and a carat at Dreamer for a shot at the title at a pay per view that focuses on championships. Use of the cane, for any of these men, Dreamer has the most experience with the weapon, and if the cards fall right, I would not be surprised if Dreamer finds a way to capture the flag and go on to face Kane at the next PPV for the title. One last run. Is it possible? Doubtful, but hell, I'm here to cause some controversy, and I can see it happen.
Winner: Tommy Dreamer
World Heavyweight Championship - TLC Match
If Undertaker loses, he leaves WWE
The Undertaker vs. Edge
Someone needs to tell me the logic behind the vacancy of the World title, because I just don't get it. However, bottom line here, the Undertaker is NOT going to leave WWE in this fashion. There's no way in the face of the cosmos that this will happen. I challenge anyone and everyone who thinks differently to let me know accordingly in an email. I'll debate this to the cows come home. Edge is a hell of a champion. No question. So is Undertaker. Bottom line, WWE cannot afford to lose the marquis value of the Phenom, at least, not yet, and not here. Also, we all know Edge is good, very good at this match, but not, unbeatable. Ask the crowd in Toronto in 07 at Unforgiven, and the two tabled FU that Edge suffered.
Winner: The Undertaker
Last Man Standing for the WWE Championship
Triple H vs. Randy Orton
Using a real life reason, I would be stunned to see Orton re-capture the title, because I suspect after this match is over, we may not see Orton on television for a few weeks, if for no other reason than to go visit his new child. Now, back to the storyline. Bottom line here is, HHH and Orton can deliver a top notch match in any circumstance. This will be a lot different, though, than the No Mercy LMS match that Orton and the Game fought, as the Game will be rested and ready for battle. He was slightly wounded when he fought Orton in his 3rd match on pay per view in the same day. I suspect this will be a tremendous contest, blood will spill, and violence will emanate in large quantities. But, when push comes to shove, the teacher will show the student what the Game is truly like.
Winner: Triple H
I think I'm done for now. I hope to be able to return to more active duty at the Palace Project in the coming days. Real life has been taking its toll on me, and the work I've been doing for the column and the Project have suffered.
One last thing, WWE is giving away a million dollars to a viewer of Raw? Hrm. Ok, show me the check, and the average individual, not a WWE plant, and maybe I'll believe it. Until then, it's just a publicity stunt, and a lame one at that.
Now I'm done.
Thank you for reading.
My email is Klac1102@aol.com
My blog, which has suffered in my absence, is http://mikesiciliano.blogspot.com.