LIVE for the annual WWE Draft Lottery, Raw comes to you live from Raleigh, North Carolina.
1 Draft Pick: SmackDown vs. Raw Battle Royal: SmackDown wins (C-)
We kick off the show with a battle royal in progress, where the winning brand receives two draft picks. Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole and Josh Mathews start off at the announce desk. I’ve got a feeling they won’t end like that. Just a hunch. The Raw guys are wearing red Raw shirts, and the SmackDown guys…you get the point. I’m not going into play by play since there’s too many people. The announce team really stressed the big guy eliminations, such as Mark Henry, Brodus Clay, etc. Big Show (with Kofi Kingston) eliminates Mason Ryan to award SmackDown a draft pick.
SmackDown Draft Pick: John Cena. Unreal. We knew SmackDown was short on babyfaces with Edge and Undertaker out, but…wow. Cole’s not happy about it, and the Raw locker room looks devastated. Cena was advertised to appear on SmackDown this week, and the WWE website even made a page questioning Cena going to SmackDown. Apparently, it’s only one draft pick now.
Cena w/ Todd Grisham. Cena cuts another lame promo talking about how monumental the switch is, and says that he’s “coming…back…to…SmackDown,” as if to mock The Rock. He says he’ll win at Extreme Rules and bring the WWE Championship back to SmackDown. The Miz shows up and says that after tonight, he won’t be able to see Cena on Raw. The cut back to the announce desk, and Cole’s decked in England flags and attire. He hypes the Cole vs. JR match for tonight. This angle is really getting old.
They air a video package from Morrison/R-Truth from last week. Well done as usual.
They introduce R-Truth, who comes out with no music or titantron and cuts a promo at the top of the stage. “Raleigh, North Carolina…shut up!” Ha! He did a nice job of playing up to the crowd’s “What?” chants. He blames the fans for his loss last week, saying he challenged Morrison last week because of them. He says he tried to be what the fans wanted him to be, but it didn’t get him anywhere. He says his dancing and rapping intro is for the fans. Does anyone else think it’s stupid? Truth pretends to mock a fan, ‘little Jimmy’, and does an unintentionally hilarious dance. He says he’s giving the fans the boot, and that they should be booing themselves instead of him. He says the Truth has set me free. Morrison jumps him from behind down the ramp, but is eventually restrained by the refs. Overall, not a bad segment. His babyface character never did anything for me, so hopefully his heel persona kicks it up a notch.
They air a promo for Rock’s birthday party on Raw next week in his hometown of Miami, Florida. Mick Foley sighting? I hope so.
Kharma promo. Same as the other ones. They pan up to her face laughing, then show the word ‘harm’ with the K and A coming in after. She’s going to literally crush the Divas division.
1 Draft Pick: Eve Torres d. Eve Torres (F)
They flash back to LayCool’s issues during psychiatry. McCool is ringside. Cole almost immediately interrupts and critisizes Eve, who quickly rolls up Layla for the pinfall in like 30 seconds. Cole hypes the match between him and JR for later tonight, and says Mr. WrestleMania has left ringside. Post-match, Layla beat down McCool on the outside, who’s crying as she’s kicking her ass. She throws McCool over the announce table, who also appears to be crying. There’s no crying in pro wrestling!
Raw Draft Pick: Rey Mysterio. Crazy. As with Cena, WWE.com had a tease about Rey heading to Raw. If SmackDown is short on babyfaces though, why move Rey over to Raw? Especially given SmackDown’s hispanic audience, moving Rey back to Raw again doesn’t seem like the right move. Sin Cara’s on Raw, now Rey, and with rumours of Alberto Del Rio moving to Raw too, they’re in danger of alienating their entire hispanic audience. You’d think that Rey and Sin Cara would be kept on separate shows since both guys wrestle a similar style too. Not to mention the early rumours that Rey was unhappy about WWE signing Sin Cara in the first place.
They show JR attempting to get ready for his match. He’s not doing a very good job.
Cody Rhodes w/ Grisham. His new Phantom of the Opera thing is weird. He says he’s giving Rey a present after their Falls Count Anywhere match at Extreme Rules, and the present is a new mask, one that people use for anaesthetics during operations. It was a pretty awkward promo.
1 Draft Pick: Kofi Kingston d. Sheamus (C-)
Sheamus missed a Brogue kick, so Kingston landed a pair of Trouble in Paradise kicks for the pinfall. Everyone in the SmackDown locker room is doing the “boom boom boom” celebration. Ugh.
SmackDown Draft Pick: Randy Orton. This is ridiculous. So far, WWE.com is 3/3 on those link teases. If all else is correct, Beth Phoenix and Alberto Del Rio will get moved to Raw before the night is over. Hard to believe that both Cena and Orton are moved to SmackDown. Raw is getting torn apart tonight.
JR w/ King d. Michael Cole w/ Jack Swagger via DQ (F)
Booker T is now at the announce desk. Cole is dressed in Olympic wrestling gear again. Flashback to Cole being knighted/JR kissing his feet from last week. King says JR was throwing up an hour after that. Ha. King leaves the desk and heads to ringside to be in JR’s corner. Cole did a good fat guy impression in the ring. Already, this match is at least twice as long as Eve/Layla. That’s sad. Why are Swagger and Lawler on the apron? This isn’t a tag team match. He leaves the ring and puts on JR’s cowboy hat, then steps on it in the ring. Cole keeps procrastinating. This is taking much longer than I had hoped. Cole calls timeout, so Lawler puts a stool in the ring and gives him a pep talk. Cole tries to bodyslam him but falls under the weight, so JR mounts him and lands some rights. He bails, but King throws him back in. Swagger blindsides Lawler on the outside and beats down JR in the ring for the DQ. Swagger applies the Ankle Lock, and eventually removes JR’s belt. Cole, now bleeding from his mouth, starts whipping JR with his own belt. King gets back in and goes after Cole and starts whipping him with the belt. Cole runs away holding the sides of his ass. JR’s now bleeding under his eye, or on his finger. The GM emails and says the Extreme Rules match between the four of them will be a tag team Country Whipping match. Basically, they have a belt in play. The whole segment was roughly 10 minutes.
Miz & Riley w/ Grisham. Riley grabs the mic and flips the WWE cube upside down. Miz mocks Rock a bit, and says they shouldn’t be celebrating Rock’s birthday next week. He says no one should care about Cena going to SmackDown either. He says they’d better hope he doesn’t get drafted to SmackDown, otherwise Raw would get cancelled. I somehow doubt that.
2 Draft Picks: Randy Orton d. Dolph Ziggler (C)
I don’t like Ziggler’s new haircut. He looks too generic now. From far away, he almost looks like Ted DiBiase. Orton is RKO hunting but gets distracted by Vickie. Ziggler gets a 2 on a rollup, but as both guys get up, Orton hits a quick RKO for the pinfall. Is that a 5 o’clock shadow for Orton? I like it. They start rolling the Draft graphic, but CM Punk interrupts. He says he’s going to beat Orton with everything he’s got. Orton says he won’t miss Punk rambling on and on every night, and that he’s going to make Punk go unconscious as the Last Man Standing. Not bad. They re-roll the Draft graphic, but we’ve gotta wait until after the commercial. Damnit!
SmackDown Draft Picks: Mark Henry & Sin Cara. THEY’RE BREAKING UP THE APPLE! Now, that Rey move makes sense. Henry wasn’t a big part of Raw anyways, so it’s not all that big a deal. As for Sin Cara, he wasn’t in any title pictures anyways, but it goes back to my earlier point about WWE wanting to keep Mysterio and Sin Cara on separate shows. I’m OK with it, as Sin Cara will need time to adapt to WWE’s style before becoming a true asset to the company.
2 Draft Picks: Rey Mysterio d. Wade Barrett (C)
Rey is worked over early to sell the power disadvantage. Rey hits a hurricanrana off the top, then into a 619 and top rope splash for the pinfall at about three minutes.
Raw Draft Picks: Big Show & Alberto Del Rio. YES, ALBERTO DEL RIO! Show’s got an 5-XL shirt. Wow. This has got to be the 10th time he’s been switched from SD to Raw and back again. They cut backstage to ADR, who throws his SmackDown shirt away and is talking to Ricardo Rodriguez in Spanish. WWE.com spoils again, as they’re 4/4 now. Even though I kinda knew about the likelihood of the switch a little while ago, I’m a little surprised by the move. I thought WWE would’ve done Cena/ADR or something, since a bunch of insider wrestling sites have been saying that a feud like this is likely to happen in 2011. Now, it looks like Sin Cara will be the lone hispanic star on SmackDown. I hope Rey/ADR doesn’t continue on Raw, though.
Cole comes back with a mouth full of gauze. They also plug Extreme Rules for this Sunday. It won’t do well, at least here in Canada. We just had WrestleMania 27, plus there’s UFC 129 on Saturday night, which Canadian hometown here Georges St. Pierre in action.
Teddy Long comes out and announces a tag match for the final draft pick: Punk, ADR & Miz vs. Christian, Mark Henry & Cena. Why is Mark Henry in this match? They had all announcers talking over each other, so somebody screwed up. Oops!
The WWE Draft Lottery continues tomorrow at 12pm ET with what I’m assuming is the WWE Supplemental Draft. If it’s anything like past years, they’ll make a handful of smaller moves for guys that are buried deep in the midcard. I won’t be doing that live, but I will give my thoughts on it tomorrow night.
1 Draft Pick: CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio d. The Miz d. Christian, Mark Henry & John Cena (C+)
ADR comes out in a Maserati. Nice.
Raw Draft Pick: John Cena. The show starts with Cena going to SmackDown, and ends with Cena coming back to Raw. “I don’t think anyone will ever forget the 2011 Draft!” says Jerry Lawler. I’m sure I will. It takes a few days though. Christian lands a nice swinging DDT on ADR. Christian makes the hot tag to Cena, who goes off, but Henry gets into the ring and lays out Cena. Henry leaves the ring, and picks up Christian, dropping him head first onto the barricade. Heel turn! Cena and Miz are slow to get up, but Miz lands a Skull Crushing Finale on Cena for the pinfall at about 10 minutes.
Raw Draft Pick: John Cena. That explains a lot. Now, it looks like Cena vs. ADR is a very realistic possibility. SmackDown was getting way too beefed up with Orton and Cena, and I guess it made more sense to bring Cena back than it did Orton. Post-match, Cena cleaned house of all the Raw heels, 5-knuckle shuffled Miz, and tossed him over the top rope onto all the heels waiting on the outside. Cena stands tall in the ring as we fade to black.
2. Rey Mysterio
6. Big Show
7. Alberto Del Rio
8. John Cena
1. John Cena
3. Randy Orton
4. Mark Henry
5. Sin Cara
Top Performers of the Show:
1. Randy Orton
2. Alberto Del Rio
3. CM Punk
Final Grade: C-
If you don’t want to read this, here’s the spoon-fed version: Raw gets Rey Mysterio, Big Show & Alberto Del Rio while Smackdown gets Randy Orton, Mark Henry & Sin Cara. If you wanted to watch some wrestling, you’re looking in the wrong place. Only one match got more than about three minutes of action, but mostly because the Draft was the main priority of the show. It’s nice to see ADR come to Raw to try and create some new feuds and breathe a breath of fresh air on the show. SmackDown was thin on babyfaces, so adding Orton made sense. Cena moving back to Raw had to be done, since Raw was getting demolished and was essentially losing their top two babyfaces in one night.
One thing that came to mind now is this: prior to the draft, SmackDown was lacking babyfaces. Now, with the loss of ADR, they suddenly appear thin on heels. WWE now has the top three heels in Miz, ADR and CM Punk. Maybe this leads to a push of some of their midcard guys. It’s been said a million times before, but maybe now Drew McIntyre is back in the fold. Or even Cody Rhodes. In fact, I’d be really surprised if it wasn’t Rhodes.
Looking ahead to Sunday, I have minimal interest in Extreme Rules. I hope Christian wins the World Heavyweight Championship, and with ADR now on Raw and The Miz likely to retain the WWE Championship, I’m hoping all the stars align and Christian wins. Even if Cena wins, he’s still on Raw anyways. We’ll see what happens. Christian needs a big push, ASAP. It’s years overdue. Make him the new Edge. As for the triple threat between Morrison/Cena/Miz, it seems that Morrison is the odd man out. He hasn’t been involved at all in the storyline, and has been stuck working with R-Truth while Cena and Miz close Raw every week. Does anyone expect Morrison to win? I don’t, but it’d be nice if he was legitimately in the title picture. Instead, he’s just there to take the pinfall in order to save Miz and Cena from doing the job.
Logic says Cole and Swagger lose to King and JR, but that’s exactly what I said at WrestleMania 27. Cole’s had the upper hand every week now, and this feud is just screaming to end. I really hope it does. I shouldn’t be annoyed, wanting to mute my TV when I watch Raw. You can keep Cole a heel, but tone it down.