More Updates On The WWE Draft – Reasons behind Stars Switching Shows
Some more inside notes regarding the roster changes and fallout. There is a feeling that they made enough moves to freshen up the product, which badly needed it, and Smackdown did benefit in most ways although the jury is out on what the full-time loss of Mysterio will mean to the Hispanic demo.
But there is talk in the move that Raw and Smackdown lost their uniqueness. Raw was supposed to be a wrestling and md/variety show targetingmales 12-49 while Smackdown was more kids and Hispanic oriented. The feeling is the same as ours that Carlito will benefit from being off Raw. There is some talk that Jeff Hardy lost something because he was planned at one point for a program with Jericho, and it doesn’t look like he’ll have something as potentially interesting on Smackdown. There is talk of Hardy vs. MVP, but some feel that’s too much of a repeat because they spent months doing that program with Matt.
Shelton Benjamin moving to Smackdown was a surprise because Michael Hayes was never high on him. Hayes has said in meetings he feels Benjamin his lazy and never seized the moment when he had promo time or during his many start-and-stop big pushes. There is talk of Jeff Hardy vs. Benjamin but if anything, that takes Hardy down several pegs from where he was.
Believe it or not, there are people very high on Deuce. I don’t know about him on live TV as Deuce is one of those guys a lot better when his matches are edited. He’s scheduled to be repackaged and the plan is to do something with him on Raw, but you know how WWE plans are. There are producers who are skeptical of these plans because the feeling is he won’t be good in singles matches. There is a feeling he has charisma, which he does have, but his timing in the ring and ring mechanics are well below average. People are also speculating on Domino being on the endangered species list.
On Kofi Kingston, the jury is out. Obviously they are in the mood to try and make new stars, but in his case, it depends on whether or not they are quick to give up the experiment. Today, the man makes the belt, the belt doesn’t make the man.
The feeling is Mr. Kennedy will continue to tread water and wind up in about the same position on Smackdown that he’s been treading on Raw for the past year.
Dusty Rhodes pushed to bring in Trevor Murdoch to Smackdown in 2007, as Rhodes and others saw something in him, but it didn’t happen and Rhodes isn’t in power. But the feeling is he’s better off with Hayes booking him than with Brian Gewirtz, who never did anything with him.
There is lots of second-guessing the announcers move over the past week. In fact, every single person I’m in contact with immediately second-guessed it, but also felt Ross ensured it by what he wrote on his site.
Hayes has liked Harry Smith for two years so the belief is he’ll get more of an opportunity.
Fit Finlay was moved to ECW to help make that brand the transition between developmental and the big rosters with Finlay doing the player/coach role earmarked last year for Chris Benoit and that nobody took over. Hornswoggle was moved so as not to break up the act, but the feeling is Hornswoggle isn’t a good fit on ECW, which is not a kid-friendly product and Hornswoggle’s main appeal is to boys under 10.
C.M. Punk is interesting. The next two months are going to be very important as there are mixed feelings as to whether he’ll sink bad in the spotlight or become a bigger star than ever. A key is his opponents. JBL is not the right opponent for him, but they used enough smoke and mirrors on TV and kept it short with very little back-and-forth so nobody noticed it. But Jericho worked better with Punk than just about anyone the few prior times they’ve worked together. Gewirtz in the past has knocked Punk in meetings and there are Raw veterans who don’t like him because, well, you know, the non-drinking is seen as being stuck up by some. But putting the World belt on him puts a lot of pressure on him. It’s earlier than they would do it for most, but it’s also clear they understand the need for rebuilding.
The break-up of Paul London & Brian Kendrick was seen as a bad move for both, but particularly London, who despite his ring talents, is right now in the not to be pushed category.
The move to Raw is not seen as a good thing for Chuck Palumbo. Matt Striker may be used as manager for some big guys in developmental that get called up, or used as a Marella-style job guy who gets a lot of mic time but whose real role is to put over mid-level babyfaces.