The April 25 edition of WWE Raw featured the WWE Draft, an annual event that allows fans to pretend like they know how wrestling works, and wrestling announcers to get completely bent out of shape about things that don’t matter. Since its inception back in [some year], stars from Raw have routinely appeared on Smackdown and brand-nonspecific pay-per-views without incident, to the point that if you put everybody in WWE in the ring without brightly-colored t-shirts and asked me to tell you who is in what brand, I couldn’t do it. And I write about wrestling for a living.
I know Cena’s on Raw, I know Kane’s on Smackdown. Which brand is The Great Khali on? Did it change? When did it change before? Is that Rosa Mendes with the dark hair, clapping about draft pics? Is Kevin Thorn still employed somewhere? We may never know.
[images -> MGFanJay @ DVDR]
Worst: No, Seriously, the Draft Doesn’t Matter
WWE hasn’t drafted this badly since Bob Holly was a race car driver. Most of the time people watch the draft, then jump online to explain how Sheamus needs a face push and John Cena needs a heel turn and how this can only be accomplished by putting them on different shows. They explain things like workrate and heat and pops, as though we really need to hear about those things, and it’s generally very anal and difficult to read. I’ve got a couple of problems with the draft that have nothing to do with storylines, so bear with me as I try to get through them without turning into Scowling Internet Guy.
Major Issue #1: Everybody shows up on any show they want whenever they want anyway. Wait, I think I might’ve actually covered that in the intro blurb.
Major Issue #2: The rivalry between Raw and Smackdown is inconsistent. When it’s time for Bragging Rights or a spotlight match at Wrestlemania, Raw and Smackdown wrestlers put on these bright t-shirts and pretend to be fiercely loyal to whichever TV show they’re on. They don’t really have a reason to be, other than some weird “Raw is the A show, Smackdown is the B show” Internet thing that seeped onto the worst parts of television.
A guy like Drew McIntyre spends a year or two trying to cheat and manipulate the Smackdown roster, getting into heated physical and legal debates with the show’s general manager and ends up having the deck stacked against him when the GM and a pissed-off good guy want to deliver comeuppance. So why is a guy like Drew McIntyre wearing a Smackdown T-shirt, cheering when Smackdown gets a big name and feeling bad when they lose one? How does this make sense? I’m not asking for an incredibly three-dimensional character study here, the guy is a dick who hates everybody on his show, but he loves his show and everyone on it when they’re in front of the Raw guys?
And THAT leads to
Major Issue #3: Why DO the people on Smackdown get excited when John Cena gets drafted? From a personal point of view, a lot of guys on Smackdown have run amuck of The Champ in the past. Cody Rhodes spent like a year and a half getting sh:t-kicked by Cena at every turn, and even less obvious people like the Big Show have been humiliated and defeated by this unstoppable WASPy goofball. Are they excited because they stole him from Raw? Guys like Kofi Kingston could be happy, because they’ve gained a strong fairplay ally. But why is Ricardo Rodriguez all YEAH JOHN CENA YEAHHH?
From a professional point of view, these guys should be PISSED that Cena has come to Smackdown, because he immediately leap frogs every single one of them and their attempts at championship gold. If pro wrestling is your job, you want to be a champion and win all the time. That’s the goal of any athlete. You don’t apply for a job at WWE (and again I’m speaking completely in kayfabe [insider wrestling term +1]) so you can dick around as a wrestling plumber in comedy sketches with Jason Hervey or whoever, do you? You want to succeed. Cena showing up means you’ve run into a brick wall, and not only a brick wall, a bright ass technicolor crayon red wall who keeps RUNNING AT YOU and screaming and killing you with 4-6 moves.
Realistically, if Smackdown gets a big name, the guys on Smackdown should be “oh great f**k me.” If they lose guys, they should be happy, because now they’ve got a better chance of being at the top. Who would you rather face for the World Championship, the Canadian Rage Christian Cage, or some monstrous hydra made out of Cena, Orton, HHH and the Undertaker?
Worst: Oh God, Nothing Matters
Cena gets drafted to Smackdown, gets all excited about it, fights for the glory of Smackdown, gets drafted to Raw, beats up everybody on Raw, and we all get punched in our goddamned stomachs. This is coming from a Friend and Supporter of John Cena, too. The whole “we’re going to do something fresh, lol just kidding” status quo straddling isn’t necessarily the best or worst, it’s just … it’s just getting dangerously close to making me type the word “meh,” and I swear to God I’d rather chop off my f**king femur than sincerely say meh. You are making me indifferent without the passion to explain why.
And hey, aren’t you excited to see what happens in the Randy Orton/CM Punk Last Man Standing match now that Orton’s going to Smackdown? They should just change it to an Agree to Disagree Match. Headlining WWE’s next pay-per-view event, WWE Agree to Disagree.