The Live Wire - By Tony Cottam

TLW: The Draft

Well, hello. Welcome to… here. You’d think after 200 or so of these things, I’d have this snappy, witty intro down to a fine art… Ah well, can’t have everything. So, with all the excitement of the draft lottery in the past, now we can get things settled down, and get back to the serious business… of pushing Triple H. Ho ho, just a joke. Ain’t I funny? For the record, answers other than “Yes, you’re hilarious” will quite frankly be ignored…

Well, hello. Welcome to… here. You’d think after 200 or so of these things, I’d have this snappy, witty intro down to a fine art… Ah well, can’t have everything.

So, with all the excitement of the draft lottery in the past, now we can get things settled down, and get back to the serious business… of pushing Triple H. Ho ho, just a joke. Ain’t I funny? For the record, answers other than “Yes, you’re hilarious” will quite frankly be ignored.

I bet you’re all itching to hear my thoughts on the draft. I bet you can’t wait to see me go through all the draftees and examine their chances in their new homes on their respective new brands. Well, fact fans, wait no more! That’s what this week’s column is all about – a fact I just decided all of 5 minutes ago! Whooo! Dig that spontaneity!

You know, I’d like to have seen something like failed trades – for example – say Eric Bischoff proposed trading Garrison Cade for Orlando Jordan, but Smackdown refused it. That would have opened up some storylines for Cade (Raw wanted rid of him, Smackdown didn’t want him – how does he deal with that?) and for Jordan (Smackdown want him so bad they refused a trade – how does he deal with that?) if nothing else, and would have made the trade window seem that little bit more important.

But no matter. I do like the idea of doing this after every WrestleMania, however – it opens the window for a whole bunch of possibilities and keeps things fresh in the long run. Let’s hope that is a plan in progress and not just a rumour. So let’s get onto the actual trades that were made – I’ll start where Vince McMahon seems to have started…

Raw Trades

Triple H : was traded away, but came back in a three for one deal, so it’s not like they’re putting an emphasis on him or anything. The main thing this does is create a bit of resentment from Trips towards Bisch, HBK and Benoit – now that Backlash is set as an HBK vs. Benoit main event. Interesting to see how that goes down, but sadly, I see Benoit coming across as the least important man in that little triangle. Enjoy your title run Chris, but don’t get comfortable dragging the belt through airports.

Shelton Benjamin : Good trade, if you ask me – splits the tag team up without the need for a dodgy split angle, and preserves the mystique of the World’s Greatest Tag Team in the event of any future roster trades. Benjamin seems to be the guy with the bigger chance of making it as a singles wrestler, and that’s meaning no disrespect to Charlie.

Either one of them has a great opportunity to make it big, but in Benjamin, I see a future main eventer and a multi-time champion in the making. He seems to be level headed enough to take it in his stride, and as evidenced by the APA skit, he does have a semblance of mic skills.

Nidia : Well, it’s a good move for her as it gets her on to a show where she can wrestle, which is by all accounts what she wants to do. It also puts a close to the Nidia / Noble storyline without either one really losing face.

Plus, it’s a good move for The King, as it’s another chance for him to scream “PUPPIES! PUPPIES!” at little notice – and peeps, them’s is hella big puppies for such a short woman. I sense that when she ‘lost her sight’, she wandered into a surgery and accidentally had 5lbs of silicone injected while she was there.

Rhyno : Could be a good move for him in the long run, but y’know, I just get the feeling that Rhyno’s existence in the WWE is purely down to the fact that he might just be a big hit if he went to NWA-TNA after the WWE release him. I don’t really know where it went wrong for him, as he seemed to be on the fast track to the top when he signed on in the first place.

Ideally, he could easily be placed into the Intercontinental division, but I think for now the best thing for him would be to attempt to hide in a Tag Team – maybe partner him with Rodney Mack when he returns… Let’s just hope he doesn’t get the Matt Hardy jobbed out treatment.

Tajiri : I don’t really see the point of trading him across to Raw, as the only opponents in his weight range would be The Hurricane or Lance Storm. Maybe they will actually give him a bit of a push and have him working in or just below the Intercontinental division.

Edge : The future for Edge looks as bright as his teeth. Whooo! Already, the teeth jokes are back in business – yeah! In all honesty, he looks as if he’s been positioned at the top of the card, as his is the trade that Bischoff was most proud of. No doubt he’s already been lined up to job to Trips in double quick fashion.

Of course, we do have the possibility of the Edge & Christian relationship coming back into play, and that would mean Jericho tagging up with Edge – not a bad thought, actually. Edge definitely has future World Heavyweight Champion written all over his future.

Paul Heyman : Well, he’s gone isn’t he? Ahhh, that’s what THEY want you to think… Latest ‘word’ is that he’ll return to Smackdown as a manager, to give a boost to mid card heels who will be bumped up the card to fight Eddie. Namely, Bradshaw. Lucky Paul.

To be fair, Heyman as someone’s manager guarantees instant heat for ANY wrestler – he is the Roll’s Royce of the current fleet of managers. Plus we could eventually have that Paul Bearer vs. Paul Heyman showdown that Internet smarks dream of!!!

A-Train : Vince loves this guy, and JR will have a field day calling him a hoss and telling the world about his size eight and three eighths head. He does have a unique look about him, and to be fair, he has exhibited some signs of charisma that can be worked with. This is a new start for him – let’s hope both he and the WWE make the most of it, and give him some new ring attire at least…

Chuck Palumbo : Palumbo could be a sleeper in this whole trade. I was impressed with him at the Glasgow house show, as he worked the crowd constantly, and looked solid in the ring. I never understood why he was split from Sean O’Haire in the first place, and I never really understood why Smackdown never used Palumbo and Stamboli as a tag team more. Put him into a tag team to start with (possibly with Test or Val Venis) and break him off in a while, and there could be a slot in the singles division for Palumbo easily.

Smackdown Trades

Rene Dupree : Good move for Smackdown. Dupree was probably the most over guy in La Resistance, purely down to “The Dance” – which is a fine staple of all drunken nights out everywhere, by the way. As a singles guy, Dupree is going to get more attention, and have to work harder to deserve the push he will get.

If he can go with it, and continue to improve, then he is a credible force in the US Title division at least. I get the feeling that Dupree is being groomed for higher things in the long run, though. Time will tell if he’s up to it – if you pushed me, I’d probably say that he could well make it to the top as long as it’s gradually, and not Lesnar-like.

Mark Jindrak : A weird move. The tag team of him and Cade looked good enough, if a little basic. A fully fledged heel turn and a manager might have been the making of them, but now we’ll never know. Jindrak has potential coming out of his ears in the ring – he just needs someone to do his talking for him at the moment, which is why I would simply reunite Jindrak and Sean O’Haire in the tag division.

O’Haire could do with being on TV, and the tag division does need a bit of a shot in the arm – Jindrak and O’Haire could easily fill that void, before moving into the singles division eventually. Jindrak might not make it to the very top, but with his height and build, he’s going to get a shot at some point.

Rob Van Dam : Good move for RVD – gets him away from the big monsters of Raw, and onto a brand that suits his size, speed and style of wrestling more, Big Show excepted. It also gets him away from the live show, possibly a good thing where his promo work is concerned.

Easily slots right into the US Title division – and is a potential WWE Champion in the making. No matter what he does, the crowd pops for him and his moveset. A Paul London – RVD match, and not under the usual 5 minutes time constraints could be something to behold… RVD has a solid future on Smackdown.

Theodore Long : Good move for Theodore, and Smackdown. There’s a lot of talent on the Smackdown Roster that could do with someone to talk for them – Orlando Jordan, Matt Morgan, Sakoda and Akio, and the Bashams spring to mind right away. Theodore could be a massive influence on how the younger Smackdown talent develops over the next couple of years.

Spike Dudley : Well, he’s in the Cruiserweight division, where he should be, but he already had a title shot and lost. Where does he go now? That’s the problem with giving him a big match like that on his Smackdown debut… He remains united with his ‘brothers’ which could be a problem for him to step out from their shadow.

Spike is a lot better wrestler than he gets credit for, and takes bumps that are verging on suicidal for his size. If nothing else, at least Shannon Moore and Funaki can take a breather from their position as Smackdown whupping boys for a while. Spike’s a tailor made fit for the Cruiserweight division, but I can’t help thinking Hurricane would have been a better trade than Spike is…

Booker T : Already settling into his heel role nicely, Booker is without a doubt a future WWE Champion. Book has a lot of charisma, knows how to work the ‘WWE Style’ and can work a crowd, as he showed last week.

It’s more than likely we’ll have a Booker vs. RVD feud over the next few weeks as Booker continues his campaign of hatred on Smackdown, and ‘Mr. Thursday Night’ defends the Smackdown honour. Let’s hope Hardcore Holly doesn’t get a hold of him first… yeech!

The Dudleys : Still the same old Dudleys, but with a whole bunch new guys to beat on. Sooner or later, they’re gonna have to split so we can finally have that epic D-Von vs. Bubba Ray feud that’s always been on the cards. Could this be where Teddy Long comes in to play? Who knows… The Dudleys will no doubt have multiple tag title reigns before they do split – but the big problem is this – who gets to be the opening match PPV tag team now? The Duds or Too Cool V2?

Rico : Traded BACK to Smackdown after he left, and at least with a remotely better gimmick than the one he had when he left. The sad thing is, Rico has a lot more talent than he’s allowed to show, but the gimmick, while it grabs your attention, will ultimately strangle any chance he has of advancing beyond comedy act.

It’s a shame, as I reckon he could easily work in the US Title range, given a decent push and a normal gimmick. Still, at least he should be on Velocity each week until he gets released some time next year.

Miss Jackie : Bleurgh. Pointless eye candy, at least she doesn’t have to wrestle quite as often now. Can you wait for the revival of the Jackie vs. Torrie and Jackie vs. Sable feuds? I know I can’t!!! By the way, I was being sarcastic.

Triple H : Traded back to Raw. Thankfully.

Kurt Angle : Installed as new General Manager following Paul Heyman’s resignation. Well, this WAS a shock – the whole world and his donkey thought that Screechin’ Stephy would be back in town, but thankfully, we were saved from that particular pleasure for the time being. Angle has the skills on the mic to carry the role off, and it gives his injured neck ample time to heal.

Angle’s appointment means that again we have a heel GM… hopefully, we won’t be treated to a rehash of the heel authority against plucky face angle that seems to have been going on since 1997 and Montreal. For Kurt’s sake, I hope this break does him good and we get to see him in the ring, and back at his best.


So who got the better deal out of the draft? For me, Smackdown got the best end of the trade simply by sending Trips back to Raw. Bringing in Booker and RVD is a good move, and in Dupree and Jindrak, there’s a couple of guys with huge potential there. Whether they are allowed to ever show that potential… well, that’s a whole different column for another day.

Edge going to Raw was probably the biggest single move, given that Trips is back where he started, and he should come out of the trades in the best shape once the dust settles, and he does the compulsory job to Triple H. On the whole, I’d have to say Smackdown got the best deal out of the lottery and trades, but it was close.

Until then, have fun, go mad.

Thanks for reading – be sure and pay a visit to these two sweet sites : / TheGroovyComapany

Tony Cottam

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