Interesting week. WWE Draft. The debut of WWE Superstars on WGN America. Poorly timed O.J. references. An upcoming trip to London, England. So here we go with a little of this and a little of that.
First the Draft. No huge surprises as any one who did not think that Monday Night Raw wasn't going to be enhanced more than any other brand simply wasn't paying attention. Raw is the #1 TV priority of WWE and rightfully so as it delivers the biggest audience in the longest standing time slot on the best medium to sell pay per views, cable TV. Raw will have John Cena, HHH, Batista, HBK, and MVP at their disposal to feature as fan favorites. That's five deep, at worst, plus perhaps an unknown will "break through." One can also assume that Raw will get the "pick of the litter" from FCW whenever that may be. It will also be interesting to see how impactful Mr. Kennedy is when he debuts on Raw after fully healing from shoulder surgery which should be in the next month or so. If Kennedy "hits" as he is likely to do then Monday Night Raw gets even stronger. Santino Marella has surprisingly become one of the most popular individuals on Raw which doesn't hurt the Monday night staple either as far as entertainment content is concerned. I DVR Raw every week but always try and make a point of watching the show live if at all possible. I feel all WWE announcers should watch all the shows but that's just one man's opinion.
Smackdown did well retaining The Undertaker, Jeff Hardy, Edge and Umaga while adding Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Kane, and perhaps the Smackdown sleeper Draft pick in John Morrison. I also like having Shelton Benjamin, Dolph Ziggler, Curt Hawkins, Ricky Ortiz (no towels please unless they feature JR's BBQ), Charlie Haas and Mike Knox on Friday nights. Opportunity is knocking and it will be fun to see who truly wants to step up and grab the proverbial brass ring and become a perennial main eventer from these newcomers and from the other holdovers. If all the pieces fall into place, I can easily see several of the young Smackdown talents becoming big time players in WWE much Sooner than later. I like the overall level of athleticism of the SD roster.
ECW has a smaller roster but they also only do one hour of TV per week which is about 42 minutes of content for Sci Fi. I could theoretically see some of WWE's promising prospects making ECW their first WWE address over the next few months. I love watching fresh faces compete as I think most fans enjoy seeing "new" to a large degree. Who's to say that ECW can't be a surprise laden broadcast every week especially if we start seeing some newcomers on Tuesday night. I don't know the plans but it seems to like that concept might be logical.
Obviously, it's easy for one to second guess the Draft selections but I choose to see how it all plays out between now and WM26. I also realize that I look at the Draft with a somewhat different perspective than many casual fans. The rosters will never be balanced or have parity nor should they be. I think that after Backlash that we will begin to see how things start to shake out for all three shows. So from my part of the world, I feel that the Draft was, from top to bottom, solid and will provide some potentially, outstanding talents with a chance to turn heads and become new, main event stars of which the biz seriously needs.
The Q&A section of the website has been updated since I returned Wednesday from Knoxville. BTW Knoxville was a friendly and beautiful place and of course is the home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers. I was hoping to see Vols Women's Hoops Coach Pat Summit in the Khali Kiss Cam but that didn't happen. It was good seeing Mark Canterbury (Henry Godwin) and a wrestler than I had not seen in over 20 years, Ron Sexton who's now a Country Deputy, at the Tuesday night event. BTW Mark's son is 6'8"-320 and will graduate from Carson-Newman University this December after playing his senior year for the football team where he starts at offensive tackle. He's a massive young man that could well venture to WWE if his NFL aspirations don't materialize.
We've been receiving many inquiries as to whether Ricky Steamboat will be doing any more wrestling for WWE in the future. Let me first say that I do not know but my opinion is that it isn't too likely other than a perhaps a "one off" match somewhere down the road. Again, I thought Ricky's performance in Houston at Raw was so memorable, especially the post match, notwithstanding his efforts at WM25 which were amazing. Man, the sons of Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair have massive shadows of which to step out of which won't be easy.
The first match on the first episode of WWE Superstars on WGN America will feature The Undertaker vs. Matt Hardy in Taker's first bout since WM25. Todd Grisham and I had the privilege of calling the first bout on the new show which will mean nothing in a few hours other than it might be the answer to an obscure trivia question some day. Christian faces Finlay while Shane McMahon takes on Cody Rhodes, if you will. All three brands will be featured weekly and each brand's announcers will call their respective bouts.
Grisham and I called our match Monday night in Atlanta before the 3 hour Draft which meant we sat at ringside for approximately 3 1/2 hours which was personally bladder challenging.
Other Q&A's include questions about Kevin Von Erich who now lives in Hawaii and is farming there. KVE says he loves it and Kevin told me he is doing what he always wanted to do and that is farm. Kevin's son Ross, who really reminds me of Ross', late uncle Kerry, might be the next Von Erich to give wrestling a shot but that is only speculation based on what Kevin has told me about Ross' love of the business and his athletic abilities. Time will tell as Ross is still just a kid.
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This week's Friday Night Smackdown is one of the most in-ring wrestling heavy broadcasts that we have had in quite some time. It was really fun to be a part of and for those that like less talk and more action this show has it.
I'm headed to London Sunday arriving there Monday morning for the Tuesday night taping of Friday Night Smackdown and ECW at the O2 Arena.
Thanks, again, for doing some shopping with us and we will do our best to ship your order as promptly as humanly possible. I also appreciate the continued questions and comments you send us for the Q&A section of the site.