July 6, 2005
SLAM! Stats - Draft lottery dimensions
By JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
Batista and Chris Benoit both switched to Smackdown!
- photo by Bill Cubitt
This past month, 22 on-air talents from World Wrestling Entertainment traded brands, in an effort to, as Vince McMahon put it on television, "shake things up."
Eleven men and women switched shows through the Draft Lottery, in an effort to create new feuds and potentially a few new stars on Raw and Smackdown. While we won't be able to truly evaluate the draft for a few months, we can take a look at the potential that these stars have by looking at what they have done so far.
First, however, a quick recap of the 2005 WWE Draft Lottery Moves:
- To Raw: Kurt Angle, Danny Basham, Big Show, John Cena, Carlito Carribean Cool, Rene Dupree
Chavo Guererro Jr. (since renamed Kerwin White), Hiroko, Mark Jindrak (since released), Kenzo Suzuki, Rob Van Dam
- To Smackdown:
Dave Batista, Chris Benoit, Christian, Daivari, Simon Dean, Sylvain Grenier,
Muhammad Hassan, Candice Michelle, Randy Orton, William Regal, Steven Richards
Here's a quick look at what each show has gained as a result of the WWE draft Lottery:
- Of the 22 talents that have switched, 22 were men and two were women. Not surprisingly, neither woman has wrestled an actual match in WWE.
- Along with being one of the two females to switch, Hiroko is also one of two managers to switch. The other is, of course, Daivari.
- Like the original draft, which saw the A.P.A. and the Dudley Boyz broken up, this year's draft lottery split up two tag teams -- the Basham Brothers and La Resistance.
- Of the 11 stars moving to Raw, five had never been on a Raw brand show (Danny Basham, John Cena, Carlito, Hiroko and Kenzo Suzuki), while Kurt Angle and Chavo Guererro Jr. had not seen action on Raw programming since the brand extension began.
- On the other side, five of Smackdown's new superstars had never been on a Smackdown brand show (Muhammad Hassan, Daivari, Simon Dean, Sylvain Grenier and Candice Michelle), while William Regal and Steven Richards were part of WWE prior to the brand extension.
- Of the remaining new Smackdown draftees, two -- Chris Benoit and Christian -- had been in WWE prior to the draft. Both Randy Orton and Dave Batista made their WWE debuts on Smackdown. On the Raw side, Rene Dupree was the only wrestler to make his WWE debut on Raw. Big Show, Rob Van Dam and Mark Jindrak had all wrestled on WWE TV prior to the brand extension. For those who don't remember, Jindrak had been a part of the WCW/ECW invasion, and had also wrestled a variety of matches on Velocity and Smackdown.
- Aside from the current champions, Smackdown acquired two former Heavyweight division champs (Benoit and Orton), as did Raw (Angle and Big Show).
- Only one of Raw's acquisitions has never held a WWE title belt (Hiroko); four new Smackdown talents (Hassan, Daivari, Michelle and Dean) have never had a strap around their waist.
- Of the remaining 10 Raw wrestlers, four have only had tag titles (Dupree, Suzuki, Jindrak and Basham), compared to one (Grenier) on Smackdown. Dupree and Suzuki are the only wrestlers moving to the same show that have held belts together.
- Guererro's move to Raw means there are three former WWE Cruiserweight champs on the Monday night brand. Tajiri and Hurricane both had runs with the title.
- Rumours of a Smackdown invasion by a group of Extreme Championship Wrestling alumni could be blossoming following the draft. Three of the new Smackdown wrestlers, Benoit, Dean and Richards, all were part of ECW. The only ECW alumnus to move to Raw was RVD.
- Which roster has the weaker competition? Consider this -- Cena and Carlito have both won championship matches on Raw, while Benoit, Christian and Hassan were unable to capture Smackdown "gold" in the six-man elimination match this past Thursday.
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Jon Waldman has been with SLAM! since 2000, and intends to stay with SLAM! despite the outrage of his fellow staffers, who are campaigning to have the trade involving Jonathan Coachman go through. If you want this trade to happen, e-mail the "We Want Coach" campaign leader.