April 14, 2009
RAW: Drafting a fresh start for the WWE
By DALE PLUMMER -- SLAM! Wrestling
It’s that time again for the WWE, draft day. It happens every year, but nobody knows quite when the event will take place. Sometimes it’s in June, sometimes it takes weeks, but tonight 12 superstars will be drafted to different shows by the end of tonight. And in a surprising continuity move, the brands will face off against each other to earn picks, just like last year. Oh, there will be a supplemental draft Wednesday.
But first, we get a recap of “As the Orton Turns”. In case you missed it, Batista is back.
All three brands are represented at the announce position with Jim Ross and Todd Grisham from Smackdown! and Josh Matthews and Matt Striker from ECW joining Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.
Batista officially kicks off the show from Atlanta. The Animal tells the crowd how much he missed them, and then says he is back for retribution. Remember, Orton punted him in the head. Batista is back and he is tired of waiting, he wants Orton, now! The Animal threatens to tear apart the arena, if Orton doesn’t show. Batista is about to go find him some Orton, when Shane-O-Mac enters the arena. Shane reminds Batista of the things Orton has done to the McMahon family and he also wants retribution. Shane’s brother-in-law and WWE champion, Triple H, joins the conversation. The champ says everything that has happened to the McMahons is his entire fault. Hunter started it and he will finish it. He claims Orton for himself.
New RAW GM Vickie Guerrero crashes the party, and gets lustfully booed. She tells the trio she will decide who will face Orton and when they will. She mentions the match at Backlash, and stresses a DQ or count-out will win Randy Orton the title. Vickie says one person will have the opportunity to get at Orton next week. Randy has earned the night off, so instead the three in the ring will face Legacy. If they win, whomever scores a pin will get Orton one on one. If they lose, well, they will all have to wait until Backlash.
Match #1 – Rey Mysterio (RAW) vs. Evan Bourne (ECW) – Draft Pick Match
(It’s a three hour show and this is the first match. I don’t know if my fingers will be able to keep up.)
Bourne and Mysterio lock up. Bourne counters a sunset flip, launching Rey over the ropes, but Rey catches himself on the apron. Rey then counters a sunset flip to the floor. Mysterio then drops Bourne into the security barrier with a toe hold. Mysterio catches Bourne in the back of the head with an elbow off the ropes, and does mare damage to himself. Rey fights out of a head lock, only to get planted with a kick to the jaw. Rey launches Bourne off the top turnbuckle with a head scissors, and then knocks him into the ropes. Rey dials up the 619 and makes the pin after a splash from the top ropes.
Winner via pinfall: Rey Mysterio
With the first pick of the 2009 WWE draft Monday Night RAW drafts MVP
(Initial reaction: AWESOME! But since he is the United States champ, Rey Rey maybe headed to Smackdown!)
WWE Hall of Famer Chief Jay Strongbow is in the crowd tonight.
Match #2 – Kane (RAW) vs. The Brian Kendrick w/ Ezekiel Jackson (Smackdown!) Draft pick Match
Kane chases Kendrick from the ring, and then takes down Jackson with one shot. Kane counters a bulldog attempt and then catches Kendrick by the throat. One chokeslam later, Kane gets the win, and RAW gets the pick.
Winner via pinfall: Kane
With the second pick of the 2009 WWE draft Monday Night RAW drafts The Big Show
Randy Orton may have the night off, but he still isn’t happy. I guess he has no faith in Rhodes and Dibiase to win their match tonight. Orton wants to know what Vickie was thinking. She says the title won’t be on the line if he faces Triple H next week. Vickie then amends the match to say if Triple H, Batista or Shane gets pinned that person will have to take on all three members of Legacy.
Jack Swagger introduces himself to John Cena, and is awfully confident. Cena knocks the All-American American down a few pegs over his gimmick. And then gives him some suggestions. Cena tells Swagger he is good, but he is still a punk kid, so tonight he will get a lesson in respect.
Match #3 – Kelly Kelly, Mickie James and Melina (RAW) vs. Maryse, Natalya and Michelle McCool (Smackdown) – Draft Pick Match
While the Smackdown Diva’s bicker among themselves, The Raw Divas jump them. Once the match starts Mickie and Michelle face off. James delivers a head scissors, but jumps right into a boot from off the turnbuckle. McCool covers and gets the quick pin.
Winner via pinfall: Maryse, Natalya and Michelle McCool
With the third pick of the 2009 WWE draft Smackdown! drafts Melina
(Well, either Maryse is coming to RAW, or Melina is dropping the belt soon. I guess Maryse could drop the Diva’s belt to someone on RAW. I really don’t know what I’m talking about here.)
Match #4 – John Cena (RAW) vs. Jack Swagger (ECW) – 2 Draft Picks Match
I don’t watch ECW, so this is the first time I’ve seen this Swagger kid. (And I’m glad to see that Josh Matthews' nosebleed has stopped.)
Swaggers uses a single leg takedown to get Cena on the mat. Swagger then slams Cena to the floor, and puts on a front face lock. Cena responds with a shoulder block and Swagger rolls out of the ring. Cena rolls him back in. Swagger stops himself on the ropes and kicks Cena in the head. The ECW champion pounds on Cena in the corner and then tosses him off the turnbuckle. Cena runs into a clothesline, but Swagger cannot get the pin. Cena fights back, but Swagger is able to lock in a full nelson. Swagger wears down the World champ. Cena breaks the hold, and connects on a shoulder block. The World Champ hits a side slam, and then pulls out the five knuckle shuffle. Swaggers gets to his feet, but Cena sets up the Attitude Adjustment. Swagger grabs the ropes, and breaks free. Cena runs into a big boot, and we go to commercial.
After the break, Cena and Swagger are down. Cena connects with punches to the gut, but Swaggers responds with a tornado DDT. The ECW champ covers, but Cena kicks out at two. Swagger connects with a knee lift, but cannot capitalize. Cena floats over, but then shoots off the ropes into a power slam from Swagger. Swagger goes for a move off the ropes, but Cena catches him on his shoulders and hits the Attitude Adjustment. Cena locks in the STF and Swagger taps.
Winner via submission: John Cena
With the fourth pick of the 2009 WWE draft Raw drafts Matt Hardy
With the fifth pick of the 2009 WWE draft RAW drafts Triple H
(Maybe Cena is going back to Smackdown! We will see, but right now almost all the gold is on RAW.)
Edge attacks Cena, coming out of the crowd after the pick is made, and then slips out of the ring after Cena fights him.
Randy Orton stresses the importance of tonight’s match, and wants to know what strategy Rhodes and Dibiase will be using. Legacy wants to keep all three opponents at odds with each other; Randy approves.
Match #5 – Santino Marella (RAW) vs. The Great Khali (Smackdown!) – Draft Pick Match
(Santino, this is what happens when you are the mid-card comedy storyline. You get stuck in matches with this guy.)
Before the match, Beth Phoenix addresses Santino from the stage. Beth talked to Vicki and if Santino loses his “twin sister” will be on the Khali Kiss Cam. Santino wraps himself in the ropes to avoid Khali. It doesn’t work for long as Santino falls victim to the chop, and Khali gets the pin.
Winner via pinfall: The Great Khali
With the sixth pick of the 2009 WWE draft Smackdown! drafts CM Punk
Match #6 – The Miz (ECW) w/ John Morrison vs. Kofi Kingston (RAW) – Draft Pick Match
Winner via DQ: Kofi Kingston
With the seventh pick of the 2009 WWE draft RAW drafts The Miz
After the match, The Miz and Morrison shake hands and hug, only to have The Miz punks out his tag team partner; make that former tag team partner.
Match #7 – 15 Man Battle Tri-Branded Royal – Mike Knox, Shad, JTG, Big Show, and MVP (Team Raw), Finlay, Mark Henry, Ricky Ortiz, Paul Burchill, and Tyson Kidd (Team ECW), Edge, Chavo, R-Truth, Primo, and Carlito (Team Smackdown!) - Two Draft Pick match
Edge is the lone survivor for his brand, along with Big Show for RAW, and Mark Henry for ECW. Edge celebrates taking out Finlay, only to have Show chokeslam him. Henry goes after Show, only to have Show pick him up and drop him on the apron. Show connects with head butts, but Henry won’t fall. Show connects with a big right hand and …DOWN GOES HENRY! Show sets his sights on Edge. Show charges Edge and the Rated R Superstar low bridges him and Show hits the floor, leaving Edge the winner.
With the eighth pick of the 2009 WWE draft Smackdown! drafts Kane
With the ninth pick of the 2009 WWE draft Smackdown! drafts Chris Jericho
Match #8 – Christian (ECW) vs. Shelton Benjamin (Smackdown!) – Draft Pick Match
Benjamin starts Christian off with a snap mare and then a kick to the head. Christian climbs the turnbuckle, but is met by a leaping Benjamin. Shelton throws Christian across the ring. Benjamin drives his knee into Christian’s back. Christian fights back, and then ducks a flying Benjamin coming off the turnbuckle. Christian steps up with fists, quickly ducks another kick, but then has the Unprettier countered. Shelton is flipped out of the corner, but lands on his feet. Christian avoids a corner splash and hits the Kill Switch and picks up ECW’s first win of the night.
Winner via pinfall: Christian
With the tenth pick of the 2009 WWE draft ECW drafts Vladimir Kozlov
Backstage, Shane, Batista and Triple H are getting ready for their match. Shane wants Orton, but Triple H tells him and Dave to stay out of his way. Batista is cool with every man for himself.
Match #9 – CM Punk (Smackdown!) vs. Matt Hardy (RAW) – Draft Pick Match
Winner via DQ: Matt Hardy
With the eleventh pick of the 2009 WWE draft RAW drafts Maryse
(What did I tell you?!? Go back and look, I’ll wait. See I do know what I’m talking about!)
Match #10 – Chris Jericho (Smackdown!) vs. Tommy Dreamer (ECW) – Draft Pick Match
Dreamer starts off with a hip toss and then throws Jericho over the ropes. Back in the ring, Jericho goes to work, kicking Dreamer in the back and then the gut. Y2J has a suplex blocked and then reversed. Dreamer runs into a boot in the corner, and then Jericho steps on his throat. Dreamer gets Jericho caught in a tree of woe and drop kicks him in the head. Dreamer goes for a DDT, but Jericho almost counters into the Walls. Dreamer kicks him off, and tries an inside cradle. Jericho kicks out. Dreamer climbs the turnbuckle, but Jericho slams into the ropes and crotches Dreamer. Jericho goes for the suplex, but is pushed off the mat. Dreamer looks to drop the elbow, but Jericho counters into the CodeBreaker. Jericho covers for the win.
Winner via pinfall: Chris Jericho
With the twelfth pick of the 2009 WWE draft Smackdown! drafts Rey Mysterio
(Once again, not surprised, since RAW got the US Champ. Rey is taking the belt to Friday Night. Expect for the two big titles, tonight’s theme seemed to be switching the gold.)
Match #11 – Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase vs. Shane McMahon, Batista, and Triple H – 2 on 3 Handicap Match
Batista and Triple H argue over who will start, so Shane just goes to work. Shane is ready to go off on Cody, when Batista makes a blind tag. Cody is able to take advantage of the situation and tag in Ted. The Animal works over Dibiase. Batista goes for a shoulder breaker, but Hunters pulls Dibiase onto the apron and gets a shot in. Hunter then tags himself in and drives Ted to the mat with a clothesline. HHH drills Dibiase with a spine buster, but then Batista breaks up the pin. Rhodes and Dibiase attack Hunter from behind, and work over Triple H. Dibiase catching HHH with a drop kick, but cannot get the pin. Rhodes goes to works on the legs of Triple H. Dibiase prevents Hunter from making a tag, and Rhodes continues to focus on the legs. Triple H saves himself with a back body drop, and is able to make the hot tag to Batista. The Animal cleans house, knocking Rhodes from the apron and slamming Dibiase to the mat. Rhodes makes the save, but Shane runs in and both spill over the top rope. Rhodes is drilled with a spine buster and then feels the effects of the Batista Bomb. Shane breaks up the pin at the last second. Hunter tags himself in, while Shane takes out Batista with a spear. Hunters hits Dibiase with a Pedigree and gets the pin.
Winner via pinfall: Triple H
Triple H, Batista, and Shane stare each other down in the ring, until Randy Orton emerges from the back. All three stare down Orton, as he stands tall on top of the ramp.
Dale Plummer has been writing for SLAM! Wrestling since 2003. Dale is definitely Todd McShay to Nick Tylwalk’s Mel Kiper when it comes to the WWE draft. Follow Dale on Twitter @DPlummer627.