INTRO TO FANTASY BOOKING
(Note from CRZ: I hate, hate, HATE fantasy booking. Normally, something like this would never see the light of day on the [slash], but Roger asked me really nicely, and the sucking up helped...so here is the first in what promises to be a multi-part look at another way things could have gone...beginning with last Monday. - CRZ)
RAW, 1 April 2002, from the Pepsi Arena, in Albany, New York, itıs a brand new day for the World Wrestling Federation, with the first ever "Brand Extension" draft taking place.
Jim Ross gives us a quick breakdown on tonightıs show and the unusual set.
The arena is laid out the NFL/NBA/NHL draft, with a big podium on the floor, with the Titantron behind it. Bracketing the video wall are big tote boards, where Flair and McMahonıs picks will be listed. In front of the podium, where the teams sit in a regular draft, is the ring. On one side of the podium, Vince is sitting at a table with his lieutenants (Patterson, Brisco, Slaughter). On the other side, we find Flair, sitting with Arn, Johnny Ace and J.J. Dillon (one night only hire, as a favor to Flair).
Picks will be made at a maximum of 5 minutes apiece. If a pick comes during a match, the announcement will be inserted in a picture in-picture box. The current world champions, (HHH, Jazz and Billy & Chuck & Rico), are ineligible to be drafted. Also, tag teams may be drafted as one pick. Injured superstars that are not ready to compete are ineligible to be drafted. All other WWFE talent is eligible, including those who are in developmental territories.
The camera pulls back from the ring to show Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, sitting an ESPN-like set. On either side of them are Jim Cornette and Michael Hayes, to be our two Mel Kipers for the draft. In the locker room area, Michael Cole (face) and the Coach (heel) will be conducting interviews with the draftees.
To begin the show, Vince McMahon (who won the coin toss last week and gets to make the first pick), is at the podium. "With the first pick in the WWFE Brand Extension Draft, I, Vince McMahon, choose the Rock for Smackdown." The fans pop. From under the podium, Vince pulls out one of those old "Brahma Bull #1" jerseys. Backstage, the Rock is interviewed by Michael Cole and does his usual schtick.
Flair comes up the podium, strutting. "With my first pick, the Nature Boy picks for RAW, Stone Cold Steve Austin." The crowd pops. Cole stands out in front of the Rattlesnakeıs dressing room. After the first commercial, Debra comes out and says that her husband doesnıt care who drafts him. Once he wins the World Title from HHH, heıll be on both shows.
Cut to the podium. Vince picks Hogan with his second pick. Crowd pops. Flair picks Kurt Angle. Crowd boos. Backstage, Angle is upset that his good friend Mr. McMahon picked that old fossil Hogan instead of an Olympic Hero. Lots of What chants here.
First match. To keep the crowd revved up, we put a hot cruiserweight match out there. Hurricane vs. Kidman with Kidman going over with the Shooting Star Press in about seven minutes.
We cut back to the podium. Vince says his third pick is the N.W.O. Nash, Hall and X-Pac. Flair protests that he can only pick one, since theyıre not really a tag team. They are arguing at the podium, as we go to commercial.
When we come back, Jim Ross announces that the two co-owners have reached a compromise. At the end of the show, Flair will get two extra draft picks as compensation. Flair has an evil grin on his face. With his third pick, Flair picks Chris Jericho. Backstage, Y2J just wants his titles back; thatıs all that matters to him.
In the ring, the returning from injury Hardcore Holly takes on Tommy Dreamer in a Hardcore match. Holly wins with the Falcon Arrow. During the match, Vince announces his 4th pick is the Undertaker. Flair follows up by taking Kane, keeping the Grimm Twins on separate shows.
After the commercial break, Ross shows us that, during the commercial, Vince took Booker T and Rob Van Dam, while Flair took Edge and William Regal. Like Angle, Regal is unhappy that he was "abandoned" by Mr. McMahon.
In the ring at the top of the hour, Edge and Rob Van Dam (soon to be on different shows) take on Test and Booker T. The heels go over when Y2J does a run-in and hits Edge with the Spear behind the refıs back. Test goes up top for the elbow drop and gets the pin.
During the match, we announce that Vince picked Rikishi. After the match, Flair picks Lance Storm.
After the commercial, Vince picks the Big Show and Flair picks Christian. Cornette says Vince is picking the big men, while Flair is taking the more technically sound wrestlers. Hayes breaks out his infamous "size of the fight in the dog" line.
In the ring, Val Venis takes on Mr. Perfect. Val wins with his new finisher, the Burning Hammer. (Val wants to ape Kobashi, thatıs fine with me). After the match, Vince picks Test and Flair takes Tajiri.
After the commercial, Vince takes the DDP, Flair picks the Hardys. Vince immediately takes the Dudleys, to keep Flair from getting all the tag teams. Flair then takes Stacy Kiebler. Backstage, Stacy gloats to the Coach about being the first Diva taken. We then get a run on the Divas, as Vince takes Trish, Flair takes Torrie, and Vince takes Lita. She is heartbroken, since sheıll be on a different show as the Hardys. Lita cries on camera as we go to break.
When we come back, Flair takes Hurricane and then Vince picks Molly, breaking up the superheroes. Backstage, Molly says sheıs sad, but she was tired of being a sidekick anyway and wanted to just be Molly Holly again.
IN the ring, Billy and Chuck defend the tag belts against the APA. The heels go over after interference by Rico.
Flair takes Billy Kidman, Vince takes Tazz. Flair takes Chavo, Vince picks the APA. Flair takes Crash Holly, Vince takes Spike to keep Flair getting all the cruiserweights. Flair takes Bob Holly. Vince takes the Bossman. Flair takes Brock Lesnar. Vince is pissed, as he wanted the monster. To spite the Nature Boy, Vince then picks David Flair and promises to break him. Flair tries to get across the stage at Vince, but is held back by AA. Commercial.
Main event: Kane and the Rock vs. Angle and Jericho. Hall and Nash punk out the faces, but Nash worsens his bicep injury in the process.
During the match, Flair picks Raven, Vince picks the Goldust, Flair picks Ivory. With his last pick on RAW, Vince takes Mark Henry. Cornette raves about how much weight he has lost. Flair picks Randy Orton.
After the match, Flair gets to make his two bonus picks. He slyly goes to the podium and tells everyone that during RAW tonight, AA and JJ were busy working the phones and talking to some very big superstars. I just got off the phone with Linda McMahon, who confirmed to me that the contracts we faxed to these men are now official. With my final two picks in the draft, I select Eddy Guerrero and Rey Misterio Jr. Vince puts on "look of shock" face he does so well and we play the 2001 music. Flair is "Whooing" in the ring.
After RAW on WWF.com, we have AA and Pat Patterson announce in streaming video the rest of the draft picks.
Vince takes: Jackie, Al Snow, the Godfather, Tommy Dreamer and DıLo Brown. Flair takes: Perry Saturn, Sheldon Benjamin, the Island Boys, Jamie Knoble and Shannon Moore.
All other talent will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler will broadcast RAW. Michael Cole and Tazz will broadcast Smackdown. The Coach and Raven will broadcast Heat. Kevin Kelly and Al Snow will do Jakked/Metal. Excess will be a split highlight show, one hour for each group.
SMACKDOWN will be mainly a clip show this week, showing most of the draft picks. All the matches will be classic contests, emphasizing the end of the WWF era. We show many of the big matches from the last few years; the TLC II match, Chrises vs. Austin and HHH from San Jose and, since Vince wanted something sticking it to Bret Hart, the WMIII match between Bret and Austin. Also some comedy (like the DX Nation parody, and Mick Foley skits) and some T&A. Show ends with a sit-down interview Ross does with HHH, about the new WWFE. Helmsley puts over being champ, praises Austin, Rock and even Jericho. UT crashes the set and says, "whereıs my respect?" They have a pull-apart as the show goes off the air.