Shaking The Learning Tree
EXIT X8: I got 4 of 10. TNM got 3 of 10.
FYI: Robert was cut LAST week. Or maybe two weeks ago. Whatever. He's already been cut. (Like I'm supposed to be paying attention! - CRZ)
LINE OF THE WEEK: The Rock: This is Vince McMahon! You have pride! You keep that sumbitch GOING! (Raw, March 25) Now THAT crowd (which Rock could have bought and sold) was more like it.
The big WWF draft is over, and I think it's safe to say at the moment that Vince kicked Ric Flair's ass. But how did the wrestlers themselves do?
WINNER: Kurt Angle. The nine months or so he's spent kissing Mr. McMahon's ass seems to have finally paid off, as (barring a Rock turn in the immediate future) the No. 3 overall pick is now in position to be SmackDown's top heel. After he finishes this program with Edge, of course.
LOSER: Booker T. Was it really just a year ago he was winning the WCW Title for the fifth time? Now he's stuck behind both the Undertaker and the nWo on Raw's totem pole of heels, he has no momentum or obvious feuds, he's lost tag team partner Test, and he hasn't gotten a win on PPV since pinning Angle at Invasion. I'd turn him face ASAP, myself, whether Steve Austin ends up on Raw or not.
WINNER: The nWo. As little sense as it made for Flair to draft the group, I think it's good that they're not on the same show as Vince - gives them a little of that "Outsiders" vibe back. The obvious application fits here: Vince uses them as agents to try and cripple Flair's Raw brand so he can prove his superiority. And hey, didn't Vince blame Flair for making him bring in the nWo in the first place?
LOSER: The Dudleys. You had it figured that at least one tag team was going to be split up in the draft, and you also probably thought it would happen the way it did - Vince trying to spite Flair by taking the second member of the team right after Flair took the first. But why the Dudleys, who bring the least to the table as singles wrestlers of any tag team in the WWF? I have to think that this'll set up a trade or a defection or something, possibly also involving...
LOSER: The A.P.A., who are in the same boat but have a little more singles cred.
WINNER: Kane. Flair made it a point to announce his selection of Kane with the nWo present, and the big man ran in on the handicap match on Raw as if to say, "Citizens! Look at me! I am nearly seven feet tall and weigh upwards of 325 pounds! I will be remaining on this show and dealing with the nWo on a regular basis!" Which is nice, as he hasn't really had any direction since the Royal Rumble scrape with the Big Show.
WINNER: Cruiserweights. From the look of the rosters, if they do launch that long-desired cruiserweight division, it'll be on SmackDown!, although you wouldn't have expected them to do that with Vince's show. Tajiri, Kidman and Hurricane are three pretty good building blocks, and if the rumors of Eddie Guerrero's return and Rey Jr. signing come to pass, many good times can be had with those five guys flying around.
WINNER: Godless drooling fanboys. By the same token, most of the better women workers have been assigned to Raw, with most of the eye candy going to SD (the exceptions on both sides being Terri and her nipples and Ivory and her new cleavage.)
LOSER: Triple H. What are they going to do, run three-way feuds with him every month? Because if they don't, each appearance he makes on whichever show his rival du jour isn't on is relatively pointless unless he's defending the title. And Various Sources have said that the WWF wants to run fewer World title matches on free TV. Although they could have his nemesis do run-ins every week, but that gets old.
(By the way, what happens to him once he loses the title? Does he take the spot of the guy who beats him? That would make the most sense.)
WINNER: Chris Benoit, mostly because he'll still be in the sub-main event level spot he had whether he comes back as a face (preferably) or a heel. I thought it was odd that Angle both knew and said Flair had been talking to Benoit - maybe he suggested him to Vince to nip a possible new Horsemen-esque incarnation in the bud?
WINNER: Maven, because he can't not learn anything touring with the likes of Angle, Benoit, Rock, Jericho, Lance Storm, etc.
LOSER: SmackDown! Why? The only title that group has at the moment is in the weakest division - the tag team titles. Hopefully the seemingly-obvious Dudley/Acolyte trade happens to help things out there.
WINNER: Chris Jericho. If he'd gone to the Raw roster, he'd be in the same predicament as Booker T. On SmackDown!, he can stay at the top of the card while shaking off the Stephanie blight.
UNDECIDED: Steve Austin. "What?", indeed. Once he makes up his mind, Raw is probably the better place for him just because there isn't as much top-card clutter, and since everybody thinks Vince will lure Austin to SmackDown! with more money, what better way for Flair to pull another fast one than to get Austin on his show?