Drafting change

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May 29, 2007

TORONTO -- Shane McMahon came to Raw guaranteeing a new beginning. With his blockbuster announcement that in two weeks on Raw there would be the first-ever tri-branded draft, Shane shook WWE's foundation to the core. Superstars and Divas from Raw, SmackDown and ECW are all eligible to be drafted at the special Raw in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

For proof that a draft can truly be life changing, simply look back at the last draft two years ago when WWE Champion John Cena was drafted to Raw, while then World Heavyweight Champion Batista was drafted to SmackDown. Now, with ECW in the mix, the stakes are even higher, and the WWE & ECW locker rooms are buzzing with mixed reactions.

The fear of separation is something that many Superstars in tag teams will have to worry about, as past drafts have separated celebrated teams. One Superstar who is not happy about the draft and its possibilities is Trevor Murdoch. "I'm mad as hell," he said. "Cade & Murdoch have been blowing the roof off with The Hardys, and now there is the possibility we might be split up -- it sucks."

When reached by telephone, SmackDown's Finlay told WWE.com that the draft is an opportunity that will benefit everyone. "It's good for everybody, good to get new competition, new fights. I am looking forward to it; I wish it would happen today." As eager as the Irishman is to fight, perhaps he didn't think what it would mean if he were drafted to Raw or ECW, or if he was separated from Hornswoggle due to the draft.

One competitor with an optimistic outlook is ECW Superstar CM Punk, who said, "it is fresh, it is shocking and it could change the landscape of sports-entertainment." Punk then said, "I would love to tangle with a lot of guys on different shows, so I would love to go to Raw or SmackDown to test myself against some of their champions."

SmackDown's Montel Vontavious Porter recently won the United States Championship, and with the draft just two weeks away, the brazen Superstar has one thing in mind -- himself. "I am the United States Champion. It doesn't matter to me if I go to Raw or ECW, I will still be the highest paid athlete on the roster, and I will still put butts in the seats. I am half-man, half-amazing. People want to see Montel Vontavious Porter." MVP continued, "I will naturally be the first draftee to Raw or ECW if I am to leave SmackDown, but regardless, I am happy here," he added. "I am the only thing that matters to me."

WWE Champion John Cena sees the draft as an exciting experience. The former No. 1 draft pick says, "if my number gets called and I get drafted to SmackDown or ECW, I am going to fight like hell to take my WWE Championship with me."

With all the possibilities that the first-ever tri-branded draft will bring, one thing is for sure: The very foundation of Raw, SmackDown & ECW will all be changed and reshaped in two weeks on a special edition of Raw. As Shane McMahon pointed out, "nobody is safe." As our fans know, when a McMahon says something, chances are it is true.

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