The Draft is -- as our currently recuperating Chairman might say -- WWE's way of "shaking things up". And 2008 was no exception; between the initial and supplemental Drafts, 28 Superstars, Divas and announcers now find themselves in new home brands. Many members of the WWE Universe might find themselves with conflicted emotions: excited about seeing someone new on their favorite brand, but still sad to see an old favorite move on. It's not surprising then, that the drafted Superstars' feelings are similarly conflicted, especially when you take into account the massive lifestyle change that comes with moving from one brand to another.
"My initial reaction was shock," said WWE Champion Triple H, who was just drafted to SmackDown. "I've always considered myself to be a franchise player of [WWE's] flagship show, Monday Night Raw. The switch to SmackDown is definitely going to be a bit of an adjustment."
Something else The Game noted, along with fellow SmackDown draftee Jeff Hardy, was the significant difference in Raw being a live show. The high-flying Hardy admitted, "The thing I'll miss most is being on live TV every Monday night, because it's very exciting." Though he was quick to add, "It's kind of a new time for me, and a chance to shine in a different light."
Triple H and Hardy were both excited about the new competition they'll face on Friday nights, be it Superstars they haven't squared-off against in some time, or ones they never faced. Although Edge and MVP topped both athletes' lists, SmackDown is rife with talent that both men look forward to meeting in the ring.
Raw draftee and new Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston was less discriminating, desiring only great competition.
"I want to be a great Intercontinental Champion -- I don't want to defend [the title] against anyone in particular, but moreso anyone who would want to challenge me for it."
The WWE's Divas were also affected by the Draft, as Layla was randomly selected to move to Raw, and Maria to SmackDown. This makes Layla the first Diva Search winner to star on Raw, SmackDown and ECW, and the former ECW Diva is extremely optimistic, "I know for a fact that there are bigger and better things coming," she effused, "and I'm going to work really hard to do a great job here and shine as much as I can."
For Maria, the change was more bittersweet; the Playboy cover girl was sad to leave all of her close Raw friends behind. "[Women's Champion] Mickie James looked at me all day long today, and every time she looked like she was about to cry." Maria is keeping her head up though, and looking forward to becoming good friends with the Sexiest Women on Friday night Television.
No matter what brand they're part of, WWE Superstars are known for their tenacity, athleticism and commitment to excellence. In keeping with that, every Superstar on the roster can agree with the spirit of Triple H's observation: "We all work for the same company at the end of the day, and I look forward to making SmackDown as good as it's ever been … if not better."