Even exchange?

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October 18, 2007

The NFL's trading deadline came and went this past Tuesday afternoon, but football's brass weren't the only General Managers wheeling and dealing that day. That night on ECW on Sci Fi, Armando Estrada welcomed acting SmackDown leader Vickie Guerrero to his Hardcore domain, and the two struck a deal to share talent between the two brands.

When WWE.com caught wind of this potential agreement on Tuesday afternoon, speculation ran rampant. Why would Vickie agree to deal with a "dictator" like Armando? Why would Estrada choose to deal with SmackDown? Is he also looking at invading Raw? What's really going on? When the General Managers were asked about the impending agreement, however, it all made sense.

"I've had my eye on a lot of SmackDown talent for a long time, and there are some guys I'd love to have on the Hardcore vehicle known as ECW," Estrada admitted. "However, some of those talents are under exclusive contracts to SmackDown. So I asked Ms. Guerrero if she would be interested in a, ¿como se dice?, mutual talent exchange between SmackDown and ECW."

Vickie was apparently all ears.

"I figure that if Armando has a lot of good talent, and I have a lot of good talent, we can benefit each other by exchanging Superstars," she revealed. "In the long run, I expect it to make my show better."

The deal should benefit both sides quite well; after all, it gives both Estrada and Vickie nearly double the talent for each to work with, and conversely, another place for their existing talent to shine.

In that vein, the Blue Crew immediately made an impact on Tuesday night, as CM Punk chose Kane to help him defeat John Morrison, The Miz and Big Daddy V. Jesse & Festus also continued their winning ways while visiting the Extreme brand, defeating Elijah Burke & Nunzio.

Vickie made it clear, however, that she expects Estrada to return the favor this Friday night. What will that mean for SmackDown? Well, quite frankly, the possibilities are endless.

The biggest thing this agreement could do is open up new championship doors for all the talent involved. ECW only has one championship to SmackDown's four, so that may seem lopsided; in the locker room, however, that may be construed as providing more competition. Nunzio is a former Cruiserweight Champion of the World, and now he has the chance to once again wear that gold. Similarly, if John Morrison can find a partner that lives up to his lofty expectations, he has a chance to win the WWE Tag Team Championship he's held thrice already.

Now look at it from the other side. Batista is currently the World Heavyweight Champion on SmackDown, and he has said that The Great Khali is "done" in terms of challenging for that gold. If that's truly the case, then perhaps Khali can set his sights on the ECW Championship. Then there's Rey Mysterio; while he has no qualms about battling his "amigo" Batista, he also now has the opportunity to go after a much smaller champion -- and less of an "amigo" -- in CM Punk. Or hey, what about even a champion vs. champion match? Batista vs. CM Punk would be a dream match by many of our fans' standards; even United States Champion MVP vs. Punk would be as eagerly anticipated.

There's also the size factor. Right now, Big Daddy V, far and away the biggest Superstar in Estrada's employ, is running rampant over ECW. While no one in the Land of the Extreme matches up size-wise with the Harlem hoodlum, several SmackDown Superstars could give V a run for his money. Tuesday night previewed what a Kane/Big Daddy V battle might look like; imagine if ECW's mastodon were in the ring with SmackDown's Phenom, or perhaps the 7-foot-3 Khali? Our fans have already seen some of Big Daddy V's ECW highlights during SmackDown broadcasts; soon, that could become reality.

Last, but not least, is the x-factor of "backup." A few SmackDown Superstars have plied their trade in ECW and vice versa, so if things get tough for, say, The Major Brothers or The Miz, they can call on some old friends on the opposite brand to help them through it. Well, maybe not so much The Miz because he doesn't seem to be too friendly with anybody except the Divas…but hey, as we all know, SmackDown has some hotties. Extreme Expose featuring Torrie Wilson or Michelle McCool? That might need a disclaimer along the lines of one you'd find on a McDonald's coffee cup.

In essence, the ECW/SmackDown talent exchange agreement benefits both brands immensely. No matter what happens in the long run, one thing is sure: Friday nights are about to be taken to the Extreme.  

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