2009 WWE Draft: Backdraft
Mr. McMahon vowed that the 2009 WWE Draft would shake things up and that's exactly what occurred as World Champions changed brands, relationships were torn apart and old friends became reunited in an event that altered the landscape of the WWE Universe as we know it.
For proof of the monumental change that transpired that night just look at the numbers. This year's Draft saw nearly 40 Superstars change brands, with Raw receiving 15 competitors, 16 going to SmackDown and five Superstars heading to the Land of the Extreme.
One of the Draft's biggest shockers saw Triple H moving from SmackDown to Raw, bringing his World Heavyweight Championship — and his hatred for Randy Orton — with him. Not only did this move both World Titles to Monday Night Raw, but it heats up the already burning rivalry between The Game and The Legend Killer. If you thought the ring wars these competitors waged before were intense, wait until you see them face-to-face every Monday.
The Cerebral Assassin wasn't the only champion making the change to the Raw brand. United States Champion Montel Vontavious Porter, Divas Champion Maryse and Unified Tag Team Champions Carlito & Primo will all be bringing their gold from SmackDown following the Draft. You can bet that the Superstars of Raw will all be eager for their opportunities at gold when these competitors arrive on Monday and there will be no shortage of championship action.
And while he may not currently hold a title, the enormous Big Show will undoubtedly make a serious impact when he comes stomping into Raw. The World's Largest Athlete proved he is still a force to be reckoned with after dominating victories over Rey Mysterio and Undertaker in recent weeks. If anyone poses a constant threat to the World Title — and to a Superstar's wellbeing — it's this menacing 7-footer.
SmackDown will have two new World Champions of its own thanks to the acquisitions of Women's Champion Melina and Intercontinental Champion Rey Mysterio. The Master of the 619 will try to hold onto his gold against giants like The Great Khali and The Phenom when he comes flying into SmackDown, but we're guessing The Ultimate Underdog is used to facing overwhelming odds by now. Meanwhile, the gorgeous Women's Champion will have top Divas like Gail Kim and Michelle McCool with their eyes on her prize.
CM Punk and Kane know a thing or two about competition. The two men were the final contestants in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at the 25th Anniversary of WrestleMania and bitter opponents at Backlash, and they'll be reunited again on SmackDown. While The Big Red Monster brings his intimidating size and strength with him wherever he goes, The Straightedge Superstar will be bringing his Money in the Bank briefcase with him — good for a World Title opportunity at any point over the next year. If SmackDown wanted a guaranteed championship contender, they got one with Punk.
And if SmackDown wanted controversy, they got it with this man. The always-outspoken Chris Jericho will bring his talent, his arrogance and his loud mouth with him when he makes the move to Friday. If the first-ever Undisputed Champion's 1999 WWE debut taught us anything about him, it's that he likes to make an immediate impact. (Interrupting The Rock as your first order of business? Now that takes guts.) As always, expect Jericho to do the unexpected when he makes his return to the SmackDown brand this week. It might be devious, it might be underhanded, but it won't be forgotten.
ECW welcomes some monsters into its midst as Vladimir Kozlov and Ezekiel Jackson were both drafted from SmackDown. The hulking Russian and the intimidating Jackson will no doubt test the resolve of ECW Superstars like Jack Swagger, Finlay and Mark Henry upon their arrival. With this many giants roaming the Land of the Extreme, the WWE Universe can expect to see some of the most hard-hitting battles ever witnessed — that is if the ring can contain them.
Tune into WWE programming this week as the Draftees officially take their place on their new homes. Catch Raw on USA Network on Monday at 9/8 CT, ECW on Sci Fi this Tuesday at 9/8 CT and Friday Night SmackDown on MyNetwork TV at 8/7 CT. Plus, there's always "WWE Superstars" on WGN America, Thursdays at 8/5 PT.