The WWE Draft or modern day Super Star Shakeup is supposed to be about bettering the shows, keeping matchup’s fresh and giving talent new opportunities to shine with new possibilities.
Sometimes that works, other times it doesn’t. In every year however, there’s always times where a wrestler or a handful end up having a huge impact on the brand or get used better on the new brand on which they land.
In 2007, that was not the case. In fact, the 2007 WWE Draft was so poorly handled, for one reason or another, it’s safe to say that only two wrestlers really benefited from it; and even then it was only after disaster struck.
Let’s break it down, pick by pick, in order, and see what happened, what went wrong and could there of been anything done that would’ve saved the pick?
#1)The Great Khali (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong? – Well, truthfully, nothing. Khali went to SmackDown and within weeks was the World Heavyweight Champion. So clearly he was pushed as well as he could. The problem is that Khali is unwatchable. He’s objectively terrible. Can’t move, can’t talk, can’t put a match together. So while nothing went wrong, absolutely nothing good came out of this.
What Could Be Done? – Nothing. Khali was booked accurately and how any normal person would book him. The problem is…why would you? He’s absolutely terrible in the ring. Short of putting him in a tag team with Daivari or another wrestler of similar leanings, this move was doomed to fail.
#2) The Boogeyman (SmackDown to ECW)
What Went Wrong? – For a character named after the creature that haunts your dreams, The Boogeyman was far from scary. Disgusting? Sure, but that’s only because he was ok with eating live-worms. The Boogeyman was one of Vince’s favorites that no fan liked. This was in 2007, well before the Work Rate Era. The rosters were filled with these singular defined gimmicks, and fans were over it.
What Could Be Done? – A whole character tear-down and rebuild. Yet, that wouldn’t of worked either, due to The Boogeyman being the second worst wrestler on the roster. So even if you were able to capture the charisma, and turn him full darkside, then you still have to see him wrestle. Let’s not and say we did.
#3) King Booker and Queen Sharmell (SmackDown to RAW)
What Went Wrong? – Well, Booker T was essentially sent to RAW for Triple H to eat when he came back to SummerSlam. That was the whole point, and that point was all due to Booker giving the WWE his notice. It wasn’t known publicly at this point – that I remember – that Booker T was unhappy and wanted to leave but that’s where things was backstage. So Vince McMahon and Co. started putting together a future angle to bring Triple H back and have Booker T job to him. The whole angle was about who would be the real ‘King’ and clearly it was never going to go Booker’s way.
What Could Be Done? – Vince McMahon would never allow a wrestler to go over on his way to a rival promotion. He’ll keep them off the show, and job them on their way out as punishment. This was never going to be a move for any other reason than to see Triple H go over.
#4) Chris Benoit (SmackDown to ECW)
What Went Wrong – By now we all know the story of Chris Benoit. So we all know what went wrong.
What Could Be Done? – N/A
#5) Torrie Wilson (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – This one is rather interesting. Torrie was still extremely young at only 32. She wasn’t a great athlete and that held her back but she certainly did her best. While she wasn’t the best mic worker, she was a great ambassador for the company. She’d retire a year later after being released from her contract while recovering form back surgery.
What Could Be Done? – Torrie Wilson was always a face, and always a fan favorite. She was never a great wrestler and needed time off for back surgery eventually. Instead of releasing her, why not shake things up and turn her heel? Her little moment during the Draft saw MVP eyeing her and licking his lips; why not play off that? Have her go full manager, an start pitting men against one another for her services? That would certainly open up the possibilities for what she could have done long term.
#6) Chris Masters – (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – This one is unique, because there’s nothing wrong with this move. He would end up getting released in 2008, before being brought back in 2009 after 18 months away. He did fail a 2nd drug test, but it was for steroids. The company was trying to distance themselves from the 2007 Scandals that plagued the promotion, so he was fired as a scapegoat. Let’s be honest, if he were Randy Orton they would of lied through their teeth to protect him. So there wasn’t a need to fire him.
What Could Be Done? – Assuming I have enough say to prevent him from being fired, there are two paths, and both involve a tandem of sorts. The first idea is to pair him with a tag team partner with charisma so he can rely on them for promos, as that was never Masters’ strong suit. The other idea is to pair him with someone like a Torrie Wilson, and make them egotistical heels who body shame fans. Would be a hell of a lot better than seeing him job to Chuck Palumbo for several months.
#7) Bobby Lashley (ECW to RAW)
What Went Wrong – Well, Lashley was injured weeks after making his debut. He did compete for the WWE Championship throughout the summer, headlining in back to back main events with John Cena before his injury. Incidents involving his then-significant other Krystal Marshall and a run in he had with Michael P.S. Hayes, lead to Lashley demanding his release.
What Could Be Done? – Nothing. This wasn’t the WWE’s decision, Lashley wanted out when his girlfriend was fired due to issues she had backstage with the SmackDown officials. Had he stayed, I wouldn’t of been too surprised if Lashley beat Kofi Kingston to the punch and won the WWE Championship at some point prior to WrestleMania 24.
#8) Ric Flair (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – Ric Flair would “retire” eight months after this move. The problem here however, is that Flair didn’t want to. He never wanted to retire and that was the truth. Vince McMahon however felt that Flair was too old and making the product look dated. So he encouraged Flair to hang ’em up, and he did. Flair would be wrestling again a little more than a year later, and would wrestle regularly for another few years. So what went wrong? Flair was moved out to pasture for no good reason. Sure, he was 58, but still in great shape and could still go to a degree. Flair didn’t need to wrestle every week on the brand, but damn, once a month wouldn’t of been too much to handle. Plus as a legend he’d bring prestige and a reason to tune in.
What Could Be Done? – SmackDown was bare boned at this point. So many talent were suspended, injured or just flat out bad that Flair could of easily entered the world title scene. Another idea would be to make new stars instantly by remaking the Four Horsemen with himself, Kenny Dykstra, Chris Masters and maybe a Shane Helms or a member of Deuce and Domino. Even better, keep London and Kendrick and put them in the Horsemen. Chris Benoit and Dean Malenko were less charismatic than those two, so why not?
#9) Snitsky (ECW to RAW)
What Went Wrong – It was Snitsky.
What Could Be Done? – Nothing, cus it was Snitsky. Maybe in 2004-2005 there was a chance for a monster tag team with Heidenreich, but that didn’t come to fruition.
#10) Mr. Kennedy (SmackDown to RAW)
What Went Wrong – Injuries. The thing that snake bit Kennedy for most of his WWE run. He was the Money in the Bank winner that year but had to drop it due to an apparent injury. As The Undertaker was the champion at the time, and was also injured, the WWE were desperate and made the decision to forgo letting Kennedy heal. So they moved the briefcase to Edge and allowed him to win the title. When Kennedy finally arrived on RAW, he was penciled in to be Vince McMahon’s son but failed a wellness test. He’d only be gone about a month, but again Vince made the decision to move on from him and insert Hornswoggle into that role. He’d then enter a one sided feud with Shawn Michaels, before again getting hurt. He’d be on the shelf for nearly a year, returning on an episode of RAW, before being fired days later.
What Could Be Done? – Not rush the damn thing. You easily could of had Undertaker forfeit the belt, or just lose it back to Batista or to Kane. Once that’s done, Kennedy is back on the blue-brand and winning the World Heavyweight Championship as the plan was all along. There was no need to rush the MITB briefcase onto Edge. On the flip side, let’s say that Kennedy was never meant for SmackDown gold, and he was always meant to be on RAW. Same idea, different day; don’t rush the angle. Have Kennedy become the illegitimate son of Vince and see how it goes.
#11) London and Kendrick (SmackDown to RAW)
What Went Wrong – They were dead on arrival as soon as they went to RAW. The move was done for reasons I’ll never comprehend but I was told one rumor that’s too believable to ignore. The duo were the most popular tag team on SmackDown and catered to the brand of fans who watched it before it moved to cable. So the story goes Vince McMahon was beyond annoyed with how popular they were, and didn’t understand why other teams couldn’t get the same reactions. So instead of keeping the division built around them, they moved them to RAW to rarely be seen again as a way of punishing them for being too over.
What Could Be Done? – Don’t take the SmackDown tag team titles off of them, and keep them on brand. The duo were one of the few reasons to tune in at the time, and considering the number of injuries, suspensions and all in all general lack of depth – they wouldn’t of been needed to keep fans from tuning out.
#12) Kenny Dykstra (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – Depends who you ask, but the initial word going around is that John Cena had him axed. Dykstra (Ken Doane these days) was engaged to Mickie James, who was apparently sleeping with a then-married John Cena. When the word broke, Dykstra was admittedly upset, and Cena allegedly had him axed to avoid dealing with the headache. Shortly there after, Mickie James was moved from RAW due to his developing issues with her. Pure class, that John.
What Could Be Done? – Tell Cena to blow himself? It’s not like he could leave the company and keep making the same kind of money he was at that time. Dykstra was away from Cena on SmackDown and had the opportunity to develop into something special. Keep in mind he’s only 33 today. That means he was just 21 then. The ceiling on him could of been huge. Hell, still could be if given a shot.
#13) Viscera (RAW to ECW)
What Went Wrong – Weight issues, and a general lack of athleticism. He’d slim down some, and become Big Daddy V but he couldn’t get over. His lack of mobility was always going to be an issue he couldn’t overcome.
What Could Be Done? – Honestly, he was given the best shot to get over, he just didn’t have it.
#14) The Sandman (ECW to RAW)
What Went Wrong – Moving a hardcore wrestler into any element besides a hardcore environment? Geeze, how could that go wrong? Sandman was lost on RAW, never really did anything and was eventually released in 2007.
What Could Be Done? – Well, there are actually three options for Sandman. Firstly, if he stays on RAW, make him the GM and not William Regal. How hilarious would that of been if Sandman won that battle royal for the GM of RAW ? That alone would make me want to see the show. Just imagine him drunk, with a Sandman t-shirt on, and a clip on tie. On SmackDown, again, the program had so much need of depth. Sandman could of easily feuded with MVP for the U.S. title. MVP didn’t do much besides his way-too-long feud with Matt Hardy, that Hardy couldn’t even do much in due to injuries. Or, leave him in ECW and give him the title. Not like things could get that much worse with him at the top of the card.
#15) Hardcore Holly (ECW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – You signed Hardcore Holly? Holly had a place for him on ECW when the brand was about hardcore wrestling. That whole…four weeks in ’06. Moving him to SmackDown made no sense, as he was on RAW almost immediately. He’d be paired with Cody Rhodes, and win the tag team titles before getting fed to John Cena and Randy Orton that summer. Eventually Rhodes would turn on Holly for Ted DiBiase. He’d be gone seven months later in ’09.
What Could Be Done? – Too be fair, he did something. That’s more than most on this list. What would of served Holly better, being all of 44 at the time, would’ve been a heel tag team on SmackDown against London and Kendrick. Holly was moderate on the mic, and could of helped a younger star find their legs if given time. Moving him to RAW helped for a bit, but it would of made more sense to just pair Rhodes and DiBiase together.
#16) The Miz (SmackDown to ECW)
What Went Wrong – Nothing, actually. The move would take some time but Miz would eventually be paired with John Morrison and that would save Miz’s career. The only thing I’d say is keep him on SmackDown for a bit longer, as the Dirt Sheet wouldn’t really take off until early 2008 anyway.
What Could Be Done? – Move John to SmackDown and start them off together there? They would win the SmackDown tag team titles anyway, makes a lot of sense. Plus they could be the perfect foils for London and Kendrick. Though them on ECW didn’t suck, because the brand needed all the help it could get to stay relevant.
#17) Daivari (SmackDown to RAW)
What Went Wrong – WWE gave up on him and released him a few months later.
What Could Be Done? – Keep him on SmackDown? Again, the brand was about to be devastated by injuries and suspensions, Daivari could of been a great heel Cruiserweight Champion or a big rival to Shane Helms. Daivari wasn’t one for much versatility in the ring or on the mic, so I’m not too sure what you could do with him, but his Lucha Underground gimmick had a good look to it.
#18) The Major Brothers (ECW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – The WWE never fired Curt Hawkins or Zack Ryder? The Major Brothers represented the absolute worse of the era. They weren’t brothers, they didn’t have a gimmick, and would be lackeys to Edge like a bad 80’s flick; presented unironically. To this day neither man has been much-see-t.v. Even when Ryder was over, he didn’t do anything.
What Could Be Done? – Send them to RAW so they could avoid being typed cast as Edge-wannabes.
#19) William Regal (SmackDown to RAW)
What Went Wrong – William Regal actually had a decent first year after the draft. He again became the head heel character on RAW, reprising his role from years prior where he served as a heel authority figure. He’d be Vince McMahon’s Prime Lackey, but in 08 would win the King of the Ring tournament only to then be suspended due to a drug violation. He’d never regain his steam.
What Could Be Done? – Nothing much, he had a year long run, it just wasn’t impressive or worth anyone’s time. That’s a combination of bad creative and his own aging body. He was 38, and his body was wrecked from years of wrestling, and drugs.
#20) Victoria (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – At 36, time wasn’t on her side. She had bad knees and a desire to do more than wrestle. She’d take place in a few low-leveled and forgettable feuds, most notably with the young Bella Twins when they could pass as twins. She’d retire from the WWE in 2009, but return to wrestling with IMPACT Wrestling (then TNA) just months later. Her desire to go into MMA never came to fruition.
What Could Be Done? – Not much. The SmackDown women’s vision was lacking. Victoria going to ECW and wrestling men in hardcore matches may of been a way to get her over, but truthfully she wasn’t given much in the way of a character. Her crazy character with Stevie Ricahrds was the best she could do, and that wasn’t great. So, maybe make her a strict totalitarian, any-expressive character. Work in her time as Godfather’s Ho and utilize that as a way to showcase how bad things are in the company. That might work to get her over as a heel.
#21) Jillian (SmackDown to RAW)
What Went Wrong – A growth on her face? The bad signing gimmick? Her wrestling? Her dating one of the WWE’s on-site medical professionals; causing a conflict of interest and opening the company up to potential lawsuits? She’d go on to win the Divas Championship, but it was pointless and unmemorable.
What Could Be Done? – Fire her and be done. She offered nothing of substance and her departure form SmackDown was actually a win for the brand.
#22) Eugene (RAW to SmackDown)
What Went Wrong – They made a highly touted and successful wrestler like Nick Densmore wrestle as Eugene? Eugene would be released just three months later after failing a second drug test.
What Could Be Done? – Well, they’d bring him back, so firing him didn’t mater. Put him with Punk, and have Punk “cure” his mental disorder the same way he did Festus, by claiming both men were drug addled fools, and once they got clean they became the talents they were meant to be. Though, this would be years later.
#24) Johnny Nitro (RAW to ECW)
What Went Wrong – Nothing, due to horrific circumstances, Nitro would be re-born as John Morrison and was the face of ECW’s brand for the rest of the summer and fall. Though, this was due to the unfortunate issues with Chris Benoit.
What Could Be Done? – Nothing, this was actually the only thing they did absolutely right. A move to SmackDown was needed for the Blue-Brand but he showed what ECW should be; an experimental brand where new gimmicks get tested out.