WWE Draft 2008: SmackDown! No Longer The Second Rate Show

Gem JeffersonSenior Analyst IJune 25, 2008

Monday Night Raw brought to us the WWE Draft 2008 in San Antonio, Texas on June 23. 

This year's draft was pivotal as it accomplished two major feats: confirmed that ECW needs to disappear and that SmackDown! is no longer the second-rate show.

ECW received one selection last night and with that pick acquired Matt Hardy, the United States Champion, from SmackDown!  However, ECW lost two huge stars: Mr. Money in the Bank, CM Punk and their champion, Kane.

The rich got richer as Raw attained five draft picks last night and with those picks acquired: Batista, Kane, CM Punk, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Michael Cole.

Perhaps the most pivotal move of the night, Raw and SmackDown! swapped their announcers; Michael Cole will go to Raw and Jim Ross to SmackDown! 

Smackdown also acquired Jeff Hardy, Umaga, Mr. Kennedy and the second most pivotal move of the night, the WWE Champion, Triple H. 

With SmackDown! acquisitions, the brand finally came on par with Raw.  Jim Ross has been the flagship of not only Raw, but the WWE.  With him as the SmackDown! annoucner, Jim Ross is the equivalent of a main event. 

Triple H transcends the sport and the title.  Though his last stint with SmackDown! lasted a short 24 hours, this time can be different.  If Edge loses his belt this Sunday the title race will be between: Edge, Mr. Kennedy, Umaga, Jeff Hardy, and the Undertaker after his return. 

As far as Raw goes, the title race will be between Batista, John Cena, CM Punk, Kane, Chris Jericho, Randy Orton after his recovery and possibly Shawn Michaels.

The biggest issue with the draft is the lack of wrestling chemistry between some of the title contenders.  Triple H and Jeff Hardy cannot have a serious WWE title match, Triple H and Edge don't have great ring chemistry and Mr. Kennedy's moveset doesn't compliment Triple H's well. 

Hardy, Kennedy, and Edge, however, can put on excellent pay-per-view matches amongst themselves. Umaga is kind of the odd man out--not quite title contender worthy.

As for Raw, CM Punk and Jericho may have trouble breaking into what could be an excellent three-way battle for the title between Batisita, Cena, and Orton.

It remains to be seen what the long term effects of the draft will be, but it shows WWE's willingness to shake things up a bit and level the playing field between Raw and SmackDown!. 

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