Danyon had to tend to some personal business today so I offered to do tonight's liveblog for the annual WWE Draft. It's always an interesting show, but this year it's shorter than usual since Edge's retirement compelled WWE to move the draft up instead of doing it during one of the three hour shows in June. It should be an entertaining two hours with a lot happening.
Coverage of the show as it happens after the jump.
Per the teaser shown at the end of the last commercial break during Tough Enough, the show will open with a Raw vs Smackdown battle royal with the winning brand getting the first draft pick.
And with no opening montage, we jump right into...
1. 20 Man Battle Royal (10 wrestlers per brand, winning brand gets first draft pick).
Kane is eliminated first in a surprise.
Basic rushed battle royal so far with the spots you would expect like a group effort to eliminate The Great Khali. Cole mentioned on commentary that he may get drafted as a "wrestler." That's right, he said it!
Final four are Kofi Kingston and The Big Show from Smackdown with Mason Ryan and Evan Bourne from Raw. They paired off how you'd expect and the Bourne/Kingson duo did some neat athletic teased elimination spots. Bourne tried his flying knee thing but Show caught him and tossed him like nothing, which looked insane. Ryan was quickly eliminated so Smackdown wins the first draft pick.
No whammies...big bucks...no whammies...
JOHN CENA DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN!
Well, that answers that. Cole is freaking out on commentary.
Backstage Cena interview opens the next segment. A fun, hyperactive effort that's a lot better than anything he's done in a while. He promised to bring the WWE Championship back to Smackdown, so Miz walked over and objected to that statement.
Cole vs Jim Ross tonight? Alright.
R-Truth heel turn recap video time. Now he's out with no music and start's his promo with a "SHUT UP!" instead of "WHAT'S UP!" Ha. He lost because of the fans or something. He keeps getting muteded when he says he's "pissed off." Lots of "WHAT?"s from the crowd. The fans are out of tune and off-beat when they rap with him. Now he's making fun of a hypothetical child named "little Jimmy" and doing a childlike version of the "black comedian does his nerdy white guy voice" routine. This is bordering on surreal and weirdly awesome. Still lots of "WHAT?"s and he's talking about how letting his frustration out made him feel "MARVELOUS!" Looks like "The Truth has set me free" will be his new catchphrase. Morrison jumped him after he said it and now the referees are separating them. Morrison breaks free! Refs finally get them separated and we go to a break. That was entertaining but I'm not entirely sure it worked.
The Rock's birthday party next week on Raw!
Awesome/Amazing Kong vignette. This time we see her face and...yup, her name is Kharma. Josh all solemn: "Things are certainly going to change when Kharma arrives on the scene."
2. Eve Torres vs Layla
Layla's cutoff Smackdown shirt is...creative. Michelle McCool followed Layla to the ring slowly.
Cole starts talking right away and Eve schoolgirls Layla for the win.
Cole is cutting a promo on Ross about how he has to go stretch and prepare for his match with Ross. The usual.
Now Layla and McCool are brawling at ringside. Layla gets the advantage and slams her head into the barricade and the ring a lot. Then she starts crying, says she's sick of this...and throws her over the announcers' table. Then she starts crying again. Then Michelle did. This is all a rib on SOMEONE, right?
Monday Night Raw, it's time to Press Your Luck!
REY MYSTERIO HAS BEEN DRAFTED TO RAW! The Raw wrestlers were applauding, while the Smackdown wrestlers were upset.
Dr. Doom interview. He threatens to put Rey in the hospital on Sunday and ends the promo with "Booyaka! Booyaka! Bye. Bye. Bye." Awesome.
3. Sheamus vs Kofi Kingston
Prediction: Kofi wins and Sheamus is drafted to Smackdown. Later, someone from Raw will beat Wade Barrett and he'll be drafted to Raw afterwards.
Kofi wins with Trouble In Paradise in a short match.
Let's see...no whammies?
I was half-right. RANDY ORTON DRAFTED TO SMACKDOWN. Well, this is interesting. And Orton appears to be growing a beard.
Michael Cole's gross foot fungus makeup vs Jim Ross is NEXT!
4. "The Voice of the WWE" Sir Michael Cole vs WWE Hall of Famer "Good Ol' J.R." Jim Ross
What? That's how they were introduced. Booker T has joined the announcers.
Lawler and Swagger are both on the apron. For a singles match. Cole keeps match all sorts of "J.R. is fat" gestures including playing his stomach like Kamala.
Cole grabbed Ross's Stetson hat from ringside, put it on, and then killed it by stomping on it.
Ross manhandles Cole, who calls for a time-out. Referee Mike Chioda grants it. Yup. Cole sits on a stool in the corner, screams "I''M A COLLEGIATE WRESTLER!", and has Swagger towel him off.
Cole tries a bodyslam and fails. ROSS WITH PUNCHES FROM THE MOUNT! Cole to the floor, then back in the ring, more mounted punches. Swagger attacks Lawler and then Ross for the DQ. Cole's mouth is busted open so he takes Ross's belt and whips him with it. LAWLER IS BACK TO MAKE THE SAVE! He gets the strap, milks the crowd for the maximum reaction, and whips Cole until he rolls out of the ring.
iPhone message sound and light shenanigans = Anonymous GM announcing that the tag match on Sunday at Extreme Rules will be a country whipping match. Great segment with super heat, and the new stipulation is a good way to hide Ross and Cole's limitations.
Scott Sanford interviews Miz (with Alex Riley). Basic Miz promo, plus he noted that USA Network executives should be praying he's not drafted to Smackdown so Raw isn't cancelled in a month.
5. Randy Orton vs Dolph Ziggler
Two draft picks on the line. I always wondered what the storyline excuse for this type of match on a draft show was supposed to be. Random draw?
Ziggler looks so generic it's scary. That said, he hit a great standing dropkick that sent Orton over the barricade.
By the way, if Ziggler somehow wins and it puts Orton and Cena back on Raw, I will laugh.
But that didn't happen. Orton wins via RKO.
NO WHAMMIES NO WHAMMIES...
CM Punk interrupts the big board to cut a promo on Orton for the hard sell for their Last Man Standing match. Punk made a point to say a quick RKO won't win the match for Orton. Orton's beard (the one on his face) replied that he will be glad not to hear Punk yapping while he's on Smackdown and promised to knock out Punk on Sunday.
Remember, we still have Smackdown two draft picks...NEXT!
Lawler rejoins the booth. The picks were announced during the break. Mark Henry and Sin Cara to Smackdown. Well, I guess they decided Cara needed to be on the taped show.
6. Wade Barrett vs ("Now representing Raw") Rey Mysterio
BOOYAKA BOOYAKA SIX ONE NINE!
Two draft picks on the line again. Rey wore a pre-WCW unmasking style stretchy mask to the ring over his regular mask and gave it to a young fan.
Huricanrana and splash get the win for Mysterio.
Next picks for Raw are...
The Big Show and ALBERTO DEL RIO. They had the right size Raw shirt ready for Big Show. Del Rio didn't come out because he was ranting to Ricardo and Brodus, who asked what would happen to him with Del Rio gone.
I'd say they've made it clear they're changing both world titles Sunday and swapping their brands in the process, but Vince McMahon has had enough stuff changed for being predictable that I'll just say that they're telegraphing it. Couldn't they have waited until next week's Raw?
Cole is back in the Cole Mine and made it too obvious that he had cotton in his mouth to make it look like Ross had busted it up to hell.
Now let's push that PPV!
And here's Teddy Long to announce our main event for the last draft pick...
7. CM Punk, Alberto Del Rio, & The Miz vs Christian, Mark Henry, & John Cena
After the break!
Coming this weekend from WWE Studios: "That What I Am," a heartwarming period piece that teaches us that if you have a grudge against a teacher who suspends your son for bullying, he'll quit to go live with his sister in Florida if you say he's gay. No, I don't care that I spoiled it. Were you really gonna see it?
Supplemental draft tomorrow on WWE.com at Noon Eastern Time.
And now a match that may get some time, thankfully. They went to a break right away.
And now a Smackdown promo.
And now the match. Cena is a house o' fire.
Solid match leading up to Henry turning by hitting Cena with a big clothesline and droppng Christian jaw first on the steps from a military press. Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale on Cena for the win.
And the last main draft pick is...
JOHN CENA BACK TO RAW.
They telegraphed that after stacking Smackdown so much. Poor Smackdown.
Cena lays out all of the heels, gets a Raw shirt, puts it on, and celebrates.
So long everybody!