World Wrestling Entertainment first introduced the “brand extension” concept in 2002 in response to a decline in ratings following the downfall of competition within the Pro Wrestling Industry. The original idea was to divide WWE’s immense talent pool into two separate rosters that would compete on WWE’s RAW and Smackdown television shows. With the innovative concept came another element which would be a first time ever in Pro Wrestling, and that was a “Draft” similar to those of other sports that would decide the future of many of WWE’s Superstars. Now, five years after the first draft following the brand extension, the draft makes its return live on June 11th, 2007 during a special three hour edition of RAW on USA.The first draft in 2002 following the announcement of the brand split was one that saw Vince McMahon and Ric Flair, representing Smackdown and RAW respectively, make their draft picks until the entire roster was divided. Since then, however, the impact and significance of the draft has seemingly diminished within the WWE. In 2004, for example, only six superstars from each brand were traded over to the other brand and it wasn’t as a result of a draft but rather a “random” lottery. In 2005, the draft went down in the same way that 2004’s did, in that it was a “random” lottery, although this time the draft spanned over four editions of RAW and Smackdown in an attempt to increase ratings during that month. In 2006, the only thing that resembled a draft was Paul Heyman’s choosing one superstar from RAW and another from Smackdown to help shape the WWE’s third brand, ECW.
Now, five years after the historic WWE brand split, Shane McMahon has announced that a draft lottery will be held on a special three hour edition of RAW on June 11th, 2007. What makes this draft lottery unique is that it will be the first time that three brands – RAW, Smackdown, and ECW – will be represented.
Unfortunately, not much has yet been revealed in regard to the draft. Since Shane McMahon announced the draft as a “lottery”, it can be assumed that the Superstars moving won’t be selected by a brand representative but rather a “random” drawing. There has been no confirmation or even a suggestion as to how many Superstars will be switching brands. The entire draft, thus far, leaves a lot of room for speculation and that’s always a good thing in this business.
Despite the aspects of the draft that fans are unsure of, there are definitely some certainties. Considering the amount of huge household names within the company that have been sidelined with injuries as of late, the 2007 draft lottery will surely aid in fairly distributing star power within the WWE as well as shake things up for fans. Fans can also be sure that new feuds and exciting storylines will blossom from the new rosters that are shaped as a result of the draft lottery. No tag team is indestructible, no championship serves as an anchor, and no superstar is safe from the draft lottery! Catch the drama, excitement, and action on the special three hour edition of WWE Monday Night RAW live on June 11th, 2007 at a special 8PM start time only on the USA network. Also, be sure to check back here following the draft for a complete review of all of the blockbuster trades that have taken place!