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WWE Flashback: The First WWE Draft – Downtown with Darsie

Monday, March 25th, 2002, University Park, Pennsylvania-Linda McMahon, the WWE CEO, opens up the show and explains the WWE draft. Ric Flair is the “owner” of WWF Raw and Vince McMahon is the “owner” of WWF Smackdown.

Stone Cold Steve Austin isn’t able to be drafted, and is a free agent, and Triple H, Chris Jericho, and Stephanie McMahon couldn’t be drafted because they are in the main event on this card, wrestling for the Undisputed WWF Championship. Linda also stated that the draft will start next week on Raw. The rest of the 20 picks would be in the lottery on WWF.com later that night.

They’re at Penn State University for the first ever draft! The main event is Triple H defending the Undisputed WWF Championship against former champ Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon. If Triple H pins Stephanie, Steph has to leave the company “forever.” I think it sucks for whoever the loser of the match is (we all should know who it is, but I won’t spoil it for you for you can read who won and who lost) that they won’t get drafted until the lottery on the website after the night is finished. What a awesome way to treat one of the men who was just in the main event of WrestleMania that year.

Match One: Tazz versus Mr. Perfect

I am sadden Mr. Perfect Curt Henning isn’t with us anymore. I wish his timing wasn’t what it was, because it would have been awesome seeing him in the WWF/WWE longer into the brand extension. Mr. Perfect grabbed the mic and started to say that he is the “perfect draft pick,” then nailed Tazz with the mic to try to get an advantage.

Mr. Perfect hit the Perfect Plex Fisherman Suplex Pin to close to the ropes, and Tazz was able to grab the ropes to break up the pinfall. Shortly thereafter, Tazz locked in the Tazzmission and Perfect tapped out. Tazz grabbed the mic and said “It seems to me that the Perfect Pick just became another victim!”

We get a camera into Flair’s office with him and Arn Anderson, Double A, then to Mr. McMahon’s office, and threw down a folder and Kurt Angle’s picture. Could he be the first draft pick?

McMahon’s First Draft Pick: the Rock!

As usual, Vincent Kennedy McMahon brags about having the first draft pick. He picked the Rock, and the Rock seemed to be angry because his boss remained to be Mr. McMahon. Don’t worry Rock, wait about four months until SummerSlam, he won’t be your boss any longer.

Rock came out and did a promo on Mr. McMahon. Vince told Rock that he can’t use his catchphrases and Rock can’t place a hand on Vince. Rock said he wants to go out on his last Raw with a bang. Rock gave us a history lesson of his accomplishments on Raw. The last thing that bothered me was: the Rock shoved Vince’s face up Rikishi’s bottom. Actually, Rock, that was on Smackdown. Please get your history right if you’re going to give us a history lesson.

Ric Flair is walking out to the stage to make his first draft pick, with a smile on his face. What will his first draft pick be?

Flair’s First Draft Pick: the Undertaker!

People love the Nature Boy! YES! Ric Flair wanted to pick someone who is (at this time) the cornerstone of the WWF, and picked the Undertaker. As like the Rock, Undertaker was upset that he’s going to Raw and “working” for Ric Flair on Monday Nights.

Vince was upset as well in his office. Kurt Angle came in upset because Vince didn’t pick him as his first draft pick. The Undertaker came in yelling at Vince because Vince told him that Flair wouldn’t pick him. Vince told the Undertaker that he’ll make it right, somehow. Taker told him that this time, he better keep his word.

Second Match: Edge and Diamond Dallas Page versus Christian and Booker T.

The first guy retired as World Heavyweight Champion, the second guy has his own yoga company, the third guy is the current World Heavyweight Champion (as of watching this), and the fourth guy is one of the commentators on Friday Night Smackdown.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler talk about at the beginning of the match that Ric Flair swerved Vince McMahon with his first draft pick, being the Undertaker, just to make Mr. McMahon mad.

Bunch of finishers at the end, then Edge brought Christian outside and Booker T hit the scissor’s kick onto DDP and got the three-count.

McMahon’s Second Pick: Kurt Angle!

We cut back into Vince’s office while Kurt Angle is trying to pick him for his second pick. Vince said that Flair might pick the nWo as his next pick, than Angle said no, he’ll pick him. McMahon picked Kurt Angle as his second pick. Kurt gave Vince a hug and said “I love you man…I should have been first!”

Flair’s Second Pick: the New World Order! (Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, and X-Pac)

Flair came out on stage and said that he’ll work hard on getting Stone Cold Steve Austin on Raw. Flair’s second pick is the collective unit of the New World Order, brother! We cut back to Vince’s off with Angle and he’s all angry. Can’t blame him, how he wanted the Undertaker and the nWo.

McMahon’s Third Draft Pick: Chris Benoit!

With a whisper into his ear, Kurt Angle got McMahon to pick Chris Benoit as his third pick. Benoit was injured at this time period. We cut back to Flair’s office, with the nWo in his office, trying to imitate him, and Flair told him that they were poison and he cannot let Vince have full control of the poison. Double A comes in, and Flair kicks them out of his office.

Flair’s Third Draft Pick: Kane!

Flair picked Kane because the New World Order wouldn’t leave his office. A good choice for Raw, and to get them out of his office.

Third Match: Trish Stratus versus Ivory

Ivory had her return on Raw last week, and business picked up early with these two ladies. Oh King, how much you love the Divas, and how much I miss hearing you drool over them. Trish hit the Stratusfaction bulldog and got the victory.

McMahon’s Fourth Draft Pick: Hulk Hogan!

The crowd got under Vince’s skin by boos, and angrly, McMahon picked Hulk Hogan, and Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodo Child” plays while McMahon does some of Hogan’s poses.

Flair’s Fourth Draft Pick: WWF Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam

Short and sweet, Flair came out and picked RVD. Good for Raw for having the IC title.

We cut back to Vince’s office and Angle’s back in there too, and Vince wanted the IC title. Angle offered his services to defeat RVD for the IC title. Vince said, “That’s why you’re the second draft pick. Maybe you should have been number one?”

We cut back to Hogan and Rock. Hogan said that the people made both of them. Hogan said that both of them should take on the New World Order in a handicap match on Raw tonight. Rock liked the idea. Both men use each other’s catchphrases.

McMahon’s Fifth Draft Pick: WWF Tag Team Champions Billy & Chuck

Both men were happy to be drafted over to McMahon’s Smackdown.

Fourth Match: Hollywood Hulk Hogan and the Rock versus the New World Order (Nash, Hall, & X-Pac)

What a good way to keep the television viewers to stay on the show with this match to end hour one of Raw and start the second hour of Raw. No surprise that Hogan and Rock had to come out separately and the New World Order came out together as a unit. I am sad that the New World Order lost its venom shortly after they debuted at the No Way Out pay-per-view in 2002. Darn fans wanting to see Hogan as a babyface.

Hogan and X-Pac start out, and they did a collar-and-elbow tie-up and Hogan threw X-Pac over the top rope. He came back in and tagged in Scott Hall. Hall threw a toothpick into Hogan’s face and tagged in Nash. Nash had more power than Hogan, and shoved him onto the ground.

Like a normal handicap match with the heels having a one-man advantage, the New World Order started to take over Hogan and Rock, and Kane came out to make a save when X-Pac took out some numb-chucks. So the winners are the New World Order by disqualification. I highly doubt the way that the Rock and Hogan wanted to go on their last night on Raw, but at least they stood tall at the end of their match.

Vince walked into Flair’s office without knocking and got into his face saying that Flair took the Undertaker and the New World Order from him. Flair yelled at McMahon right back and said that they’re 50-50 and McMahon can’t boss him around. Because of this alteration, they both picked two more guys.

Flair’s Fifth Draft Pick: Booker T!

McMahon’s Sixth Draft Pick: Edge!

Flair’s Sixth Draft Pick: Big Show!

McMahon’s Seventh Draft Pick: Rikishi!

After McMahon picked his seventh man, he shoved Flair onto his office desk chair, onto Double A, and Double A held Flair back for he wouldn’t go after McMahon.

Fifth Match: Jeff Hardy (with Matt Hardy and Lita) versus Billy (with Chuck and Rico)

A short match with a clusterfart of outside stuff and Jeff Hardy did a roll-up and got the victory over Billy. Poor Billy, you should have Chuck and Rico rub baby oil on you and stare at the Tag Team titles.

Flair’s Seventh Draft Pick: Bubba Ray Dudley!

Flair wanted the most dominate tag team in pro wrestling history, and because they aren’t tag team champs, he has to try to get them in two picks, so he starts with Bubba Ray.

McMahon’s Eighth Draft Pick: D-Von Dudley!

Because McMahon is evil, Vince picked D-Von, just for Flair can’t have the Dudley Boys on Raw. Both draft picks happened in both co-owner’s offices.

Sixth Match: Rikishi versus WWF European Champion William Regal

Before Regal got halfway down the ramp, Brock Lesnar came out and attacked Rikishi, clotheslined him and gave him the F-5. The announcers put him over. That’s how you put people over. Paul Heyman is his manager. How I miss managers.

Jazz gave us her thoughts from WWF New York. She’s the Women’s Champion, so she can’t be drafted. She doesn’t care how the draft turns out, she’ll beat everyone.

Flair’s Eighth Draft Pick: Brock Lesnar!

Mr. McMahon comes out and tries to pick his ninth pick on Brock Lesnar, but because it isn’t his draft pick, he couldn’t pick him, and Flair grabs him. McMahon tries to give Flair two picks, but Flair doesn’t want it, and picked Lesnar for himself.

McMahon’s Ninth Draft Pick: Mark Henry!

He wanted the World’s Strongest Man!

Flair’s Ninth Draft Pick: WWF European Champion William Regal

“I want the European Heavyweight Champion,” said Flair

“I want to work for Mr. McMahon,” said Regal

McMahon’s Tenth Draft Pick: WWF Hardcore Champion Maven

McMahon said that Flair’s getting all the champions, and McMahon won’t let Flair take all the titles to Raw, so he drafted Maven. Lawler made a comment that I remember he apologized for later about questioning McMahon for picking young Maven.

Flair’s Tenth Draft Pick: Lita

Vince said that Flair picked Lita because he’s turning Raw into a cesspool. Anyways, all this happened (Flair’s 8th pick to his 10th), all in the same segment. Must be running short on time!

Seventh Match – Intercontinental Championship Match: Kurt Angle versus Champion Rob Van Dam

Another short match, but a good television match. Kurt Angle got himself disqualified by dragging referee Tim White in front of him and RVD came off the top rope with a kick. The ref called for the bell when Kurt had RVD in the ankle lock. Dusty Finish?

Edge came down to save RVD and Edge and Angle had a brawl, and a bunch of ref’s had to pull them apart.

I am sad that Angle didn’t win the Intercontinental Title, simply because I know it would help boost the title. Granted this Raw was nine years ago, I feel like looking back at the title history and see a former WWF and WCW Champion holding the Intercontinental title after holding the WWF and WCW titles, I would feel that the IC title meant a little more than what it did back then.

Michael Cole stopped the Million Dollar Princess Stephanie McMahon when she was on her way to the ring. He told her that there were many different options on who can win the match. She said that she’ll win the Undisputed WWF Championship.

Eighth Match – Undisputed WWF Championship Match: Stephanie McMahon versus Chris Jericho versus Champion Triple H

Stephanie came out to Triple H’s old theme song “My Time” by Chris Warren and the DX Band (the same band that did Mr. McMahon’s theme). I liked that theme but that’s me though. I think that theme helped Triple H when he first started his main event run. Useless Chris Jericho fact: Jericho came out in his green tights that he wore in the main event at WWF WrestleMania X8. Yep, I would know that. Then the champ came out with both belts when Motorhead blared throughout the arena. I really enjoyed that when they did the Undisputed WWF title gimmick for eight months, I really enjoyed when the champ carried both the WWF and WCW championship belts.

Chris Jericho rant: I am really bothered that this was Jericho’s only return match after losing the Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Championship to Triple H at Mania X8. Even though I understand that McMahon wants to send the fans home happy at the end of each pay-per-view, but why not put the Rock and Hogan at the end of Mania that year, have Jericho retain the title, and go onto Backlash and lose the Undisputed title to Hogan? I think adding Triple H into the draft picks would have jacked up the interest for the draft in ’02. I think Triple H’s one-month title reign was beyond pointless. Jericho needed another victory to secure his main event position that he wouldn’t have got back until he took three years off and pursued other interested outside of professional wrestling.

Another Chris Jericho rant (yet shorter): I am sad that this was Jericho’s first appearance on this episode of Monday Night Raw.

Jericho and Triple H started out the match and once Triple H was knocked to the outside, Stephanie laid down for Jericho to get the quick victory. The Champ got back into the ring to break up the pinfall.

In essence (which I really like), this match was a handicap match, because Stephanie was helping Jericho defeat her “husband” Triple H. Yet after a few minutes, Jericho got upset with Steph and pie faced yet.

Jericho missed with the Lionsault and Stephanie tried to pin Jericho and only got a 2-count. Jericho got up and slapped on the Walls of Jericho onto Stephanie and Triple H saved his “ex-wife.”

Triple H sent Y2J outside of the ring and signaled for the Pedigree. Jericho hit a missile dropkick and got a few 2-counts on the Champ. Shortly thereafter, both men hit each other with the title belts, and the Billion Dollar Princess snuck in and tried to pin both men, but got a 2-count on each man.

At the end of the match, Stephanie broke up the pin fall attempt of Triple H onto Jericho after Jericho got hit with the Pedigree. Triple H than picked up Stephanie and hit her with a beautiful spinebuster, and got the three-count to retain his Undisputed WWF Championship.

Philosophical Corner: A good episode of Raw and probably the best draft that the company ever did. Actually, the rest of the “drafts” weren’t actually drafts, more lotteries. I think it helped the show when both Flair and McMahon went back and forth with one another on coming out with a pick, trying to counter the other’s pick in their office, or arguing on who their next pick.

I think it’s sad that Jericho wasn’t available to be picked at the end of the show and had to be “just another guy” in the lottery on WWF.com But I wasn’t or won’t ever be a storyline writer for the company, so I guess I can give my opinion on wonderful wrestling sites like CamelClutchBlog[dot]com. I feel like this show should be the show everyone doing a draft show should take notes from and learn a thing or two. I am Eric Darsie, and until next time, stay cool.

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Eric Darsie

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/.

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