Thank you, WWE!!! Hot diggity, to say Melanie is pleased would be an understatement! Now I hate to toot my own horn, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do, so if you cannot stand self-adulation please keep scrolling down the page. The 2008 Draft is in the books and two Divas were drafted earlier today, in the Supplemental Draft and Melanie is two for two as Layla moves to Monday Night Raw and Maria moves to Friday Night SmackDown. These were the two drafts that I wanted to see the most and perhaps someone in WWE reads this blog, because those two moves were exactly what we saw today.
I’d like to start off with some commiserations, unfortunately Kelly Kelly wasn’t moved to SmackDown, another of the draft moves I’d love to have seen. Kelly has simply outgrown her current home of ECW and she really deserved the opportunity to move to SmackDown and develop some more, because she has impressed even her worst critics (i.e. me) of late. Also, unfortunate is Ashley not being moved to ECW (or off the face of the earth), I wouldn’t be surprised if WWE wished Ashley all the best in her future endeavors at this point. After keeping her off television for so long, the Draft was the perfect time to re-introduce Ashley albeit on a different brand. Since they haven’t, I don’t think they will bring her back to Raw. Oh well, can’t say I’m fussed. Enough talk of the “Dirty (smelly, trampy) Diva”, we have some real Divas to discuss.
It’s no secret that I saw something in Layla since day one, even though I abhor the Diva Search, I loved Layla because she was so different and unique and that’s a good thing compared to the cookie cutter blonde Divas. It seems my initial interest her proved right – she has blossomed into quite the Diva and I feel almost like the “proud momma” (it’s a Tyra thang) seeing how far Layla has come since the Diva Search. Layla has taken to professional wrestling like a duck to water, developing into a fine wrestler and unlike some of the other Diva Search contestants and models, has actually developed character and depth in her persona. While Kelly Kelly, Ashley, Maria and Michelle all struggle to create a character to put over to the television audience, Layla plays the bad girl so well. Layla has made strides, especially in the past year, she has put on some very good matches on SmackDown and ECW.
I really put it out there when I suggested Layla move to Raw two weeks ago in Diva Draft, I thought Layla moving to Raw could be a “wildcard”, something fans wouldn’t expect or see coming. I thought that post would be met with loads of comments like “Melanie what are you smoking?!” but many of you agreed and Melanie seemed to have started off a little movement on the Internet. Well I’m truly proud that the movement paid off, because Layla could be an amazing asset to Raw. Like I wrote two weeks ago and this past weekend in my PWInsider column, I don’t think Layla is title material just yet but she has exceeded her ECW and SmackDown counterparts and deserves the promotion. Every brand needs that Diva who can make up the numbers in tag matches, can job and put someone over – like Maria and Ashley do on Raw. Meanwhile, Layla is all that and much more – as well as serving that role, Layla has her own personality and spunky character and can bring more dimensions to that role. Plus needless to say, she’s much better in the ring than both Maria and Ashley and will be able to carry a match better than they could. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Layla would benefit from this as she’s done the SmackDown and ECW scenes – she could benefit from working on a live show with a group of Divas that have the same levels of experience in the ring (on SmackDown, for every Kelly you have a Victoria), she could grow as a wrestler from working with Beth, Mickie, Melina, Katie and Jillian.
Oh and also I hear it’s Layla’s birthday? What a birthday present! Happy birthday, Layla!
Maria after the cut:
This was not only a move I wanted to see happen, but a move that needed to happen. After four years, Maria has reached her pinnacle on Raw and as much as she has whined in interviews that she doesn’t want to leave “her home”, surely she should have realised by now that she will never be a top Diva or Women’s Champion while on Raw? Her Playboy push (or lack thereof) should have driven that message home, anyway. While the likes of Candice, Michelle, Maryse, Layla, Kelly and Cherry have grown as performers and passed her by – Maria has remained stagnant as both a character and a wrestler. She has developed as a wrestler only ever so slightly, when compared to her SmackDown counterparts they put her to shame. I have argued in my PWInsider column, that perhaps being on Raw hinders developing Divas growing as wrestlers rather than helps them? Anyway, I think Maria’s move to SmackDown is absolutely beneficial to her. Don’t get me wrong, I talk tough and I may seem harsh towards Maria but the truth is, I want to like her, I really, honestly do. I think she has a lot of potential, a diamond in the rough and could be a top Diva, but not while she’s stuck in this rut. I welcome her move to SmackDown with open arms and she should too.
Maria, whether we like to admit it or not, is a big name for the WWE Divas. Like Torrie Wilson before her, she may not be renowned for her wrestling skills but in every other aspect WWE has built up and relied a lot on the Maria brand name. Moving to SmackDown, Maria would add some star power to the women’s division, her name value would rocket her to the top of the SmackDown’s women’s division – co-headling with “home grown” talent Michelle McCool as the two top Divas on SmackDown. I liken this to Trish Stratus and Lita, both were the top Divas of the WWE, there wasn’t just one. I really like the dynamic of Maria and Michelle as the top faces and Natalya and Victoria as the top heels, the match possibilities and storyline possibilities will set SmackDown up for the rest of the year (and maybe even then some).
In other respects, Maria would be able to “drink from the pool” that Michelle, Kelly and Layla have drunk from and grow as a wrestler. The aforementioned three Divas have shown strides as performers and this could definitely be good for Maria, like I said, I think she’s a diamond in the rough and given the right level of training and experience on SmackDown, she could show drastic development like Michelle and co. by the end of the year. Make no mistake, Maria’s move to SmackDown is not a demotion nor a reward, it is however, a mutually beneficial relationship. Maria, embrace SmackDown!
What do you think? Pleased with the draft picks? Vote below to vote for the pick you’re most happy with: