On March 17, 2002, WWE had their first WWE Draft. It was very exciting. Ric Flair and Vince McMahon were both owners of WWF. Ric Flair was in charge of Raw and Vince McMahon in charge of Smackdown. The first part of the draft was aired live on TNN for two hours. The second part was held on their website WWF.com. Sixty superstars were drafted overall. The first twenty were drafted manually by the owners with the remaining superstars randomly drafted to each show on the website.
On March 22, 2004, WWE had another draft with Raw and Smackdown. Vince McMahon announced that it was time to shake things up again! For this draft, everyone was eligible. A manager, general manager, diva, and top stars such as Triple H and Edge were drafted. After the draft, post draft trades were made on WWE.com. Triple H was traded back to Raw with Booker T and the Dudley Boys going to Smackdown. Also, the A-Train was traded to Smackdown with Rico and Miss Jackie traded to Smackdown.
On May 26, 2006, WWE announced the new show called ECW. This new show was to be more extreme. For ECW, Paul Heyman was able to draft a superstar from Raw and a superstar from Smackdown. Rob Van Dam came from Raw with Kurt Angle coming from Smackdown. For ECW to come back to television was a huge deal. It was exciting. Sadly, after a couple of months, it became just like the other shows and the edgy feel soon went away.
The WWE Draft has always been entertaining. We, as fans, love to think about dream matches. We love to think what would happen if a superstar went from WWE to TNA and who they should face. We love to think of the story that could happen if two superstars were to feud with one another. With the WWE Draft, this now becomes a reality. We are now able to see two superstars, who without the draft would have never seen each other, feud with one another. We are now able to see our favorite superstar on one show go to another show and face off against all of the notable names of the other show.
In 2002, Eric Bischoff announced the Raw Roulette. The Raw Roulette was a wheel with matches on it. The wheel determined with matches the superstars would be competing in. This Raw Roulette episode featured superstars from both shows.
Tribute to the Troops
WWE has an annual Tribute to the Troops episode. It is a show dedicated to the troops. The show features superstars from all brands. The troop members get to see the show for free. Throughout the show, highlights are showed of matches as well as the wrestlers and troops interacting with one another. It is very uplifting to see this event and all of the support that the WWE has for the troops.
TNA Open Fight Night
I personally loved Open Fight Night. Every regular show we would see the General Manager come out and take time away from actual stories and wrestlers. The only time it has actually been worth it to have a General Manager on a show was when Eric Bischoff was the RAW General Manager. I may not like how Eric runs his companies but he is one of the best at playing his character and manipulating the crowd. He can always make the crowd hate him and be one to watch. Back to Open Fight Night, it was great because you wouldn’t see a General Manager. They weren’t needed. Open Fight Night meant that if you wanted to fight someone, you would call them out. You two would then have the match. The inmates ran the asylum. This was also a great way to start and further stories between the wrestlers.
TNA Gut Check
The Gut Check contest was a way of recruiting new talent. Contestants wrestled against the current TNA talent. Usually, when new people faced TNA talent, the TNA talent would beat them badly. They would make the new talent look like a jobber. On January 9, 2013, it was announced that Gut Check contestants would face off against each other. After the match, judges would come out to evaluate their performance. There would be three judges. You needed two yes votes to receive a TNA contract. Even though this was handled badly as in the wrestlers recruited weren’t the best and were rarely used afterward, the segment was entertaining. It had a fresh feel to it to see new faces competing for a spot in TNA.
Nowadays, TNA is doing special Pay-Per-View themed episodes of iMPACT Wrestling. We have seen this with the all X-Division Pay-Per-View show Destination X. Also, No Surrender marked the finals of the Bound For Glory Series. The question is, are themed episodes good for professional wrestling? The answer is an overwhelming yes. When themed episodes occur, the crowd seems more alive. It is amazing what this will do for a show. The reason is that the show is special. It is, in a way, holy. It is set apart from all the other shows. We can relate to this in every day life. Just two Fridays ago, I heard my best friend at work say that he takes his two kids to Daylight Donuts every Friday morning. That got me thinking that we all have our own special days. I look forward to Thursdays for TNA iMPACT Wrestling. We all look forward to Fridays because for most of us, it is the last work day of the week. I look forward to the weekend because when I have it off, I go over to my dad’s house and watch MMA shows such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA, and Glory Kickboxing. We will also watch boxing and American Ninja Warrior, when it is in season. Also, we all know Saturday as college football day and Sunday as professional football day.
We love when professional wrestling has themed episodes because we can relate to it. Anything that puts reality into professional wrestling will instantly become a fan favorite. Themed episodes serve as a break from the every day ordinary shows. Not that the ordinary shows are bad but when there is a themed show, it will make it special and extra exciting. It is the same in life. In professional wrestling, we need shows such as Open Fight Night, free Pay-Per-View themed shows, the draft, and Raw Roulette. We do not only need these to keep popping up and returning but new original themed shows for us to tune in for. Themed episodes give professional wrestling a very much needed spark and break from normal episodes. We, as fans, have always loved them and will continue to love them. It is our nature.