Wendesday, March 27, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 117



WWF splits in two, The Rock is No. 1 pick in draft

The 2002 Wrestling Draft Report

Ed De La Garza

With the World Wrestling Federation's first-ever draft now in the books, one thing's certain: Smackdown has overtaken Raw as the WWF's
flagship show.

The much-rumored split finally happened, with Vince McMahon taking The Rock with the No. 1 pick. Ric Flair followed that by taking the
Undertaker with his first pick, but it's clear that McMahon's group is stocked with the most name recognition.

Photos courtesy of the World Wrestling Federation

Vince McMahon, left, and Ric Flair will now battle for ratings as each World Wrestling Federation co-owner takes control of two different WWF
"brands." McMahon will lead wrestlers on Smackdown while Flair will control Raw.

Of McMahon's 20 televised selections, he picked Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Hulk Hogan, Chris Jericho and Torrie Wilson. The remaining 30,
released at WWF.com, included Stacy Keibler, Tazz and Test.

Of Flair's 30 total picks, the Nature Boy also selected Rob Van Dam, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Jeff and Matt Hardy, Booker T, Brock Lesnar and
Mr. Perfect. They're all talented, but they lack the impact of the Rock and Angle.

There is at least one wild card. Steve Austin wasn't picked by either splinter organization. But it wasn't because he has a "non-draftable"
clause in his contract. Austin is unhappy with the direction of the WWF and the attention being placed on the New World Order.

One has to assume that when he does clear the air with McMahon, he'll probably aligne with Flair's group. The ending for his match against
Hall at Wrestlemania had to be altered because Austin refused to lose.

In any case, the new lineups go into effect beginning with Monday's Raw. 

Dear Wrestling Doctor

Ed's note: The following is pure fiction.

This writer was amazed to find the mailbag had been graced by a contribution from a wrestling superstar, asking for advice no less. I'll
withhold the superstar's name to protect his good name.

Dear Ed,

I'm a limousine-ridin', jet-flyin', three-piece suit-wearin', wife-stealin' son-of-a-gun. But lately, I've begun to lose my "Whoo!" I'm a 16-time
world champion, by God! I've taken the queen of England to the top of Space Mountain and styled and profiled down that aisle from London,
England, to Paris, France. There is no doubt in my mind or in the minds of all those girls sitting in the front row whom the man is.

But there's a certain someone who's been claiming to be "The Great One." He got to pin Hulk Hogan cleanly. People say he has the best mic
work, when they know, by God, that when it comes to thrilling the crowd, there is none better and there never will be. Am I wrong in feeling
jealous? And how do keep from slipping down the chain? 

Well, Mysterious Superstar, I'd say the fact that Hogan jobbed to this other wrestler more than proves you're being held down. You're
obviously a young lion with a real future. Keep working, little trooper.

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