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The 2008 World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Draft Lottery took place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas on June 23, 2008. The Draft took place live for three hours on WWE's flagship program, Raw on USA Network. For the second consecutive year, the Draft took place among WWE's three brands: Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. Every WWE employee, diva, announcer, commentator, and general manager were eligible to be drafted. Similar to the 2007 WWE Draft, superstars from each brand competed in matches to win a random draft pick for their brand. Draft picks were kayfabe selected at random via a computer that was shown on the Raw titantron. Like the previous year, a supplemental draft took place on June 25, where draft selections were randomly conducted. The Draft featured the Raw brand randomly drafting ECW Champion, Kane, from the ECW brand. It also featured the ECW brand drafting WWE United States Champion, Matt Hardy, from the SmackDown brand. The final selection in the draft was conducted by the SmackDown brand, and they drafted WWE Champion, Triple H, from the Raw brand. As per pre-Draft stipulations, all the three champions brought their respective titles to the brand to which they were drafted.
The Draft was announced by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon on the May 26, 2008 episode of Raw. During the announcement, he stated that every WWE Superstar, Diva, and commentator from all three brands, Raw, ECW, and SmackDown, were eligible to be drafted. On the June 16 episode of Raw, McMahon announced that his McMahon's Million Dollar Mania contest would take place on the same night as the WWE Draft. During the contest, McMahon gave away one million dollars to WWE fans. McMahon telephoned fans, who had registered for the contest, at their homes and asked them for a password, which was revealed at the opening of the Raw broadcast. If their answer was correct, he awarded the fan a portion of one million dollars.
On June 24, WWE announced on its website, that a supplemental draft would take place on June 25 at noon ET. The supplemental draft, like the previous year, was conducted randomly, with each brand receiving random draft selections. Superstars affected by the televised draft were exempt from the supplemental draft. Because professional wrestling is scripted, outcomes are usually predetermined. Unlike years past, during this draft, many employees in WWE were not told whether they were scripted to change brands.
Aside from the Million Dollar Mania contest, the Draft was announced to help increase the television ratings of Raw, which had been declining since WrestleMania XXIV. Though the Draft helps increase ratings, it is also used as a way to refreshen the rosters and create new storylines.
There were 28 selections conducted in the draft overall. 11 selections were conducted on television, while 17 selections occurred during the supplemental draft. The Raw brand earned five televised selections through their representatives winning five different matches, while they received six supplemental selections. In total, the Raw brand drafted 11 employees: five on television and six through the supplemental draft. The SmackDown brand earned five television selections through their representatives winning five different matches, while they received seven supplemental selections. In total, the SmackDown brand drafted 12 employees: five on television and seven through the supplemental draft. The ECW brand earned one televised selection through their representative winning one match, while they received four supplemental selections. In total, the ECW brand drafted five employees: one on television and four through the supplemental draft. The 28 included two commentators, two Divas, and 24 male wrestlers (two inactive wrestlers and 22 active wrestlers).
During the program, representatives from the Raw, ECW, and SmackDown brands were involved in matches that determined which brand received a draft pick. Overall, there were 9 matches, in which Raw won four, ECW won one, SmackDown won three, and one resulted in no winner.
|1||Raw: Triple H vs. SmackDown: Mark Henry||Singles match for 1 draft pick||Raw: Triple H|
|2||SmackDown: Finlay and Hornswoggle vs. Raw: Carlito and Santino Marella||Tag team match for 1 draft pick||SmackDown: Finlay and Hornswoggle|
|3||Raw: Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes vs. ECW: Chavo Guerrero and Bam Neely||Tag team match for 1 draft pick||Raw: Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes|
|4||ECW: John Morrison and The Miz vs. SmackDown: The Hardys (Matt and Jeff)||Tag team match for 1 draft pick||ECW: John Morrison and The Miz|
|5||Raw: Melina and Mickie James vs. SmackDown: Natalya and Victoria||Tag team match for 1 announcer-only draft pick||Raw and SmackDown: No winner|
|6||Raw: John Cena vs. SmackDown: Edge||Singles match for 1 draft pick||Raw: John Cena|
|7||SmackDown: Montel Vontavious Porter vs. ECW: Tommy Dreamer||Singles match for 1 draft pick||SmackDown: Montel Vontavious Porter|
|8||Raw: John "Bradshaw" Layfield vs. ECW: Kofi Kingston||Singles match for 1 draft pick||Raw: John "Bradshaw" Layfield|
|9||Raw: John Cena, Triple H, Batista, CM Punk and Kane vs. SmackDown: Big Show, Edge, The Great Khali, MVP and Jeff Hardy vs. ECW: Matt Hardy, John Morrison and The Miz, Chavo Guerrero and Shelton Benjamin||Tri-branded 15-man Battle royal for 2 draft picks||SmackDown: Edge|
|Pick #||Brand (to)|| Employee|
|2||SmackDown||Jeff Hardy||Male wrestler||Raw|
|4||ECW||Matt Hardy||Male wrestler||SmackDown|
|Pick #||Brand (to)|| Employee|
|12||ECW||Mark Henry||Male wrestler||SmackDown|
|15||SmackDown||Big Daddy V|
(Nelson Frazier, Jr.)
(Jimmy Reiher, Jr.)
|17||SmackDown||DH Smith |
|20||Raw||Chuck Palumbo||Male wrestler||SmackDown|
|21||SmackDown||Brian Kendrick||Male wrestler||Raw|
|22||Raw||Matt Striker |
|24||SmackDown||Shelton Benjamin||Male wrestler||ECW|
|28||Raw||Kofi Kingston |
Jim Ross, one of the draftees, was unaware he was to switch brands during the Draft. After the Draft, Ross was on the verge of quitting his job as a commentator for WWE, as he was angry at the fact he was leaving the Raw brand, where he had commentated for over ten years. Ross stated on his official blog that he was about to quit WWE, but he decided to continue to work for the company and make the best of working on SmackDown. After the Draft, the ECW brand was left without a world championship, after the ECW Champion, Kane, was drafted to Raw. As a result of pre-draft stipulations, champions took their championships to their new brand and made them property of that brand. SmackDown, however, lost their secondary championship, after United States Champion, Matt Hardy, was drafted to the ECW brand, in the process making the title ECW property. SmackDown, however, gained another top-tier championship when WWE Champion, Triple H, was drafted to SmackDown, in the process making the title SmackDown exclusive. The result of Triple H being drafted was the loss of the Raw brand's world championship. After the draft, the ECW Championship moved back to ECW when Mark Henry defeated Kane and The Big Show in a Triple Threat match at Night of Champions, leaving Raw without any top-tier championships. On the June 30, 2008 episode of Raw, the Raw brand regained a world championship, after Raw superstar and Money in the Bank contract holder, CM Punk, cashed in his contract and defeated the World Heavyweight Champion, Edge, who was a SmackDown superstar. Lastly, the United States Championship returned to SmackDown after Shelton Benjamin defeated Matt Hardy at The Great American Bash pay-per-view on July 20. Chuck Palumbo was also later released from the WWE prior to his first appearance on Raw after being drafted.
The Draft helped increased the television ratings of Raw, which was one of the main purposes of the Draft. The television rating for the three hours was 3.40 TVR, as it earned 2.78 TVR for the first hour, 3.46 TVR for the second hour, and 3.95 TVR for the final hour. In its regular time slot, the show would have garnered a 3.7 rating. Both ratings were higher than the week's previous rating of a 3.3 TVR.