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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending June 13, 2003

Featuring Many Current and Past OO Columnists
Ratings Compiled by Jeb Lund


OOficial Brand of the Week:

Rather than go with a tried-and-true 1-10 scale, we thought we'd mix things up a bit. Each show is evaluated on a scale of 0.0-5.0. Instead of just random numbers, those numbers reflect what sort of Nielsen rating we think the show deserves. Granted, we're operating on the assumption that 5.0 is about the best the WWE can hope for right now. But if someone goes for a 5.0, then that means it's time to celebrate at Titan. If someone picks 2.2, it's time to celebrate if you're putting on a Nitro in April 2000.

RAW (6/9/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (6/12/03)

Erin Anderson
RAW: 3.5

Three words: FOLEY! FOLEY! FOLEY!

I marked out for Mick's return, and found the end of the show to be absolutely brilliant: Mick can still count to three after taking a shitload of punishment. Scared now, Hunter? I'd love to see the title taken off of Triple H, although that means we'll have Nash as our champion. The Mick/Triple H interaction should make the HIAC matchup well worth watching, and the show did a terrific job of actually building up interest in a match that should culminate what has so far been a lackluster feud.

Flair and HBK looks like it's going to steal the show at Badd Blood, and it was nice to see those two getting a little physical before their match on Sunday. The Spinaroonie contest seemed a bit weak, but some great physical comedy by Christian saved it. Steiner v. Test won't be memorable at all, and the only thing keeping me interested in it is the fate of Stacy. At least these guys have a solid backstory to support their match.

The ladies had another nice effort, and I get the feeling that we'll see Ivory v. Jazz thrown onto the Badd Blood card. Maybe it will be a chance to debut Gail Kim, but I'd rather see her vignettes for another few weeks to create a buzz before she shows up in person. I hated the prelude to the Redneck Triathalon, though; what originally sounded like something that could be funny has already degenerated into a segment that looks to be enormously stupid. Pie-eating (pumpkin or otherwise) never struck me as a decidedly "redneck" activity in the first place.

I liked Jericho getting in one last shot on Goldberg, but his constant ability to elude Goldberg's attacks can only mean one thing: that Jericho will be destroyed on Sunday. I'm interested to see how long their match will run. It wouldn't shock me if it's turned into a 3-minute squash. Overall, though, it looked like a good effort to set up Badd Blood, and I'm looking forward to seeing it on Sunday. And did I mention FOLEY?

Smackdown!: 4.2
Even with Foley on Raw, I have to give the edge to Smackdown! this week. I can do without the Mr. America/Zach/Vince and Stephanie/Sable stuff, but the rest was fantastic. Matt and Rey put on another great match, and I was again thrilled to see psychology used effectively in a cruiserweight match. I was hoping that Matt would move on to non-cruiserweight feuds, but after tonight, I'd like to see his interaction with Mysterio to continue until the next pay-per-view.

The Benoit/Rhyno tension should set up a fantastic series of matches for these two. It has a nice set-up, and I almost always enjoy feuds between wrestlers who were formerly friends (except Nash/Triple H). If John Cena continues what he started last night, he'll be a face by the end of the month. You could see the crowd latching on to everything he said, and him ripping on Michael Cole was priceless. I get the feeling that Cole annoys the casual fans as well as the smarks. The match was short, but it didn't matter: Cena got himself over even more with the crowd than he already is. Eddie's interaction with Piper and O'Haire did the same for him — he kept his happy-go-lucky character intact while showing that he won't hesitate to whup some ass.

I'm happy to see that Kurt Angle is making his babyface character work; him kicking imaginary dust at Team Angle was the funniest thing I can remember seeing in a long time, and the mic work by all three men in that segment was spot-on. I smell a handicap match in the works: Kurt v. Team Angle. The finish to Brock/Big Show was an incredibly memorable way to end the show... people will be talking about that for months. They've already had a stretcher match, and Brock's F-5 on Show isn't as impressive now that we've seen it several times, so I didn't think that the match would in any way be fun to watch. I was wrong. The match itself was great, and the ending put a big fat "Holy Shit!" stamp on an overall outstanding show.

Erin's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (3.9).

The Cubs Fan
RAW:  3.2
Smackdown!: 3.5

Cubs Fan's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.6).

RAW: 3.8
I'm as skeptical as the next person about split-brand pay per views' chances of success, but one thing is for certain: it has made for more focused, logical and relevant television in the last several weeks. With more than just three or four PPV matches dedicated to the RAW brand, every segment last night had meaning and built toward Bad Blood. Most everything clicked for me last night and I felt did a good job of hyping Sunday's show... with a few exceptions. The final week of hype for Goldberg v. Jericho should have included  more than just a chairshot by Y2J. As for Kevin Nash, WWE is only hurting itself by showing so little
confidence in the man headlining their PPV. Everyone agrees that he has no business being in a main event, but now that you've put him in one, get behind him and try to sell the show. Hand him a well-scripted promo that he can't screw up, air a video package highlighting Nash's career, talk about his lengthy WWE title run and let him do a spot that shows off his power — something more than his clumsy-looking jackknife. Foley was fantastic last night and has seemingly not missed a beat since leaving WWE a couple of years ago, but the bottom line is it's not HHH v. Foley. Sadly, it's HHH- v. Nash, so make the best of it. Lastly, teasing a cunnilingus contest is about as juvenile as it gets. I think it's safe to expect a bait and switch.

Smackdown: 3.0
For the first time since WWE went into split-PPV mode, Smackdown! showed the signs of a television show with nothing really to do for a few weeks but tread water until it's their turn to promote a PPV. Segments like John Cena v. Funaki, Piper's Pit and the Billy Gunn return seemed pointless and just attempts to fill time. That is not to say those segments were all that bad. As a matter of fact, this week's Piper's Pit — with the goofy bantering back and forth and the babyfaces laying out Piper in the end — probably had more of the flavor of the original, classic Pits than any since the segment returned. The arm wrestling segment was much too long and filled with too many logistical holes. Why would jacked-up Vince possibly need to cheat to beat scrawny Gowen? Zach's Disney-character overacting didn't help the segment any. The Team Angle segment was fine, and necessary to break up the faction — but not particularly enthralling. I have all the faith in the world that Angle could be a terrific, company-carrying babyface, but not as long as he continues the goofball comedy schtick. He needs to quit smiling and joking around and start cutting some badass, serious promos. The Brock-Big Show match was all about the one bump — and what a bump it was! Just a spectacular visual that made the live crowd go absolutely nuts. The non-finish was a little anti-climactic, but that's only a minor complaint. It's clichéd, but I would have rather an exhausted Brock drape an arm over Show for the pin. Best match of the night was the cruiserweight opener, but at just five minutes, it wasn't good enough to save this show. RAW gets the nod this week.

Fonzo's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.8), SD! (3.6).

Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.9
JR:  Well, folks, it's time once again for us to rate RAW.
HHH:  Hehehehe, yes. Yes, it is.
JL:  Well, this week, we welcome WWE Superstar Chris Jericho....
CJ:  I'm not doing it.
JR:  Why not?
CJ:  Because, I'm not letting Hunter get over on me like this.
JL:  Well, I loved it. Mick Foley is back! OMG! Mick Foley! 5!!
JR:  Did you just say "OMG", King?
JL:  Uh... no... that was a typo.
JR:  Oh. Well, I thought it was good to see Mick back too, though I would have liked to have seen more Kevin Nash, given that he's the one main eventing on Sunday
HHH:  You would like that, wouldn't you J.R.?
JR:  Yes... uh... no? What am I supposed to say?
HHH:  Just give your rating, assclown.
JR:  3.9... sir.
CJ:  Did you just say assclown? Dammit.... That's MY Word!! Oh, hell.  Couldn't they have played some of my old videos from me mocking Goldberg? It would have rocked the casbah! As it is, I'd say 1.0.
HHH:  Hahaha... I'll NEVER let you get over. I am the Game-uh!
KN:  This week needed more Natalie Portman.

Smackdown: 3.6
MC:  Tazz, everybody loves Smackdown!
TZ:  Yeah, we sure did win last week. We're the greatest!
MC:  Uh... Joey Numbers couldn't make it, so here's Big Show.
BS:  Grrrr... Big Show fall over this week. Ow!
MC:  Indeed you did! Too bad that was the only good part about Smackdown this week!
TZ:  Asses! Week-old matches! Arm wrestling! Linda Miles! Throwaway announcements of major titles! Team Angle's promos! What more could you want?
BS:  I made boom.
MC:  How about a better show, Tazz?
BS:  Show?
TZ:  You're right, Shoelace. I wish we could do something other than wrestle.
MC:  Writing stories is hard work for our head writer, Big Show.
BS:  Guys wrestle now!
MC:  I'll give this week's show 4.5.
TZ:  What the hell are you talking about? More like 3.6.
BS:  Uhh... 8?

Matt's year-to-date averages: RAW (4.0), SD! (4.0).

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 4.1
Two things give RAW a rating this big: pre-pay-per-view hype, and Foley. On the down side, there were plenty of silly things worthy of smarky debate. Why a Spineroonie contest before a pay-per-view? Why could Goldberg not sell even the tiniest bit of pain from Jericho's chairshot and, I don't know, make it look like this weekend will be a contest? Why did Nash no-show for most of the night? And what water-brained maniac actually thought that people were going to leap out of their seats and scream, "Yesssss! Thank you, Jesus! Bloated Eric Bischoff and crazy Stone Cold are going to fight each other to the death by performing oral sex on women!" Yet, aside from that, Mrs. Foley's Baby Boy was enough reason to keep me glued to the television from moment one. I patiently waited through the speculation, getting gradually more into it as Austin dropped hints like, "Have a nice day." When I saw Foley, I just had a great time. And he sold this pay-per-view's main event. I'm sorry, the man got the HIAC match over with his comments and his actions. But even two hours of Foley-teasing followed by Foley-delivery are not going to overcome a middle portion that's at best lukewarm in its delivery.

Smackdown: 3.9
Smackdown suffered the same sort of problem that RAW did this week: a pretty good show was bracketed by some cool stuff, lifting it above the rest, but not making it excellent. Piper's Pit was amusing. Undertaker seems to be stronger than three whole wrestlers. (I can't wait for Nathan Jones to get back and rescue him from having to spend an extra thirty seconds destroying three people!) The US Title was reintroduced in a very plodding and unspectacular fashion. The Load, Billy Gunn, was interesting to see again, but not so much so that I forgot what it was like to see him the last time. The arm-wrestling contest went on for too damn long, and I think it was criminally rude to include flashing in it, if they didn't share with the rest of the audience. Cena squashing Funaki was all kinds of pointless. Finally, the split-up of Benoit and Rhyno seems contrived, forced and unnecessary. Neither of these guys is a particularly great actor. As such, I never cared about their friendship before. Now it's being dissolved. And? Let them go their separate ways, already.

But, of course, the show was bracketed by two cool things. It was a shame that Matt v. Rey only got five minutes, but they did a great job with those five minutes. Their spots were crisp and fun to see (save the very end, which was a bit off), and Rey once again used psychology in a cruiser match. (I hope this disease spreads.) And who can — and who will — forget the end of Lesnar v. Show? My guess, no one. It's almost a shame that such a unique and memorable ending got tacked on to this match, because I felt it may well have been their best together. Lesnar really does bring out Show's best talents, and Show gives Lesnar a type of opponent he just can't find anywhere else. I honestly thought the match was fascinating before the end, so if anything, the end almost disappointed me for a second. Then the little kid in me told my brain to shut up. Great stuff. Sadly, not enough to make the rest of the show any better, though.

Jeb's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.9).

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth
OO's resident professional wreslter.
RAW: 3.3
Q1: [quarter-hour one] Austin says "Have a nice day," elicits pop. Goldberg manhandles Rosey — good booking, not the smoothest match in the world. Rating: 3.1.
Q2: Replay of Austin challenging Kane. Good. RVD v. Rene Dupree (formerly of Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling). Yes, the way the crowd reacted to Serena at the French Open was abominable. So is cheap anti-French heat. Redneck triathlon. M'eh. Freddy Blassie tribute — spot on. Rating: 3.2, mostly for the Fashion Plate.
Q3: I'll hit you with my Kane! Then I'll haterize on you. Jericho bails on Christian and his peeps. Rating: 3.2. Immo appreciates women's wrestling.
Q4: Steiner, Test, Stacy, Storm, Nightcrawler... wait, I'm drifting off. Hey, it's Mick! BROBDINGNAGIAN POPS OF DOOM! Rating: 3.5.
Q5: Still popping. Rating: 3.6.
Q6: I'll hit you with my 'Cane! And then I'll do the Peeperoonie. Excellent booking there. Rating: 3.5
Q7: Quit meddlin' in my affairs, Peanuthead. Terri: outstanding. Goldberg no-sells a chairshot — sure, why not. Rating: 2.9.
Q8 and overrun: Foley might be afraid? Oh, come ON. And now he's getting his ass kicked. Sheesh. Kudos to Mick for doing the right thing for the business. Even if it makes my stomach turn as a longtime Foleymaniac. Rating: 3.2.

Smackdown!: 3.1
Q1: A dose of Mattitude. And I'm down with the Rey. Rating: 3.5
Q2: Piper's Pit, Los Tajiros. Hey, I'd hand over my belt for some sushi right now. If I had a belt — the Mainstream Wrestling title continues to eldue me. Rating: 3.4
Q3: Sable's got mad dactyl skillz. U.S. Title?! Puh-leeze. You've already got a second singles belt. What, you need a third to balance off with the Women's title? Torrie is hot. Where's the big "blow-off" for the Sable-Torrie feud? So to speak. Return of The Ass. Rating: 2.4
Q4: Brock's here. Undie kills Johnny. Sable reveals herself. It's the greatest arm wrestling match since Davey Boy v. The Warlord. As if Zach could really beat Vince. Rating: 2.6
Q5: Shaneequa? Is that how they teased Shane when he was a kid? At least they're using Ms. Miles. The money line on Benoit for the U.S. Title is -270. Rating: 3.2
Q6: Cena squashes Funaki. Sosme consistency for both guys would be nice. Angle's here. Rating: 2.8, plus an extra 0.1 for Funaki quoting Fishbone.
Q7: Angle punks out Team Angle. M'eh. Rating: 2.9
Q8: Brock superplexes TBS through the canvas. Now THAT's the way to end a show. Rating: 3.7

In theory, the big finish makes SD! the better show ths week. In TV Land, it doesn't make up for the remotes flipping mid-show to "This Week in Bavarian Yodelling" on Fox Sports World. I live in TV Land.

Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (3.1).

Kyle Maxwell
RAW: 3.5
The return of Foley kicked this show up a notch, and his interaction with Trips kicked it up about ten more notches. The "Pie eating contest" evened things out by removing seven and a half notches, leaving us with 3.5. Is there anyone on the planet that thinks promising oral sex with Bischoff and Stone Cold as the primary participants is a good idea? While I have no doubt they'll whip out deus ex Mae Young as their all-purpose "bad ending to a worse skit," the fact remains that the basic premise is just plain stupid.
Now let's talk Kevin Nash: boy, they dropped HIS push faster than you can say "Scott Steiner." I'd feel bad for him if I actually cared one way or the other. Bottom line: The dumbass "pie" angle aside, they've done a LOT to make me want to buy the PPV.
Smackdown: 3.0
I initially gave SD a 5.0 again, and then I realized that even Kurt Angle can only do so much. Piper's Pit just looks SO lame, and I have no clue what Tajiri is doing with Eddy. I have zero interest in Lesnar vs Big Show part 9, and frankly, I was a bit disappointed with Matt Hard/Rey Rey.  Aren't there enough actual cruiserweights in the cruiserweight division?  Why have it dominated by two guys who are, respectively, too big and too small to be cruiserweights? The return of the US title is kinda weak.  It's not nearly as cool as the I.C. belt, and SD already HAD a Primary and Secondary title. Now they have three, which is going to eventually turn the Cruiserweight belt into even more of a joke than it already is.
Smarkie grousing aside though, this SD was better than average.  Let's hope this level of quality BECOMES the average.

Kyle's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (4.0).

Big Danny T
Ok, here is how I do things here. Each show starts off with a medium score of 2.5, and as things go along, I add or subtract tenths of a point based on how much I enjoyed the segment/match/whatever. I can't go higher than 5, so if points add up to higher than 5, they will be discarded.
RAW: 3.9
Cool interplay between Stone Cold and HHH to kick us off = +.1. Goldberg starting things off by squashing Rosie = even. Goldberg builds up the "mystique," but it's against someone whom he's already established dominance. RVD Pinning Rene = +.1. Ok, now we know he can at least beat LR. RVD beat down afterwards = +.1 and the tag belts look to be in doubt with Kane nowhere in sight. Redneck Triathlon wheel randomizer = -.2 for retardedness. Fred Blassie Tribute = +.5 for sheer greatness.
RVD being pissed at Kane = Even. It sows the dissension between the two, but come on, this is reinvention #2938437 of Kane.

Ivory/Trish vs. Victoria/Jazz = Even. Decent action, and I love seeing Ivory on top, but PLEASE never let Jazz talk again! Christian challenging Booker T to a spineroonie contest = -.1. Come on, they couldn't have done anything better with these guys? Letting us know what happened at Insurrexion = even. yeah, it's a PPV in England, but come on, why not just tell us what happened at House Shows as well? The results there have about as much pertinence to reality. Steiner squashing Lance Storm = -.1 because it's Dudzilla. Test and Stacy’s "acting" afterwards = -.4 "I'm gonna make you my whore! *funnyface*" Need I say more?

The Return of Foley = +1.0!! Mick can make up for a lot of bad on his own, even with HHH getting in the mix. Randy Orton v. Hurricane = +.1. Nice innocuous match, nothing offensive here. Flair and HBK's shenanigans afterwards = +.1, nice way to keep up the heat for their match Sunday.
Spike casting doubt on Mick's decision to ref HIAC = -.1. Spike, of all people, should have been behind Mick, and his part was just poorly acted. The actual Spinerroonie contest = -.1. Again, they couldn't have thought of anything better to do with these guys? Another -.1 for the Kingerronie. Christian getting the cheap shot afterwards = +.1. some small salve on the brutalnosity of the previous segment.

D-Von Dudley vs. Rodney Mack = -.1 Way to go absolutely nowhere with the team that was so pivotal in your tag division 2 months ago, guys.
Jericho getting the last shot in before Badd Blood (Chairshot in interview segment) = +.1. Finding out during the Badd Blood preview that the Dudz are taking on Chris Nowinski and Rodney Mack at the PPV = -.1 Too little too late, guys. Stone Cold calling Mick for a gut check = +.1 Main event interview: I hate that they use these, so -.1. Mick saying yes = +.1 come on, we knew he'd do it! Mick Foley going Cactus Jack on HHH = +.3. Kevin Nash FINALLY sauntering to the ring = -.1. Where were you earlier in the show, giving Mick a show of support or something? Or maybe, just maybe advancing your feud? You did remember that you have a match on Sunday, right?

Intangibles (Pre-PPV feel, relevance of storylines, overall idiocy/genius of the show) = +.2. So, adding up all that, and it looks like Raw comes in at a respectable 3.9.
Smackdown!: 4.0 
Rey Rey kicking us off with a title defense and looking good = +.2. Match was a little on the short side, though. Matt facts: Matt is too handsome to wear a mask like Rey = +.1. those are always good for a laugh. Piper's Pit = +.2. Looks like Los Tajiros have new challengers, and segment was funny and cool. Oh yeah, and gotta love the Big Green Lowrider! Sable and Steph = -.1. I'm sorry, but we're already seeing this on Raw. I know they aren't equals and all, but it's the same dynamic, and Raw is doing it better.

Bringing back the U.S. title = +.1. it was going to happen sooner or later, I'm personally glad it's sooner. Torrie Wilson at the Guest Ring announcer = Even. Her hotness is canceled out by her lame delivery. Return of Billy Gunn = +.1. Ok, I confess, he's a guilty pleasure. Billy Gunn vs. the Hairy Stomach... err.. A-Train = Even. Too short to be offensive, but isn't A-Train supposed to be one of those unstoppable monsters or something?
Undertaker vs. Johnny Stamboli = Even. Undertaker looked unstoppable enough, but he's just futzing around with FBI now. I'm not exactly sure who is supposed to be elevated in this feud.

Vince McMahon vs. Zack Gowan Arm Wrestling contest = +.1. It turned out as expected, and wasn't too over the top. I really wanted Zack to dropkick Vince at the end, though. Big Show bullying Zack afterwards = +.1. Drove home the emotion of Zack's dreams. Benoit/Rhyno vs. The Basham Brothers (with Linda "Shaniqua" Miles) = +.1 Holy shit! What happened to Linda? Good match, with Danny (or was it Doug?) showing Billy Gunn how to REALLY do a famasser! Also Rhyno decked Benoit again and they blew up at each other. Now, who turns heel? My money's on Benoit. Cena vs. Funaki = Even. Cena's rap was funny, Funaki's retort was as well, but Funaki should have been allowed to kick Cena's ass for at least a couple minutes.

Kurt Angle fires Team Angle +.2 Kurt manages to keep his face heat, and Shelton and Charlie break out on their own. Win-win here. Big Show vs. Brock for the Championship = +.3. Holy Shit! I was ready to say that this was the best Brock/Big Show match of their 3, and that was before the Superplex of DOOOM! Too bad the match ended in a non-finish, or it would have gotten an extra point or two. Intangibles = +.1 this show is definitely the sum of it's parts.
And adding that show up, Looks like Smackdown barely edges out Raw with a 4.0! Raw had a couple big boosts, but had a lot of negative to detract them. Smackdown kept the good at a nice, slow and steady pace that built up to the crescendo that was the ring getting destroyed. The winner by a nose: Smackdown!

Danny's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.9), SD! (4.0).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 4.3
Any show that pulls off the trick of turning HHH vs. Kevin Nash into a must-see PPV match is doing something awfully right.  RAW continues to be light on bell-to-bell wrestling time, but that's only a mild annoyance when you've got Mick Foley cutting Grade A caliber promos, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair having bloody brawls, and, in general, one of the most effective final shows before a PPV in recent memory.  Every PPV match was effectively hyped, and almost all of them seem like they'll be plenty of fun.  Test and Steiner, when I said "almost," I was looking at you.

SmackDown!: 4.0
SD!'s also getting away from the wrestling-centric focus that made it the decidedly better show in late 2002.  And unfortunately, when they go for the entertainment value, they're stuck relying on blustery, over-long Vince McMahon skits, which sort of grate on me after a while.  This week was no different, as the whole arm wrestling thing seemed hokey and silly (Sable's tits notwithstanding).  Still, there was plenty of good, too, including the pleasantly surprising Taker/Stamboli match, the good-as-you'd-expect Rey/Matt rematch, some more pretty funny shit from John Cena (who seemed to be the babyface whether he liked it or not), and of course, the jaw-dropping visual of the Show/Lesnar superplex/ring collapse.  Not quite as tight, all around, as RAW, but still a very fun show. 

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (4.1), SD! (4.1).


RAW average: 3.8 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

Smackdown! average: 3.6
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.7
SD! UNDERdelivers versus final rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.5
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.2
RAW is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.8
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.4
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 1
Rounds Won by SD!: 1
Current Streak: 1 by RAW (Since 6/13/03)
Longest Streak: (tie) 1 by SmackDown, 1 by RAW 

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