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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending June 20, 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 (6/16/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (6/19/03)

Erin Anderson
Raw: 4.1
I didn't get to see Bad Blood, and the reports I've gotten make me glad that I didn't go out of my way to see it. I thoroughly enjoyed most of Raw, however. Austin's "BOOORING!" segment with Storm seemed counterproductive, but I'll wait and see if this leads to Lance getting more TV and character rejuvenation before I completely trash it.

Foley going off on Randy Orton to start was fabulous, and letting Randy take over mic duties for Evolution that night was a good idea. There were a couple of really good matches, too; Jericho/Christian v. Goldberg/Booker was easily the best of the night, and even Maven and Randy Orton came off looking good. There wasn't anything special about Kane/RVD v. La Resistance, but that wasn't the point: it set up the final segment with Kane, Triple H, Austin, and Bischoff.

The scenario of Title v. Mask is very compelling, but I know WWE by now. I'm willing to bet that there will either be a screwy ending that doesn't involve either a title change or unmasking, or Kane will lose and join Evolution in order to keep his mask on. There's an outside shot that RVD could turn heel and cost Kane the match, but I'm not holding my breath. If Kane wins, I will literally shit a brick.

Two things I didn't like:
1. Ivory pinning Jazz again. We get it. Give her a title shot.
2. Rico's new persona, or at least the way in which WWE presented it. Are they trying to portray Rico as a heterosexual now? They're failing miserably. Overall, though, a great show.

Smackdown!: 3.2
Some of this was great, but the second hour wasn't nearly on par with the first.

Taker/Nunzio may have been a squash, but it was a fun squash. Seeing Nunzio dive through the ropes when Taker punked him out cracked me up. Benoit/Rhyno, Mysterio/Kanyon and Angle/Haas were quality matches as well, and Kurt got in some hilarious mic work. It looks as if his face run really can work after all, and I'm happy to see him proving some of the smarks who had their doubts wrong.

The matches got worse towards the end of the show, though; Gunn/Noble, Eddie/O'Haire, and Brock/Show were mostly uninspiring. I smell two different six-man tag matchups for next week's show: 1) Taker & the APA v. FBI, and 2) Mr. America, Angle, & Brock v. Team Angle & Big Show. Hey, it could be interesting.

There were a few problems with the show, though:
• What the hell is up with Bradshaw's hair? I didn't even recognize him.
• Too much Brock/Big Show stuff. It's already been run into the ground.
• No Matt Hardy? What the hell?
• Mysterio and Billy Gun have absolutely nothing to do.
• Sable/Zach and Sable/Vince. Need I say more?

Stephanie chewing out her father was pretty cool, but I think that the ridiculous revelations of her father using her as a whore for his business associates were unnecessary. Steph had the pissed-off part of the segment nailed, but the material she was given to work with was awful.

My biggest gripe, however, lies with Benoit v. Rhyno. Why on earth did they waste this match last night? That should have been saved for the next pay-per-view, where those two should have battled it out for the U.S. title. The good stuff was really good, but the bad stuff sucked the big one. Raw gets the nod this week.

Erin's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.6).

Mark Coale
RAW: 3.5
Smackdown!: 3.4

Mark's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.4).

The Cubs Fan
RAW:  3.1
Smackdown!: 3.3

Cubs Fan's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.5).

RAW: 3.7
Last week I wrote about Smackdown! clearly coasting along with no PPV to promote in the near future. On Monday, it was RAW that took over that mode. At least when it does become time to start promoting a PPV, Smackdown! will have a full-card to promote. The next time RAW appears on PPV it will be late August — and they'll be sharing SummerSlam with Smackdown! That means building for two months towards maybe three or four PPV matches. Things could get scary. The flipside of that coin is having time to build characters without being under the gun to promote a particular feud or match. That might be the case with the Kane angle that began last night. I'm all for exploring Kane's untapped potential and think losing the mask will be a necessary step towards that goal. I have no huge complaints about last night's show, except the lack of in-ring action and the Rico garbage. The angles were mostly well-executed. Randy Orton, in particular, has been fantastic the last few weeks and is the RAW brand's only clear new, rising star. If Austin's berating of Lance Storm leads to him getting a new, exciting character [that does NOT mean a "gimmick"] then I'm all for it. But WWE should be careful about encouraging negative reactions toward their product... especially with the RAW brand essentially killing time for the next month.

Smackdown!: 3.5
I liked Smackdown! fine this week, but RAW's good segments were better than Smackdown's and Smackdown's bad segments were worse than
RAW's. I speak mainly of the laughably lame segment where a tearful Stephanie confessed to her father that she turned tricks as a
child. I can't believe I just wrote that line. I want to believe that angles like these, showcasing Vince, Steph, Sable, Hogan, and
others - are ultimately aimed at getting Zach Gowen over, and should therefore be given the benefit of the doubt. But tonight, they
just came off as masturbatory. There have to be better ways to accomplish the same goal. Another big complaint is the complete lack
of hype for Kurt Angle's return match. That's just bad business. The Brock-Big Show feud remains more entertaining than it has any
right to be, and the main event's finish with the Mr. America run-in was plain old, camp fun.

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

Matt Hocking
RAW: 4.0
JR:  HHH... do we... have to do this?
JL:  Yeah. I hate rating our own show.
HHH:  Shut up, and bring out your guest.
JR:  Stand back, folks. There's a Hurricane coming through!
HC:  This sucks. Last week, I was fighting Randy Orton and going toward the main event. Now, I'm not even on the show. Whatspwitdat?
HHH:  I hate you.
HC:  I mean, Maven runs out to save Foley? MAVEN? Frickin' MAVEN???! I just wrestled Randy LAST week.
HHH:  Shut up and rate RAW, Hurri-bitch.
HC:  Geez, I don’t know... -28? I'm gonna go see the "Hulk." Screw all y'all.
JL:  I was going to talk about puppies here, but Mae Young just kills my buzz. 2.
JR:  Kane! Kane! The Big Red Machine, BY GAWD! 4.0.
HHH:  Hahahaha! I've got you guys right where I want you!

Smackdown!: 3.6
MC:  Oh Man! Tazz. Smackdown was awesome this week!
TZ:  Did you notice that we had a no-contest in both this and last week's main event?
MC:  No.
TZ:  Or that Mr. America has nothing to do with any of these guys?
MC:  I did not, Tazz. Here's our guest for the week, Zach Gowen, one-legged guy.
ZG:  Ick. Sable just tried to grab my junk.
TZ:  You cannot act, can you?
ZG:  I have one leg, Tazz. That's all the acting I need.
MC:  This is great! Smackdown scores a 5!
ZG:  I dunno, Michael. There's nothing going on. Piper and O'Haire are with Tajiri and Eddie all the sudden, I'm not involved. Stephanie is a whore. What's going on? 3.0.
TZ:  You guys suck. 3.6.

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

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 4.2
Even though Bad Blood disappointed me a bit, I was ready and excited to see what Raw would do with possible new storylines and continued guest appearances. As ever, I was pleased to see Foley, but I could have done without seeing Flair, Orton and Triple H repeatedly run into his unmoving fist. Foley's promo on Orton was gold: the only thing he left out was the fact that Orton is the embodiment of nepotism, combined with a dropkick and a strangely smooshed-looking face. Great to see Al and Maven again, too.

The "boring" thing: I say, good. Storm had no crowd interest at all before this, and he wasn't likely to get any. Even if people are pissing on him, they'll at least be paying attention. And I see chanting as good in and of itself. A crowd that starts out the night with rousing chants is likely to stay hot for the whole show. Once you get the ball of audience involvement rolling, it's hard to stop. If Raw starts opening shows with Storm, they may find themselves having lots of hot shows. Plus, Storm has enough of a cool-looking moveset that I think he can break out of "boring" confines and start to wow people. As soon as he shuts up the audience with one spot, people are going to start taking him very seriously.

If you're not at least pretty interested in the Kane angle, you've got Internet Wrestling Disease. This was the first show in a long time to which "Needs more Kane" did not apply.

The only downsides I saw were a sort of uneventful match with Rico and Spike. Steiner should at least have chased Test for beating up on the old ladies. And, speaking of them, why are Moolah and Mae still there? Jackie Gayda may have had a makeover, but she still looks like a woman I wouldn't cross a bar to say hello to, even if she bought me a drink. And, finally, if RVD has "acting chops," then they must be walking, talking claymation hunks of pork with a good filmography, because the man is simply abhorrent in backstage segments. Mmmm... Acting Chops....

Smackdown!: 2.5
The only things keeping this show from scraping the bottom of the barrel were Angle, Benoit v. Rhyno and Lesnar v. Show. I was excited to see what they would do with Lesnar v. Show, but I must admit that the stretching out of this angle is wearing on me. Then again, last week was going to be hard to top no matter what, so I think my slight negative reaction to the screwy finish was more based on unreasonable expectations.

Sable gets the official Laconic Generation X "Whatever" of the Week award from me. I imagine there are many people who still find her tremendously sexy, but my interest in her is pretty limited. Plus, I felt bad for Zach having to touch her chest — mainly because all the klieg lights in the world can't possibly make those saline hunks warm to the touch. There's something eminently disturbing about touching bits of human flesh that have the temperature and consistency of a slab of refrigerated Tri-Tip. That, and poor Zach looked like a total putz for that entire segment.

Also, I can't muster much sympathy for the billion-dollar princess resenting being treated like a whore. For one thing, she voluntarily acts like one whenever it suits her. For another thing, if nepotism didn't get her where she is today, whoring is about the only thing that could have: certainly not her dazzling emotive skills or her deft and subtle booking. Waah, waah, waah. Stop wasting my time when you could spend five minutes more per show further destroying Benoit's main-event credibility.

Other notes: The Load? Ugh. Cripes. Bradshaw and Ron Simmons rescuing the Undertaker? Are they reforming The Acolytes? Why do that when having the APA beat up some Frenchies on Raw will be infinitely more fun? And, by "infinitely," I mean, "for two or three weeks" — which is about one week more entertainment shelf-life these guys will have on Smackdown!

Jeb's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.4), SD! (3.4).

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth 
(OO's resident professional wrestler)

RAW: 3.1
There was some excellent storytelling again for this show, lots of Foley, and a taste of Ivory. But the Cade-Storm "boring" thing — I agree with Rick's assessment. It might help Storm in the long run, but it didn't help the matches right after that with the new talent. Lots of eyeballs moving over to "Australian Rules Parcheesi" on Fox Sports Worlds in the middle of the show. Big finish helps boost the final tally.

Smackdown!: 3.8
Booyaka! Best show in a long time, dragged down only by the backstage stuff. What's next? "WWE Presents Meatballs 7"? Big ups for Gail Kim.

Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.5).

Kyle Maxwell
Raw: 3.5
Remember when Smackdown! was so much better than Raw that even the wrestlers thought that being sent to Raw was a demotion? Not anymore — Raw is the happenin' place to be. This installment of Raw did all the things we keep saying we wished the WWE would do — it featured younger wrestlers, it was action-packed, and all the angles made sense.  Forget the "Austin buried Lance" nonsense — Lance was already buried.  Anything that brings him back into the spotlight is a good thing. Mick Foley's return, however brief, is always enjoyable. Just a fine, fine show all the way around.
Smackdown!: 2.0
Okay, I have to admit that I friggin' HATE Bradshaw. Any show that features him and Billy Gunn gets an automatic "2," even if it also featured Owen Hart and Andre the Giant in a "Zombie Chainsaw Battle Royale."  There's also no reason at all for Benoit to be buried the way they've buried him recently. It's sad and pathetic. Bringing back the TV title just so he can have Gold around his waist is an even bigger humiliation — it basically puts him in the same league as Christian over on Raw. I love Christian, but geeze — this is Chris Benoit we're talking about here. Mysterio v. Kanyon made no sense at all. Where exactly is this "crusierweight" division that the WWE keeps talking about? The Zack Gowan stuff is just embarrassing — Zack has about as much chance of winning his dignity back as Trish Stratus did after the "bark like a dog" segments she endured. 

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

Big Danny T
RAW: Starting from a 2.5 middle, we add or subtract for each segment.
Foley out first! That's good for a +.1
Randy Orton Showing us he has the goods on the mic = +.1
Mick putting Randy in his place = +.1
Mick getting physical with Evo = +.1
Al Snow and Maven on my TV again = +.1 Hey, I like them, shaddup!
Mae Young and Moolah on my TV again = -.1 Argh!
3-Person mixed Tag w/Ivory getting the pin = +.1 Entertaining, nothing too offensive.
Friction between Kane and RVD = +.1
Stone Cold messing with Lance Storm's match, causing him to lose to Garrison Cade = +.1 Hopefully this will lead to a character reinvention with Lance.
The Vitamin Cs v. Booker T/Goldberg = +.2 really good match
Rehashing Mae and Eric's antics from last night = -.3 Note to WWE: you are NOT to show thonged 80-year-old ass on National TV!
Test Beating up on Mae = Even. Yeah, Test looked like a dick, but find more than 3 consecutive people who actually care.
"It's Raining Rico!" = Even. THIS is the "New" Rico?
Spike v. Rico = Even. Crowd popped mildly for Spike, no reaction when Rico won. Match was no great shakes either. Jackie is hot, tho.
Randy Orton v. Maven = +.1 good solid match, and Mick and Ric added a bit to it.
La Resistance v. RVD/Kane for the titles = +.1 Decent match.
Kane going apeshit to finish = +.1 It's about time.

Final tally: 3.4

Nothing that really JUMPED out at you, nothing overly offensive, nice steady show that worked well.

As for my Smackdown ratings, you, oh gentle OO reader, can read my Smackdown recap and figure out from there where I got my final rating of 3.6.

Danny's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.7), SD! (3.8).

Rick Scaia

RAW: 3.8
RAW continued strong this week with a show that made very good use of all the established names, and which also saw guys like Kane, Test, and Maven elevated into new, more prominent roles.  The entertainment value was maybe down a notch or two from the week before, but that's probably just because you can only have Mick Foley making a surprise return once.  They also brought the amount of actual wrestling up a smidge, which sits well with me.

SmackDown!: 3.9
If you take away every single nanosecond of silly garbage that took place in the faux Steph's office, SD! had as strong a week as they've ever had.  Angle's return to action was impressive and came following an equally strong promo segment (in which Charlie Haas also shined on the stick).  Benoit/Rhyno was a stiff-as-hell exhibition that deserved better than the idiot Spurs fans gave it.  Nunzio was outstanding against Taker (the sign of the cross followed by the Italian salute from his seat in the Last Ride was a genuine shooting-beer-out-my-nose-funny moment).  Rey/Kanyon and Eddie/O'Haire were both good TV matches, too.  The closing match and angle that set up Angle/America/Lesnar vs. Show/Haas/Benjamin also scratched me where I itch.  Of course, all that said, the Sable/Zach material was yet another massive mishandling of Gowen (you do not book newcomers into situations where they look like dorks), and as far as the Steph/Vince promo goes, well, for as much intensity as she put into it, the fact is, Steph was selling a lame bill of goods (if I wanted comically dysfunctional family soap opera, I'd watch Springer).  SD! loses a few ticks for all that stuff, but at the end of the week, still just barely edges RAW in my book. 

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


RAW average: 3.6 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.5 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

Smackdown! average: 3.3
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.2
SD! OVERdelivers versus final rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.5
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.3
RAW is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.6
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.3
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 2
Rounds Won by SD!: 1
Current Streak: 2 by RAW (Since 6/13/03)
Longest Streak: 2 by RAW (Since 6/13/03)

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SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
RAW RECAP: The Show Must Go On
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Boot Gets the Boot
RAW RECAP: Heyman Lands an Expansion Franchise
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Losing is the new Winning
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
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RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
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RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
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PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
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PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
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RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
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RAW RECAP: Brock's a Jerk
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Back with a Bang
RAW RECAP: Yes! Yes! Yes!
PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28




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