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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending July 4, 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 (6/30/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (7/03/03)

Mark Coale
RAW: 3.7.
I really can't even remember much of what happened. Oh yeah, Kane chokeslammed Easy E off the stage. Eh. Well, a point or two for Gail Kim. Why not?

Smackdown!: 4.2.
Mostly for the tag match and Eddy's superior RUDO~! turn. Yeah, the moonsault was cool, but watching Zach wrestle disrupted the suspension of disbelief for me. Plus, I was expecting Stephanie to win the match with the Pedigree.

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

RAW: 3.2
RAW was nothing special this week. WWE hoped the main event angle with Kane would be enough to make up for an otherwise lackluster show, and it sure wasn't. WWE can't keep trying to build suspense for seeing Kane's face. We've seen it now. We've seen it a million times. Enough already. On that note, I think it was a horrible move to make Kane shave his head and facial hair. Yes, he looks ugly, but in a dorky kind of way, not in a cool way. They should have let him keep his hair long and keep the beard. Who cares if some people would recognize him as the Fake Diesel? How many fans were actually watching back then anyway? The Gail Kim debut and title victory seemed liked a rush job and a wasted opportunity to really get her over before giving her the belt. Test's beat down of Stacy was over the top and will do more to turn off sponsors than it will to turn on fans. Steve Austin was sorely, sorely missed.

Smackdown!: 3.5
A nice little show capped off with a pretty memorable main event. I worry that the novelty that is Gowen will wear off sooner than later, but there's nothing wrong with milking him for all he's worth. I'm all for the Billy Gunn push. He's been around longer than almost anyone but the Undertaker. He deserves the vote of confidence. That said, he's going to have to prove he's ready to carry the ball. The Guerrero-Tajiri break up was well handled and the interaction between Brock and Angle was fun. My major complaint this week, as it has been for the last several, was the Vince McMahon overkill. Vince took about 20 minutes to accomplish what he could have in five. There's no excuse for that, especially when that TV time could have been used so much better in so many places. The Hogan departure was handled as well as possible, under the circumstances, but, again, could have been done so in half the time.

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

Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.0
J.R.: J.R. here with the King, and this week RAW sucked.
JL:  Yup, no getting around it. Other than the main event, there was nothing going on.
HHH:  Uh... guys. We're on.
J.R.:  I know. Without Stone Man! Stone Man!! STONE MAN!!! I hated RAW.
JL:  And on that note, here's our guest: Mick Foley.
MF:  Why am I here anyway? I wasn't on this week.
J.R.:  Exactly. What did you think of RAW?
MF:  I dunno. The pacing was a bit off, but most of the guys tried and...
J.R.:  WRONG! Sucked sucked sucked.
MF:  J.R., I put up with being thrown off the Hell in a Cell, but I'm not going to put up with it right here on OO!
HHH:  Yay!
JL:  Hmmm... I give RAW a 4.4. I like Stacy.
J.R.:  Ugh... 3.0. It wasn't that bad, I suppose.
MF:  *sigh* What should I say, HHH?
HHH:  I dunno. Five?
MF:  5.0 then. Where's my check? Buy my book!

Smackdown!: 3.2
MC:  What the hell happened to Roddy Piper?
TZ:  He was on last week. He got fired.
MC:  Oh. Right. How about our guest? Hulk Hogan?
HH:  I quit.
HHH:  I guess you get me. Smackdown! sucks. So does Stephanie.  Hehehe.
TZ:  That Zach Gowen is really incredible. But the rest of the show seemed flat to me. Maybe all the McMahons.
MC:  Listen to yourself, Tazz! Traitor! Smackdown! was AWESOME!
TZ:  Where the hell was Ultimo Dragon?
UD:  I was using the little Dragon's room, and I missed my match.
TZ:  Take the damn mask off, Hunter.
UD:  No. It's Dragonriffic.
MC:  5.0! Mick was right! Smackdown! was great!
TZ:  Mick? Oh for Pete's sake. Better than RAW, 3.2.
UD:  Smackdown! this week needed more Dragon! A Dragonpalooza! 2.1.
TZ:  Shut up, Hunter.
UD:  Don't diss the Dragon.

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

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 2.5
How odd is it that I taped this show, watched it on Tuesday — and even with the extra day's proximity I still can't remember more than two matches on the card? This show was barely treading water all night, and only Gail Kim and RVD v. Triple H kept it from drowning. However, having Gail Kim come out of nowhere to a match with lots of other distracting bodies in the ring seems like a waste of her talents and the novelty pops. Also, I simply can't really like RVD matches anymore. His opponents, desperate to stop that unique offense, grab onto a leg and wound it for five straight minutes. RVD's response?—to jump up on that leg and do the same unique offense faster. Honestly, if he doesn't have any respect for the quality of his matches, I don't see why I should, either.

Smackdown!: 3.8
(Overheard on Smackdown: "But, Daddy! I'm not a wrestler"
My thought: Then why did you hold the woman's title for months? Yeah. Don't have an answer for that, do ya?)
This show gets bumped to the 3.8 for two reasons: the Los Tajiro's match, and Zach Gowen's moonsault. I'd watch the whole show again, to see those parts, but I still wouldn't have much good to say about the rest. The Kidman-Mysterio mutual respect thing is incredibly forced. "The Load" Billy Gunn continues his near decade of destruction. (But, on the other hand, he did have a match in which he didn't get blown up within two minutes.) Big Show's creepy sexual monster is a stupid development that will only harm a character just recently repaired. A-Train, the rest, ugh.

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

The Immolator, Calum Macbeth
RAW: 3.0
The whole evening seemed disjointed, as if they covered up for Austin's absence by randomly stretching out the segments they had already arranged. Hmm. I mark for Gail Kim, but getting the belt handed to her like that without giving her a chance to show what she can do isn't going the help her much. Especially with whatever is going on with Jazz, and the boo-birds coming out when Trish got eliminated. Great finish with RVD-HHH and Kane, though. That'll factor into next week's rating, just as last week's finish adds an extra point or two to my rating for this week. Remember, Immo lives in TV Land.

Smackdown!: 3.7
I was wrestling Canadian Unified Junior Heavyweight Champion "JDL" Scott Savage last night in Dartmouth. Thankfully, the main event on Smackdown! wasn't on the tube until just after our match, because the whole place marked out for Zach Gowan's moonsault. As did I. It was Weird TV, though. All it needed was Shadoe Stevens and some clips from the Burning Man festival. Los Tajiros, we hardly knew ye. I mark for Shaniqua's abs. That's about it. A nice, tight wrestling show for the most part. During Vince's schpiel, I would've normally flipped over to "The X-Treme Fishin' Musician" on the Outdoor Wilderness Network for Men, but I wanted to hear his explanation for Hogan's absence. That saves a few ratings points.

The Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (3.5).

Kyle Maxwell
RAW: 3.0
The theme of this show was, "It didn't suck as much as it could have."  Kane's "unmasked" persona really has the potential to suck, but so far it's been mildly amusing. RVD v. HHH really, REALLY had the potential to suck, but it turned out to be a great match. I wish I could believe that this was going to turn in to an actual push for RVD. Randy Orton put in a fine showing. By the way, if one more IWC moron complains about Orton being "shoved down our throats," I hereby promise to personally hunt them down and dropkick them in the groin. Sheese, the IWC whines incessantly about Vince's "refusal to make anyone look strong," and the second he DOES make someone look strong, they whine about THAT, too. I hate wrestling fans. I hate liver. I hate domestic beer. I might need more sleep than I'm currently getting.
The rest of the show was good, if not particularly memorable. Gail Kim's "matrix" gimmick sure fell apart fast, didn't it? And what the hell happened to Molly Holly, anyway? She gets shipped to Bolivia just because she wants to WRESTLE as opposed to playing a lesbian whore like every other member of the Woman's Division? I just don't get it. Molly is the only female employed by the WWE that I'd have any interest in meeting in real life, yet there Vince goes, pandering to the sub-literate geek section of the audience by tossing up skanky losers like Torrie Wilson and Jackie Gayda. Oh well.
Match Of The Night: RVD v. HHH
Wrestler Of The Night: RVD
Smackdown!: 1.0
Let's see. Tazz and Cole basically no-sell Rey Rey's entire match. The APA (featuring a fat Billy Gunn) are on my screen AGAIN. Benoit occupies a position on the roster roughly comparable to that of Sean O'Haire, and the writers continue to believe that every woman in America is a lesbian. My. Oh, and lest we forget, Billy Gunn (the real one this time) pins John Cena. After all, Billy Gunn has only had maybe ten thousand failed Pushes this decade. And then there's the match we've ALL been waiting for: Orlando Jones v. Albert. I'm also trying to understand the logic of "no Ultimo Dragon, no match for Kurt or Brock" and having the Big Show job to a one-legged kid who weighs about as much as one of Show's bowel movements.
I mean really. I like Zach, and it's cool that he can do a one-legged moonsault and all, but a win over the Big Show? Yeah, heaven forbid that maybe Rey should have been shown that much respect. A bad, bad show, filled with bad, bad things. Still, they didn't actually SHOW Vince and Steph having sex, so I suppose there's still room for things to get worse.
Match Of The Night: Rey v. Nunzio
Wrestler Of The Night: Rey Mysterio

Kyle Maxwell's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (2.9).

Big Danny T
Sorry, Folks, too tired to do the play by play for Raw this week, so you'll just have to be happy with me giving it a 3.8.

Smackdown!: 4.3.
Smackdown! fared much better with a 4.3. [If you don't understand the rating, read his damn recap — ed.]

Big Danny T's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.8), SD! (3.9).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 2.7
I said it in my recap, and I said it again in my Wednesday column, and I guess I have to say it again here: outside of the tremendous RVD/HHH main event, this is a RAW that slogged along with forgettable segments and that lacked the "stickiness" of the past month's worth of efforts.  Especially lacking was the half-hour stretch during the final hour which featured Rico/Maven, Dreamer/Orton, and La Resistance/Spike&Hurricane matches that just died with the live crowd.  Better set-ups for those matches, better spacing/pacing of the low-interest matches, and more logical flow during some of the backstage vignettes would all have been things that would have helped improve RAW this week.  Also: Steve Austin was missed.  It seems he truly is the straw that stirs the drink.  But still: the main event was outstanding in its own right, and Kane's chokeslamming of Bischoff sets the stage for next week, so there's still good reason to rate RAW as a whole right around the mid-point.

SmackDown!: 4.4
SD!, on the other hand, was just about without any significant holes.  I mean, I'm not sure I care about Orlando Jordan other than as a prop in what should be a cool Cena/Taker feud (the match with A-Train was instant death with me), but other than that, what was there to complain about?  Those answering "That tool Cole didn't acknowledge that Rey and Kidman used to be partners in the Filthy Animals" will be punched in the eyeball.  

Let's run the list: typically good action with Rey and Nunzio (Kidman's participation, post-match, seems to be setting him up for a return as a heel, which should be cool)....  the bits with Angle and Lesnar were pretty funny, and for the first time, I find myself suspecting that Brock may possess some natural charisma; leave it to Angle to not just be awesome himself, but to bring it out of others...  Benoit/Rhyno and the Bashams had a really sound match; also, I cannot blame Benoit for thinking twice when Shaniqua beckoned him after the match, and am half-curious to see Benoit in a storyline the goes beyond "Chris Benoit wants to prove he's a great technical wrestler"...  Gunn and Cena wrestled a good match, and as much of a personality black hole as Gunn is, I got no problem with him advancing (probably to job to Matt Hardy?) in the tourney if it means Cena gets to cut loose in some raps on Taker...  the tag title match was, predictably, sweet; the title change kind of came out of nowhere, and Eddie's killer post-match heel turn sets up a feud with Tajiri that seems infinitely more interesting than anything the now-champions Haas and Benjamin will find themselves involved in...  Vince firing Hogan/Mr. America was a necessary segment, I guess, though I always get kind of annoyed at how Vince always manages to use triple the amount of time and verbiage he needs to get a point across...  the main event was everything it should be:  2 months of pretty shitty storytelling is forgotten, because Zach Gowen got in the ring and wowed us.  Show taking the F-5 and the Olympic Slam prior to getting pinned also advances the issues heading into the Vengeance main event, which is good.  Will we also get Zach vs. Vince there?  Or is that for later?

Great SD! this week. 

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.8), SD! (4.1).


RAW average: 3.1 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW barely OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

Smackdown! average: 3.5
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.0 (will be added later)
SD! OVERdelivers versus final rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.39
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.1
RAW is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.56
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!: 3
Current Streak: 2 by SD! (Since 6/27/03)
Longest Streak: 2 by RAW (6/13-20/03), 2 by SD! (6/27-7/04)

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