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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending July 11, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW: 2.9 --/-- SD!: 3.1

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 (7/07/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (7/10/03)

Erin Anderson
RAW: 3.2
This show couldn't decide if it wanted to be great or if it wanted to suck.

Test's woman-beater schtick bores me, and the Jericho/Jindrak matchup was a bad idea altogether. Flair/Orton v. Bubba/RVD was a bit of a mess, and JR really needed to duct-tape Lawler's mouth during the Trish/Molly match. Kevin Nash v. Test was short enough to not offend me.

Enough with the negative stuff. Three things that I did like:

1. Jericho's Highlight Reel. Fantastic mic work by both of the guys, and I always love to see Jericho get a face reaction, even if it's only for one night. Turning both guys at the end seemed a little pointless, but I didn't care. We'll get a Y2J/HBK main event in two weeks, and that's good enough for me. Plus, Jericho's (and the crowd's) reaction to "What are you, Mr. Canada?" made the whole show worth watching.
2. Booker T finally winning the title. Dragging it out until SummerSlam would have gotten old very quickly, so putting the title on him on Monday was a smart move. A very hot way to open the show.
3. Kane. I pretty much explained why in my column, so I don't want to get too in-depth here, but I will say that he's back to being a crazed monster that kicks everybody's asses. This makes me happy.

The show didn't suck because of a couple of really strong points, but it could have been ten times better.

Smackdown!: 2.3
This will be short and not very sweet, as I didn't like this show and don't want to dwell on it too much. Was WWE afraid to let a match run longer than five minutes? Apparently so, unless it was a FULL REPLAY OF A MATCH WE ALL SAW LAST WEEK. What the hell is this? Ultimo Dragon v. Eddie and Benoit/Rhyno v. Hardy/Moore both should have been at least twice as long. The matches were great, just too damned short. Mysterio/Kidman v. the Basham Brothers should have been just that; throwing in the APA and the FBI made it nothing more than a total clusterfuck. Anything involving Vince, Stephanie, Zach Gowen, or Sable went on at least three times longer than it should have, and I absolutely hate the prospect of Sable v. Steph. They expect us to pay to see that? Ugh. And the (full) replay of Zach's match last week was the single biggest waste of time on WWE programming all year. That, along with any angle involving Torrie Wilson and Billy Gunn.

What saved this show from getting a 1.0? The strength of the short matches that did happen, Kurt Angle, and John Cena. Anyone else smell a Cena/Angle feud when Brock and Show are dealt with? I love the idea, and I was laughing for five minutes after their promo, which was absolute gold. Those two made my night. Next week, Matt Hardy v. Benoit should do the same.

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

The Cubs Fan
RAW: 3.0
The best part of RAW, for me, was when JR spent 75% of the Trish/Molly match talking about Trish, Lawler pointed out he talked about a lot about Trish, but what about Molly... and JR paused before going on to talk about the main event. So true. I see Gail beating Molly as a credibility-building win, but they're running out of heels for her to feud with rapidly; maybe Jazz will be back sooner than later? When they had Gail and Val together, I thought "Hey! That bit on Heat about Val's production coming together was foreshadowing — he's going to introduce Gail as his leading lady!" But sadly they'll never mention it again

Back when they had four week PPVs, RVD probably makes the save to end the show. You think they might have wanted to send someone, anyone, out to set up an opponent for next week. I think they're still trying to figure out how to do these long builds. Hurricane/Rosey was bizarre. Dumbly? Given what the end result was, having Hurricane get the upset win over Rosey and that leading to him having the problem with Long would have made a lot more sense. Instead, Hurricane looks bad, Rosey looks bad, and Mack gets little out of it since Rosey's been a jobbing machine.

Jericho and HBK was the same thing but longer, really. I think they
overestimated the crowd's reaction to Jericho living in Florida. Everything else was eh. Booker was far more exciting about winning the IC title than I was, but then I just found out that his 5 WCW Title wins were roughly equivalent to the Euro title and he seemed well accustomed to that fact.

Smackdown!: 3.4
Did they run of time for Kurt/Cena or neglect to mention it for next week or something? That was odd how Cena had the cameo and disappeared. And no Undertaker either, so that didn't go any place. I think the dealio with Eddie being cheered was just a localized thing. On the other hand, if you build a guy as a face around how he cheats and does dirty things but we love him for it, there isn't that much of a logical reason to turn on him just because he did a dirty thing. (Eddie's the new Flair?) Eddie/Ultimo felt rushed. You think they would have built up someone to feud with Ultimo upon coming in, seeing as they thought he was important and needs someone to get the better off. It's not that he's jobbing, it's that he's doing nothing that makes it seem like such a waste. I know they'll do something with him — they've put too much effort in him not to do it — but they're just making it harder for themselves.

Why is Nunzio the leader and the most effective member of the FBI? I mean, it's maybe how you'd do, if you were All Powerful Workrate Fan, but they're never going to put him over (in a non-screwjob way) over any big guy, and the other two can't beat anyone the leader can't beat, so they're blocked off from moving up. Yet Nunzio is always the one getting the effective chair shot or the punch as the other two hold the guy down.

At the same time, it's three weeks in, and the "Noble gets money" angle has just led to skits and not a feud, which kinda makes it a waste of time. Even though Nidia is all sorts of cool in it. And at least Jamie came up with a reason why they've done Nidia/Jamie v. Torrie/anyone a billion times. Matt/Shannon on Velocity actually caused character development into Shannon not wearing the shirt on Smackdown. That was nice. The match was okay. Main couldn't hold my interest but gave me time to type up allllll of this. Good thing they split PPVs so midcard talent like Sable, Stephanie, Vince and Zach could get on the big shows once in a while.

The Cubs Fans's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.0), SD! (3.4).

Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.7
J.R.:  What a way for RAW to bounce back for RAW this week!
JL:  Yup. Austin was back in full swing this week!
J.R.:  Austin! AUSTIN! AUSTIN!! Hey, and Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho had a good segment.
JL:  And not HHH!
HHH:  Hey!
JL:  I thought the Jericho/Michaels segment went on a little long.
J.R.:  Good segment with Austin Kane too!
Mark Jindrak:  Uh... I'm the guest....
HHH:  Shut up! Nobody cared then, nobody cares now!
MJ:  *sobs*
J.R.:  So... around a 3.7 then. It dragged on a bit, but Booker/Christian was great, and there was some other great stuff later on.
JL:  Did you see Molly's PUPPIES, J.R.? They're bigger than her enormous ASS! 5.5!!!
HHH:  Well... go on, Jindrak. Give your stupid rating.
MJ:  4....

Smackdown!: 3.5
MC:  What a night for Smackdown, Tazz! Did you SEE that Chokeslam?
TZ:  It was rocketbusters, Cole! Now here's John Cena!
JC:  Word Life. Me and Kurt Angle are gonna be in... a... uh... angle.
TZ:  Who writes your raps? Brian Hebner?
JC:  Yo! Yo! Yo! Hebner's got mad beat! I'm gonna take Kurt off his feet.
MC:  I can't keep up with these hardcore skillz!
JC:  Alright, Shoelace, I'll break it up for you. Why can't they turn me face already?
TZ:  I know! Plus all that not-wrestling was kinda lame, but there were a FEW good matches.
JC:  Totally. Like Ultimo Dragon/Eddie Guererro.
UD:  It was totally Dragonriffic!
TZ:  Shut up, Hunter.
MC:  5.9. Totally.
TZ:  More like a 3.5, Cole. Our backstage stuff wasn't as good as RAW's.  I'll admit it.
JC:  Smackdown gets a 3.4, for not getting with Thuganomics. Word Life.
UD:  I am the Dragon-a!

Matt Hocking's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.7), SD! (3.5).

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 1.8
Memo to Raw staff: thank you for killing Christian; having another viable heel wrestler on the staff would only complicate things. I mean, really. As much as I got a kick out of Stone Cold dragging Christian to the ring (that was hilarious) and Booker eventually winning, a word nevertheless kept resounding through my head, like a bell: wrong... wrong... wrong. Booker got a throwaway feel-good win that wasn't advertised and couldn't draw ratings to the show because no one knew about it. What does he do at the pay-per-view — retain? Wow. Meanwhile, Christian got "You Are Suckier Than the Honky Tonk Man" treatment and an immortal eight-week run, or something. Stupid. Additionally, the non-wrestling main-event was irritating. "Kevin Test" was deadly dull. Hurricane got butchered and thrown to the storyline wolves. And Jericho-Michaels may well be the greatest 10-minute squandering of a four-star match, a five-star angle and a surefire ratings pop and potential buyrate pop ever. In spite of their great performances, nothing can overcome the fact that the writing staff collectively boofed the poodle. The two things that kept this show from sinking any lower were Booker T's infectious enthusiasm and Molly Holly actually winning a match.

Smackdown!: 2.9
It's getting to the point, for me, where I want to turn the TV off because Vince is on. Ordinarily, I just roll my eyes and go dump a load of towels in the washer and wait for him to finish. But now I actually want to stop watching TV or stop watching Smackdown. And I'm a "smark," so you've got to figure that the rest of the audience is being turned off far more, since they don't share this same bizarre desperation to watch every show that smarks do. So Vince dragged my rating down once again. In fairness, though, this show was a pretty average effort before Vince started droning.

In fact, I was kind of tuning out the show until—HOLY SHIT, CATFIGHT!!! Steph growling like a coked-up lemur and spearing Sable woke me up and got me back into what was going on (when I realized that she and Sable would have a pay-per-view match, I started to regret waking up). The Angle-Cena rap stuff was pretty funny, but not as amazing as some might think. It felt forced and over-scripted. I was pleased to see Brock lose his handicap match. It was the right thing to do in that situation. Plus, we still got the stirring comeback and a pretty impressive finisher. Eddie and Ultimo was a disappointment, but I prefer getting disappointed in that way: good stuff, just not enough. Eddie getting flung and then desperately avoiding hitting his car was brilliant. And Jamie Noble creeps me out.

Jeb Tennyson Lund's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.4).

The Immolator, Calum Macbeth
RAW: 3.2
Better than last week, but it still had that "patched together" feel to it. Good to see Gail Kim get more of a chance to show her stuff, although some of the guys here in MSW think she works "slow." The Chris Jericho "turn" came off ham-handed. He could have gotten some really good cheap heat with it, but the "Hollywood" out lacked punch (and conviction). Then again, I was hoping it was Bret Hart who laid out Rico and Dreamer and was going to come out and kick some ass. I am such a mark.

Smackdown!: 3.9
I have only one beef with this episode: the matches were generally too short, especially Eddie and UD. But, as they say, leave the people wanting more.

The Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.9).

Kyle Maxwell
RAW: 1.0
I have to go totally Smarky for a second here: what the flaming hell was the point of the Jericho/Michaels segment? The first five minutes were pure genius — it built HUGE Heel Heat for Shawn, and put them in to a position to do a "Jericho v. Michaels for Canada's Honor" match that would have simply blown the lid off the joint. But that's just not Vince's style, now is it? Instead they tried to turn Jericho Heel, and then ram some idiotic "Canadians are losers" message down our throats. It sucked. But worse than just sucking, it was utterly the wrong thing to do. They could have gotten Jericho over HUGE, and popped a huge buyrate for a Michaels/Jericho PPV match, but instead they did everything they could to kill the crowd and suck the life out of the building. In this they succeeded admirably — the crowd sat on their hands for the rest of the night. But one thing seems certain: Vince is far more interested in stroking his own ego than he is in doing what's right for the company or entertaining for the crowd.
Match Of The Night: None
Wrestler Of The Night: None

Smackdown!: 2.5
Honestly, I can't really tell you much about this show. It was a blur of generic skits and matches. I don't recall anything sucking, but I don't recall ANYTHING, which is bad. I do sort of remember that Billy Gunn once again stunk up my television. And the Filthy Animals are back together — they used to be my favorite tag team, back before the WWE reduced Kidman to "That boring guy whose name we've forgotten." It's amazing to me that RAW and Smackdown have so completely swapped personalities. One big problem is that Vince and Steph are both on the same show. The McMahons are like Dave's Insanity Sauce: a little goes a long way, and TWO bottles is just plain stupid.
Match Of The Night: Eddy v. Ultimo
Wrestler Of The Night: Brock Lesnar for taking that chokeslam

Kyle Maxwell's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (2.8).

Big Danny T
RAW: 3.5 [starting with an even 2.5, then adding or subtracting]
• Stone cold starting us off with an IC title Match = +.1
• Booker T winning said Title match = +.2
• Mark Jindrak's introduction being drowned out by shitty sound quality = -.1
• Superstars getting ambushed = +.1 Nice way to emphasize Kane's loose cannon nature.
• Rosey v. The Hurricane = Even. Yeah, it's nice to see jobbers get the occaisional win, but I can't get myself worked up over Rosie. I liked Jamal out of that pair better anyway.
• Rosey turining on Rodney and Teddy Long = Even. Again, it's hard to get worked up over Rosie, especially when you've given no prior reason to make us care about him snapping on Teddy. Rosie snapping on Teddy should have happened at least a month from now.
• Stevie/Victoria v. Val/Gail Kim = +.1 Gail showed us a bit more of herself this week, and hey, I like it when Val is on my TV.
• Test going back to his "you know you want me" gimmick = -.1 Ugh is all I have to say.
• Highlight Reel = +.2 Would have gotten more, but it fizzled out at the end.
• Kane and Austin heart-to-heart backstage = +.1 Austin was funny as the GM that didn't know what to make of Kane.
• Kevin Nash v. Test = Even. It's nice Nash is putting people over, but come on, it's Test.
• Booker getting his smile back = +.1 I'll be nice and throw Booker a bone here. He was goofy and enthusiastic, and I half expected him to break into a Hungry Man promo.
• Jericho v. Jindrak = even. Match was decent enough, but the crowd was really not into this one.
• Stratus v. Molly = +.1 nice to see Molly getting somewhere again, and hopefully she and Gail will tear it up next week.
• Flair/Orton v. Bubba/RVD = +.1 Perfectly acceptable wrestling, could have been longer, though.
• Austin/Kane to close show out = +.1 this was good, but not as awesome as it could have been. Kane's reaction to Austin's laughing at the footage was beleivable for me, though, because I personally know people that paranoid who WOULD take something like that in the wrong way.
• So overall, RAW comes in with 3.5. Fairly decent.

Smackdown!: 3.2
Smackdown! fares not as well. Check my recap out to see why.

Big Danny T's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.7), SD! (3.8).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.4
RAW, though not without a few holes, took a big step up this week (worth almost a full extra ratings point from me, anyway).  Booker/Christian was the Match of the Week, I thought, and Jericho and Michaels talking about the Montreal Screwjob was damned entertaining for the first three-quarters of that segment.  They also brought back that "sticky" feel to the show that makes it hard to tune out... that should be a requisite characteristic of a live wrestling show, and it was good to see the Fed back in the swing of things after a down week.  Put RAW firmly back in the "above average" ratings strata this week.

SmackDown!: 3.2
SD!, on the other hand, takes a bit of a tumble.  Still a good solid show, mind you, but nothing like the preceding week's effort (which had the killer tag match and that intangible Big Event atmosphere courtesy of Zach's in-ring debut).  There was next to nothing of value in terms of storyline/entertainment-driven content; the best stuff was Angle and Cena starting off the show (and that one didn't even really have a purpose, since Cena's SUPPOSED to be feuding with Taker).  I mean Vince and Zach's bit was OK but fairly obvious and predictable, Eddie's attempts to be a heel simply did not work because he's too freakin' awesome, and if I may totally cut loose, I see absolutely no upside to Sable vs. Stephanie.  Toss in the fact that you had a quartet of good-but-not-great matches, with no single in-ring effort to really point to and hang your hat on as the best action of the night, and this is a SD! that -- while very watchable and usually entertaining -- gets edged by RAW this week.  In my opinion, anyway. 

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.7), SD! (3.9).


RAW average: 2.9 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.4 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

Smackdown! average: 3.1
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.6
SD! UNDERdelivers versus final rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.30
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.2
RAW is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.49
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!: 4
Current Streak: 3 by SD! (Since 6/27/03)
Longest Streak: 3 by SD! (6/27-7/11)

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