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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending August 1, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW: 2.82 --/-- SD!: 3.32

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 (7/28/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (7/31/03)

Erin Anderson
RAW: 2.7
Overall, I thought it was a pretty poor show this week. I really like the treatment that they're giving Kane, though, and it stuck out as the strongest material of the show. I love the idea of bringing in Shane. Why, do you ask? Well, he'll make Kane look like a million bucks in any match they have (hopefully at SummerSlam). Plus, feeding Shane to the Big Red Monster means that Kane doesn't have to completely demolish a wrestler and kill any push that said wrestler is getting.

The Highlight Reel dragged a bit with Randy Orton in it — I don't think that he's nearly as talented as the announcers would lead us to believe. HBK got in some good mic work, though, and Jericho is always entertaining. His match with Nash wasn't anything to write home about, but the post-match brawl was pretty good stuff. I just hope that Nash steps up his game enough to hang in the ring with Jericho come SummerSlam.

A Goldberg squash was just what the doctor ordered, and him v. Flair next week should be fun, if not a mat classic.

Will someone take the titles off La Resistance already? Their gimmick is too one-dimensional for it to go anywhere, and they simply don't look good enough in the ring to be called Tag Team Champions.

Booker/Steiner v. Test/Christian was better than it had any right to be, and the Molly/Gail match was some quality women's wrestling. But Rick was right in his recap — the lack of set-up for any of it on the show really hurt all of the angles involved. And why did Austin gloss over the fact that he's staying on as co-GM so quickly? They made us wait a week for that? It was very anti-climactic. That, the lack of "stickiness", the staleness (and green-ness) of the tag champs, and the poor commentating are what dragged the rating down for me.

Smackdown!: 3.4
After reading the spoilers, I expected to hate this show. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. The opening promo went on too long, but I can forgive that. I'd guess that Kurt is heading for a heel turn, but I think it might be more entertaining to turn Brock heel instead — it'd add freshness to a months-long feud.

We got several quality matches: Mysterio v. Benjamin, Eddie v. Tajiri, and Zach v. Shannon Moore. I'm itching for Kidman to turn on Mysterio, and if I had to wager a guess, I think it'll happen next week. Putting Zach against Moore was a good idea, since he didn't look grossly overmatched against a smaller cruiserweight. Hardy's post-match beatdown does nothing but good things for his heel status.

I fully expected to despise the Torrie/Noble segments, but the humor in it all offset the stupidity of it. I suppose that was the best possible ending to this angle. I won't be sorry to see it go, but it wasn't the total train wreck I thought it would be, and even made me laugh a few times.

I also expected to hate Benoit v. Doink, but man, I enjoyed seeing Benoit completely decimate an opponent like that. He looked and acted pissed, which is always fun to watch. You can't give away Benoit v. Rhyno just yet, and if the squash Benoit gave Doink is any indication, the blow-off match for this feud should be stiff. I like that.

I normally hate Vince McMahon's participation on Smackdown!, but I did enjoy the way he stirred shit up between Angle and Lesnar. The final match wasn't great but it was kept short, and served its purpose to set up the main event for next week's show. The drama involved with having Angle as the guest referee should make up for Vince's shortcomings in the ring.

Overall, a solid show with a couple of very good matches and storyline developments.

Erin's year-to-date averages:
RAW (3.2), SD! (3.3).

The Cubs Fan
RAW: 2.9
Probably would be far worse if Molly didn't win the title. Would've been nice if they give Gail interview or storyline time at any point during her title reign.

Smackdown!: 3.4
Shannon Moore wins! That NEVER happens! I have nothing much to say this week.

The Cubs Fan's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.4).

Matt Hocking
RAW: 4.0
JC:  I'm here with the greatest ratings giving out... uh... thing... in Sports Entertainment today!
JL:  Oh yeah, this is FANTASTIC.
JC:  It sure is, King! Let's check in with our guest, Shane McMahon!
SM:  Yoyoyo...
JC:  Shane-O-Mac in the House!
SM:  Booyah, Coach! I...
JC:  Shane McMahon!
SM:  Knock it off.
JC:  Sorry.
SM:  It's all good, Coach. You know why? Because I totalled Kane. Took him out like I did the Big Show!
JL:  You had Test push a speaker onto him?
SM:  Hey now, King-fish. Don't ruin my flow! Not only was it great to see me and Kane go at it....
JC:  With you provoking him even MORE....
SM:  Uh... right. But Triiple H and Goldberg are setting up a pretty good feud.
JL:  Plus, the Women's Champion has PUPPIES!!!
SM:  That's right, King!
JC:  So... uh... before HHH puts me in my box, I'll rate RAW a...
HHH:  Too late! Ahahahahahaha! Continue.
JL:  5.4! Needed more King!
SM:  It was a fun filler show before the RAW brand turns the corner to SummerSlam. Deserved the 4.0 it got.

Smackdown!: 2.9
MC:  Another week! Another great Smackdown!
TZ:  Brock Lesnar v. Vince McMahon? Come on....
MC:  Plus they played the whole Zach Gowen Confidential! HOORAY!!
TZ:  Ugh... here's our guest. Matt Hardy.
MH:  Matt Fact: Albert was in the main event and Chris Benoit wrestled Doink the Clown.
TZ:  Smackdown is starting to feel less and less PPV-ready every week.  The only three people who seem to be ready are Kurt, Eddie and Cena.
MH:  Matt Fact: Smackdown's storylines suck ass.
MC:  Is that litteral ass, like Rikishi ass?
TZ:  And don't even get me started on the Torrie Wilson thing... 2.9.  That's that.
MH:  Matt Fact: I'm tired of doing these Matt Facts. If Smackdown is anything like this in two weeks, I'll have NO trouble writing a Smackdown Satire.
MC:  4.9999... wait... you're NOT Matt Hardy....
MH:  Shut it up, Cole.

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

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 2.0
It doesn't bode well for your show when, at the end of the week, your viewers are struggling to remember any of it. What I do remember was largely bad, but first I'll mention the good stuff. Like most, I'm excited about seeing Shane-O-Mac again, and I liked that his absolute rage and defense of his mother still couldn't quite destroy Kane. That leaves more wiggle-room storyline-wise to set up the best possible match. I'm also very pleased to see Molly Holly with the belt again; I can only hope that she keeps the belt until SummerSlam (or possibly after) and that she gets some good opponents and story material to work with. Gail Kim was a failure, and getting the belt off her was a good move. In her defense, though, they shouldn't have needed to get the belt off her. She should have had more time to work off-camera; she should have been introduced with more of a character, and that character should have been showcased and allowed to grow. That way she would have had something to rely on, to connect with the audience, if her in-ring work didn't automatically win everyone's hearts. It's hard to carry a belt on ring work alone and still get people to care when your ring work is shoddy.

The bad:
• Randy Orton: die soon.
• Jericho-Nash. Some people liked this. My favorite part was when Jericho and Orton were beating down Michaels and the crowd popped huge! SEVENTEEN MINUTES LATER NASH ENTERED THE RING. Careful: don't blow a quad, Turbo. Then, of course, Nash destroyed Jericho with the power of sloth. Jericho, after cheating, got in about two moves. Great. Way to build a story. If you think Nash isn't destroying Jericho at SummerSlam, you need to stop hanging out with Strawberry Shortcake in Funland. And take that doily off your head.
• The Dudleys had more heat behind an announce table than the four people wrestling in the ring. Genius.
• I can't remember a single other thing about the show.

Smackdown!: 3.0
What worked for me: Haas and Mysterio, Gowen and Moore/Hardy, Tajiri and Eddie. In fact, Tajiri and Eddie was outright amazing. The beginning was startling, hilarious and just great fun. The end was, too. I don't like to think of these endings as overbooked; instead, they are almost a kind of psychology. The parity between the beginning and end of the match makes it so effective, part of a learning process. Sure, it's a conniving and crooked learning process, but Eddie is still doing what we love to see in series of matches between wrestlers: he learns the moves, adapts and learns to counter them. Call it overbooked if you want, but you're just pissing in your own cornflakes.

Haas and Mysterio were both solid. And I really got a kick out of Hardy's όber-heel stuff in the Moore/Gowen match. I'm also pleased that Zach lost. I don't think he should pick up a win for months.

The rest: ugh. Nidia, Noble, Torrie and Billy should be beaten with reeds. I especially liked Torrie being so shocked with what she saw that — INSTEAD OF LEAVING — she just stood, gasping like a beached grouper, and staring for 15 seconds. Of course, if either she or Billy were groupers, this might have been worse. So thank heaven for small miracles.

A-Train and Sable. Woo, doggy. Can't get enough of them. And I can't get enough of that Zach Gowen piece. I hope they start playing it on RAW, Heat and in my dreams. And Vince McMahon: he messes with minds! Be careful, Brock; he's going to crush that tiny peanut that's jangling around your huge melon.

All told, there were two good matches and one outstanding one. Unfortunately, they were all bracketed by suck suck sucky-suck. Had everything surrouding those matches been decent (neither bad nor good), this show would easily have been a 4.0.

Jeb Tennyson Lund's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.2).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 2.5
Take away Shane-O-Mac's return, and Monday's RAW would have been a largely forgettable two hours.  The rehabilitation of Goldberg's character was handled well enough, although 60 second squashes following 2 minute ring entrances kind of got on my nerves 5 years ago, and might threaten to do so again if not parceled out properly.  The mid-show arc with Jericho, Orton, and Michaels on the Highlight Reel segueing nicely into a Nash/Jericho brawl was probably my favorite stuff on the night, but nothing that you'd be talking about the next day.  The good spots on RAW were marginalized by another week of poorly hyped/promoted segments that just left me bored; improving that aspect of the show will go a long way towards getting RAW back on track, putting on consistently good 2 hour programs, instead of one or two highlights with what comes off as nothing but filler.

SmackDown!: 3.9
Eddie/Tajiri was excellent, and both the opener and the main event were very entertaining, as well.  The story-telling with Lesnar and Angle gearing up to feud over the WWE Title was well-done, and gives the Fed a few interesting directions that they might explore in coming weeks.  And even SD!'s rousing height of stupidity -- the hotel skits with Noble, Torrie, Nidia, and Gunn -- weren't nearly as bad as they could have been; certainly not awful enough to detract a whole lot from what was a very good show.

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


RAW average: 2.82 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.5 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

Smackdown! average: 3.32
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.4 
SD! UNDERdelivers (very slightly) versus final rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.19
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.24
RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.42
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.36
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 2
Rounds Won by SD!: 7
Current Streak: 6 by SD! (Since 6/27/03)
Longest Streak: 6 by SD! (6/27-8/01)

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