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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending August 29, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW: 2.43 --/-- SD!: 3.94

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 (8/25/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (8/28/03)

Erin Anderson
At least I didn't verbally ream RAW this time.

: 2.8
I didn't even have time to do a column this week, so this is going to be shorter than usual. My apologies.

This show was a zillion times better than last week. They resolved the Eric/Linda bullshit in the least offensive way possible, so that's done. I liked the developments in the women's division, as Trish and Gail had a nice match, which set up a Gail/Molly alliance. Could be interesting. HHH/Goldberg is just getting geared up, but it looks good so far.

Mark Henry didn't interest me, nor did his tag match. The Rosey skit wasn't as funny as last week's, but Goldust/Storm did get a giggle out of me. Adding Rob Conway to the La Resistance mix is just trying to revive a gimmick that's already dead. Give the Duds the title already!

Jericho's opening to the Highlight Reel was terrific, and he even had Linda laughing when I don't think she was supposed to. Throwing in Shane and Vince just made it a clusterfuck, though, but it set up a very entertaining Jericho/Shane match for later, so I'll forgive it.

Orton/Maven looked solid, and did a good job setting up an HBK/Orton feud. The Coach heel turn at SummerSlam was interesting and unexpected, but it didn't come off quite as well on RAW. Christian v. Lawler was kinda pointless, but the crowd seemed to like it. But... Coachman v. Lawler next week? Good lord, that is gonna suck.

So, Kane is toast... literally. They could go a million different directions with this, and I'm interested to see how WWE will play this out.

Overall, not bad, but nothing really great either. A very average show that felt like Monday Night Heat.

Smackdown!: 3.5
Yeah, there were only four matches. Yeah, there was a lot of talking, which isn't really SD!'s strength. Who cares? The show came off very well.

Eddie's opening promo and Cena's interference was just fantastic, and set up a great match for later in the night. I like the prospect of a Cena/Eddie feud, since the promos and the matches should be excellent. Rey Rey v. Nunzio was exactly what I'd expect: a good-but-short cruiser matchup. What happened to Billy Kidman? And TWGTT, for that matter?

Brock Lesnar shocked the hell out of me with a great — yeah, I said great — promo. Taker was good listening, too, and Show's mic time was kept to a minimum. Angle was (naturally) hilarious. The promo to set up the triple-threat match was a little long, but I was entertained the whole way through, so no complaints from me.

I'm praying that Benoit feuds with Rhyno and not A-train. The former would be great, and the latter would be yawn-worthy. The Benoit/Train match itself was okay, but nothing special.

The triple-threat match was entertaining enough, and I have no problem with Taker winning the #1 contender spot. He's looked sharp lately, and he'll end up wrestling Angle, who could pull a great match out of a broomstick if he wanted to. Motivated Taker + Kurt Angle = something I'd like to see.

A solid show with good, entertaining matches and some top-notch promo work. It all seems to be setting up feud for the next SD! pay-per-view, so the shows should progressively get better over the next month or so. I'm all over that.

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

Once again, Smackdown! was pre-empted in NY for football, so I won't be able to catch it until tomorrow night.

RAW: 1.8
The worst thing that happened to the WWE and to wrestling fans this week is that RAW popped a strong 4.2 rating. That pretty much ensures that we will be getting more of the same out-of-touch, nonsensical garbage that we got this past Monday. I can't add anything here that hasn't been said time and time again: RAW's clueless writers are writing for nobody else but themselves and seemingly have lost all perspective on what fans want to see. I don't dispute that there can be a short-term ratings benefit in putting on train-wreck TV, but it is putting a bandage on grenade wound. I thought the RAW brand bottomed out about a year ago with the Katie Vick garbage, but some of the stuff we're watching now is as bad as ever. I just can't imagine how even the most egotistical of wrestling promoters would be making the moves that Vince McMahon is making. It's truly a sad state of affairs when a Goldberg-Triple H confrontation is the best segment of the night.

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

Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.6
JR: RAW was great this week, King.
JL: Oh, yeah! Storyline continuations, a memorable angle, and an upcoming Goldberg Title Match!
JR: The only thing that I can't stand is Jonathan Coachman.
JC: What do you mean? I make things great! I'm the best heel on the show.
JL: You're also my opponent next week and this week's guest. That sucks.
JC: Which part?
JR: Both. What did you think of RAW, Coach?
JC: Oh, I don't know. On it's own, it was okay, but honestly, it was just a good transitional show, shifting things from the build up to SummerSlam to the build up to Unforgiven. On it's own, it was nothing special, but it was a good way to shift things to the next month of RAW.
JL: Shut the hell up, Coach.
JC: Uh... no. Anyway, I'll give RAW this week a 3.6. Yay for me.
JR: 5.0. Just so you shut up.
JL: Where have all the puppies gone? 3.2.

Smackdown!: 3.6
MC: It's all Eddie all the time here on Smackdown!
TZ: That's right, I'm starting to feel a bit froggy up here!
MC: You should drink some lemon tea, that'll help that.
TZ: Shut the hell up, Cole.
MC: Okay. The rest of Smackdown was pretty good with good matches and—
TZ: SHUT THE HELL UP, COLE!! Here's this week's guest, Zach Gowen.
ZG: Ow! My knee!
MC: Huh?
TZ: Remember, Brock killed him?
MC: Oh, yeah. How did you you like Smackdown this week, Zach?
ZG: Ow! My knee!
UD: It's time for the Dragon-riffic ratings!
TZ: Oh, shut up. 3.6. Good, solid show with fun wrestling and lots of Eddie. It's too bad the other storylines are... lacking.
MC: 5.0. I love my life. Really. Zach, do you have a rating?
ZG: Ow. My knee!!
MC: Did he say, "Oh, a 3?"
TZ: Yeah, Cole. Now shut up.

Matt Hocking's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.7), SD! (3.4).

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 1.3
Things that I thought were good:
• Starting off the Goldberg and Triple H tension. Could have been a bit better, though.
• HBK helping out Maven.
• Jericho asking Linda if she and Eric did the "Hibbity Dibbidity."

Things that I thought were bad: everything else.

For one thing, I hate the fact that Goldberg v. Triple H is a belt-or-career match, thus guaranteeing that Goldberg wins. Well, it's not like suspense ever improved anything. This was also the problem with Christian v. Lawler. I know the RAW writers are chimps, but I know that they're not so stupid as to have Lawler win. Wow. Sure puts a lotta heat on their match! Shucks.

Another thing: why was it important for Molly to have brought Gail Kim into the WWE? Why would Molly do that, especially when it led to Gail winning the belt? Does Gail benefit from this backstory? And why is Trish Stratus "the only thing standing in [their] way"? Isn't Molly still the champion? If so, how the hell is anything in her way?

And how many matches were on this show? Three? Whoopty shit. Additionally, Vince — tired of only ruining Smackdown with his presence — showed up to make RAW a little bit more loathesome. Cap it off with another ridiculous burning angle, and you have a two-hour block of bad.

But, thankfully, the badness of this show didn't involve horrifying prospects of rape. So it's merely bad and not repugnant and hideous.

Smackdown!: n/a
Didn't see it. Neglected to tape it. Starting to regret it.

Jeb Tennyson Lund's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.7), SD! (3.2).

The Immolator, Calum Macbeth
RAW: 2.1
Bleah. Kane is dead, just like Triple H died when Austin dropped the car. They made Gail Kim ride the headlock. Rob Conway cut a well-written, coulda-been-hot promo that no one bought because of the milquetoast delivery. Of all the people that should have been able to cut a convincing promo, it should have been Coach, the announcer. But he came off flat. Everything was just... tepid. And it isn't for lack of talent, because there's some great people there. I guess RAW is turning into Nitro before our very eyes.

Smackdown!: 4.0
Back to back, belly to belly, bumper to bumper... SD! rocks! Whoa yeah! They did the necessary shuffling of the deck, the angles were well-conceived, the matches were solid. The way a show is supposed to be.

The Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.5).

Big Danny T
RAW: 2.9
Now, I'm as big a fan of sports entertainment as anybody, but this is just a wee bit much. No matches that had any kind of heat, and the one that did exposed Shane-O-Mac as having a LOT of ring rust that he needs to knock off if he's going to be an active participant in the ring in the forseeable future. The Kane falling into the Dumpster spot, while pretty to look at, will be awfully tough to follow up on. It'll probably simply be the return of the mask and full body suit, as anything else would try even the highest suspension of disbelief.

Now, I know what they are trying to do with Linda (create a sympathetic character that the fans will want to have avenged), but it's not really working. Linda is best reserved for making the quick announcements then going back to running the company. Everything else just fell kinda flat. Even Goldberg's challenge didn't have that much sizzle to it for whatever reason. The onus was on RAW to set up for their pay-per-view in less than a month, and they have tripped themselves up coming out of the gate.

Smackdown!: 4.2
Now THIS, on the other hand, is how you get storylines jumpstarted. It would appear that they are putting the attempt to turn Eddie heel on the backburner with ths feud with Cena. Even if they were still trying to, the crowd's almost rabid reaction to Eddie should put the kibosh on that. Everything else was simply top notch effort, from Rey/Nunzio all the way through the Triple Threat match. Quite possibly one of the best Smackdown episodes all year.

Big Danny T's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.6), SD! (3.7).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 2.5
Like last week, this was a RAW where the good and the bad kind of got swirled together, and I found the end product, overall, to be just sort of THERE.  Utterly average.  Unlike the week before, there was nothing anywhere nearly as good as the six-way Chamber hype nor anything as mind-jarringly awful as the Linda/Bischoff skit.  Instead, things stayed a lot closer to the mean, with the bad being mostly boring/pointless bits with Heat-caliber storylines and performers, and the good being gum-flapping related to a match still a month in the future, minor pieces of comic relief, and underneath storylines featuring announcers.  Nothing to get too pissed off about... but definitely nothing that sparks my interest for next week's RAW, either.

SmackDown!: 4.4
The El Paso Factor: probably about +0.3.  This was still a really good show, no matter how you slice it.  But Eddie's homecoming took the good show and made it special.  I mean special to the point where I actually wish I'd taped it, instead of DVR'ing it, so I could keep it for posterity.  In my heart of hearts, I still hope Eddie gets that WWE Title run; but if he doesn't, this week's SD! may well be his crowning, signature moment inside a wrestling ring.  That was awesome, and good for an extra few ticks in my book.  The Eddie/Cena stuff was tremendously entertaining, regardless of the hometown factor, the four-way promo and three-way match to determine a #1 contender was super, while Rey/Nunzio was a good TV special and Benoit/A-Train set up potential future storylines for both (maybe an A-Train/Rhyno tag team?).  Yeah, it was a show that essentially only used 11 performers... but short of taking time away from segments that kicked major ass and took full advantage of their time or expanding SD! to three hours a week, I've got no suggestions on what to do about that.  Except that maybe "Velocity" rapidly becomes a worthwhile show if you gotta satisfy your World Greatest Tag Team Jones...  bottom line: probably my favorite 2 hours of non-PPV wrestling this summer.

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


RAW average: 2.43 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.4 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.94
Actual Nielsen Rating:  2.6 (many pre-emptions this week)
OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.09
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.25
RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.45
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.28
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 3
Rounds Won by SD!: 10
Current Streak: 2 by SD! (Since 8/22/03)
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)

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