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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending September 12, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW: 3.36 --/-- SD!: 3.54

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 (9/08/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (9/11/03)

Erin Anderson
RAW: 3.1

This show, as The Rick pointed out, was virtually free of Suck. That doesn't mean it gets a great rating from me.

The opening cage match wasn't bad at all, but it wasn't great, either. The whole thing took place to reinforce Kane's monster character, but it should have been shorter if that was the only goal. The JR/King/Coach/Al Snow storyline still isn't making me care, but at least they've added two wrestlers to the pay-per-view match.

Lance and Goldust are back! I enjoyed their backstage skit and Storm's match with Rico. Lance's post-match dance and smile (has anyone ever seen him smile?) were kinda scary, though. Even so, I like the direction that they're going with this.

The women's match was very solid, and featured a couple of nifty moves and a wicked bump by Trish. And for once, they've actually set up a fairly compelling storyline for the ladies, leaving us wondering exactly what's in store for Trish next week. Good work there.

The Austin/Christian/Jericho bit was, as expected, outstanding. But is Jericho a face or a heel? Seems like WWE is testing out the waters, completely forgetting that Jericho was at one time the second-biggest face in the company behind the Rock. But I loved the interaction between all three guys, and the improvisation after Jericho dropped the beer reminded me of why Austin rules. Great segment.

Unfortunately, after that we were brought down by a gigantic clusterfuck of a 10-man tag match. Poor Spike. And to add to the Segments that I Don't Care About category, we were treated to more of the Test/Steiner feud after that. Exactly how long can they fight over Stacy, anyway? And yet again, we were reminded that JR, Lawler, Coach, and Al Snow have a match at Unforgiven, as if the announcers didn't do that enough in their running commentary throughout the show.

The Goldberg beatdown was fairly easy to predict, but Triple H needed that segment after looking weak on TV for over a month. It was the right way to end the show, even if it wasn't the most satisfying for the fans.

None of the matches really stood out, and a few of the segments were clunkers, but the strength of the women, Austin, Jericho, Goldust, and Lance Storm was good enough to get a 3.1 from me.

Smackdown!: 3.8
Even with an abbreviated show and a non-sucky RAW, I had to give the nod to Smackdown! this week.

I'm sick and tired of the Vince/Stephanie stuff, but that's my only major gripe for the show. The cruiserweight tag match was an incredibly hot (if short) opener, and it's nice to see the cruiserweight division getting some real attention again. Even in a segment flooded with McMahons, Brock pulled off his part pretty nicely, and is continuing to grow as a heel on the mic. Shaniqua/Dawn Marie was kept short enough to not offend me, and at least they've got some semblance of a storyline that doesn't suck going for the women on the show.

Benoit v. Rhyno was awesome, and I would have loved to see it go a few minutes longer. Good lord, that match was stiff. I'd like to see that feud keep going until the next pay-per-view, because these two could have a hell of a match there.

The APA spent most of the their time where they should be: in a funny backstage skit. It nicely set up APA v. Hardy/Moore later, even if it was a squash. Even better, it gave us a nice segue into the Parking Lot Brawl, my choice for Match of the Night. Cena's rap was outstanding, and the inclusion of a lawn mower, seatbelts, and cigarette lighters were very nice and inventive touches. And Chavo is back, baby!

The main event was useless (as McMahon skits usually are these days), but it was nice to see Kurt come out at the end and remind us of exactly why we should be tuning in next week. Hey, the show had three hot matches and a funny backstage skit... 3.8.

Erin's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.8), SD! (3.3).

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 4.0
Honestly one of the best editions of RAW I've seen this year. Pretty much everything was done for a reason, and they limited it to just TWO major segments with non-wrestlers, which is, like, major progress. Kane v. RVD was a nice, brutal little cage match that got its point across. The end segment with Evolution beating down Goldberg inside of said cage only added to their impending match at Unforgiven.

Pretty much everything in between clicked for me. The Christian-Jericho-Austin segment was somewhat unexpected, though it would have been nice had they ended it once Jericho hit the ring, and not the whole beer thing. The 10-man match was a bit of a mess especially with two count 'em two badly missed spots (Flying Mark Henry and La Resistance missing the table); but still, better that you lumped them together into one forgettable segment. Hell, even Lance Storm v. Rico had a point.

If they could do that much storytelling on a regular basis on RAW, you'd get no complaint out of me. Oh, and just so I can be like everyone else: "YJ Stinger, YJ Stinger, bah gawd, YJ Stinger!!!"

Smackdown!: 3.0
This show continues another in a series of bland but decent Smackdowns. I liked the parking lot brawl, and it was nice that they gave this one of the top slots on the show; it gives me a little bit of faith that one or both of these guys will continue to be pushed. I enjoyed the hell out of Rhyno-Benoit, though the match could have used a little less A-Train.

The rest for me kind of ranged from "ehhh" to "bad." The APA and Stephanie/Vince segments were a little too much and it would be nice if Evil Brock would actually start beating up, you know, some actual wrestlers to reestablish himself as a badass. Still, I appreciate the effort.

Waiting anxiously to see how they can screw up the Iron Man match next week (Vince McMahon: "Okay, Stephanie, you want to be general manager so bad? Tonight, in this very ring, it will be YOU against Kurt Angle for sixty minutes.")

Canadian Bulldog's year-to-date averages: RAW (4.0), SD! (3.0).

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 3.3
This episode of Raw was not unlike a can of YJ Stinger: cylindrical, aluminum.... Wait. The problem with being able to drink bees, teleport and color-coordinate your teleporting hookers with the color of your YJ Stinger can.... Wait. I bee drink hooker can teleport coordinate Goldberg. Seriously, if I could rate Raw based on how much fun I had with the YJ Stinger jokes made on Monday, I'd give the show a 12 out of 5. And, for the record, Triple H wouldn't last a day at Federal Express.

This Raw broke the streak of suck with a solid but not outstanding show. Good points: a decent (if ultimately unmemorable) cage match; attention to the Lance Storm Project; a great Y2J/Stone Cold promo; the women's match; that YJ Stinger can promo. (Yeah, it sucked, but I was laughing like a madman during it.)

The bad points were certainly there, but not in the doses to which we've become accustomed. Bischoff and Shane were stilted and odd. Triple H delivered a Phantom Pedigree. Test apparently wants to play games with Scott "Big Bad Booty Daddy" Steiner's butt in some hideous three-way sex act that is one part legs, one part Canadian, one part part chemical hulk and zero parts interesting, tasteful or appropriate.

Oh, yeah, and La Resistance nearly killed Spike Dudley. Now, I don't want to get off on a rant here, but when you have three guys with all the outward demeanor and electricity of a cheese log left to bake in the sun by a six year old trying out a new science project, you're already losing the battle for the audience's attention, okay? When those guys also possess decent but unspectacular moves, their cheese-log characteristics come shining through like the searing tiny beam of light through the blinds on a hungover morning. Their formulaic moveset and excruciatingly predictable heel tactics sure aren't doing anything to distract you from the fact that, on the mic, the title holders come off as more of a threat to the tradition of bad Man-Drama than they do to any other competitors...

...That is, until they fuck up the relatively simple procedure of tossing someone a small distance. Now, to you, this act might be imbued with all the needless complexity of figuring out how to program a VCR by referring to an instruction manual written in Urdu while some pantsless Yurt-dweller ululates loud enough to make Alanis Morissette cringe and throws daisies at you. But you have to keep in mind that these people's jobs involve throwing people. They have trained in the ancient and mystical art of "controlled throwing." This is all they fucking do all day.

So call me the judgmental one, if you want. But somehow the prospect of two half-talents who draw less heat than Cathy Guisewite after a Thanksgiving binge-and-purge getting the opportunity to maintain a run with the belts while occasionally trying to make les wrestleurs kebabs with the opponent du jour just sticks in my craw.

The only way to send these guys into deep obscurity any faster than letting them cut a promo every night is to ship their asses back to OVW, and that can't come soon enough. If the WWE brain trust has any balls and wants to keep its wrestlers on the mobile side of healthy and its fans on the mobile side of clapping, they'll change the pay-per-view match to a four-man tag (or three-team tag) match for the titles and get rid of La Resistance before they get rid of someone we give two-tenths of a shit about.

Of course, that's just my opinion, but I'm right anyway.

Smackdown!: 3.7
Vincent Kennedy McMahon's Great Genealogical Parade of Abuse and Hedonism runs roughshod over yet another show, proving that WWE thinkers believe the old adage, "If people haven't liked something for four months, wait a little longer."

The cruisers were good, but as always left us wanting a longer match. Benoit v. Rhyno was all you could want, with a little that you don't want (in the form of A-Train). And Eddie, Chavo and Cena had an inventive and fun brawl that was the highlight of the show, in my book. My only worry is that Chavo's return will keep Eddie in more tag matches and less free to dabble in the main-event picture. As good as Eddie and Chavo are, I'd trade their matches together for a little more upward mobility for Eddie, in a heartbeat.

I know Brock is trying, but I'm still unsold. His entire modus operandi seems to be that he mars great matches by interfering and beats up the disabled. Moving. As Tony Kowalski sagely noted in his guest column this week: what will happen when Brock has to be a heel with someone with four fully functioning limbs?

The only other problem I had was with the APA, who I've found less and less funny as time has worn on. Granted, they can occasionally still bust out a great line or a funny skit, but I don't know if that's the work of their chemistry or the writers' inspiration. Also, I find the addition of a black butler clad like the all-black service staffs of all those wonderfully genially racist Louisville, Kentucky gentleman's clubs more than a little unsettling. That black butler is a very sour note for me, and one that could easily have been avoided. How hard would it have been to find some white English indie worker to play the butler, play up to the Jeeves-ish English valet stereotype and skip the racial issue altogether?

That said, it was a pretty good show, hampered by the usual McMahon-ness and A-Train-ness. I think, had it been a full two hours, it would easily have garnered a higher rating. But the truncated show made everything seem a little flat, a little less must-see.

Jeb Tennyson Lund's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.7), SD! (3.3).

Big Danny T
RAW: 3.2
Vast improvement over the past few weeks. The Cage Match was a good start, but they should have left off when RVD got thrown through it. The Lance Storm Project seems to be going well enough. You saw the Evolution beat down coming a mile away, but it worked well enough. Spike's bump on the table was sick, but La Resistance covered well enough by doing a Take 2 with Hurricane. The highlight of the night (pun intended) was Jericho, Christian, and Stone Cold. Jericho was able to put the crowd into his hip pocket and had them cheering and booing almost as if they were on cue. Things that brought the show down for me were Gail Kim becoming pretty much just a glorified Ho, Al Snow and Coach and their stupid JR pics, and more shenanigans with the musclebound twits over Stacy.

Smackdown!: 3.3
Maybe it was the short show, But Smackdown seemed to be missing something this week. It was a servicable enough show, but nothing that was overly memorable either. Check the Recap for the details.

Big Danny T's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.7).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.2
For the first time in a month, RAW got rid of the crap...  and happier I could not be.  In terms of wrestling, the show-opening cage match was good.  In terms of entertainment, the Austin/Jericho/Christian segment was as good as RAW has had since the Rock was last seen.  That's enough to elevate this show into the 3s for me; but what keeps it there is the fact that RAW, even after excising the Suck, still has stretches of the Bland.  Another rehash of Steiner/Test doesn't do it for me, nor does the tag division.  Both those situations were featured on Monday, and they did result in some slowness.  That's not nearly as bad as the itch to change channels that resulted in RAW's previous few weeks' worth of shows, but it's still something that needs to be addressed.

SmackDown!: 3.9
Now this show didn't have any soaring highs like the past couple SD!'s had (Eddie home-coming, or last week's outstanding WWE and Cruiserweight Title matches)...  but it was another study in excellently crafted, sustainable episodic television.  Every segment had a purpose and delivered on that purpose.  I laughed at the poker game.  I cringed at the stiffness of Benoit/Rhyno.  I marveled at the high flying in the open tag match.  And I flat-out enjoyed the unique parking lot brawl.  The show not only avoided the Suck, it actually delivered something interesting in every segment, and without resorting to gimmicks or anything like that.  We'll get the something special next week with the Iron Man match.  And if the Fed can keep serving up shows like this on "off weeks," I'll be one extremely satisfied customer.

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


RAW average: 3.36 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.54
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.5
SD! OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.07
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.24
RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.50
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.29
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 3
Rounds Won by SD!: 12
Current Streak: 4 by SD! (Since 8/22/03)
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)

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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
RAW RECAP: Say My Name
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Deja Vu All Over Again
RAW RECAP: Dignity Before Gold?
PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
RAW RECAP: CM Punk is Not a Fan of Dwayne
SMACKDOWN RECAP: The Returnening
RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Friday Night ZackDown
RAW RECAP: Closure's a Bitch
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
RAW RECAP: Big Johnny Still in Charge
PPV RECAP: WWE Over the Limit 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: One Gullible Fella
RAW RECAP: Anvil, or Red Herring?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Everybody Hates Berto
RAW RECAP: Look Who's Back
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Care to go Best of Five?
RAW RECAP: An Ace Up His Sleeve
PPV RECAP: WWE Extreme Rules 2012
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Sh-Sh-Sheamus and the nOObs
RAW RECAP: Edge, the Motivational Speaker?
SMACKDOWN RECAP: AJ is Angry, Jilted
RAW RECAP: Maybe Cena DOES Suck?
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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