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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending September 19, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW: 2.90 --/-- SD!: 4.35

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 (9/15/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (9/18/03)

Erin Anderson
RAW: 2.4
I'm tired, just got over being sick, and just finished writing a column. This will be short. My apologies.

The Good:
• Yet another great Austin/Jericho/Christian promo.
• Randy Orton being given something to do that makes him look like an asshole.
• The Kane/Shane contract signing and following beat down.
• The women's match and a return for Lita that makes her look like a total badass.
• Stacy having a little fun with the crowd during Test's match. It got a giggle out of me.

The Bad:
• Jericho v. RVD wasn't nearly as good as it should have been. It looked very sloppy.
• Anything involving Moolah.
• Anything involving the announcers.
• Jobbing DustStorm to Rodney Mack and Mark Henry.
• The Test/Venis match itself.
• Scott Steiner.
• The Spike Dudley squash, unless it means that the Unforgiven tables match becomes 2-on-2 and La Resistance drops the belts. I can only pray.
• No physical interaction between Michaels and Orton, other than that one vicious slap. I need more than that to care about their match on Sunday.
• The Never-Ending Promo From Hell, presented by Triple H.

There was some good stuff and a lot of crap. A pretty underwhelming setup for a pay-per-view that I didn't want to see in the first place.

Smackdown!: 4.9
The Good:
• Minimum airtime for the McMahons, and the Undertaker reminding us that he is indeed still around and pissed off.
• The opening tag match. HOT stuff, and great work by all four men.
• The announcement of Mysterio/Tajiri for next week. Hell yeah.
• Shaniqua came off looking like a badass in a segment that was short enough to not overstay its welcome. Now they just need to move her to RAW.
• Cena's rap, just in case we'd forgotten about him. Does this guy ever have a bad day on the mic?
• The tag title match. Eddie's got double gold, baby! Looks like the ending was unplanned or at least improvised, but the guys covered for it nicely.
• Cool spots for the night: Chavo's spinning headscissors, and he and Eddie doing planchas on opposite sides of the ring. Awesome.
• The Iron Man Match. Lots of nice touches in this match, including but not limited to: Angle tapping out to the Ankle Lock, Brock picking up a groggy ref with one hand and tossing him right next to Angle so he could count a fall, Angle F-5ing Brock into the ringpost, Angle putting his straps back up just so he could take them down again for an Angle Slam, NO INTERFERENCE AT ALL, and Kurt's facial expression after losing the title.
• Yet another cool spot for the night: no matter how many times I see it, whether he hits it or not, Angle's moonsault is a thing of beauty.
• Title changes on free TV. WWE better not make a habit out of that if they plan on selling any PPVs.

The Bad:
Umm… well shit, I can't think of a damn thing. Give me a moment to read a recap to make sure I didn't forget anything… nope.

Since I started watching wrestling again in November 2001, this is probably the best show that I've seen on free television. It was that good. The presence of Vince kept me from going all-out and giving it a 5.0, because in my mind, a perfect show doesn't involve him. Absolutely awesome.

Erin's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.7), SD! (3.4).

The Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 2.5
A nice effort at hyping Unforgiven, but nothing there that wowed me. Not even the annual `Trot Fabulous Moolah Out' match.

The good: All of those Goldberg `believe the hype' videos. When Da Man finally debuts, he'll have quite the following and... WHA? He already debuted!?! Then surely they're trying to get him ready for his PPV debut, right? No?!? You get my point here... these were excellent ways to show who the hell Bill Goldberg is and why he's important, but they're kind of five, six months too late. Still, brownie points for them going into hype overdrive for Unforgiven. If they could build up a PPV the way they have this past month every single time, we'd be in business. I also enjoyed the Randy Orton, Legend Killer segment.

The bad: Unless this week's episode of `Super Rosey and Hurricane Man' was done to show people that Rosey was leaving for good (in a cab, no less), then it was kind of pointless.... Why is Shane O' Mac beating the hell out of Kane? Which one of them is probably going to feud with Goldberg post-Unforgiven?.... This week has to be the first time I've seen a freaking POWERSLAM win a match (Henry/Mack vs Goldust/Storm) since the days of WWF Wrestling Challenge ("Here is your winner.... HERCULES!").... Get RVD out of the Jericho-Christian stuff. The match sells itself, folks.

Smackdown!: 4.5
As a GWF ring announcer once said when announcing Barry Horowitz, "The Winner."  Which... uh, is my smart ass way of saying SD won this week. It would be hard to complain if WWE could come up with a formula this simple, yet effective, every week.

The good: I've got to be honest... For some reason, I couldn't sit through the entire Iron Man match. Maybe because I already knew the outcome. Maybe because I've become accustomed to watching a maximum of 9 minutes wrestling at a time on television. Maybe because my brother and I (we had earlier vowed to watch the big match together last night) had found an old wrestling tape in my parents basement, and the LOD vs Nasty Boys from the Arsenio Hall
show,was WAY too compelling. I dunno. But I did watch a good 80 percent of the match (Nasties-LOD was something of a squash) and what I saw was just awesome. They planned this match carefully and it shows. I'd rank that one right up there with the Bret-Michaels Iron Match from `Mania many moons ago. Kudos to Brock and Kurt for that one, and for Vince for not screwing it up with outside interference.

The bad: Not much, really. Was Rosey on this show? No? Let's see, who else can we pick on... OH! Stephanie and Sable. There you go.

The Canadian Bulldog's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (3.8).

The Cubs Fan
RAW: 2.6
Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?

Smackdown!: 4.0
For some reason, I actually watched Smackdown! within a week of it's airing. Imagine that!

I'm sure everyone else will be saying lots about the Iron Man match, so let me be different and point out that the first hour was about as tight as they've done for one stretch in quite some time. Nothing rushed, nothing thrown out there just to kill time without any angle reason. No long talking segments — the bits with Undertaker, Cena, and the usual Power Struggle crew hit their points in 2 minutes or less and got out of the way. Everything got the time it needed, and no more.

Which is more than you can say for the Iron Man match, but...

The Cubs Fan's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.0), SD! (3.5).

Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.9
Other than the ending, RAW was very good this week. It did exactly what it set out to do, which was to build to Unforgiven. A task which it took to very nicely. The Kane/Shane segment was excellent, Lita's return was nice, and even the things that were slow either served a purpose (the announcers or Conway/Spike) or moved lesser issues ahead (Thuggin and Buggin get a win to better establish themselves, and Storm gets on RAW to better establish himself). When the worst thing that went wrong was a technical glitch, it's not bad. Jericho/RVD/Christian/Austin was worth at least an extra point.

Smackdown!: 2.9
The first hour was slow (and WHY are they pushing a women's division on a show with 4 valets), some things weren't great from a storyline perspecive (Eddie being wedged into the non-existant tag division rather than continuing his feud with Cena and the pushing of Nidia and Torrie over Jamie and Billy) even the good match wasn't Great. So the one thing that could have saved it was the Iron Man Match. And while it was good, it wasn't great.

1. Nothing new. They did nothing to make the match special; it was just a Kurt Angle/Brock Lesnar match like any other, but a few minutes longer. The only spot I'll remember is the moonsault, but that's not exactly new either.
2. The ending was terrible. Kurt "losing out" there at the end was awful.  Not because I feel bad for Kurt the character, but because I feel bad for Kurt the guy. Just when he gets some momentum as champion they kill him.
3. The constant shilling for "overtime." Yeah, it added a little bit of suspense, but it added false expectations too. So when the match ended limply with Brock not tapping out (which was not surprising once Angle got locked in), it just made me pissed that they bothered to continually shill the overtime section.
4. Even if Kurt Angle would have won, he wouldn't have won. His first win was a DQ, an admittedly neat spot for Lesnar, but now Angle only really had 3 victories, which is pretty weak considering.
5. For all that build, it wasn't even a blowoff match. Brock Lesnar (the heel) completely put away the face, but it wasn't a blowoff, because Kurt looked plucky at the end. So that means MORE Brock/Kurt posturing and feuding. I'm sick of this feud. Couldn't somebody else main event?  Like... Kanyon? At least HHH fights somebody else new every other month.

So in the end we're left with a show that fell flat, and one really good match that didn't accomplish anything other than being long. It really dragged, and two guys in the third best Iron Man match I've seen didn't help.

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

The Immolator, Calum Macbeth
RAW: 3.0
I was very pleased with last week's show. This week was another step in the right direction, although they definitely talked too much and wrestled too little. They cracked the 3.0 mark for me based on last week's show and the extra eyeballs carrying over to this week. RVD versus Jericho should be given the chance to play out over several months: they're that damn good, and no one else seems to want to work with them anyway. Conway's match with Spike did its job, as did Moolah's bit. Orton needs the heat, but not as much as Rodney Mack and Mark Henry. Kudos to Shane for the elbow drop. Lita's return was actually the high point of the show. Everything else was stuff that sends people lurching for their remotes.

Smackdown!: 5.0
If 5.0 weren't the established maximum, this would be a 6.2 on my ratings. They did a fantastic job last week of building interest for this show, especially in Canada and other Parts Unknown by showing the Angle-Lesnar match from SummerSlam. This week, the first tag match was awesome. I missed the women's match because I was wrestling at the bar again. I got home in time to see the tag title match (thanks to the magic of time shifting). I think Charlie Haas is going to be great, but he still has that "touch of green."

Ah, the Ironman match. Maximum rating for those guys (including Hebner) going the distance. Mind you, the way they brought out the Germans and the F-5s and the Angle Slams so early, then kept going back to them over and over... by the time Angle was hitting his string of Germans at the end, I was begging for an arm bar or something. Still, great stuff. But will people still buy Unforgiven?

The Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.7).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.0
RAW was blessedly crap-free for the second week in a row, but didn't do hardly anything to build momentum towards Unforgiven.  They pulled an IC three-way out of their ass, and if anything, deadened interest in Goldberg/HHH with a massively anti-climactic (and even more massively pointless) main event promo.  The only winner on the night was Kane/Shane, which was handled simply and perfectly: the stupidity of past weeks was stripped away, and they brawled their way up to a nice big highspot that acts as a tease of what Shane will try on Sunday at the PPV.  On the strength of that segment, and the entertaining-but-still-rushed-and-random-feeling Austin/Jericho/Christian/RVD promo and match, this show inches just above being merely average.  Barely.

SmackDown!: 4.8
Two tenths short of perfection.  And I'll tell you exactly where those two tenths could have been had: ax the Shaniqua Showcase Match, and give the opening tag match 4 more minutes.  The diva match wasn't awful, but on a show where it's surrounded by umimpeachably spectacular work, it was an awkward anomaly.  So I'm leaving just two tiny ticks for SD! (or for RAW, if they get it together) to even more closely approximate perfection.  Also, I just don't like to give out perfect ratings.  Ever.  [Halle Berry, welcome to 9.9-sville... population: YOU!]  But last week's SD! was damn close to it.  I've already told you why.

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (4.0).


RAW average: 2.90 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.1 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 4.35
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.2 
SD! OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.05
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.23
RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.55
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.30
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 3
Rounds Won by SD!: 13
Current Streak: 5 by SD! (Since 8/22/03)
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)

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