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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending September 26, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW: 3.12 --/-- SD!: 3.46

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 (9/22/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (9/25/03)

Erin Anderson
RAW: 3.5
The good:
• Goldberg spearing Bischoff, and Austin giving the new champ a stamp of approval. Now Goldberg has an adversary with the authority to really fuck with him (a co-GM, as opposed to a wrestler that can easily be squashed). Good move, even if it's been done before.
• RVD v. Christian in a ladder match next week. On with the spots!
• Jericho scheming against Austin. This will be worth it for the promos alone.
• Evolution dropping out of the title scene without completely dropping out of sight.
• The terrific women's tag match, which turned out to be the best of the show. Tons of heat, solid wrestling, and not a single "We want puppies! *clap clap clapclapclap*" chant. Kickass.
• The Stacy/Test/Steiner crap was kept to a minimum.
• Hurricane and Rosey finally getting a clean win.
• A pretty good main event, as the match was kept short enough to keep from exposing Goldberg's limited abilities.

The bad:
• The Christian/RVD opener. RVD has looked a little off and sloppy these past few weeks. Maybe next week will get him back on track.
• The Shane/Kane segment struck me as a bit silly. Not nearly as bad as the jumper cable incident, but I wouldn't classify it as "good," either.
• The Stacy/Test/Steiner crap, while kept to a minimum, was still there.
• Coach v. JR next week? Arrrrggggg.
• The Mark Henry squash. They can't make me care about this guy, no matter how hard they try.
• The Evolution v. Maven/Jindrak/Cade didn't elicit much of a reaction from me, positive or negative.

But I'm really looking forward to the continuing Jericho/Austin saga next week, more great matches from the ladies, and the ladder match. Coach and Snow were also a nice change of pace for me. The best RAW I've seen in quite a while.

Smackdown!: 3.5
The good:
• An impending Angle/Cena feud. The promos will be GOLD, and the matches should be pretty damn good, too.
• A nice tag title match that seems to be setting up for an eventual Eddie/Hardy U.S. Title match. I'm there, dude.
• The cruiserweight match with the right guy going over. It's always more fun when the face is chasing the title, and I think I could handle another month of Tajiri/Mysterio matches.
• Eddie hanging on to his double gold.
• A motivated Taker v. Lesnar at No Mercy. Yeah, I like Taker, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

The bad:
• The Vince/Sable backstage skit. Do we really have to watch that shit?
• Benoit needs someone to feud with, and WWE decides to go with A-train instead of Rhyno? What the fuck is wrong with them?
• The Bashams v. Jamie Noble and Bradshaw. The Bashams look promising, but this was a pretty ugly match that didn't have much of a point.
• Vince v. Stephanie at No Mercy? Are they serious? The only thing that could possibly make that match entertaining are run-ins by Angle, Zach, and Taker. This has "Train Wreck" written all over it.

The wrestling this week was good, but not the same take-your-breath-away quality that I've grown used to from Smackdown! It might not be fair to drop my rating so much from previous weeks, but I expect a little better from these guys. A couple of bad booking decisions (Benoit/A-train and Vince/Stephanie) didn't help much, either. But as I said, the wrestling was good, and I like the direction that they're headed in with Kurt, Cena, Brock, Taker, Eddie, and Matt. I couldn't decide which show I liked better this week, so RAW and SD! are tied in my ratings.

Erin's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.8), SD! (3.4).

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 2.0
This week's effort was not up to the standard RAW has built for itself in the past weeks. The crew was half-assing it, and the ratings reflected it this week.

The good: Goldberg v. Jericho was everything it should have been. Perhaps they're finally wising up to the idea that Goldberg is most effective when used in short, simple matches. Of course, Jericho working his magic once again didn't hurt. I found this slightly puzzling, that a match with this much potential was used to further the Austin-Jericho angle, but I'll let that slide for now. Trish/Lita v. Molly/Gail wasn't as good as their PPV effort, but painless enough.

The bad: Er... everything else, pretty much. Mark Henry v. Tommy Dreamer? Evolution v. Cade/Jindrak/Maven? Conway/Dupree v. Rosey/Hurricane? Is this RAW or did I flash back to the days of Prime Time Wrestling? Coming up next, highlights of Greg The Hammer Valentine v. Kato, joined in progress from the Boston Garden. Ugh.

Smackdown!: 3.0
I will give the RAW folks one thing, when it's PPV month for them, those boys work overtime at getting angles across. Smackdown... not so much. Still, the match quality was head and shoulders above its Monday night competition.

The good: Mysterio v. Tajiri was an enjoyable cruiserweight bout, and easily stole the show. It makes me wonder why Tajiri was never pushed harder in the "evil foreign heel" role against heavyweights. I strongly think Tajiri could pull that role off, as he has charisma to spare, knows how to carry a match and can go spot for spot with the best of them (Rey being "the best of them"). And the camera angle showing Sparks reviving Hebner in one corner of the screen while Tajiri was misting Rey in the other corner made for an excellent visual.

Guerrero v. Haas wasn't a bad effort at all. In just a couple of weeks, Haas has transitioned nicely from tag teamer to singles star, and he looks fine doing it. Not bad considering the guy's been in WWE for less than a year! Los Guerreros v. Matt and Shannon was decent, if short, and I could see Team Mattitude winning the gold sometime before No Mercy.

The bad: I sat in on a recent WWE conference call (working for OO has its privileges) between all four McMahons, and this is how the conversation went:

Vince: We need a blockbuster angle to sell No Mercy, dammit.
Shane: I've got an idea, what if I attack Brock Lesnar, then jump off the rafters and dropkick him?
Linda: For the thousandth time, Shane, no. In the interests of fairness, I feel it is appropriate that we, the board, determine—
Vince: BO-RING! Anyone else?
Stephanie: Daddy, what about focusing the PPV on me?
Vince: Interesting. Go on....
Stephanie: Well, I could have a match....
Vince: I love it! Against who, Sable or Torrie?
Stephanie: Actually, I was thinking it could be against... you, daddy!
Shane: And then at the end, I could jump off the—
Vince, Linda, Stephanie: NO!!!!!

But seriously, folks, what are they thinking here? Who honestly wants to see this happen? Didn't think so. I'd almost rather see JR/Lawler v. Coach/Snow II (and who knows what the future will bring?). Almost. Other than this potential ***** classic, WWE hasn't done a ton to build up to No Mercy. Angle v. Cena sounds okay, but they only give it a couple of minutes Thursday. A-Train v. Benoit — yawn. Lesnar v. Undertaker has started off right, but give them another week to screw things up.

The Canadian Bulldog's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.8), SD! (3.5).

Matt Hocking
RAW:  3.5
JC:  Oh, man, the Coach and Al Snow!  Rockin' the Ratings.
AS:  Oh, yeah!  You know it!  And our guest this week is Chris Jericho!
CJ:  What's goin' on?  Have you noticed something different about RAW lately?
AS:  No Stripperella promos?
JC:  More better matches.  More...  better....
CJ:  No you idiots.  More ME!  I'm in every segment.  More me, less HHH, and better matches, this place is gold!
AS:  Yeah, even the women wrestled better.
JC:  It helps that we don't shout puppies over their match.
CJ:  You guys still suck though.
AS:  That's fair.
JC:  I don't know about that.  Big week next week with ME v. JR!  What a slobberknocker that'll be!  5.0 this week!
AS:  What are you smoking, Coach?  We're good, but we're not THAT good.  3.5 seems about right.
CJ:  That's what I was thinking, Al.  3.5ish.  Overall entertaining RAW!

SmackDown:  2.9
TZ:  Cole, that was last week.
TZ:  Speaking of the Iron Man Match, our guest this week is Kurt Angle.
KA:  Hey, guys.  Hell of a match, huh?
TZ:  No doubt, no doubt.  Even with all the problems.  What did you think of SmackDown, Kurt?
KA:  Well, a hell of a match between Rey and Tajiri, but everything else was really blah.
TZ:  I did like how they gave people things to do, though.  Like you and Cena.
KA:  Very insightful, Tazz.  It's just too bad that most of those things
didn't really go anywhere.  And while I love Eddie to death, he shouldn't be having two matches in one night without some REALLY good storyline reasoning.
TZ:  Let's rate!  Cole?
KA:  Uh...  Michael?
TZ:  Never mind him then, I'll give it a 2.9...  we're slowly killing
ourselves without strong storylines.
KA:  It's true.  It's true.  3.5.
UD:  It'd Dragonriffic!  It's DAMN Dragonriffic!

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

The Immolator, Calum Macbeth
RAW: 3.0
Another step in the right direction. Show gets extra ratings points because it's the post-PPV episode. The opening piece and the main event were solid vehicles for Goldberg. The women's match was aces. Hot angle with Christian and RVD, whose styles complement well. I never liked La Resistance anyway, but all they had to do to keep getting heat on a weekly basis is butcher La Marseillaise. Now they're in La Poubelle. The announcer thing mystifies me, and not in a good way, but I'm a big Al Snow fan. I'd be quite happy with a JR-Snow announce team.
One other thing: why do you think they call it Evolution anyway? It's really ELVISlution! ELVISlution!

Smackdown!: 4.2
SmackethDown! pops a huge rating based in part on the carry over from last week's rocket buster. It maintains a solid rating with an off-the-charts Tajiri-Rey match (I mark for Tajiri) and Eddie Guerrero working twice. The Bashams match was nice and tight, as is Shaniqua's midsection. It's toy-eet. Where's Ron Simmons, though?
Unfortunately, all the good stuff was in the middle, sandwiched by tepid interview spots. Angle-Cena I can get into. Vince-Brock-Undie-Steph, not so much.

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

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.7
OK, so after a let-down of a PPV, I gotta give it to RAW: they hyped it as the start of a new era, and it actually felt like things WERE changing.  And for the better.  Opening promo was a great way to launch Goldberg and give him the Stone Cold Seal of Approval.  The RVD/Christian match had the night's best work, and a screwy ending that promises to set up an even better match for next week.  The Goldberg/Jericho main event was short, but I thought a fine example of again getting the right things out of Goldberg (and also setting the stage for a more interesting phase of the GM wars than we've had in months).  A return to the significantly-above-average region of the upper-3's for RAW.  Let's hope it can stay there!

SmackDown!: 3.9
Well, of course they couldn't duplicate last week.  But SD! still did most of the same things right that they've been doing for the past month and a half.  The things I don't care about seemed to be minimized (Steph/Vince, and the apparently desire to push forward with A-Train/Benoit for another month), while the good (Angle/Cena, Eddie's two title defense story arc, and the killer Rey/Tajiri match) were put front and center for me to focus on.  Another solid SD!, just enough to edge out RAW this week.

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


RAW average: 3.12 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.46
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.1 
SD! OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.06
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.22
RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.55
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.29
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 3
Rounds Won by SD!: 14
Current Streak: 6 by SD! (Since 8/22/03)
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)

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