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OO BATTLE OF THE BRANDS  
RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins? 
Week Ending October 10, 2003

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

 

OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW
RAW: 2.83 --/-- SD!: 2.01

RATING SYSTEM:
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 (10/06/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (10/09/03)
OOFICIAL RATINGS

Erin Anderson
RAW: 2.9
The show wasn't bad at all, but Jerry Lawler's commentary killed it. He completely refused to call the action in the ring, and instead chose to keep harping on the Shane/Kane/limo angle we saw to start things off. It distracted from the rest of the show, and if past history is any indication, Kane isn't going to sell the injuries from the car accident. All that aside, the limo crash itself had a nice setup and a cool visual, but I didn't need to be reminded of the crash every ten seconds throughout the night.

I loved the Storm/RVD v. Jericho/Christian tag match, and we got lots of solid work all around from these guys in the ring and on the mic... do we have a viable IC division here? Thank God.

The women fell back a few steps this week, as Lita and Gail really can't carry a match by themselves on the same level that we've been seeing for the past few weeks. Trish and Victoria, fortunately, were the bright spot of the mixed tag match, and actually carried the whole damn thing. Good work from them.

The Steiner heel turn could be interesting, but it was completely overshadowed when they kept cutting back to Kane's situation in the parking lot. The Evolution v. Jindrak/Cade match had the same problem: nobody gave a shit, and the ringwork wasn't anything special.

The main event was watchable, but it wasn't more than that. I do like a tease for a possible Goldberg/Michaels feud, though. If anyone can have a good match with Goldberg, it's HBK.

I'll give it a 2.9 for actually using Lance Storm well, a nice tag match, and a nifty car crash. The rest was utterly forgettable.

Smackdown!: 1.9
Good god, what a bad show. I expect a lot better from a show with such a talented roster, so I mostly blame the writers and the booking committee. I'm not even going to bother going through everything, but the matches were too short, Angle and Cena didn't have nearly as good a segment as I know they're capable of, there was too much McMahon drama, and a rookie in Paul London wasn't even given a chance. And the final visual was... well, it was shit. RAW gets the easy win this week.

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


Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 3.0
The good:
Much like last week, I really appreciated the character development. After two months of watching Lance Storm in gimmick limbo, we see a nice little payoff, and it fits him well. Week two of Scott Steiner, Professional Heel, was another step in the right direction. I have no problem with the heel team of Test and Steiner feuding with The Dudleyz. And Mark Henry was allowed to further his issues with HBK and Goldberg. They didn't pretend like last week never happened. Nice work.

Ric Flair is probably the best investment WWE has made post-WCW, and this week reminded me why. The guy, even at his age, works better than all but maybe a fraction of the active roster. He doesn't rely on his past accomplishments to get by, which he certainly could. And his promo with Maven this week was among the best, most inspired ones I've heard in recent years. I'm actually looking forward to Maven v. Flair next week, which shocks the hell out of me.

Most of the matches themself were rock solid. Jericho/Christian v. RVD/Storm; Steiner v. Dudley, Henry v. Goldberg and Evolution v. Some Guy and Some Other Guy served their purposes well. Everyone was on their A-game (no relation to A-Train) this week. Well, almost everyone....

The bad:
Forgive me for a moment. I'm about to go off on a tangent here: Owen Hart was one of my favorite wrestlers ever. I don't say this because he's gone and it's a politically correct thing to say; it's the truth. I had the opportunity to meet and interview him on several ocassions and he always seemed like a classy and genuine guy. Believe it or not, I even named my CAT after Owen (even though "he" turned out to be a "she" long story).

Although I didn't watch Over The Edge in May 1999 (was at my best friend's wedding), I did see the footage on the news the next day. The one memory I have is JR's voice, saying over and over again that Owen's fatal accident "wasn't part of the entertainment portion of the program" and that "this is as real as real can get."

On Monday night, Jim Ross used that EXACT SAME TONE to inform the audience Kane had legitimately been seriously hurt in a limousine crash. I have to ask why. It makes me wonder how sincere Ross was four years ago when Owen Hart died, if he can turn on and off his "serious voice." Not only that, but this was a silly angle that accomplished nothing in my book. Are we supposed to support Kane now? Are we supposed to hate Shane McMahon? Who out there really believes Kane was in the car when they filmed that? At least attempt to make what you do look believeable, that's all I ask.

"Next week, watch The Big Red Machine and Shane O' Mac take their feud to OUTER SPACE!!!" And Kane WILL be back on television next week, mark my words. Possibly without any scratches or permanent scars from the near-fatal accident on Monday. You remember that incident, right? It's the one that cost Jim Ross whatever credibility he had left.

Smackdown!: 2.0
The good:
Not much. Nice to see Paul London on the show, but I liked the angle better when it was Angle v. Cena, or Gowen v. Big Show, or any of the dozens of other times they've done THE EXACT SAME THING! Geez. The guy bumps well and everything, but I'd rather see him as cruiserweight than as more Brock fodder. Gowen v. Moore was a nice effort, and the rap-off was cute. That was about it for me.

The bad:
I tried to watch the classic "spraying shit all over the Big Show" angle with an open mind. Really I did. And I know, in Stephanie's demented mind, this is her way to get Guerrero over, so I do appreciate the thought. But... uh.... nah. Nothing I could possibly say would really further this fascinating television segment.

Ultimo Dragon v. Tajiri was just sad. It's obvious to me that Dragon doesn't have what it takes anymore post-injury, and being "good" when you used to be "unbelievably good" really shows through.

I don't get where Undertaker has become the master of the chain match. How about a good-old fashioned casket match instead, for old times sake?

Note to Linda McMahon: You ever think of, you know, hiring a lawyer? I mean, nothing is guaranteed in this world and I'm certainly no legal expert, but I imagine you'd have a decent case, based on the following:
(a) Your family is unbelievably wealthy and controls a publicly traded, NYSE-listed company.
(b) Your husband is openly cheating on you on television, no less and has been for several years.
(c) He's bodyslamming and clotheslining your daughter.
(d) This is a man who is actively promoting a match with said daughter in order to entice people TO PAY MONEY TO WATCH IT. If that doesn't scream "insanity" as a valid defense, I don't know what does.

Canadian Bulldog's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.8), SD! (3.1).


Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.0
JR:  Another exciting week of RAW!
JL:  Exciting is right! Did you SEE that car crash?
JR:  You mean that obviously set-up and storyline-muddling car crash?
JL:  Yeah!
JR:  That was kinda cool. It's too bad we have to let our fans know that just after RAW went off the air monday, Kane died.
KN:  No I didn't!
JL:  KANE!
KN:  It was just a flesh wound.
JR:  Oh. Well. Good work by Lance Storm, and over all, the RAW brand is continuing full speed ahead even without a pay-per-view to build toward.
JL:  I know! Isn't it great, Kane?
KN:  I guess. Do I have to fight Shane McMahon all the time?
HHH:  Yes. Well, until Vince feeds you to me again. We haven't done a tentacle-porn angle yet.
JR:  It'll be a Slobber Knocker, BY GAWD! 5!!!
JL:  I concur. 5.
KN:  You guys suck. 3.

Smackdown!: 2.6
MC:  Uh... hey....
TZ:  What's the matter, Cole?
MC:  Sanitation equipment? Vince and Linda McMahon and Sable combining 500 years of experience for a crappy angle... I just don't know, Tazz.
TZ:  Yeah. Even the wrestling wasn't very good. We finally realize that we need to build things up with more than just matches and THIS is what we get? (sighs)
AT:  Hahahahahaha! I'm wrestling Chris Benoit every night. I don't CARE how shitty Smackdown is!
TZ:  I hear ya. Well... I still like Cena.
MC:  Is there any room on Velocity for a disillusioned play by play man?
TZ:  Sure thing, Cole, just let me choke out Josh.
AT:  Toot Toot!
TZ:  SHADES OF TUGBOAT THOMAS!!!
MC:  (sighs) 0.
AT:  What are you talking about! A-TRAIN/BENOIT!!! Match of the Year! 5!
MC:  (sighs)
TZ:  You guys are both stupid. Uh... 2.6... for the effort.

Matt Hocking's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.7), SD! (3.3).


The Immolator, Calum Macbeth
RAW: 2.3
Welcome back to Nitroville.
I get the impression the Kane limo-crash angle takes us back to where we were supposed to be after the Kane-exploding trashbin angle. Which distresses me. Jamal didn't exactly get buried in his match, but Hurricane got fed a squash sandwich. Not good. And then, during Spike v. Steiner, cutting away from the match to watch more of this ambulance stuff, buries the match. Really not good.

I'm thankful Lita and Gail were given the time to have a proper match. And Lance gets a push! Otherwise, nothing to see here.

Smackdown!: 1.9
Welcome to Thunder!
Tell me this didn't happen. I thought we were in for a hot show after the UD-Tajiri match (as short as it was). But nooooooo...

A main event sewage bath?! And more JttS action than I've seen since The Goon, T.L. Hopper and Who? were gainfully employed?!

This week, even though it had the poorest angle (even worse than a sewage bath, if you can imagine), I give RAW the edge on two solid matches and some eyeball carry-over from last week's excellent show.
Thank God it's hockey season.

The Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.8), SD! (3.6).


Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 2.8
It's difficult not to rate RAW higher to further enforce my opinion that Smackdown was not only terrible, it was also revolting. But really, RAW was a fair-to-middling show with one or two pleasant points and not too much to detract from it. Had Smackdown simply put on its own mediocre show this week, it would have won the contest handily.

The highlight of the night was probably Flair's ring work and promo. ("Jump on, buddy! 'Cause jumpin' on is easier than jumpin' off. 'Cause I've had more championships than you've had women.") The Maven/Trish v. Stevie/Victoria match was among the best of the night, and Trish and Victoria really carried it. It was nice to see the women upstaging the men in the main event. Y2J and company once again put on a great promo, with Y2J slipping in another "recockulous" and Storm displaying a personality. Also, Christian/Jericho v. Storm/RVD was a solid match, although hampered (like virtually every other match) by commercial interruption. It was nice to see Storm pick up the win. It wasn't so nice to see RVD no-sell the Walls of Jericho: now Jericho has two finishers that no one sells!

Quibbling points:
Almost all matches were interrupted somehow, be they commercial breaks or jumps to Kane backstage.
LAWLER!
Test and Stacy.
Kane destroying Hurricane and Rosey in short order, all for a set up with Shane. I don't know why those two had to look so bad in order for Kane to get duped by Shane.
The endless cuts to Kane backstage, overemphasizing the "drama" so much that I stopped being interested after the second hard-sell.
Lita and Gail blowin' some spots!
Triple H borrowing more catchphrases in one speech than Mick Foley in one year as a cheap-pop-gettin' commissioner. This week it was:
Triple H: Everyone's got a price. Who's next?
Next week it will be:
Triple H: You know, ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, The Game says, when you check di-rectly into the Smackdown Hotel and look at the bottom line, you have to ask yourself, "What?" Then realize that the man who's next in line also has a price. That fat boy. If he says, "Whooooo" ever, eeeeeverrrrrrr again, it's damn true he's gonna rest in peace. Hey, yo, prove me wrong. (Triple H then flies off screen, his cape, with a picture of an urn on it, fluttering behind him.)

Smackdown!: 1.0
There are two reasons why this show didn't drop below wrestling's ratings equivalent of the Mendoza Line, and those are a Zach Gowen match(!) and a match featuring A-Train and the APA(!), amongst others. That's sad.

What else did we have? Let's see: and Undertaker squash in less time than it takes to change your mind; Ultimo Dragon given three minutes to work; Big Show squashing someone; Brock squashing someone so much that his career is probably already over; a fucking RAP-OFF; endless McMahon garbage; Undertaker wanting a "bike chain match" (like anyone give's a damn what that is or will look like); and a main-event consisting entirely of happy shit spray.

Hey, Smackdown, fuck you.

Jeb Tennyson Lund's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.8), SD! (3.0).


Big Danny T
RAW: 3.3
I agree with just about everyone; apart from the "drama" of Shane trying to destroy Kane (literally) and the great mid-show promo showcasing Lance Storm against Jericho and Christian, RAW didn't really do anything for me this week. I dare anyone to, off the top of their head in two weeks, remember any of the segments on this show apart from the two mentioned above. They won't, because nothing was memorable or even worth remembering. But, since Raw does not have a pay-per-view right around the corner, it can be forgiven.

Smackdown!: 2.4
Never thought I'd say this, but this week was a giant ball of suck. Check the recap.

Big Danny T's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.6).


Rick Scaia

RAW: 2.5
The parts that sucked, sucked.  The parts that were good still kinda sucked, because Lawler wouldn't stop yapping about the parts that sucked.  I've said my piece on this one (twice, actually), so go read my column if you really care.

SmackDown!: 2.3
After much soul-searching, I've decided I liked SD! even less than RAW.  Yes, SD! hit a few more highs than RAW did (Angle/Cena was as good a promo as Jericho/Austin/Storm, and Tajiri/Dragon and Matt/Spanky were both, while short, at least as good as the Jericho/Christian/RVD/Storm tag match on RAW), but also did two things horribly wrong.  First, they presented the week's most unwatchable load of nonsense (the main event angle), and worse: they committed the egregious sin of obviously underachieving.  SD has shown us what it can be, and as recently as three weeks ago was on a huge roll, seemingly unstoppable.  To turn around and intentionally deliver an effort like Thursday's... well, it's frustrating to watch.  Was SD! actually the lesser of the two shows last week?  I'm not sure, it was a really close call for me... but it was damned sure the one I was more disappointed in.  Boo. 

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


FINAL OO RATINGS, WEEK ENDING 10/10/03

RAW average: 2.83 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 2.8 (converted to broadcast rating)
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 2.01
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.6
SD! UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

YEAR TO DATE TALLIES

Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.07
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.18
RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.46
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.28
SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 5
Rounds Won by SD!: 14
Current Streak: 2 by RAW (Since 10/03/03)
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)

BROWSE PAST WEEK'S BATTLES OF THE BRANDS
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