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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending November 7, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
3.12 --/-- SD!: 3.28

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 (11/03/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (11/06/03)  

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 3.0
The good: Steve Austin gave the most inspired promo he's done since probably the peak of the WCW-ECW Alliance days. They're obviously foreshadowing the return of Classic Stone Cold, and it's intriguing to see where they go with it.... The tag match involving The 10 p.m. crew of Jericho/Christian v. RVD/Booker was solid, if a little short. They're disguising Batista's weaknesses by putting him in a squash situation against Maven. Nothing wrong with that for now.... Dudleyz v. Jindrak/Cade was a decent effort, with a surprise ending to boot.... The Survivor Series teams continue to benefit from a nice storyline.
The bad: The Trish and John Hnrnrn (copyright Matt Hocking) stuff did nothing for me, same with the Russo-esque storyline of "Little Johnny." Ugh.... Michaels v. Henry was a crappy as I'd expected it to be..... And I repeat last week's plea for them to hold off on Goldberg v. HHH II at Survivor Series. They already have the issue with Batista going strong. Pleeeease let Goldberg keep the belt one more month. Or else that's it for him in the WWE, you realize.

Smackdown!: 3.0
The good: Finally, some solid storytelling here, after nine months of going downhill on the Smackdown side of things.... Team Lesnar LOOKS freaking awesome, whether any of them can fight or not, I can't think of a more menacing-looking squadron in wrestling history. That ought to be worth something.... The Cena and Guerrero turns are being handled well, and they didn't rush into either of them, which was nice.... Jamie Noble's match against Tajiri at Survivor Series actually means something now.... And lord help me, I'm digging the backstory to Undertaker and Vince McMahon.... Very nice storytelling all around.
The bad: In-ring action was still on the short side, though nothing like last week's fiasco.... Big Show v. Bradshaw = Bad Show v. Badshaw. This week on Fox: When Hosses Collide...... The Basham Brothers are just wrestlecrap waiting to happen. Please strip them of their tag team titles ASAP. Thanks..... Remember what I said one paragraph ago about Team Lesnar? They can't exactly, you know, wrestle, which could be a problem. But damn, they look good.

Canadian Bulldog's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.1), SD! (2.9).

Matt Hocking

RAW: 3.3
JR:  Well, folks, Shawn Michaels is this week's guest.
SM:  Hey guys.
JL:  This makes sense! He's in EVERY segment.
SM:  Just like Chris Jericho!
JR:  Speaking of, his storyline with Trish Stratus is moving full speed ahead.
JL:  Even with the inclusion of John Hnnrnnr and his "Little Johnny."
SM:  And any RAW where I get to hug a big sweaty muscleman is a good RAW for me.
JR:  I just think that this week's RAW was the very definition of "treading our wheels" until Survivor Series.
JL:  I'd like to tread Molly's wheels.
JR:  Would you stop?
JL:  Only for a 5.0!
SM:  Yeah, I'm with King. 5.0. Me hugging Mark Henry was AWESOME.
JR:  Uh... no. 3.3.
HHH:  Needs more ME!

Smackdown!: 3.2
MC:  Michael Cole and Tazz at ringside!
TZ:  Will you let me leave?
MC:  Not until we've heard from our guest, Nathan Jones!
NJ:  G'day.
TZ:  Ugh. Way to let yourself get carried this week, Nathan.
NJ:  Thanks, mate!
MC:  I never thought you'd be so nice!
NJ:  Uh... GRRRR.
MC:  AH!
TZ:  Folks, let me level with you. The writing on this show isn't really going anywhere like it is on RAW, but at least Ultimo, Cena and Eddie are getting something to do, you know?
UD:  I'm going over like a Dragon in heat!
ND:  Good expression there, Ultimate Digerido.
TZ:  Right. Whatever. 3.2.
ND:  0, which in Australia, because we're upside down, would be 5.
MC:  Wow. Nathan Jones is the smartest man alive!! 5!!

Matt Hocking's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.6), SD! (3.3).

Jeb Tennyson Lund
RAW: 3.2
I don't have a lot of cohesive thoughts, so here are some notes I made while watching the show:
Nice to see an opening match. Booker/RVD v. Christian and Jericho was pretty interesting, but sub-par for these guys. I guess I've been taught to expect a lot from them, and this match didn't seem to have the drama. Nice to see that RVD can still cut someone's face open with his special-educated feet.
Why do I like Coach so much now?
Molly Holly is my new hero as she beats up the half-woman half-monkey Terri. Terri throws her own feces in defense. Liked the dragged-to-ringside thing, but Lita's run-in and Gail Kim's sabotage was broadcast waaay in advance.
Can someone come up with a cool acronym or nickname for HBKJesusFish? Like HBJC? Or something? Seriously, that HBK fish really irritates me: especially since humility is something that Michaels and Jesus don't seem to have in common.
I liked Michael's being deliberately oblivious with Stone Cold, but that dialogue was too drawn out. The payoff was pretty much assumed, so the process of getting there was all the more taxing and wearisome.
Chris Tian likes Lita, then smirks as he walks away. That bounder!
Maven and Batista was good because it keeps us from seeing how much of an ass Batista is when he has to have a real match. But it was piss-poor considering Maven got in 16 seconds of offense, and WWE has been trying to make him seem interesting or inspired these last couple of weeks. Mixed message, guys. Try again.
Cade and Jindrak winning #1 contendership is cool thing. Winning because the Dudleyz couldn't stop looking at Steiner's awesome "LOOK AT ME, I AM HOLDING A WOMAN ABOVE ME; WATCH AS HER CORPOREAL FORM IS TAKEN FROM ME AND ASCENDS DIRECTLY TO HEAVEN" spectacle is not so good. I guess we can be certain they'll win the tag belts if only John Hnnrnnr can come out, hold the Ark of the Covenant aloft and melt the faces off Triple H and Orton.
Bischoff making Orton his critical 5th man at Survivor Series is on par, in terms of strategic thinking, with Sid Vicious returning to that fight with a squeegee. Chilling, truly chilling.
Austin's promo: two minutes of content; six minutes running time. How I long for more contract signings. Ooooooh! Batista just called Austin a coward. Austin said, "YOUR MOM!"
Seeing Lance dance makes me want to listen to John Fogarty's "Zaentz Can't Dance," but not I repeat, not to Genesis' "I Can't Dance."
Jericho and Trish are officially the most amusing thing on RAW. This is great.
Someone killed Steven Richards again.
HBK and Mark Henry.... This is bad. It's all kinds of bad badness, badly badding its badly badded badness all over what could have been a badass show.
That kip-up and superkick from Michaels came out of more nowhere than there actually is. Michaels had to bring nowhere from one of his SuperJesus Dimensions to accumulate enough nowhere for that kick to come out of. Officially the stupidest thing I've seen all night.
Whoops, nevermind. Goldberg no-selling a pillmanized ankle just took the title.
Good God! Did Austin totally sell for Batista or what? He just made him look very very good! Meanwhile, Triple H is somewhere not taking note of this.

In all, an average show. The little charms pushed it out of mediocrity, but the uneventful matches and stories really didn't draw a lot of attention. This is a textbook transitional show. And that's a good thing, because we need those, too. Trish and Jericho were the best thing about the show.

Smackdown!: 3.5
I didn't take notes while watching Smackdown, so I'm left with being very vague.

Vince. Vince Vince Vince Vince Vince. You are completely insane. I love it. It's fantastic. This is why we keep Vince McMahon around apart from his ownership of the company. There is a very short list of people in wrestling who can cut a promo that well. After Flair, Austin, Rock, Heyman and sometimes Jericho, you have Vince. Vince went out there and out-Heymaned Heyman. He made me want to see the next Smackdown. Given what the shows have been like lately, that says a lot to me.

Smackdown trundled out some decent stuff otherwise, but nothing to write home about. Noble, Dragon and your obligatory cruiser match featuring racial stereotype guys (Italians and Japanese are different folks, folks!) was great to watch, as usual. And Eddie Guerrero did his typical fantastic job against the perennially flavorless Bashams. (Hey, I don't dislike the guys. But they haven't given me anything to connect with them. They're out there, in permanent disconnect. No one gets into a Bashams match. Everyone "observes" it.)

Matt Morgan did something last night that no one else has done before. He made me appreciate A-Train. More specifically, he made me appreciate that A-Train is not Matt Morgan. And even though Benoit and Angle long ago reached that Flair-esque point of being able to carry a broomstick to a great match, it's matches like last night's that really emphasize that fact.

Highlight of the night: Cena. I hate to say it, because I tend to recoil at joining internet bandwagon love for wrestlers, but Cena was awesome. His match with Rey was pretty good, especially for such a clash of styles. But Cena won it in his own style, on his own terms, showing off his character, which fed right into the next segment, when he turned down Heyman's offer to join Team Lesnar. "Team Sasquatch": hilarious.

Drawbacks to the show: Brock boring me again, The Cat, the dull Taker segment, Bradshaw v. Big Show, and any mention of Bob Holly.

Both RAW and Smackdown were, by definition, transition shows. But whereas RAW basically gave us the same thing as last week, only slightly tweaked, Smackdown turned a few plot corners and did so in exciting ways. I want to know how this thing with Cena turns out. I want to see Vince go slightly nuttier, and I wonder if The Dead Man will return. With RAW, on the other hand, I just want them to get to the pay-per-view so their story can finally change. That's why the Thursday show gets the lead.

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

The Immolator, Calum Macbeth 
RAW: 3.1 
RAW's renaissance continues. Opening match was awesome, and the Molly-Lita angle with Terri and Gail was very well done. The Austin-Michaels piece was a rare example of good non-wrestling content. Batista squashing Maven doesn't do much for either party. That Kane, he seems like such a nice man when he talks. I wish they'd bring back the mask and the voicebox. The Cade-Jindrak push reminds me of the Jindrak-O'Haire push. I'd like to see Stacy re-up with the Dudleys. Contract signings always suck. Say, are we getting a Storm-Venis tag team? That would rule. You know, when Trish did that backstage vignette with Jericho, and she touched his hand ever so slightly on her way out, it made me jealous. Even though I'm happily domesticated and I know it's an angle. I am such a mark. Passable main event. Passable closing segment setting up Batista-Goldberg.

SmackDown!: 2.9 
Not as bad as previous weeks, but not quite up to speed yet post-No Mercy. The bizarre insertion of Morgan and Jones into the main event level is being handled as well as it can, I suppose. SD! has always been heavily populated by cruisers and thin at the top, so I guess the plan is to throw the monsters in there and rely on Heyman to make lemonade. It worked with all those permutations of Angle-Show-early Lesnar, so here's hoping. It's all about Cena in the end, of course. Good handling from the start to the finish of the program to make the episode essentially a Cena cycle. Of course, I'd be more than happy to see more Dragon-riffing and less taped interviewing, but that's me. And you, probably.

Immolator's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.4).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.0 
Good, even very good, at times, RAW still had too many John Heidenreichs, Mark Henrys, and Batistas to sustain a seriously quality program.  The slightly more schizophrenic vibe to RAW still averaged out to a plenty entertaining show, one I liked about as much as the week before.  But to see those gaps and to know how easily they could be plugged with better material does leave me with a certain sense of disappointment.  I'd say more, but fact is, I've already said it in the recap (linked at the top of the page).

SmackDown!: 3.8 
And while RAW is subtly disappointing despite a fairly decent show, SD! is went out of its way to plug holes in the proper manner, and overcame recent disappointments with a very welcome strong effort.  The wrestling was back this week, and the story-telling (especially with regards to Eddie Guerrero and John Cena) was absolutely top notch.  Even Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan looked OK.  Seriously, even if this wasn't a case of SD! bouncing back after recent troubles, this was a show I'd've been very happy with.  That it comes on the heels of shows with 10 total minutes of bell-to-bell time and other atrocities makes it that much more welcome.  The easy choice for Brand of the Week to me.  Again, sorry so brief, but there are more thoughts are in the recap.

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.8).


RAW average: 3.12
Actual Nielsen Rating: 2.9 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.28 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.6  
SD! UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.13 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.14 

RAW is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.37 
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.33 

SD! is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Rounds Won by RAW: 8 
Rounds Won by SD!: 15  
Current Streak: 1 by SD! (Since 11/07/03) 
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)


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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