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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending November 21, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:

3.60 --/-- SD!: 3.34

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 (11/17/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (11/20/03)  

Erin Anderson
I only saw the last 45 minutes of the show due to a late flight, so it seems unfair of me to rate it based on that much. But here are a few thoughts on what I did see anyway:
Rico and Val Venis had the best match of what I saw. Too bad JR and the King didn't seem to give a shit.
Matt Hardy will make a nice addition to the show. I think his turn should have been delayed, but I enjoyed the resulting exchange between Lita and Christian. Christian seem genuine for once, so now I am genuinely confused as to his intentions. I love that.
Note to Lita: carrying a little dog in a bag may be trendy, but it is still stupid.
The main event was nothing special, but it came off fine. What I thought would be the beginning to yet another month of Triple H v. Goldberg just got a lot more interesting with Kane's interference. Nice.
Jericho got to play a little tonsil hockey with Trish, and I am still enjoying and intrigued by this storyline. I still pray that the writing staff doesn't screw this one up.

Smackdown!: 3.6
The good:
A brewing Angle/Benoit feud.
Mysterio v. Akio. I would love to see these guys in a 15-minute match, but Akio must have a death wish with the way he bumps right on his head. Ouch.
The continuation of the Jamie Noble/Tajiri feud. It didn't look like Nidia got implants. Thank god, because she didn't need them.
John Cena. His ripping into Vince was pure gold, and he made the main event watchable. I smell a U.S. title run for this guy fairly soon.
A-train and Bradshaw having a surprisingly good match. I was shocked.
Kane's eulogy. I was sure it would suck, but I was pleasantly surprised. Kudos to him for a great promo.
Brock showing some real heel charisma and character in his backstage pep talk.
Hardcore Holly will be gone for a while now.
The return of Haas and Benjamin, as well as a great match with the Guerreros.
Benoit being made to look very strong, defeating a monster despite Brock's interference. Ladies and gentleman, we have a match for the Royal Rumble.

The bad:
Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan don't actively suck, but they still shouldn't be on the show yet.
I got the sinking feeling that WWE is going to have Chavo end up as a drug addict after his "something for the pain" remark to the trainer.
Squashing Shannon Moore when he would be great in the cruiserweight division.
I have the sinking suspicion that bringing back the Cat is a bad idea. If he wrestles anything like the way he commentates, this will get ugly.

For the most part, an entertaining show with only a few bad notes, mostly in the form of Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, and the Big Show.

Erin Anderson's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.2).

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 3.5
The good: Had anyone asked me ahead of time if a 3-on-1 match between Evolution and Goldberg would end up making "Da Man" actually look GOOD, I would have laughed at them. Yet it happened. Goldberg looked strong, even in taking the fall. I'm assuming he's going to lose next week (actually, I've been assuming that since about 1 day after he first beat HHH), but at least they're borrowing some of the formula that made Bill Goldberg a success in the first place, so it's hard to argue with that.

Some nice continuity this week and spillover from Survivor Series. The whole idea of Bischoff granting wishes to the winning team proved that there was something at stake in the Survivor Series. And the fact that Christian used his wish to reinstate Lita, well, that was an interesting swerve. Kane confronting Goldberg to end the show was intriguing.

The bad: What a terrible misuse of Matt Hardy out of the gate. I believe it's already been said, but hell, they could have built that up for a month before he dumped Lita, especially with a RAW PPV right around the corner. Booker T v. Mark Henry was a colossal waste of time, as with Rico v. Val Venis, even with the one... er... uh... highlight there.... I may be in the minority here, but RVD v. Flair seemed awkward to watch. Almost as if RVD was in pain the entire match. Maybe that was his idea of selling, I don't know.... I've officially had enough of La Resistance. And Jindrak and Cade. And Mark Henry, for that matter. I think the show needs a fresh infusion of talent pretty quickly, and importing Matt Hardy is probably a good start.

Smackdown!: 2.5
The good: I didn't think so at first, but Kane guest-starring was actually a good thing. It reminds me of whenever someone from the Cheers universe was suddenly in town during a Very Special Episode of Frasier. Of course, Woody never tried to make Niles impotent via a pair of jumper-cables, but is that really the point here, folks?

Cena is getting over big time; let's just hope WWE doesn't screw it up now. With the album and clothing line on its way, if it's done right, he could be the next... okay, maybe not Austin, but something along those lines. Tajiri-Noble and WGTT-Guerreros were both very watchable.

The bad: I just don't like the idea of Chickenshit Brock Lesnar. That's almost bad as his smily, happy-go-lucky heel persona. Let him kick ass; the formula worked. The fact that they realized on the other side of WWE that this was the best way to push Goldberg should be proof enough. I've officially seen enough of Nathan Jones and Matt '"Arn Anderson's head fused onto Sid Vicious' body" Morgan for a while now. These guys just aren't ready for prime time. A-Train v. Bradshaw, the official match of Hell, graces our TV sets for the second week in a row. Why? Was Zach Gowen busy that night or something? Are they saving the Vince McMahon shoot interview for another week? The Faarooq "Desire" video on his miraculous comeback wasn't finished just yet? Come on, you guys can surely do better than A-Train/Bradshaw II. Ugh.

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

Jeb Tennyson Lund

RAW: 3.3
When I look back on RAW, I'm struck by how little I remember of it. I mean, I knew I liked it when I watched it, but I think wrestling news and speculation on the internet have made these shows less eventful for me.

Case in point: Kane coming out and messing with Goldberg. I mean, this should be exciting, right? I wanted to see this happen, right? Yeah, sure. The problem for me is that it has seemed so right and like such a good idea for so long that WWE's finally getting around to it came off less like a startling new development and more like WWE's booking staff grudgingly coming to grips with inevitability.

I think another problem contributing to the "oh, uh-huh" atmosphere of RAW is that often the developments most rife with possibility are very much out-of-ring things. Consider this: the end match was good, and Goldberg looked good; Rico and Venis were good; the other matches were decent and uneventful. But, aside from Kane/Goldberg, the three most eventful parts of the night were: Matt Hardy dumping Lita; Christian rescuing Lita; Jericho and Trish kissing.

Wrestling really ought to be wrestling with soap opera added to lubricate the transitions between matches, create the necessity for matches and add a little depth to matches. This show seemed to throw matches out there to whet your appetite for more soap opera high points. I think you could easily distill this show (and many shows from the previous weeks) into a 45-minute progam featuring the matches and conversations held by the main players in these little dramas, and the resulting product will be just as satisfying as RAW is today.

Overall, a decent show, with only a few real "eventful" moments.

Smackdown!: 3.6
The difference between Smackdown and RAW was that it did have a few special events that lodged in the memory. Kane's guest appearance alone makes this show memorable, even if the overall product was not that remarkably superior than RAW's.

Noble, Tajiri, Akio and Mysterio are again your heroes for the night, providing two solid, entertaining and eye-popping matches. Akio is fantastic, and those head-scissor transitions and his flipping Bruce Lee kick in the corner seriously locked me into the match.

There wasn't much badness to the show, other than The Cat (note: I hate you), Matt Morgan (see note to The Cat) and A-Train (ask Matt Morgan about the note I sent The Cat). I thought Vince was amusing, and that Cena's rap and later selling in his match with Big Show were top notch. Having someone as verbally constipated as Lesnar try to be a motivational speaker for lummoxes like Morgan, Show, A-Train and Jones is pretty much a textbook example of the blind leading the blind. Still, I kinda dig it. And I really dig the prospect of Benoit methodically working his way through Lesnar's minions on his way to stripping that bastard of the WWE title and making Scott Keith explode.

Jeb Tennyson Lund's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.9), SD! (3.0).

Big Danny T
: 3.9
Damn good show, Love the fresh angles they are taking with everything, and even HHH isn't that bad on my TV anymore. And yes, just like the Rick, I'm turning into a middle aged housewife wondering what the next development in the Christian/Jericho/Lita/Trish saga will be.

Smackdown!: 3.6
Nothing to complain about here, except Vince's overacting and painting themselves into a storyline corner with Hardcore Holly's suspension. Only way they can go with this is Hardcore becomes so much of a ticket buying nuisance that Brock gets fed up and they fight. Oh, and please, please, please don't tell me that someone thinks that A-Train/Bradshaw is a money feud. *Insert shameless plug for recap here.*

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

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.7 
In a week where both brands came off strong PPV outings with solid and consistent shows, the last few tenths of a point (and the BotB win, in my opinion) are awarded to RAW based on the jump of Matt Hardy.  That gave RAW the one memorable moment that might be notable as something other than trivial minutiae down the line.  You also had yourself some decent wrestling matches, and the foundations laid for a new set of storylines and feuds.  Randy Orton, over this next month, is gonna have a chance to illustrate to us just whether he's worth all this effort or not, and at present, he and RVD are looking like the strongest WRESTLING match on the December PPV card.  Of course, there's still plenty of time to set up additional things (besides Goldberg/Kane and Dudleys/Test&Steiner), too... 

SmackDown!: 3.4 
SD! may have lacked a signature moment, but it was pretty much without serious fault.  Other than my impression that the Guerreros/WGTT match was criminally short, I thought everything flowed nicely, and we got a good mix of quality wrestling (especially in Tajiri/Noble and Cena/Show) and good storytelling (Kane's eulogy, Chavo's slow descent).  Star of the night was John Cena...  any time you get to cut a top shelf promo against the Boss and then turn around and pin the Big Show, you've done something.

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


RAW average: 3.60
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.34 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  ??? (4.1 Overnight Rating)  
SD! ????delivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.15 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.14 

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

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.36 
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.34 

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

Rounds Won by RAW: 9 
Rounds Won by SD!: 15  
Current Streak: 1 by RAW (Since 11/21/03) 
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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