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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending November 28, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:

3.68 --/-- SD!: 3.26

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 (11/24/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (11/27/03)  

Erin Anderson

RAW: 3.9
Here's what I had to say about RAW on the message boards. It covers just about everything:

I can't really complain about anything on the show. Booker-Henry was the low point for me (because I see a PPV match for these two. Ugh), but it even wasn't that bad. The ladies did a nice job in the cage match and Matt interfered like the good heel that he is. Trish-Jackie was fine for a T&A match, and even had some humor thrown in with the Rico bit. The strange bedfellows match was perfectly done, with heat being put on Matt Hardy and tension building between Bubba and Garrison Cade at the same time.

HHH-Goldberg was good as well (unexpected bell-ringing aside), and I thought the following backstage segment between HHH, Kane, and Bischoff was great. RVD v. Test/Steiner was inoffensive and the end of that match served its purpose to continue the RVD-Orton feud; I can see Orton constantly eluding the frog splash until the PPV. When he finally does get splashed, the crowd will go apeshit.

The comments about Fernando at the end of Hurricane and Rosey's "match" annoyed me, but not all that greatly. I don't expect a wrestling show to be politically correct, and I thought that the rest of the Capture the Midget bit was harmless and fun.

Bischoff was at his absolute best on the mic tonight, as were HBK and Flair. The main event got scary for a minute when Flair busted his nose, but they pulled it off well and the finish was perfect: Jericho got his revenge on HBK for punching him, but still won the match.

And as for the most interesting parts of the show for me (as it has been for the last month), Jericho/Trish and Christian/Lita... they're doing a good job of keeping the audience baffled, but I think I finally figured out what they're going to do with this. I won't bore you with five paragraphs' worth of fantasy booking, though.

As for the whole show, I was thoroughly entertained for two hours. Another really good RAW in a long string of them.

SmackDown!: 2.9
I'm very impressed with how far Lesnar has come on the mic. He and Heyman were terrific in the show's opening, and you know I'm going to love a show without Sable and Vince.

Most of the matches fall into the "just there" category, as Nathan Jones and Matt Morgan continue to underwhelm me. They're not actively horrible, but they're getting by on their looks and not much else. I hate that on a show that used to be a showcase for the best wrestling in the company. Noble-Akio wasn't anything special, but Tajiri's facial expressions while he toyed with Nidia were hilarious and made it worth watching.

Haas-Guerrero was predictably good, but way too short. I absolutely hate the route that WWE seems to be taking with Chavo, though. A "Chavo the junkie" storyline would be completely tasteless and pointless, and I feel sorry for Eddie having to take part in it. The only thing that I'm looking forward to in this impending feud is the matches they'll have.

The Cat seemed like a bomb as soon as he stepped through that curtain. The crowd wasn't buying what he was trying to sell, and neither was I. The reaction never got above "half-hearted" until Torrie showed up. What a waste of time. Turn this guy heel, NOW.

Cena v. A-train was solid, but the main event stole the show for me. Once it got down to the final four, things really picked up steam, and I'm very impressed at how well Cena and Benoit pulled off the finish. I can't wait to see their match next week.

The show was fairly solid overall, but there was way too much sub-par wrestling and big men on a show that used to be known for kicking ass in the ring. Morgan and Jones are killing me here, and the Cat isn't helping matters.

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

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 3.5
The good: I like the Raw Roulette, so long as they keep to once a year or whatever. A nice theme-y show all around. Goldberg v. HHH III was the best outing they've had yet, and I was pleasantly surprised yet again that HHH didn't come out on top... Randy Orton v. Sgt. Slaughter was funny and painless... The 'strange bedfellows' match was interesting and prolongs the inevitable Hardy-Christian issue a bit... The Chris-Trish issue was also advanced, and it will be worth seeing where this one goes next.

The bad: Garrison Cade does nothing for me, and if that was his way of starting a feud with The Dudleyz, methinks Bubba Ray and D-Von will have to do most of the work.... Lita v. Victoria was surpisingly bad, and Matt Hardy's entrance was pretty much a given. I don't get why they have to make a three-way match at the PPV with Kane, Goldberg and HHH: I mean, isn't the first meeting between Goldberg and Kane enough?

SmackDown!: 2.0
The good: The battle royal was a concept we hadn't seen in TV for awhile, so kudos for whomever decided to bring it up as a way to push either Benoit or Cena. It was a little on the longish side for a battle royale (anyone else remember the Saturday Night's Main Event battle royale in 1987 where people were falling out every few seconds?), but held my interest nonetheless. Guerrero v. Haas was a decent contest, and we'll see whether the Los Guerreros-WGTT feud can overshadow the problems between Eddie and Chavo.

The bad: Just a friendly reminder - Survivor Series is OVER. There's no need to keep replaying the Team Angle v. Team Lesnar feud in horrible one-on-one matches. I mean, how many combinations can they pump out before all of them are stale? Ugh.... what they need to do is establish one of the Lesnar flunkies as a guy who just keeps interfering in other people's matches (think 911 of ECW or even Brock from his early WWE days). At least that would keep me interested in say, Matt Morgan... I'm getting less and less excited about The Cat's glorious return with each lame vignette or promo they do for it.... The biggest problem here, folks, is that they're STILL not building towards anything... be it a major blowoff match or what have you. They've been stuck on this treadmill really since right after 'Mania, and if they don't do something soon, I'll really start losing interest in the show.

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


RAW: 3.7
The characteristically lame comedy segments were present on RAW last week, but, quite uncharacteristically, there was enough good on the show to balance it out. For the most part, the RAW Roulette gimmick worked better than last time, with the wheel producing more appealing stipulations than silly ones (the major exception being the awful midget stuff. Poor Gregory Helms.) But with a super-intense women’s cage match, a moderately entertaining street fight with Booker T and Mark Henry, a harmlessly fun bra and panties match, a “Lethal Lottery-style" tag team match, and a very solid main event, the roulette gimmick scored this time around. For the first time in a long time, RAW is producing storylines that are legitimately intriguing. They are not surprises for the sake of surprises, but real dramas whose climaxes are hard to predict. Such is the case with the Jericho-Trish and Christian-Lita angles and the Cade/Jindrak-Dudleys angle. Jericho may be RAW’s most fascinating character. He’s certainly the brand’s most valuable, and underrated, player.

SmackDown!: 3.6
Watching the entire Smackdown! Crew surrounding the ring at the show’s opening really exposed how young the roster is. It’s kind of scary when guys like Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero – the perennial “next generation” – are now a couple of old timers. It’s scarier to think they are in the same spots as they were five years ago. Hopefully, this episode was a step toward remedying that, at least for Benoit. Battle Royals are usually bad matches, but a fun “special attraction.” This battle royal was actually a pretty damn good match, with a lot of the suspense that makes the Royal Rumble such a terrific gimmick match each year. Hogan, Orndorf, Lex and Bret, step aside. Cena and Benoit performed the greatest “simultaneous landing” in WWE history. While Smackdown! may have the better workrate of the two brands, it always seems to have the lesser consequence. Tajiri, Noble, Moore and others may be putting on good performances in the mid card, but in the end, they just don’t seem to matter. The Cat stuff was ridiculous and just plain sucked. First I had to accept that WWE’s original Thanksgiving tradition – the Survivor Series – will never again be held on the holiday. But now WWE’s latest Thanksgiving tradition – the Gravy Bowl T&A match – has fallen by the wayside too. Is nothing sacred?

Fonzo's year-to-date averages: RAW (4.1), SD! (3.4).

Big Danny T
RAW: 3.7
The reset from last week goes along nicely. The Raw Roulette  gimmick, while all pervasive, didn't overpower the show like it could if handled differently. The silly stuff  was enough comic releif to not be overpowering (I'm going to break with popular opinion here and say that the midget jumping in JR's lap to end the match was a perfect cap to the silliness), and the serious stuff kept me engrossed. Origionally, my opinion was that they should have reversed the World Title Match and the Main event tag match, but in retrospect, they both fit their slots perfectly. You get the mystery of wondering what Jericho's deal will be until Next week, and you got the superior matchup in the main event (even though more people tuned in to see Goldberg/HHH). Another fine outing by Raw.

Smackdown!: 4.0
Whoa, I just realized something: there was NO Vince McMahon on this weeks show! That would explain why it wasn't brought down that much. The only real dragging part of this weeks Smackdown was The Cat's debut, and even that fell nicely under the heading, "Inoffensive filler with a nice bit of Torrie shakin' that thang!" Check the recap out for more thoughts.

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

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.6 
You take out the misplaced midget comedy (it had no finish, dammit, no reason to be on the show... and as much as I like midgets, they gotta have a reason for being there), and RAW pretty much was a "hit" in every segment.  Throw in even one blow-away wrestling match, and you've got the perfect formula for Monday nights: fast paced, intertwined storyline segments in the spirit of Crash TV (which we got) with just enough wrestling to placate the hardcores (which there wasn't quite enough of).  HHH and Goldberg may have had their best singles match to date, but it was still not threatening the *** barrier, and was mostly just an excuse to drag Kane into the World Title picture.  Overall: RAW settles for a Significantly Above Average rating, but not a world-beating on. 

SmackDown!: 3.8 
SD! wasn't a world-beater, either, but maybe what it did was surprise me into giving it the slight edge over RAW this week.  Instead of the throw-away, bad-comedy-laden holiday show I've come to expect on Thanksgiving, SD! gave us a good mix of wrestling, and the most compelling "nothing really happened" storyline show I can recall.  Think about it, the show ended the same way it began, with Cena and Benoit as staking the strongest claim to the #1 Contender spot.  Nothing really DID happen.  And yet, I was watching SOMEthing for those 2 hours and was having fun doing it.  That's good TV.  And even better when you were expecting drivel.

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


RAW average: 3.68
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.26 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.0   
SD! OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.17 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.14 

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

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.35 
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.34 

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

Rounds Won by RAW: 10 
Rounds Won by SD!: 15  
Current Streak: 2 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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