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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending December 5, 2003

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:
2.85 --/-- SD!: 3.73

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 (12/01/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (12/04/03)  

Erin Anderson  
RAW: 3.3 

The good:

Foley! Foley! Foley! It's always good to see him on TV.

The mixed-tag match featured some damn fine wrestling, and Jericho was ON FIRE playing the baby face.

A solid main event tag match.

Seeing Test, Steiner, and Coach get fired.

A good Christian v. Matt Hardy match, even if Christian's "baby face" reaction was lukewarm at best.

Coach v. Lawler was kept to less than a minute of ring time and was thus inoffensive.

Stacy's antics during the Test/Booker match.

Nice performances all-around in promos and backstage segments.

The bad:

By the end of the show, there was too much Foley. I love the guy, but enough is enough.

Seeing all the guys who had been fired be "un-fired" at the end. What a cop-out.

"The Bet." I'm not complaining about basing the storyline around a bet, but rather the way it was revealed in a throwaway backstage segment when this angle had a lot more mileage in it. I think it's far from over, but it's the first misstep by the writers in an otherwise great angle.

WHY is Booker even feuding with Mark Henry? Nobody cares.

Some good wrestling and the return of Foley give it a 3.3, but the show was nowhere near on par with what RAW has been doing over the last few months.

SmackDown!: 3.3 
The good:

Benoit v. Cena. I wasn't crazy about the "controversy," but at least it sets up a Show/Cena feud. It's about damn time Show defends that title, and Cena is the guy to take it from him.

Chavo v. Shelton. A solid match made even better by Eddie's hilarious antics at ringside.

An interesting development in the Noble/Nidia relationship. I hope she gets her sight back and kicks his ass when all is said and done.

Brock v. Benoit. Being the smarky Benoit fan that I am, I loved seeing him get such a great reaction against Brock (and also against an ultra-hot John Cena). Benoit refusing to tap was a great ending, as was that VICIOUS submission hold Brock used. He needs to name that move and use it in all of his matches.

The bad:

Scotty and Rikishi being built up as title contenders. I just can't make myself care.

Yet another dismantling of Shannon Moore. I get the feeling he'll be built up as the next Spike Dudley, but getting there is incredibly boring.

Noble v. Sakoda. Sorry, but Sakoda is no Akio. The match was very boring, and only made moderately interesting by having Nidia figure into the finish.

Hardcore Holly is still around? Shouldn't he have been squashed by Brock already?

Basically, the show sucked for the first half and kicked ass in the last half. Call it a 3.3 and a tie, because I still can't decide which show I liked better this week.

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

Canadian Bulldog

RAW: 3.0
The good: Foley IS God, despite his literary pleadings to the contrary. I dug the show's theme, and any time he's on the air in any capacity, that's a good thing. It took me a day or so to get over the fact that, yeah, this is the exact same role dozens of others have played, but hell, who better than Cactus Freaking Jack to pull it off?... The six-man was decent, previewed three of the big Armageddon bouts, and got a huge reaction from the crowd. Personally, I would held off on that one till next week (hard sell for the PPV), but whatever.... The Cade and Jindrak antics were decent, and at least they're starting to show a bit of personality.

The bad: Don't bring Austin back. At least yet. How insulting would that be if the stip only lasted a month or so? I'd say February would be just about right. I've got to be honest; despite the universal hate for the Jericho-Christian-Trish-Lita angle, I didn't mind it. It was what I was expecting to happen, frankly. However, I will say the `swerve' happened way too quickly to be effective. I mean, we just saw that the feelings between the two of them as `real' this past week, and then it all falls apart? Trish, if you need a shoulder to cry on, you know the Bulldog's number (well, we DID technically grow in the same area north of Toronto, but... who the hell am I kidding? That doesn't work on NORMAL women).

SmackDown!: 3.5
The good: Lesnar v. Benoit was a damn fun match. THe thing I liked most about it is that Benoit DIDN'T have to carry Lesnar, both were pretty strong thoughout the match. The FBI taking odds on the match beforehand was a cute touch... Cena v. Benoit in two parts was quite good, and I continue to think that Cena has the most Austin-ish breakout potential of anyone on the roster.... Benjamin v. Guerrero was the usual stuff for them, not that I'm complaining.

The bad: I continue to say this every week, and will do so every week until it happens: WHAT THE HELL IS SMACKDOWN BUILDING TO? Sure, they don't have a brand-specific PPV until February, but you just KNOW that there won't be anything happening around that time either. They could have milked Lesnar-Benoit I as something special, perhaps even saved it till Royal Rumble. And otherwise, you have the same slow, plodding cast of characters on the show will very little forward movement. I do not consider Shannon Moore vs. Random Big Lug every week as `forward movement'.    

Here's my two cents: give Benoit the f'ing strap already, let him keep it for a while to keep things fresh. Let him defend it every week against the Tajiris, Cena's and Big Show's of the world, so that that belt at least gains some prestige. Then, have Brock win it back and build toward the eventual (I'm assuming) feud with Goldberg. Give the tag team belts to either Los Guerreros or WGTT, make The Bashams close-but-no-cigar challengers and then you have the closest thing you're going to get to the SmackDown Six days of just one year ago... Feature Mysterio in a competitive match every week where he's not fodder for one of the Five Giants . And finally, give Cena a shot in the old Austin role. You know... DTA, interfering in other people's business, the whole works. To me, THAT'S how you could move SmackDown into 4 or more territory again on a weekly basis.

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


RAW: 3.2
The return of Foley was definitely a pleasant surprise, and he played his role well during the show. But it wasn't enough to save a lot of stinker segments. There are just too many uninteresting characters and bad workers on the RAW roster for the brand to consistently put on a good program. Lance Storm, Val Venis, The Dudleys, Test, Scott Steiner, Rico & Miss Jackie, La Resistance and Coach were all highlighted on the show, and none of them are over. RAW's most interesting storyline - the Jericho-Trish & Christian-Lita romances - took a turn for the worst this week, but I'll reserve judgment until I see how it plays out. The opening segment and the main event were solid, but everythign in between was filler. The bad stuff was not roll-your-eyes corny or horribly offensive, but it was just plain boring. I was hoping the big angle they had in store for Steve Austin's return was something a little more clever than an 80s-style letter campaign. Should we all start wearing our Come Back Steve friendship bracelets?

SmackDown!: 4.2
When Smackdown's three best workers are showcased on more than half the show, I have no complaints. Both Cena Vs. Benoit and Lesnar Vs. Benoit were PPV quality matches (the latter a PPV-quality main event) that were given plenty of time and played out with satisfying finishes. Lesnar's show-opening promo was one of his best to date and showed how much he's grown in the last year. The last person I thought would be in line for any kind of push was Shannon Moore, but his angle has been given a lot of attention and I expect it is intended to eventually get him over big. I am less than enthused with the tension between the Guerreros, only because I think Eddie deserves so much more. Rikishi and Scotty 2 Hotty are so 1999. Both need new gimmicks, or pink slips, but, truth be told, they had a fun match with the Bashams. The Nidia/Noble angle is just too campy for my tastes. What's more, it was given to a pair of characters that were too campy to begin with. Heyman's no-nonsense authority figure character is a nice break from horny Vince McMahon's.
Another week of McMahon-free TV. Thanks for the early X-Mas gift.

Fonzo's year-to-date averages: RAW (4.0), SD! (3.5).

Matt Hocking
RAW: 3.3
JR:  We're back!
JL:  After a two week hiatus where HHH made us was out his pants.
JR:  I made fifty two cents off that deal!
HHH:  Hey!  Give that money back!
JR:  It's mine by gawd!!!
MF:  I'm this week's guest.  Mick Foley.  I'm out here to read my lines and
cash my checks until WrestleMania.  You may enjoy seeing me again, but I
assure you, I'm just hangin' in there until the money match.
JL:  This week's show felt like we tried to cram three shows worth of
material in it....
MF:  That's an interesting point, Jerry, you see I could have fired....
MF:  I give up.  3.3.  The same amount of shows that RAW felt like it
JR:  5.  Jerry, do you have a rating?
HHH:  Come on, Lawler, spit out a rating.
HHH:  Oh, forget it.

Smackdown!: 3.5
MC:  Did you see that, Tazz?  The STRETCH MUFFLER!
TZ:  I saw it, Cole, and I can hardly believe it.  It's too bad neither of
those guys can cut a promo or this might actually be an interesting feud!
CB:  I resent...uh...that.
TZ:  Shut it up, Benoit.  At least Brock is big and has tatoos, what have
you got?
CB:  I'm sort and I have a scruffy beard.  Arrr!
MC:  John Cena is the master of thuganomics, certainly his match with Big
Show will be a five stars classic!!
CB:  Uh...right.
TZ:  You know what I don't get?  Chavo...and the Bashams...Shannon...Screw
it.  This was a good show, the bigger problems of Smackdown aren't gonna
keep me down.  3.5.
CB:  What was that thing with Ultimo Dragon betting aboot?  1.01.
MC:  That was clever!  A 5 for Benoit!!

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

RAW: 1.5 
Disturbing occurrences from RAW:
-Jackie Gayda's clotheslines/seizures
-The 3-man tag team of Kane, Batista and Randy Orton and their subsequent 5-move arsenal (punch and kick included)
-Realization that Mick Foley is completely played out

Really RAW has nothing going for it, so once again they employ deus ex machina with the usual weak results. The PPV cards looks horrifying. Recommendation to wash your eyes out and pretend the whole thing isn't happening .

SmackDown!: 3.8 
The show really gets going once Benoit and Cena collide. Much like the reliance on chairs in Brock's title matches, I didn't get the point of the mid-match controversy. Yeah, so they're evenly matched competitors...show us through the MATCH, not the overbooking. It seems like WWE knows it's Shelton Benjamin, Los Guerreros and Chris Benoit that can wrestle their ass off, provoke serious emotional response from the crowd and elevate the overall quality of wrestling. Doesn't mean we'll ever see them as World champs, but they're certainly becoming symbolic of Smackdown. Now if only we can see guys like Benjamin and Chavo in matches that are longer than 3 or 4 minutes. The actual world championship match was a top-level WWE match for 2003, but Benoit's back must be broken from the carry-jobs he performed throughout the show.

Eitan's year-to-date averages: RAW (2.2), SD! (3.1).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 2.8 
Make no mistake: RAW was not nearly as bad as I probably made it out to be with my nitpicky rantings earlier this week.  But I'm still probably liking it less than most.  A 2.8, that's still above average, but I'm hard-pressed to go much higher.  Outside of the "Holy Shit" factor of Mick's return (which is a big plus no matter how you slice it), there were just too many things handled clumsily and lazily for my tastes.  Foley deserved better than the "Ha ha, I was just joking, nobody's fired" material they handed him.  Trish and Jericho was a deftly handled, engrossing storyline for 2 months that was suddenly the victim of a throw-away backstage swerve.  And there was just too much man-ass for me.  I'd go on, but frankly, I'm sick of apologizing for not gushing about Monday's show. 

SmackDown!: 4.1 
I am not, just yet, sick of actually gushing about last night's SD!, though.  This is the highest rating (the first 4-plus, actually) that I've given in over two months.  Last time: the Iron Man SD! free-per-view.  This one wasn't quite on that level, but it was certainly the most entertaining two hours of wrestling we've been served in a while.  Two, count 'em, TWO stellar wrestling matches, respectable storyline advancement and character building on a few fronts (Lesnar's promo was especially good, I thought; and I'm at least a bit intrigued by Shaniqua/Bashams and Noble/Nidia situations, not to mention the looming potential of an Eddie/Chavo feud).  There was little to complain about last night.  It's the Show of the Week.

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


RAW average: 2.85
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.1 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.73 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.3   
SD! OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.16 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.13 

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

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.37 
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!: 16  
Current Streak: 1 by SD! (Since 12/05/03) 
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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