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OO BATTLE OF THE BRANDS   
2003: The Battle in Review 

June 6, 2003 through December 31, 2003

Year-End Stats Compiled by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

OOficial Brand of the Year:
SmackDown!
RAW:
3.157 --/-- SD!: 3.358
SmackDown wins 17 weeks, RAW wins 11

RATING SYSTEM: Rather than go with the standard 1-10 integer scale for rating shows, OO has selected a 0.0-5.0 rating scheme.  Not only does this allow the reviewer to more precisely award points, but more importantly, it is our belief that our ratings will, in a way, be comparable to the weekly Nielsen Ratings.  Our ratings are based on show quality, however, whereas Nielsen's are based on eyeballs.  Just as WWE hasn't reached the 5.0 mark in a long, long time, it will take a monumental effort for a show to earn the highest ratings...  but piss us off in a given week, and we'll be rating you like you're Nitro and it's 2001.

2003 RAW vs. SD! OVERVIEW
Notes:
Remarkably, the OO 0.0-5.0 rating scheme resulted in final average ratings that were VERY comparable to the Nielsens.  The deviations of less than 0.05 for each brand is, frankly, stunning even to me (and I came up with the idea).  In any given week, OO's BotB ratings deviated massively from Nielsen's, often with us giving the "ratings win" to the show that lost in the Nielsens.  And needless to say, the BotB Ratings standard deviation was about about triple that of the Nielsens (where, with one or two anomalies, ratings didn't fluctuate more than a few tenths of a point away from the average).  But at the end of the year, lookie here: the gap between the popular ratings and the critical ratings is practically negligible.  Score one for OO: we're the ratings that SHOULD be!

Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.16 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.13 
(converted to broadcast)
RAW is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings so far in 2003.

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.36 
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.35 

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

Rounds Won by RAW: 11 
Rounds Won by SD!: 17  
Current Streak: 1 by RAW (Since 12/19/03) 
Longest Streak: 7 by SD! (6/27/03 thru 8/08/03)

THE BREAKDOWN
Notes:
On a week-by-week basis, the Battle of the Brands usually told a very different story from Mr. Nielsen, even if at the end of the year, our numbers lined up very nicely.  You can discover how all the perturbations smoothed out by checking out some charts and graphs.  Pictures, they are so much easier to understand than numbers!  [All RAW ratings converted to Broadcast numbers from the usually-reported cable ratings.]

RAW: BotB vs. Nielsen
Overdelivered (BotB critics rating > Nielsen rating): 16 weeks
Underdelivered: 10 weeks
Performed on Par: 2 weeks
View the RAW BotB vs. Nielsen Chart

SD!: BotB vs. Nielsen
Overdelivered: 14 weeks
Underdelivered: 13 weeks
Performed on Par: 1 week
View the SD! BotB vs. Nielsen Chart

RAW vs. SD!: According to Nielsen
RAW Wins: 4 weeks
SD! Wins: 18 weeks
Virtual Ties: 6 weeks
View the RAW vs. SD! Nielsen Chart

RAW vs. SD!: According to BotB
RAW Wins: 11 weeks
SD! Wins: 17 weeks
View the RAW vs. SD! BotB Chart

 
THE MVP OF THE YEAR
Notes:
I know we're in the middle of everybody picking winners in Year End awards... but that practice can lend itself to distortions and misperceptions.  Every single week of 2003 (the whole year, not just starting with BotB in June), when current events were still fresh in our minds, OO's "Honor Roll" selected a Wrestler of the Week, a Match of the Week, and a Promo/Angle of the Week.  Do those weekly awards miss out on the "big picture"?  Maybe.  But they also present another unique perspective on who REALLY delivered the goods most consistently in 2003.  In picking the MVP, I have awarded 5 points for every "Wrestler of the Week" honor, 3 points for participating in a "Match of the Week," and 2 points for being part of a "Promo/Angle of the Week."  To the numbers!

WRESTLER POINTS
1. Chris Benoit
(Wrestler: 6 / Match: 12 / Promo: 1)
68
2. Eddie Guerrero
(Wrestler: 5 / Match: 8 / Promo: 6)
61
3. Kurt Angle
(Wrestler: 7 / Match: 7 / Promo: 2)
60
4. John Cena
(Wrestler: 7 / Match: 5 / Promo: 3)
56
5. Chris Jericho
(Wrestler: 2 / Match: 7 / Promo: 9)
49 
6. Charlie Haas
(Wrestler: 1 / Match: 12 / Promo: 0)
41
7. Shelton Benjamin
(Wrestler: 1 / Match: 11 / Promo: 0)
38
8. Rey Mysterio
(Wrestler: 2 / Match: 8 / Promo: 1)
36
9. Shawn Michaels
(Wrestler: 3 / Match: 4 / Promo: 3)
33
10. Booker T
(Wrestler: 4 / Match: 4 / Promo: 0)
32
11. Brock Lesnar 31
12. Rob Van Dam 27
13. Christian 25
14. Tajiri 24
15. Steve Austin 19
16. The Rock 18
17. Lance Storm
(* Breaks tie by virtue of possessing more "Wrestler of the Week" honors than #18 Matt Hardy)
17*
18. Matt Hardy 17
19. Billy Kidman 14
20. Edge 12
(tie) Bubba Dudley 12
(tie) D-Von Dudley 12
23. Triple H 11
(tie) Kane 11
25. Hurricane
(* Breaks tie by virtue of possessing more "Wrestler of the Week" honors than others tied at #26)
10*
26. Shane McMahon 10
(tie) Goldberg 10
(tie) Ric Flair 10
29. Zach Gowen
(* Breaks tie by virtue of possessing more "Wrestler of the Week" honors than #30 Rhyno)
9*
30. Rhyno 9
Also Receiving Votes (in descending order): AJ Styles, Vince McMahon, Spanky, Chavo Guerrero, Eric Bischoff, Big Show, Elix Skipper, Lo-Ki, Shannon Moore, Hulk Hogan/Mr. America, Mick Foley, William Regal, Ultimo Dragon, Kevin Nash, Goldust, Rene Dupree, Rob Conway, Doug Basham, Danny Basham, Trish Stratus, Roddy Piper, Cheif Morley (Val Venis), Chris Harris, James Storm, Scott Steiner, Randy Orton, Jerry Lynn, Teddy Hart, Juventud Guerrera, Mark Henry, Batista, Rosey, Jamal, Rikishi, Amazing Red, A-Train, Lita, Steven Richards, Molly Holly, Gillberg, and Eric Angle.

 
MVP Analysis

The Honor Roll/MVP rankings this year were MUCH tighter than in 2002.  Last year, Kurt Angle ran away with this honor, tallying 143 points and almost doubling up second place Rob Van Dam.  This year, more different performers received points, more performers scored in double figures, and in general, there was a greater amount of parity (and less "top-heaviness") than in 2002.

Benoit scored the top spot by performing at a superior level inside the ring.  He was only part of a top-level promo or angle 1 time, but participated in 12 Matches of the Week.  Along with 6 Wrestler of the Week honors, that was enough to cinch the top spot by a narrow margin over Eddie Guerrero.

Eddie had a much more balanced year.  He almost matched Benoit with 5 Wrestler of the Week honors, but added a nice mix of 8 Matches of the Week and 6 Promos/Angles of the Week.  One point behind was Kurt Angle, who actually had 7 WotW honors but whose limited TV time meant he only racked up 7 MotW and 2 PotW.  Rounding out the top level of point-getters was (surprisingly) John Cena, who landed 7 WotW awards to go with 5 best matches and 3 winning promos/angles.

A notch lower, Chris Jericho landed in fifth as RAW's top performer, mostly on the strength of a year's best 9 promos/angles of the week.  Tailing behind him at numbers six and seven are the massively under-appreciated Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin, who did it like Benoit: with killer matches.  Haas tied Benoit with 12 best matches, with Benjamin scoring 11 (Haas' lone singles showing was an early year match vs. Edge).  Rounding out the top 10, Rey Mysterio also did it mostly with his matches, Shawn Michaels hit evenly in all categories, and Booker T scored big despite not having a single top promo or angle to his credit.

Outside of the top 10, there were two guys who were multi-time Wrestler of the Week winners: both Rob Van Dam and Tajiri (twice each) were honored thusly.  Outside of the Top 10, there were also 7 "Triple Crown" winners (who won all three honors at some point in 2003): Lesnar, RVD, Christian, Tajiri, Lance Storm, Hurricane, and Ric Flair.

As already discussed, Cena/Angle led the way with 7 WotW honors each, with Benoit and Eddie not far behind.  And Benoit, Haas, and Benjamin were the stand-out best in-ring performers of the year.  But in terms of promos, two top guys didn't show in the top 10: along with Jericho, the Rock also scored 9 promos/angles of the week, while Austin was not far behind with 7.  Also surprising in that category: Bill Goldberg got all 10 of his points there, courtesy of 5 promos or angles that OO rated the best.

The lesson?  I'm not really sure.  Guys like Angle, Eddie, and Jericho all rated very highly in both this "micro" view as well as in year-end "big picture" balloting.  Then there's the performers like Shawn Michaels and Brock Lesnar who did very well in year-end voting, but who came up short on the week-to-week assessments.  And finally, you've got Chris Benoit and John Cena stealing 2 of the closely contested top 4 spots with their week-in and week-out work, but neither of whom received any consideration at all in Wrestler of the Year voting.

Far be it for me to say which view, the micro or the macro, is right or more accurate...  I just think it's fun to consider both as we look back on 2003.

BROWSE PAST WEEK'S BATTLES OF THE BRANDS  

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