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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending January 16, 2004

Featuring Many Current and Past OO Columnists 
Ratings Compiled by Rick Scaia


OOficial Brand of the Week:
2.83 --/-- SD!: 3.57

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 real world 5.0 mark in a long, long time, it will take a monumental effort for a show to earn the highest OO World ratings...  but piss us off in a given week, and we'll be rating you like you're Nitro and it's 2001. 

RAW (1/12/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (1/15/04)  

Erin Anderson
: 3.2
Randy Orton came very close to impressing me this week with a very good match with Rob Van Dam, but his obvious fuck-ups during his opening promo had me spending the rest of the night thinking he was an idiot. And while I enjoyed his match, I didn't like the fact that a possible Mick Foley return overshadowed its importance. Do I personally have a problem with Foley not showing up? No, because when he finally does come back, it will be with a much greater impact. I do, however, think it was a horrible idea to build him up throughout the show and then not deliver on that promise. It's a bad idea to piss off the casual fans like that.

It's nice to see some semblance of forward momentum in the Jericho/Trish storyline. If things don't come to a head next week, I'm guessing they will at or right after the Rumble. It's starting to get frustrating, though, because the story is starting to resemble a soap opera a little *too* closely: if everyone involved got together in a room and just came clean with everyone else, all problems would be resolved.

I liked seeing Matt Hardy get some mic time, especially with Austin. I didn't like seeing him as cannon fodder for Goldberg, but I'll take what I can get.

And, of course, there's the big HHH/HBK interview. I enjoyed every second of it -- damn, NOBODY gets the best out of HHH like Shawn Michaels. It may have been long, but it was very intense, and Shawn superkicking Coach was just outstanding. As for the rest of the show,  all of the wrestling was sub-par with the exception of the main event. Even so, everything is steamrolling towards the Rumble quite nicely. Call it a 3.2 on the strength of the main event and the HHH/HBK promo.

Smackdown!: 3.5
Just like RAW, Smackdown! is flying towards the Rumble at full-speed. I'm liking this concentrated momentum on both shows. Paul Heyman was at his slimeball best this week, and brought back a previously-presumed-dead Rhyno to great effectiveness. A "Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap" Match looks incredibly stupid on paper, but it came through well on television, and the payoff ("Chris...") was fabulous. Benoit no-selling Heyman's cane shot was quite funny and a nice touch. Seeing how Heyman deals with Benoit and Cena next week should be interesting.

Also of note: forget the Rock. Eddie belongs in Hollywood, if his recent performances are any indication. Bringing in Chavo Sr. could have been a train wreck but turned out extremely well, and put even more heat on Chavito for their Rumble match. I'd like to see Eddie in the actual Rumble this year, but a match with his nephew should be outstanding.

Random thought: Kurt Angle looks weird without his chest shaved.

Just like RAW, all of the wrestling outside of the main event pretty much sucked. Having a few heel v. heel matches with the Bashams/TWGTT and the FBI mini-rumble was a bad idea as far as crowd heat is concerned, and the audience didn't seem too enthused for Rikishi v. Scotty. Noble/Tajiri was oddly unwatchable, and was there any point to Funakie v. Big Show? Is it too much to ask for Big Show to actually defend the belt that he holds? He hasn't done it since winning it *last year*. It's very frustrating.

There were two very good storylines for the show, and the rest was crap. At least it was crap with a purpose (determining Rumble entrants). Smackdown! gets the nod this week for keeping me more entertained than RAW.

Erin's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.6).

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 2.0

One of the least-appealing episodes I've seen of Raw in some time.


The good: Though the match went on forever, the last few minutes of the Randy Orton-RVD match were very well done. It's also nice to give new people the main event slot every now and again… The return of Goldberg was a nice little surprise, though I would have preferred him waiting till the Rumble to do that. After a few weeks of storyline limbo, the Trish-Jericho-Christian angle seems to be back on track again.


The bad: I really wanted to give this Mick Foley story a chance. Now that I've read his two books, I feel I know the intricate planning and thought that he puts into booking his own storylines. Especially because this is Foley's first major angle since leaving WWE in 2001, I REALLY wanted it work. When he wimped out during his Orton match a few weeks ago, I said in this space that we should give it a chance.

This week, in Foley's hometown, given a great buildup scenario, Mick… no shows? What the hell? This better be a good payoff, because right now, it's getting a big-fat thumbs down from me.

What else? I won't comment on the marathon HHH-HBK promo; Jeb and Brad already did justice to that last Thursday… Mark Henry had an awful match with Jericho, of all people, as did former clergymen D-Von Dudley and Batista… I agree with many others in saying Matt Hardy shouldn't be the one to be squashed by Goldberg. Hopefully, they have bigger plans for V1 going forward.

SmackDown: 3.5 

Not a huge show or anything, but one surprisingly good match made the difference for me.


The good: Everything clicked for me during the John Cena-Rhyno match. The storyline was somewhat unique – not the 'wash out with soap' stip, because that's just a new version of the 'loser must eat dog food/shave their hair/lose their clothes/shave their clothes/post on the Randy Orton fan board' match we've seen so many times before. It was the 'Rhyno allowed to cheat/Cena isn't' aspect that made it fun. Heyman, bless his creepy soul, played his role wonderfully. This was probably the best Rhyno match I've ever seen, not that that says a helluva lot. Maybe I'm just comparing it to the 693 matches he's had on SD against Bradshaw… Hmm. No, seriously, big ups to everyone involved in this one… I liked that every match had a Rumble stip to it, it made what are usually throwaway matches a little bit more important… After falling flat on its ass last week, the Los Guerreros storyline gained new life by adding Chavo Sr. into the mix. I know its probably a one-or-two shot deal, but enjoyable nonetheless.


The bad:

Rikishi, not Scotty, gets a win,

Billy Gunn shows some skin,

Eddie's out of the Rumble, yet Nunzio is in?

And Funaki gets a shot? Ain't that a sin?


Trouble amidst the FBIs,

Nidia still can't see with her own two eyes

Bob Holly's a threat – LIES LIES LIES

I don't care about ANY of these guys!!!

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

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.3
Better, warmer, closer, RAW...  but for all the cock-teasing you're doing with Mick Foley, it would be best to not lose sight of the important things.  In this case, such as an IC Title main event that was promoted, as best as I can tell, by having Randy Orton speak at length, exclusively, and in a manner not unlike a slightly retarded second-grader reading his lines at the Christmas Pageant about Mick Foley.  Who, mind you, did not show up at all.  I'm surprisingly OK with Foley being a no show, with building this storyline slowly, with constructing this idea of "Mick = Coward" in our heads so as to make the final pay off that much sweeter...  what bugged me was that by talking only about Mick (and not about IC Challenger RVD), Orton and WWE signaled to fans that Mick would be showing up to such a strong extent that they spent the first half of RVD's title match chanting for Mick.  Now, RVD and Orton did such a nice job that fans came around by the end and where booing Orton and chanting "R-V-D," but my contention is that it should have been that way from the start.  Still, the goodness of that main event, the intensity of the HHH/HBK promo, some forward progress with Jericho/Trish/Christian, it all adds up to a better-than-average show, no matter what lingering gripes I might harbor...

SmackDown!: 3.7 
SD!, on the other hand, was dutifully on task the entire night.  They established a main event, the motivations of all those involved, and all that crap in the first 15 minutes of the show.  And then they stuck to it.  Instead of worrying about what John Cena may or may not do at the Rumble, they built up Rhyno as his opponent for TONIGHT.  The result: a guy who was barely hanging on to "mid-card" status seemed completely at home in a SD! main event.  Heyman's promos building up Rhyno's "extreme" past were a nice touch, but were just gravy compared to letting Rhyno compete under "ECW rules" (something that I hope Rhyno, as Heyman's enforcer, gets to continue to do).  That main event match was also excellent, possibly even superior to Orton/RVD (some of the late logic holes in the IC match open the door for Rhyno/Cena to steal that honor).  Toss in a good TV Special with Noble and Tajiri, an even better Haas/Benjamin vs. Bashams match, a cool father-son Guerrero beat-down on Eddie, a fun night of Big Show and Brock Lesnar hiding behind a restraining order from Bob Holly, and the "win your way into the Rumble" stips to a few match that would otherwise have had no business on SD!, and you got yourself a winning effort. 

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.2), SD! (3.7).


RAW average: 2.83
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.1 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.57 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.4    
SD! OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.15 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.11 

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

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.35 
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.33 

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

Rounds Won by RAW: 12 
Rounds Won by SD!: 19  
Current Streak: 2 by SD! (Since 1/9/04) 
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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