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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending February 13, 2004

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:

3.62  --/-- SD!: 3.25

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 (2/09/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (2/12/04)  

Canadian Bulldog
RAW: 3.5
Some hot concepts played out and some decent character development. You'd think THEY were the ones about to put on a PPV.

The good: As The Rick said earlier this week, the opening segment with Goldberg/Vince McMahon/Paul Heyman/Sherriff Austin had a real "big time" feel to it. I think, after more than a year of keeping the brands pretty much separate, the interaction between Raw and SmackDown leading to WrestleMania now seems like something special.... Laugh if you must, but I say Triple H cut his best promo ever this week. The "wake up, Chris. This is my reality!" speech made it very hard for me to dislike The Game this week. It was that good (or should I say 'that damn good'?). The segment was slightly dragged-down by Shawn Michaels' logic-defying contract signing, but sillier things have certainly happened in wrestling. Chris Benoit, for his part, handled the segment like a pro, just kind of standing still, staring straight ahead and drooling.... Another great week for Christian in the neverending Christian/Chris Jericho/Trish Stratus love triangle... The Benoit Vs. Ric Flair ma! tch wasn't bad at all. Would it have been better a few years ago? Probably. But let's work with what we've got.... Randy Orton Vs. Booker T Vs. RVD was surprisingly good, and I truly thought Orton would lose the belt via Mick Foley's interference. I wasn't overly disappointed that Orton retained, but the element of surprise was there.

The bad: Paul Heyman says, on Raw, that SmackDown is the superior brand. Uh... why is no one challenging that? I would have expected Eric Bischoff to at least say SOMETHING, enter the ring and make some kind of fuss. But Austin was there too, standing face to face with Heyman. Or what about JR and The King? Or how about Rodney Mack piping in? And don't give me that tired old excuse that Mack wasn't on the show this week. SUPPORT YOUR BRAND, MACK!!! Uh, where was I.... I do not like the Matt Hardy losing streak gimmick. Even though it's drawn millions for Lance Storm, Christian and others... surely they can come up with something better for The Sensei of Mattitude. If nothing else, bring Shannon Moore over and do the whole 'follower' thing again.

SmackDown: 3.0 
They needed more leading into No Way Out. Still, some good trends developing...

The good: I cannot overemphasize enough how pleased I was that Tazz and Michael Cole were selling Raw and its wrestlers (particularly Goldberg) as the enemy this week. Finally! You know that they're eventually headed for a cross-promotional feud -- I would wager by the end of 04 -- so stuff like that goes a long way in my book.... They did a nice job hyping the main three matches at the PPV, with Eddie Guerrero and Brock Lesnar being especially effective.... While the match was a bit short, Rey Mysterio Vs. Tajiri wasn't bad at all. Even when these guys just go through the motions, they put together a winner... Guerrero and John Cena Vs. Big Show and Brock was fun, and everyone's favorite punching bag (Big Show) showed more fire than usual. For the most part, Show has been promoted the right way for the past year and a bit now, as opposed to say, Mark Henry.

The bad: You'd think that releasing Ernest Miller, Zack Gowen and a truckload of other SmackDown guys would reduce the shittiness factor of the mid-card; not so much. Let's look at Hardcore Holly Vs. Rhyno as a prime example. Why subject us to this awful, awful match? I'm not usually in favor of backstage vignettes in the place of actual matches, but here was a chance for them to build heat between Holly and Rhyno and make a last-minute PPV match between them that matters. As it stands now, I'm not even sure if these guys have a match Sunday... By my count, there were six matches announced for No Way Out as of Thursday night. They couldn't have added a few more? SmackDown's biggest problem (in this humble Bulldog's eyes) is that they can't build towards brand-specific pay-per-views if their life depended on it. Criticize the Raw brand all you want, but they have a solid lineup, every time, the week of their PPV's. Hell, the potential matchups Raw has R! IGHT NOW would make for a better event Sunday than what SmackDown came up with -- and SD had a good month to build towards this one. It's an area that needs serious work.

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

Alfonso "Fonzo" Castillo 
RAW: 3.7
RAW was pretty hot, starting of with the Goldberg angle, that added a fun twist to his relationship with Austin. Triple H has delivered some of his best promos to date in the last several weeks, and this was no exception. Michael's being able to inject himself into the main event so easily was kind of silly, but I trust it will be ironed out. Benoit and Flair wasn't as good as you would have hoped, but the match certainly had some historical significance, and any opportunity to see the Nature Boy in the ring is welcome. Good stuff all around.

SmackDown!: 3.5
Smackdown was pretty solid, as well. I give WWE a lot of credit for their recent elevation of Eddie Guerrero, and for having the balls to acknowledge his past drug problems as a means to get him over as a babyface. His interaction with Brock has been a lot of fun. The main event was solid, but the angle leading up to it was a bit painting-by-the-numbers for my taste. The Guerrero-Mysterio match has received a very strong build up, almost being billed as a semi main event. The big flaw of the show was a weak undercard, filled with a lot of dead weight (APA, Rikishi & Scott Too Hotty) and stale acts (Rhyno, Holly, Has and Benjamin, the Bashams.) 

Fonzo's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.9), SD! (3.5).

Adam Gutschmidt 
RAW: 3.9
Raw was rocking on all cylinders this past week. Yes, I would have liked a little bit more wrestling content, but looking back at the roster, there was really no one that didn't compete that I was dying to see. All the talking segments were very strong. From the opening Goldberg bit, to Christian's passes at Trish, to the Foley speech, and last but not least the HHH/Benoit/HBK contract signing. 

As for negatives, while I liked what HHH/Benoit/HBK did, I don't like Michaels being inserted into this match, unless it's a WM X redux. Also, I thought the three-way was pretty flat. They took the two guys wrestle/one guy rest format to the extreme. And the Goldberg suspension reeks of unoriginality, but he'll be gone for real in a few weeks so it doesn't matter.

SmackDown!: 3.1
Smackdown didn't do anything necessarily bad, but with it being the last show before a PPV, they really didn't deliver. Rey/Tajiri was nothing we haven't seen before and the post-match antics were typical. I must say though that the Chavos are gold. I'm glad to see Chavo Sr. stick around. The main event tag was also solid but nothing phenomenal. I'm sure Angle faked his injury to get out of the match and be strong for No Way Out. All the other matches were completely useless.

I thought they made a couple of missteps with filling out the card. The tag title match is fine. It won't be great but should provide enjoyment to some for seeing Shaniqua get a stinkface. But instead of doing TWGTT/APA which means nothing, why not make it a four-way with Kidman/London and Akio and Sakoda with the winner being #1 contender. I'd also have a T&A segment with Torrie and Sable and have Miss Jackie and Stacy interrupt either in person or via video and make their challenge since that match seems inevitable for WM XX too.

Adam's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.9), SD! (3.1).

Matt Hocking 

RAW: 3.8
JR:  What a very entertaining RAW!
JL:  But why did Shawn Michaels turn on Chris Benoit?
JR:  Why don't we ask him ourselves!  Shawn, why did you turn on Chris Benoit?
SM:  Honestly, do you think he can draw by himself?  And plus I want revenge on Triple H.
JR:  No, really Shawn, why'd you do it?
SM:  HHH made me wear a dress in that WrestleMania promo.
JL:  Yeah.  That makes sense.  OMG, JR, WRESTLING PUPPIES~!
JR:  This is the wrong show for that, King.
JL:  Uh...Mick Foley sure did get beat up.
HHH:  Could we, uh, speed this up?  I've got a hair appointment at three.
JL:  I never knew that Stacy was in La Resistance.  5.8 1/2.
SM:  Hunter, I'm really pissed off at you.  I'm going to say 3.8 and then storm away.  3.8.
LS:  How'd I get involved with this?
SM:  Let's go, Lance.
HHH:  But snootchie kins!

SmackDown!: 3.3
MC:  Look Tazz, Brock is dancin' around!  Weeeeeeeeeee!
TZ:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  Look, we've watched that video 87 times, could we give it a rest?
MC:  Uh...Ok.  *sniffle*
TZ:  Besides, we had a good show!  Latino Heat, Kurt Angle, Chavo Guererro, John Cena, all really good!
MC:  Plus, I can't wait for the Rhyno/Bob Holly re-match!
TZ:  Yeah.  Yeah.  That'll be great, Cole.
PH:  Has anybody seen my Yankees hat?
TZ:  I think Big Show ate it.
PH:  Aw crap.  Now mom's going to have buy me a new one.
MC:  Speaking of moms, why did they have to go and release Earnest "The Cat" Miller?  No NOBODY will ride in the car with me!  WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
PH:  What's his deal?
TZ:  I've been asking myself that same question for 3 years.
UD:  It's Dragonriffic voting time!
MC:  *sniff*  -187.6
PH:  I wrote that Brock Lesnar thing.  Me!  85.9%
TZ:  I dunno.  3.4?  Not exactly rocketbustas, but it was pretty good.

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

Big Danny T 
RAW: 3.2
Better than last week, and nice setting up for their big Match next week.

SmackDown!: 3.3
Again, better than last week, but nothing blowaway. Good enough setup for the PPV.  Check the recap.

Danny's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (3.4).

Rick Scaia
RAW: 3.6
Light on the actual wrestling?  You bet.  But what we got on that front was generally OK (the only two real matches, Booker/RVD/Orton and Benoit/Flair, were both quite good), and then the promos/stories they did were pretty sensational across the board.  I thought Vince and Heyman making surprise appearances set a great tone for the show and also introduced/advanced some interesting issues.  And then HHH's monologue followed by Michaels' intrusion during the mid-show marathon were both exceptionally done, as well.  Give me a tad more bell-to-bell time, and you're up over 4.  As it stands, still a very good show and very little in the way of anything to complain about.

SmackDown!: 3.2 
Everything surrounding Eddie and Brock was gold.  Brock's hat dance, Eddie's intense "I Want a New Drug" promo, and then Eddie scoring a pinfall over Lesnar in the very good main event match...  the net effect of all that stuff was to significantly increase the amount of sizzle going into their PPV match on Sunday for the average fans.  Us smarks already were up for it, on the prospects of Eddie winning the big gold... but SD! was so well done that now I think that enthusiasm is all-pervasive.  Too bad everything else on the show was utterly forgettable, dragging the overall rating down, and costing SD! the battle against RAW this week....

Rick's year-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (3.7).


RAW average: 3.62
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 3.25 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.5    
SD! UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.18 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.11 

RAW is OVERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings since the start of the Battle.

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

SD! is performing ON PAR versus actual ratings since the start of the Battle.

Rounds Won by RAW: 14 
Rounds Won by SD!: 21  
Current Streak: 2 by RAW (Since 2/6/04) 
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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