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RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending April 2, 2004

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


OOficial Brand of the Week:

4.17  --/-- SD!: 2.82

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 (3/29/03) vs. SMACKDOWN! (4/01/04)  

Canadian Bulldog 
RAW: 4.5

One to remember.

The good: Three weeks of praise for Triple H? Say it ain't so! Hell, The Game deserves every accolade out there for several reasons: (1) He's evolving his character to more of a locker room bully, which is new ground to break if nothing else (2) He cut one hell of a promo. Short (by his standards), yet effective (3) He did the right thing in putting Shelton Benjamin over cleanly and making him 'a star' in the process. Will the praise turn to criticism when HHH squashes Benoit in his hometown this month? Of course. But so far, hard to complain.... Benjamin himself was no slouch, showing he has what it takes to get his push. Needless to say, this had one of the best, most surprising main events I've seen in some time.. Loved the Chris Jericho interview; it reminded me of the smartass wisecracking Y2J I enjoyed from two years ago. Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit NOT winning the tag titles was a smart move, yet they still managed to unite the two of them in the storyline. Not an easy job, but they pulled it off effectively.... Mick Foley pulled out another SOLID GOLD interview, setting up from what I think will be a fun match between the two at Backlash.

The bad: Tajiri is being wasted in a comedy role, even IF the thing with Coachmas was cute.... I'd like to see Johnny XXXXXXXXXX in a wrestling role before he plays the heel referee, just doesn't make sense otherwise.... Raw desperately needs some new tag teams to shake things up. Flair and Batista aren't bad as a tag team, they just shouldn't be leading the pack.

SmackDown!: 2.0 
One to forget.

The good: I am starting to dig the 'JBL' character. For years now, I've been thinking that the ultimate heel would be a brash, wealthy snob who rubbed it to people how they lost their live savings on Enron shares, etc. Here's your guy to do that. Unfortunately, once he actually wrestles again, it will be clear he doesn't deserve his spot. For now, though, I'm enjoying the interaction between Eddie Guerrero and JBL.

The bad: I just don't think SmackDown should be having these one-night tournaments so frequently. I mean, how many Royal Rumbles/tournaments/qualifying matches have they had since the brand split? It just dilutes the end result.... While I think the world of Kurt Angle and the charisma he brings to the table, he's no Paul Heyman, and that hurts the show. The world doesn't need more cookie-cutter heel owner characters, and so far, that's all Angle is to me.... What else did we have? Rikishi Vs. Big Show; Dudleyz vs. Tajiri's (former) Henchmen; RVD Vs. Charlie Haas; John Cena Vs. FBI ... this was like the Sunday Night Heat from hell. ("Our main event next week: Shannon Moore Vs. Tyson Dux!"). They simply have to work a bit harder to compete with Raw. Maybe Booker T is right about this being the "minor league".

Bulldogs battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.1), SD! (3.0).

Jeb Lund 

Even though this whole Battle of the Brands thing was my own dumbassed idea — admittedly stolen from the old Wrestleline.com — I've been hiding from it for months. For one thing, I had the house buying and sundry other obligations. For another, there really hadn't been a show that stuck with me for even an hour after viewing it. I know I'm not senile, but when it's 1 a.m. on Friday and you're struggling to remember what happened on Smackdown, maybe you should just skip talking about it.

I do remember RAW, though, and what I remember is good stuff. There were two highlights to the show, but what remained basically clicked effectively and in an entertaining fashion. Y2J back to full Y2J form?—excellent. I've been waiting for that for ages. Although I think he'd stand a better chance of joining the main-event scene if he'd remained a heel, I have to admit that I prefer the energized, fast-paced and smirking babyface Jericho to the droll, snotty and physically laconic heel Jericho.

Foley ripping into Orton?—also excellent. And let me here go on record as saying that I think Foley wins this upcoming match. He's jobbed and jobbed and jobbed some more: knocking Orton down a peg, forcing him into a gut-check situation, then compelling him to reevaluate himself and come back later at a higher level seems far better for Orton's character (and Foley's legacy) than having Foley do yet another Charity Job for the Unproven Wrestler in Need of Credibility Welfare. Besides, I don't think Foley ever held the IC title, and that would be a neat thing to tack on his resume. Again, Orton can always have the last word, but that doesn't mean that Foley should never be able to get one word in edgewise.

What else? Tajiri immediately became a de facto face by pissing off the bosses. I think a struggle with management could make him a more exposed and popular character. It also didn't hurt that he used more English on Monday than he ever has before. Plus, I dig him beating Kane by count-out. Tajiri may be crafty enough to put one over on other intimidating wrestlers in the future.

Hell, I can even forgive Hurricane and Storm getting buried and forgotten because some fustian self-aggrandizing "insider" clod keeps telling me they'll be going to the New ECW... in between telling me how desperately important he is.

And now we come to the highlights. First, the Benoit and Michaels tag match against Flair and Batista was outstanding. The Dusty Finish irked me a little — as did the euphoric post-match goodwill between Benoit and Michaels. Nonetheless, it was a solidly entertaining conflict.

Finally: Triple H v. Shelton Benjamin. I was worried going into this match, because Benjamin walked the backstage version of what I can only call The Gauntlet of Affirmation, and that seemed to be so saccharine and pleasant that it almost predestined Benjamin to fail. But... wow. I mean, wow. What a match.

Benjamin has some serious credibility to burn, now — for at least three months. Triple H's sins are too numerous and cardinal for him to have karma to burn; but if he wants to work his way toward that point, by having matches like this, I'm his earnest supporter.

What amazed me is that I didn't know the depth of Benjamin's move set (and it's still not that deep), but I also knew the probable shallowness of Triple H's. Yet, while neither man produced some jarringly rare or special move, the whole match was still special. Strictly speaking, it was a psychologically excellent match. If it's the hallmark or touchstone of WWE's commitment to a lower-impact style in the future, then you can hardly fault their plans. And while not all matches can be 20 minutes in length, I knew this one was special three minutes into it.

The reversal of fortune, with Benjamin on the ropes while Triple H taunted, and Triple H on the ropes while Benjamin taunted was clever, humorous and absolutely magnetic. Wow. The whole match made me say that. Wow. I was in a chat room with 10 other people who were also watching this match, and everyone fell silent except — now and again — to say, "Wow."

Wow. That goes for all of RAW. I don't remember the bad bits at all. I don't even know if there were any. The tag match and the main event were so wonderful that they vivified every moment I liked and obfuscated every moment I didn't.

SmackDown!: 2.3
I think that my writing a lot about RAW makes my choice to say little about Smackdown defensible. I remember watching matches and thinking they were okay. I remember one decent Angle promo. I remember Spike pinning Chavo. What little else I remember was stultifying, worn, tiny, sad.

The funny thing is that I like Bradshaw as the big successful jerk. I like his suit and his car. I like his attitude. I could wish for nothing more than a guy at ringside tossing Bradshaw two bottles of Cristal: Bradshaw stands up in the turnbuckle, upends the bottles, smashes them together, then drinks the champagne and fucking raw shattered glass. It would be amazing.

What I don't like is a show with passable promos, passable matches, passable (or even positive) characterizations — then some bullshit afterthought of a main event wherein Eddie Guerrero goes largely silent, then collects water, fries and popcorn in a man's hat, then stomps on said hat. That anyone thought the finish to this show would be anything other than anticlimactic, dull, puerile or insulting is indefensible.

Jeb's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.0), SD! (3.0).

Matt Hocking 

RAW: 3.5
JR:  Well, King.  Another week another RAW.
JL:  Isn't it great seeing Triple H on the show, again?'
JR:  Uh...he wasn't never NOT on the show, King!
JL:  He..wa...wa...wuh?
JR:  Oh, never mind.  Here's our special guest...Edge!
EG:  ...
JL:  How does it feel to be back and heading into a big match with Kane?
EG:  ...
JR:  Well, I certainly like the direction RAW is headed, with the exception of poor Tajiri, everybody's got a head of steam headed towards the PPV. 
Don't you agree?
EG: ...
JL:  J.R., let's just rate.  I'll give it a 555.  Get it?  Triple 5 for
Triple H!
JR:  I say 3.5.  We've really got something to build on.
EG:  I'm not jobbing to HHH.
HHH:  Oh yeah?

SmackDown!: 3.0
MC:  Michael Cole and Tazz at ringside.
TZ:  ...
MC:  I SAID "Michael Cole and Tazz at ringside".
TZ:  I'm just tryin' that Edge thing.  I want to be cool like him!
MC:  Good luck, buddy.  Even I'm not as cool as Edge.
TZ:  Right...Whatever.  Can I ask you what the hell is going wrong with Smackdown?
MC:  You mean the welcome additions of RVD and Booker T?
TZ:  No.  Dork.  I mean the absence of The Undertaker and the fact that freakin' Bradshaw is the highlight of the whole show.
BS:  That's right.  Buy my book.
TZ:  Shouldn't you title be "JL" as in John Layfield?
BS:  Everybody confused me for Jerry Lynn.
MC:  I can see how that would happen!  You're both great mat technicians!
BS:  Right.  Whatever.  Just don't tell Vince anything about me getting pushed.  I couldn't believe it when Bob Holly told me it was just as easy as complaining all the time.  Now I got Faarooq fired and I'm on my own baby!  YEAH!
TZ:  3.0.  Why am I still even watching this show?
BS:  5.95.  That's the percent my stocks were up yesterday!  YeeHaw!
MC:  What are we rating?  Dinner?  My spaghetti was a 4.0!  Needs more salt!

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

Adam Gutschmidt 

RAW: 4.0
Raw was just rocking on all cylinders again this week.  I was really impressed with the Benjamin/HHH match and also the result.  Let's hope that this leads to something positive for Benjamin.  The highlight reel did exactly what it needed to do and it was nice to see Jericho pull out some of his classic lines.  About the only negative thing I can say about this show was the announcement of Edge/Kane for Backlash.  To me, this match helps no one and I feel they could have chosen a better person to feed to Edge for his comeback match.  Here's hoping that RAW continues this momentum for a long time.

SmackDown!: 3.1
While I have nothing but praise for RAW, Smackdown continues to frustrate me.  They hold this lame Great American tournament, which could have been fine except that Angle throws Bradshaw as a nominee at the last minute.  If he gets chosen, which seems likely, it is a slap in the face to all fans.  As for the rest of the show, it was really directionless and boring.  Smackdown needs some changes in a big way.  And where has the Undertaker been?  He produces an easy pop yet hasn't been there for the past two weeks.  The problems right now with Smackdown are too numerous to name.  I just hope they figure things out before they get any worse.

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

Big Danny T 
Excellent show on Monday. Jericho is back in his element, and great job showing Shelton Benjamin off. Hated the Dusty finish with the Tag Titles match, but the match itself kicked ass as well. All around great show.

SmackDown!: 3.6 
Like I state in my recap, the first 90 minutes rocked, the last half hour got a little boring.

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

Rick Scaia
RAW: 4.3
It was one thing for RAW to deliver a big show last week with the Lottery: you got a gimmick like that to work with, and yeah, you should be able to do a special-feeling show.  But to follow up the way they did was even more remarkable.  Not only did you still have a sense of something important happening -- as Triple H dropping a match to Shelton Benjamin could end up being a significant, career-making night -- but you also had quality in almost every segment along the way.  A great main event that built upon a series of promos/pep talks to get Benjamin over... a good tag title match.  Great promos by Ric Flair, HHH, and Chris Jericho.  There just were no holes of any significance.  I'm a huge fan of this week's RAW. 

SmackDown!: 2.9 
And for a second week in a row, I sit here trying to figure out exactly what went wrong with SmackDown!, and what I come up with is that the show's worst crime was not being anywhere near as good as RAW.  It's not a show that sucked, or anything, but at a time when you're drastically re-tooling and trying new guys in new roles and one of those new guys is trumpeting how SD is the minor leagues, well, comparison between the two brands' sizzle levels are natural.  And SD! is not matching up these past two weeks.  SD! was still an OK show, maybe even a notch stronger than the week before (at the very least, Bradshaw's promo was significantly better; not so good that I'm signing up to see him headline any PPVs, but solidly despicable), but there was really nothing to get fired up about the same way I was fired up for about 85% of RAW's segments.  Once we get past Backlash and SD!'s on deck for the next PPV, I hope they've got everything aligned the way they want and they start serving up the sizzle, cuz right now, this isn't really cutting it.

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


RAW average: 4.17
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.6 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 2.82 
Actual Nielsen Rating:  3.2  
SD! UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.


Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.23 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.15 

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:  3.36 

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

Rounds Won by RAW: 18 
Rounds Won by SD!: 23  
Current Streak: 2 by RAW (Since 3/26/04) 
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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