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OO BATTLE OF THE BRANDS   
RAW vs. SmackDown!:  Who Wins?  

Week Ending May 21, 2004

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

 

OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW

RAW:
4.03  --/-- SD!: 2.46

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 (5/17/04) vs. SMACKDOWN! (5/20/04)  
OOFICIAL RATINGS

Canadian Bulldog 
RAW: 4.0

The good: One of the first 'Holy Shit' moments of 2004 for me when The Rock came out to help Eugene. I hadn't read the spoiler ahead of time on the Net, and was actually talking to a colleague on the telephone while watching the segment with the sound turned down. Then, I saw The People's Champion out there and literally said "Holy Shit!". I quickly hung up on the co-worker to watch the rest of the show. Now THAT'S good television.... The tag team title match was incredible, and I really have to give props to Batista. The guy has improved 110 percent since his return to Raw, and I'm sure being in the ring with Benoit and Edge didn't hurt.... The battle royale was fun, and there some great emphasis on the main people in the roster towards the end of that. Shawn Michaels's repeated ambushes of Triple H are actually interesting, shocking considering how frequently these two have feuded.

The bad: I'll agree with Jeb to say that Orton's racist comments to Shelton Benjamin were not only in poor taste, but also lazy. Surely these guys can find a better reason to feud? Unless this Lita-Kane-Matt triangle ends up with Lita turning heel (which I doubt will be the case), I'm just not into it right now.... Speaking of Kane, hopefully he doesn't end up the challenger at Bad Blood when all is said and done (don't you remember the days of Vince Russo where the main event was switched 6 times, even when one of the combinations was perfectly logical?). The big guy has enough to worry about right now.

SmackDown!: 2.0
The good: This was like watching Judgment Day again, minus the hilarious ringside signs and antics of ITR regular Stuart Stone (yes, that was him with the 'Schmoz', 'Stu Fears CRZ' and 'Booker Shango' signs). Considering I found JD to be a festering pile of shit, I wasn't extremely interested in the warmed-up leftover. Still, this is the 'good' part of the critique, so I'll say that the main event was interesting. I don't mind Eddie and JBL continuing their feud (the one surprising bright spot at the PPV last week), and anything involving RVD and Rey can't be too bad. I enjoy the Heyman-esque angle of Haas and Rico, even if I disagree with the ridiculous stream of wrestlers being scared off by blown kisses.

The bad: Silly question, but... wouldn't the cruiserweight wrestling title be best suited to an actual cruiserweight WRESTLER? I mean, maybe I'm just missing something here, but I can't believe they fucked up twice in a row. Chavo Classic is funny and all, but I think they're trying too hard to capitalize on that.... The fact that Mordecai doesn't even look impressive beating up a pair of cruiserweights (Billy Kidman and Akio, that is; not Chavo Classic and Jacqueline) should be pretty telling. The Undertaker, he ain't....  The warmed-over angles between Taker/Booker, Cena/Dupree, etc. doesn't demonstrate continuity to me. It shows laziness.

Bulldog's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (2.8).
 

Alfonso Castillo 
RAW: 4.0
SmackDown!: 2.0

One problem WWE should address ASAP is the schedule of its PPVs relative to its weekly shows. Coming off a memorable final few minutes of Sunday's Judgment Day PPV, RAW stole all of Smackdown!'s momentum the next time with such a strong show. SD! fans had to wait a four whole days to see the fallout from the PPV, which was old news by then and overshadowed by RAW's offering. WWE should considering running SD! PPVs on Wednesday nights and holding a live Smackdown! the next night. Maybe that's easier said than done from a production standpoint, but obviously the current format needs tweaking.

RAW delivered another terrific show, top to bottom. The Rock's appearance was a great surprise and gave some rub to Eugene, who is already incredibly over as is. The Kane-Lita stuff was fine and the tag title match was really hot. I really like the booking of Edge and Benoit as tag champs. Every week, I think they'll drop the straps, but they keep on retaining them. Obviously, this could all lead to a fun Benoit-Edge feud down the line. But the real story of this show was the main event. Excluding the annual Royal Rumble, which isn't a battle royal in the traditional sense because you usually only have a about seven or eight guys in the ring at the same time, this was one of the better battle royals in recent history. It was never boring, well paced, and loaded with great action and great storytelling, as well as a satisfying finish. RAW has just been terrific lately, the complete opposite of...

Smackdown!, which delivered another mediocre showing this. Guerrero cut an exciting promo at the top of the show, and the show-closing Angle with him fainting was strong also, but everything in the middle was just awful. And how could it not be with the paper-thin roster on the brand. There's simply no excuse for WWE's two brands to be so unbalanced right now. WWE can afford to take a half dozen top-tier and upper-mid card workers from RAW and shift them to Smackdown!, and still keep RAW strong. But it's not just about the lack of talent on Smackdown!, it's about the horrible booking. The one ace in the deck that Smackdown! refuses to play is its cruiserweight talent. WWE must have a dozen or so talented cruiserweight athletes, but instead of utilizing them, they are just making a mockery of the division. Two weeks ago Chavo lost the title to Jackie. Then he had to essentially cheat to win it back Sunday night. Then on Thursday, the mid-sized Mordecai tore through a ring of cruisers like they were WCW Saturday Night jobbers, and later Chavo Classic wins the title. It's just unforgivable and almost suicidal booking.

Fonzo's battle-to-date averages: RAW (4.0), SD! (3.2).
 

Matt Hocking 
RAW: 4.2

On vacation again due to his job search, Matt Hocking has gained the
services of Popular Semi-Celebrity Paris Hilton to rate RAW on his behalf:

PH:  Uh...Raw?  Like...you mean...sushi?  No...sushi gives me the runs.  What's that camera for?  Oh, I bet I know!  Hold on, like, let me put on some make-up...Wrestling?  Like, whatever.  My lawyer says I don't have to do things like this anymore.  I'm, like, already rich.
HHH:  Just tell me what he rated the show, bitch.
PH:  Oooooh, you have big muscles.  You wanna go have sex?
HHH:  Teehee.
SM:  HUNTER!
HHH:  Ugh...Just the rating.
PH:  Uh...Fourty Two?
HHH:  Close enough.

SmackDown!: 3.3 
Now, to rate Smackdown, an impassioned commentary from some goth kid:

GK:  I hate the world.  I want to lash my arms to the doorposts of humanity with barbedwire and let my blood and my sould drip out of my body like cheese off the confection you normals call pizza my dad just ordered for me from that corporate hell house Pizza Hut with his dirty corporate money.  I imagine he also had them add rotting flesh in the form of pepperoni, and probably mushrooms even though he knows I'm allergic.  I hate him, just like I hate the rest of you.  Oh, and Smackdown wasn't terrible this week.  I only had the urge to slit my wrists 12 times.  That's 42 less than last time.  I guess the main was ok and I like seeing Funaki.  He reminds me of me.  A lost soul.  So I guess I'd give it a 3.3.  One for every spike I'd like to drive into John Bradshaw Leyfeild's nads.
JBL:  I heard that you nasty little bed wetter!
GK:  AH!

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

Jeb Lund 
RAW: 4.0

You know, there wasnít a lot to this show that I can pinpoint as good or bad. There was one great moment, and two terrible moments, and everything else seemed to entertain. I wish Iíd written this right after the show, because I recall at the time having many little points of amusement.

As for the breakdown: Rock and Eugene v. The Coach was mesmerizing. It was one of those simply wonderful moments that can only happen in wrestling Ė because of its free-form and live topsy-turvy nature. And letís give credit where itís due: Coach was beautifully evil, Eugene movingly sympathetic, and Rock is simply the maestro. Even when I knew he was playing me, and the audience, I simply didnít care. Itís from charisma like that, that cults are born.

This show would easily have broken 4.5 with me, if it werenít for the continued idiocy of Kane/Lita, and Randy Ortonís appallingly stupid racial inferences. Enough has been said about Kane and his latest bad angle that Iíll spare you the diatribe. I already wrote a column about Orton, Benjamin and race. Suffice to say, these two parts were so foully bad that they knocked a half a ratings point off an otherwise delightful show.

SmackDown!: 2.0 
Iím being generous, here, and my generosity comes from total apathy. If Smackdown hadnít conditioned me (over the last weeks) to colossal disappointment, I would have been frustrated and indignant. Instead, Iím so inured to bad that it seems the norm. Strangely enough, the highlight for me was actually the Chavo v. Chavo Classic v. Spike Dudley match. I got a kick out of the Chavos all night, and Classicís win and his reactions (as well as his sonís) were very entertaining. I think that their upcoming battles for the belt as well as family strife and squabbling have the potential to be an exciting and anchoring storyline for at least a few weeks. Just like Jericho often carried one hour of RAW with a solid promo/segment and then a solid match, I think these two can have great backstage vignettes and some good matches Ė thus making at least one our of Smackdown palatable overall.

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

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth 
RAW: 3.7
Generally a very good show. Here's where I nitpick: I don't have the women's match starting the show. I start instead with the (oy vey) Randy Orton promo. I'm starting to appreciate him more in the ring - lousy submission holds notwithstanding. His mic work is still sub-standard, but he's a heel anyway, so if you're gonna hate him, ya might as well hate him for real. It feels better that way when he gets his ass handed to him.

Number Two, we do the tag match. Except we segue by having Batista come out to help Orton kick Benjamin's ass. Then the champs make the save and we go to commercial with the heels powdering and Benjamin being helped to the back. After the commercial, the match, which ends when Benjamin heroically comes back and distracts Orton so he loses.

Then the women's match, the the Kane match, then the Rockfest, then the Battle Royale. There ya go.

I'm not convinced that Lita is technically substandard. But I agree her
character is suffering because of the Kane thing. Heck, that angle is a negative for everyone involved thus far: Lita, Matt, Kane and poor Val Venis. But maybe there's a payoff coming that is worth the investment. I think I would be classified as an agnostic when it comes to my faith in that happening.

SmackDown!: 3.0
Well, the PPV was a bit of a disappointment storyline-wise, which is the whole point of episodic wrestling programs. That hurts this show a lot.

Jacquelyn losing, I can deal with. Chavo Classic winning, I can enjoy. One right after the other - no. Too much palate cleansing and not enough meat. At least announce the Kidman-Akio match (and run a graphic of it in the show intro) as a No. 1 contenders' match, which would also give Mordecai more heat for crashing the party. And does he really need to spend that long to get into the ring?

How Bubba Ray wrestles without kneepads is beyond me. Damn.

I mark for Nunzio.

Why wasn't Dupree DQed for cracking the flagpole over the back? Then again, why didn't he go over at the PPV? Faces currently hold three of the four SD! belts, BTW.

I liked the main. The Angle promo where he says he's not going to let them in the same ring at the same time, then does anyway, would have made a little more sense if (a) Angle hinted in his promo that the Dudleys would offer JBL some level of protection and (b) the announcers surmised that Angle was in on the attack in the dressing room all along, so he knew Guerrero wasn't going to be in the match anyway.

Now we should be starting to get some dividends on the Eddie-JBL thing. The show still suffers from his overly-quick push, but the heat is bound to catch up eventually. I think that happens this week.

Immo's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.0), SD! (3.4).
 

Big Danny T 
RAW: 4.0
6 months ago, whodathunk I'd be saying this, but Raw is still simply
incredible. The Genuine surprise of having the Rock make the cameo
appearance was the icing and top layer of this weeks particular cake. I liked everything about it (Except the stupid Kane/Lita stuff, and I
lamented the fact that my darling Gail didn't' get any screen time this
week), and am looking forward to each week. THAT'S good TV.

SmackDown!: 2.7
I'd give it a little higher, but their mishandling of the PPV on Sunday was just pathetic, and it carried over to the show. Check the Recap...

Danny's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.4).
 

Rick Scaia  
RAW: 4.3
You give me an anchoring tag title match as good as the one we got on RAW and then a main event that effectively (if not exactly spectacularly) set the stage for the top two matches at the next PPV, and I say it's a winner already.  Then you ladle on the Pure Gold of the Rock/Eugene/Coach segment, and it becomes a no-brainer.  For sheer surprise and entertainment value, I don't know as that there has been a better segment on RAW all year, and thus you get both the "Holy Shit" factor as well as the get-off-the-couch factor AND the laugh-my-ass-off factor.  I'll stop short of saying it matched the Benoit/HBK-headlined show two weeks previous, but this was a damned amusing 2 hours of television.  Just outstanding. 

SmackDown!: 2.3 
Was the Dudleys/Bradshaw vs. RVD/Rey/Eddie main event good?  Yep, sure was.  Did I get a kick out of the Chavos and the newest twist in the Cruiserweight Division? Definitely, and I think they'll supply more fun (albeit in little 4 minute ghettos, since lord knows JBL needs the TV time).  But guess what?  That's NOT what this week's SD! needed to deliver.  It needed to say (practically SHOUT), "Hey folks, sorry about that last 2 months, but we're gonna turn the corner and try some GOOD stuff, now."  Instead: more JBL/Eddie, more Cena/Dupree, and more Booker/Taker.  And good lord: don't remind me about "Paul Bearer switched my magic baggie."  Somebody needs a good sac punch for that one.  So despite the goodness, SD! still drops a few ticks from the week before due to not delivering the paradigm shift it needed, and still lagged far behind RAW by any measure. 

Rick's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.4), SD! (3.5).
 

FINAL OO RATINGS, WEEK ENDING 5/21/04

RAW average: 4.03
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.4 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 2.46 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 2.9  
SD! UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

BATTLE TO DATE TALLIES

Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.33 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.18 

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

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.25
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.30 

SD! is UNDERdelivering, on average, versus actual ratings since the start of the Battle.

Rounds Won by RAW: 25 
Rounds Won by SD!: 23  
Current Streak: 9 by RAW (Since 3/26/04) 
Longest Streak: 9 by RAW (Since 3/26/04)

BROWSE PAST WEEK'S BATTLES OF THE BRANDS   Shop at Amazon.com


  
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Bonding Exercises
 
RAW RECAP: The New Guy Blows It
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: 18 Seconds? NO! NO! NO!
 
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
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Backfired!
 
RAW RECAP: Bigger IS Better
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Hitting with Two Strikes
 
RAW RECAP: Heel, or Tweener?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Destiny Do-Over
 
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
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: In-BRO-pendence Day
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Five Surprising MitB Deposits
 
RAW RECAP: Weeeellll, It's a Big MitB
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: #striketwo
 
RAW RECAP: Johnny B. Gone
 
PPV RECAP: WWE No Way Out 2012
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Go Nuts
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: You're Welcome
 
RAW RECAP: Be a Star, My Ass
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Needs More Kane?
 
RAW RECAP: You Can't See Him
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: Lady Power
 
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?
 
SMACKDOWN RECAP: No! No! No!
 
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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