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

Week Ending May 28, 2004

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

 

OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW

RAW:
3.33  --/-- SD!: 2.63

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 (5/24/04) vs. SMACKDOWN! (5/27/04)  
OOFICIAL RATINGS

Canadian Bulldog 
RAW: 3.5
The good: Two fresh, interesting and well-done tag team matches highlighted this show. Shelton Benjamin showed he can make a decent team with just about ANYONE as he and Jericho seemed to gel in a hurry during their tag match with Randy Orton and Batista. All four of these guys deserve credit for putting on an entertaining bout. I hope they (eventually) go back to the Orton and Jericho issue, as a feud between them could be quite good. Everytime Y2J caled Orton "Randall", it cracked me up for some reason.... Then you had Eugene and Chris Benoit, who weren't as polished as the Jericho/Benjamin team, but still made for an entertaining combination. It almost reminded me of the time Hulk Hogan teamed up with George The Animal Steele.. in a way, anyways.... I say they need to turn Coach into a full-time wrestler. Who CARES if the guy can barely wrestle? He makes a great heel and is consistently "on".

The bad: Edge Vs. Ric Flair seemed really rushed, both in its presentation and the match length. This match could have been something (for Edge, anyways), but instead they used it for a backdrop for the later Evolution segments. That didn't make sense, especially considering they did the EXACT same thing half an hour later on the Highlight Reel.... As I said last week, I'm digging the build up between Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Seriously, with the way this is being played out, you wouldn't know they've already fought a million times over the past two years. Having said that, there was WAY TOO MUCH of them on this show. Let's face it; they don't need more soundbites and clips for the three-minute video that will get played before their Bad Blood match. Why do they need so many more pull-aparts, etc.? ... Finally, Disco Dancin' Victoria (tm) is probably the silliest gimmick change I've seen in some time. At the starting of this year, they had a female wrestler w! ho the fans really were into, and they've systematically ruined that.

SmackDown!: 2.5
The good: Once again, using the mathematical equation known as the Paul Heyman Enjoyment Ratio, or PHER, you can see an instant lift in the show's quality whenever wrestling's mad scientist is on the program. And since they are DETERMINED not to keep him in the GM role, for whatever reason, at least putting him with The Dudley Boyz isn't a bad thing.... I didn't mind the RVD/Rey Mysterio Vs. Dudleyz match at all, but isn't it time they all moved on to something else? In the same vein, I'm glad Booker T finally got some credit for not being scared of Undertaker (well, maybe a little scared), but again, where will this end up? As much as I detest Chavo Classic's role in turning the cruiserweight title into a comedy prop, I'll give the old man his due: he is VERY funny in the job.

The bad: Anyone else out remember when, even if SmackDown couldn't put together a decent PPV on their own, they at least had consistently good MATCHES on television? What the hell happened? Even John Cena Vs. Rene Dupree, the alleged 'main event' was pretty unremarkable.

I'll say this much: week-to-week, some of the storylines have improved, or are at least going in interesting directions. I got an e-mail after my diatribe in last week's BOTB asking "what would you do on SmackDown?". So, for the benefit of... I don't know... Vince McMahon, maybe? He MUST read OO, if for no other reason than for the Satire. So, Vince, here are my suggestions:

(1) Turn Cena heel again. The guy needs to reclaim the egde that got him over. His face turn has been horribly botched. The only thing I can liken it to is the Rock. In September 1998, he was turned face, and while it was a good idea, they quickly turned him heel again within two months. By the time he was turned face again some six months later, he was hugely over. Plus, poor Eddie Guerrero could use some actual competition again, and he and Cena had some terrific matches on SD last year.

(2) Get some tag teams!!! I mean, geez. I'm not completely opposed to the Rico/Haas combination, and you have The Dudleyz, who can certainly perform when motivated, but what else can they give us that's remotely entertaining? Give London and Kidman a push, fire The Bashams, make The FBI seem like something halfway-decent, create a team of Heat or Velocity jobbers, or just raid some indy talent. It doesn't matter! But tag team matches are an important part of SmackDown, and that's been seriously lacking ever since the breakup of Los Guerreros.

(3) Get RVD and Rey the FUCK out of midcard tag team hell and give them roles that mean something! They had the right idea for Rey Rey last year when he was main eventing against Matt Hardy and Big Show. People will get behind Mysterio if the company gives him a chance. Same thing with RVD. If they're not going to turn Cena, at least give RVD an inspired heel turn with Heyman as his manager.

(4) Bradshaw Vs. Undertaker feud. Hear me out here. Yes, this matchup might be the equivalent of slowly pulling your fingernails off, one at a time. And yes, such a blessed event could potentially eat up GOBS of TV time. But I suggest it for two reasons. First, the feud has a 'big match' feel, something the roster desperately needs. Second, if they hook up, then it leaves guys like Guerrero, Booker and Cena free to actually have decent feuds and matches.

You're welcome, Vince.

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

Alfonso Castillo 
RAW: 3.2
SmackDown!: 2.7

I'll make it quick this week. RAW slowed down a bit this week after a string of hot shows, but it is to be expected. It's hard to keep the pace the show had been on for so long. Still it was a good show, just not a great show. 

I'll echo a complaint that I'm sure others have - there was simply too much Triple H - Shawn Michaels, especially when the brand has a world heavyweight title match to hype going into the next PPV. It seemed absurd to dedicate about a third of the show to HHH-Shawn, and only have Kane cut a one minute promo about his upcoming match with Benoit. What's more, there really wasn't much of a main event this week or a particularly strong match. I think this show also suffered from a lack of hype. RAW had been doing a great job of promoting several matches a week - if not several weeks - ahead,  but by Monday afternoon this week, most fans did not know a single thing that would be on RAW later that night.

Smackdown! continues to suffer from a lack of roster depth, and that's not going to change any time soon. But with heyman, Angle and Guerrero featured prominently, and a fun gimmick main event, it was a little more watchable than it's been in previous weeks. But it will be a while before SD! can even hope to consistently compete with RAW.

Fonzo's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.9), SD! (3.2).
 

Matt Hocking 
RAW: 3.9

Still on a temporary leave of absence, Matt Hocking presents his RAW rating in the form of a terrible poem.

RAW on Monday was ok,
But I have something to say,
It seems that things are slowing down
RAW no longer rocks the town.
However, it's better than most
Though that's no real boast,
At least Eugene is entertaining

Despite Jeb's complaint
I think Orton is great
But RAW could use a little less Kane
Before he screws Lita again.
I'd guess if I could
This is going nowhere real good
But at least they're not doing nothing

So what do I rate
A show good not great
Now at the end of the week
There is nothing more to speak
RAW was just fine
It earned a 3.9
Now I'm going to go do something.

SmackDown!: 3.1 
In place of Mr. Hocking's rating for Smackdown, WWE RAW Superstar HHH has given this spot to his cat, Nibblins.

NB:  Meow Meow Meow Mew.
HHH:  Awww...that's right buddy.  You tell those bastards over at Smackdown what's wrong with them.
NB:  Prrrrr....
SM:  HUNTER!  I don't think that's very nice.  I'm trying really hard!!
HHH:  SHUT UP!  NIBBLINS IS TRYING TO RATE SMACKDOWN!
NB:  Rawr?
JBL:  I'm going to take you out, you bitchy cat!  You're just some fat hack!
HHH:  PEDIGREE TO BRADSHAW!
EG:  THANK YOU ESSE!
HHH:  I mean, damn.  At least Heyman was ok, and there were a few ok matches.
EG:  EXACTLY, I think you really FEEL Smackdown, holmes.
HHH:  Hell yeah I do.
EG:  So why didn't you stay here.
HHH:  Because, it's against my religion to work on Thursdays.
EG:  Err...we tape on Tuesdays.
HHH:  Huh.  Oh well, sucks to be you.  Nibblins!  RATE!
NB:  Meow?
HHH:  3.1?  That's probably over doing it, but I'll take it!!

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

Jeb Lund 
RAW: 3.3

Let’s get what sucked out of the way. I’m doing the Dean Rasmussen thing in reverse order.

What Didn’t Work:
Kane and Lita having a sensitive fire- or whatever-lit moment in her dressing room that was stagy, implausible, and more forced than John Hurt giving birth to that alien on the dinner table. What was that weird red color in the background? My RAGE.

Victoria dancing like a high school graduate padding her summer by stripping at The Matador, before realizing that this one disposable summer is going to stretch into a disposable life with more ugliness and banal extension than the marks on her ever-burgeoning thighs.

Diva Idol. Like there aren’t enough ways to accuse the WWE of pandering to the Moronic Majority in America.

Kane cuts a promo about his title match with Benoit. I guess it’s okay. But the lighting and the close-up shot make me realize than Kane’s head looks like a potato. For actual match heat, it does nothing. But now I really want mashed potatoes. Also, Kane’s Irish. That explains how he can keep coming back, year after year, despite being totally shit on or destroyed in storyline upon storyline. Michael Collins, Eamon de Valera, William Butler Yeats… Kane. It’s heritage, dammit!

Bischoff treating virtually every mid-carder or low-carder on the roster as bouncers, not as jobbers. Which is worse?

Triple H and Shawn Michaels show the LOVE THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME by refusing to be torn apart. SEVENTEEN PEOPLE cannot keep ONE MAN from the blistering passion that is felt in every embrace with his long-time companion. The more you make their contact forbidden, the more you see the rebellious and undeniable magnetism they share. Their potent clash showed an intensity matched only by a hidden shame and unquestionable mutual tumescence. Shawn said it; Hunter said it: “I will touch you, if only just the one time they let us be together!”

In the Middle:
Rosey and Hurricane v. La Resistance. It didn’t do it for you, but it didn’t hurt you. Rosey and Hurricane are both in dire need of some kind of re-working.

Vickie v. Molly and Gail, sort of. Hey, she dances like an idiot, but she can still out-wrestle Goldberg. Decent match, even if it was sadly encumbered by the DANCING.

What Worked:
Jericho kicks the Highlight Reel, runs some catchphrases and dubs Orton “Randall,” thus giving him the sort of snotty prep-school moniker he’s been so richly deserving. Batista hits the scene, and Jericho, Orton and Batista all give each other a little what-for, before Shelton Benjamin makes the save. They follow this segment with a Jericho/Benjamin v. Orton/”Dave” BOOOOZE “Davidson” match that alternates between very good and pretty damn serviceable. Some say that Jericho was calling his spots too obviously, but I didn’t notice, because I’m not that anal.

Post match, we have Trish luring a suddenly stupid Jericho to DEATH at the hands of Tonka Tonka. I could give a shit about Mutant Boy, but the spot pleased the crowd and called into question whether Spanish Announce Table can finally go over English Announce Table. The answer? Tables Match. It will settle this shit once and for all.

Eugene and Benoit. Screw their opponents. Everything with Eugene has been GOLD at this point. I love Eugene. You love Eugene. Eugene and his parents and every face on the roster loves Eugene. Eugene is goodness; Eugene is light. Eugene is THE WAY.

SmackDown!: 2.0 
What Worked:
RVD/Mysterio v. The Dudleys. Everything involving the Chavos.

What Didn’t:
Everything else.

Jeb's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.0), SD! (2.9).

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth 
RAW: 3.1
Not bad. The Flair-Edge match was a bummer, though. For one thing, the satellite feed winked out for a sec mid-match. And the screwup with the ref having to stop counting while Flair's shoulders were down. Maybe they can build up some heat between these two and run it at the PPV.

I have nothing bad to say about the Diva Search. It's just there in the background. Maybe if it were still a one-hour show, then I'd complain about the loss of five minutes per week.

I think we may have seen the last of the Kane-Lita thing, fingers crossed. Lita and Matt walk off, then later Kane says that what he wants, he gets, so Benoit better watch out. Kane did his thing and made his point - let's move on.

I guess we need La Resistance because next week is in Montreal. I honestly suspect they won't get that big a response there. Unless Jacques Rougeau shows up. Hmmm . . .

Awesome Highlight Reel and tag match . . . except it's five minutes too long again! Darn those ineffective-looking submission holds occasionally applied to the wrong arm! And would it have hurt to have Trish not on the headset if she had no intention of saying anything? Just let her stand there so tastily and watch.

Oh, good gravy, do I not like dancing Victoria.

Another wonderful Eugene piece, although I thought Regal needed to be more conflicted. Or at least he needed to express how amazed he is that Eugene is such a wrestling savant. We can't believe Regal would give a toss about Eugene unless he were a walking encyclopedia of wrestling.

Good tear-apart to end the show. Nice to have the ol' Hell in a Cell up your sleeve.

SmackDown!: 2.9
Excellent opener, even if it's the same four guys again (it's called a feud, hello?). The Heyman thing was brilliant - drink that Kool-Aid! Although I'm a bit uncomfortable with the whole Jonestown reference thing.

Anyhoo . . . good JBL promo. He's pushing all the right heat buttons. Booker T squashing S2H, m'eh. Eddie's non-match, m'eh. Mixed tag, m'eh. At least all the non-interesting stuff is in the middle.

Kenzo Suzuki promo. Forged from the fires of defeat, my ass. (A), you just don't go there, and (B), why should we believe in a Japanese wrestling character that wants revenge for WWII? At least if you had a neo-Nazi, that would make some kind of sociopolitical sense. Where's Johnny K-9 when you need him?

Although I did get a kick out of the promo, where he said "Suzuki Kenzo" in the first bit and "Kenzo Suzuki" in the second bit.

More non-wrestling w/ Cena and Angle, then Rico and friends. Way too much interstitial today. Thankfully, the Chavos are here to save the day.

Good but not great lumberjack match. Hot angle and good ideas for the outside shenanigans, but an FU basically out of nowhere for the pin does nothing for me. Insinuating that it'll be Booker-Cena next time does, on the other hand.

Praise be, for next week is Crazy Canuck week! Can there possibly be a better way to wrap up the first (and perhaps only) year of Battle of the Brands? I think not.

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

Rick Scaia  
RAW: 3.0
Is it losing steam, or is it losing focus, or is it just going on cruise control because Memorial Day is coming, and RAW doesn't want to blow its wad on a holiday Monday?  I don't know, but the end result was finishing up RAW with the least amount of enthusiasm that I've had in months.  On it's own, an OK show with a solid anchoring mid-show match and quality entertainment from Jericho, Eugene, and the usual suspects.  But in terms of building to the future?  Well, HHH/HBK HitC takes care of itself, so I won't pretend to have any substantive complaints there... but Kane/Benoit has absolutely zero going for it, Dancing Victoria is a train wreck, and what in the blue hell are they gonna do about the tag division?  Still entertaining, for sure, but just not the run-away freight train of goodness and momentum that we've grown accustomed to. 

SmackDown!: 2.6 
Even with RAW leaving the door open a crack, SD! couldn't bust it down.  Instead, they stick to a mix of recycled storylines that ranged from the merely uninteresting (the latest in Eddie/JBL) to the Gay Spooky (Booker being assaulted by Taker's light show) to the Actually Potentially Interesting (Paul Heyman remotivating the Dudleys in a win over RVD/Rey and then using them to get Taker's urn).  Throw in a very good opening tag match, a bit of fun with the Chavos, and you've got a show that balances out just BARELY on the high side of average.  But there's just so much work to still be done, and so much of it would be addressed by fixing the main event, and letting the sizzle and spark trickle down the card.  Instead, the only thing trickling down from more JBL is pure apathy, and it makes it HARDER to get excited about the good that is there.  A damned shame. 

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

FINAL OO RATINGS, WEEK ENDING 5/28/04

RAW average: 3.33
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.1 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 2.63 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 2.8  
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: 3.23
Average Nielsen Rating for SD:  3.29 

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

Rounds Won by RAW: 26 
Rounds Won by SD!: 23  
Current Streak: 10 by RAW (Since 3/26/04) 
Longest Streak: 10 by RAW (Since 3/26/04)

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


  
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PPV RECAP: WWE Night of Champions 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: Say My Name
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 

 

 


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