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

Week Ending June 4, 2004

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

 

OOficial Brand of the Week:
RAW

RAW:
3.18  --/-- SD!: 2.44

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 (5/31/04) vs. SMACKDOWN! (6/03/04)  
OOFICIAL RATINGS

Canadian Bulldog 
RAW: 3.5
The good: More of the same we've come to love since the draft lottery -- solid, consistent storytelling and entertaining matches.... Chris Benoit and Edge Vs. La Resistance was a fun contest made better by the reaction of the Montreal crowd. Uh, guys, you DO realize Benoit was originally from Montreal, and that Conway has probably never been there before. Right?... I may be in the minority here, but I really enjoyed Eugene Vs. Kane. Should it have been the main event spot? Probably not. But just try to tell me you weren't marking out at Eugene's Superman comeback. I DARE YOU! I also like that they stayed away from the Lita/Kane angle, even though I know it's going to be back with a vengeance soon (wait... Vengeance? Isn't that a SmackDown PPV? I'm confused).

The bad: Tonight on 'Inside The Actors Studio': Trish Stratus. Don't get me wrong: I am a HUGE Trish fan. She is easily the most attractive Diva they have; can wrestle better than most men on the roster; and lives only 10 minutes away from yours truly (I'm only a phone call away, hon), but as a heel, she just CANNOT BE GIVEN ANY MORE MIC TIME. You're just too nice for the role. Sorry about that (call me, babe). And why didn't Chris Jericho run out when he first noticed that his talk show was set up, and his music was playing?....   I thought Shelton Benjamin-Randy Orton was *okay*; I just would have rather it had been saved for a PPV. And yes, I realize that they were just giving us a mini-match to hype Bad Blood, but another tag team match -- or even Benjamin Vs. Batista -- would have accomplished the same thing... Oh, and Week Two of the Disco Dancin' Victoria segment: Why?

SmackDown!: 1.5
(Note: I didn't see the telecast, but I attended the show live two days earlier. I TRIED TO WARN YOU! Why did you people not listen to me? You had to find out for yourselves, didn't you? I e-mailed The Rick, told him what to expect, but that change anyone's minds? Nooooo. Well, you can't blame a guy for trying. Friends just don't do that to friends.)

The good: The John Cena-Booker T sketch was pretty damn funny, and it's an interesting feud besides.... Heyman was good in his role to become the next Paul Bearer, but then again, he'd be good in his role as SmackDown Janitor if that's what they wanted him to play. Hey, here's a novel idea: why not make Paul Heyman the GENERAL MANAGER OF SMACKDOWN???? Nah, what was I thinking? He'd only make the show better.

The bad: Where to start, where to start.... what was the single worst moment of the night? Could it be The Undertaker's reluctance to even lose by COUNTOUT to Booker T? Come on, how hard would that have been to do, guys? Or how about the baffling decision to put Rey Mysterio over Rene Dupree in the midst of his big push (even though I am a huge Rey fan, it just doesn't make sense)? Or... we could go with the 'bikini blast bash battle' or whatever the hell they called it. I mean, COME ON, PEOPLE! ENOUGH!!! Or... we could go with the nonsensical decision of putting the team of Billy Gunn and Bob Holly (now known as Hardcore Ass) on the show when they filmed a perfectly good match between Akio/Sakoda and Rico/Haas earlier in the night? Or how about the continued decision to keep Kurt Angle as the "hilarious" general manager?

No, wait, I've got it. The worst moment of the night was John Cena's "old school" Blue Jays jersey. That was fine, except he wore #23, Cecil Fielder, who wasn't even a star during his years as a Jay. I mean, who would have EVER bought that jersey back in the day?

Bulldog's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.3), SD! (2.7).
 

Alfonso Castillo 
RAW: 3.1
SmackDown!: 1.8

Both shows seemed a bit off this week, even by Smackdown's usual standards.

RAW started off well with the upset tag title change that drew a big response from the live crowd, but it slowed down considerably after that. After pushing the Michaels-HHH PPV match too much at the expense of Kane-Benoit the previous week, the HHH in-ring promo was very solid and an adequate bit of hype, but WWE dropped the ball again on pushing the World Heavyweight title match at Bad Blood. Kane's been good in his role, but until now, they have just not created enough of an issue to look forward to his match with Benoit. Benjamin and Orton had a chance to be a great match, but turned out only to be OK. The Eugene-Kane main event was anti-climactic - so much that I was waiting for another segment when the match finished. When the WWE logo appeared on the bottom of the screen, I'm sure I was not alone in thinking "That's It?"

In the words of the immortal Adrian Balboa in Rocky IV, Smackdown!, "You can't win!" As long as the SD! roster remains as is, it would be tough for the brand to beat even a mediocre edition of RAW. What's more, Smackdown! barely featured the few strong performers it does have this week - burying Eddie Guerrero in throwaway mid-card match, wasting Chavo Guerrero Jr. on commentary and not featuring a single decent cruiserweight match, and instead focusing on guys like the Undertaker, Mordecai and the Dudleys. What's more, after a week of solid hype for Taker-Booker T, the match ends in a non-finish. Garbage.

But worst of all, this week we were terated to two of the worst, most
cringe-inducing wrestling promos of all time, courtesy of Trish Stratus on RAW ("Hello 911, I'd like to report a robbery... Trish and Tomko just stole the show. Hee Hee Hee.") and John Cena on RAW (the whole Booker pooped his pants schtick.) Double "Ugh."

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

"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth 
RAW: 3.0
My main complaint would be that they burned off all the crowd's heat by having the tag match with francophone fave Grenier right off the bat. The heat also suffered with yet ANOTHER overly-long Randy Orton match on a night where we already had the tag match stretch over an ad break. Plus, all the hype about this being a "special" RAW was for naught. After that hot tag match, I was eagerly waiting to see what other stuff they'd pull out of their hats. Yawn.

SmackDown!: 3.1
A narrow victory. There's the benefit of a taped show - you get enough time to re-think stuff, time that you don't get on RAW. Most of the stuff that worked wasn't even wrestling per se, it was the characters of Kurt Angle, Paul Heyman and the Chavos, plus the PG-13 exotic entertainment. That made the work in the ring more compelling than what RAW put out.

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

Big Danny T  
RAW: 3.5
Not a blow away show, but still good enough to capture the top spot.
Everybody that needed a bit of screen time got it, with the show
obviously being stolen by Eugene.

Now, I'm as big a Eugene fan as everyone else, but I can't help but be
worried about when the bust is going to happen, and the fans stop caring about this heartwarming story of the year (or has everyone forgotten the tale of Zack Gowan?) I personally say let him have the next couple weeks in the sun, then bring him down and dole him out in small doses. And of course, all this should slowly be leading to either the education of Eugene where he slowly loses the "special" gimmick, or a heel turn where he pulls a big "Fooled you!" on everyone and is actually both a wrestling and an intellectual genius. Call him leaping Lanny Poffo, Version 2.

Now, to do something about making Kane/Benoit a match people actually care about...

SmackDown!: 2.9 
Slowly moving back up. The comedy and titillation helped, but they were just appetizers for what should be the shows meat and potatoes (I.E. the matches) and while the matches were good enough, they didn't really satisfy all too well this week. Check the Recap...

Danny's battle-to-date averages: RAW (3.5), SD! (3.3).
 

Rick Scaia  
RAW: 2.8
This was the week where my vague discomfort over building any kind of momentum towards Bad Blood became distinctly pronounced.  Imminently watchable in a kind of cruise-control kind of way (you don't have to pay TOO close attention cuz you can tell they aren't trying TOO hard to do anything really cool), this is still not the kind of show RAW should be producing this close to a PPV that is essentially relying on one single match to sell it.  HHH/HBK will be good, but does that mean we fans have to resign ourselves to lazily, carelessly told stories in every other match on the card.  Again, it's not like the show was without a few highlights (the opening match was well-worked, and the cheers for La Resistance added a cool touch of surreality; I was a mark for 90% of Trish's Highlight Reel material; and Eugene, even if he doesn't belong in a ring beating Kane, was good for the usual kicks)... it's just that the spark of effortless momentum that I so enjoyed on RAW for about three consecutive months was noticeably absent.  And if ever there's a time to be displaying that spark, it's when you're coming up on a PPV. 

SmackDown!: 2.9 
SD! continues to infuriate me at the very highest levels: the WWE Title level, where Bradshaw, inexplicably, still maintains residence.  And as I've said before, there is a definite Trickle Down effect on any show: if a main event match kicks ass, it positively colors your opinion of the preceeding show.  If a main event storyline is kicking ass, it can make mediocre mid-card material seem that much more interesting by propping it up.  The reverse applies when the top level stuff isn't working.  For all the fun I'm having with the Chavos (and that's a lot), it's hard to base my enjoyment on a 2 hour show on a single, throw-away segment like that.  Also: SD! gets points for getting Booker away from Taker and going for a Booker/Cena US Title feud.  But then promptly loses most of those points back for predicating said feud on fart noises and pants-pooping allegations.  And: SD! gets points for doing a pretty interesting thing with Paul Heyman trying to "seduce" Undertaker to join him on the dark side, but again loses a few of those points back for predicating said seduction on Paul fricking Bearer's well-being.  I just don't know: it's like SD! can take all these tiny steps forward, to the point where they actually do a very watchable overall show like this week's, but they can't quite piece it all together.  

This was a week where I liked RAW and SD! about the same: both had some good things, both frustrated me in specific ways.  But since my credo is Only Pussies Vote For Ties, somebody has to win.  What the hell, let's give the token 0.1 point victory to SD! on the grounds that, hell, I don't mind looking at Torrie Wilson's ass.  Torrie's Butt: Tie-Breaker Extraordinaire! 

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

RATINGS, WEEK ENDING 6/04/04

RAW average: 3.18
Actual Nielsen Rating: 2.8 (converted to broadcast rating)  
RAW OVERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

SmackDown! average: 2.44 
Actual Nielsen Rating: 3.0  
SD! UNDERdelivers versus actual rating this week.

FINAL YEAR ONE BATTLE OF THE BRANDS RESULTS

Average OO Rating for RAW:  3.32 
Average Nielsen Rating for RAW: 3.17 

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

Average OO Rating for SD: 3.22
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: 27 
Rounds Won by SD!: 23  
Current Streak: 11 by RAW (Since 3/26/04) 
Longest Streak: 11 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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