RAW vs SmackDown: Week 14

I promised a full RAW vs SmackDown post this week and I’m delivering. Last week SmackDown got back on the winning side of things. Did the Red brand respond with their Hell in a Cell go home show or was it another win for the Tuesday night crew? Let’s find out. 

Monday Night RAW

Pros of the Show

  • Rusev CRUSH!- I enjoyed Rusev’s taped promo. He had some great fire and almost came across like the babyface. It made me want Rusev to win this Sunday.
  • Skol Axel Skol- Curtis Axel acruelly had a great fired up babyface promo in his hometown. It served its purpose well of getting the crowd fully behind him and then getting heat on Bo Dallas for picking up the victory.
  • David vs Goliath- It’s a centuries old story. WWE is not breaking any new ground with the Sami Zayn/Braun Strowman program. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re telling the story extremely well so far.

Cons of the Show

  • Almost Isn’t Close Enough- RAW almost started with a match, as the announce team stated that the show was supposed to start with a match between Enzo Amore and Karl Anderson but then Y2J came out. Why couldn’t they have just started with the match and then have Jericho come out an interrupt about the missing List of Jericho? Start shows with matches dammit!
  • Give It Away Now- Sheamus and Cesaro faced New Day. Seth Rollins faced Kevin Owens (and Y2J). Enzo faced Karl Anderson. All of these people will be in matches against each other on Sunday. Stop doing this WWE.
  • Losing Champs- The New Day got pinned heading into a PPV. Kevin Owens got pinned heading into a PPV. While not a champion, Cruiserweight Championship #1 contender got pinned heading into a PPV (will admit that it at least served the story they’re trying to tell now). Stop doing this WWE.
  • Well That Was Pointless- The overarching angle of the episode, the missing List of Jericho, was mildly entertaining but ultimately pretty pointless. Chris just getting the List back after asking Braun Strowman nicely for it was anti climatic. Felt like a lot of wasted time.
  • Missing the Mark- Contract signings are always an iffy proposition. They’re overdone and only very rarely are pulled off well. The contract signing between Sasha Banks and Charlotte definitely flopped. The idea was good in concept but I think Mick got a little overly dramatic at times (this may have been highlighted by the fact that neither Sasha or Charlotte properly reacted to what he was saying). Also I think it would have been better served to have Mick only speak once about the dangers of the Cell. The back and forth of him giving the dire warning, Sasha and Charlotte basically ignoring him to trash talk each other, then Mick again ranting about the Cell made the segment drag.
  • What A Mess- The Brock segment (aside from being terrible by default because it’s Brock Lesnar) was just a complete crap show. What were they thinking? Just an utter disaster of a segment. Going to be a long road to Survivor Series if this is any indication.
  • Where The Hell Is Nia Jax?- Seriously, where the hell is she? Why hasn’t she been on RAW recently? Surely they could have fit her in the show? Did we really need the Golden Truth vs Shining Stars match after we already had them face each other last week in a 6 man tag? Did the contract signing need to run so long? Did we need to see Brock? (The answer is no, we never need to see Brock) Get Nia on the damn show!

SmackDown LIVE

Pros of the Show

  • Every Time I Think I’m Out- I’d been completely done with the Orton/Wyatt program almost from the start, but dammit if they didn’t pull me back in this week. Orton hitting the RKO on Kane was a bit of a surprise and him hinting at joining up with the Wyatt family opens this story line up to multiple different directions. Also, I’m just really happy that seemingly they’ve finally actually had Bray’s antics affect a character on a psychological level. That’s what Bray should have been doing from the start, driving people to madness.
  • Where The Women Shine- They may be “making history” over on RAW but SmackDown LIVE has become where women’s wrestling shines. Both women’s segment hit home this week. Alexa’s vicious beat down of Becky Lynch was great and her actually spray painting a yellow stripe down Becky’s back was just the cherry on the top. I don’t know why I liked that so much, I think it just felt like something different from a women’s program and it just felt like a natural heel moment for Alexa. In the other women’s program, I thought it was a great subtle touch that a week after Carmella accused Nikki Bella of riding on her boyfriend’s coattails, Nikki debuted a new submission finisher that very clearly resembles Cena’s STF. Carmella’s post match beat down of Nikki was another good step in the build to an eventual No DQ match that will feel like it fits the story and isn’t just for the sake of making history.
  • What Goes Around- I personally think it was a great touch that after Ambrose had so much fun screwing with AJ via James Ellsworth, it ended up being Ellsworth that screwed (inadvertently) Dean out of a title match. It just felt like it fit. Also, if you haven’t yet, check out Ellsworth on Talking Smack. He plays the sad puppy dog character extremely well.

Cons of the Show

  • Uhhh… I Got Nothing- While I wasn’t necessarily blown away by everything on the show, I cannot point to one single thing that detracted from the show at all. Top to bottom this was a solid episode. Good job SmackDown.

Winner: SmackDown LIVE

No surprise here. It wasn’t even close. RAW was really bad, like really really bad. SmackDown delivered strong on multiple angles and did not have anything detract from the overall enjoyment of the show. After a brief blip in the radar a couple of weeks ago, it seems that the Blue brand is back to being the clear superior brand.

Record: RAW-5, SmackDown LIVE- 9