WWE Monday Night Raw - September 5, 2016 - Spirit Center in Kansas City, MO
WWE SmackDown - September 6, 2016 – Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, NE
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN
FACTOR 1: CROWD
Throughout the entirety of SmackDown this week, all I could think about was how lackluster the crowd was. Even with decent segments and matches they were dead throughout most of the show—especially the ending promo where Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles both had some good lines and moments, but the crowd gave them nothing.
The Raw crowd wasn't great, but they were at least involved in the show. It helps they have interactive entrances like Enzo & Cass and The New Day to help them out. Raw wins here.
FACTOR 2: COMMENTARY
There were several instances on Monday night where I felt myself shaking my head yet again at Byron Saxton for either saying something ridiculous, making no sense at all, or seemingly being elsewhere and not paying attention throughout the show.
On a positive note, I felt like the SmackDown commentary group was MUCH better this week compared to others. I still have hope for David Otunga to be at least decent because that's all he has to be when sitting next to two of the best in JBL and Mauro Ranallo. There were glimpses tonight of Otunga being good in this spot. The heel turn by The Usos was a shining moment for this team as both JBL and Otunga did a wonderful job. Mauro was excellent as always, so SmackDown gets it here.
FACTOR 3: MATCHES
SmackDown had a total of four matches this week, and none of which were anything to be overly excited about. The Miz and Apollo Crews had the best match of the night, and The Usos vs. American Alpha was a little bit of a disappointment. A thirty second match was a let down, but the heel turn was desperately needed. We'll get to that.
Raw didn't have many more matches than that, but they had some pretty good ones. Notables being: Charlotte vs. Bayley, Chris Jericho vs. Seth Rollins, and of course Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn. Charlotte vs. Bayley could've been better, but was still decent with Bayley picking up the win. Jericho vs. Rollins was another decent match that could've been better with more time. And then of course, Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn was great. These two have the best chemistry out of anyone on the roster and possibly in all of professional wrestling. Seeing two guys that can always put on an incredible match is very special, and they help Raw to a win here.
FACTOR 4: PROMOS
Man, both shows really had some dud promos this week. Like, really bad. Raw has Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows with "The Old Day" which was just absolutely awful, and the Sasha Banks return promo didn't really go over very well with me either as she led the audience to believe her in ring career was coming to a close. But they had some bright spots like the beginning of the show with Mick Foley, Stephanie McMahon, Kevin Owens, and Seth Rollins and some good ones sprinkled throughout the show with Y2J and KO.
SmackDown had some promos that fell flat. Fandango's was a bad one, even though he made me laugh, and the promo with all six ladies in the six-pack challenge wasn't great. But where SmackDown was weak, they bounced back with something good. The Usos' first heel promo was good, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton both had great promos, and the ending with Dean and AJ had good moments even though the crowd sucked. SmackDown was definitely better overall.
FACTOR 5: STORYLINES
I knew SmackDown would have a weaker show here since they already did all their build up for their pay-per-view this Sunday. They still had some good moments, though. The tag team storyline advanced well with the "injury" to American Alpha and the heel turn by The Usos. Bray and Randy not having any face time didn't help or hurt there, but AJ and Dean had a good promo.
Raw, on the other hand, keeps shining when it comes to storytelling. Kevin Owens' relationship with Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins and his former group are falling apart thanks to Triple H, Mick Foley really flexed his GM muscle as his relationship with Stephanie was strained but held up. The dynamic relationship between Dana and Charlotte keeps getting some light, and its only a matter of time before that explodes. Having Roman Reigns potentially thrown in the WWE Universal Championship match is a head scratcher, but could end up being a good move. Raw wins the storyline battle again.
FACTOR 6: SCHEDULING / PACING
At times, both shows seemed a little slow. Very promo heavy, but I like the way SmackDown did their promos compared to Raw. They were short, sweet, and to the point where Raw had Gallows and Anderson take way too long. SmackDown wins.
FACTOR 7: VISUAL PRESENTATION
This section is going to be owned by SmackDown for awhile. The facts they show while the competitors are on the way to the ring, the new camera angles, etc makes everything feel like a much sleeker show. The non-difference in stage/arena set up is still a bummer to me.
EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!
No bonus points this week!
POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+0 / -0) / SmackDown (+0 / -0)
THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown
I knew SmackDown would be a little worse for wear this week. Most of the time, the show right before an event is unexciting. SmackDown had a chance to be exciting, but I think they dropped the ball with the American Alpha match. They could have had a much better match than a 30 second swing just to have The Usos turn heel. Raw had some great matches and a better crowd, but thanks to some horrible promos they still lose to the blue brand in a 4-3 tally. SmackDown wins for the second week in a row!
That's my pick for the better show of the week, but how do YOU stand?
Which was better, Raw or SmackDown?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!