WWE Monday Night Raw - September 12, 2016 - Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD
WWE SmackDown - September 13, 2016 – Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN
FACTOR 1: CROWD
For some reason, the Raw crowd always seems more into the show every week. SmackDown consistently has a better show overall, but the crowd seems to pop in and out of it. I just can't seem to figure out why. Raw had the better crowd this week yet again.
FACTOR 2: COMMENTARY
I don't know if it is because Raw is a three hour show, but I just feel like their commentary slides week after week in the wrong direction. Really, it shouldn't be. You have one of the best to ever do it in Michael Cole and a rising star in the profession in Corey Graves. I don't know if they just don't work well as a group or what, but something consistently seems off with them. (Hint: It's probably Byron Saxton)
David Otunga is getting better every week, which is fantastic for SmackDown. JBL had a couple miscues Tuesday night, but they are the better commentating group of the two. Besides, Mauro Ranallo quoted Tupac Shakur tonight. You can't beat that.
FACTOR 3: MATCHES
SmackDown was very, very promo heavy this week. They featured four matches—originally five, but one match never happened—with two of them being sub-par tag team bouts. The women's match was great, yet again, and the main event wasn't as good as it could have been.
Raw wasn't over the top special in terms of matches, either. Nia Jax did the coolest thing she's ever done by dismantling Alicia Fox, and the tag team match with The New Day and The Club was decent along with Sheamus and Cesaro. Where they really shined was the women's triple threat match, and the main event between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens. Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Dana Brooke tore the house down with their number one contenders match. Everyone hates on Roman, but he's been on a roll lately and of course Kevin Owens is always great. The return of Rusev only helped! Raw wins.
FACTOR 4: PROMOS
This is where the true battle took place this week. Both shows had some awesome segments. Raw had a great Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho (GOAT) and Sami Zayn. Kevin Owens had some good spots, and Mick Foley showed a ton of amazing emotion in all his segments. I really like him in the GM spot.
Where Raw was good, SmackDown was great. The beginning of the show promo with AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, and John Cena was amazing. Three of the best promos in the business. Becky Lynch—who is the second best woman on the mic behind Stephanie McMahon in terms of promos—tore it up with her debut as champ. The unsung MVP, Heath Slater, was as entertaining as always. The Miz was a shining light yet again. So many good promos on what was a great SmackDown show.
FACTOR 5: STORYLINES
Raw has won this category for the last few weeks now with their awesome storylines with Kevin Owens, Mick Foley, Seth Rollins, Stephanie, and Triple H. But with no Stephanie, they were missing a core component of a number of stories. The Roman and Rusev storyline took a good step with the return of the Bulgarian Brute, but it wasn't enough to surpass the blue brand.
SmackDown has a number of incredible stories going right now. AJ and Dean was already good, but then they went and added Cena which is only going to make it better. Rhyno & Heath are a great story in its own right, and the women's division is right there with them. We can't forget about The Miz who may just be the hottest heel in the business next to AJ and Kevin Owens. SmackDown wins.
FACTOR 6: SCHEDULING / PACING
There were times that Raw felt like an episode of Superstars. It just wasn't good, and definitely seemed to drag on. SmackDown kept my attention throughout the entire show, and I really enjoyed every minute of it. They paced the show perfectly, and for that they take the W.
FACTOR 7: VISUAL PRESENTATION
Yeah, SmackDown keeps up their streak of wins here. The wrestlers facts during the entrances, the camera angles, and just the show itself feels like a sleeker, more modern show.
EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!
At first, I was going to leave this blank, but I decided to give Raw an extra point here. The return of Rusev is huge for that show. That gets half of a point. Then, Lana's outfit gives them another half point because WOW. So that gives them a full extra point in total, and they definitely need it.
POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+1 / -0) / SmackDown (+0 / -0)
THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown
I'm definitely enjoying SmackDown more overall on a weekly basis, and it isn't that Raw had an awful show either! Both were fun in their own aspects, but where Raw is good SmackDown just always seems to be better. Their storylines are more entertaining overall, and they seem to present themselves better than Raw every week. SmackDown wins this week on a 5-3 tally, and carry a three week win streak with their 3-0 record!
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!