WWE Monday Night Raw - September 19, 2016 - FedExForum in Memphis, TN
WWE SmackDown - September 20, 2016 – Legacy Arena in Birmingham, AL
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN
FACTOR 1: CROWD
Man, the Raw crowd really kind of got on my bad side when they were nothing but crickets during the debut of the cruiserweight division Monday night. That may have been due to the face that the cruiserweight champion, TJ Perkins, did not make his Raw debut as I think everyone expected, but the four guys that did put on an amazing match. Brian Kendrick picked up the win, yet the crowd still seemed dead throughout it even after these guys just put on one of the greatest wrestling tournaments I have ever gotten to watch. That left a sour taste in my mouth, so I'm giving the win to the SmackDown crowd.
FACTOR 2: COMMENTARY
I really feel like the SmackDown commentary group is coming together. David Otunga is getting better and better every week, and it is really starting to shine through. Each group still has their little mistakes and miscues, but they're also starting to mesh together much better. This is going to come down to one thing every week, and who performs better between the third wheels in Otunga and Byron Saxton. Like I said from the start, Otunga just needs time and he'll get better. Thankfully, I was right. SmackDown wins here again.
FACTOR 3: MATCHES
This week was really a good week for matches on both shows. SmackDown had a great tag match with The Usos vs. American Alpha, another good match with Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews, The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship was good like always, and then a great main event with John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose.
Raw, however, had Seth Rollins vs. Rusev, an absolutely amazing cruiserweight fatal 4-way, and a great main event between Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens inside a steel cage. The cruiserweight division may just have Raw consistently winning this section because that could churn out some great matches from week to week. SmackDown still takes the win here, but the cruiserweights will eventually turn the tide here I think.
FACTOR 4: PROMOS
SmackDown didn't really see many ground breaking or storyline advancing promos. The opening segment between Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss was great, and The Usos had a pretty cool promo with Heath Slater and Rhyno. Curt Hawkins is still delivering brutally terrible promos, so that hurts big time. If we counted Talking Smack here, then SmackDown would probably take it because there are always great promos on that program, but as for now we are counting just the show in general.
Being three hours, Raw has more time to fill with promos and they have some great people to deliver them. Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, and Chris Jericho consistently entertain on the mic. Stephanie McMahon is the best female talker in the business, and Mick Foley has been showing tons of emotion on the mic as of late. Monday Night Raw picks up their first win this week here.
FACTOR 5: STORYLINES
As far as storylines go, Raw definitely put theirs on display more so than SmackDown this week. Don't get me wrong, SmackDown was good, but Raw just did a better job. The story between Seth and Stephanie/HHH is getting better and better, KO and Jericho are still gold together, and the Rusev and Reigns storyline is consistently getting better.
SmackDown had some good moments for Daniel Bryan and Miz, Becky and Alexa, and then the main event storyline with Dean Ambrose, John Cena, and AJ Styles. But I enjoyed the Raw stories a tiny bit more this week.
FACTOR 6: SCHEDULING / PACING
When it comes to the pacing of a show, I LOVE how SmackDown runs. It always seems so fluent, and not too heavy on promos or matches. It has that perfect balance every show should strive for, and I don't think that is going to be changing any time soon.
FACTOR 7: VISUAL PRESENTATION
Neither show is really separating themselves from the other here. Which isn't a bad thing because both shows are great in this aspect, but SmackDown just does a few things differently than Raw. The camera angles that I've mentioned before, and the wrestling facts during superstars entrances just add a little bit more flavor to the blue brand.
EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!
Monday Night Raw again gets some extra credit this week, and that is for the debut of the cruiserweight division! Even though the cruiserweight champion mysteriously didn't make an appearance, Raw still gets the much needed extra point.
POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+1 / -0) / SmackDown (+0 / -0)
THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown
I expected Raw to be a little slow this week with their first exclusive pay-per-view coming up they usually don't want to give much away or risk any sort of injuries. However, they were much better than I thought. SmackDown wasn't bad or worse than normal, but Raw was just a good all around show. They still lose yet again at a tally of 5-3, but things are looking up for Raw thanks to the cruiserweights. SmackDown leads and is still undefeated at 4-0 so far.
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!