WWE Monday Night Raw - January 23, 2017 - Quicken Loans in Cleveland, OH
WWE SmackDown - January 24, 2017 – Huntington Center in Toledo, OH
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN
FACTOR 1: CROWD
SmackDown crowds have dominated the Raw crowds except on a few occasions since we started Battle of the Brands. This week was no different. They always seem more involved and more into the show most weeks, and I think its because they always have more to cheer for.
FACTOR 2: COMMENTARY
The same goes for this spot. Although, JBL and Otunga struggled extra hard this week, but not enough to lose to Byron.
FACTOR 3: MATCHES
If I had to choose the match of the week, its Sami vs. Seth from Raw. It was a great fight with a lot on the line, and having HHH's music hit to cost Seth is a great bit of storytelling.
But, thats all Raw had. Their US Title match was a dud, and of course nothing else was worth talking about. SmackDown had two good battles between Harper and Orton, and their Intercontinental Championship match with the lumberjack match between Miz and Ambrose was good too. SmackDown gets the nod.
FACTOR 4: PROMOS
Raw had their usual opening promo with KO, Reigns, and Y2J which was decent. But their entire promo for the show was based around one. And that was Goldbergs. And boy was it terrible. He was flustered, couldn't remember the "Universal Championship" name, and was bleeding from his head for whatever reason. Not even Lesnar and Taker showing up to stare at each other could save it.
SmackDown had a good one between AJ and Cena even though I would've liked to hear more from AJ. Nonetheless, it was better than Raw.
FACTOR 5: STORYLINES
This is a tough call because the Rumble could have implications on either show. So we're taking that out and just looking purely at the championship feuds, and the non-title bouts. In this case, its SmackDown. Eventually Orton and Wyatt will implode, but so will KO and Y2J. So those cancel out. But man, the WWE Championship and Intercontinental Championship feuds are much better than the Universal and United States feuds. Also, Natty and Nikki are doing much better than Nia and Sasha much less that dud of a Raw Women's Championship feud that I have completely checked out of.
FACTOR 6: SCHEDULING / PACING
You know how I feel. Two hours > three hours. I said to myself several times that I was waiting for Raw to finally end. Three hours is way too much.
FACTOR 7: VISUAL PRESENTATION
I still wish that Raw and SmackDown had their different sets. It would be a lot more fun for the fans, and make the brand rivalry seem a tiny bit more legit. However, I hated Raw so much this week that I truly don't believe they deserve a point at all.
EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!
POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+0 / -0) / SmackDown (+0 / -0)
THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown
Clean sweep for the blue brand. It was an easy call too. Go home shows are generally boring, but if it wasn't for Sami vs. Seth Raw would've been the worst show yet. SmackDown wins easily.
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!