WWE Monday Night Raw - April 17, 2017 - Schottenstein Center in Columbus, OH
WWE SmackDown - April 18, 2017 – KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, KY
BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN
FACTOR 1: CROWD
Man, SmackDown knows how to get their crowd involved. I don't know what it is about the blue brand, but they always have such a great crowd. I don't know if its because they just genuinely enjoy it more than the Raw product or what, but SmackDown wins here.
FACTOR 2: COMMENTARY
I enjoy both commentary teams a little more this week. I thought losing Mauro and gaining Byron would really damage SmackDown Live. But Tom Phillips is more than ready for this role, and I'm ready to see him shine in it.
Raw will definitely struggle when Otunga gets back in six weeks. But having Cole, Booker, and Corey Graves is a good combo. I hope Byron gets better and isn't nearly as annoying on SmackDown. As for who wins, I really dig Tom Phillips being the lead on SD, and they get the W.
FACTOR 3: MATCHES
SmackDown had some really good matches. The six pack challenge was really fun, Charlotte vs. Naomi was decent, and the main event with AJ and Baron was good too.
Where SmackDown was good, Raw was stronger. Y2J vs. Joe, cruiserweight match with TJP and Jack Gallagher was fun, the Raw Women's Championship number one contender match was awesome, Jeff Hardy vs. Cesaro was just as good as I hoped it'd be, and that main event between Strowman and Big Show was pretty sweet too. Raw just had more time for better matches and they get the well deserved W here.
FACTOR 4: PROMOS
Besides Charlottes show starting promo SmackDown didn't really have any promos of substance. Just a string of short interviews that didn't really hold much. They had the weird promo with all the women and Shane, and then KO's before his open challenge. But other than that, not much.
Raw had a few pretty good promos. MizTV was good, Bray Wyatts promo just kind of dragged and repeated itself but wasn't terrible, and all the promos with Strowman killing people were great. Raw gets another win.
FACTOR 5: STORYLINES
Whew.. This will be a decent length but lets start with Monday Night Raw. I love the tag team scene with The Hardy Boyz and Cesaro and Sheamus. Much better than SD Live's which is seemingly disappearing. I love Dean and Miz both, but would've been fine with them feuding with other people as we've seen this program before. Not having their main title on the show since it is with Lesnar is a sad thing, but better than Goldberg. Alexa Bliss and Bayley is bound to be good as I think Alexa is the next biggest thing in women's wrestling. And Braun Strowman may very well be the hottest thing in the company right now.
SmackDown truly is the land of opportunity. Charlotte ups the women's division, but really wish we could see Alexa vs. Charlotte and I think one day that will be the biggest showdown since Charlotte & Sasha or Sasha & Bayley in NXT. What is going on with their tag team division? I have no idea. AJ vs. KO is bound to be absolutely legendary, and I know those two will live up to it. Who would've thought that in 2017 Braun Strowman and AJ Styles would be the hottest thing in WWE, and Jinder Mahal would have a title match? Thats right.. Jinder Mahal.. Former 3MB member is the number one contender for Randy Orton's WWE Championship. I LOVE this. Shocking, new, and entertaining. The heat that Jinder drew after his win is exactly what a great heel does, and he is well on his way especially if he and the Bollywood Boyz are a true faction. 10/10.
WWE is right where it needs to be right now. Building new stars in Jinder and Strowman, and arguably the GOAT of the business John Cena is gone and they aren't missing a beat. They are writing great TV right now, and they are missing the golden boy of the company. The future is looking up and the Land Of Opportunity is leading the charge in SmackDown Live.
FACTOR 6: SCHEDULING / PACING
I really enjoyed both shows really, but that three hour thing is a drag. I found myself looking at the clock more than you should during a weekly show. SmackDown wins.
FACTOR 7: VISUAL PRESENTATION
Along with the video packages and great things they're putting together for Nakamura, SmackDown wins.
EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!
Jinder Mahal wins a WWE Title shot? I give SmackDown a half point for the creativity and the major balls it took to do this.
POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+0 / -0) / SmackDown (+.5 / -0)
THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown
SmackDown wins 5.5-2. Now, the tally isn't showing Raw had a good show, but they really did. Both shows this week had stellar performances and shocking factors. I really like where WWE is headed. Building stars and standing strong without the likes of Reigns, Cena, and HHH having to be on TV every week. Its all looking good, and I just hope they don't kill the run both Jinder and Braun have started with big losses in the coming weeks. Keep these heels strong, and great things are going to happen.
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!