WWE Battle of the Brands: Raw vs. SmackDown - Best Show of the Week (September 10-11, 2018) | Smark Out Moment
Welcome to another edition of Battle of the Brands from Smark Out Moment, where we compare this week's episodes of Raw and SmackDown and determine which one of the two was the better show.

WWE Monday Night Raw - September 10, 2018 - Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA
WWE SmackDown - September 11, 2018 – Cajundome in Lafayette, LA

which WWE TV show was better this week Raw vs SmackDown

BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:

RAW vs. SMACKDOWN


FACTOR 1: CROWD

There was nothing particularly special about either crowd in all honesty, which seems a little bizarre considering how New Orleans played host to the most recent WrestleMania.

Still, I would give the edge to Raw on this one because of the crowd getting behind the hot opener, a rare in-ring appearance by Ronda Rousey, and Nikki Bella getting a good reaction in her match also. The Smoothie King Center is still a dumb name though.

WINNER: Raw

FACTOR 2: COMMENTARY

Renee Young's move to the commentary table became a permanent one on Raw, which makes it infinitely better than any recent edition of the show with Jonathan Coachman. She's still a little bland, but I expect her to grow into this role as she has done with everything else she's been presented with in WWE.

Meanwhile, SmackDown was blessed with the New Day on commentary for a portion of the night. While they are usually entertaining, six voices at one time covering the action is far too many for my taste. So another point to the red team.

WINNER: Raw

FACTOR 3: MATCHES

This was a week where the in-ring action went on autopilot in preparation for Hell in a Cell - nothing was awful, but little stood out.

But I think overall quality-wise, SmackDown was the better wrestling show. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Jeff Hardy, Rusev Day vs The Bar and Andrade Almas vs R Truth were all good showings, although it took a dip in the main event, which was more of an angle than a match between Brie Bella and Maryse.

Meanwhile on Raw, it usually isn't a great sign when arguably your best match features Nikki Bella. Too many filler and squash matches across the show, Ronda Rousey gave her worst performance on TV so far, and the main event was a throwaway clash between Finn Balor and Elias. Pedestrian at best, so Team Blue is on the board.

WINNER: SmackDown

FACTOR 4: PROMOS

There was plenty of talking on both shows, and arguably too much, but SmackDown once again takes this for me.

Yes, it included the contentious Samoa Joe bedtime story, but the guy is such a pro I think he pulled it off well. Same with AJ Styles on his side of the feud, with The Miz and Maryse were great as always. The one big black mark was Jeff Hardy's melodramatic, meandering promo to start the show, but at least it helped promote his match at Hell in a Cell.

On Raw Baron Corbin's acting coach must have taken a week off, because it was amateur hour from him all night long, while we also saw allusions to the "wacky" Dean Ambrose many wish would just disappear for good. The opening promo at the start of the show was a waste of time and Ronda Rousey's post-match promo was wooden.

While Triple H was awesome, Kevin Owens was solid as ever and the 205 Live crew were fun, the bad overpowered the good for me.

WINNER: SmackDown

FACTOR 5: STORYLINES

Considering these were both go-home shows to Hell in a Cell, I should really pick the show that made me more excited for the event. Tough call, and not in a good way…

Despite Raw only having three matches to promote, I think they did a shoddy job - from making the majority of their heels look like afterthoughts, retconning the Kevin Owens quitting angle, to the closing segment just a pretty tame table spot. Very little on Raw felt like it mattered and would impact Hell in a Cell or the following week.

SmackDown was only marginally better, but better nonetheless. While I'd argue both the AJ Styles / Samoa Joe match and the Charlotte Flair / Becky Lynch match stayed in a holding pattern, we saw the resurgence of Rusev Day continue, and action spiked in the mixed tag and Randy Orton / Jeff Hardy feuds.

WINNER: SmackDown

FACTOR 6: SCHEDULING / PACING

The SmackDown three-peat ends here, because this show was horribly structured. Although I thought the end of Raw was pretty tame considering what Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman have done in the past, they still had enough sense to bookend the show with their biggest storyline currently, which is the The Shield against the Dogs of War.

Meanwhile on SmackDown, the WWE Championship feud was buried in the middle of the show, in the same way as the Charlotte Flair match and post-match attack by Becky Lynch. Instead, Brie Bella and Maryse took the main event slot, which was unlikely to keep "wrestling" fans interested to the close of the show.

WINNER: Raw

FACTOR 7: VISUAL PRESENTATION

As a general rule, any show that starts with wrestlers surrounding the ring looking like chumps while some big stars or executives are in the ring is an instant visual turn-off.

Also I thought SmackDown was more unique in the style of its segments. From AJ Styles in an empty arena and Samoa Joe's dramatic pre-recorded reading, to Becky Lynch attacking from the crowd and the New Day's custom announce table, it was the more visually interesting show.

WINNER: SmackDown

EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!

I find it hard to credit either show with anything after two incredibly stale go-home shows to Hell in a Cell. But I will say the shock appearance of Lio Rush as Bobby Lashley's hype man was enough to intrigue me on how this pairing will work going forward, in the same way I'm interested how long the Bobby Roode / Chad Gable tag team will last.

No Paige on SmackDown was also something of a disappointment, but I'm also loving anything to do with R Truth currently (in 2018!) so I won't be adding or docking points to either show this week.

POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+0 / -0) / SmackDown (+0 / -0)

THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown

Both shows were far from thrilling, but SmackDown utilized their time wisely and built up all five of their matches for Hell in a Cell. Conversely, Raw couldn't manage that for their three bouts at the event, with an over-reliance on filler, developmental cops and overall poor storytelling.

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!



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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: CALLUM WIGGINS

Callum Wiggins hails from Essex in the United Kingdom. He recently graduated from the University of York with a degree in History and has been a fan of professional wrestling since 2002. Outside of wrestling, he is also a fan of Arsenal FC and enjoys video games, darts, and Formula One. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

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