WWE Battle of the Brands: Raw vs. SmackDown - Best Show of the Week (July 22-23, 2019) | 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 - July 22, 2019 - Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL
WWE SmackDown - July 23, 2019 – American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL

which WWE TV show was better this week Raw vs SmackDown

BATTLE OF THE BRANDS:

RAW vs. SMACKDOWN


FACTOR 1: MATCHES

Raw = Raw Reunion was never going to be a show filled with great matches, such is the nature of a show that revolves around legends making cameos. However, there was one standout match, with Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe an entertaining sprint, even if the result was never in doubt. Roman won, and rightly so as he was defending the honour of his family.

The big disappointment of the night was AJ Styles vs Seth Rollins, as this match did nothing of real note. Both wrestlers are capable of 5 star matches, however on this occasion they disappointed, considering the time they were given. Rey Mysterio vs Sami Zayn was also a let down, as the match felt part of a wider angle as opposed to an actual match. Despite the return of a number of legends leading to the finish of the match, it felt like nothing but a poor excuse to cram more legends onto the show at the expense of wrestlers who compete every week.

SmackDown = The matches on SmackDown this week felt fresh, with Shinsuke Nakamura vs Apollo Crews impressing in particular. The match was extremely competitive, and despite losing, Apollo came across well and reminded fans just how capable he is as a wrestler.

Charlotte vs Ember Moon was interesting for a contrasting reason, as the match ended in less than minute. Moon may have won as a result of indirect interference, but a victory over Charlotte is an impressive feat regardless. Hopefully this is an attempt to rebuild Moon as a viable challenger, rather than adding Charlotte to yet another Women's Championship match.

Thankfully, no match felt stale this week on SmackDown, and with no focus on legends, there was room to have good matches that actually fed into storylines for SummerSlam, which is a real positive.

WINNER: SmackDown

FACTOR 2: PROMOS

Raw = Seth Rollins and Paul Heyman had another promo duel, and despite being entertaining, it feels very cliched at this point. Without Brock Lesnar appearing to further their feud, Rollins can only verbally spar with Heyman which is only entertaining for the first few weeks of a feud. In terms of promo quality, their sparring was entertaining, but with consideration to the wider feud, it was uninspiring.

Stone Cold Steve Austin made an appearance on Raw, delivering a promo of real quality by paying respect to not only the legends and current superstars, but the people who work behind the scenes in addition to the fans themselves. He spoke of everyone being part of the WWE family, and this was an emotional moment that endeared him further to the fan base.

SmackDown = Shane McMahon again provided a mediocre promo performance, which sadly is a recurring theme on SmackDown. His wrestling is poor, and unfortunately his promo skills are even worse. Despite setting up his match with Kevin Owens at SummerSlam, this segment came across poorly.

Kofi Kingston's promo however, was extremely well performed, and his interaction with Randy Orton actually leaves fans intrigued for their match at SummerSlam. By focusing on the reality of their history, both men have genuine reasons for wanting to beat each other.

WINNER: Raw

FACTOR 3: STORYLINES

Raw = The biggest issue with Raw this week was not the addition of legends, but rather the complete lack of attention given to the storylines and feuds going into SummerSlam, which is just 3 weeks away. No up and coming superstars were given opportunities to shine against the legends either, which is something that would have given a level of credibility to a new superstar if they were able to depose a legend of high standing.

Natalya and Becky Lynch had an interaction on A Moment of Bliss, but this felt very flat and lifeless. Their feud is in desperate need of reinvigoration, however it is unclear how they can achieve this without including Ronda Rousey herself.

The redeeming factor for this show in terms of storylines was the second appearance of The Fiend. In The Fiend, Bray Wyatt has a genuinely creepy alter ego he can tap into in order to elicit a reaction from the crowd. The segment with Mick Foley was everything it needed to be as it was short and sweet, whilst further enhancing the creepiness of The Fiend. Wyatt is having fun developing the mystique of his new character which can only be positive.

SmackDown = Bray Wyatt built on his appearance on Raw by showing depth to his character. The Fiend has been the only persona of his to make an appearance on Raw or SmackDown recently, however he used his Firefly Fun House persona to accept Finn Balor's challenge. Despite praising Balor, Wyatt warned him about The Fiend, who made yet another appearance this week to drive home just how dangerous The Fiend is. The split personality gimmick was used to great effect here, and the gimmick as a whole is doing a lot better than most fans believed it would.

The feud between Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton continues, and so far it has been built well. To have fans eagerly anticipating a WWE Championship match featuring Orton in 2019 is a miracle, and both wrestlers deserve plaudits for working up such a level of interest.

WINNER: SmackDown

FACTOR 4: SCHEDULING / PACING

Raw = Raw hasn't been the best scheduled programme over the last few months, however all consistency they had went out of the window with this show. In order to accommodate the returning legends, every segment felt as if it had legends forcibly added in an unnatural manner. This hurt the pacing of the show, as fans were waiting for how each particular segment would transition to a legend. This was no more evident than the 24/7 Championship changes, which felt forced and unnatural.

SmackDown = SmackDown was a joy to watch this week in comparison to Raw, particularly because there was no forced inclusion of legends. Storylines were able to flow naturally, matches were able to take on greater meaning and the overall pace of the show was enjoyable to watch.

WINNER: SmackDown

EXTRA CREDIT BONUS ROUND!!!

Raw gains points for the genuine surprise of Rob Van Dam's return. RVD has recently been competing for Impact Wrestling, therefore it was a shock to see him turn up here.

Raw also gains an additional point for the Madusa callback to when she dropped the Women's Championship into a trashcan on an episode of Monday Nitro. This was harmless fun and felt like a genuinely inspired segment, with the addition of Ted DiBiase the icing on the cake. Shows will always get extra points for genuinely funny segments.
 
Raw loses points for the John Cena, The Usos and Rikishi segment. A half hearted Doctor of Thuganomics impression was lacking, and there seemed to be no logical reason why John Cena would interact with both The Usos and Rikishi. This segment fell flat in a big way.

SmackDown gains points for points for ending the show with multiple stunners to Shane McMahon. It is always a treat to see him take wrestler's finishers, no matter how poorly he takes the move.
 
SmackDown loses no points this week as there wasn't anything on the show that justifies a point being taken away. Overall, this was a well booked show that was extremely entertaining.

POINT ADJUSTMENTS: Raw (+2 / -1) / SmackDown (+1 / -0)

THIS WEEK'S WINNER = SmackDown

With a score of 4 to 2, SmackDown wins the Battle of the Brands this week. Raw Reunion had the potential to be entertaining, however it felt as though WWE wanted to focus on their past at the expense of their future. No wrestlers were able to truly earn a rub from a legend to build them into a star, which is a real shame. The lack of storyline progression was evident when compared to SmackDown's well built show. Hopefully Raw will rebound next week with a show that focuses on the build to SummerSlam.

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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AUTHOR OF THIS POST: DALLAS ALLSOPP

Dallas Allsopp is a writer with two main interests, Pokemon and wrestling. He has been writing for a few years for his own personal blogs and is now taking his passion for wrestling and putting it into his writing. You can follow him on Facebook.

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