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A Weekly Comparison of Raw v. SmackDown

With the sibling rivalry of the McMahon children pitting Raw and SmackDown Live against each other, I thought I’d take WWE’s lead and compare to the two each week and see which had the better show. The way this will work is I will discuss what I thought were the highlights of each show this week and then evaluate the shows more generally before determining a winner.

Highlights:

Monday Night Raw

  • For me, the best part of Raw was the segment with Rollins and Balor. Balor had a great debut last week on Raw, earning his spot in the SummerSlam match against Rollins for the WWE Universal Championship, but this was his first chance on the mic since coming up from NXT and he did not disappoint. Rollins was on top of his game, as usual, and it made for a really compelling back and forth between the two establishing a really tense feud heading into their match.
  • The women’s segment to start off the show was another highlight. It showed that they are becoming a bigger priority in WWE. It was also great to see a women’s segment that was not catty. It was just about wrestling. I also liked bringing out Jericho and Enzo Amore. They added a lot of fun to the segment while allowing the focus to remain on the women. We always see women as managers for male wrestlers and it was nice for once to see men come out to support women’s wrestlers. The Enzo and Sasha banter was little too much but it was the segment as a whole was still fun and it was really cool to see a mixed tag match, even the match wasn’t great.
  • The other highlight for me was Orton’s RKO outta nowhere on Lesnar to end the show. I was a little unsure as to how they would build this feud with Orton and Lesnar and different shows. I was happy to see that WWE is allowing for talent to appear on the other show when necessary. The way it was shot was also great, with a close-up o Lesnar doing a good job of hiding Orton for as long as possible, enhancing the surprise. It was a lot of fun and great way to end the show.

SmackDown Live

  • I thought the best segment of SmackDown Live was Cena and Styles. These guys have really had a good feud and, with Gallows and Anderson over on Raw, it’s good to see Styles and Cena one-on-one again. Both men brought a ton of energy and passion to the segment and I also really liked how they addressed the constant chatter about Cena’s possible departure from WWE. It did run a little long though.
  • My other highlight was Ziggler’s story throughout the show. It was a genuine surprise to see him become number one contender last week. To be honest, as a big fan of Bray Wyatt, I was hoping he’d beat Ziggler and take his place in the match against Ambrose at SummerSlam. I thought it would make him look really strong while also pushing the idea that anything can happen. However, when Ziggler did eventually win, I actually found myself really liking it. Because nobody would’ve expected Ziggler to win last week, they needed to take this week to show him as a legitimate opponent for Ambrose. By having opt to put his title shot on the line against Wyatt when he didn’t have to and then win made him look very strong.

Overall, I thought both shows had a really strong week. While I mentioned the Lesnar-Orton bit from Raw in the highlights, I did not think the one from SmackDown Live was a highlight since it was I thought it was so obvious from the opening of the show and it just didn’t have quite the same effect has Orton’s appearance on Raw. WWE needs to be careful not to overuse superstars appearing on the other shows otherwise, it will lose its significance. In my opinion, Raw had the better show this week. It still has this really fresh feel to it. I especially like the in-ring interviews rather than backstage. It had its down moments for sure but I thought it was more entertaining. I’ve already mentioned the highlights above but I also thought the match between Zayn and Rollins was great, R-Truth being addicted to Pokemon Go was a lot of fun and I even enjoyed the heelish Titus O’Neil. I also thought SmackDown Live was really hurt by the women’s segments this week. Nothing really happened in either segment besides Natalya attacking Carmella and Eva Marie leaving with an injury (unclear if it’s real or storyline) before her match with Becky even started. I just felt those two segments really hurt the momentum of the show. But, as I said, both shows had a really good week. So far, I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from this New Era. I just thought Raw was just a little bit better. Make sure to check back next week for another edition of Raw vs. SmackDown.

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