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WRESTLING COLUMNS

RAW vs. SD!: A Storyline 3 Years In The Making
October 30, 2005 by Antonio M. Figueroa


It's been a long time since I've written a column for OWW, but I'm back now, ready to talk about what I believe to be the best storyline since...whenever the last time a truly awesome storyline took place. That storyline is the epic rivalry between WWE's two brands- Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown!. As I'm sure most of you know, it all started back at RAW Homecoming, when RAW's General Manager, Eric Bischoff, refused to let a 6-Man Tag Team Match from SmackDown! take place on his show. Later in the show, SmackDown! Superstars attacked after the main event, with RAW Superstars coming out to make it an all out brawl.

That Sunday, SmackDown! presented its No Mercy Pay-Per-View event. A grand total of 0 RAW Superstars showed up. The rivalry continued on RAW during an Edge/Big Show match, when the music of JBL hit. This distracted Edge and cost him the victory. That week on SmackDown!, Edge interfered in JBL's match, Spearing JBL's opponent, Rey Mysterio. To add to the drama, JBL and Rey Mysterio made their presence felt this past week on RAW, making fools of Edge and Chris Masters. At Taboo Tuesday, Edge and Masters will take on two of the following 5 SmackDown! Superstars, who will be selected by a fan vote- Hardcore Holly, Rey Mysterio, JBL, Christian, or Matt Hardy.

So that's the feud in a nutshell. Why is this feud so extremely important to me" Because this is the chance for Vince McMahon to fix all the mistakes he has made. This is a chance for him to out a stop towards the blatant favoritism towards RAW that he has shown. The solution is very simple- SmackDown! must come out of this feud on top. So far, SmackDown! has been the dominant force in the feud, but that could change at any time. Obviously, Taboo Tuesday will end in RAW's favor, being a RAW brand Pay-Per-View, but this feud will most likely continue into Survivor Series, where I firmly believe SmackDown! must (and will) emerge victorious. Why am I so sure they will win" Momentum.

Lately, SmackDown! has been on a roll. Ever since the Draft, SmackDown! has been getting better and better. Eddie Guerrero has been brought back to the main event level where he was before that travesty of a feud with Rey that they stuck him in. Chris Benoit, Booker T, Christian, and even Orlando Jordan have restored prestige to the United States Championship. The Tag Team Division is much stronger on SmackDown! than it is on RAW, with at least five teams (LOD, MNM, Mexicools, Shane Twins, Regal & Burchill) to RAW's two (Cade & Murdoch, Heart Throbs). Batista, who you all know is not exactly one of my favorite people, has improved himself to the point where even I will concede that he is a hundred times better than he was on RAW. The additions of Lashley, Ken Kennedy, and Sylvan to the midcard ranks has made the show more interesting, and the recent return of Matt Hardy back to his rightful home was the icing on the cake.

SmackDown! may not garner the same ratings as RAW, having a horrific timeslot, but that has never stopped them from putting on a great show. I believe that a victory in this feud is the perfect way for Vince to thank the SmackDown! Superstars for all their hard work and dedication. One of the highlights of this entire feud for me was on last week's SmackDown!, when JBL gave his little speech about not having anything to do with his music being played on RAW, because he doesn't do charity work for the "B" team. To the casual viewer, that speech was just one of hundreds of scripted interviews that WWE gives us every year. In reality, that was something more. It is called brand loyalty, and it is something that a lot of casual fans just don't understand. That interview may have been scripted, but JBL meant every word of it. The RAW Superstars all believe that they are the best and that they have the better show. The SmackDown! Superstars believe the same thing. This feud is the perfect way to settle this once and for all.

On a personal note, next Tuesday I will be ordering a RAW Pay-Per-View for the first time in over a year, and this feud is the reason why. And at Survivor Series, I hope to see Team SmackDown! completely dominate the inferior RAW brand.

Feedback is appreciated.

by Antonio Figueroa ..


Edrom41 wrote:
wow, this is a great, albeit short, article. I, as you, am loving this storyline and am also rooting for sd! to come put on top. sd! is doing WAY better than RAW but ppl prefer RAW cause its the big brother of the two, live (which I wish sd! could be), and has more of the household names. w/ this storyline I hope that ppl see that sd! is a great show, not just a "lame little brother"
Jesse Lee wrote:
Yes, it would be nice for Smackdown! to win this feud with RAW and get shot up a bit in an attempt to push it, however, do you seriously think they're going to do that" It's quite obvious that WWE is trying to make their RAW brand the top brand.. (no particular order) first by taking Big Show - whom is always considered as a huge threat, though never actually having any truly great feuds with exception of Lesnar then by taking Kurt Angle and John Cena - on one hand, you have one of the greatest wrestlers to enter the ring and on the other, you took the DAMN champion of SD! then they took Carlito - whom at the time was receiving tons of heat.

Smackdown received Muhammad Hassan, whom was still going strong, though wasn't presenting at the level the RAW brand wanted; Christian, a glorifide jobber-unfortunately; Chris Benoit, whom is apparently never going to be given another World/WWE title run due to the poor booking last summer; and Batista, whom is considered as carrying the 'lesser' title in the picture. Final point is, Vince isn't going to give as much faith in the Smackdown brand as he does in the Raw brand, not in the long run.
Richard Powell wrote:
I have no idea what programs you are watching Monday and Friday nights. Even the worse RAW programs (and believe me there bave been many of them) are ten times better than the best SMACKDOWN!. The so called Junior's divison simply adds to the misery and the pain I feel when watching SMACKDOWN! Even the main event with Piper, Batista, and Latino Heat vs. Kennedy, Randy and Bob Orton was terrible. Roddy Piper looks like a chicken in the ring with his incredibly skinny arms and legs and rotund body and "Cowboy" Bob Orton's body is so much worse he went into the six man match fully dressed in street clothes. Is this the best that SMACKDOWN! has to offer" Fat out of shape legends who have no business in the ring" Vinny Mack fires Charlie Haas, Miss Jackie, Jazz, and other talented men and women from the WWE and rehires the likes of Piper and Orton" I will agree with you that Vinny Mac is biased towards RAW, no doubt about it. But to say that SMACKDOWN! is better than RAW at this point is not accurate. Not by a long shot. Get rid of the midgets, get rid of that clown who supposedly works for the "Network" and send Triple H over to SMACKDOWN! to bring credibility to the World Heavyweight Title. Then you would have a serious case to compare RAW to SMACKDOWN!
Brody Trottier wrote:
I agree with you that Smackdown! is getitng much better. Just a few months ago I found it painful to watch. You should of mentioned when Edge and Masters were making fun of Smackdown! because it was hilarious and alot of truth was in it too. If Smackdown! is going to be better than RAW then they have to ditch the midget wrestling and restore the cruiserweight division. I completely agree about the tag team division though. Good article for ebing completely one sided.
Lightz0ut wrote:
Good Article but you must remember, Vince is not a genius. He probably will have Raw go over cause their ratings are higher. Remember he was the brain behind such great gimmicks as: country singers and there roadie, hog farmers, plumbers, hockey players, a ring master, a blue chipper, a baseball player, a stockcar racer, a 1-2-3/lighningbolt/kamikaze kid, a man mountain rock, a space invader, a gobbley gooker"""" these were his ideas and they were the worst part of wrestling history. the only thing that will make WWE better is competition from another company. that's why raw got good when WCW was a threat. if any of the young fans don't know what I'm talking about thank god they missed it. I've been watching since 1980. that's 25 years with only a few great years. I think Vince is a moron but he is still smarter then the other morons.
Nick Currier wrote:
I am elated to see this story line come to play. if any one remembers I submitted a column titled Brand Split: Good or bad for the history of the WWE. I mentioned that this would be a great story line and I am just happy that I was right. Great column by the way
Gus D. wrote:
Good column. SD! has the better champions, With Batista easily knocking off John Cena, MNM is ALOT more entertaining than Cade and Murdoch.But right now, I'd have to say that Raw has the better mid card titles, Flair representing Raw, and the stupidest gimmick Booker T has[the 5-time, 5-time...............ahhh Screw it], he makes the US title look worthless.And the biggest difference, Raw has always been HHH's show. He will at least get 15 minutes blabbering time. Anyway Raw sucks!
GGlor369 wrote:
If you see the storylines this year they were bad made. Finally wwe thought of something that would change wrestling which is a war against SD and Raw. This finally breaks the boundary between the two and makes great matches. As you saw on Smackdown Edge spearing Rey mysterio was genius and also sparking the rating at the same time. I would agree finally instead of firing Vince thought of something good for the company
Antonio Figueroa wrote:
First, I'd like to thank everyone who replied to my column. This reply specifically goes out to Richard Powell. While you bring up some good points, I feel that bringing Triple H to Smackdown! would be the wrong way to go. The Smackdown! Superstars have brought some much-needed prestige to the World Heavyweight Championship, and it now lives up to its name. On Smackdown!, the focus is always on the title; while on RAW, the WWE Championship has severely fallen from grace. Making the title mean nothing in a storyline which is basically "Which of Bischoff's bitches will Cena face next"" is not exactly helping the belt's value. In the space of just a few months, the World Heavyweight Championship has gone from #2 to #1, and as far as I am concerned, it is now the Major League title. Now, we all know I was never a big fan of Batista, but the guy has earned my respect. Ever since being drafted to Smackdown!, Batista has grown by leaps and bounds. He went from "Grrrrr....arrrgggg....bully...." to being able to give good promos and quality matches without having to be carried by the other guy. Cena, on the other hand, has been on a downward slump ever since he moved over to RAW. He went from being a megastar on Smackdown! to a 2nd rate Stone Cold wannabe on RAW. I seriously feel that Cena needs to drop the belt and get traded to Smackdown! in a hurry before he loses what is left of his star power.
Oliver Russell wrote:
I personaly think that WWE should use the SmackDown vs. RAW thing and take it to a new level, making both promotions fight until it gets out of control, and then TNA should invade WWE, making RAW and SmackDown put their fued aside and fight TNA in one big PPV which unfolds over a month or 2, i think this would make great tv and i personally would love to see it, as TNA has some amazing talent, and so does WWE.
Richard wrote:
Antonio, you do have a couple of valid points: First, John Cena has become second fiddle since moving to RAW. But look at the level of competitors on RAW, such as Kurt Angle, Triple H, Kane, Shawn Michaels, Big Show, among others. It Should be small wonder that he has been on the backburner as of late. You should also be able to see that Bischoff is trying to make John Cena a legitimate champion by putting him in feuds with top talent. You may not agree with the methods, but that is what he is trying to do. But I disagree with you on Batista, though. Batista only looks great because SMACKDOWN! has virtually no talent on its roster exept the late and great Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit and Booker T who have been relegated to the mid-card again, and JBL who is at best a third rate version of Black-Jack Mulligan. Rey Mysterio" Don't make me laugh. As good as his Luchadore style is, he WILL NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER BE EITHER THE WWE OR WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION. Booker T has the talent but he will never be allowed to showcase that talent. Booker T is World Championship material but Vinny Mac won't allow that to happen. Except Chris Benoit and Booker T (who have been relegated to the mid-card) there are no true contenders for Batista's World Heavyweight Title and that is why Triple H going to SMACKDOWN makes so much sense, at least to me.
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