It’s a question the WWE Universe is often asking. It’s also a point on contention Shane McMahon brought up on the most recent episode of SmackDown Live, arguing that the blue brand has never gotten it’s just due thanks to WWE’s love for Raw. Which show is actually better?
Kurt Angle would have you believe it’s WWE’s flagship show Raw. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan call SmackDown Live the land of opportunity. Both believe their brand is better and while neither actually has anything to do with what each show produces, who’s right?
If we take a look at five key components to each show, we should be able to clearly determine a winner each week. For the episodes that aired on October 30 and October 31, 2017, here’s who we believe wins.
5. Big Matches
If we take a look at both shows this week, a slight edge has to go to SmackDown Live. It hosted a two-out-of-three falls match, a Shinsuke Nakamura versus Kevin Owens match and Raw saw Mickie James take on Alexa Bliss, Seth Rollins face Kane and Cesaro take on Finn Balor. Raw offered more matches but they weren’t significant other than to bring back WWE Superstars or put a wrestler over.
The SmackDown Live matches had a bigger feel and more importance to them with meaningful outcomes. Ziggler’s career may forever change and Owens is off Survivor Series. Raw also loses points for that terrible Trick of Street Fight match.
Winner: SmackDown Live
The easy winner here is Raw. The fact that the show went one full hour with surprise return after surprise return was meant to hook people and for the most part, it worked. Kurt Angle being named the captain and wrestling again, Nia Jax and Samoa Joe returning and Braun Strowman ending the show were not advertised at all. Even Daniel Bryan showing up was unexpected.
SmackDown’s only surprise was that Shane McMahon made himself team captain for his roster. Not exactly a ground-shaking reveal.
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3. The Main Event
SmackDown Live’s main event was predictable, but it was still better than the Alexa Bliss and Mickie James rematch. That match wasn’t actually meant to do much other than lead into Raw’s closing segment which was Strowman tearing apart the Miztourage.
On any night, Kevin Owens vs Shinsuke Nakamura is a big deal. It’s the kind of match wrestling enthusiasts would love to see on every show.
Winner: SmackDown Live
2. Stories Worth Watching
This is a toss-up but the edge should go to Raw. Going into the show there were all sorts of rumors that people were backstage who hadn’t been in a while. Once they started showing up, it was hard not to see what would happen next. The Angle and Stephanie McMahon segment started things strong and it rolled from there. SmackDown Live didn’t offer much other than naming a good chunk of its Survivor Series men’s team.
1. Character Development
What did we learn about wrestlers we didn’t know before? Raw offered Kurt Angle returning to the ring and potentially being fired as general manager, Samoa Joe hating the WWE Universe, and Kane and Strowman trying to run over the WWE roster. SmackDown Live offered Ziggler potentially leaving WWE and Sin Cara a man on a mission.
Raw has more time to develop these kinds of stories but the edge goes to Raw. Ziggler almost gets it for SmackDown but because most of his development took place in an interview after the show, it doesn’t really count.
So, by tallying up the winners of each category, the winner of this week is Raw. Even with that horrible Trick-Or-Street-fight match, it’s hard to say the red brand didn’t offer a lot for fans.
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