Welcome to week 13 of “RAW is WAR: 2009 vs. 2019.” This is a 52-week project to determine which year of Monday Night Raw was better: 2009 or 2019. Each week, we’ll have the three biggest takeaways from the shows, extra analysis and thoughts on the rest of the show, and then a final score for each show. Whichever score is higher wins, and whichever year wins the most week wins bragging rights for life … kind of.
It’s the final Raw before WrestleMania!!! AAAAHHHH!!!! Here we go.
March 30, 2009 Raw in Dallas, TX
- World Heavyweight Champion: Edge; No. 1 contenders: Big Show, John Cena
- Intercontinental Champion: JBL; No. 1 contender: Rey Mysterio
- Women’s Champion: Melina; No. 1 contender: TBD
- World Tag Team Champions: The Miz and John Morrison; No. 1 contender: Primo and Carlito
- Primarily on ECW; Primo and Carlito are the WWE Tag Team Champions. They are facing off in a title unification match at WrestleMania 25
- WWE Champion: Triple H; No. 1 contender: Randy Orton
- HHH is a SmackDown superstar, Orton is on Raw
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS
- Vince and Shane McMahon are back — Finally, after weeks of torture from Randy Orton, the McMahon family got their hands on The Legacy. Vince, Shane and Triple H stormed to the ring, taking out the security guards before beating up Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase and Orton. The show faded to black with HHH and Orton brawling in the ring. It was a perfect way to close out Raw, as this has been the top feud on the show for weeks. It also featured the much-anticipated return of Shane and Vince, giving Triple H the momentum heading into the WWE Championship match between HHH and Orton.
- A stipulation added to the WWE Championship match — Before the return of the McMahon’s, Orton announced that if Triple H were to be disqualified or counted out during their match on Sunday, HHH would lose the title and Orton would be champion. I understand why they added this, but I think it would’ve been cooler to make the match No Holds Barred or something like that. Instead, we’re just going to have a standard match for the title at WrestleMania. This has been treated like the main event for months now, so I’m expecting it to go on last.
- Shawn Michaels gets to The Undertaker…again — Just when you thought the Undertaker would get to Michaels finally, HBK finds a way to be one step ahead of the Deadman. After holding a “funeral” for Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak, the lights went out and ‘Taker appeared in the ring. Only one problem for the Deadman — Michaels was no where to be found. After Undertaker destroyed the set surrounding the ring, Michaels crawled out from under the coffin and nailed the Deadman with Sweet Chin Music. Michaels once again gets to the Undertaker, making it seem very possible that he will walk out of WrestleMania as the victor. The buildup to this match has been strong and I can’t wait to see how their match goes at WrestleMania.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW
- One more minor thing about Orton — they bleeped out the words “pissed off” during his promo. Is that a bad word? That doesn’t seem too harsh to me. I guess it must violate some sort of policy for the WWE Network. That was just odd.
- There was an 18-diva tag team match to start the show. I think four of them actually wrestled.
- Santino Marella then came down afterwards, made an iffy “women in the kitchen making sandwiches” joke before dancing in what he called a “mankini.” Despite a very sexist joke that wouldn’t fly in 2019, this was hilarious.
- Rey Mysterio beat JBL in a non-title match just six days before their actual title match at WrestleMania. Interesting, but okay.
- All of the Money in the Bank ladder match participants once again faced off in a match. I forgot how stale the buildups to this match can be.
- Big Show beat John Cena in a match. Edge then came down and beat up Cena. Once again, this feud has been all sorts of weird. But it is three really solid wrestlers, so I’m hoping the match at WrestleMania delivers.
SCORE: 7.5/10. Another really solid episode of Raw here. The return of the McMahon’s was awesome, and the show just fading to black with the beatdown happening was a nice touch. (Add more).
April 1, 2019 Raw in Washington DC
- Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar; No. 1 contender: Seth Rollins
- Intercontinental Champion: Bobby Lashley; No. 1 contender: Finn Balor
- Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival; No. 1 contenders: TBD
- Raw Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey; No. 1 contenders: Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch
- NOTE: Flair won the SmackDown Women’s Championship on the previous week’s edition of SmackDown Live
- Women’s Tag Team Champions: Bayley and Sasha Banks; No. 1 contenders: The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce), Nia Jax and Tamina, Beth Phoenix and Natalya
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS
- The main event of WrestleMania leaves in handcuffs — This was so bizarre, so wild and so much dang fun. Seeing Rousey, Charlotte and Lynch beat the snot out of each other after their six-woman tag match was awesome, and then it continued after all three women were “arrested” for striking police officers. My favorite moment had to be Rousey driving a car — with her arms handcuffed behind her back, mind you — into another cop car. I mean, if you wanted to sell that these three women really hated each other — well congrats, WWE. You did it.
- The main event of WrestleMania will be winner takes all — Much like the 2009 show, two of the three main takeaways come from one feud. After Charlotte defeated Asuka on SmackDown to become the SmackDown Women’s Champion, it left a lot of questions surrounding the main event between Charlotte, Lynch and Rousey. Stephanie McMahon answered those questions to start Raw when she announced that the main event will be “winner takes all.” Does this mean the titles will be unified eventually? Only time will tell. For now, though, the winner at WrestleMania will walk out with two belts and can claim to be the undisputed best women’s wrestler in WWE.
- Seth Rollins finally gets his hands of Brock Lesnar — The only physical interaction between Rollins and Lesnar came way back on the Raw after the Royal Rumble. That night, Lesnar hit six F-5’s on Rollins to close the show in dominating fashion. Since then, it’s been all promos and little on-air time of the actual Beast Incarnate himself. Well, that ended this week when Rollins low-blowed Lesnar twice and then hit him with the Curb Stomp. Rollins then victoriously stood over Lesnar, holding the Universal Championship over his head. If you’re a superstitious person, Rollins touching the championship before actually winning it may mean bad things. Regardless, this was an awesome way to kick off the show and get the crowd HOT for the rest of the night.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW
- “Hunter, kiss my ass.” Amazing promo work from Batista, let me tell ya.
- Beth Phoenix wrestled as a part of an eight-women tag match and I’m not a fan. I really wanted her first match back to be at WrestleMania. The special moment kind of feels wasted buried on a meaningless tag match on Raw. Feel like WWE dropped the ball a little bit with that.
- Elias keeps teasing a concert with “no interruptions,” which means either Undertaker of The Rock is coming out to interrupt, right?
- The best match of the night was The Revival vs. Ricochet and Aleister Black for the tag titles. There was some really cool spots in this match and it furthered the storyline of the Revival “escaping” with their championships. It’s unfortunate The Revival don’t have a match scheduled for WrestleMania, as that’s a show where all championships should be allowed to defend their titles.
- The main event of the go-home Raw before WrestleMania was…Baron Corbin vs. Rey Mysterio? That was kind of lame, honestly. The women’s main event match should have closed the show, as that’s all the announcers could really talk about after this match ended. Kurt Angle came out and put the ankle lock on Corbin on the stage, but even that couldn’t save it from feeling like a “meh” ending to one of the bigger Raw’s on the calendar.
SCORE: 8.25/10. Just a really strong showing here on the final episode of Raw before WrestleMania. It felt like the show was bigger than 2009 in the sense that more “major” storyline development happened in 2019. Rollins finally got to Lesnar, the three women in the triple threat main event were “arrested.” While 2009 still developed its storylines well, 2019 seemed to have more importance to them. For that, I give 2019 the edge over 2009.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 7; 2009 — 6.