Welcome to week 14 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 Raw after WrestleMania! What surprises will happen? Time to find out.
April 6, 2009 Raw in Houston, TX
- World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Intercontinental Champion: Rey Mysterio (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Women’s Champion: Melina; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Unified Tag Team Champions: Primo and Carlito; No. 1 contenders: TBD
- WWE Champion: Triple H; No. 1 contender: TBD
- HHH is a SmackDown superstar, but has been feuding with Raw’s Randy Orton
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS
- Batista is BACK — He’s been out longer than this project has been around. After getting punted in the head back in December by Randy Orton, The Animal made a shocking return to end Raw and take out Orton, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes. Batista came to the aid of Triple H, Shane McMahon and Vince McMahon after Vince and Orton were originally having a 1-on-1 match against each other. Vince then said Batista will now be taking his place in the six-man tag team match at Backlash. What six-man tag match? Well…
- Vickie Guerrero named permanent Raw GM — We get to hear more “EXCUSE ME!” on Monday nights now. Guerrero will now be the permanent GM of Raw, ditching her role on SmackDown to just focus on the Monday show. She then announced two major title matches for the next pay-per-view, Backlash. After Vince McMahon had announced to start the show that it’d be himself, Shane and HHH vs. Legacy at the show, Vickie then added that it would be for HHH’s WWE Championship. Meaning if Legacy wins, Orton is the champ. If HHH/Shane/now-Batista win, HHH retains the championship. Fun!
- Her second announced match is John Cena vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship in a Last Man Standing match. So Vickie Guerrero already making moves on her first day in the role.
- The WWE Draft is next week! — It’s kind of funny that the “brand split” still exists. If you look at the main feuds from WrestleMania, they all feature SmackDown vs. Raw guys anyway. Even tonight’s show saw crossover between Raw, SmackDown and ECW. Regardless, we’re having a draft next week that will change up how Raw looks.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- There were two 10-person tag team matches on this show: one female and one male. The divas one lasted five minutes and wasn’t worth anyone’s time. The men’s one, however, was a lot of fun. Ricky Steamboat still looked incredible in the ring and the entire match was paced well. For there being a lot of guys in the ring, it was a fun watch.
- Santina Marella is now a thing. This is about to get ridiculous and stupid and funny all at the same time.
- The Colons (Primo and Carlito) are now the lone tag team champs in WWE. They retained in a lumberjack match against The Miz and John Morrison. I’m fine with having one tag champ. Hopefully this means we get to see the tag titles more often on Raw.
SCORE: 7.5/10. This was a solid show. What was funny was watching how different this show was presented versus recent “Raw after WrestleMania” shows. While WWE has recently promoted the shows like crazy and tried to do memorable stuff, this 2009 version almost felt like a normal Raw. The only major shock was the return of Batista. Every other match on the card — minus a two-minute Santina vs. Beth Phoenix match — was a tag team match. That didn’t take away from the overall quality of the show, but it’s just interesting to see how much more emphasis WWE puts on the Raw after ‘Mania now as opposed to 2009.
April 8, 2019 Raw in Brooklyn, NY
- Universal Champion: Seth Rollins (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Intercontinental Champion: Finn Balor (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Lynch is also the SmackDown Women’s Champion
- Women’s Tag Team Champions: The IIconics (TITLE CHANGE); No. 1 contenders: TBD
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Lars Sullivan debuts — After months of buildup — and months of forgetting he existed because of misc. things — Lars Sullivan is finally on the main roster. After Kurt Angle came out and beat up Baron Corbin, Sullivan marched to the ring and destroyed the Olympic gold medalist. Sullivan was expected to get a major push back in October, but some old, not-good-for-work tweets delayed his debut. He’s here now, though, and expect him to be a major force on Raw or SmackDown.
- Sami Zayn returns — After being away for nine months due to double shoulder surgery, Zayn returned and had a fantastic match with Finn Balor for the Intercontinental Championship. Zayn looked awesome for not having wrestled in nearly a year and the crowd was loving every second of it. Then Zayn said he’s going to “see you in hell” to the entire WWE Universe and turned heel again. Fantastic.
- “Dawn of a new era” — That was the line Corey Graves said as Raw went off-air this week. After new WWE Champion Kofi Kingston challenged new Universal Champion Seth Rollins to a “winner take all” match, The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) interrupted and made it a tag team match. The crowd hated it, but it led to the ending WWE wanted: Kingston and Rollins standing tall with their championship belts. Couple that with the five other title changes that happened at WrestleMania, and it truly is a “new era” in WWE.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Lacey Evans finally did something! She came out after Becky Lynch’s promo and punched her in the face. The two then brawled on the entrance ramp before referees separated the two. It appears Lynch’s first title defense post-WrestleMania will be against Evans. I’m intrigued.
- The “Superstar Shakeup” is next week, which is the 2019 version of the WWE Draft. This shakeup actually means more, though, as there is a much more definitive brand split in 2019. The only competitors working both shows are Lynch and The IIconics, and the later is primarily on SmackDown anyway. Should be interesting to see which superstars go from SmackDown to Raw next week.
- Dean Ambrose had his last “match” — it wound up being a brawl with Bobby Lashley that ended with Ambrose being taken out — in WWE. If this truly is Ambrose’s last night in WWE, then he had a one heck of a career. He won every championship in the company and was a major player for six-plus years. Thanks, Dean for some awesome memories and a lot of fun during that time.
- Alexa Bliss wrestled! Beat Bayley in a match. That was nice to see.
- The Undertaker came out and destroyed Elias. It was awesome. An actual text I sent to a friend: “GOD DAMMIT RETIRE OLD MAN BUT NEVER LEAVE US ALSO PLEASE.”
SCORE: 8/10. As mentioned in the 2009 score recap, there was a lot more emphasis put on this show than the 2009 version. It worked, as this was a better show than the one ten years ago. The match quality was better, there were more “moments,” and it just had a bigger feeling of importance than the 2009 episode. It will be interesting to see what happens as both shows enter the Draft/Shakeup next week. For this week, though, 2019 was better.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 8; 2009 — 6