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Welcome to week 16 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.

Both shows are in interesting spots this week. While 2019 is just starting to build to a pay-per-view, Money In The Bank, 2009 has one coming up this weekend, Backlash. This means while new feuds are just starting in 2019, old ones are on their last legs in 2009. How did that affect this week’s shows? Time to find out!

April 20, 2009 Raw in London, England

THE CHAMPIONS:

  • World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena; No. 1 contender: Edge
  • WWE Champion: Triple H; No. 1 contender: Randy Orton
  • United States Champion: MVP; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Divas Champion: Maryse; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Unified Tag Team Champions: Primo and Carlito; No. 1 contenders: TBD
    • Primarily on SmackDown

Detailed “play by play” of the show here.

THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:

  • Chris Jericho vs. Ricky Steamboat set for Backlash — It was weird to announce this when they were in London, but we’re getting a mini WrestleMania 25 rematch between Jericho and Steamboat. The Dragon looked good at WrestleMania, so I have confidence the two can put on a solid 1-on-1 match at the PPV.
  • Randy Orton picks up momentum — Orton defeated Triple H in a No DQ match to end Raw. This ended how you’d expect it to end, with Batista, Shane McMahon, Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes all getting involved. This is a weird setup for a match at Backlash, as it’s a six-man tag team match for the WWE Championship — but only two people, HHH or Orton, can leave as champion. It’ll be interesting to see how this match plays out at Backlash.
  • Edge is a bad, bad dude — There wasn’t much great wrestling on this show, but the in-ring highlight was the match between Jericho and John Cena. The two put on the quality of match you’d expect from two of the best ever. Just when it looked like we were going to get a winner, though, Edge came out to attack John Cena. He hit him with a spear and then a con-chair-to. He capped off the attack by counting to 10, signifying how you win the Last Man Standing match between the two at Backlash. This was fine, but on a show that lacked quality in-ring wrestling, it was a bummer that a really solid match didn’t have a winner.

ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:

  • Santino and Santina Marella are both absolutely hilarious. You could tell Santino had a fake unibrow on and it was amazing.
  • This show didn’t *feel* live. I know it was probably originally tape delayed because they were in London, but the show felt like it was shot in cinematic mode. It just gave all the matches a weird feel to them.
  • DiBiase and Rhodes have never worn the Legacy shirts together. Like ever. Either Rhodes has one on and DiBiase doesn’t, or vice versa. It’s a little thing I’ve noticed in recent weeks and it’s annoying, lol.

SCORE: 6.5/10. The Raw’s in London are usually par for the course, and that’s what this was this week. Some storyline development, but not a ton. Some good in-ring action, but not a ton. It was a fine go-home show that feels rushed given it’s only been three weeks since WrestleMania. Most of the matches at Backlash are rematches from ‘Mania, so hopefully the show can deliver some solid in-ring wrestling.

April 22, 2019 Raw in Des Moines, IA

THE CHAMPIONS:

  • Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • United States Champion: Samoa Joe; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Raw Tag Team Champions: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch; No. 1 contender: Lacey Evans
    • Lynch is also the SmackDown Women’s Champion
  • Women’s Tag Team Champions: The IIconics; No. 1 contender: TBD

Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.

THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:

  • AJ Styles becomes No. 1 contender to the Universal Championship — Most of this show was built around finding a No. 1 contender for Seth Rollins, and we got one in AJ Styles. The Phenomenal One won a triple threat match against Samoa Joe and Rey Mysterio to advance to the main event, where he faced Baron Corbin — who defeated Drew McIntyre and The Miz in a triple threat match as well. Both triple threat matches were fantastic and aided by a white-hot crowd. The main event was solid as well, with the right man winning. We know get a dream matchup of Styles vs. Rollins for the Universal Championship at Money In The Bank. Yes, please.
  • The Firefly Fun House — While the Styles news was the biggest storyline development, the most talked about part of Raw has to be the Firefly Fun House. After weeks of creepy vignettes running with buzzards and messed-up dolls, we were anticipating the return of Bray Wyatt. And boy, did we get that — but not how we expected. The “Firefly Fun House” debuted, featuring Wyatt in a sweater and acting like Mr. Rogers. It was weird, bizarre … and I freaking loved it. Sure, it makes zero sense. But like what else does Wyatt have going for him? I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen when it was going on, which is a win for WWE. It was instantly talked about on social media, which is an even bigger win for the company. I’m intrigued to see where this goes and will give it time to take me on this ride.
  • Lacey Evans gets to Becky Lynch again — Another week, and another instance where Evans sucker punches Lynch. This one came after Lynch beat Alicia Fox in a match. This punch, though, was not well-executed. Evans really didn’t connect on it well and Lynch didn’t sell it well either. They made up for it with a second punch, but that didn’t make up for the ugliness of the first one. I’ve liked the presentation and build of Evans to this point, but there’s some serious concerns over if she’s ready for a women’s championship match against The Man. She’s only wrestled two matches on the main roster, one of which was the royal rumble. She didn’t wrestle much in NXT, leaving people worried if she can put on a good match with Lynch.

ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:

  • Cesaro defeated Cedric Alexander in a match featuring two new Raw superstars. PLEASE give Cesaro a push. Him vs. Joe for the U.S. championship has dollar signs written all over it.
  • “Robert” Roode debuted a new look — and then defeated Ricochet! This match surprised me the most, but it has me excited that they may push the man formerly known as Bobby Roode properly for the first time on the main roster. If he could channel his inner 2016-17 version of himself, he has a bright future on the main roster.
  • Sami Zayn wants to remind you all that he’ll see you in hell. I love this man.
  • War Machine, who became War Raiders in NXT, who then became The Viking Experience on Raw, are now being called The Viking Raiders. Okay cool, whatever. Just don’t have them lose for a year and I’m okay.

SCORE: 7.25/10. This show was built around the Universal Championship, and all three matches to determine the No. 1 contender were really well done. Couple that with the Bray Wyatt … experience? … and it was a fun show. The other in-ring matches delivered as well, giving the show a nice flow to it. It wasn’t great, but it was really solid. Amazing what happens when you aren’t rushing feuds.

OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 9; 2009 — 7.

Austin Hough

Author Austin Hough

A young journalist who loves sports, journalism, and professional wrestling. Chicago raised, Mizzou Made, Indiana paid (currently).

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