Welcome to week 18 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.
We’re in the middle of two different pay-per-view builds. Time to see which show has a stronger week!
May 4, 2009 Raw in Buffalo, NY
- WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No. 1 contender: Batista
- United States Champion: MVP; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Divas Champion: Maryse; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Unified Tag Team Champions: Primo and Carlito; No. 1 contender: TBD
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Legacy breaks Shane McMahon’s ankle — It was originally supposed to be Randy Orton vs. McMahon, but after Cody Rhodes beat MVP and Ted DiBiase beat Batista, it became a 3-on-1 handicap match. The match never officially ended, but once it broke down into a brawl on the outside, it was essentially over. After McMahon missed a flying elbow to Orton through the announce table, Legacy smashed McMahon’s ankle with a steel chair and the steel steps. McMahon was stretchered out of the arena, selling the fact that Legacy is a dangerous faction. A really strong ending to a storyline that was told well throughout the show.
- Big Show beats up John Cena — Poor John Cena. He gets called out by The Miz (again), slowly walks to the ring to confront him and what happens? Big Show then comes out and destroys him. Cena is still selling his injuries from being chokeslammed into the mega searchlight by Show at Backlash, which makes sense. A match between Show and Cena was made for the upcoming Judgement Day PPV, and this was a good way to make Big Show look like an unstoppable force.
- William Regal costs MVP his match — The reason why MVP lost to Rhodes is because Regal, who was on commentary for the match, attacked the injured leg of MVP behind the referee’s back, causing MVP to be counted out. It appears these two will now start feuding over the United States Championship, which is fine. Regal is a former IC champ and is still a good heel at this time. These two could have a nice little feud potentially.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Mickie James pinned Maryse. This, by the transitive property, will give James a title match in the near future. Hey, it’s better than random eight-woman tag matches. Jared the Subway guy did the ring announcing for this match, though. That didn’t age well…
- Santino Marella calling Vickie Guerrero a pig and making pig noises was hilarious.
SCORE: 7/10. A nice bounce-back Raw. It was dominated once again by Legacy vs. McMahon, but it was booked very well. Hopefully we can move on from the McMahon’s storyline with Orton here soon, though. It’s been THE storyline since the end of January and has ran its course. Orton vs. Batista should be good in two weeks. This should be the end of this overall feud in my opinion.
May 6, 2019 Raw in Cincinnati, OH
- Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: AJ Styles
- United States Champion: Samoa Joe; No. 1 contender: Rey Mysterio
- Raw Tag Team Champions: Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch; No. 1 contender: Lacey Evans
- Lynch is also the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Charlotte is the No. 1 contender for that championship
- Women’s Tag Team Champions: The IIconics; No. 1 contender: TBD.
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- A “wild card” rule is in effect — Okay, so this started the night as three guys from SmackDown can show up on Raw per week, and vice versa. Then five SmackDown guys showed up on Raw, so Vince McMahon changed the rule to four (since Elias apparently didn’t count — explained in the section below). Then on SmackDown the next night — I know, cheating for this project’s purposes — it was announced that a “handful” of superstars can appear on the other show each week. I think the premise of this rule is cool, but it renders the brand split useless for the most part. It has a chance to be successful, though. I’m willing to give this time to see if it can work or not.
- Kofi Kingston is still WWE Champion — The main event of Raw saw two SmackDown guys battling over SmackDown’s top prize. That’s what this new wild card system has brought us, I guess. Anyway, Kingston defeated Bryan in a solid match. It wasn’t as good as their WrestleMania match, but it was going to be hard to top their ‘Mania classic.
- AJ Styles accidently (?) hits Seth Rollins with a phenomenal forearm — Forced to tag with each other against Bobby Lashley and Baron Corbin, the match ended with Styles accidently hitting his finisher on the Universal Champion. Styles then walked away, allowing Corbin to hit his finisher and pin the champ. This was almost expected in a sense. That being said, it was still well done. They’ve done a solid job off building this feud between Styles and Rollins, letting it go from mutual respect to full-on animosity. You get the sense that these guys want to beat each other to prove they’re the best, making for what should be a fun match at the Money In The Bank PPV.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre had a really solid match. It ended with Shane McMahon and Elias attacking him before The Miz chased off McMahon. A lot going on in this segment, but it was booked well.
- The Viking Raiders — still a dumb name — seem poised to win the tag team championships. I’m fine with that despite the awful name.
- Samoa Joe had a really awesome promo on Rey Mysterio’s son, Dominic. And kudos to Dominic for standing strong as Joe yelled straight in his face. Could’ve easily started laughing or broke character, but he did a good job of staying in kayfabe. A simple two-minute backstage promo that furthered the storyline. A novel idea!
- Firefly Funhouse episode 3. RIP Rambling Rabbit. Gone but never forgotten.
- Lacey Evans and Becky Lynch keep on brawling. I think I like this feud? At least it’s a fresh face challenging Lynch.
- Braun Strowman dumped Sami Zayn into a dumpster. This is the content I need.
- The Uso’s and Revival continue to embarrass each other. Two of the best tag teams in the world are feuding over back shaving and IcyHot. Like how? Why?
SCORE: 7.25/10. This was also a bounce-back episode of Raw. The Uso’s/Revival stuff almost killed the episode completely, but everything else on this show was solid. The wild card system is a unique twist and (probably) the first step to getting rid of the brand split completely. That being said, this was a solid Raw that benefited from a good crowd.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 10; 2009 — 8.