Welcome to week 22 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 years are entering pay-per-views, albeit the 2019 one is on a Friday afternoon and 2019 a Sunday night. Alas, though, both shows are trying to sell an upcoming non-cable show. Who will be more successful in hyping up the upcoming PPVs?
June 1, 2009 Raw in Birmingham, AL
- WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No. 1 contender: Batista
- United States Champion: MVP; No. 1 contender: Kofi Kingston
- 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:
- Orton punts Ric Flair — After building it up to a “fight to the end,” it ended with Orton punting Flair in the skull. What was supposed to be contained to the backstage area made its way into the arena, with Flair putting the figure four on Orton on the announce table. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase got involved, though, attacking Flair before throwing him in the ring that was surrounded by a steel cage. They locked the door with Orton and Flair inside, allowing Orton to end the fight. Batista tried to save Flair, but he couldn’t get in the cage. I’m kind of glad this is it for Flair. He was coming off as a very senile person, acting like he had something to prove to everyone. It also didn’t feel important to the storyline between Batista and Orton. The Animal has kind of been lost in the shuffle the past two weeks, which is bad since he’s the No. 1 contender to the WWE Championship. Hopefully Batista and Orton salvage some of this with a good steel cage match at Extreme Rules.
- Kofi Kingston is the new United States Champion — In the biggest pleasant surprise of the week, Kingston defeated MVP to become champion! This was a fun match between two good in-ring workers. Kingston won with a roll-up, setting up future matches between the two. MVP handed the title to Kingston afterwards, a perfect face vs. face moment to have post-match.
- Big Show looks dominant — A tag team match between John Cena and his “random partner,” Chavo Guerrero, against Big Show and Miz was dominated by Cena and Show, naturally. By the end of it, though, Show hit a knockout punch of Cena and then put him in the camel clutch. The 7-foot, 480-pounder looks strong heading into Extreme Rules. You know what that means…
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- It wasn’t a great women’s match, but the tag team contest between Kelly Kelly/Mickie James vs. Beth Phoenix/Maryse was watchable. That’s better than most women’s matches in 2009.
- Santino threw slop on William Regal, Matt Hardy and Vickie Guerrero … incredible. Regal and Hardy then beat up Santino. Allowing Vickie to dump a bucket of slop on him. It’s so dumb, but hopefully this feud ends Sunday.
SCORE: 6.5/10. This was a solid show leading in to a PPV. I really enjoyed the MVP-Kingston U.S. title match. They worked the face vs. face dynamic well and it sets up future matches between the two. Orton going full psycho to end the show was also great and it officially writes Flair off of TV, which is a good thing. All in all, a hot crowd and good build-up for Extreme Rules made this a positive show for me.
June 3, 2019 Raw in Austin, TX
- Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: Baron Corbin
- Brock Lesnar is the Money in the Bank briefcase holder and has threatened to cash-in on Rollins this week
- United States Champion: Rey Mysterio; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder; No. 1 contender: TBD
- 24/7 Champion: R-Truth; No. 1 contender: everybody
- Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch; No. 1 contender: Lacey Evans
- Women’s Tag Team Champions: The IIconics; No. 1 contenders: TBD
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Brock Lesnar doesn’t actually cash-in — In the latest edition of WWE “bait-and-swerve,” Lesnar came to the ring, beat the crap out of Seth Rollins, bloodied him up … and then said he’ll cash-in on Friday. Friday, of course, is the Super Show Down show in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This makes no sense logically to me. The whole point of MITB is to cash-in when the champ is most vulnerable. They stretchered Rollins out of the arena — seems pretty vulnerable to me! I’ve enjoyed Lesnar with the briefcase this month, but I’m hoping he actually cashes-in Friday and we can move on.
- Rey Mysterio relinquishes the U.S. Championship — It always stinks when a guy has to relinquish a title due to injury. Mysterio has a shoulder injury, forcing him out of action for a while. In a cool moment, though, he gave the title to Samoa Joe instead of just making it vacant. It was pretty neat … and then Joe choked him out. Heel Joe Heel!
- Firefly Fun House delivers … again — I don’t know who’s writing thee, but they need a raise. We were introduced to a new puppet this week, a pig called Huskus — a play-on to when Bray Wyatt was Husky Harris in 2011. A puppet that looked like Vince McMahon appeared then, yelling at Wyatt and Huskus to get in shape. We then had a 1980s’s-styled workout video play with Wyatt and Huskus. This, by far, has been the best thing on Raw in 2019. Consistently witty, entertaining and also scary as hell, the re-invention of Wyatt has been truly amazing to watch. I pray the payoff for this is worth it. PLEASE don’t mess this up, WWE.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Where are the tag team champions? For the fourth-straight week, Hawkins and Ryder haven’t been on television. WWE knows they’re the tag champs, right? And for that matter, where are the Viking Raiders? They dropped the NXT Tag Team Championships to … sit in catering? It’s weird how they’ve both just been forgotten for this past month.
- I love the 24/7 championship. It’s dumb and funny and amazing all at the same time. Eventually they’ll have to do serious feuds with it (I think), but I’m loving R-Truth hiding in random spots to not lose his championship. Fantastic stuff.
- Randy Orton and Triple H had a fine promo exchange. Pretty typical stuff from these two. I’m intrigued for their match on Friday. Hoping its better than their WrestleMania 25 encounter.
SCORE: 6/10. This was a fine show … in the last hour. The first two hours seemed to really drag, as the Roman Reigns-Shane McMahon and Becky Lynch-Charlotte-Lacey Evans segments felt like they took forever. The in-ring quality also wasn’t as strong this week, as even Ricochet and Cesaro only had an average match. Now we get to go to this ridiculous show in Jeddah, main evented by Goldberg vs. Undertaker and HHH vs. Orton. No, it’s not 2003. For those reasons, 2009 finally ends its losing streak and gets a win.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 13; 2009 — 9