Welcome to week 24 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 have 2019 entering the Stomping Grounds pay-per-view, while 2009 has a special three-hour “three for all” edition of Raw. Which week will emerge victorious?
June 15, 2009 Raw in Charlotte, N.C.
- WWE Champion: Vacant; No. 1 contender: TBD
- United States Champion: Kofi Kingston; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Divas Champion: Maryse; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Unified Tag Team Champions: Primo and Carlito; No. 1 contenders: Legacy (Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes)
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Randy Orton becomes WWE Champion — With a “three for all” theme, all three major championships — WWE, World Heavyweight and ECW — were defended on the show. Since the WWE Championship was vacated by Batista, a fatal-four-way match between Orton, John Cena, Triple H and Big Show was held to crown a new champ. This was a very well-done match, finished with Orton capitalizing on a prone Big Show to win the title. It makes sense to give Orton the title given he just took out Batista last week. Solid work by all four man in this contest.
- HHH becomes No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship — Later in the night, a 10-man battle royal was held to determine who’d challenge Orton for the title at the upcoming pay-per-view, The Bash. And, surprise! Triple H won. HHH eliminated Cena to emerge victorious. Triple H would get his match at The Bash … or so we thought.
- Donald Trump is the new “owner” of Monday Night Raw — Yes, you read that right. Instead of naming a new general manager for Raw, Vince McMahon sold the show to Donald Trump. Within minutes, Trump declared next week’s episode will be commercial-free. And then, at the end of the night, HHH said his title match against Orton will be on Raw next week in a Last Man Standing match. So, yeah. That just happened. This is where the benefit of hindsight hurts, because we know how long this lasts in 2019. But still, for one night, it’s fun to think that Trump would run Raw for years.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- The “three for all” theme was cool. You kind of forget how special WWE made three-hour Raw’s feel before they always became three hours in 2012.
- Chris Jericho and Rey Mysterio are in-ring magicians. They’re amazing at their craft and work incredibly well together. Them leaving Raw has hurt the in-ring quality a ton. It was great to see them battle over the Intercontinental Championship here.
- The World Heavyweight Championship triple threat match was also well done. Jeff Hardy, Edge and CM Punk are three of the best wrestlers of this era, so it wasn’t surprising they worked so well. The multi-man spots were strong and the finish was perfect.
- Really, the only complaint is the ECW Championship match kind of got lost here. Tommy Dreamer and Christian had an okay match, but it was sandwiched in between the IC and WWE title matches. Wish that would’ve gotten more love than it did.
SCORE: 7/10. This was yet again a strong edition of Raw. The show was paced excellently and the storyline development was strong. The Donald Trump surprise is what it is. At least we get a commercial-free Raw next week!
June 17, 2019 Raw in Los Angeles, CA
- Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: Baron Corbin
- United States Champion: Samoa Joe; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival (NEW), No. 1 contenders: TBD
- 24/7 Champion: R-Truth; No. 1 contender: everyone
- 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:
- Seth Rollins is a madman — The Universal Champion has snapped. With Baron Corbin trying to find a referee for their title match Sunday, Rollins took out everyone who could’ve become the ref. Rollins obliterated Elias, Corbin, EC3 and Eric Young with a steel chair. At the end of the night, though, Corbin attacked Rollins with a chair to stand tall. The presentation of this storyline all night was fine, but it’s weird to see the babyface champion destroying people with a steel chair all night.
- Ricochet becomes No. 1 contender for the U.S. Championship — The in-ring highlight of the show, Ricochet outlasted Cesaro, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and The Miz to become No. 1 contender. We’ll get Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe at Stomping Grounds Sunday. Ricochet fought off a sneak attack from Joe, giving him momentum heading into the PPV. A good five-man match, though, to get the crowd hot.
- A Bray Wyatt return seems imminent — Once again, Firefly Fun House delivered. This one all-but confirmed an in-ring return from Wyatt is coming, with the phrase “Let me in” constantly being said. It seems this twisted, demented Wyatt will be making an in-ring debut soon, and I, for one, am excited. This is the best thing 2019 Raw has going for it. PLEASE don’t blow this, WWE.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- The Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross friendship continues to develop. I’m intrigued to see where this goes.
- I’m hoping Sunday is the end of the Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre/Shane McMahon feud, but it probably won’t be, and that is sad.
- Becky Lynch and Lacey Evans once again had a fairly basic promo exchange. It’s just frustrating to see Lynch going through the motions. She deserves better.
- There were three references to LeBron James and the Lakers in this show, all by heels. Elias, Paul Heyman and The IIconics all made a crack at them. Even Corey Graves on commentary mentioned something to the effect of “If I have to hear another Lakers joke tonight…” It was just overkill by the time the IIconics said it. Also, there’s no reason why Heyman should resort to some cheap heat like that. There’s no way he wrote that.
SCORE: 5.5/10. This week was only slightly better than last week because the fatal-five-way was good. But man, WWE is limping in to Stomping Grounds right now. I haven’t looked forward to watching Raw the past two weeks, which is sad because the roster is more talented than the 2009 one.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 13; 2009 — 11.