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Welcome to week 26 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.

Oh, we’re halfway there. It’s another holiday edition (sort of) of Monday Night Raw. With Independence Day just a few days away from both shows, it’ll be intriguing to see which show leaves the stronger impression heading into the holiday weekend.

June 29, 2009 Raw in San Jose, CA

THE CHAMPIONS:

  • WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • United States Champion: Kofi Kingston; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Divas Champion: Maryse; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and Edge (NEW); No. 1 contenders: TBD

Detailed “play by play” of the show here.

THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:

  • John Cena vs. Triple H set for next week — The first guest host of Raw was Batista, and he made a Night of Champions (NOC) tournament to determine who’ll face Randy Orton for the WWE Championship at the pay-per-view in four weeks. It was a four-person tournament, with HHH beating MVP and Cena defeating The Miz to advance to next week’s finals. These two matches were fine. MVP and Miz carried the matches, offensively, before HHH and Cena won “out of nowhere,” respectively. It sets up a heavyweight matchup between Triple H and Cena next week on Raw. These two always work well together, so it should be a good match between the two.
  • Mickie James becomes No. 1 contender for Divas Championship — Finally, after chasing Maryse for months, James will get an opportunity at the Divas Champion. James defeated Kelly Kelly, Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes to earn the chance to face Maryse at NOC. This was actually a well-done divas match, a rarity in 2009. A couple neat spots got the crowd to pop and the right person won in James. Should be an interesting matchup in four weeks at the PPV.
  • Mark Henry pins the WWE Champion — The show ended with Randy Orton in a 3-on-1 gauntlet match against three of Raw’s newest superstars. Before Donald Trump re-sold Raw back to Vince McMahon, he *allegedly* made a 15-person trade between the three brands, meaning there’ll be five new superstars on Raw. We saw three of them in this match, all from ECW: Evan Bourne, Jack Swagger and Mark Henry. Orton defeated Bourne with an RKO, then Swagger intentionally got himself counted out as a “show of respect” to the champ. Henry was then the final participant, and it looked like he was going to do the same thing Swagger did. He stopped the referee’s count at four, though, and proceeded to manhandle Orton. Henry then hit the World’s Strongest Slam and pinned the WWE Champion. What does that mean for Henry? Who knows. With Cena and HHH facing off next week, it seems the victory won’t matter until after Night of Champions.

ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:

  • Big Show faced Kofi Kingston and the match ended in a double count out. Not sure what the point of it was honestly.
  • Chris Jericho and Edge retained their titles against Primo and Carlito. They won them in shocking fashion at The Bash, being added to the Colons-Legacy match at the last second. This is a unique tag team and one I’m looking forward to seeing what happens between them.

SCORE: 7/10. Once again, 2009 pumps out a strong episode. They were in a lull about a month ago, but these past four weeks have been really solid. Good matches, storyline development and hot crowds have 2009 trending in the right direction as we enter the second half of the year.

July 1, 2019 Raw in Dallas, TX

THE CHAMPIONS:

  • Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: Baron Corbin
  • United States Champion: Ricochet; No. 1 contender: AJ Styles
  • Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival; No. 1 contenders: 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:

  • The Club is back — This simmered all night, with a beautiful culmination at the end. It started with Karl Anderson betting his “hot Asian wife” that AJ Styles couldn’t beat Ricochet again. Later, Anderson and Luke Gallows challenged Styles to be the “old AJ Styles,” the one they had met in Japan. Styles walked up to Ricochet, challenged him for the U.S. Championship, and then slapped him in the face. Ricochet slapped Styles back, setting up the main event. It appeared Styles won the match quickly, but Ricochet’s foot was under the bottom rope, causing the match to re-start. Ricochet and Styles then had a banger of a match, ending with Ricochet winning with a rollup. The two shook hands in the middle of the ring, but Styles then punched Ricochet in the face. Gallows and Anderson then came in to the ring and all three proceeded to destroy Ricochet. The Club is back and AJ Styles is a heel for the first time since spring 2017. Awesomeness all around. It was fantastic to watch this build all night, and the end result was phenomenal (see what I did there?).
  • Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley blow up the stage — This show started out with an explosion — literally. It was a Falls Count Anywhere match between the two, and it ended with Strowman barreling into Lashley through the LED screen. A massive explosion happened, and Corey Graves even said “Holy shit” on commentary. Both men were put in ambulances and taken to the hospital. Throughout the night, various superstars wished them a full recovery, adding to the magnitude of the moment. It was a truly shocking start to Raw and set the tone for the rest of the night.
  • Drake Maverick regains the 24/7 Championship — Another story that was built beautifully throughout the night. Maverick brought his wife to Raw and was forced to make a decision: her, or the 24/7 title. He chose his wife, and the two stayed for the rest of the show. R-Truth taunted Maverick multiple times throughout the night, but Maverick showed restrain with his wife around. When she went to the bathroom, though, Maverick hit R-Truth with his luggage bag and pinned him, winning the title. His wife then saw what happened and the two fled the arena to go on their honeymoon. Again, a story that was told extremely well throughout the night ended with a fantastic result. The way they’ve presented the 24/7 title is brilliant and has been a highlight of Raw the past two months.

ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:

  • Undertaker cut a standard promo on Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre. Nothing too crazy. It just furthers the storyline —or at least keep it fresh in people’s minds.
  • Mike and Maria Kanellis were underrated MVPs of this show. Maria had an amazing promo on Becky Lynch and Seth Rollins before the two couples faced off in a mixed tag team match. After Mike got squashed by both Rollins and Lynch, Maria eviscerated Mike. She also announced she was pregnant, which we’re not sure is true or not. Anyway, I loved this segment. Maria deserves all the credit for this.
  • THE BUZZARD POPPED UP BEHIND THE MIZ! There was no Firefly Fun House, but for the second straight week, the buzzard popped up behind The Miz. It appears Bray Wyatt has his eyes set on his first opponent back….
  • The Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss friendship — and divide — continues to simmer. WWE is putting on a clinic with this story. Hopefully it doesn’t end too soon or too late. Thinking these two could be in line for a match at SummerSlam if it all works out properly.
  • The Street Profits had two backstage interviews, and both were fantastic. They interrupted a Paul Heyman interview and it was absolutely hilarious. The NXT Tag Team Champions looked like a million bucks here and I’m intrigued to see what their future on the main roster looks like.
  • Samoa Joe forced Kofi Kingston to pass out from the coquina clutch during a six-man tag team match, but Kingston didn’t actually tap out. Joe could easily become WWE Champion at Extreme Rules, and I’m excited for their matchup at the PPV.

SCORE: 8/10. The best Raw of 2019 and the best Raw I’ve watched, regardless of year. Top to bottom, this show was nearly flawless. Minus a couple of formulaic promos in the middle, everything on this show hit. After Paul Heyman was named the Executive Director of Raw during the week, he came out and made a statement with this show. The roster looks motivated — and they’re performing that way as well.

OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 15; 2009 — 11

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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