Welcome to week 31 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.
Once again, we find the pay-per-view schedule not lined up, as 2019 is entering SummerSlam and 2009 still three weeks away from the biggest event of the summer. How will that affect each show is presented? Time to find out.
August 3, 2009 Raw at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, CT
- WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No.1 contender: John Cena
- United States Champion: Kofi Kingston; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Divas Champion: Mickie James; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and The Big Show; No. 1 contenders: Cryme Tyme (on SmackDown)
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Jeremy Piven calls SummerSlam “Summerfest” — …and the show never really recovered from that. This was another week where the guest host gimmick was average at best. It started out great, as the first 10 minutes with Piven and actor Ken Jeong were hilarious. And then Piven said “Summerfest” and the show died. Eventually, Piven turned heel on John Cena (more below), which was just confusing after a night of being a good guy.
- The Miz is “banned” from Raw — Before Piven became a bad guy, he set up a lumberjack match between Cena and Miz where if Miz lost, he was banned from “Summerfest,” the Staples Center (where SummerSlam is this year) and Raw. Well, after a talk with Randy Orton backstage, Piven turned heel on Cena and surrounded the ring with all the heels on Raw. However, Cena overcame the odds to beat Miz. The announcers didn’t bring it up at the end of the match, though, as Piven tried to land a top-rope cross body on Cena — yes, you read that correctly. Cena caught him, used him as a battering ram on the other heels before Jeong got involved. Cena then threw Jeong out of the ring on to three other former lumberjacks. The whole thing was just weird. The sight of Piven flying through the air was memorable, but it couldn’t save a lackluster ending to Raw. And is Miz actually banned from Raw now? Or is he just going to show up next week like nothing happened? There was no clear-cut answer at the end of the show as the announcers were focused on Cena and Orton.
- Triple H makes a phone call — The best match of the night was HHH vs. Legacy (Ted DiBiase and Cody Rhodes) in a 2-on-1 handicap match. Legacy actually picked up the victory, which was surprising. After the match, though, HHH cut a promo saying he needs to re-form a group. He said he’s going to make one call, “And if you’re not down with that, we have two words for ya.” Later, we see HHH calling Shawn Michaels, even though HHH never says his name. It appears Michaels doesn’t want to come back, however, and ultimately hangs up on HHH. This is the natural next step for this feud, and a potential DX return would be exciting. We haven’t seen Shawn Michaels since his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania 25. It’s time for the Heartbreak Kid to come back.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Beth Phoenix picked up a win! She pinned Gail Kim in a tag team match. Feel like Phoenix has barely been on television since the Santina Marella storyline ended in April. Hopefully this puts her back in the title picture.
- Mark Henry did a heel click while celebrating with Hornswoggle. It was a sight to see.
- Carlito beat Primo and the crowd went mild. It appears Primo is not getting over as a babyface at all. Hopefully this is the end of their feud.
- Jack Swagger squashed Evan Bourne after Bourne beat Swagger last week. I’m assuming there’ll be a rubber match next week.
SCORE: 5.5/10. Yeah, this one was just above average for me. Nothing was overly great, and Piven was a below-average guest host. Also, with 10 years of hindsight, I can say that “The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard” — the movie Piven was promoting all night — was a steaming hot piece of trash. Luckily for him, he’ll always have Entourage.
August 5, 2019 Raw in Pittsburgh, PA
- Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar; No. 1 contender: Seth Rollins
- United States Champion: AJ Styles; No. 1 contender: Ricochet
- Raw Tag Team Champions: Gallows and Anderson; No. 1 contenders: TBD
- 24/7 Champion: Maria Kanellis (NEW); No. 1 contender: everyone
- Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch; No. 1 contender: Natalya
- Women’s Tag Team Champions: The IIconics; No. 1 contenders: TBD
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! — The biggest swerve of the night came at the end, when Dolph Ziggler signed a contract for a match against The Miz — or so he thought. Miz then said Ziggler didn’t read the fine print and that he signed a contract to face Goldberg, who came out from the backstage area. Ziggler left the ring, Goldberg signed the contract and said Ziggler is next. A surprising return, to say the least. I’m not expecting much out of a Goldberg-Ziggler match, but it could be fun! Let’s hope Goldberg doesn’t look as bad as he did against The Undertaker in April.
- Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are the new Women’s Tag Team Champions — In a match announced at the beginning of Raw, the IIconics faced Bliss/Cross, Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville and Asuka/Kairi Sane in an elimination match for the titles. The IIconics were first eliminated, which was a shock. Then Rose and Deville were eliminated, leaving two teams left. Asuka/Sane and Bliss/Cross had a fantastic final five minutes to this match, culminating with Bliss hitting Twisted Bliss on Sane to win the titles. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are tag team champions. Who would’ve thought you’d be saying that four months ago?
- Brock Lesnar destroys Seth Rollins again, but Rollins won’t quit — As if last week’s beating wasn’t enough, Lesnar decided to give Rollins another beating. Rollins basically asked for it by coming to the ring with a chair, but still. It was not as brutal as last week, but brutal enough. Afterwards, Rollins cut a promo — gasping for breath — saying he’s guaranteeing victory at SummerSlam. This was a different change of pace for Rollins, as the normally-yelling Rollins was more subdued in this promo. I hope these two can have an actual match on Sunday because it’s what this feud deserves.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Mike Kanellis pinned his wife at a doctor’s office to win the 24/7 Championship. He was then pinned by R-Truth in the office. R-Truth is an 11-time 24/6 champion. Unreal. What a time to be alive.
- Roman Reigns was getting out of his car when it was hit by a car in the parking lot. This is a continuation of a “mystery attacker” angle that started on SmackDown Live last week. This will have to culminate at SummerSlam, so I’m intrigued to see who’s revealed to be behind the attacks.
- The Viking Raiders keep on destroying poor souls. Let’s hope they get in the tag title feud here soon.
- BRAY WYATT ATTACKED KURT ANGLE!!! That was awesome. Big fan of the surprise attacks from Wyatt as “The Fiend.” Keep it up.
- Natalya and Lynch will be a submission match. Natalya did a cool heel thing by not letting go of her sharpshooter when Lynch was in the ropes. It was a fine segment to build to their match … and then they had Natalya talk. Please, never let her talk with a live mic again.
SCORE: 7/10. Yet another strong Raw. Paul Heyman taking over has injected a new life into the show, and it’s noticeable. The roster seems more motivated than ever and the show moves smoothly. I haven’t felt burdened watching 2019 Raw in a while, which is a good thing.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 18; 2009 — 13