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Welcome to week five 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 enter week five with the score tied at two apiece. Here’s how week five shook out.

Feb. 2, 2009 Raw in ­­­­St. Louis, Mo.

THE CHAMPIONS:

  • World Heavyweight Champion: John Cena; No. 1 contenders: Kofi Kingston, Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio (two more spots left to be determined for the elimination chamber).
  • Intercontinental Champion: CM Punk; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Tag Team Champions: John Morrison and The Miz, No. 1 contenders: TBD
  • Women’s Champion: Melina; No. 1 contender: TBD

The “play by play” of the show here.

THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS

  • Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton set for No Way Out — It’s the storyline that has dominated Raw in the past few weeks: Randy Orton vs. the McMahons. There was a total of five different segments featuring Orton (with Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes) and Shane McMahon on this show — two live ones and three recap videos. The show opened with McMahon announcing a No Holds Barred match between the two is set for the upcoming pay-per-view, No Way Out. Then, backstage, Legacy ambushed Shane and Stephanie McMahon. Orton was about to punt Stephanie, but Shane jumped in front of it and took the kick in the back. Long story short, this is THE main storyline right now on the show and WWE doesn’t want you to forget it. Both segments were good tonight as they build to the PPV match.
  • Mike Knox and Kane qualify for the elimination chamber match — Mike Knox and Kane will round out the field in the World Heavyweight Championship elimination chamber match at No Way Out. Knox won a battle royal at a live event the night before Raw to earn his opportunity, while Stephanie McMahon awarded the final spot to Kane after Kane said Undertaker will be on Raw next week to face Randy Orton in a match. While unconventional, it’s nice to see some big guys like Knox and Kane in the match. They counterbalance the likes of Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston.
  • JBL offers Shawn Michaels an “all or nothing” match — After giving Shawn Michaels an “employee performance appraisal,” JBL offered an “all or nothing” match to Michaels at No Way Out. If Michaels wins, he gets paid a severance package from JBL and no longer has to be his employee. If JBL wins, he “owns” Shawn Michaels for the rest of his life. The heel work from JBL was strong, as he was trying to goad Michaels into hitting him, thus canceling the match. Michaels has worked well in this storyline as well, making it seem like he’s really going through these moral issues. The match at the PPV should be an interesting one.

ANALYSIS FROM REST OF THE SHOW

  • Kane and Mike Knox faced Rey Mysterio and Kofi Kingston in a tag match and it was awesome. They played the “big guy vs. little guy” angle so well throughout the match. The final 30 seconds were awesome, as Knox caught Kingston with a wicked-looking knee to the gut when Kofi was jumping over the ropes. Then, Kane caught Mysterio in mid-air, held him for a few seconds before choke slamming him for the pin and win. It’s a match that shouldn’t be good on paper but was executed to perfection.
  • Chris Jericho keeps this storyline bashing legends going. Apparently, Mickey Rourke doesn’t want to do a match now, though, so Jericho has shifted his focus on to Ric Flair, Jimmy Snuka and Roddy Piper. Flair will be on next week’s Raw to respond to Jericho.
  • Jericho and John Cena had a nice match to end the show. Cena had a cool-looking counter to the Walls of Jericho, ultimately putting on the STF for the win. This is what you expect out of two of the all-time greats
  • William Regal vs. CM Punk for the IC title announced for next week’s Raw as well. Should be a good match between the two.

SCORE: 7.5/10. The McMahon/Orton/Legacy segments were well-executed. That tag match in the middle of the show was genuinely good. The main event delivered. This was a really solid episode of Raw. Nothing felt wasted on this show, which is what you want. All in all, a fun watch.

Feb. 4, 2019 Raw in Portland, OR

THE CHAMPIONS:

  • Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar; No. 1 contender: Seth Rollins (rumble winner)
  • Intercontinental Champion: Bobby Lashley; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Raw Tag Team Champions: Bobby Roode and Chad Gable; No. 1 contender: TBD
  • Raw Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey; No. 1 contender: Becky Lynch (rumble winner)

The “play by play” of the show here.

THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS

  • Becky Lynch is “suspended” — This just in: Becky Lynch is still The Man. She got the biggest reaction of the night by far. Her and Stephanie McMahon had a nice exchange to start the show, with McMahon “suspending” Lynch until she seeks medical treatment for her injured left knee. Lynch wasn’t happy about this and put McMahon in the Dis-Arm-Her until security pulled her off McMahon. As Lynch was leaving backstage, she was confronted by Ronda Rousey. The Raw women’s champ then eviscerated Lynch, creating even more hype for their WrestleMania match. Once again, this was well done by everybody involved. Definitely the highlight of the show.
  • Bayley and Sasha Banks qualify for the women’s tag team elimination chamber match — they defeated Alicia Fox and Nikki Cross to qualify for the match. Banks did not get in the match, as she sold injuries from a pre-match beatdown from Fox and Cross. It may be interesting to see if that plays a factor in any future storylines involving Bayley and Banks.
  • Kurt Angle is not retiring — it appeared the Olympic gold medalist was going to call it a career (finally) before he was interrupted by Baron Corbin. This led to a tag match: Angle and Braun Strowman vs. Corbin and Drew McIntyre. While the match ended in a DQ, it still keeps Angle as an active wrestler. The plan for Angle still doesn’t seem clear, but a WrestleMania match is coming obviously. Maybe against McIntyre? Again, it’s still not clear what the payoff of this storyline will be.

ANALYSIS FROM REST OF THE SHOW

  • Jeff Jarrett wrestled and didn’t look bad! The return of JJ and Road Dogg has been a perfect use of nostalgia. They’ve been hilarious together, allowing Elias to channel his inner heel work again. This storyline maybe has another week or two to it, but I’ve enjoyed it for what it’s worth.
  • EC3 debuted! He beat Dean Ambrose in a really quick match. Not sure what his long-term plan is in WWE, but it was nice to see him get in the ring finally.
  • The Revival are the number one contenders for the tag titles … again.
  • Mojo Rawley yelled into a mirror … again.
  • Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins being together again is great. I don’t know what their long-term plan is either, but I’m looking forward to seeing where it’ll go.

SCORE: 6/10. The opening segment was awesome, but everything after that was average at best. Nothing seemed overly important, nor was anything great. It felt like a transition Raw, which are needed sometimes.

WINNER OF WEEK FIVE: 2009.

OVERALL SCORE: 2009 – 3, 2019 – 2.

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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