Welcome to week nine 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.
Raw took a 5-3 lead last week. Can 2009 get back in the winning column? Time to find out.
March 2, 2009 Raw in Boston, MA
- World Heavyweight Champion: Edge; No. 1 contender: John Cena
- Intercontinental Champion: CM Punk; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Women’s Champion: Melina; No. 1 contender: TBD
- World Tag Team Champions: John Morrison and The Miz; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Primarily on ECW
- WWE Champion: Triple H
- Primarily on SmackDown, but is feuding with Raw’s Randy Orton
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS
- Edge retains his championship via disqualification — It was announced at the start of the show that Edge would defend his World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena in the main event. The match was pretty solid, and the crowd was hot since Cena is from the Boston area. After the DQ happened, Vickie Guerrero and Big Show came out on the stage. Guerrero announced Big Show is now the number one contender for the world title at WrestleMania 25. The show ends after the announcement, with Edge and Cena both looking shocked. Again, a solid match here between Edge and Cena, with an announcement for WrestleMania there at the end. Two birds with one stone type of deal, which is fine by me!
- Chris Jericho “hosts” Piper’s Pit, beats up Jimmy Snuka — The opening segment of the show ended with Jericho whipping Snuka with a belt, which is a heck of a visual. Jericho once again did an excellent job here of building up this feud against these legends. Roddy Piper, Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka have all been attacked by Y2J in the past three weeks. You have to think this is leading to a WrestleMania match. This whole feud has been handled beautifully, in large part to the efforts of Jericho.
- Shawn Michaels to face Undertaker at WrestleMania 25 — So Vladimir Kozlov beat the Undertaker on SmackDown two days earlier … that should’ve been a dead giveaway who was winning on Raw, lol. No way they’d do a WrestleMania match five weeks before WrestleMania unless it was a championship rematch at ‘Mania. As for the match between Michaels and Kozlov, it was fine. Kozlov got 95 percent of the offense in. Really the only moves Michaels hit were the flying elbow and Sweet Chin Music. This is Kozlov’s first 1-on-1 loss. Afterwards, the Undertaker appears and does the throat slash at Michaels. It is ON for WrestleMania 25.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW
- Randy Orton chooses to face … the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania? He says he’s not challenging HHH because he’s pressing charges on Triple H and sending him to jail. Triple H comes out, essentially calls Orton a coward and goats Orton into challenging him for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 25. So, officially, it’ll be Triple H vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship. I would’ve put this in my “three takeaways,” but this was all-but confirmed in the prior two weeks. There’s a “no-contact unless physically provoked” clause of something now too, which I’m sure will be broken somehow. Overall a solid segment here, not as good as some of the others. It’s good to have this match officially official.
- Kane qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match in a solid triple threat match with Mike Knox and Rey Mysterio. The crowd was hot against for Mysterio, and they worked the dynamic well with two big guys in there. Very fun opening match to Raw and a worthy entrant into the MITB match in Kane.
- Maryse hit a wicked-looking DDT on Melina. Maryse is the Diva’s Champion on SmackDown and was somehow invited to Raw. I’m not completely sure why Maryse was there, but that DDT on the floor was dope.
SCORE: 8/10. This was a good bounce-back edition for 2009 Raw. There wasn’t really any segment that was bad, with major developments on the two main championship matches for WrestleMania. Also, we now know Shawn Michaels will face Undertaker at WrestleMania, setting the stage for an epic showdown on wrestling’s grandest stage. Overall, it was a very solid episode of Raw.
March 4, 2019 Raw in Philadelphia, PA
- Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar; No. 1 contender: Seth Rollins
- Intercontinental Champion: Finn Balor; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey (?); No. 1 contender: Charlotte Flair
- Becky Lynch is the royal rumble winner and was expected to challenge Rousey at WrestleMania 35, but has been suspended for 60 days by Vince McMahon
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS
- The Raw Women’s Championship has a very weird night — So, let’s try to recap what happened here. After Ronda Rousey laid the title at the feet of Stephanie McMahon last week, there was uncertainty around the future of the title. In a backstage interview this week, McMahon says that Becky Lynch is reinstated and will challenge Charlotte for the now-vacant title as long as Lynch signs a hold harmless agreement. Later in the night, Lynch, Charlotte and McMahon are in the ring to make the match official. Lynch signs the agreement, only for Rousey to storm to the ring and demand her championship back. McMahon just gives it back to her like nothing ever happened and makes Lynch-Charlotte at Fastlane to where if Lynch wins, she’s in the Raw Women’s Championship match at WrestleMania 35. Rousey then cuts a fiery promo, saying “Damn the man, screw the woo.” Rousey then kicks Charlotte out of the ring and murders Lynch, putting the armbar on her at least three times.
- Okay, so a LOT happened here. Long story short: Rousey is the champ, Lynch is reinstated, Lynch faces Charlotte at Fastlane for a chance to get into the title match at WrestleMania, and now Rousey is a heel. Phew. Everything up to Rousey coming out was okay, but Rousey’s heel turn promo and subsequent beatdown was awesome. Rousey didn’t stutter once during her promo and looked like a million bucks here. This builds up the sympathy for Lynch as well as she’s now the only face amongst the three. Lynch and Charlotte will have a fine match at Fastlane. It’ll be interesting to see if Rousey gets involved in that as well.
- The Shield is back — On a simpler note, The Shield is back! Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins tried to convince Dean Ambrose all night to “get the band back together,” but Ambrose refused. Once Reigns and Rollins were getting beat down by Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley, though, Ambrose ran to the aid of his former brothers. The trio did the patented Shield fist bump, and a match was set for Fastlane between The Shield and McIntyre/Lashley/Corbin. I’m not expecting a five-star match here, but it should be cool to see The Shield wrestle together for one last time. It’s also a nice way to ease Reigns back into competition after his fourth-month absence due to leukemia.
- Triple H is going to murder Batista — One week after Batista attacked Ric Flair, Triple H responded with an emotional promo of his own. He really tried to sell the attack on Flair as a personal attack on him, calling Ric by his birth name, Richard Fliehr, on multiple occasions. A “face to face” confrontation was announced for next week’s show between HHH and Batista, and all signs point to this being a marquee match at WrestleMania 35. I enjoyed this promo from Triple H and am excited to see where this feud goes.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW
- Ricochet and Aleister Black challenged The Revival for the Raw Tag Team Championships, only for Bobby Roode and Chad Gable to force a disqualification. I’m okay with this, as having the Revival lose their titles to two guys who debuted two weeks ago would look bad. I’m also curious as to where Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa went. After making their debuts on the main roster, they haven’t been on either Raw or SmackDown Live in the past two weeks. Meanwhile, Ricochet and Black have been on both. I’m just not sure what WWE has planned for all of these NXT call-ups, and with having eight of them now brought up in the past two months, it’s going to be hard to get them all in and featured on either show.
- Otis Dozovic is still my spirit animal. His caterpillar move is awesome.
- Michael Che and Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live made four appearances on this show, if you’re wondering how little WWE had planned for this week. Che and Jost will be “guest correspondents” at WrestleMania 35. Braun Strowman choking Jost was funny to see, though.
SCORE: 6.5/10. This was a lackluster show. The last five minutes with Rousey/Charlotte/Lynch and The Shield reunion were awesome, but everything else was just okay. It seemed as if WWE forgot there was a pay-per-view on Sunday and decided to throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and hope it stuck. I don’t think we need Fastlane, as the 2009 Raw was just fine with building up to WrestleMania instead of another B-level PPV. The real battle will start next week when both years can solely focus on WrestleMania.
WINNER: 2009. Just a better show overall. Benefited from not having to build up to another PPV other than WrestleMania.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 5; 2009 — 4