I was having a discussion with a friend a few weeks ago about the current WWE product. He mentioned how he barely watches Raw and SmackDown Live anymore because the majority of the content isn’t good. I don’t blame him, really.
He then mentioned how he’d love to go back and watch Raw from 10 years ago to see how it compares to the current product. I absolutely loved that idea, so I decided to steal it (with his blessing) for a new project we’re debuting here at Sports Al Dente: “RAW is WAR: 2009 vs. 2019.”
Each week, I will watch that Monday’s edition of Raw. On Tuesday, I will watch the concurrent episode of Raw from 2009. I will then compare the two shows and award the “victory” to whichever show I deemed better.
Factors involved will be, but not limited to: match quality, compelling storylines, compelling characters, investment level and general enjoyment.
A big challenge in doing this project will being as objective as possible. It’s easy to romanticize about the “good ol’ days,” especially since these episodes were airing when I was 14 years old. I will try and not let this cloud my judgement as I re-watch the Raw’s from 2009.
Articles will publish every Wednesday morning. A tally will be kept every week so to keep people informed as which year is in the lead. It’ll all culminate on Jan. 1, 2020, the Wednesday after the final Raw of 2019.
Here’s what’s the same from both 2009 and 2019:
- Superstars/on-air personalities on both rosters: John Cena, Mickie James, Goldust, Big Show (officially on the Raw roster currently), Michael Cole, Triple H (now in executive role), Shane McMahon (now in executive role), Stephanie McMahon (now in executive role), Mr. McMahon
- NOTE: Alicia Fox, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre were on SmackDown in 2009, not Raw. The Miz was on the Raw roster in 2009, but is currently on SmackDown Live. Zack Ryder was on ECW in 2009, but is now on Raw.
- Papa Roach still sings the theme song, believe it or not. It’s just a different song. “…To Be Loved” was the theme until Nov. 2009 when it was replaced by “Burn it to the Ground” by Nickelback. The current theme sang by Papa Roach is “Born for Greatness.”
I look forward to watching old episodes and answering one simple question: is it really THAT bad in 2019?