Welcome to week 30 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, the staggered pay-per-view schedule has us at an interesting time where 2009 is coming off a PPV, Night of Champions, while 2019 is less than two weeks away from SummerSlam. With both shows in different spots, it’ll be interesting to see how the build to SummerSlam is done on each show.
July 27, 2009 Raw in Washington, D.C.
- WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No. 1 contender: TBD
- United States Champion: Kofi Kingston; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Divas Champion: Mickie James (NEW); No. 1 contender: TBD
- Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and The Big Show; No. 1 contenders: TBD
- NOTE: Jericho picked Big Show as his new tag team partner at Night of Champions. Show replaces Edge, who is out of action with an Achilles injury.
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- John Cena becomes No. 1 contender for the WWE Championship — NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal was the special guest host this week, and he set up a five-man Beat the Clock Challenge (BTCC) to determine who’d face Randy Orton for the title at SummerSlam. After Mark Henry won his first match in 6:49, the next three competitors — MVP, Triple H and Jack Swagger — all failed to beat the clock. This left John Cena as the last one with a shot to face Orton, and he quickly dispatched of The Miz to become No. 1 contender. Cena and Orton then had a stare down in the ring. This is fine, as Cena and Orton traditionally work well. It would’ve been cool to see a newer face like Henry challenge for the title, but Cena vs. Orton is as safe a bet in WWE at this time as you can get.
- Shaq shoulder blocks Big Show — Shaq was maybe the best guest host so far, combining his comedy and physical skills to really add another dimension to the show. He called Chris Jericho “Christina,” said he and Hornswoggle went to high school together and beat Santino in Scrabble with the world “Shaqzilla.” He also was involved in the main event, as Jericho and Show faced Cryme Tyme. After the match ended in a disqualification, Shaq and Show had a confrontation in the ring. It ended with Shaq doing a running shoulder block on to 1/2 of the tag team champions. Like I said, Shaq was definitely a highlight of the night and much better than ZZ Top last week.
- Triple H has had enough of Legacy — After Ted DiBiase cost HHH his match against Cody Rhodes in the Beat the Clock Challenge, Triple H did an interview backstage saying he needed to “cut the tail off the dog,” or something like that. So next week, it’ll be HHH vs. Legacy in a 2-on-1 handicap match. It’s nice to see HHH not wrestling Orton anymore, but wrestling Orton’s henchmen also doesn’t take him completely away from the title. We’ll see how this plays out.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Chris Masters returned to face MVP in the BTCC. The announcers seemed surprised and the crowd reaction was mixed. Masters forced a double count out when he applied the Masterlock on MVP outside the ring. I have no idea if this is the start of feud, but we’ll find out soon.
- Jerry Lawler did commentary alone for the six-Diva tag team match and it was weird. Like he didn’t say anything creepy, but you could tell he had no idea what he was doing trying to do play-by-play. Let’s never do that again.
- Hornswoggle beat Chavo Guerrero with Guerrero blindfolded. These matches have been funny for the most part.
SCORE: 6.5/10. This was a really enjoyable Raw. It also featured nine (!!) matches in total, which is crazy for a two-hour show. Shaq played his part well and the show never seemed to drag. All in all, a very fun week of wrestling in 2009.
July 29, 2019 Raw in Little Rock, AR
- Universal Champion: Brock Lesnar; No. 1 contender: Seth Rollins
- United States Champion: AJ Styles; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: The Revival; No. 1 contenders: TBD
- 24/7 Champion: R-Truth; 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
- Primarily have been on SmackDown
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Brock Lesnar destroys Seth Rollins — One of the more uncomfortable beat downs in recent memory, Lesnar took out his challenger for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam. Lesnar came out during Rollins’ match with Dolph Ziggler and did his normal stuff: suplexing Rollins in the ring and on the floor. He then did a F5 where he threw Rollins into the ring post, but that wasn’t enough. Lesnar set up a chair in the ring and delivered three F5’s on to the edge of the chair. Rollins was coughing up blood, which was a hell of a visual. Rollins was stretchered out of the arena and put in an ambulance when Lesnar stopped the ambulance from leaving. He pulled Rollins out of the back of it and hit an F5 on to the stretcher. Rollins took a hell of a bump and looked legit hurt. This was executed to perfection in my opinion. We hadn’t seen Lesnar do this type of beat down in a while, so to see it again reaffirmed just how much of a badass Lesnar is.
- Gallows and Anderson win the Raw Tag Team Championships — A bit of a surprise given the match was announced just before Raw started, Gallows and Anderson defeated The Uso’s and The Revival to become two-time tag champs. This means the OC — Styles, Gallows and Anderson — all have titles on Raw heading into SummerSlam. As for the match itself, it really got going in the second half. All three of these teams are fantastic, and putting them together in a match really spotlighted that. It’s exciting to see Gallows and Anderson as champs again. Hopefully they can have a long run with the titles.
- Ricochet becomes No. 1 contender for the U.S. Championship — This was expected, but Ricochet officially earned it by winning a five-man gauntlet match. He was the last one to enter and defeated Andrade in a fantastic little match. All the matches in this gauntlet were well done, with Rey Mysterio vs. Cesaro and Mysterio vs. Andrade both being perfect for what they needed to be. It’ll be Ricochet vs. AJ Styles at SummerSlam, which is sure to be a highlight on the card.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- The 24/7 Championship started the show. What a time to be alive. After a night of chaos, Maria Kanellis — yes, Maria Kanellis — became the 24/7 champion. She is the first ever pregnant champion in WWE history. What a time to be alive.
- Raw ended with a bang, as a “Samoan Summit” between Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns ended with an eight-man brawl. It appears to have set up two potential SummerSlam matches as well: Gallows and Anderson vs. The Uso’s, and Roman Reigns and Cedric Alexander vs. Drew McIntyre and Samoa Joe. Alexander dove off the top of the Raw stage in the middle of this brawl, which was a fantastic visual.
- Dolph Ziggler came out to Shawn Michaels’ music. HEEL. DOLPH. HEEL.
- Natalya attacked Becky Lynch, but then cut a really bad interview promo backstage. I want this feud to work so badly, but right now, it’s getting lost in the shuffle.
- Alexa Bliss feigned an ankle injury and it was so believable that even I thought she was hurt. Tonight was a good night in terms of blurring the lines between reality and kayfabe.
SCORE: 7/10. One of the strongest Raw’s of the year, in my opinion. The matches were good, most of the promos were solid, and the beat down by Lesnar on Rollins was perfect. This is how a Raw is supposed to feel leading in to the second-biggest PPV of the year.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 17; 2009 — 13