Welcome to week 34 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.
The 2009 Raw is coming off an average SummerSlam, but both years are now on the same pay-per-view schedule for the rest of the year. It should be a little easier to evaluate each week now given they’ll be at the same point in building to a PPV. Here we go with week 34!
August 24, 2009 Raw in Las Vegas, NV
- WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No. 1 contender: TBD
- United States Champion: Kofi Kingston; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Divas Champion: Mickie James; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Unified Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho and Big Show; No. 1 contenders: TBD
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- John Cena vs. Randy Orton set for Breaking Point — After a screwy ending to their title match at SummerSlam that saw four — yes, four — different finishes, Vince McMahon made Cena vs. Orton for the new PPV, Breaking Point. The concept of the show is this: the main event matches will all be submission matches. Orton vs. Cena will be the “ultimate submission match,” per Vince: an “I Quit” match. If anyone interferes on Orton’s behalf in the match, Orton will be stripped of the title. This makes sense given how the SummerSlam match transpired. You knew more Cena and Orton matches were coming with how it ended, so this is the next logical step in the feud.
- Mark Henry and MVP become No. 1 contenders for the tag team championships — This week’s guest host was Floyd Mayweather, who seemed more focused in promoting his upcoming boxing match than running Raw. His one act as guest host, though, was giving MVP and Henry a match against Jericho and Big Show. MVP and Henry won, making them No. 1 contenders for the tag titles. This was a fine match and the crowd was hot. Mayweather helped MVP win by giving him brass knuckles to use, a la his WrestleMania 24 win over Big Show. So, these two teams will face off again in three weeks at Breaking Point. This is fine, I guess. At least it’s something worthwhile for Henry to do.
- Vince McMahon pins Randy Orton in the main event of Raw — This show was dominated by DX and Vince McMahon. It was McMahon’s birthday, so Triple H and Shawn Michaels threw a “birthday celebration” for him to start the show. It went 20-plus minutes before Legacy came out and surprise attacked DX. HHH then made a match between Legacy and DX with McMahon. It was then made a no disqualification match by Vince. The final sequence of the match resulted in HHH hitting a pedigree and Michaels hitting Sweet Chin Music on Orton. HHH then tagged in McMahon, who pinned Orton for the win. The visual of a 64-year-old McMahon pinning the WWE Champion isn’t great, per se, but I’m assuming this won’t have any long-term effect on the champ.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Alicia Fox pinned Mickie James in a tag team match. That means Fox and Beth Phoenix have pinned the Divas Champion in recent weeks. Will either of them get a title match in the future?
- Evan Bourne saved Hornswoggle from an attack by Chavo Guerrero. Does this mean the Hornswoggle-Guerrero feud is over? At a minimum, this will give us Bourne vs. Guerrero for a week.
SCORE: 6/10. This was a DX-heavy show. It was the first full Raw we had DX, so they made sure to remind you of how funny and wild they can be. The opening segment was long, but funny, and the main event match was entertaining enough to give this show a passing grade. Definitely wasn’t 2009’s best outing, but it wasn’t their worst, either.
August 26, 2019 Raw in New Orleans, LA
- Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: TBD
- United States Champion: AJ Styles; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman (NEW); No. 1 contenders: TBD
- 24/7 Champion: Elias; No. 1 contender: everyone
- Raw Women’s Champion: Becky Lynch; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Women’s Tag Team Champions: Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross; No. 1 contenders: TBD
Detailed “play-by-play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Braun Strowman vs. Seth Rollins set for Clash of Champions — For the first time in WWE history, tag team champions will defend their titles AND face each other on the same show. Strowman challenged Rollins for the Universal Championship in a backstage interview, and Rollins accepted. You knew this was coming after how last week’s show ended, but it’s still a strange way to get to this match. I don’t think we need Strowman and Rollins as the tag champs, but it does add some intrigue to Clash of Champions as a whole. These two can put on a good match together as well, so I’m excited for their 1-on-1 encounter.
- Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler become No. 1 contenders for the tag titles — Yes, you read that correctly. A throw-together team of Roode and Ziggler won an eight-team gauntlet match to become No. 1 contenders to Strowman and Rollins’ titles. Roode and Ziggler beat four teams — Lucha House Party, The Revival, Curt Hawkins and Zack Ryder and Heavy Machinery — to win the match. This was a head scratcher for sure, as there was never an inkling of Ziggler and Roode coming together in past weeks, let alone wanting to be a tag team. So, we have two thrown-together teams fighting for the tag team titles. Alrighty then!
- Ricochet, Baron Corbin advance in King of the Ring — Two more first-round matches in the KOTR tournament took place, with Ricochet beating Drew McIntyre and Corbin knocking off The Miz. The Ricochet-McIntyre match was a lot of fun, with both guys executing at the top of their game. The Miz-Corbin match was fine, but not as good as the first one. So, the Raw KOTR quarterfinal matches are Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin vs. Cedric Alexander. Both matches will take place next week.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Sasha Banks finally spoke about her actions against Becky Lynch, saying she deserved the WrestleMania main event. Banks then destroyed Natalya in a match later in the night. Heel Banks is back, which is a good thing.
- Cedric Alexander and Cesaro had a fun match. Alexander won, predictably, but it was still fun to watch these two go at it in the ring.
- The main event was Strowman challenging Styles for the U.S. Championship. The match ended in a disqualification with Styles feigned getting hit by a chair from Strowman when the ref wasn’t looking. Strowman took out all three members of the OC afterwards to end the show. An alright main event.
SCORE: 5.5/10. This was a very “meh” show after nearly two months of really solid shows. You can’t be good every week, obviously. It was just a bummer to see a mediocre show after 2019 had been on a roll. This allows 2009 to get its first win in nearly a month.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 20; 2009 — 14