Welcome to week 35 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.
2009 is building to Breaking Point. 2019 is on the road to Clash of Champions. It’s exciting for both years on the same pay-per-view schedule. Let’s take a look at how week 35 shook out!
August 31, 2009 Raw in Detroit, MI
- WWE Champion: Randy Orton; No. 1 contender: John Cena
- 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: MVP and Mark Henry
Detailed “play by play” of the show here.
THREE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS:
- Dusty Rhodes swerves John Cena — Dusty Rhodes was the guest host this week, and he set up one heck of a main event: Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship with John Cena as the guest referee. As the match was about to get started, though, Dusty came out and said “there’s nothing a father wouldn’t do for his son” — and then Cody and Orton started attack Cena. Ted DiBiase ran out to join-in, followed by DX to help Cena. Dusty then hit HHH with his boot to help Legacy stand tall. It seemed the show was over — and then Orton hit an RKO on Dusty! Cody looks distraught, but then OK for the most part. It was a wild ending to an enjoyable Raw. Dusty played the lovable legend all night, setting up the heel turn at the end beautifully. Orton standing tall above all was great as well. All in all, a good twist to end the show.
- Kofi Kingston retains the U.S. Championship — Three title matches were expected to take place tonight. While the WWE Championship one never got started, the other two did. One was Kingston retaining hit title in a fatal-four-way match against The Miz, Jack Swagger and Carlito. This was a pretty standard four-way, with everyone getting their offense in. Kingston pinned Carlito, which we’ve seen him do in the past. This keeps Miz and Swagger as viable options to challenge Kingston for the title in the near future.
- Mickie James retains the Divas Championship — The third title match of the night was set up when Beth Phoenix won a battle royal to become No. 1 contender. The match between James and Phoenix was actually very solid, as both of these women are probably the two-best on the 2009 roster. James retained after hitting a wicked-looking DDT.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- Chavo Guerrero vs. Hornswoggle has gone on for so long that I’m not sure how many matches we’re at. Guerrero still hasn’t won one, though. It’s still pretty funny every week too.
- Jillian Hall has the worst theme song of all time. There, I said it.
- The DX/Dusty Rhodes skits backstage were funny until, ya know, Dusty whacked HHH with his boot.
- Chris Jericho beat MVP and Big Show got disqualified against Mark Henry in separate singles matches. Typical tag team title match build.
SCORE: 6.5/10. This was a nice show. It was built around Dusty Rhodes, and everything with him delivered. The rest of the show was fine.
September 2, 2019 Raw in Baltimore, MD
- Universal Champion: Seth Rollins; No. 1 contender: Braun Strowman
- United States Champion: AJ Styles; No. 1 contender: TBD
- Raw Tag Team Champions: Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman; No. 1 contenders: Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode
- 24/7 Champion: Drake Maverick (NEW); 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:
- HEEL BAYLEY HEEL — Wow. In the main event, Becky Lynch teamed with the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Bayley, against the Women’s Tag Team Champions, Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. After Sasha Banks attacked Lynch to cause a disqualification, Banks started wailing Lynch with a chair. Bayley stopped Banks — but then started attacking Lynch as well. The show faded to black with Bayley smashing Lynch with the chair. HEEL. BAYLEY. HEEL. That’s something I never thought I’d say, but it happened. The crowd was hot for it as well, which was fantastic. A shocking end to Raw to say the least.
- Lynch vs. Banks set for Clash of Champions — The main event was preceded earlier in the night by this title match becoming officially official. This is a match we’ve waited a long time for and it’s exciting to see it finally happening. Two of the best of this era will square off. Love it.
- King of the Ring has some controversy — The two quarterfinal matches of the night saw Cedric Alexander vs. Baron Corbin and Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe. The Alexander-Corbin match was absolutely fantastic, with the crowd on the edge of their seats the entire second half of the match. Corbin won eventually, but man was that awesome. The Ricochet-Joe match was also good, but it ended with both men pinning each other. It was announced later that both men advanced to the semifinals, meaning it’ll be a triple threat match between Corbin, Ricochet and Joe next week to determine who advances to the KOTR finals. Hopefully it’s Joe or Ricochet advancing.
ANALYSIS FROM REST OF SHOW:
- The OC, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode attacked Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman after a tag match featuring Rollins/Strowman vs. Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows. This was fine and allows the heels to get the advantage for a night. The OC then attacked Alexander in a backstage interview, setting up Corbin to win later in the night.
- The Viking Raiders threw a guy 30 feet in the air. That’s what it looked like at least.
- No 24/7 title shenanigans again this week. Two weeks in a row now it hasn’t been on Raw. Sad!
- WE HAD A FIREFLY FUN HOUSE! Bray Wyatt has challenged Rollins and Strowman to a Hell in a Cell match at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. This match got accidently tweeted about by the venue hosting HIAC in October, so now WWE is running with it, despite Strowman and Rollins still have Clash of Champions to get through. Regardless, this Firefly Fun House was fantastic and made light of the fact Wyatt is making money. He actually fed a $20 bill to the Vince McMahon puppet. Incredible. GIVE. ME. ALL. OF. THIS.
SCORE: 7/10. The heel turn at the end is what really elevated this show. The 2009 and 2019 Raw’s were close heading into the 2019 main event, but the heel turn by Bayley edges it for me.
OVERALL SCORE: 2019 — 21; 2009 — 14