September 10, 2010
Steve Riddle

Wrestlemania IX
April 4th, 1993
Caesar’s Palace
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dark Match:

1. “El Matador” Tito Santana defeats Papa Shango.

Fun Fact: Santana is only one of two Superstars to compete at the first nine Wrestlemanias, the other being Hulk Hogan.

Cancellation: A scheduled match between Bam Bam Bigelow and Kamala was cancelled due to time constraints.

Actual Show:

Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to Wrestlemania and the opening festivities begin.

Your hosts are Jim Ross, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

Debut: Jim Ross started as a referee in Oklahoma for Leroy McGuirk before becoming the lead announcer of Mid-South. He would also be the lead announcer with JCP when they became WCW. He also worked in Talent Relations at WCW before leaving in 1992 due to his bad relationship with Eric Bischoff. This is Jim’s WWF TV debut.

1. Tatanka (w/ “Sensational” Sherri) defeats Shawn Michaels (w/ Luna Vachon) by countout at 18:13. Michaels retains WWF Intercontinental Championship.

Debut: Luna Vachon is the daughter of Butcher Vachon and the niece of Mad Dog Vachon. She was trained by the Fabulous Moolah and her aunt Vivian and got her start in Florida managing Kevin Sullivan. She also competed in Japan, Puerto Rico, and Stampede Wrestling before being hired by the WWF.

Farewell: This is Sherri Martel’s last PPV. She was released after this event. After a brief stint in ECW as Shane Douglas’s manager, she moved to WCW as “Sensuous” Sherri managing Ric Flair. She would also manage Harlem Heat as “Sister” Sherri. She would make an appearance in 2005 on Smackdown in the buildup to the Kurt Angle/Shawn Michaels match and made her last TV appearance on TNA Impact in 2006. Sherri Martel would sadly pass away on June 15th, 2007 at the age of 49 from what was declared an accidental overdose. “Senastional” Sherri Martel was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2006 by Ted Dibiase.

The buildup: Tatanka had pinned Michaels twice prior to this event, once in a 6-man tag and again in a non-title match.

Analysis: We open the ninth installment of Wrestlemania with a solid title bout. Michaels, who is opening WM for the third straight time, faces off with the undefeated Native American. Tatanka had earned himself a title shot and looked like a threat to take the title. The pace is a little slow as Michaels is still learning to carry guys, so Tatanka dictates most of the tempo. One thing I like to point out is the debut of Good Ol’ J.R., who adds a whole new dynamic to the announce team. No offense to Gorilla Monsoon, but Ross was a solid announcer as he actually knew his wrestling. But back to the match, Tatanka comes close to the strap, but we get a lame countout and Michaels keeps the belt, but Tatanka is still undefeated. The antics after the match are also entertaining as Luna assults Sherri, establishing herself. Both Michaels and Tatanka move on to new feuds. Grade: 3

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews the Steiner Brothers, who say that they are excited to be at Wrestlemania and they will beat the Headshrinkers.

2. The Steiner Brothers defeat the Headshrinkers (w/ Afa) when Scott pins Samu at 14:22.

Analysis: A pretty good match, as these two teams basically pound the hell out of each other. This is reminiscant of the old school tag team PPV matches, as two teams face off with the winners possibly getting a title shot in the future. Both teams are on the rise, and both were in the title hunt. The Steiners dominate early with wrestling, until the Shrinkers take over after Scott takes a vicious bump over the top rope. Scott gets picked apart until he gets the tag to Rick. The next few minutes have chaos ensue until Scott gets the win after the Frankensteiner on Samu, almost seriously hurting him as Samu has to adjust to protect himself. For now, the Steiners win and the Shrinkers take a step back, but not for long. Grade: 2

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Doink, who says after tonight, Crush will be experiencing “double vision”.

3. Doink the Clown pins Crush after a second Doink hits Crush with a prothestic arm at 8:28.

The Buildup: On the January 2nd edition of Superstars, Crush confronted Doink and warned him not to play tricks on children. The next week, Doink, with arm in a sling, apologized to Crush, but then ambushed Crush with a prothestic arm in the sling. Crush was out for two months, missing the Royal Rumble, while Doink continued to play mind games. This would be Crush’s return match.

Fun Fact: The second Doink is protrayed here by Steve Keirn.

Analysis: A match more remembered for the storyline surronding the match, although the action wasn’t terrible either. Crush was at his peak in popularity, while Doink was gaining strong heat. Not to mention Matt Borne is a pretty solid wrestler and was able to carry Crush to a pretty decent match. Crush dominates most of the match, with Doink using aerial tactics and trying to run. The ref takes a bump and a second Doink runs in and ambushes Crush, leading to a win for the real Doink. Both men would continue to feud, but not actually wrestle again, which is weird since Crush never gets his win back. Grade: 1.5

Todd Pettengill is in the crowd polling people if there were two Doinks or was it an illusion.

Debut: Todd Pettengill began in radio in New York before coming to the WWF. He was the replacement for Sean Mooney, who left prior to this event. Pettengill’s first TV appearance was WWF Mania in January and this is his PPV debut.

4. Razor Ramon pins Bob Backlund with an inside cradle at 3:45.

Analysis: After both these men had strong showings at the Royal Rumble (Ramon in the title match and Backlund in the Rumble match), these two face off in a throwaway midcard match. For what is was worth, it was a very solid affair. One thing Backlund does better than anyone else is wrestle and Ramon was getting better and better, and the cheers for him were getting louder. Both men put a strong effort, but the match doesn’t even reach 4 minutes before Razor surprises Backlund for the win. Razor moves on, and Backlund won’t see a high profile feud for over a year. Grade: 3

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Money Inc., who say they will finish Beefcake and Hogan, who may be a little banged up because money can buy anything.

5. Money Inc. defeat the Mega-Maniacs (w/ “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart) by disqualification at 18:27 to retain the WWF Tag Team Titles.

The Buildup/Returns/Face Turn: After almost 3 years of inactivity, Brutus Beefcake made his return to the ring to face Ted Dibiase. Beefcake won by DQ after IRS interfered, and the two put a hurting on Beefcake, nailing him in the face with the briefcase. A week later, Hulk Hogan made his grand return to announce he and Beefcake would team up. They would become the Mega-Maniacs with Jimmy Hart as their manager, turning him face, and they would challenge Money Inc. for the tag team titles.

Replacement: The Maniacs are replacing the Nasty Boys, who were supposed to get the title shot and a face title run, until Hogan and Beefcake were put in instead.

Farewell: This is Brutus Beefcake’s last WWF PPV. After this event, he was slowly phased out and was gone. He would resurface in WCW under a variety of gimmicks, such as the Butcher, the Zodiac, the Booty Man, and the Disciple, but would never reach the heights when he was “The Barber” He would leave WCW in 1998 and is currently semi-retired, recently competing with Hulk Hogan’s Hulkamania Tour.

Fun Fact: Hogan comes out with a black eye and several stitches. The storyline reason is that Money Inc. paid goons to ambush him outside a gym the night before. The real reason for the injury is still debated. Hogan claims that it was due to a jet ski accident, though wrestling rumor legend says it was the result of an attack by Randy Savage, who believed that Hogan and his then-wife Elizabeth were having an affair.

Analysis: Hulkamania runs wild once more as he and Beefcake challenge Money Inc. for the straps. Beefcake looks OK, but is not in ring shape anymore and has lost all of his workrate since his accident. Hogan’s workrate has never increased for all his career, so with those factors leads to a pretty bad match that not even Dibiase and IRS could salvage. These 4 men clearly look out of place considering all the other matches had younger stars and more well-paced storylines. The pace is far too slow for 20 minutes, as we see the simple Hogan formula, except this time he and Beefcake get DQ’ed. But you wouldn’t have guessed it considering he still does his poses at the end. To their credit, the crowd stay in it throughout the whole match, as they give their hero a good pop. For now, Money Inc. escape with the titles, Beefcake is out the door, and Hogan’s night, unfortunenetly is not over. Grade: 2

Todd Pettengill interviews Natalie Cole and the CEO of Caesar’s Palace Dan Reichartz, who thanks the WWF for all the festivities.

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Mr. Perfect, who says he will not fall victim to Lex Luger’s forearm.

6. “The Narcissist” Lex Luger pins Mr. Perfect with a backslide at 10:56.

The Buildup: This feud is an offshoot of the Perfect/Bobby Heenan feud, as Perfect defeated Ric Flair in a Career Threatening Match on RAW. After that, Heenan called on Luger to take care on Perfect.

Analysis: Despite this match being kind of boring, it was very solid. When he had the right opponent, Luger could have good matches and Perfect was that kind of opponent. Luger has been on a vicious streak of knocking people with his forearm, which was believed to be “loaded”, and he also made headlines knocking out Bret Hart at a brunch before the event. Luger uses his power offense to wear Perfect down, but Perfect would make his comeback. But Luger would use the ropes to defeat Perfect, and then he would knock him out. The match itself was good, but what happens after the match is what make things juicy. Perfect attacks Luger backstage, but then is ambushed by Shawn Michaels, which sets up that feud between Perfect and Michaels. Luger would also move on to a new feud. Grade: 3

Gorilla Monsoon runs down the final two matches on the card.

7. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) defeats Giant Gonzales (w/ Harvey Wippleman) by disqualification at 7:33.

Debut: Born in Argentina, Jorge Gonzalez was a standout basketball player and was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in 1988. The owner, Ted Turner, offered Jorge a job as a wrestler and he debuted in 1990 as El Gigante. He was a face in WCW, feuding with Ric Flair and teaming with Brian Pillman. After a stint in New Japan, he moved to the WWF and was renamed Giant Gonzales and debuted as a heel at Royal Rumble.

The Buildup: After Undertaker defeated Kamala at Survivor Series, Harvey Wippleman vowed revenge and threatened to “drop a bomb” on the Undertaker. That came at the Royal Rumble when Giant Gonzales debuted and cost Undertaker the Royal Rumble match. After that, this match was made.

Undertaker’s WM Streak: 3-0

Analysis: Oh God, what a terrible match. The only good thing from this is the Undertaker’s entrance, as he always delivers on a great entrance. This was no different as he comes in on a funeral chariot with a vulture. As for the match, it’s nothing more than chokes and strikes as that’s all Gonzales can do. He was used properly in WCW as a face, but not here as a heel. The crowd, to their credit, stay hot throughout the whole match. Gonzales gets DQ’ed for using Chloroform, a very lame excuse. Taker wins, but sadly there would be a rematch, and that is even worse than this. Grade: 1

Mean Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, who says that he has great interest in the WWF Title match and issues a challenge to the winner.

Todd Pettengill is in the crowd with fans who are all having a great time.

8. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) pins Bret “The Hitman” Hart at 8:55 to win the WWF Championship.

Analysis: We finally come to our main event. Bert Hart continues to take on all challengers and faces his toughest challenge in the 500-pound monster. Yoko has been built up as an unstoppable force and Hart has to take him down. Yoko uses his power to dominate Hart, but Bret keeps coming to try to wear him down. He does a great job in carrying Yoko to a good match. Bret gets the Sharpshooter on, but then gets slat thrown in his eyes by Fuji and Yoko gets the win and is the new champ. This should have ended the show, but what happens afterward has made many people angry. Grade: 2.5

After the match, Hulk Hogan comes out to protest and Fuji challenges him to a title match right then and now, and with Bret’s blessing, Hogan accepted.

9. Hulk Hogan pins Yokozuna with a leg drop at :21 to win the WWF Championship.

Fun Fact: This marks the first time in WWF history that the WWF Championship changes hands twice in one night.

Fun Fact #2: Hulk Hogan becomes the first 5-time WWF Champion.

Analysis: When I first saw this, I was estatic to see Hogan on top one more time. Now looking back hearing about what was going on backstage, I am appalled. I won’t go into the details as it has been detailed in other reviews, but all I’ll say is that Hogan was so selfish to have to do this that the company progress was slowed because of this. He will get his at the next PPV, but Bret would not get back on top until the next year, even after Hogan promised to put him over, although Hogan claims he was always going to put Yoko over. For now, the show ends on a high note for the crowd, but the rest of us are left with a bad taste in their mouth. Grade: N/A

Hogan poses for the crowd as we go off the air.

Final Analysis: I have kinda dreaded doing this review as believe it or not, this was my first ever WWF PPV that I watched and at 8 years old, I was so enthralled watching this for the first time. Now looking back, I can see why it is the worst Wrestlemania in history. While there is nothing actively bad on the show (except for Taker/Gonzales), there is nothing real memorable, even though Hogan’s win was huge, but the ramifications in the long run were destined to be bad. We finally get a show to close the long gap between Wrestlemania and Summerslam, and that is where Hulkamania in the WWF will end for now. As for this show, not the worst PPV of all time, but clearly the worst Wrestlemania of all time. Final Grade: D

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