November 30, 2006
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero

Wrestlemania IX
April 4, 1993
Caesar's Palace
Las Vegas, Nevada
Attendance: 15,045
Buy Rate: 2.0
Announcers: Jim Ross, Randy Savage, and Bobby Heenan

Dark Match:

1) Tito Santana (Mercedes Solis) pinned Papa Shango (Charles Wright) in 8:00

Actual Show:

1) Tatanka (Chris Chavis) defeats Michaels (Michael Hickenbottom) by count-out at 18:13; Michaels retains WWF Intercontinental Title.

Fun Fact: This the first time Wrestlemania opened up with a title match of any kind. Also, this is Michaels’ third straight Wrestlemania opener (VII: Rockers vs. Haku/Barbarian, VIII: Michaels vs. Santana). He was 2-1 in those matches.

Scott: Yes, there will be major angst and frustration in this review, but I won't completely sully the card with it, only where it matters, which is later. We'll begin with the second Wrestlemania singles match for HBK, and he loses to the Native American by countout, keeping his IC Title. This is the final match involving the Sensational Sherri storyline, which at this point was getting very stale, mostly because she brought nothing to the storyline. We do see the WWF debut of Luna Vachon, daughter of Mad Dog Vachon (I wonder if she's pissed they pulled her pop's leg off not once, but twice on national TV). Luna would stay with Michaels for this match and then hook up with Bam Bam Bigelow a few months later. Tatanka made most of this match by dictating the tempo, and controlling the action. I didn’t like this match for a long time but watching it again recently it was good, and the crowd (who will be given an unthinkable award later) was into every minute, praying Tatanka can take the title. Alas, Michaels kept his title, but Tatanka kept his undefeated string going. Grade: 3

Justin: A pretty decent opening match, and would end up being a close runner-up for best match of the show. The best part of this match is uncertainty of the winner as Tatanka was still undefeated and had pinned Michaels twice already (once in non-title and once in a six-man match), so him winning the title was a strong possibility. Vince was forced into a lot of non-finishes with Tatanka because of the undefeated streak, so a lot of his matches had bad endings, and this is one of them. Also, Michaels hadn’t reached the point where he could carry anyone to a great match, so he struggles with Tatanka and actually has to slow down in spots to keep the match going OK. As Scott mentioned, the crowd stays hot the whole way through, and for the second PPV in a row, we have a truly underrated crowd. Tatanka was pretty over at this point, anyway, and puts in a good performance to get the show off and running. Grade: 2.5

2) The Steiners Brothers defeat The Headshrinkers when Scott Steiner (Scott Rechsteiner) pins (and almost decapitates) Fatu (Solofa Fatu) with a Frankensteiner in 14:21.

Fun Fact: This is both teams’ only Wrestlemania appearance. The only wrestler in the ring who would appear at another Wrestlemania is Fatu.

Scott: Not a bad match, another showcase for the new hot face tag team from WCW. However, we again see Scott Steiner's stubbornness. As he did at the Royal Rumble, he finished off his opponent with a Frankensteiner, and again he almost kills Fatu because he just can't get that high anymore. He almost paralyzes Scott Norton in WCW a few years later, before finally changing to the Steiner Recliner. The crowd is a little hot for this match, but you can never tell crowd pops when a show is outdoors. The Headshrinkers will lay down, but they don't mind, there's better things on the horizon for them in the future. Grade: 2

Justin: A solid affair at best, I suppose, as the Steiners’ still hadn’t found their groove four months into their WWF stint. The crowds were digging them, and their squash matches were quite fun, but on the big stage they are yet to really tear the house down. The match here is a totally different bout than their last PPV outing as they just take turns beating the shit out of each other with the Headshrinkers. The match has a lot of stiff work in it and some pretty solid, yet sloppy, big moves in it. The Headshrinkers have become a solid heel tandem and could work quite well in the right environment, which is what they were in against another smashmouth style team. It is hard to believe that the Steiners would never be in another a Wrestlemania, but the fact is true that any time either was on the roster when Mania time came around they were nowhere to be found. I will mention it again (and continue to do so): the crowd stays hot for this as well and gives the (scary) Frankensteiner a good sized pop. This was a pretty decent match for two teams that were awaiting their turn at the top of the tag team mountain. Grade: 2

3) Doink (Matt Borne) pins Crush (Brian Adams) after interference from Doink II (Steve Keirn) at 8:24.

Fun Fact: This is Doink’s first pay-per view match. For months, Doink had been hanging around in the aisles at WWF events, entertaining kids and playing practical jokes on wrestlers. Eventually, though, his jokes got malicious, and he ended up blinding the Big Boss Man. Well, on one Superstars in February of 1993, Doink was messing around with Crush, and when they shook hands, Crush twisted Doink’s arm extremely hard sending Doink scurrying to the dressing room. The next week, Doink showed up again, this time with his arm in a cast. When Crush came out, Doink shook his hand and laughed off the previous week’s encounter. However, when Crush turned around, Doink ripped off the arm in the sling and started pounding Crush with it. Crush left to sell the injury angle, and his first match back was this one, his first Wrestlemania as a singles competitor.

Fun Fact II: Since losing to Ricky Steamboat at the first Wrestlemania, Matt Borne had been toiling around WCW as Big Josh and also spent some time in Memphis in the USWA.

Scott: One of the few highlights of this show for me. Nothing against Crush, he was very over at this point, but Doink was truly one of the coolest heels of the early 1990s. A sadistic, evil clown: what's better than that? Why Vince had Doink win was a question, however, since Crush was indeed very over. Considering Doink himself would face out after Matt Borne left, and Ray Apollo took over, having him go over Crush was kind of puzzling. In any case, I have become a huge Doink mark since I've started doing these reviews, and it was cool to see the second Doink come out to distract Crush, and cause him to lose. Crush would stay a face through the summer, but a personality change was coming. The match itself is not great, but the evil clown prevailing saves it for me. Grade: 1.5

Justin: A very weird match that is remembered more for the storyline than the actual quality of wrestling. Heel Doink is very a underrated superstar, as Matt Borne was an excellent wrestler and did some great evil faces and expressions. It is too bad he was turned face, because the gimmick was gold, albeit controversial. This whole feud would only get weirder, as Doink always got the best of Crush, but Crush never really got his revenge.. I think McMahon missed the boat with both of these guys as the year progresses, as Doink had great heel heat and Crush was very over as a face. This match also sees the debut of Doink II, who would go on to wreak havoc on Crush’s life over the next 5 months. Bobby Heenan is hilarious at the end of the match when he tries to convince Ross and Savage that the second Doink was just an illusion. Good stuff. Grade: 1.5

4) Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) pins Bob Backlund with a small package in 3:45.

Fun Fact: Bob Backlund returned to the WWF by defeating Skinner at a house show on July 1, 1992. Backlund hadn’t been seen in a WWF ring since he defeated Salvatore Bellomo on August 4, 1984. Backlund had a strong showing at the Royal Rumble, but this is his first ever PPV singles match.

Scott: The WM debut for both men, and what could have been a really good match to watch was shortened to a Superstars length. Why, do you ask? We'll get to that later. The Bad Guy puts on a good show against one of wrestling's most boring, but technically sound performers ever. Again, if they just added maybe 3 more minutes to this match, it could have been one of the highlights of the show. Instead it's mere filler to move the show along. Damn shame. I know this grade is kind of high for a 4 minute match, but it’s the same with Perfect/Blazer from V: a solid, well wrestled affair in a tight package. They definitely got stiffed time-wise, as it could have been much better. Grade: 3

Justin: A pretty solid match here that could have been a lot better with more time (as Scott said). Ramon is very underrated, wrestling wise, as he could really put on a great match when he was motivated. It is funny that Backlund was with the (W)WWF for so many years, but did not make his WM debut until 1993. Ramon’s heel run is starting to losing steam, and he was steadily dropping down the card, and by the summer fans would be begging for a face turn. After starting the year in the Main Events, here he is squeezed into the midcard in a match with no buildup. Despite the lack of storyline, however, the crowd stays hot as hell and really gets into the 4 minute affair, even giving the Bad Guy a good sized pop when he picks up the win. Backlund was a great guy to bring back, as he was solid in the ring, was a big name historically speaking, could always deliver and was obviously not above putting young guys over. What seems like a nostalgia run now would turn into something much greater for Mr. Backlund. For now, though, he lays down for Ramon and continues his run in the mid-card. Grade: 2.5

5) Money Inc. defeats the Mega-Maniacs by count-out at 18:36.

Fun Fact: Here is some background on this match. In early February, Brutus Beefcake announced that he was returning to the ring after a 3 year lay-off due to a parasailing injury. The only problem was that Beefcake’s face was still a little fragile, so he had wear a big metal mask on his face as protection. Beefcake announced that in his first match back, he would take on any competitor. The first man to step up to the plate was Ted DiBiase. The two men met face to face on Raw, and the match was signed for Raw in two weeks (the next week was pre-empted for the Dog Show). Over the next two weeks of programming, Jimmy Hart (manager of Money, Inc.) kept expressing his concern to DiBiase that this was a bad idea due to Beefcake’s facial injuries. DiBiase blew him off, and the match was on. Beefcake held his own throughout the match, and eventually won by DQ when IRS interfered. After the match, DiBiase and Schyster began brutalizing Beefcake with IRS’ Halliburton. Jimmy Hart tried to help Beefcake, but DiBiase shoved him out of the ring. Finally, DiBiase drilled Beefcake in his face with the briefcase, sending the “Barber” down in excruciating pain. That Raw ended with a shot of the bloody mat where Beefcake had been writhing in pain. The next week on WWF Challenge, cryptic messages about Hulk Hogan’s imminent return were made, and the next night on Raw, there he was. Hulk Hogan returned after one year off and he and Beefcake challenged Money, Inc. for the titles at Wrestlemania, immediately shoving the advertised Main Event of Bret Hart-Yokozuna to the backburner (and really, did you expect any less of the Hulkster?)

Fun Fact II: This match was originally supposed to be the blow-off to the Money, Inc.-Nasty Boys feud, culminating with a Nasties title win, but Knobbs and Sags were take off the show for Hogan and Beefcake. The Nasty Boys would leave by May and would return to WCW, where they would spend the rest of their careers. The whole thing is sort of ironic, as it was just 2 years earlier that the Nasties jumped from WCW and screwed up the scheduled push of Power and Glory heading in Wrestlemania VII, so in a way, this was a taste of their own medicine.

Scott: I will stay EXTREMELY objective here, and list positives. First, I will say that Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake did get a nice pop when they came to the ring, but that made sense considering the feud. Once again, Hogan and Ted DiBiase go face to face at a major PPV, and FOR ONCE, DiBiase gets the better of him. That was also a positive. Beefcake has that stupid "Titanium Steel" mask to protect his face (Bobby Heenan saying "It's turning into a hockey game, here comes a face-off!!!" is classic), and looks a little out of shape. I really never minded this match that much, but now after watching it again, I mind it a lot. It is painfully slow. 20 minutes of posturing, sleepers and fucking chinlocks almost could have killed what has been a spectacular crowd. The other matches on the card involved fresh characters and well-paced matches. This match is pulled straight out of a Saturday Night’s Main Event from 1986. It totally drags the pace of the show down, but not the crowd. They are all over it, and I am absolutely amazed. As for the end, it didn’t make sense at the time, but Hogan obviously didn’t care. As we see in his interview before the main event, and the main event itself, he has another agenda. This is also the last title defense for Money Inc, as their awesome heel run will come to an end soon. I used to grade this match pretty well. Not anymore. Grade: 1.5

Justin: Honestly, this is an extremely BORING match, as DiBiase and IRS could only work so many miracles. Hogan and Beefcake were never great wrestlers to begin with, but with a combined 4 YEARS of ring rust on them, the results were pretty piss-poor. Once again, DiBiase is stuck carrying Hogan’s ass in another match and is made to look stupid in the end. Sure they win the match, but look who is left in the ring jerking each other off in the ring at the end: Hogan and Beefcake. And of course, Hogan couldn’t just settle to be in a solid upper-mid-card tag title feud (and just ruin one match), he had to fuck up the rest of the show as well. Greedy bastard. That is all I am going to say here, but, trust me, there is more to come. Grade: 2

6) Lex Luger (Lawrence Pfohl) pins Mr. Perfect (Curt Hennig) with a backslide at 10:56.

Fun Fact: This is Mr. Perfect’s last Wrestlemania match. He would, however, compete on the Sunday Night Heat countdown show prior to WrestleMania 18.

Fun Fact II: Lex Luger was brought in by Bobby Heenan to take out Mr. Perfect after Perfect had turned his back on Heenan. Perfect would also rub salt in the wounds of the Brain by beating Flair in a “loser leaves WWF match” the night after the Royal Rumble.

Fun Fact III: Let’s go into a little background on Larry Pfohl, otherwise known as Flexy Lexy. Lex Luger was trained by Hiro Matsuda (Hogan’s trainer) and cut his teeth in Florida. He was a heel under Kevin Sullivan and won his first title on November 19, 1985 when he defeated Wahoo McDaniel for the Southern Heavyweight Title. After feuding with Jesse Barr and Bad News Allen, as well as winning PWI’s Rookie of the Year in 1986 he went to the Mid-Atlantic region in 1987 and was immediately placed as a member of the vaunted Four Horsemen with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard. His career blossomed there, winning the US Heavyweight Title as well as engaging in a high profile World Title feud with Flair (which included some delicious Horsemen beat downs). Luger eventually won the WCW World Title in 1991 when it was vacated after Ric Flair left for the WWF. He held it until February 1992, when he dropped it to the Franchise of WCW, Sting. Vince McMahon scooped Luger shortly after and held him in the doomed World Bodybuilding Federation until his no-compete clause ran out. He made an appearance at the Royal Rumble in January and made his in-ring debut on the February 1 RAW, defeating Jason Knight.

Scott: Luger comes in a cocky heel, and wrestles a pretty good match with one of the WWF's hottest faces of the moment. Perfect gets a huge pop when he comes in, and really, Curt Hennig could have been WWF Champion, or at least been in a cool feud with Yokozuna later in the year, but that unfortunately wasn’t on Vince’s mind. This match is really good, as Perfect carries the jacked stiff to a pretty good match. Luger’s slow, methodic style suited him when he was a heel. The announcers always pumped up the fact that Luger has the “loaded forearm”, a metal plate in his arm from a motorcycle accident. Luger cheats to win, as Perfect’s feet are hitting the ropes when he’s pinned. After the match Luger cheap-shots Perfect with the forearm, and Perfect chases him to the back, leading to an altercation with Perfect, Luger, and Shawn Michaels backstage, which was actually kind of cool, since that didn't happen that often back then. This leads to a great feud with Michaels which culminates during the summer. Luger continues to be a heel, but that would change as the year progresses. Grade: 3

Justin: At a grade of 3, this checks in as the best match of the night, and that is a STRETCH, as the match is solid, but a little on the boring side. The after-match activities were much more exciting, as the Michaels-Perfect feud is jumpstarted when HBK slams a full garbage pail on Perfect’s head backstage. It was a pretty nasty bump by Hennig. As Scott said, Hennig is VERY over here and could have easily carried the face side of the Main Eventers, and Luger was a very effective heel, as he played the Narcissist gimmick to a tee. These two work a slow, but interesting match as Luger uses his methodical offense to wear down Perfect. The ending is a little confusing, as Perfect’s feet were in the ropes, but I guess they were trying to protect him in the loss. After the match, Luger pastes Hennig with his metal forearm and leaves him lying in the ring. Luger had been using his forearm to knock guys out left and right and it helped build his heel aura and made him the source of controversy as the weeks went on. This feud would not really continue as Perfect turned his attention to Michaels after he was assaulted backstage. This was a fun little match and the best wrestled match on the card. Grade: 3

7) Undertaker (Mark Calloway) beats Giant Gonzalez (Jorge Gonzalez) by DQ in 7:30.

Fun Fact: Jorge Gonzales was an Argentinean basketball player who was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks (at the time owned by WCW owner Ted Turner). Gonzales was too slow for the NBA style of basketball, but Turner paid him a lot of money with a guaranteed contract. So Turner took advantage of his size and made him “El Gigante.” He was a babyface in some mid-to higher mid card feuds. Vince (for some unknown reason) thought Gonzales could be an asset to the WWF. So he signed him and Gonzales debuted at the Royal Rumble, where he attacked and eliminated the Undertaker.

Scott: The ONLY cool thing about this debacle is Taker's entrance. He comes in with the full overcoat, hat, ascot, and yes, the vulture on the stand, which was very cool at that time. BUT, once the bell rings, that pretty much is the end of that in terms of anything useful. As a basketball player, I’m sure he was OK. As a wrestler, he is COMPLETELY USELESS and he had that stupid body suit with the fur on it. UGH, what a joke. Taker has to carry this bum for 7 minutes, then is the victim of Chloroform. CHLOROFORM?!?!? Oh man, what a mess, an absolute mess. Fans looked beyond the shitty opponents, and just looked at Taker, who was reaching his stride as a face at this point. What’s also sad is that the crowd LOVED it. They were insane when Taker stumbled back to the ring to pick another fight, and when Gonzales is taken to the back by officials, the crowd’s giving him heel heat. I applaud these fans to put up with this garbage. To make things worse, there's a RE-MATCH at Summerslam. Yes, we have to watch this crap a SECOND TIME. Grade: 1

Justin: I can’t believe they wasted 7 minutes on this horseshit. The only good thing to come out of this was that the fans stayed red hot as they had been all night. I am actually more impressed with the vulture, as I am shocked it didn’t assume Gonzalez was dead and start picking at his useless body. Grade: .5

8) Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) pinned Bret Hart after Mr. Fuji (Harry Fujiwara) threw salt in his eyes at 8:53.

Fun Fact: Bret Hart was at a disadvantage coming in to the match as he had been knocked out by Lex Luger’s bionic forearm at the Wrestlemania Brunch earlier in the day.

Fun Fact II: There are two rumors that I have heard were supposed to happen. 1: Bret Hart was supposed to win this match and go on to feud with Lex Luger. 2: Bret would lose the belt to Yoko, Yoko would lose to Hogan at King of the Ring and then Bret would win the belt back from Hogan at Summerslam. Of course, Hogan balked at losing to Bret (like you didn’t see that coming), resulting in Vince getting fed up and FINALLY giving Hogan the old heave-ho (more on that at KOTR).

Scott: Well, here we are: the big World Title match with the champ, the Hitman, against the new big, nasty heel: Yokozuna. The match is average, with Bret taking a pretty good beating from the big Samoan, I mean Japanese monster. Then we have a nice comeback by Bret, who snaps the Sharpshooter in. When he locked it in near the ropes, I knew something was about to happen. Of course when my friend George and I watched this show live in the dorm at school, the cable cut out right at this moment. CRAP!!!! In any case, Mr. Fuji throws the salt in the Hitman's eyes, Yokozuna drops the big leg, and pins Bret to become the first heel to ever win the World Title at a Wrestlemania. Then, it happens. The biggest pile of dog shit storyline to ever happen in the history of the WWF. Hogan comes running out, for his "friend" Bret (yeah, what a joke that is), and starts pleading with the ref about the cheating. Then, Fuji tells Hogan he is a yellow belly, and challenges Hogan to a match right there for the title. Of course, any fan gets wrapped up in that at the time, Hogan hadn't been champ since November 1991, but here it is, an impromptu title match. Grade: 2.5

Justin: A solid match here, as Bret does an admirable job of carrying Yoko with his great selling. Bret was so underappreciated at this point it was disgusting. This match would have been fine on it’s own as Bret got way more out Yoko then anyone could have expected. He should have never lost the title here, but Vince was so desperate that he lured Hogan back with promises of Title reigns. OK…I am trying to think of things to say about this match, but it is so overshadowed by the after-match BS that there isn’t much to say. What should have been Hart’s or even Yoko’s moment in the sun is ruined by the Ego-Maniac. Grade: 2.5

8.5) Hogan (Terry Bollea) pins Yokozuna (Rodney Anoia) in :28 with a leg drop to win his 5th World Title.

Scott: WHAT??? Hogan wins the title for the fifth time. Now, are there any positives to come from this, any? Sure the crowd gets a 2 minute rush....then? This was Vince SCARED, FREAKING OUT because he thinks his roster isn't good enough to carry things as is. Boy, was he wrong, dead wrong. This ridiculous turn of events has a number of repercussions: First, both Bret Hart and Yokozuna are pretty much forgotten at this point, did you even remember Bret Hart was the champion going in? It completely ruins whatever little credibility the show had, and now it's all about Hogan, no one else. Second, it pushes the progress of the company back months. Razor, Bret, Shawn, Perfect, Undertaker, Yokozuna. A cache of good, young guys to push the WWF into the next era, and now here he comes, trying to grab what's left of his long since gone kingdom. Then he promises to put Bret over at the new PPV in June, King of the Ring, and then says no he won't. If I were Bret, I'd have run back in the ring, put Hogan in the Sharpshooter and snapped his 50-year old legs. Admittedly, no one was as upset then as many are now with it, but of course now, we're a little wiser. Hogan holds the title till KOTR, when Yokozuna gives him the bitch-slapping he deserves. Grade: None

Justin: You know, as much as you want to blame Hogan for all of this mayhem, Vince is equally to blame. If he would have just had FAITH in his current group of talent, this whole mess could have been avoided. Instead, McMahon panicked and called on Hogan to try and recapture the glory days. Hogan is a dick, but if Vince didn’t give him the chance, Hogan could have done nothing on his own to ruin the situation. Now, with that said, Hogan could have had some compassion and came back to help Vince without holding him up for a World Title (that he didn’t deserve). He could have bolstered the tag division or even the upper-mid card, while giving rubs to Hart, Luger, Yoko and Hennig. Instead, he forced Vince into giving him the title at WM, then reneged on his promise to lose the strap to Bret, then REFUSED to defend the title from WM until King of the Ring: 3 MONTHS! The son of a bitch made like 5 appearances on TV in 3 MONTHS: THE WORLD CHAMPION WAS BARELY ON TV FOR FIVE MONTHS. He was so pathetic and shallow. He couldn’t be happy knowing that Vince needed him (in Vince’s mind at least) and be satisfied with his heritage and tradition. Did he REALLY need the World Title to prove to us how much of a fuckin’ man he was? Was his FRAGILE EGO so FUCKING important that he needed to set the whole DAMN WWF BACK ONE YEAR? He ruined the progress of a lot of young guys and didn’t even have the SACK or RESPECT to show up on TV and defend the title. What a piece of garbage he was. Now, I’m not letting Vincent Kennedy McMahon off the friggen hook either. After he got the balls to can Hogan, he decided to push Luger as the new Hogan instead of going back to the young, fresh faces who he pushing in late-92, early-93. Vince would finally open his eyes and shift gears in 1994, when he put the titles and company back in the hands of a new crop of talent. Some may argue that that group of talent tanked the WWF in 1995, but the company had to bottom out before they could be reborn, so Vince and Hogan set back that bottoming out process a year in 1993. There was no need to panic like they did, as the new guys could have carried the ball going forward, bit all Hulk did was pop a quick nostalgia interest and the proceed to bend over the entire Federation and fuck it in the ass while Beefcake watched. Disgusting. Grade: Fucking Pathetic

FINAL ANALYSIS

Scott: Justin knows that I didn't really like Wrestlemania XI that much, but really, I can honestly say that I think this is without question, the worst Wrestlemania ever. XI sucked pretty bad, but not as bad as this. First, never put a major show outdoors unless there's like 80,000 people. The crowd noise is diluted, although the crowd did have their share of big pops. Second, the matches are very plain and drama-less. There was no adequate hype for this show like past Wrestlemanias. There were some good moments (Taker's entrance, Doink, the Perfect-Luger-Michaels skirmish). Otherwise, nothing made me say "Holy Shit!!" Hogan winning was a big deal at the time, but that faded fast. Finally, a PPV is created to end the long withdrawal between Wrestlemania and Summerslam. Hogan gets his just desserts there. The crowd really saves this show from being a complete dog, and after a recent viewing the undercard wasn’t as awful as it seemed to be. Luger, Perfect, Michaels, Doink, Crush, Ramon, and the Steiners all gain a lot of respect and momentum. Hulk Hogan, however, needed to take everyone’s thunder and steal the kingdom he no longer runs for himself. A selfish, delusional bastard took all of what I loved about him and flushed it down the toilet. My brother stopped watching wrestling for 11 years because of him. For once, I agreed with him on Hogan’s actions. In any event, this show sucks. Kudos to the crowd for paying for it. Final Grade: D

Justin: Well then. This is pretty much THE WORST WRESTLEMANIA EVER. WM II, XI and XIII are poor, but none even come close to this disaster. There is no one match that is worth watching on this show, and the one match that had some meaning nearly ruined the whole operation. One quirky fun fact is that 13 wrestlers who appeared at this show would go on to join the NWO at some point between 1996 and 2002. Those 13 are: Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Crush (as Brian Adams), Razor Ramon (as Scott Hall), Hulk Hogan, Brutus Beefcake (as the Disciple), Ted DiBiase, IRS (as V.K. Wallstreet), Lex Luger, Curt Hennig and Bret Hart. Those are some ridiculous odds: counting commentators and wrestlers, 13 out of 23 guys joined the New World Order. Talk about a watered down faction, that group of 13 doesn’t even include Kevin Nash or the Big Show, who were major members of the group, how sad. I guess in the end, with all that NWO influence, this Wrestlemania was more like a Souled Out than a Wrestlemania. Somehow, that seems about right. In my world, if you keep Perfect in the main event mix, and elevate Crush, you can keep Luger on the heel side (where he was more effective) and as a result you have a fresh group of Main Eventers to lead you through 1993: Hart, Undertaker and Crush as faces and Yoko, Razor Ramon and Luger as heels. But, alas, it is all pipe dreams and fantasy booking, as Hart was pushed down to the mid-card, Hennig was back fighting over the I-C title, Crush was hastily turned heel, Luger was hastily turned face and Taker was stuck in meaningless feuds with Giant Gonzalez and Mr. Hughes. The only one who would end up looking good was Yoko, but even he looked stupid here. It is amazing how much influence Hogan had, that he was indirectly the reason for the above group of guys to be set back and de-pushed. Dealing with Hulk Hogan in the early 1990s was like smoking cigarettes: he severely stunted your growth. Fuck him. Selfish prick. And fuck this show. Final Grade: D

MVP: Bret Hart (for being a good soldier)
Runner Up: The crowd (for staying hot through everything)
Non-MVP: Vince McMahon/Hulk Hogan (for ruining everything)
Runner Up: Undertaker/Giant Gonzales

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