Rock Star Gary reflects on WWF WrestleMania IX

Live from Las Vegas, NV

Airdate: April 4, 1993

Attendance:  15,045 (14,000 paid)

Hosted by Jim Ross, “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

Will Bret retain the WWF title against Yokozuna? How will Hogan affect WrestleMania this year? How does this show compare to previous WrestleManias? Let’s find out!

While wearing a toga, Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to the show and introduces the newest play-by-play announcer—Jim Ross. Welcome to the WWF, Jimbo!

Ring announcer Howard Finkel, a.k.a. “Finkus Maximus,” presents “Julius Caesar” and “Cleopatra” riding on an elephant. Next, Savage makes his entrance riding a sedan with “vestal virgins.” Following that, Heenan enters the show backwards on a camel. Of course, Ross and Savage mock him for smelling like a pack of Camels.

Sorry, Chester.

Match 1 for the WWF Intercontinental title: Shawn Michaels (champion w/ Luna Vachon) versus Tatanka (w/ Sensational Sherri)

Highlights:

  • This match marked Vachon’s WWF debut.
  • When Tatanka countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex, he gave Michaels a cross corner whip.
  • Unfortunately for Tatanka, Michaels escaped to the apron causing Tatanka unable to bear fruit on his follow-through.
  • Tatanka then dropkicked Michaels and gave him another cross corner whip. That resulted in a Michaels flip.
  • As Tatanka chopped him to the floor, Vachon tried to comfort her charge; however, Sherri stood in her path.
  • Michaels then mounted the top turnbuckle and hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • Upon leap-frogging Tatanka, Michaels made a second attempt only to receive an inverted atomic drop instead.
  • He then reversed an Irish whip but succumbed to a DDT.
  • When Tatanka worked on Michaels’ legitimately injured shoulder, Michaels attempted a left-arm clothesline but hurt himself.
  • He then gave Tatanka a cross corner whip but further injured his shoulder on his follow-through.
  • As he caught Michaels mid-float-over, Tatanka delivered a shoulder breaker.
  • He then hit an elbow drop, mounted the top turnbuckle, and chopped Michaels down to the mat.
  • After he mounted the opposite top turnbuckle, Tatanka leaped but ate a superkick. Wow!
  • Michaels then tossed Tatanka over the top rope to the floor, and another Luna-Sherri confrontation occurred.
  • When Michaels joined him, he rammed Tatanka face-first into the apron.
  • He then mounted the apron and clotheslined Tatanka on the floor.
  • As Michaels gave him a swinging neckbreaker, he got 2.
  • He then delivered a standing dropkick for another 2.
  • After Michaels botched a victory roll, he couldn’t get 3.
  • He then attempted to execute a victory roll properly, but Tatanka countered with an electric chair for 2.
  • When Michaels mounted the second turnbuckle, he hit a double axe handle.
  • Tatanka no-sold it even after Michaels did it again.
  • As MIchaels mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered double axe handle #3, Tatanka blocked a superkick and chopped Michaels down to the mat.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Michaels a cross body block.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • That was close.
  • After Michaels reversed a cross corner whip he attempted a dropkick.
  • Instead, Tatanka caught and catapulted him into the ring post. OUCH!
  • He then rolled up Michaels yet only earned another 2.
  • When Tatanka attempted the End of the Trail, Michaels countered with a roll-up for 2.
  • Michaels then mounted the top turnbuckle, attempted a cross body block, but Tatanka countered with a powerslam for 2.
  • As Michaels tossed him to the floor, he attempted a cross body block from the apron.
  • Tatanka evaded him; thus, Michaels landed head-first on the steps. OUCH!
  • After Michaels pulled referee Joey Marella out of the ring, Tatanka delivered the End of the Trail.
  • Marella then called for the bell.
  • What happened?
  • “Finkus” announced that Tatanka won by countout.
  • As a result, Michaels retained.
  • BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Crappy and convoluted finish to a good match with some decent false finishes that grabbed the Vegas faithful’s attention away from counting its chips.

After the match, Sherri gets up on the apron to applaud Tatanka, but Vachon pulls her back down to the floor. Vachon then clotheslines and kicks Sherri on the floor until Tatanka shoos her away. Lastly, Sherri receives help from Tatanka to return backstage.

In front of a bust of Caesar, “Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews the Steiners.

Match 2: Steiners versus Headshrinkers (w/ Afa)

Highlights:

  • Scott blocked a hip toss from Fatu and delivered one of his own.
  • As Scott gave him a Steinerline, Fatu celebrated with a 360° sell. Woohoo!
  • The Headshrinkers then tossed them out of the ring, but the Steiners mounted the same top turnbuckle and hit stereo Steinerlines.
  • According to Ross, Vachon attacked Sherri at the first aid station backstage. Vicious!
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides while Samu gave Rick a cross corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
  • When Samu made a second attempt, Rick exploded from the corner with another Steinerline.
  • He then made Fatu HIT THE POLE from inside the ring and tagged in Scott.
  • After Scott delivered a double underhook powerbomb to Samu, he dropkicked an incoming Fatu.
  • In a scary moment, Samu reversed an Irish whip and set up Scott for a stungun; however, Fatu lowered the bridge. That caused Scott to fall directly to the floor. OUCH!
  • While Rick distracted referee Bill Alfonso, Afa SMACKED Scott with a kendo stick. How dastardly!
  • Fatu then slammed Scott on the floor and a delivered a backbreaker in the ring.
  • Upon mounting the second turnbuckle, Fatu hit a diving head butt for 2.
  • Again, Rick distracted Alfonso, and the Headshrinkers gave Scott a double head butt and switched illegally.
  • Samu then delivered a spin kick, gave Scott a cross corner whip, but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • As Fatu tagged in, he knocked Scott down to the floor.
  • Samu then baited Rick to distract Alfonso while Fatu made Scott HIT THE POLE.
  • When Scott face-planted him, Fatu no-sold it and hit a thrust kick. C’mon, kids, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
  • Samu tagged in and delivered a standing dropkick to Scott.
  • After Fatu tagged in, the Headshrinkers executed Demolition Decapitation to Scott.
  • While the Vegas faithful chanted “Stein-ers,” Fatu got 2.
  • A mid-ring collision occurred, and Samu tagged in.
  • As he slammed Scott, Samu mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but there wasn’t any water in the pool.
  • Hot tag Rick.
  • Upon cleaning house, Rick mistakenly gave the Headshrinkers a double noggin knocker. That earned him a double head butt. What did I just say about doing homework?
  • Regardless, they hit a double Stroke on Rick and attempted a Doomsday Device.
  • On the other hand, Rick caught Samu in mid-air and powerslammed him for 2. Amazing!
  • Scott tagged in, but Fatu clotheslined him.
  • When Scott reversed an Irish whip, he delivered an overhead belly-to-belly suplex to Fatu.
  • Samu then practically decapitated Scott with a thrust kick.
  • After slamming Scott, Samu got reversed on an Irish whip and fell prey to a Frankensteiner.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Steiners won.

Rating: ****

Summary: If any match on the card would make Ross comfortable in his new job, it’s calling a Steiners match. With that being said, both teams worked hard and got themselves over well. In turn, the Vegas faithful ate this up with a spoon.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Doink who made up the Caesar bust to look like him. We then revisit Superstars when Doink WAFFLED Crush with a prosthetic arm. As Doink hints at double vision for Crush, he squirts water at Okerlund. What an evil clown!

Match 3: Crush versus Doink

Highlights:

  • Crush chased Doink around the ring and slammed him on the floor.
  • When he made Doink HIT THE POLE, Crush also made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Knucklehead at Count Vampd.
  • They then entered the ring, and Crush gave Doink a HARD cross corner whip to injure the back.
  • As Doink pulled him out of the ring, Crush made him HIT THE POLE again.
  • He then delivered a hangman’s neckbreaker and guillotined Doink with the top rope.
  • After Crush hit a backbreaker, Doink guillotined him with the top rope.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Crush a double axe handle.
  • When he mounted the opposite second turnbuckle, Doink clotheslined Crush.
  • He then mounted an adjacent top turnbuckle and delivered another double axe handle.
  • As he piledrove Crush, Doink made him HIT THE POLE.
  • He then slammed Crush, mounted an adjacent top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
  • After Doink mounted the second turnbuckle, he leaped, but Crush caught him.
  • Crush then powerslammed and clotheslined Doink over the top rope to the floor.
  • When Doink tried to escape under the ring, Crush stopped him.
  • Crush then military-press-slammed him and prepped for the Kona Crush.
  • As he applied it, Doink made the ropes.
  • During Crush’s release of the hold, he inadvertently knocked down referee Joey Marella.
  • Doink then exited and tried to hide underneath the ring again.
  • After Crush stopped him a second time, he gave Doink a spin kick.
  • Meanwhile, Marella remained OUT COLD.
  • Crush then reapplied the Kona Crush, but Doink #2 entered the ring.
  • When he SMASHED Crush in the head with a prosthetic arm, both Doinks double-teamed him.
  • Doink #2 then hid under the ring, and Doink #1 pinned Crush.

Rating: **

Summary:  Doink’s shenanigans outsmarted Crush at every turn. Evidently, Crush’s character may require a makeover, manager, or both to succeed in the WWF. According to Meltzer, Doink #2 was portrayed by a clean-shaven Steve Keirn. Allegedly, Stan Lane thought his work was FABULOUS.

After the match, referee Bill Alfonso comes to the ring and advises Marella that a second Doink interfered. They then check under the ring, but they cannot locate Doink. It’s MAGIC!

Among the Vegas faithful, Todd Pettengill interviews a gaggle of them. Hopefully, he finds some cheap beer.

Match 4: Razor Ramon versus Bob Backlund

Highlights:

  • While the Vegas faithful chanted “Ra-zor,” their beloved hero slammed Backlund twice.
  • Savage then mentioned the fracas at the pre-WrestleMania IX VIP event.
  • As Backlund reversed a cross corner whip, he hip-tossed Ramon twice.
  • He then missed a dropkick but nailed Ramon with a forearm.
  • Upon giving Ramon a double underhook suplex, Backlund delivered an atomic drop.
  • Ramon then tried to escape to the apron, but Backlund brought him in the hard way.
  • When Ramon hooked an inside cradle, he pinned Backlund.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  While an nWo storyline may rebuke this, Backlund put over an up-and-comer in Hall.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews the tag champions. We then revisit RAW from 2/15 when Money, Inc. Intentionally broke Beefcake’s nose. They then cut a promo on the MegaManiacs while IRS notes Hogan’s “accident.”

Match 5 for the WWF tag team titles: Money, Inc. (champions) versus Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake (w/ Jimmy Hart)

Highlights:

  • When the MegaManiacs made their entrance, Hogan’s “accident” was revealed as a black eye with butterfly sutures. Savage commented that it “must have been a cheap shot.” According to my extensive research, Hogan broke his orbital bone in a jet-skiing incident.
  • The champs attacked at the onset, but the MegaManiacs rebounded and tossed him over opposite top ropes to the floor.
  • As DiBiase tagged in, he gave Beefcake a back elbow.
  • He then baited Hogan to distract referee Earl Hebner so that the champs could double-team Beefcake. SNEAKY!
  • After the champs switched illegally, DiBiase tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and tried to lower the boom on Beefcake.
  • Due to Beefcake’s protective mask, DiBiase hurt himself instead of Beefcake.
  • Speaking of Beefcake, he gave the champs a double noggin knocker.
  • DiBiase then tried to ram Beefcake face-first into the top turnbuckle but to no avail.
  • When Beefcake delivered the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along, Hogan tagged in.
  • Wow! Was Hogan outside selling tickets to this show? The Vegas faithful LOUDLY cheered for him. That can’t lead to anything else, could it?
  • Nevertheless, Hogan gave DiBiase the ten-punch count-along followed by a clothesline.
  • Beefcake tagged in, and the MegaManiacs hit a double boot to DiBiase.
  • As Beefcake slammed DiBiase, Hogan tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on DiBiase. If he performs a Shooting Star Press, I’m eating my hat.
  • Hogan then clotheslined DiBiase over the top rope to the floor.
  • After IRS came in, he got pinballed by the MegaManiacs and tossed over the top rope to the floor.
  • The champs then took a walk until Hebner threatened to allow a countout to cause a title change. Could there be corruption in Vegas?
  • When the champs returned, the Vegas faithful chanted “Ho-gan.”
  • DiBiase then distracted Hebner so that IRS could give Hogan the business. How sinister!
  • As DiBiase hooked the Million Dollar Dream, Savage took the long way home to describe a crowd response.
  • IRS then distracted Hebner, so Beefcake interfered and hooked a sleeper on DiBiase.
  • Hot tag Beefcake.
  • After he hit a high knee on IRS, Beefcake gave an incoming DiBiase an atomic drop.
  • Behind Hebner’s back, DiBiase CLOBBERED Beefcake with the Haliburton. Nefarious!
  • IRS then delivered a pair of elbow drops and tagged in DiBiase.
  • When DiBiase removed Beefcake’s protective mask, IRS tagged in.
  • Beefcake then ducked a double clothesline and gave the champs one of his own.
  • As Beefcake applied a sleeper to IRS, DiBiase interfered and mistakenly WHACKED Hebner.
  • With Hebner OUT COLD, Hogan hit the big boot.
  • IRS came in, but Hogan stole Beefcake’s mask and WALLOPED him.
  • After Beefcake covered IRS, Hart entered the ring reversed his jacket to referee stripes, and counted the double pin.
  • He then brought the tag belts into the ring so that the MegaManiacs could celebrate.
  • When referee Danny Davis came to the ring, he declared Money, Inc. the winners.
  • Money, Inc. won by disqualification.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  While the Vegas faithful ate this match up like the casino buffet, the champs escaped with their titles with a hokey finish.

After the match, the champs try to nail the MegaManiacs with the belts but head for higher ground when that plan fails. In lieu of the MegaManiacs assaulting Davis, Hart tosses him over the top rope to the floor instead. The MegaManiacs then strut, and Hogan poses. When Hogan finds the Haliburton, he discovers a brick inside. HA! He then reveals some money and distributes it to the Vegas faithful.

Pettengill then interviews singer Natalie Cole and CEO of Caesar’s Palace Dan Reichartz.

Backstage, Okerlund interviews Perfect who cuts a promo on Luger and flubs his lines.

Match 6: Mr. Perfect versus the “Narcissist” Lex Luger

Highlights:

  • Luger brought four mirror models with him to the ring.
  • As Perfect reversed an Irish whip, he gave Luger a knee lift.
  • He then leapfrogged and dropkicked Luger.
  • When he delivered a knee crusher, Perfect hooked a spinning toe hold.
  • Luger then reversed a cross corner whip and followed with a HARDER cross corner whip injuring Perfect’s back.
  • After he tossed Perfect to the floor, Luger joined and rammed him back-first into the apron.
  • He then hit a backbreaker followed by a forearm smash for 2.
  • As Perfect gave Luger a cross corner whip, he ate knee on his follow-through.
  • Luger then attempted to pin him with his feet on the second rope, but referee Joey Marella didn’t fall for those shenanigans.
  • When Luger powerslammed him, he got another 2.
  • Perfect then hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • After Perfect applied a sleeper, Luger backed him into the corner to escape.
  • Perfect then secured an inside cradle for another 2.
  • As he backdropped Luger, Perfect reversed a cross corner whip that resulted in a sternum-first bump by Luger.
  • He then catapulted Luger face-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • When he delivered a pair of Axes, Perfect couldn’t earn a 3-count.
  • He then attempted the ten-punch count-along, countered an inverted atomic drop, and nailed Luger.
  • After another Axe, Perfect almost got 3.
  • He then hit a swinging neckbreaker for yet another 2.
  • As Perfect mounted the top turnbuckle, he gave Luger a missile dropkick.
  • Can Perfect defeat the egocentric one?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Luger then blocked a backslide and hooked one of his own.
  • Despite not paying close attention to Perfect’s positioning, Marella counted three.
  • Luger won.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  According to Luger, Hennig had a “day off.” In doing so, he “forgot the match.” Although they didn’t play to the crowd much, I wonder how much better this match could have been if Hennig remembered the game plan.

After the match, Luger DEMOLISHES Perfect with a running forearm. Devious! Perfect slowly regains his feet and saunters after Luger. When he finds and hammers Luger, Michaels delivers a superkick to Perfect. He then attacks Perfect with weapons until officials separate them.

Match 7: Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) versus Giant Gonzalez (w/ Harvey Wippleman)

Highlights:

  • Undertaker rode to the ring on a chariot with a vulture over his shoulder.
  • When Gonzalez applied a choke, Undertaker mounted the second turnbuckle to apply his own choke.
  • Gonzalez then nailed Undertaker down I-15 SOUTH to Jean.
  • As Undertaker delivered a ropewalk shoulder smash, he ate boot followed by a clothesline.
  • Gonzalez then hip-tossed him and put the gamblers to sleep with a rear chin lock.
  • Shortly after, Gonzalez tossed Undertaker to the floor, joined, and rammed Undertaker face-first into the steps.
  • He then rammed him again into the steps, but Undertaker relentlessly returned to the ring.
  • When Undertaker repeatedly nailed him, Gonzalez fell to a knee.
  • Wippleman then got up on the apron and tossed a foreign object to Gonzalez.
  • As Gonzalez head-butted Bearer, he secured a chloroform-soaked rag over Undertaker’s nose and mouth.
  • Referee Bill Alfonso then called for the bell to disqualify Gonzalez.
  • As a result, Undertaker won.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  While I understand that both Gonzalez and Undertaker are “attractions,” they had ZERO chemistry in the ring, and the match suffered greatly. Personally, I would have found some popcorn.

After the match, Undertaker remains OUT COLD on the mat while officials tend to him. Medical personnel bring a stretcher to the ring as Gonzalez chokeslams Alfonso. While Undertaker gets wheeled backstage for medical attention, Gonzalez refuses to leave. In the meantime, the Vegas faithful chant “Ho-gan” in an effort to save this abomination of a concession stand break.

Undertaker then returns to the ring and clotheslines Gonzalez three times. When Gonzalez falls down to the mat, he heads for higher ground. Security then escorts him backstage.

Backstage, Okerlund recaps the ascension of Yokozuna to main event status. First, we revisit Superstars when Yokozuna ANNIHILATED “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. Next, we revisit Wrestling Challenge when Yokozuna FLATTENED Bret during the contract signing. Okerlund then interviews Hogan who challenges the winner of the title match. In doing so, Hogan refers to Yokozuna as “the jap.” Political correctness was never Hogan’s strong suit.

Pettengill interviews a couple of drunk Californians wearing togas from Motel 6.

Match 8 for the WWF title: Bret “Hitman” Hart (champion) versus Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)

Highlights:

  • At the onset, Bret dropkicked Yokozuna; however, when he attempted the ten-punch count-along, Yokozuna shoved him away.
  • Yokozuna then shoulder-blocked Bret to the floor and kicked him hard enough to make Bret taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Rising Sun burger at Holstein’s.
  • As Yokozuna attempted to kick him again, Bret tied Yokozuna’s foot in the ropes causing him to trip.
  • Bret then delivered a springboard splash, mounted the second turnbuckle, and hit an elbow smash.
  • After he clotheslined Yokozuna twice, Bret ate one from Yokozuna.
  • Speaking of Yokozuna, he slammed and leg-dropped Bret.
  • While the Vegas faithful chanted “U-S-A,” Yokozuna gave Bret a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Bret then mounted the second turnbuckle and bulldogged Yokozuna for 2.
  • When Yokozuna rebounded with a superkick, the “U-S-A” chant resumed.
  • He then gave Bret another cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • As Bret mounted the second turnbuckle, he hit a second bulldog for another 2.
  • Bret then mounted an adjacent second turnbuckle, delivered another elbow smash, but couldn’t get 3.
  • After he mounted yet another second turnbuckle, Bret hit a lariat.
  • He then clotheslined Yokozuna down to the mat and supplied a ten-punch count-along.
  • When Yokozuna tried to pull him from the second turnbuckle, Bret removed the pad from the top turnbuckle.
  • Yokozuna then tried to ram him into the exposed turnbuckle, but Bret blocked it. He then rammed Yokozuna directly into it. OUCH!
  • As Bret hooked a Sharpshooter, Fuji tossed salt in his eyes. Diabolical!
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: **

Summary:  According to Bret, Yokozuna went home early shortchanging Bret’s underdog campaign.

After the match, Hogan comes to the ring to protest. Fuji grabs the microphone and challenges Hogan RIGHT NOW. As Hogan assists Bret out of the ring, Fuji sweetens the pot with the WWF title on the line. A blinded Bret then motions Hogan to challenge Yokozuna.

Match 9 for the WWF title: Yokozuna (champion w/ Mr. Fuji) versus Hulk Hogan

Highlights:

  • When Hogan returned to the ring, Yokozuna nailed and grabbed him from behind.
  • Fuji then tossed salt, but hit Yokozuna instead of Hogan.
  • As Hogan dispatched Fuji, he clotheslined Yokozuna.
  • He then delivered a leg drop.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: DUD

Summary:  According to Bret, Vince McMahon called him to tell him the WWF was going in a different direction, and he would lose the title. Considering the negative stigma that the steroid/sexual allegations caused the WWF, I believe Vince wanted to replenish his once-filled but now-empty seats with Hogan fans. Hogan becomes a five-time WWF champion.

After the match, the Vegas faithful come unglued as xenophobia and Hulkamania run wild. Hogan then poses, and fireworks explode to end the show.

Conclusion:  Being the first outdoor WrestleMania, this show holds historical value. Add in the title changes, and its historical value increases further. With the IC title match, Steiners-Headshrinkers, and Luger-Perfect matches, the show contains some good to great wrestling.

On the other hand, this show’s defined by Hogan’s usurpation of the WWF title from Bret. Since WrestleMania VIII, the WWF title has changed hands four times including this show. Unless Hogan’s title reign draws more eyes–and more importantly more dollars–to the WWF, a fifth title change appears imminent.

Compared to previous WrestleManias, this show dearly lacks in substance. Bret-Yokozuna doesn’t have quite the sizzle that Hogan-Sid or Savage-Flair have. Also, the finishes on the show emit a foul stench of lazy booking. For example, the IC and tag team title matches contain peculiar endings just to maintain the status quo. Also, due to time constraints, the Bam Bam Bigelow versus Kamala match is scrapped; therefore, all the excitement from the tag title match deflates the Vegas faithful’s enthusiasm for Luger-Perfect.

Ultimately, this show is only a must-see for those who absolutely LOVE Hogan. Otherwise, I’d recommend it only as a spectacle because the WWF put more effort into the show’s appearance than its match quality.

See you for WWF Monday Night RAW 4-5-93!

Buyrate: 2.00

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