The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems– The March to Wrestlemania IX (03.28.93)

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – The March to Wrestlemania IX (03.28.93)

I was wondering when they’d start adding these to the Network!

Taped on the USA Network from wherever the Superstars and Challenge tapings were that week.

Your hosts are Vince McMahon & Bobby Heenan

Previously, on Wrestling Challenge, Yokozuna lays out Bret Hart during the contract signing (shocking, I know) and drops the butt on him. “Nobody had ever recovered from a squash like that!” notes Mean Gene in the voiceover. What about HHH at Wrestlemania XII? He recovered pretty well from that one.

Yokozuna v. Randy Savage

This one was also featured on the Randy Savage Unreleased DVD, but I’ve already forgotten it. Bobby Heenan puts forth a conspiracy theory about Bret Hart paying off Macho to “take out Yokozuna by tearing out a knee”. I think he has Bret confused with Verne Gagne. Yoko puts Savage down with a shoulderblock and pounds him with chops before tossing him and running him into the post. Back in for more overhand karate chops, but Savage makes a comeback until getting chopped down again. Yoko drops the HULKBUSTER on him and chokes away in the corner, but he misses a blind charge to give Macho another hope spot. He gets a double axehandle, but Fuji hits him with the flag and Yoko finishes with the belly to belly at 6:36. Complete destruction, but Savage wasn’t doing anything at that point anyway. ** Yoko tries to give him the buttdrop, but Savage moves and knees Yoko to the floor to get his bit of shine for the night.

Meanwhile, at the Royal Rumble, the Narcissist makes his debut and then hits people with his forearm.

Skinner v. Mr. Perfect

Vince is very suspicious of the mysteriously dangerous power of Lex Luger’s forearm. Maybe it was loaded with the same thing that let Archie knock out 12 guys with his bare hands on Riverdale this week. Skinner attacks Perfect and tosses him to start, but Perfect runs him into the post. Back in, Skinner uses the belt as Vince decries all the rulebreaking that should be an automatic disqualification.

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Sadly, Skinner’s shenanigans come back to bite him like an alligator, as he misses a blind charge and Perfect makes the comeback to the delight of the canned heat machine. Kneelift misses by a foot, but Skinner sells it anyway, and the necksnap follows. Skinner uses his claw, but Perfect shakes it off and NOW YOU’RE GONNA SEE A PERFECTPLEX at 5:25. This was not a particularly inspired period for Curt Hennig, as this match completely sucked. *

Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan RETURNS at Wrestlemania. Apparently he “filled more arenas than Ali and Foreman combined”. Well that’s a misleading statistic, since they only worked twice a year.

Reverend Slick joins us, testifying on behalf of Kamala, who is facing Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania. Sadly, the world was robbed of that classic. Which is weird because they’re devoting time on this show to hyping it.

Kamala v. KimChee

Kamala’s babyface turn was so weird and off-putting. Slick introduces him with an overblown preacher routine, but we have to take a break because Kamala is seemingly too stupid to find the entrance door on his own. I presume it’s just good old Steve Lombardi under the pith hat and khakis. Kimchee slugs away in the corner to no effect, but Kamala comes back with a bearhug and then finishes with the big splash at 2:10, after literally a minute of “comedy” where the crowd has to help him figure out how to roll the guy over. What a disaster this was. DUD Also, Slick was completely miscast in the babyface role as well.

DANCE BREAK! Let’s groove to the dulcet tones of the Wrestlemania song, aka Linda McMahon’s theme. It just goes to show how off the zeitgeist that Vince was at the time, when grunge and alternative were taking over the airwaves and his big music video is shitty synth pop out of the 80s.

Meanwhile, on RAW, Brutus Beefcake gets his face smashed in by Money Inc, which prompts Hulk Hogan to return and steal the spotlight from his best friend yet again.

Money Inc. v. Jerry Sabin & Reno Riggins

Sabin is Gary “Italian Stallion” Sabaugh, so it’s the quality jobbers for this special. IRS tosses Sabin and Dibiase brutalizes him with chops for fun. Back in, it’s over to Riggins and he gets chopped as well. Dibiase gives him a backdrop and Riggins nearly flips over completely on the bump for some reason. Dibiase and IRS take turns with suplexes on Riggins and Ted finishes with the Million Dollar Dream at 2:49.

The Mega Maniacs, they of the laziest team name this side of the Boss & Hug Connection, are here for a special interview as Beefcake debuts his ridiculous face mask gimmick. He looks like an extra in a Roger Corman superhero movie. It’s FRINGE MAN! Meanwhile, Hogan gives the most ludicrously overblown interview about Money Inc “running across the ring with the speed of a lightning bolt” to hit Brutus with the attaché case on RAW. And then he apparently found Beefcake in a beach house watching the Three Stooges with an ice pack on his nose or something. How much coke did these two fuckers do before this show? And then Brutus goes off about sniffing hair tonic and getting ready to pull out their hair with his hands instead of cutting it, while Hogan is hand-fishing and catching sharks. I don’t even know what to do with this promo. It’s like someone just kept feeding them amphetamines and energy drinks backstage while Vince was yelling “GO BIGGER WITH IT!” Also, I’m pretty sure it was taped at a totally different arena, because there was Wrestling Challenge banners up in the background and the place looked bigger than wherever the rest of this show was.

Tatanka v. George South

Tatanka gets some chops and a hiptoss, but South goes to the eyes, threatening to end the winning streak RIGHT HERE on this shitty show. South goes to the eyes and beats on him in the corner, but Tatanka makes the Pissed Off Racial Stereotype Comeback and finishes with a bunch of chops and the Papoose to Go at 2:20. Just a random squash. Shawn Michaels comes out to guarantee victory at Wrestlemania, but Tatanka wants the title match RIGHT NOW, which Shawn of course declines because he’s not an idiot.

WRESTLEMANIA IX REPORT! WITH MEAN GENE! BROUGHT TO YOU BY ICOPRO!

It’s coming from Caesar’s Palace Outdoor Stadium, which most people call the parking lot. We get words from Bret Hart, and Crush, who is now on a fishing boat and has a Hawaiian accent. So funny watching him at the start of his run on the 92 Superstars and then just a few months later he’s from a totally different country!

The Beverly Brothers & Little Louie v. The Bushwhackers & Tiger Jackson

Apparently Tiger Jackson’s brother is midget wrestler Little Beaver. Huh. We get about 2:00 of stalling and then Beau stomps Luke down and chokes him out, which triggers some midget comedy. So, Little Louie is a farmer gimmick of some sort, so why would he be teaming with the Beverly Brothers? They couldn’t even use someone like Lord Littlebrook? More midget stuff and Butch comes in to do some “comedy” with Blake while even Vince and Bobby are just completely ignoring the match and doing shtick about Wrestlemania and who’s entering the ring on which animal. “So you mean they’re gonna put an elephant on Monsoon’s back?” Luke gets the heat as this drags on and ON. Finally it’s hot tag Butch, and he puts Jackson onto the top rope for a flying bodypress that finishes Louie at 10:00. This kind of stuff is fine for house show matches, but it served absolutely no purpose here. ½*

Bam Bam Bigelow v. Undertaker

Bam Bam slugs away to start, but Taker gets a drop toehold and chases him out of the ring. Back in, Bigelow pounds away on him, but walks into a DDT and Taker chokes him out in the corner. Ropewalk and clotheslines follow, but he misses a charge and lands on the floor as we take a break. Back with Vince already declaring it as a classic, “SEE SAW MATCHUP BACK AND FORTH!” so you know it’s something special. They brawl on the floor and Bigelow runs him into the stairs, then hits a backdrop suplex, but Taker sits up. Bigelow with a powerslam, but Taker sits up again, so Bam Bam keeps throwing forearms and drops a headbutt on him. Another zombie situp and Bigelow is getting sick of this shit, so he pummels him with forearms and headbutts over and over until Taker stops moving. So Bigelow decides to go up to the top rope to finish this guy off, but of course Taker sits up one last time and finishes with the flying clothesline and chokeslam, as Bam Bam walks out at 7:40 for your shitty finish of the night. They had some pretty good chemistry before that. Unfortunately, the match was building up two horrific Wrestlemania matches, one of which was thankfully cancelled before the show could be made even worse. *** And GIANT GONZALEZ comes out and glares from the entranceway, which prompts a bunch of officials to run out and keep them apart for some reason to end the show.

Apparently Vince talking about “the world’s biggest toga party” and promises of Kamala v. Bigelow was supposed to make me excited to see Wrestlemania, but BOY did that not work. I’m glad they’re putting this stuff on there for completion sake, but holy crap do not waste your time with watching it.