April 4, 1993
Location: Paradise, Nevada, USA (Caesars Palace)
Announced attendance: 16 891
PPV buys: 430 000 (up 30.2% from Royal Rumble 1993’s 300 000 buys; up 9.3% from WrestleMania 8’s 390 000 buys)
Welcome to my WrestleMania 9 review! Tonight, Hulk Hogan is back to challenge for Money Inc’s tag team titles alongside his BFF to the end, Brutus Beefcake. Elsewhere, Lex Luger tries to prove he is beyond Perfect, while The Undertaker battles Giant Gonzalez. And finally, in the main event, WWF Champion Bret Hart puts the gold on the line against the 1993 Royal Rumble winner, the undefeated Yokozuna.
As you all know, this WrestleMania is regarded by many as the absolute worst WM of all time. Let’s move on without further ado and find out if if truly lives up to its, hmm, legacy!?
The list of champions in WWF heading into WM 9:
- WWF Champion: Bret Hart [174th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair
- WWF Intercontinental Champion: Shawn Michaels [159th day of his reign] – previous champion: The British Bulldog
- WWF World Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) [173rd day of their reign] – previous champions: The Natural Disasters (Earthquake & Typhoon)
Note: in title matches, the defending champions appear underlined
Enjoy the review!
Your hosts are Randy Savage, Bobby Heenan & Jim Ross (fresh outta WCW!)
An excited toga-wearing Gorilla Monsoon kicks off this year’s ‘Mania and throws it to the debuting Jim Ross, who is also sporting a slobberknocking toga.
Howard F… excuse me, I mean Finkus Maximus, introduces Julius Caesar and Cleopatra to begin the opening introductions.
Randy Savage comes out next, who gets carried to the ring and is eating grapes while he’s at it. You just know Savage is gonna put on a show, regardless if he’s wrestling or not. He joins JR at ringside to call the action.
Bobby Heenan comes out on top of a camel, about to sh-t his pants!
Since this show is all about special introductions and mega celebrations, it seems like the perfect time to add some fresh blood to these reviews. May I present to you… our new custom-made match card graphics!
WWF Intercontinental Championship – Shawn Michaels (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/ Sensational Sherri)
This is Luna’s WWF debut. Although she didn’t really fit next to Shawn Michaels’ “boy toy” gimmick though, and would instead get paired with Bam Bam Bigelow, which worked a lot better given their rather “alternative” looks, so to speak. Shawn would soon find his perfect match in the form of a 6ft 9 man. And he wasn’t even doing Playgirl yet! Sherri is out here with Tatanka just to mess with Shawn, of course. Michaels goes after Tatanka to start, but Tatanka doesn’t let him get the upper hand. Michaels goes for the test of strength, but Tatanka bridges his way out of it and overpowers Shawn. Michaels goes to a side headlock, which Tatanka tries to break, but Michaels kicks the ropes and holds onto it. He goes for that a second time, but this time Tatanka takes him down with a backdrop suplex. Michaels goes up but lands in an armdrag, and then Tatanka whips Michaels into the buckle, who takes his classic flip bump in the corner and lands on the apron, and Tatanka meets him with a chop that sends HBK flying to the floor. Luna tries to interfere but gets stopped by Sherri, allowing Tatanka to remain in control. Shawn rakes the eyes, though, and comes off the top with a sloppy flying sunset flip for two. You could see Shawn shaking while he was up top, as this was still fairly early into his singles run. Tatanka catches Michaels with an atomic drop and hits a DDT, before going to work on the arm.
Michaels hurts his own shoulder on a clothesline, which Tatanka no-sells before going to an armbar. Michaels escapes the hold, but eats the post shoulder first on a blind charge. Tatanka gives him a shoulderbreaker and goes up for a flying chop to the shoulder. He goes up for a second one, but Shawn catches him with the Superkick coming down. However, this is still 1993 Shawn, so it’s nothing but a set-up move for him. Michaels dumps Tatanka and comes off the apron with a flying clothesline. He sells the pain on his shoulder too, which is a great touch. Michaels was still not quite there yet, but he wasn’t far off. A neckbreaker and a dropkick each get two for HBK. Shawn hits the chinlock for a while, before coming down with a victory roll of sorts for two. Michaels tries it a second time, which Tatanka turns into an electric chair drop for a delayed nearfall. Tatanka misses an elbowdrop, though, and Shawn comes off the top with a flying double axehandle. However, Tatanka no sells it and BY GAWD HE’S ON THE WARPATH NOW! Tatanka makes the comeback as he runs wild with the chops. A clothesline turns Michaels inside out, and Tatanka comes off the top with a high crossbody for a close nearfall. Michaels with a dropkick attempt, but Tatanka catches him and catapults him into the corner, right into a rollup for two. Tatanka goes for the Not Samoan Drop, but Shawn turns it into a rollup of his own for two. Michaels goes up, but Tatanka catches him with a powerslam in mid air and gets two. Shawn dumps Tatanka and goes for another flying clothesline off the apron, but this time Tatanka moves and Michaels eats the steps. Shawn pulls the ref before getting back in, where Tatanka hits him with the Not Samoan Drop for the win…. via DQ, as Joey Marella calls it off at 18:13.
Luna jumps Sherri with a clothesline afterwards and slams her out on the floor, before running away from Tatanka as he carries Sherri to the back.
- Rating: Well, not a bad way to open the “worst WM of all time”. The ending might piss a lot of people off, but personally I didn’t mind it that much. Shawn was turning into quite the worker here already, aside from some moments where he still appeared to be a bit nervous, and Tatanka’s popularity helped this match in terms of heat. There was decent psychology and good selling in this one, there were a number of believable nearfalls and, most importantly, the people cared. This was a pretty good opener in spite of its non-finish. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Mean Gene interviews The Steiners backstage. Scott’s math lesson of the day: this might be their first WrestleMania, but it will be one to be remembered. Boy, was he ever right. And people mock his math skills. Rick wants to make Julius Caesar proud. Now that’s motivation.
The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu) (w/ Afa)
JR declares this a SLOBBERKNOCKER before it even begins, and Heenan mocks him for it. Fatu shoves Scott to start, and Scott responds with a sick takedown. Now Heenan mocks JR for putting over the Steiner’s college sports history. It’s a shame they only worked together in 1993, they’re showing great chemistry on this show. Meanwhile, Scott wins a slugfest over Fatu and runs him over with a Steinerline, but gets caught in the Samoan corner and is eventually double-teamed. The Headshrinkers toss both Steiners out, but they stop to celebrate and that allows the Steiners to jump back in with flying Steinerlines in stereo. The Samoans regroup and take over back in, with Samu hitting a corner clothesline on Rick. He tries it again, but walks into a Steinerline instead, and Rick sends him into the post. Scott in with the butterfly powerbomb to Samu and a dropkick to Fatu, and Samu goes for a stungun but Fatu pulls the top rope down and Scott gets sent all the way to the floor instead. OK, that was nuts. Afa adds a shot to the head with the giant stick, and Samu takes him back inside to beat him up some more. Off to Fatu for a backbreaker and then the diving headbutt, but Rick comes in to break up the pin.
Samu with a spinkick, but misses a blind charge. Scott crawls for the hot tag, only for Fatu to come in first to dump Scott with a knee. And Samu rams his head into the post for good measure. Back in, Scott manages to fight back with a faceplant, but Fatu pops right back up and superkicks him. That was a great spot, however Kish stopped doing it as he got too fat and too slow in later years as Rikishi. Samu with a dropkick, and a rake in the eyes over in the heel corner cuts off Scott’s brief attempt at a comeback, as Scott just can’t get anything in. Fatu locks in the dreaded Samoan nerve hold, Scott escapes and they collide on a double clothesline. Samu stays in control with a powerslam and he goes up for the diving headbutt, which misses after Scott moves out of the way. Finally it’s HOT TAG RICK, and he runs wild with Steinerlines up the wazoo. However, he makes the fatal mistake of trying a double noggin knocker on Samoans, and that earns him a double headbutt from both guys. Challenging science is never a good idea. The Headshrinkers set him up for the Doomsday Device, but RICK TURNS IT INTO A POWERSLAM IN MID AIR!!!!! And he did it off Fatu’s shoulders!! I’d watch early 90s Steiners matches all day. It gets two, with Fatu breaking up the count. The Headshrinkers toss Rick, but Scott comes in off the blind tag to get rid of Fatu with an overhead suplex, only to turn around into a Samu superkick. However, Scott fights back with the Frankensteiner and that finishes Samu at 14:22.
- Rating: JR promised a slobberknocker, and a slobberknocker it was! This was four badass wrestlers beating the sh-t out of each other, and the Steiners could just do no wrong with that type of match in this era. Pretty great battle of the bulls here, even if the heat spot was perhaps a bit longer than necessary. ***1/4
Mean Gene is with Doink in the back. Did you know he’s an evil clown who likes to do bad things for his own amusement? Things like, you know, getting rid of Crush or decorating Julius Caesar’s statue.
Crush vs. Doink the Clown
You know something is wrong with creative when this is one of the programs that got more TV time heading into this WM. Hell, Crush even did a stretcher job and was out for a month(!!) while Bret and Yokozuna barely interacted. Doink provokes Crush while making his entrance, leading to a chase as Crush slams him on the floor and sends him into the post. Back in, Doink whips Crush into the buckle and slugs away on him, but Crush no sells and continues to beat him up. Crush with a neckbreaker and the Randy Savage necksnap, which Macho appreciates on commentary. “Love it love it love it YEAH”! Doink takes over with a necksnap of his own though, and drops a number of double axes off the top. Piledriver by Doink, and Crush bails. For a featured story in the buildup to this show, the crowd is pretty dead for it. Back in, Doink slams Crush and goes up, but the Vertical Jump That Always Misses shockingly… misses. Imagine that. Crush catches Doink with a powerslam in mid air and tosses him out with a clothesline, with Doink trying to crawl under the ring. Crush grabs him by the legs and takes Doink back inside for a gorilla press slam, then Crush sets him up for the HEADSQUEEZER OF DEATH but the ref gets bumped. Doink again tries to crawl under the ring, only to get caught by Crush again and brought back to the ring. This time Crush successfully locks in the HEADSQUEEZING CLAWHOLD OF DOOM, but a second Doink (Skinner) appears and knocks Crush out with the fake arm that Doink used to injure Crush in January. The original Doink revives the ref and steals it at 8:28.
- Rating: Bleh. This feud was pretty forgettable, as Crush just wasn’t that interesting as a babyface to go up against the unique Doink. The action wasn’t bad by any means, but the crowd didn’t care about any of it. The finish was flat too, Doink pulled much better “tricks” in other instances. But hey, at least Skinner got a WrestleMania payday before leaving the company. Good for him. *1/4
Meanwhile, new announcer Todd Pettengill hangs out in the crowd.
Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
There are some loud Razor chants at the beginning of the match. Backlund starts off with a pair of takedowns, but Razor takes over with his patented right hands. Razor slams him and slugs away some more, and then Backlund makes the comeback with a bunch of dropkicks and hiptosses. Backlund with an overhead butterfly suplex and an atomic drop, but then Ramon reverses a slam attempt and turns it into a small package at 3:45.
- Rating: Not much to this one, it was over as soon as it started. Nice to see Razor Ramon score a big win like this in his first WrestleMania, though. 3/4*
Mean Gene is in the back with Money Inc, but first throws us to the recap from the attack on Beefcake on RAW. Back to the interview, with DiBiase saying the Maniacs have no chance. IRS promises to remove Beefcake’s mask and destroy his face again. Also, he’s heard from sources that Hogan suffered some kind of accident. Yeah, about that.
WWF World Tag Team Championship – Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) vs. Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake) (w/ Jimmy Hart)
Hogan indeed comes out with a black eye. Money Inc jump the Maniacs before the ring, but they dump the champs like it’s nothing and then continue the posing routine for about two more minutes. Destroyed faces and all. The action gets underway with Money Inc dominating Beefcake, but DiBiase hurts himself on a double axehandle due to Brutus’ mask. Noggins are knocked and Beefcake takes over. Beefcake no sells a few more shots to the face, and brings in Hogan. Hulk slugs away in the corner and, ever the superhero, threatens to punch the referee. And then he ignores the rules and continues to throw closed fists on DiBiase. This dude blatanly CHEATS like a madman and gets away with it! Hogan with a clothesline and a double big boot alongside Brutus. Powerslam by Beefcake and Hogan goes AERIAL with a double axehandle. Hogan dumps Ted with a clothesline, THUMBS IRS IN THE EYE IN FRONT OF THE REF (disqualify this man already for crying out loud!!!!!!) and then dumps IRS as well. Money Inc naturally decide to take a walk and keep their titles due to all the shenanigans going on, but then the ref tells Finkel to announce they’ll lose the titles if they’re counted out. HOW DOES HE HAVE THE POWER?! Where is Jack Tunney when you need him? That’s not in the rulebook… this sh-t is clearly rigged!
Back in, DiBiase and IRS take turns choking Hogan with the tag rope. All is fair in love and Caesars Palace. Million Dollar Dream is locked in, but Hogan’s arm only drops twice. Savage is so excited that he claims “the fans are hanging from the rafters… if there were rafters here”. That was something! DiBiase manages to put the hold back in, but then Beefcake comes in (illegally, might I add) and puts DiBiase in his own crappy version of the Million Dollar Dream. Of course, Earl Hebner ignores all of this and, on top of that, has the balls to TELL IRS TO LEAVE when he tries to rescue his partner from the insane cheating going on in the ring. Beefcake goes back to the apron like a thief and we get a double KO spot. Tag to Beefcake who comes out running wild, until DiBiase nails him with the briefcase to the back on a criss cross. Money Inc take off Beefcake’s mask as Brutus plays BFF in peril, but Beefcake single handedly takes care of the situation with a double clothesline. He goes for a sleeper on IRS, which DiBiase breaks and even knocks the ref down. Turnabout is fair play, says I. Hogan comes out while the ref is still out and hits them with Beefcake’s mask, and Jimmy Hart comes in with a referee shirt and counts the pin. F-CK OFF ALREADY. The cheaters celebrate with the belts in hand, but thankfully Danny Davis comes out and reverses the decision, giving the DQ win to Money Inc at a WHOPPING 18:27. They obviously humiliate and beat up the poor ref who’s only doing his job and then pose and strut for minutes despite being the LOSERS, and eventually steal Money Inc’s money and hand it to the crowd like the thieves they are.
- Rating: All jokes aside, this was brutal. This made no sense, kept going forever at nearly 20 minutes and then just ended in the lamest way possible. The structure was all over the place in this one. 1/2*
Mean Gene is standing by with Mr. Perfect, who stumbles all over his words and calls Luger “The Lexcissist” in a hilarious bit. When you’re the best even at stumbling over words, you gotta be perfect.
Mr. Perfect vs. The Narcissist Lex Luger
The announcers mention something about Luger knocking out Bret Hart with the loaded forearm in the brunch earlier in the day. Was that ever followed up on? I have no memories of any of that. Anyway, they start off slowly by trying to feel each other out, until Perfect strikes first with a kneelift and a dropkick, and Luger bails. Luger takes over back inside and pounds away, but Perfect catches him going for a big boot and goes after the leg. Spinning toehold by Perfect and he sits on the leg, but Luger gets to the ropes. Perfect stays in control with a pair of chops with extra mustard in the corner. Luger whips him into the buckle though, and goes after the back from there. Backbreaker by Lex and he drops an elbow for two. Luger gets two but gets caught with his feet on the ropes. Powerslam gets two for Luger. Perfect sneaks in a quick sunset flip for two, and a cradle gets two more. Perfect backdrops Luger, then catapults him into the corner and follows it up with own forearms for two. Swinging neckbreaker gets two. Perfect goes up for a missile dropkick that gets two more. They battle over a backslide, won by Luger who steals it with the help of the ropes at 10:56.
Luger knocks him out with the LOADED FOREARM OF MYSTERIOUS DOOM immediately afterwards. Perfect eventually gets up and chases Luger all the way to the back, only to get beat up by Shawn Michaels instead.
- Rating: Solid match in my view. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but their work was fine enough to keep me into it the whole time. **1/2
And now we move on to this…
The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) vs. Giant Gonzalez (w/ Harvey Wippleman)
We start with the staredown, or stareup as Savage calls it. UT no sells the GIANT CLUBBING BLOWS early on, and we get a battle over a goozle in the corner. Gonzalez goes low right in front of the ref, which somehow isn’t a DQ. Unfortunately, might I add. Alas, UT no sells the dick shot anyway and proceeds to hit him with Old School. Gonzalez comes out of the corner with a clothesline, which is already 10x more than I thought I’d see from him. Gonzalez locks in the TOWERING CHINLOCK OF DEATH, and stays there. And stays there. And stays there. And stays there.
And stays there. Then, Gonzalez takes him out for a pair of laughable “chops” and whips Undertaker into the steps a couple of times. Thankfully for UT, Paul Bearer keeps getting him back up using the POWER OF THE URN. Undertaker makes the comeback back in the ring with punches, but Harvey gets involved and passes a chloroform-filled cloth for the laaaaaame DQ finish at 7:33. Undertaker gets taken to the back while Gonzalez destroys some referees in the ring afterwards, but then UT runs back in and takes Gonzalez off his feet with the running clothesline.
- Rating: Just horrible. None of this was any good and the finish was somehow even worse. Much worse. I can’t blame Undertaker for being pissed at the office for the rest of his career since it will forever be remembered due to the Streak. This was complete utter sh-t. DUD
And now, more from the Hulkster who’s in the back with Mean Gene. You see, Bret Hart is a brother, brother, but he still wants the first shot whether if it’s against him or “the Jap”.
WWF Championship – Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Bret dropkicks Yokozuna into the corner right off the bat, while Yoko was still doing his usual sumo taunts. Bret slugs away and tries to use his quickness to get an edge, but Yoko runs him over with a massive shoulderblock and dumps Bret to the outside. However, Bret smartly ties up Yoko’s foot between the ropes and comes back in with a slingshot. Bret adds the middle rope elbow, until Hebner unties Yoko from the ropes and that allows him to catch a charging Bret with a clothesline. Powerslam sets up the legdrop for Yokozuna. Yoko goes to the DREADED SAMOAN NERVE HOLD, which is weird because he’s definitely not Samoan! Whip into the buckle featuring the Bret Hart Bump, but Yoko charges right into a boot in the corner, and Bret takes Yoko down by jumping off the top rope onto Yokozuna’s back. Yoko fights back with the superkick, though, and goes back to the nerve hold. He misses yet another charge in the corner, this time going for the running buttsplash, and Bret comes off the top with a flying bulldog for two. Middle rope elbow gets two. Bret goes up yet again for a flying clothesline that staggers Yoko, and a running clothesline takes him down. Bret slugs away in the corner, but Yoko overpowers him and the turnbuckle pad explodes. Yoko tries to take advantage of that, but he’s the one who ends up eating the exposed buckle. Bret capitalizes by locking in the Sharpshooter, but Fuji throws the salt in Bret’s eyes and Yokozuna steals the win and the WWF title at 8:55.
- Rating: Quite the exciting David v. Goliath kind of match, even if it felt a bit rushed at just 9 minutes. But for the time we got, it turned out to be a pretty good title match. This was at a time when both wrestlers were motivated since they were both getting their first serious push in the main event. Bret knew exactly how to put a match like this together, and I thought they got in a few dramatic spots that worked and really got the crowd going. The finish wasn’t the greatest, but then again that’s 1993 cartoon WWF for ya. I probably liked this a lot more than most people. ***
And then, Hulk Hogan comes out to save the world. Because of course he does. Fuji challenges Hogan to take on Yokozuna for the title right there, which is beyond nonsensical.
WWF Championship – Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. Hulk Hogan
Fuji goes back for the salt, but this time it hits Yokozuna. Hogan gets rid of Fuji, clothesline, legdrop and he takes the title at 0:22.
- Rating: … DUD
Hogan poses with the World title to close WrestleMania in the best way imaginable.
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: Honestly, this is not that bad. I’ve seen and reviewed a lot worse shows, including WrestleManias. Of course, the ending is absolute bullsh-t and made everyone look bad except the almighty Hulkster. I’m far from being a Hogan hater, I appreciate his work and how he was able to get so much out of audiences by doing so little, and that is even reflected on some of my past reviews of Hogan matches, but the magic just wasn’t there anymore. Times were clearly changing, and Hogan’s godawful babyface run in WCW was further proof of that. The idea to put the belt on him here hurt Yokozuna, who was undefeated heading into this show and HAD JUST WON THE DAMN THING(!!!); hurt Bret, who had been the reigning World Champion for the previous six months; and hurt the company, since Hogan literally disappeared with the belt and made no in-person appearances on RAW or any other WWF show until King of the Ring. Instead, he went out and wrestled a pair of matches in Japan, where he even buried the WWF Championship on camera. The whole thing was just a disaster. As far as the rest of the show (which is easy to forget and that’s the reason why almost everyone considers this the worst WM of all time): the first two matches were really good, and personally I enjoyed Bret v. Yokozuna and, to a lesser extent, Perfect v. Luger, but everything else was pretty forgettable. I obviously wouldn’t recommend this WrestleMania to anyone, but I don’t think it’s the worst either. 4/10
How does our point system work?
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