Bait And Switch Main Event – WrestleMania IX

WrestleMania IX (1993)Event: WrestleMania IX
Date: April 4, 1993
Venue: Caesars Palace (Las Vegas, Nevada)
Attendance: 16,891

Gorilla Monsoon on the mic for this outdoor event at Caesars Palace.  They’re referring to it as “the world’s largest toga party”.  I’m sure that’s supposed to be clever, but it comes across and being completely lame.  When Howard Finkel is announced, he’s referred to as “Finkus Maximus”.  I can’t begin to tell you how incredibly retarded this looks.  Caesar and Cleopatra are paraded down to the ring to welcome the fans.  I understand it’s Vegas, but this is ridiculous.  Macho Man comes to the ring eating grapes and Bobby Heenan comes to the ring riding a camel… backwards.  Lord almighty.

WWF Intercontinental Championship
Tatanka (with Sensational Sherri) defeated Shawn Michaels (c) (with Luna Vachon) by countout

Decent little opener with the IC title on the line.  Early on, HBK goes up and off the top rope.  Tatanka hits him with an arm drag mid air which looks awesome.  Shawn has an injured shoulder (coming into the match) and Bobby, Ross and Savage remind us like a billion times.  Tatanka takes over and goes to work on said shoulder.  A while later Shawn manages to his the crescent kick – not billed as Sweet Chin Music yet – and proceeds to throw Tatanka over the top rope and really go to work on him.  Tatanka goes for a “Hulk Up” type move which I thought was reserved for Hogan and the Warrior. * shrug *  He takes over and slingshots Shawn into the corner.  Shawn to the top rope and Tatanka catches him with a power slam – very nice.  HBK then goes for a flying cross body on the outside and misses.  A few minutes later, Shawn levels the ref, Tatanka hits his finisher and naturally doesn’t get the pin cause there is no ref in sight.  Ref finally calls for a countout on HBK in a huge WTF moment.  Sherri was completely worthless at ringside during the match so it only makes sense that Luna nails her post match so Tatanka can carry her out.  Decent match with a pretty piss poor ending.

The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) defeated The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu) (with Afa)
Jim Ross waits until the second match of the card to whip out “slobberknocker”.  Scott Steiner was always a big guy but he REALLY buffed up during his Big Poppa Pump days.  Looking at him here by comparison he looks small.  Steiners start off the match by coming off the top rope and leveling the Shrinkers.  JR tells us that Sherri has been attacked back stage by Luna.  Um… who cares?  Scott gets slingshotted over the top from the middle of the ring (wow) and gets his ass kicked on the outside.  Scott has been isolated essentially the whole match.  Not sure if Rick was hurt or they were purposefully showcasing Scott.  Rick finally gets tagged in and goes apeshit crazy.  The Shrinkers go for a Doomesday-like finisher but Rick catches one of them mid air and slams him off the other Shrinker’s shoulders!  Holy shit for sure.  Scott back in to hit a franken-steiner for the win.  Enjoyable match even for this non tag fan.

We’re 50 minutes into the show and we’ve had 2 matches.

Doink the Clown defeated Crush
Recap of the Doink/Crush feud.  Doink makes a reference to Crush having “double vision” later this afternoon.   If you know what’s coming this is a terrible pun.  Crush takes charge at the beginning of the match.  Crush hits a neckbreaker that used to be called the Rude Awakening.  Crush totally in charge for the majority of the match.  Doink gets a little offense in and then Crush reverses him off the top into a power slam.  Doink tries to crawl under the ring but Crush catches him.  Crush goes for his finisher and Doink escapes and goes under the ring.  A second “Doink” comes from under the ring and they take out Crush with a loaded fake arm (good thing we had the recap or the folks would have no idea why this is relevant).  The two Doinks look at one another and do a “mirror” image thing.  After the match referees come down to look under the ring and of course they don’t find anything.

Razor Ramon defeated Bob Backlund
This is one of those “huh” type matches that I never quite get.  Razor shows some power moves at the beginning of the match.  He also shows that his move set hasn’t changed one bit in the last 20 years.  Backlund follows up with a couple of the world’s worst hip tosses.  He follows this up by a complete whiff of a dropkick.  Follow that up with a TERRIBLE looking atomic drop and it makes you wonder why the WWF ever put the strap on him.  Ramon gets a small package out of fucking nowhere for the victory.  Completely worthless match.

WWF Tag Team Championship
Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) (c) defeated The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake) (with Jimmy Hart) by disqualification

Hogan and Beefcake come out second to a small cloud of red and yellow smoke.  Hogan is SMALL  and on top of that his eye is all kinds of fucked up.  Mega-Maniacs in charge early and Hogan actually looks good in the ring.  Almost no offense from Money Inc. and they finally decide to leave the ring.  They’ve obviously decided to say “Fuck it” and are willing to lose the match via count out.  The ref then rules that if the get counted out they will not only lose the match but the titles as well.  Heenan goes berserk and Money Inc. back in.  DiBiase manages to slap the Million Dollar Dream on Hogan in the middle of the ring.  I cannot for the life of me remember ANYONE ever getting out of that hold, which naturally means Hogan will do it.  Instead, IRS and Beefcake come in to break things up.  Ref tries to get IRS out of the ring and Beefcake puts the sleeper on DiBiase.  Both Hogan and DiBiase are out and we finally get a hot tag to Beefcake.  A while later, DiBiase manages to hit Beefcake in the back with their (obviously loaded) briefcase and Money Inc. takes over.  They take off Beefcake’s “titanium” mask that he had worn to the ring and threaten to break his face (I guess).  Beefcake fights back with a double clothesline and gets the sleeper on IRS.  The end comes when we get a ref bump, Hogan uses the “titanium” mask on DiBiase.  With no ref in sight, Jimmy Hart jumps in the ring, puts on a striped jacket so he looks like a ref and counts the 3.  He presents the Mega-Maniacs with the titles.  Another ref comes from backstage and raises the hands of IRS.  After the match, Hogan/Beefcake pose down, open the briefcase to find a brick and wads of cash which they throw to the crowd.  Savage closes this by saying, “The Mega-Maniacs ARE the Mega-Maniacs.”  Um… OK, thanks Randy.  LONG match which is decent except for the swerve non-ending.

Lex Luger defeated Mr. Perfect
Mr. Perfect gives a less than perfect interview and essentially walks off screen.  A whole slew of “thonged” ladies lead Lex to the ring as he’s in his Narcissist phase.  Perfect playing the face and takes control early hamming to the crowd.  Luger takes over and goes to work on Perfect’s back.  Luger working the power moves even though Perfect is rocking the awesome Body Glove gear.  Talk about a fashion that I don’t miss.  Perfect fights his way back and gets a couple of very near falls.  Luger hooks a backslide for the pin but Perfect has his legs on the ropes (though the ref didn’t see it).  Luger hits the “loaded elbow/forearm” post match and knocks Perfect out cold.  Where the hell are the backstage refs THIS match?  Backstage, Perfect goes after Luger and HBK gets involved (huh)?  While this was pretty sloppy, this is the first time that I remember them doing any “backstage” stuff on camera during a Mania event (aside from promos).  Not the worst match on the card, but definitely not the best either.

Giant Gonzalez vs. The UndertakerThe Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Giant Gonzalez (with Harvey Wippleman) by disqualification
Gonzalez comes to the ring wearing a crazy suit with muscles spray painted on.  I’ve seen some bad wrestling outfits in my day, but this one definitely takes the cake.  With that getup he looks like a complete douche bag, but God DAMN is that guy big.  Note that the Undertaker is 6′ 10″ and looks small by comparison.  This is a pretty typical “big man” match for most of the time with Giant in charge.  Quite a few rest holds here for absolutely no reason.  Undertaker is still going with the whole “mystical urn” gimmick at this point in his career.  Giant eventually grabs a rag with some “chloroform” on it and puts Taker out getting DQ’d in the process.  Undertaker out cold in the middle of the ring.  Fucking ridiculous ending.  We get a ton of officials out from the back and hear Savage say, “This is bad” like 100 times.  Taker is stretchered out of the ring and Gonzalez proceeds to choke slam a referee.  It’s absolutely crazy how small the ref is in comparison.  The gong hits and Taker staggers back to the ring.  Gonzalez selling this like he’s seen a ghost.  Undertaker hits a couple of clotheslines and it’s over.  Thankfully.

WWF Championship
Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji) defeated Bret Hart (c)

Before this match gets started, we get an interview with Hulk Hogan where he explains that he’d been beaten up the night before.  He then goes on to challenge either Bret Hart or “The Jap”.  Wow.  As the competitors make their way to the ring, the announcers keep talking about how big of a favorite Yoko is.  God DAMN is he big.  Bret starts the match very quickly with a running dropkick.  Yoko literally runs over Bret and then tosses him out of the ring.  Bret gets Yoko’s foot tangled and manages to get some good offense in during a pretty innovative spot.  Bret hits a couple of clotheslines but doesn’t take Yoko off his feet.  Yoko follows this with a clothesline of his own which takes Bret down and continues with a HUGE leg drop.  I’m not sure how you COULDN’T get hurt when taking a leg drop from a guy as big as Yokozuna.  Yoko in complete control and we go into a rest hold.  The crowd starts with a “USA, USA” chant which is pretty funny considering it’s a Japanese guy vs. a Canadian.  Yokozuna misses Bret coming into the turnbuckle and Hitman follows with a big bulldog.  Bret goes for a Sharpshooter (good luck Bret) and Fuji takes the opportunity to throw salt in his eyes.  Bret sells it like he’s got razor blades in his eyes and Yoko gets the pin without even doing another move.  Weak ending.

WWF Championship
Hulk Hogan defeated Yokozuna (c) (with Mr. Fuji)

Hogan comes out to help Bret and Fuji gets on the mic and challenges Hogan to match right then and there (see pre-match interview with Hogan).  Bret tells Hogan to go for it and in he goes.  Fuji goes for the salt and naturally hits Yoko instead.  Hogan hits a clothesline followed by the standard leg drop of doom and get the win and the title in a “match” that lasted all of 21 seconds.  Even if you’re a big Hogan fan, this was a terrible way to end a terrible show.

General Thoughts

  • Tito Santana defeated Papa Shango in a dark match.  Tito’s been relegated to dark matches… so sad.
  • It always amazes me the extreme swings in attendance WrestleMania gets.  62,000 plus last year down to 16,000 plus this year.  I understand venues have different seating capacity, but that seems crazy to me.
  • Randy Savage is absolutely terrible on the mic.  Ugh.  I love him in the ring and when’s on the mic as a wrestler, but when he’s doing commentary it just doesn’t work.  At one point, he talks about how people are “hanging from the rafters” but then realizes that since we’re outside and there are no rafters he needs to correct himself.
  • How many times are we going to be reminded that it’s a Roman Colosseum.  We get it.
  • Why is it that a move used by one guy can be a finisher for another guy as long as it’s got a cool name?
  • Since when do referees watch from the back?  And not only watch, but when they see something that’s not Kosher rush to the ring to make it right?
  • Looking back, there’s not one GOOD match on the card.  The opener is solid but nothing to write home about and there’s a couple of really piss poor efforts in here.  Definitely the worst Mania I’ve reviewed thus far.
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2 Comments

  1. Worst…Wrestlemania…EVER! How dare they not air Tito’s last WM match! Weak Sauce, former WWF. And what’s with the body suit, El Gigante? Did you have to wear that thing while some dude with a righteous mullet airbrushed on your nipples? Fail…

  2. It was painful to watch for sure. It’s probably been since college that I watched this one and I don’t think I’ll be viewing it again any time soon. So so bad.

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