Gorilla Monsoon welcomes us to Caesar’s Palace for WrestleMania IX. In case you’re not aware, this is the first WrestleMania to take place outdoors. Another fifteen years would pass by before WrestleMania was truly outdoors again. Monsoon introduces the newest member of the WWF broadcast team—Jim Ross! Yes, folks, he’s wearing a toga in his debut! With the weight of trying to make WCW look good off his shoulders Ross seems very happy to be here! Subsequently he presents our ring announcer “Finkus Maximus” for the introductions.
“Cleopatra” makes her entrance riding atop an elephant. Unfortunately, she’s NOT in a see-through toga as promised by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan. That’s two years in a row that Heenan promised a naked woman at WrestleMania and failed to deliver. Is he a broadcast journalist, a used car salesman, or a politician? “Julius Caesar” accompanies her as the WWF goes full throttle with the Ancient Roman theme incorporating a llama, an ostrich, along with the aforementioned elephant. “Macho Man” Randy Savage is introduced next being carried out on a sedan with the “vestal virgins.” Not to be outdone Heenan arrives on a camel albeit seated backwards.
Match 1 for the Intercontinental title: “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (champion) versus Tatanka
Luna Vachon, making her WWF debut, seconded Shawn Michaels to the ring. Sensational Sherri was in Tatanka’s corner just to annoy Shawn.
In order to earn his title shot Tatanka defeated Shawn in both a non-title match as well as a six-man tag match.
Tatanka turned an overhand wristlock into a nice bridge.
Shawn’s excellent selling led to a verbal confrontation between Luna and Sherri on the floor.
Botched sunset flip from the top rope by Michaels could have been caused by Tatanka being out of position.
Good psychology used by Tatanka to work on the shoulder as Ross and Heenan described HBK’s prior injury.
The move not yet named “Sweet Chin Music” hit Tatanka as he came off the top rope.
Again Sherri prevented any shenanigans by Luna outside the ring.
Excellent flying clothesline from the apron to the floor by HBK.
Swinging neckbreaker got a long 2 count.
HBK blew a victory roll for another 2 count.
He tried another victory roll, but Tatanka countered with Splash Mountain.
Three rope-assisted double-axehandles cued Tatanka’s comeback.
Chops o’plenty on HBK.
High crossbody from the top rope should have pinned HBK but only got 2.
Catapult into the post got another close 2 count.
Papoose To Go blocked by HBK into a rollup for 2.
Tatanka reversed a high crossbody into a powerslam for 2.
Crowd chanted for Sherri.
Dive from the apron to the floor by HBK missed.
HBK pulls the referee out of the ring.
Tatanka hit the Papoose To Go, but the referee counted HBK out instead.
Summary: In spite of Tatanka’s being out of position a couple of times these guys did a great job of teasing a title change while not ruining Tatanka’s existing undefeated streak. Regrettably the match had its slow spots and a bad finish or I would have rated it higher. Decent opener.
After the match Luna attacks Sherri with a clothesline and a slam before Tatanka runs her off.
“Mean” Gene Okerlund interviews The Steiner Brothers. Rick and Scott cut a promo on the Headshrinkers. Interesting note about the interview was Gene’s awareness of Michigan’s involvement in the 1993 Final Four. Non-juiced Steiners actually look somewhat normal.
Match 2: The Steiner Brothers versus the Headshrinkers (with Afa)
It took merely a second or two after the opening bell for Ross to call this match a “slobberknocker.”
Heenan makes fun of Ross for the term “smash mouth.”
Fatu and Scott started the match for their respective team.
Steiner-line off the ropes by Scott gave him a quick advantage.
After both Steiners got tossed out of the ring they mounted the top turnbuckle and nailed the Headshrinkers with Steiner-lines.
Afa rammed both Headshrinkers’ heads together to wake them up.
**THIS JUST IN** Luna attacked Sensational Sherri at the first aid station. Details to follow.
Rick and Samu tagged in.
After Rick rammed Samu’s head into the ringpost, Scott tagged in.
He delivered a butterfly suplex to Samu followed by a dropkick to Fatu.
A botched stungun sends Scott completely out of the ring. That looked sick!
Behind referee Bill Alfonso’s back Afa whacked Scott in the back.
Fatu split Scott in two with a backbreaker then gave him a headbutt from the second rope.
Spinning kick from Samu put Scott down on the mat.
While Rick and Fatu distract Alfonso Samu rammed Scott’s head into the ringpost.
Scott caught Fatu ducking early and sent him face-first to the mat only to receive a crescent kick to the face for his troubles.
Excellent standing dropkick by Samu.
Headshrinkers gave Scott Demolition Decapitation.
Double clothesline spot knocked both Fatu and Scott down.
Samu missed a diving headbutt from the top rope.
Hot tag and Rick cleaned house with Steiner-lines.
Rick shows off his intellect by trying the double noggin-knocker spot on the Samoan duo, but it fails miserably. Both Headshrinkers give him a headbutt in exchange.
Double Stroke (face-first Russian legsweep) put Rick down.
Oh my God! What appeared to be a Doomsday Device by the Headshrinkers turned into a powerslam by Rick! Incredible!
Heenan’s jabs at Ross with the Oklahoma jokes are hysterical (e.g. indoor plumbing).
Scott tagged in and gave Fatu an overhead belly-to-belly suplex only to get nailed by a kick from Samu.
Upon a reversal of an Irish whip Scott delivered the Frankensteiner to Samu for the pin! However, It didn’t look as crisp as it should have.
Summary: With the lack of dead spots this tag match was really exciting. The Headshrinkers sold really well for the Steiners’ high-impact offense. Hopefully Scott starts using the Steiner Screwdriver as a finisher because his ability to give his opponent a huracanrana was waning here.
“Mean” Gene interviews Doink who has “desecrated” the statue of Julius Caesar with clown makeup. They show the attack by Doink with the prosthetic arm upon Crush.
Match 3: Crush versus Doink the Clown
Savage’s commentary is firmly behind Crush. He must owe him money.
Crush chased Doink around the ring and slammed him on the outside. In fact the majority of the beginning of the match was spent outside the ring.
Crush dominated with a hangman’s neckbreaker.
Neck snap via the top rope by Crush.
Vicious backbreaker by Crush.
Doink turned the tables by snapping Crush’s neck on the top rope then nailing him with a sledge from the top rope.
Doink went to the top rope twice and delivered a couple of fists.
Piledriver by Doink.
A Doink slam led to a foot to the face by Crush as Doink jumped from the top rope.
An attempted crossbody block by Doink was countered into a Crush powerslam.
Crush then clotheslined Doink over the top rope.
Doink tried to escape under the ring to no avail.
Back in the ring Crush gave Doink a military press and signaled for the Kona Clutch.
He applied it, but Doink got to the ropes. Referee Joey Marella was knocked down in the process.
Again Doink tried to escape under the ring only to be caught by Crush.
Wow! Back in the ring Crush gave Doink a Savate kick!
Crush applied the Kona Clutch again, but Marella was still down.
A second Doink appeared behind Crush and waffled him with a prosthetic arm.
The two Doinks double-teamed Crush with the prosthetic arm.
Next they performed the mirror illusion trick. Amazing!
While the second Doink hid under the ring the original Doink covered Crush for the pin.
Referee Bill Alfonso ran to the ring and notified Marella of the Doink shenanigans, but the second Doink could not be located. Brilliant!
Summary: Doink’s aerial ability, psychology, and shenanigans overwhelmed Crush’s power display. It would not surprise me if Crush underwent a character change as he appeared misguided against the wily clown.
Todd Pettengill is in the stands and finds a Japanese photographer who cannot confirm there were two Doinks. Wacky? Yes! Politically incorrect? You betcha!
Match 4: Razor Ramon versus Bob Backlund
**THIS JUST IN** According to Ross Sherri is pretty shaken up, but order has been restored within the first aid area.
Backlund’s offer of a hand shake received a toothpick to the face in return.
Despite Ramon being a heel the crowd chanted “Razor!”
Using his quickness Backlund tripped Razor twice.
Heenan noted Backlund’s long hiatus. Savage stated he was training during that time. Heenan refuted by saying he was the “paper boy in Mayberry.” HA!
Savage reported that Bret “Hitman” Hart was knocked unconscious by “The Narcissist” Lex Luger at the WrestleMania brunch.
Razor dominated Backlund with punches and kicks until Backlund reversed a cross-corner whip and gave Razor a pair of hip tosses.
Sadly he missed a dropkick, but a running forearm put Razor down on the mat.
<>Butterfly suplex by Backlund
LONG atomic drop by Backlund, but Razor escapes to the apron.
Razor came in the hard way.
Out of nowhere Razor applies an inside cradle and got the pin!
Summary:& While Backlund was not overmatched by the size and strength of Razor his offense was extremely outdated. Razor’s win with an inside cradle acted like an insult to the 43 year old Backlund. An atomic drop just wasn’t a devastating maneuver in 1993. In spite of owning the Rumble longevity record at the time more character development by Backlund would be necessary for him to become relevant again.
“Mean” Gene interviews the WWF tag team champions Money, Inc. They recap the briefcase smash to Beefcake’s face that caused “Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart to change his allegiance to the MegaManiacs. That and being Hogan’s real-life manager helped too. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase is confident his team will succeed. IRS mentions Hogan’s “accident.”
Match 5 for the WWF tag team titles: Money, Inc. (champions) versus the MegaManiacs (with Jimmy Hart)
To show that money was no object to the Million Dollar Man, IRS’ Halliburton briefcase is golden rather than silver.
Holy crap! I had totally forgotten about Hogan’s black eye! Fact or fiction? You make the call!
DiBiase and IRS attack immediately.
Our heroes (cough, cough) tossed each man over the top rope shortly thereafter.
The T-shirt got ripped! The ear got cupped! The people stood and cheered! I grabbed the Pepto.
After a lengthy regroup session we start proper with Beefcake and IRS.
IRS put Beefcake on the defensive then tagged out to DiBiase.
Money, Inc. tried to double-team Beefcake, but DiBiase’s double-sledge to the mask backfired!
Noggins get knocked, and Beefcake tried to hammer DiBiase’s head into the top turnbuckle.
It’s blocked, and DiBiase tried to ram Beefcake’s face without any luck due to the mask.
A ram of DiBiase’s head to Hulk’s boot preceded a tag to the Hulkster.
After Hulk rapped DiBiase’s head about 18 times he hit a running clothesline.
Beefcake tagged in, and the MegaManiacs gave DiBiase the double boot to the face.
After an atomic stomp and slam Beefcake tagged Hulk back in. Hulk came off the second rope with a double sledge.
Upon bouncing like a pinball between Hogan and Beefcake DiBiase got clotheslined over the top rope.
IRS came in, got pinballed, poked in the eye, and thrown over the top rope.
Hogan mugged to the crowd again, and they praised his efforts.
Money, Inc. took a walk expecting the countout and to keep the belts.
Referee Earl Hebner informed Finkel that if the champs didn’t return to the ring by the count of ten they not only lose the match but the titles too! Money, Inc. became irate!
Expectedly they hurried back to the ring.
DiBiase and Hogan start proper again. DiBiase got the advantage, and IRS choked Hogan with the tag rope behind Hebner’s back.
Heel chicanery kept Hogan subdued.
As DiBiase hooked the Million Dollar Dream the fans chanted “Hogan” to ensure he didn’t go to sleep. Good luck! Hogan’s painkillers might just have done that!
By committing an embarrassing gaffe “Macho Man” mistook rafters for columns then corrected himself during Hogan’s comeback.
Behind Hebner’s back Beefcake slapped DiBiase in the sleeper.
Order was restored and both DiBiase and Hogan were down.
Hogan sat up at nine and made the tag to Beefcake.
High knee from Beefcake to IRS. Atomic drop sent DiBiase over the top rope.
DiBiase nailed Beefcake coming off the ropes with the briefcase.
Next he tried to do away with Beefcake’s mask causing Heenan to make a hockey joke.
The mask was removed and placed atop the briefcase. Sympathetically Ross got seriously worried for Beefcake’s well-being.
The champs tried to double-team Beefcake, but he ducked then delivered a double clothesline off the ropes instead.
Beefcake locked the sleeper on IRS.
Hogan came in and distracted Hebner. In the meantime DiBiase blasted Beefcake in the back knocking him, IRS, and Hebner to the mat.
Tags were made on both sides despite the referee being down.
Hogan gave the big boot to DiBiase.
IRS tried to nail Hogan with Beefcake’s mask but received a low blow.
Hogan hit both members of Money Inc. with the mask.
Both men covered for the pin. Jimmy Hart crawled into the ring to wake up Hebner.
In a cute bit Hart reversed his jacket to reveal referee stripes and counted the double pin.
Belts were grabbed and held overhead. Do we have new champions?
Referee Danny Davis sprinted to ringside, checked on Hebner, and raised the arms of Money, Inc.
The champs won by disqualification.
The MegaManiacs intimidated Davis until Money Inc. nailed them with the belts.
However, the belt shots got no-sold, and the champs high-tailed it out of the ring.
Hart talked the MegaManiacs out of rearranging Davis’ facial features.
Alternatively Hart tossed Davis over the top rope himself!
Wait, Hogan didn’t win the tag belts here? Something smells fishy.
Summary: My Spidey-sense is tingling. Hogan doesn’t usually walk out of WrestleMania with a loss even by DQ. There must be more to this story.
After the match, the MegaManiacs do the double strut. Hogan poses to the appreciative crowd. Ross believes the crowd noise could be heard in Reno. Now THAT’S hyperbole! Hogan finds the golden briefcase. Beefcake unlocks it, and a brick is found inside amongst papers and money. Now the crowd erupts in anticipation of receiving the money! And the MegaManiacs deliver!
Pettengill interviews Natalie Cole. She’s having a blast! CEO of Caesar’s Palace Dan Reichartz is also interviewed.
“Mean” Gene interviews Mr. Perfect. They discuss Luger’s suspicious forearm and the cheap shot dealt to Bret Hart during brunch. He then bungles Luger’s gimmick. Hey! That’s not perfect!
Match 6: “The Narcissist” Lex Luger versus Mr. Perfect
Luger came to the ring with not one, not two, not three, but FOUR lovely ladies in scantily clad golden bikinis. <cat whistle>
I guess you can’t say Luger didn’t win ANY gold in the WWF.
Luger posed as the mirrors shot off pyro.
Perfect whipped Luger off the ropes and hit him in the gut.
He quickly followed with a kneelift.
Rope sequence culminated with a Perfect running dropkick.
After another rope sequence Perfect grabbed Luger’s foot. He proceeded to damage Luger’s left knee.
While working on the knee he applied a spinning toe hold.
A chop by Perfect to Luger’s chest echoed throughout the outdoor arena.
A cross-corner whip was reversed by Luger, and Perfect hit his back HARD.
Another cross-corner whip by Luger caused more damage.
A brief Perfect comeback was halted when Luger raised his knees on a blind charge.
Having studied how he lost to Flair at Starrcade ’88, Luger grabbed Perfect’s legs and put his feet on the ropes. Unlike that match, referee Joey Marella caught him before counting the pin.
Wasting no time Luger whipped him off the ropes and gave him a powerslam.
Another whip off the ropes led to a Perfect sunset flip for 2.
Perfect locked on the sleeper, but Luger broke the hold by backing into the corner further aggravating Perfect’s injured back.
Yet another Irish whip from Luger segued into an inside cradle by Perfect for 2.
Luger took a chest-first bump off a cross-corner whip then received a catapult to the turnbuckle.
Perfect nailed Luger with the Axe then whipped him off the ropes to give him another for 2.
He mounted the turnbuckle to hit Luger in the head; however, Luger picked him up for a running inverted atomic drop.
He missed, and Perfect delivered a clothesline.
<>A third Axe hit the mark for another 2 count.
Missile dropkick from Perfect got another 2 count due to Luger’s foot on the bottom rope.
They fight for a backslide, and Luger pinned him despite Perfect’s legs being in the ropes. Perfect was robbed!
Summary Luger’s psychology of working Perfect’s historically bad back along with Perfect’s well-timed comebacks made this match very good. I was surprised to see Perfect execute a missile dropkick as I hadn’t seen him perform it prior to my seeing this show.
After the match Luger hammers Perfect with the loaded forearm knocking him unconscious. Luger places a foot atop him and poses. After a short while Perfect gets to his feet and makes his way back to the dressing room. The camera follows him backstage, and he finds Luger talking with Shawn Michaels. Perfect nails Luger into a storage area, but Michaels attacks Perfect from behind. Referees and agents break up the melee.
Meanwhile as Savage and Heenan have a heated discussion back at the announce table Monsoon previews the next two matches.
Match 7: The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) versus Giant Gonzalez (with Harvey Wippleman)
At 7’6” Giant Gonzalez remains the tallest professional wrestler to date. Unfortunately muscle tone did not correlate with his height; hence, he wore a ludicrous body suit to the ring.
At this point the Undertaker (UT) was only 2-0 at WrestleMania.
The Undertaker rode a chariot with a vulture atop a perch to the ring.
Gonzalez towered over the 6’10” Undertaker.
He hammered UT with forearms, but they were no-sold.
A brief flurry by UT led to a choke by Gonzalez.
While being choked UT mounted the second turnbuckle and applied a choke of his own.
Gonzalez broke with a low blow.
A standing wristlock by UT segued into a ropewalk.
After UT intimidated referee Bill Alfonso he walked into a boot.
Gonzalez then clotheslined UT and tossed UT across the ring like a rag doll.
LONG headlock by Gonzalez.
Bearer tried to raise UT by invoking the power of the urn.
UT elbowed out but was sent outside the ring.
Gonzalez rammed UT’s head into the ring steps then whipped him into them.
The power of the urn encouraged UT to his feet and back into the ring.
UT received a headbutt but sat up.
A second headbutt put UT down, but he sat back up again.
UT came back with punches and kicks to the ribs.
Gonzalez’ “selling” took him to one knee.
Wippleman got on the apron.
As UT grabbed him Wippleman tossed a rag to Gonzalez.
Bearer got on the apron and ate a headbutt from Gonzalez.
Gonzalez then smothered UT with the rag.
The announcers claimed the rag was soaked with chloroform.
Alfonso called for the bell disqualifying Gonzalez.
Summary: If you’re a fan of slow, plodding big man matches this one’s for you; otherwise, avoid at all costs. RIP Jorge Gonzalez. This was his ONLY WrestleMania appearance.
After the match agents and referees try to help the Undertaker. A stretcher is brought to the ring. Gonzalez then chokeslams Alfonso. It’s no wonder why Alfonso banned the move in ECW. Immediately the unconscious Undertaker is stretchered to the backstage area. Hoping for their hero to put an end to this nefarious behavior the crowd chants for Hogan. Will he make a second appearance?
<>Suddenly the gong tolls again, and the Undertaker re-emerges from backstage. Upon re-entering the ring UT takes Gonzalez off his feet with three running clotheslines. As Bearer restrains UT, Gonzalez heads for higher ground. Methinks this feud isn’t over. Sorry, folks.
“Mean” Gene recaps Yokozuna’s rise to the #1 contender position which includes destroying “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan with two Banzai drops. A third and fourth Banzai drop onto an American flag covered Duggan isn’t provided however. The contract signing for the WWF title match is then shown. Next, and who’da thunk it?, Gene brings in Hulk Hogan to discuss the WWF title match. Hogan basically tells Bret Hart to watch his back. Truer words have never been spoken. He even goes the extra mile challenging either Bret or “the Jap, brother” for the next title shot. Way to turn t the clock back to 1945, Hulkster!
Pettengill gets more air time and scares the bejeezus out of a young fan. What a role model. He then interviews two guys in togas from Southern California. Apparently the togas are from Motel 6. They must’ve left more than the light on for ‘em.
Match 8 for the WWF title: Bret “Hitman” Hart versus Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji)
In a bit of foreshadowing Heenan ominously stated that the minute Yokozuna walked through the curtain the clouds began to cast over the skies of Caesar’s Palace.
Bret got off to a good start with a running dropkick.
Next he tried a go-behind but couldn’t wrap his arms around Yoko’s girth.
Yokozuna shoulderblock knocks Hart out of the ring.
Yoko tried to keep Bret outside the ring by kicking him; however, Bret grabbed the foot and tripped the big man.
Springboard splash by Bret.
While Yoko’s leg was tied in the ropes Bret delivered a second rope elbow smash.
Referee Earl Hebner untied Yoko.
Bret tried to clothesline him twice but couldn’t knock him down.
A third try was countered by a Yoko clothesline.
Slam and legdrop by Yoko.
Nerve hold by Yoko.
Cross-corner whip by Yoko, but blind charge hits knees.
Botched bulldog by Bret got a 2 count.
Crescent kick by Yoko.
Snapmare led to another nerve hold by Yoko.
Another cross-corner whip by Yoko, but the avalanche missed.
Second rope bulldog by Bret. Much crisper this time. Got a 2 count, but Yoko kicked out with authority!
Second rope elbow smash by Bret. Another 2 count.
Second rope clothesline by Bret. Yoko staggered.
Running clothesline knocked the big man down.
Bret mounted the turnbuckle and nailed Yoko five times before Yoko grabbed his legs.
Yoko couldn’t drop him because Bret had a firm grip on the top turnbuckle cover. He ripped it off!
Yoko tried to ram Bret’s head into the exposed turnbuckle, but Yoko hit it instead.
Bret locked on the Sharpshooter.
As Hebner checked for the submission Fuji threw salt into Bret’s eyes blinding him.
Yoko immediately made the cover and won the title!
Summary: Wow! A heel wins the title in the main event! Ballsy booking indeed! Somehow I don’t remember the show ending this way.
After the match Hogan enters the ring to protest. As he checks on Hart Mr. Fuji challenges Hogan to face Yokozuna right now. My Spidey-sense is tingling again! Hogan helps Hart leave the ring. Mr. Fuji sweetens the deal by putting the title on the line. Alarm bells have started to ring for me!
Bret waves Hogan toward the ring. He must smell a huge Summerslam payout. Hogan enters the ring, and Yoko attacks immediately. Yoko holds Hogan’s arms, and Mr. Fuji tosses the salt. He misses Hogan and nails Yoko instead. Hogan dispatches Fuji then gives Yoko the Axe Bomber. He drops the leg, gets the pin, and wins the WWF title for the 5th time!
To quote John McEnroe, ARE YOU SERIOUS? Yep. “Real American” is playing and the crowd becomes unglued! Hogan poses and the fireworks go off!
Conclusion: As a longtime wrestling fan I understood how important Hulk Hogan was to the WWF in the 80s. After all he was a hero to millions just not to me. I neither was, am, nor ever will be a Hulkamaniac. But by 1992 Hogan “retired” by calling it quits after WrestleMania VIII. All of a sudden ten months elapse, and he un-retires then wins the belt back at the following WrestleMania? Even when he’s not advertised as facing the champion prior to the event? Whose crazy idea was that? Hogan’s, I’m certain. Oh, and supposedly Bret was in favor of it so he could face Hogan at Summerslam. Hogan pulled the wool over his eyes too and dropped the belt to Yoko at the King of the Ring PPV. Bret may have been officially
screwed in 1997, but in 1993 he was screwed for the first time in my honest opinion. The Yoko-Hogan nonsense didn’t need to be there because the tickets had already been sold and the PPV was ordered before any of the fans knew Hogan would be achieving the WWF title again.
The underdog story as it related to Bret made all the sense from a storyline perspective. They just didn’t pull the trigger. As for the rest of the card there were neither any **** nor ***** matches, so this WrestleMania while entertaining was subpar at best.
As far as the commentary is concerned I think Ross passed his first test in the WWF. While his exchanges with Heenan were not as smooth as Heenan/Monsoon they didn’t take away from the event. Considering the reaction Savage received upon his introduction I firmly believe he should have had a much more active role in the show as a competitor. The outdoor atmosphere of the event also was a nice touch.
With that being said, is it the worst WrestleMania ever? You decide!