Live from Las Vegas, NV

Airdate:  April 4, 1993

Attendance:  16,891

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


Rating: ***

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)


Rating: ***

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


Rating: **

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


Rating: *1/2

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)


Rating: **1/2

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


Rating: ***

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)


Rating: DUD

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)


Rating: **

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!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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