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WWF WrestleMania IX
April 4th 1993
Cesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada
Announcers: Macho Man Randy Savage, Bobby Heenan & Jim Ross
WrestleMania 9 was historic because it would be the first WrestleMania to be held outside. It was held at Cesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. To tie in with the venue, all the announcers and camera crew were dressed in togas and there was a strong roman theme present. Times had changed in the World Wrestling Federation. The roster was full of stale gimmicks and aging stars plus with a steroid trail looming over the company, changes were to be made. Out of the two main events from last year, only Hulk Hogan was wrestling on this show. Randy Savage was a commentator and Ric Flair & Sid had left and returned to WCW.
On the roster, Bret Hart was the WWF Champion and Shawn Michaels was the Intercontinental Champion. If this show happened in 1983, those guys would not have held those titles (pains me to say that considering how highly I regard these guys) but as I say, the steroid trail forced Vince to make changes. Yokozuna went from not even being on the main roster, to being in the main event of WrestleMania in 6 months! A lot of other stars were making their debuts on the show including; Razor Ramon, The Steiner Brothers, Lex Luger and 44 year old, Bob Backlund, who was making a comeback.
It was also a big year for the WWF as they debut Monday Night Raw in January on cable television. They also introduced King of the Ring as a new pay per view in June. Let’s travel back in time to 1993 for WrestleMania 9.
Vince McMahon does the annual voice over before the show. We meet the host, Gorilla Monsoon, who isn’t providing commentary for the show. We are also welcomed to the show by newcomer, Jim Ross. You know when I was talking about the changing of the times? There was another example of it right there. Howard Finkel, going under the name “Finkus Maximus”, introduced the crowd to Julius Cesar and Cleopatra. Macho Man was carried to the ring on some bed thing whiles an attractive lady fed him grapes and lastly, Bobby Heenan was on a camel. Visually speaking, this is one of the most impressive sights on pay per view. Sure the standards will change later on down but right now, the sights were amazing. The intro, which lasted almost 8 minutes, was fantastic. People may scoff it but the ancient roman theme is in full effect and it really does add to the show.
WWF Intercontinental Championship
Shawn Michaels © /w/ Luna vs. Tatanka /w/ Sherri
Sherri, formerly Shawn’s valet, accompanies Tatanka to the ring, just to mess with Shawn. Michaels counters by bringing out Luna Vachon, making her WWF debut. Fortunately, they don’t get involved until the match is over. Tatanka is undefeated entering this match and beat Shawn twice leading up to this, once in a non-Title match and once in a six man tag. Tatanka works on Shawn’s shoulder to start, which Shawn injured in one of those previous matches. Tatanka works him over and Shawn bumps around like crazy, including taking an armdrag off the top. Shawn scores with a crescent kick to finally take over the match. He hits his awesome left armed clothesline off the apron. Tatanka makes the big comeback, gaining several progressively closer near falls, but can’t put Shawn away. They brawl on the floor. Shawn is about to be counted out, so he pulls the ref down, prompting him to call for the bell. After the match, Luna attacked Sherri.
Winner: Tatanka via DQ
It was a decent opener but was hurt by too many rest holds. I guess this was done because of the difference in fitness between the two with Michaels being the better. To my knowledge, Tatanka never got the re-match. He went on to feud with Lex Luger whiles Michaels had matches with Crush and Mr Perfect.
Mean Gene, who is also dressed in a toga, is with the Steiner Brothers who are making their first and only WrestleMania appearances.
The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu) /w/ Afa vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott)
The Steiner Brothers was the faces whiles the Headshrinkers were the heels. Fatu would go through many gimmicks throughout his career with his most famous and successful gimmick being, Rikishi. He’s the father of the Uso Brothers too. He looked a lot smaller here. They go back and forth for a bit and the Headshrinkers toss the Steiners out to the floor. They turn around to celebrate, and both Rick and Scott climb to the top rope in the same corner and double clothesline them. Scott stays in, then takes a SICK bump as Samu shoots him off the ropes then picks him up, falls backwards with him, and just drops him over the top rope, head first. I don’t know how he didn’t get injured on that one. The Headshrinkers work him over and no-sell everything to their head, a trait which Rikishi (Fatu) still does to this day, though it’s never explained anymore. JR makes Heenan laugh out loud and momentarily break character. Scott makes the hot tag to Rick. He goes nuts, but the Shrinkers prepare to set him up for a double team move. Samu lifts Rick on top of his shoulders while Fatu goes to the top. Fatu jumps off, but Rick catches him in mid-air, while still on Samu’s shoulders, and powerslams him all the way down to the mat in one smooth motion. Awesome spot. Scott finishes it with the Frankensteiner.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers via pinfall
Rating: * ½
Scotty’s Frankensteiner (Hurricanrana) was awesome; it was rare to see such a move like that in American Wrestling. Rick’s powerslam was also a great spot. The match did drag a bit but the right team did go over in the end.
Mean Gene is with Doink the Clown. Doink says that after tonight, Crush will be “seeing double”.
Crush vs. Doink the Clown
The story goes that Crush, who is now a face, was angry with Doink for playing tricks on fans. Savage: “Crush ‘em, Crush!” Alright then. Both have awesome music. In the outdoors, it doesn’t take Doink’s makeup long before it starts to fade. Crush dominates the match, and hooks the Cranium Crunch, but the ref is bumped, so Doink can’t submit. A second Doink comes out from under the ring, and nails Crush in the back of the head with a loaded cast. They mirror each other and laugh at the crowd. The second one goes back under the ring, and the original Doink covers for three. Post-match, a second ref (ECW’s Bill Alfonso) comes down to tell the first ref what happened. They check underneath the ring but nobody’s there. Bobby Heenan says it was a “great illusion”.
Winner: Doink the Clown
Yes, it was that bad it warrens the minus rating. Crowd only came alive when the second Doink appeared.
Todd Pettengill is in the crowd. He interviews some of the Japanese photographers, both of them are rooting for Yokozuna.
Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
Razor gets a babyface pop when he comes out, despite being the heel. Bob Backlund on the other hand, you could hear crickets chirp because his reaction was that quiet. As good as a wrestler as he was, Backlund was out of touch and had zero personality as a face. He would excel as a crazy heel come mid-1994. A loud “Razor” chant breaks out. Both men are making their WrestleMania debuts. Backlund started it off with some leg trips. Heenan mentioned that Backlund was 43 years old and was making a comeback after being off the previous eight years. Razor attacked with stiff punches to the head. Backlund came back with arm drags and a forearm shot to the head. Backlund hit a butterfly suplex followed by an atomic drop. Razor countered him with an inside cradle for the win.
Winner: Razor Ramon via pinfall
Rating: ½ *
The right guy won. “He beat the wrestler with wrestling” as Heenan puts it. Razor would be a full-fledged babyface by the summer time and would remain in that role till his departure in 1996.
Mean Gene talks to the Tag Team Champions, Money Inc. They both slip up a bit during their promo, but get their point across. They show the events leading up to this, as on Monday Night Raw, they brutally attacked Brutus Beefcake, whose face was damaged from a parasailing accident two and a half years earlier. They rammed IRS’s steel briefcase into his face repeatedly, and did so to the point where even their own major, Jimmy Hart, tried to stop them. A week later, Hulk Hogan announced that he was enraged over what they had done to his good friend Beefcake, and they would challenge them for the Tag Team Titles at WrestleMania. Before they head to the ring, Money Inc. implies that there might be something wrong with Hulk Hogan after a certain incident at the gym last night.
WWF Tag Team Championship
Money Inc. © (Ted Dibiase & Irwin R Schyster) vs. The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake) /w/ Jimmy Hart.
The Maniacs enter second with new manager Jimmy Hart, and the announcers immediately notice that one of Hogan’s eyes is nearly swollen shut. There was a rumour going around that Savage accused Hogan of sleeping with Elizabeth and knocked him out! The legit reason was something to do with a jet ski but for storyline purposes, the announcers speculate that Money Inc had something to do with it. It’s also worth noting that Hogan looks as thin as a rake! Mustn’t have been taken his “vitamins”, Brother! Hogan and Beefcake clear the ring of the heels with their music still playing, and then proceed to do some celebrating. This being Hogan’s first match in a year, they’re very over with the crowd. The match gets underway, and Dibiase gets pounded on by the faces for about five minutes. He and Irwin decide they’ve had enough, so they bail down the aisle, figuring they’ll take the intentional countout to save their Titles like they’ve done in the past. But instead of counting them out, referee Earl Hebner tells Howard Finkel to announce that if they take the countout, not only will they lose the match, but they’ll lose the Titles as well. Money Inc. rushes back into the ring, and soon get the better of Hogan. Dibiase puts him in the Million Dollar Dream. Hogan makes the big comeback, then we get a role reversal as the ref is busy with IRS and Beefcake sneaks in and puts Dibiase out with a sleeper. I guess Money Inc. is just no good without Jimmy running the show. Hogan makes the hot tag to Brutus who goes nuts until Dibiase manages a shot to the back with the briefcase. Dibiase pulls off Beefcake’s protective mask and he and IRS beat on his face. Beefcake manages to get the sleeper on Irwin, but Teddy nails him from behind, sending him into the ref. Now, Beefcake, IRS, and Hebner are all down. For some reason Hogan and Dibiase wait in their respective corners for the tag even though the ref is down. They finally come in, and Hogan hits both heels with Beefcake’s mask. The Maniacs cover both Dibiase and IRS, but the ref is still out. Jimmy Hart comes in, turns his jacket inside out to reveal black and white stripes, then counts to three and awards his men the Titles. Uh, I don’t think it works like that Jimmy. Another ref comes in, wakes Hebner up, and the Maniacs are disqualified at 18:41, presumably for Hart impersonating a referee. Money Inc. retains the Titles. Jimmy tosses the ref out of the ring, Money Inc. bails, and the Maniacs celebrate with struts and poses. They notice that Irwin left his briefcase at ringside, and open it up to find some various paperwork, a load of cash, and a brick. Heenan, in defence of the evil Irwin: “You never know when you’re gonna need a brick.” Hogan and Beefcake pass out money to the crowd at ringside. These guys are babyfaces right?
Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: Money Inc. via DQ
Rating: ½ *
Damn, what a brutal match. There wasn’t any flow to it whatsoever. Dibiase was too good of a wrestler to be a part of this match. The finish was crap too.
In the crowd, Todd Pettengill talks to Natalie Cole and some Caesar’s Palace bigwig.
Mean Gene talks to Mr Perfect, and they again bring up how Luger knocked out Bret Hart earlier in the day. Perfect can’t say “Narcissist” (actually says something like Lexissist), he laughs it off like the pro that he is.
“The Narcissist” Lex Luger vs. Mr Perfect
Luger, still undefeated, has four scantily clad showgirls escort him out to the ring. They each have a mirror for him to pose in. Heenan and Savage take one look at the girls and cream their pants. They finally agree on something! Perfect enters second to a big pop. They go through a good wrestling sequence to start off. Perfect is flying around that ring. Luger catches him with a whip to the corner and Perfect sells a back injury. Luger’s offense slows the match down a lot, but Perfect keeps it interesting with a big sunset flip that gets two. Perfect hooks a sleeper and Heenan takes credit for teaching him that. A Perfect small package gets a two count. A backdrop, slingshot, and neckbreaker all get near falls for Perfect. He hits a dropkick off the top rope, but Luger gets his foot on the ropes at two. They battle over a backslide and Luger takes him over. Perfect’s feet end up on the ropes, but the ref never notices, and counts the three for Luger. Perfect comes up mad, confronts the ref about the count, and Luger nails him from behind with the Forearm, knocking him unconscious. Luger heads to the back, and then we get an ahead-of-its-time scene, as Perfect comes to after a couple of minutes, and storms down the aisle, clearly pissed off. The camera follows him through the curtain (awesome), and into the back area of the Palace. He finds Luger talking to Shawn Michaels by a garage, and jumps him, but Shawn makes the save, destroying Perfect with whatever he can get his hands on. This sets up the Michaels/ Perfect rivalry where they end up having a street fight on Raw and a pretty good match at Summerslam.
Winner: Lex Luger via pinfall
Rating: * ½
Perfect was great as always but working with a limited performer like Luger effected the match. Luger never had many great matches in the WWE although did have some good matched in NWA/WCW where he was working with the likes of Ric Flair & Ricky Steamboat. The backstage attack scene was truly ahead of its time. It was more common to see backstage assaults during the late 90’s but in 1993, it was unheard of. More on backstage fights at WrestleMania 10.
Giant Gonzalez /w/ Harvey Wippleman vs. The Undertaker /w/ Paul Bearer
Oh no, here comes Giant Gonzalez! Why did he wear such a ridicules body suit? The story goes; his body wasn’t as ripped as McMahon wanted it to be so he had to wear this gay looking bodysuit complete with airbrushed muscles and fur. Undertaker had an awesome entrance where he came down to the ring on a chariot. The near eight foot tall Gonzalez is nearly impossible to work with. They try their best though, as Gonzalez dominates with punches, and a few whips to the steps on the outside. The crowd only cared when Undertaker sat up. It was only a brief care. Undertaker attacked with punches as Gonzalez comically tried to sell the punches. His facial expressions were awful but hilarious at the same time. Wippleman jumped on the apron, Undertaker went after him and Wippleman threw a cloth to Gonzalez. Gonzalez gave a headbutt to Paul Bearer. Gonzalez used the cloth and put it in Undertaker’s face as he choked him out. The announcers determined that it was chloroform. The ref disqualified Giant Gonzalez. Refs come down to try to stop him, but Gonzalez chokeslams all of them. They finally wheel The Undertaker away on a stretcher, as the announcers speculate on whether he’s dead or not. Gonzalez stands tall in the ring, the fans are chanting for Hogan, but suddenly the bell tolls, and Taker comes stumbling back out down the aisle. Gonzalez is both shocked and terrified. The Undertaker punches away on him, then takes him off his feet with a big flying clothesline, a feat he never accomplished during the match. “You can’t kill a dead man, and the Undertaker’s already dead,” says Savage. Can’t argue with logic like that, folks.
Winner: The Undertaker via DQ
WORST MATCH EVER! Seriously, if there was ever a match that deserved a minus five star rating, it’s this match. The action only picked up during the post-match attack. They would have a re-match at Summerslam which was equally as bad. The only positive I can give is Undertaker showing heart by getting revenge after the match. I’m just glad that Undertaker went on to have an amazing career after this car-crash. It’s funny to think that Undertaker would have both the worst WrestleMania match ever and the best WrestleMania match ever. Which match I’m I referring to? Stick around to find out. Undertaker is 3-0 at WrestleMania.
Gene Okerlund interviews Hulk Hogan, who says he’s just come from Bret Hart’s locker room. Hogan, now decked out in his alternate red Hulkster outfit, issues a challenge to whoever walks out with the WWF Title tonight whether it be Bret or, and I quote, “the Jap, brother”.
Todd Pettengill wasted our time again talking to some fans.
Yokozuna /w/ Mr Fuji vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart ©
Yokozuna was heavily pushed to the main event scene. He won the 1993 Royal Rumble and was named the number one contender for the title. According to Bret, he said that the original plan was for Bret to face the Ultimate Warrior but he got fired in November. They stare each other down from opposite sides of the ring, and Bret charges at him with a dropkick right off the bat. He hooks Yoko’s legs in the ropes to knock him off his feet, then puts the boots to him and hits a second rope elbow. Smart wrestling. The ref untangles Yoko, but Bret stays on him, clotheslining him twice. On the third try, however, it’s Yokozuna that hits a clothesline. Yoko slams him and hits a big legdrop. The crowd gets a big USA chant going. Yoko is Japanese and Bret is Canadian, so I guess they’re cheering for Hebner. Heenan is as amused as I am. Yoko eats boot on a corner charge, and Bret takes him down. Heenan likens him to a brahma bull. Now where have I heard that one before? Yoko comes back with a crescent kick and goes to a nerve hold. An avalanche misses, and Hart hits a bulldog from the second rope to get two. The second rope elbow gets two again. A second rope clothesline and a Hart Attack style clothesline takes the big guy down. Bret does the ten punches in the corner, but Yokozuna powers out. Bret tries to hold on to the corner, and ends up ripping the turnbuckle pad off in the process. Yoko tries to take him to it, but Bret reverses and slams Yoko’s head into it instead. Yoko falls flat on his face, and Bret actually manages to hook the Sharpshooter despite Yoko’s massive legs. JR is going nuts. “Sharpshooter, Sharpshooter, Sharpshooter!” Just as Bret cinches back and the ref goes to check on Yoko to see if he’s submitting, Mr Fuji takes out some salt, and throws it right in Bret’s eyes. You bitch! Bret falls back, Yokozuna gets on top of him, hooks both legs and gets the three count and becomes the new WWF Champion.
Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Yokozuna via pinfall
Rating: * ½
It was good for a Yoko match. Yokozuna was amazingly agile for a guy of his size but that would fade as his weight ballooned. The only thing I would have change was the finish. Yoko should have finished Bret off with the Banzai Drop after the Fuji dust because it would make the win look more impressive. However, Yoko looked tired and he could end up seriously injuring Bret.
After the match, Hulk Hogan runs down to the ring to tell the ref that Yokozuna had cheated. Fuji trashed talked Hogan and issued a challenge to face Yokozuna right here, right now. The crowd was yelling for Hogan to accept. Bret, as much as it pained him to do it, encouraged Hogan to accept the challenge.
Yokozuna © /w/ Mr Fuji vs. Hulk Hogan
Hulk slid into the ring. Fuji was in the ring. Yoko held Hogan. Fuji threw the dust. Hulk ducked and the dust went into Yoko’s face. Hulk hit a clothesline. He followed it up with a legdrop. Hulk won via pinfall.
Winner and NEW WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan via pinfall
No rating because it was such a short ‘match’. It was certainly a shocking ending.
Hulk celebrates becoming a 5 time WWF Champion as the show goes off the air.
Best match: Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka – The match was good but finish was poor.
Worst match: Giant Gonzalez vs. The Undertaker – Total crapfesh!
WrestleMania moment: The intro, some may mock it but I thought it was amazing.
Top 5 Superstars:
1. Bret Hart – Worked his ass off against Yoko, shame about the whole Hogan fiasco.
2. Shawn Michaels – Showed signs of promise here. His bumping was top class.
3. Mr Perfect – His final in-ring performance at WrestleMania. Worked well against a limited worker like Luger.
4. Scott Steiner – His Frankensteiner was quality.
5. Bobby Heenan – One of many guys to leave the WWE during ’93. This was his final WrestleMania as a full time employee but he’d have a few cameos down the road.
Updated rankings chart:
Macho Man Randy Savage – 28pts
Hulk Hogan – 25pts
Bret Hart – 13pts
Ricky Steamboat – 10pts
Ultimate Warrior/ Roddy Piper – 7pts
Dynamite Kid/Rick Rude/ Ted Dibiase – 5pts
Terry Funk/ Shawn Michaels- 4pts
Tito Santana/Andre the Giant/ Ric Flair/ Mr Perfect- 3pts
Greg Valentine/ Scott Steiner-2pts
Sgt Slaughter/ Gorilla Monsoon/ Bobby Heenan – 1pt
Overall Show Rating (Out of 10): 0.5
WORST WRESTLEMANIA EVER!!!!! What a complete crapfest this show truly was. Let’s not talk of WrestleMania 9 until next year for WrestleMania season, in the meantime, we’ve got WrestleMania 10 to look forward to.
WrestleMania Rankings so far:
WrestleMania 8 – 7
WrestleMania 3 – 7
WrestleMania 7 – 6.5
WrestleMania 6 – 6
WrestleMania 1 – 4.5
WrestleMania 5 – 4
WrestleMania 4 – 3.5
WrestleMania 2 – 3
WrestleMania 9 – 0.5
Up Next: It’s a milestone for the WWF as they celebrated the 10th edition of WrestleMania from Madison Square Garden. It’s also one of my personal favourite ‘Manias, reasons behind that will be revealed during the review.