Thursday, March 14, 2024

The History of WWE WrestleMania: IX

A unique presentation couldn't save this show from its abysmal ending....

Caesar's Palace - 4/4/93

What an odd little piece of wrestling lore this event was.  From the Roman-themed venue/set design to the size mismatch of the main event, this installment was nothing if not unique.  It was the first outdoor WrestleMania and the first without both Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse Ventura on commentary - Jim Ross made his WWF debut instead (helluva way to start a new job!).  It also featured a much younger overall roster than previous shows, as quite a few stars made their 'Mania debuts here.

'Mania 9 is considered by many to be the worst of the bunch.  I don't agree with that statement, but it's certainly something of a mess.  The show started out well enough, with a strong I-C match between Shawn Michaels and Tatanka that actually got more time than any other match and featured the added intrigue of Shawn's ex-manager Sherri Martel facing off with Luna Vachon.  Things continued from there with a very good Steiners-Headshrinkers tag match that included one of the crazier spots I'd ever seen - Rick Steiner countering a Doomsday Device by catching Samu midair and nailing a belly-to-belly suplex.  Even Crush vs. Doink was passable in slot three - a goofy but sort of enjoyable brawl showcasing Doink's diabolical heel antics.

The show took a downturn with the bewilderingly short Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon, and then became a total clusterfuck as Money Inc. took on the returning Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake for the Tag belts.  The match dragged on for 18 minutes and was painful to watch, and ended with a DQ win for Money Inc.  Sadly this would not be the last we saw of Hogan that night.

Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect looked spectacular on paper but failed to crack 2-star territory, and the Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales flat-out stunk up the place.

One of the most disappointing matches ever

Which brings us to the WWF title match.  What a bizarre main event - an established smaller workhorse against a totally unproven 500-pounder.  Bret Hart managed to get a quite entertaining little match out of Yokozuna, and then everything went to hell.
First off, Bret lost after getting salt thrown in his eyes.  Like that's what caused him to get pinned.  I mean, couldn't Yokozuna have legdropped him or something after the salt?  Next up, Hulk Hogan appeared out of nowhere to protest the title change, even though Bret and Hogan had had zero prior interaction.  Then came the most idiotic, mind-numbingly stupid ending to a wrestling show, EVER.

Yoko's manager Mr. Fuji challenged Hogan to a Title match, on the spot.  Nevermind that a heel who's just won a championship would never in a million years suggest immediately wrestling another match against a fresh opponent.  Hogan accepted, Fuji mistakenly threw salt into Yoko's eyes, Hogan legdropped him, and the Title changed hands again.  The WWF actually gave Hogan the belt without him even being booked in a WWF Title match.  The WWF also managed to bury both official participants in the main event of WrestleMania by having Bret lose to Yokozuna in nine minutes, and having Yoko lose to Hogan in less than one.  Clearly Hogan had compromising photos of Vince's mother.  I remember thinking at the time, "the company must be trying to see how far they can go before people start actually booing Hogan."  That has to be about the least heroic way a babyface has ever won a championship.  Bravo guys.

Worst thing to ever happen at a wrestling event.
And that includes the Gobbledy Gooker.

Based on the ending it's clear why this 'Mania is so universally reviled.  But I still stay there are worse editions.  This show at least had a handful of decent to good matches, even if it does contain the worst ending to any form of entertainment ever created by humans.

Best Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka
Worst Match: Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales
What I'd Change: Do I really need to answer this?  Really?  Side note, how do you relegate Randy Savage to color commentary instead of say, putting him against Razor Ramon??  I've gone into this in much greater detail HERE.
Most Disappointing Match: Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Luger
Most Pleasant Surprise: Jim Ross making his WWF debut
Overall Rating: 5/10

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