“On the Marc” WrestleMania IX Review

Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada; April 4, 1993

Commentators: Jim Ross, “Macho Man” Randy Savage & Bobby “The Brain” Heenan

The opening ceremonies have Julius Cesar and Cleopatra come out and walk around the ring. Jim Ross is ringside; Randy Savage comes out on a sedan with virgins; Bobby Heenan comes out on a camel, backwards and falls all over himself trying to get off of it.

WWF Intercontinental Championship Shawn Michaels (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/Sensational Sherri):   Shawn’s third straight WrestleMania opener. Tatanka was still undefeated and pinned Shawn in a six-man tag and a non-title match to set the stage for this contest. They trade take-downs and arm locks including bridge by Tatanka. Shawn applies a side headlock; Tatanka tries to escape eventually a back suplex gets the job done. Shawn comes off the top rope right into a Tatanka arm drag. Shawn gets chopped off the apron and Sherri prevents Luna from helping him. Tatanka keeps Shawn from entering the ring with Tomahawk chops. Shawn sunset flips Tatanka from the top rope. Tatanka works over Shawn’s previously separated shoulder with a single-arm DDT and an armbar; Shawn posts his shoulder on a missed charge, Tatanka applies an armbar again and a shoulder breaker. Tatanka tries to come off the top but jumps right into the Superkick allowing Bobby Heenan one of his best one-liners yet “put the wagons in a circle, it’s all over. Sign the treaty!” Shawn tosses Tatanka over the top to get a breather; Shawn hits a diving clothesline off the apron. Shawn controls with a swinging neckbreaker, standing dropkick and reverse chinlock. Shawn hits a weird off-the-shoulder La Magistral cradle; Tatanka comes back with an Electric Chair Drop. Tatanka begins to fire himself up with a war dance and catches a kick and chops the hell out of Michaels and hits a top rope crossbody for two. Shawn counters the End of the Trail Samoan drop and jumps off the top right into a powerslam. Shawn jumps off the apron, Tatanka avoids and Shawn goes into the steel steps. Shawn pulls the referee out to the floor. Tatanka nails the End of the Trail but the referee counted Shawn out. Post-match Luna slams Sherri onto the floor. 6.5/10 Good match that was marred by the count out.

The Steiner Brothers’ plan is to wrestle.

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Headshrinkers (w/Afa):   Jim Ross busts out slobberknocker for the first time ever on a WWF show prior to this match. Scott takes Fatu into an armbar and a hiptoss; they begin to trade blows with Scott winning with a Steinerline which Fatu 360 sells. The Headshrinkers corner Scott and toss both Steiners to the floor. Rick and Scott both ascend the same turnbuckle and come off into double flying Steinerlines. Samu and Rick give it a go. Samu clotheslines Rick in the corner but Rick returns the favor with a Steinerline and tosses Samu into the turnbuckle post. Scott tags in and nails a butterfly bomb and dropkicks an incoming Fatu. The Headshrinkers mess up a top rope clothesline and Scott sails over the top rope and lands on the floor head first. Afa nails Scott with his bamboo stick. Samu hits a backbreaker and a second rope diving head-butt. Fatu hits a knee trembler to break off a tag attempt. Rick tries to help but referee Bill Alfanso puts him out and Samu rams Scott in to the post on the floor. Scott slams Fatu’s head on the mat, which has no effect, so he pops up and nails a superkick. I just noticed that Rick Steiner has on two different color shoes. They hit a Demolition decapitator but Steiner kicks out. Fatu applies a trapezius hold while Samu holds the tag rope in his mouth. Samu comes in and head-butts a lot, he tries a top rope one but he misses. Rick finally gets the tag and backdrops, slams and Steinerlines but he makes the mistake of ramming their heads together. They respond with a double head-butt on Rick. The Samoans nail a double Stroke. They try a Doomsday Device but Rick powerslams Samu from Fatu’s shoulder as he is coming off the top; Fatu interrupts the three count. Scott gets a tag and hits a belly-to-belly but Fatu pops up and nails another crescent kick. Scott reverses an Irish whip and (barely) nails a Frankensteiner for three. 7/10 It was a little sloppy at times but I enjoyed this match, there were a lot of twists and turns. The match did not go according to traditional tag team formulas and that is what makes it good despite the sloppiness.

Doink the Clown defaces the bust of Julius Caesar. He laughs at when he attacked Crush with a fake arm. Vince’s “Waitaminute! Doink!” reaction is priceless. Doink promises Crush will be seeing double vision.

Crush vs. Doink the Clown:   This is the original Matt Borne evil Doink and the one everyone remembers and loves. Doink enrages Crush by squirting him in the face with water so Crush slams him on the floor. Crush stalks Doink as the color of the tights on both wrestlers is burning my retinas. Crush beats the hell out of Doink and nails a hangman’s neckbreaker. Macho Man is obsessed with the size of Crush who nails an off the ropes one-handed backbreaker. Doink clotheslines Crush off the top rope to finally get the advantage. Doink nails a few fists off the top rope and a very well executed piledriver. Doink plants Crush in position with a scoop slam, ascends the turnbuckles but jumps right into Crush’s boot. Doink tires a second rope move but jumps right into a powerslam and Crush clotheslines him over the top. Doink tries to crawl under the ring. Crush presses Doink and applies the Kona Crush; Doink makes the ropes and the referee gets bumped trying to break it up. Crush applies the Kona Crush again when a second Doink appears in the ring with another fake arm and they break it over Crush’s head; the double Doink escapes under the ring. Bobby Heenan sells it as an illusion and Doink gets the pin. Bill Alfanso shows up and the two referees search under the ring and do not find anything. 4.5/10 Bland match with the well-remembered big surprise at the end.

Todd Pettengill talks to the Japanese photographers who only care about Yokozuna.

Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon:   Backlund was still in the “returning former WWF Champion babyface” role not the “crazy old Bob heel” phase yet. Razor pushes Backlund around a little but Backlund comes back. Razor slams him a bunch of times and punches Backlund in the face and stomps away. Backlund mounts an offense with hiptosses, a butterfly suplex and a huge running atomic drop. Backlund goes for a slam but Ramon counters into a small package out of nowhere for three. 2.5/10 Weird match that seemingly was just getting started and then abruptly ended.

Money, Inc. talks about breaking Brutus Beefcake’s face, turning on Jimmy Hart and the returning Hulk Hogan.

WWF Tag Team Championship Money, Inc. vs. The Mega-maniacs (w/Jimmy Hart):   Hulk Hogan has a black eye that I do not think (the real reason) was ever fully explained; Money, Inc. sells it as they paid off someone to do it. Brutus Beefcake is wearing a protective mask made of solid uranium or something like that, with a scissor on it. Money, Inc. takes forever getting in the ring. IRS and Dibiase work over Beefcake as they goad Hogan into the ring early on. Dibiase tries a double axe to the face but hurts his own hands on the mask. Dibiase tries to ram Beefcake’s head into the buckle, no effect. For a “thinking wrestler” you would think he would have learned. Hogan gets the tag and he tees off on Dibiase and hits a huge clothesline. Beefcake returns for a double big boot. They work over Dibiase and clothesline him over the top. IRS comes in and gets tossed as well. Money, Inc. tries to walk out but the referee rules they would also forfeit the titles. Dibiase and IRS trade off choking Hogan while Beefcake keeps interfering. Dibiase locks in the Million Dollar Dream. Hogan fades and IRS tries to interfere, Beefcake sneaks in and applies the sleeper and in about ten seconds Dibiase is out. Hogan and Dibiase are both down but Hogan sits up at the referee’s eight count. Double tags are made as Beefcake goes nuts on IRS and sends Dibiase to the floor. Dibiase nails Beefcake with the briefcase to give his team the advantage again. Dibiase removes Beefcake’s mask and he and IRS take turns punching him in the face. Eventually he double clotheslines both guys and applies the sleeper to IRS. Dibiase nails Brutus from behind and he wipes out IRS and the referee. Both guys make tags even though the referee is out. Hogan uses the mask to nail both Dibiase and IRS. Jimmy Hart leaps in the ring and counts the pin. Hogan and Beefcake, like idiots, act like they won the title and grab the belts. Danny Davis arrives and DQ’s the Mega-maniacs. Post-match Jimmy Hart tosses Danny Davis to the floor closing that chapter from their past. Hogan and Beefcake celebrate and open the briefcase to find bricks and cash they toss to the fans. 3.5/10 Average tag match with a silly second referee disqualification.

Mr. Perfect discusses the knock-out power of Lex Luger.

Mr. Perfect vs. “The Narcissist” Lex Luger:   Apparently Luger knocked out Bret Hart at the WrestleMania brunch earlier in the day. Luger counters an armbar and almost gets punched in the face. The commentators discuss the knock-out power of Luger as Perfect gets the advantage with chops and a running dropkick. Luger pokes Perfect in the eye to take the advantage. Perfect goes after Lugers leg with an Indian Death lock breaker and a spinning-toe hold. Perfect chops in the corner but Luger reverses and tosses Perfect in the corner. Luger works over the lower back with forearms and a backbreaker. Perfect fights back, but runs into a knee in the corner. Luger scoops the legs and tires a Flair pin but the referee catches him. An off the ropes powerslam gets two for Luger. Perfect applies a sleeper but Luger immediately counters. Perfect fights back with fists and a backdrop; he begins the 10-punches in the corner but the counter is countered and Mr. Perfect hits a clothesline a neckbreaker. Perfect hits a missile dropkick. They fight for a backslide; Luger gets it with Perfect’s feet on the ropes but the referee counts three. Post-match Luger nails the bionic elbow and knocks Mr. Perfect out. When he revives Perfect chases Luger down in the back but gets blindsided by Shawn Michaels who tosses perfect into a pile of trash. 5/10 Decent match with a strange ending with the feet on the ropes.

The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Giant Gonzales (w/Harvey Wippleman):   Match 3. This is the beginning of Undertaker’s crappy WrestleMania opponent streak. Taker comes out on a funeral chariot with a vulture. Bobby Heenan claims Gonzales is twenty feet tall. Taker punches Gonzales but he chokes the Undertaker to the second rope. Taker chokes back so Gonzales goes low. Taker goes old school but it was new school at the time. Gonzales works Undertaker over but the Taker keeps getting up. Gonzales chokes/reverse chinlocks away. Thrilling. Paul Bearer tries to rally the Undertaker and the fans via urn. Gonzales punches him on the floor where he tosses Undertaker into the steps. Taker keeps sitting up. Undertaker fights back and Gonzales sells the punches like he is walking on ice. Taker goes after Wippleman who tosses Gonzales a rag doused with chloroform that he smothers Taker with. The referee DQ’s Gonzales; a bunch of referees including Rene Goulet and Pat Patterson show up to attend to the Undertaker. They also attempt to get Gonzales out of the ring; Gonzales forcefully chokeslams referee Bill Alfanso. Undertaker’s going hits and he storms to the ring and clotheslines Gonzales down and Gonzales leaves. 0.5/10 This is quite possibly the worst match in WrestleMania history.

They show Yokozuna squashing “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan during a match and Bret Hart during the contract signing. Hulk Hogan arrives and says that he is in Bret’s corner. Hogan issues a challenge to either Bret Hart or “the Jap” for the title.

WWF Heavyweight Championship Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji):   Bret opens with a dropkick and hammers on Yoko’s head. Bret tries a go behind but gets nowhere so Yoko shoulder blocks him to the floor. Bret innovatively ties Yoko’s legs in the ropes and adds a slingshot splash and a second rope driving elbow. Yoko is freed and nails a clothesline. Randy Savage admits Yoko is tough on commentary; I guess he’d know considering Yokozuna squashed Savage at the March to WrestleMania show the week prior. Yoko drops the yet to be dubbed Hulkbuster legdrop. Yoko continues to slowly work over Bret with a trapezius hold. Bret counters a corner whip and rides Yoko to the mat off the turnbuckles for two. Bret runs right into an impressive Superkick; impressive since Yoko weighs over 500 pounds. Yoko reapplies the trapezius hold. Yoko misses the corner butt splash; Bret gets a bulldog for two. Bret hit a Hart Attack clothesline. Yoko forces Bret out of the corner but Bret takes the turnbuckle pad with him exposing the steel. Yoko winds up going into the steel and Bret lock in the Sharpshooter. Fuji positions himself between the referee and Bret to toss salt into Bret’s eyes. Yoko gets the three count for the title. Hulk Hogan comes down to yell at the referee and help Bret Hart, riiiiiiight 4/10 Bret did his best with Yoko and Yoko was one of the best big men ever so it was a pretty decent match. Post-match Mr. Fuji grabs the microphone and challenges Hulk Hogan on the spot to an impromptu WWF title match. Bret tells him to go for it so…

WWF Heavyweight Championship Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) vs. Hulk Hogan:   The bell rings Mr. Fuji tries to throw salt in Hogan’s eye. He ducks, Yoko takes the salt and Hogan drops the leg for three and the title; the fans go nuts. 1/10 Not even a match, I remember being at my house with a bunch of friends going crazy when this initially happened. I was young. It seemed everything in the WWF was back to normal.

OVERALL 4.5/10 Not one of the better WrestleManias but it did have a unique look to it. There are a few good matches on this show but it was overshadowed by lots of Hulk Hogan stuff. Plus the two quick title changes seemed cheap; I think Vince McMahon got cold feet when he saw Bret Hart or Yokozuna were not going to draw big numbers and put the title on Hogan out of desperation.

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  • DeepthroatGhoul

    The Tag-Team Championship match was originally planned to be the blow-off to the feud between Money Inc. and the Nasty Boys, culminating with DiBiase and IRS retaining their titles, but Knobbs and Sags were taken off the card for Hogan and Beefcake. This was enough to make the Nasties leave the WWF for WCW that year.

    The whole thing is sort of ironic, as it was just two years earlier, that the Nasties jumped from WCW and screwed up the scheduled push of Power & Glory heading into WrestleMania 7. So in a way, this was a taste of their own medicine.

    But still, it’s really unfair to the Nasty Boys to not get their big rematch. Combine them, Yoko, and Bret, and that’s four guys Hogan screws over on this card.

    • http://www.marcelusive.net Marc Elusive

      …and then Brian Knobs lived in Hogan’s basement. Also, I loved Power & Glory as a team, very disappointed their push got squashed under the Nastys and the LOD.

      • DeepthroatGhoul

        Also, the second Doink who helped the original Doink clobber Crush was played by Steve Keirn, aka Skinner.