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WrestleMania IX

April 4, 1993

Venue: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, NV

Attendance: 16,891

Tagline: “The World’s Largest Toga Party”

Runtime: 2 hours, 47 minutes

TH:  Well, you thought you’d seen pomp and circumstance at earlier WrestleManias, but you ain’t seen nothing yet. Caesars Palace decked out like the world’s tackiest frat party! Cleopatra on an elephant! “Macho Man” Randy Savage carried to the ring on a chaise, preceded by muscle men, (ahem) “vestal virgins,” and a llama! (A llama!!) Bobby “The Brain” Heenan riding backwards on a camel! Our announcers and interviewers are wearing their best togas, and the whole thing is completely over the top. For the first time, the streaming version of the program does not include the opening song (Diahann Carroll sang “America the Beautiful,” so that’s too bad.) This is also our first show without Gorilla Monsoon on announcing duties, though we do get an introduction from him (in a toga, of course) before he throws it to our announcers — WrestleMania first timer Jim “JR” Ross, Macho Man, and Bobby Heenan. 

Bobby Heenan's toga rides up while Macho Man gives a thumbs up!
Macho Man gives us a glimpse of Bobby Heenan’s best side

RS:  The Raw era has begun! Monday Night Raw, the WWF/WWE’s flagship program of close to 30 years, started airing in January of 1993. I consider this the first modern WrestleMania because of Raw and the arrival of Jim Ross. This is the first WrestleMania where the main event is set by the Royal Rumble winner, a tradition that stands to this day. Whereas the first two WrestleManias looked like they were held in high school gyms, there’s now fancy sets, tons of props, ceremony, and show business to make it appealing to more than just wrestling fans.

TH:  Agreed, this definitely feels like a major shift in WWF history, and in the hierarchy of its roster. Bret Hart and Yokuzuna are our main event, with Hogan relegated to a tag team match mid-card. Shawn Michaels holds the Intercontinental Championship, we have our first WrestleMania appearances of Scott Hall (“Razor Ramon”) and Lex Luger, and Macho Man has moved out of the ring to the announcers’ table. For the first time since he showed up in WrestleMania 2 we do not have an appearance from Jake “The Snake” Roberts (sad reaccs only); ditto for Ultimate Warrior, who’d been a mainstay since WrestleMania IV (meh).

RS: Despite the over-the-top opening ceremony, this WrestleMania feels much like any other WWF pay-per-view offerings this year. We’re missing many of the glamorous celebrity appearances, the run time isn’t any longer than the ‘93 Royal Rumble or Survivor Series. And how many seats were comped at the craps table? Judging by the number of blue-hairs at ringside, I’d say a decent amount.

TH:  For sure, an interesting start. Let’s see how it holds up! Macho Man growls, “Go for it, lock and load, do the thing, if you’ve got the guts. Ohhh yeeeaaah!” I couldn’t agree more.

Matches

  • Tito Santana vs. Papa Shango (dark match)
Tito Santana in white trunks
National treasure Tito Santana, relegated to a dark match at WrestleMania IX but still awesome

TH: Our first WrestleMania without national treasure Tito Santana in a feature match. This is the end of an era for sure. In a rare WrestleMania win, Tito defeats Papa Shango (aka Charles Wright, aka The Godfather) but there’s no film on the streaming version. Email or comment if you find it out there on the Interwebs! We still love you, Tito.

  • Tatanka, with Sensational Sherri vs. Shawn Michaels, with Luna Vachon, WWF Intercontinental Championship Match

TH: Shawn is wearing leather chaps and a jacket (?) that is just sleeves, covered all over in little round mirrors and festooned with chains. He looks like something out of Rob Halford’s wet dreams. Tatanka looks great in his native garb, carrying a tomahawk to the ring which I think is totally legal because it’s a cultural and religious artifact. This is a solid match overall, with some great back and forth action between the guys. Tatanka gets a cool flying arm drag takedown off the ropes and later catches Shawn with a DDT worthy of Jake the Snake. Luna is sniffing at the ring like a dog at a steak sizzling on the grill. Macho Man quips, “Is she from Oklahoma?” LOL. The story here is Shawn’s “injured” shoulder, with Tatanka going to work on it through much of the match, including an old-school shoulder breaker. There’s a HUGE elbow drop from Tatanka that’s really impressive. Tatanka lands a two-handed chop off the turnbuckle but goes for a second one and gets caught with a kick to the chin. Shawn tosses Tatanka over the top rope for Luna to take a bite out of him, but Sherri chases her off. She should have brought some of that doggy mace that mail carriers have. Now Tatanka’s doing the Native American equivalent of “hulking up,” building up to a war dance. His mouth is all bloody, I’m not sure when that happened! Huge chest chops from Tatanka drop Michaels like a bad habit — maybe Tatanka is finally going to get his title belt! (Spoiler: No, he’s not.) One more great spot with Shawn diving off the top turnbuckle for a cross-body, and Tatanka reversing it to a power slam, followed by another missed cross-body by Shawn off the apron and onto the steps. Maybe he should stop trying to do those. There’s a bullshit countout so that Tatanka gets the win but not the belt. This match deserved a better finish. Incidentally, this match clocks in at 18:13, making it the fourth longest match in a WrestleMania thus far.

Shawn Michaels in the ring at WrestleMania IX
Breakin’ the law, breakin’ the law

RS: Shawn now sings his own theme music. Luna Vachon, one of my favorite women in wrestling, has arrived to escort Shawn. Tatanka is anxiously pacing as Shawn slowly strips down to his gear, really building the tension. Tatanka and Shawn are well paired and both are doing some very athletic maneuvers after a slow headlock start. It seems Shawn starts every match at this point with a headlock. Tatanka is still undefeated going into this match. Shawn is doing some classic bumps, including the flip in the corner and putting his head down too early for the back drop. There is a horrendous crack when Shawn dives into the ring post. Shawn Michaels’s “superkick” isn’t his finisher yet and is just referred to as a crescent kick. Shawn did some awkward hold/roll up from the top rope that didn’t look right at all. Tatanka may be bleeding from the mouth. Another classic Shawn bump being slingshot’ed into the ring post. Shawn rips the ref out of the ring to avoid the count out, but in a very complicated finish, the ref announces the count out while Tatanka has Shawn pinned in a horse shit of a finish. We start this show with a traditional WrestleMania countout finish.

  • The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu & Fata), with Afa
Steiner Brothers, in Michigan varsity jackets, give an interview to Mean Gene Okerlund
The Steiner Brothers, world’s oldest living freshmen (after Thornton Mellon)

RS: God, I loved the Steiners but I don’t know why. I particularly liked Rick. Probably because he barked like a dog. Shut up, I was 12. I also remember they were on the first episode of Raw I ever watched. My mom was watching TV in bed and was channel surfing and called downstairs to me and dad to let us know there was wrestling on the USA Network, and there they were, the Steiners vs. The Executioners. My mom always made sure I didn’t miss a show or anything of even slight interest to me. This was the start of my obsession with wrestling. JR delivers his first “slobberknocker” and I got a little choked up. While he’s not Big Papa Pump yet, Scott Steiner is ripped. You could do three loads of laundry on his chest and abs. We get an amazing spot where the Steiners climb the same corner together and deliver dual flying clotheslines. The Headshrinkers’ manager lands an amazingly vicious bamboo pole swing. I really wish Bobby Heenan had made a comedy album — he and Macho Man are really going at it, so much that the match is almost secondary. Pretty much evidence this match is going too long considering there is nothing on the line. Scott misses a Frankensteiner but Fatu sells it anyway. 

TH: With the Headshrinkers and their manager (and Samu’s father) Afa in this match, and Afa’s nephew Yokozuna in the main event, the Anoa’i family is well represented at this WrestleMania. (Samu and Yokozuna’s cousin Fatu, of course, would later wrestle under the name Rikishi.) The Steiners’ collegiate wrestling gimmick is kinda weird and Rick’s headgear is still funny to me. It’s also strange to see an only-mildly-‘roided-out Scott Steiner, given the chain-mailed monstrosity he would later become. All four of these guys are absolute units, though. The Steiners hit a double clothesline (which they insist on calling “Steinerlines,” apparently) off the top rope. You can just call it a clothesline, guys. Afa smacks Samu and Fata’s heads together to get them hyped up. Ah yes, Concussions: The Great Motivator. This is some solid back and forth action between a couple of pro tag teams, then an absolutely crazy move where Rick, while sitting on one Headshrinker’s shoulders, catches the other diving off the top rope and slams him. Scott hits a sloppy Frankensteiner for the finish and the face win. Another long match (14:22, also in the top ten longest thus far) — two matches in and this event definitely has a more deliberate pace than most of our previous ‘Manias.

  • Doink the Clown vs. Crush
The second Doink gets ready to smack Crush with the artificial arm
Two, two, two Doinks for the price of one!

TH: Oh boy, Doink the Clown. I don’t think I was watching much wrestling at this point, because I have only a vague memory of this event happening and of the performers outside of the big names. I don’t think I ever saw Crush’s post-Demolition phase for example, with his flowing blonde mullet and bright yellow, purple, and orange outfit. Doink has been played by several wrestlers over the years, but here it’s still the original — Matt Osborne, aka “Maniac” Matt Borne from the very first WrestleMania — under the makeup and green wig. I can’t say that I’m a Doink fan, and I would probably call the police on anyone who claimed to be, but he does get off some decent moves here. He twice pulls the classic heel move of attempting to escape under the ring, which allows Crush to drag him out to big fan reactions. Crush picks Doink up over his head and military presses him, which is super impressive, and twice gets him in the “Cranium Crunch,” which involves squeezing Doink’s head and lifting him off his feet. That might actually feel good, like being in traction. When the ref gets knocked out, a second Doink climbs into the ring! He’s attacking Crush with a fake arm, a rehash of an earlier bit we saw in the flashbacks before this match. With Crush on the mat, both Doinks are doing the mirror image mime gag, which is fun. Bobby Heenan is trying to convince us that it’s an illusion (in reality, it’s Steve Keirn, aka Skinner from WrestleMania VIII, as Doink #2.) The ref wakes up just in time for Doink #1 to get the pin. OK, that was actually kinda fun. Please don’t call the police on me.

RS: Call the cops because you got a Doink fan right here (until he and his little Doinks challenge Jerry Lawler at Survivor Series.) Crush has ditched his leather bondage gear for a surfboard. The pre-match promo of Doink is clearly not that same dude who is in the flashback clip. Crush dominates most of this match, Doink is a great seller and an amazing heel. Not much going on except an illusion of a second Doink appears, knocks out Crush and the ref. Pretty amazing finish.

  • Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund

RS: I had no memory of Razor being around this early. But, he actually fought Bret Hart for the title at the Royal Rumble and that was a pretty decent match. This is Bob Backlund’s first WrestleMania. I’m honestly surprised he came back after he openly admits that he refused to drop the belt to Hogan ten or so years prior because Hogan didn’t have an amateur background. These two trade some shots and Backlund gets rolled in a small package by Razor for a surprise end. The real wrestler gets outwrestled.

Farmer’s market and khakis enthusiast, Bob Backlund

TH: Our first appearance of 90s WWE and WCW mainstay Scott Hall as Razor Ramon, who’s much hairier than I remember. Poor Bob Backlund looks like he wandered in from the New Balance store in the Caesars shopping mall. He doesn’t stand a chance. There’s a guy in the front row during this match who looks like he’s come from a mob meeting. Nothing much to say and Razor Ramon gets the easy win.

  • Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & Irwin R. Schyster) vs. The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake), with Jimmy Hart, WWF Tag Team Championship match

TH:  So I guess the WWF has finally given up and just paired Hogan with his clone (and Scott Valentine stand-in) Brutus Beefcake. Money Inc. seems like an unlikely pair — there’s no way the Million Dollar Man would be that cozy with a representative of the IRS. Unless perhaps it’s an elaborate ploy to avoid paying his fair share. Remember kids, the wealthy are our enemies. Hogan makes his entrance, sporting a swollen left eye. He claims he was attacked the previous night while leaving the gym, but it looks like pinkeye to me. That’s highly contagious; he probably shouldn’t be wrestling. Hulkster also looks considerably slimmed down here. Coincidentally (?) 1993 is the same year that Vince McMahon was brought up on federal charges for supplying steroids to his performers, so I wonder if Hulk was going au natural around this time? He’s also going on 40, so time is catching up to him. (WrestleMania X will be our first one without a Hulk Hogan appearance, so hang in for that!) Brutus is wearing a protective mask thanks to an earlier attack by Money Inc., which makes him look like the Ultimate Warrior. I think this may also be the first time we’ve seen Jimmy Hart as anything other than a heel manager, which is a fascinating switch.

Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and Irwin R. Schyster (IRS) as the tag team, "Money Inc."
Money Inc show off their ill-gotten gains

Oh right, the match. Money Inc. attacks before the bell, IRS using his gold briefcase (you know, like all government employees carry) as a weapon. When they start getting their asses whipped, DiBiase and IRS walk away from the match, intending to get themselves disqualified so they can lose the match while retaining the belts. But referee Earl Hebner has a surprise — he gives them to the count of ten to return to the ring or they will lose the match AND the belts! Hebner’s making up the rules! Money Inc. has no choice but to get back in. They express their frustration with lots of dirty tricks, choking their opponents with the tag rope, etc. There’s the usual comeback spot from Hogan, a “Hogan” chant from the crowd, the hot tag to Brutus, and I’m bored AF. The highlight is IRS selling the shots from Brutus really well. The ref gets knocked out (tough night for the refs!) and Brutus and Hogan both get pins on their men. (That’s overkill, guys.) Jimmy Hart reverses his coat to reveal ref stripes and does the count, 1-2-3. Hogan and Brutus celebrate, but something tells me this isn’t gonna be official. And here comes backup ref Danny Davis with the call… yep it’s a DQ and a loss for the Mega Maniacs, who aren’t too upset to hang around posing and flexing afterwards. Hulk keeps trying to leave the ring, but the fans want more, more, more. Some more bullshit, if you ask me. Or maybe this is the intermission entertainment? I prefer that lady who balances the noodle bowls on her head. Uh oh, it looks like IRS left his gold briefcase behind after the match, and the guys crack it open. This reminds me of the scene from Zoolander where Derek and Hansel try to operate the computer. “The files are in the computer.” The briefcase contains a brick (for weight, I guess), a pile of paperwork that I can only assume is Donald Trump’s tax returns, and an unspecified amount of cash, which Hogan and Brutus hand out to the front row. Mega Maniacs, men of the people, just like Robin Hood (the legendary archer, not the bullshit app that turned out to be a tool of real life Money Inc. bad guys.)

RS: Christ. HOGAN. He can’t stay away. But at least it’s nice to see DiBiase work. Hogan pulls a total heel move, using Brutus’s mask as a weapon then going for the pin while the ref is out. Luckily, Jimmy Hart’s coat is reversible into a ref’s stripes (Which WWF refs don’t wear at this point, we should point out.) Jimmy then beats up the actual ref and the crowd cheers as Hogan poses. #whiteprivilege

TH: Oh snap, it’s a Natalie Cole sighting! She didn’t get any of the money that the Mega Maniacs distributed. 😦 We also get a word from the CEO of Caesars Palace. Oh, he was the mobster looking guy we saw during the previous match! I take back what I said earlier.

RS: The consigliere of Caesars gives a refreshingly coherent interview for a casino owner. #notpolitical #totallypolitical

  • “The Narcissist” Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect
Lex Luger and Mr. Perfect in a staredown at WrestleMania IX
Lex Luger and Mr. Perfect try to figure out who’s more beautiful

RS: This is Lex’s first in-ring Mania. He’s still a heel narcissist, not an American hero. Luger is a specimen, for sure. He looks like how I imagine I look by the pool. At this point, Luger’s main conflict is him using a steel plate in his elbow (from a motorcycle accident) as a weapon to knock people out. Mr. Perfect gets a big pop as a face — I honestly don’t recall him ever being a face but here we are! They exchange arm bars on a low-key but impressive engagement. Luger telegraphs Perfect’s drop kick but it’s still good, fast action. I was never a Luger fan but he has a chance to win me over on this one. Perfect lands a devastating knee drop and goes to work on Luger’s leg. They are also landing some loud, stiff chops. This match has an old school feel, probably because they’re both NWA products. The sun is clearly blinding the audience on the far side of the ring. The match has a very old school ending with a reversed backslide and the ref ignoring Perfect’s legs on the ropes. 

TH: Mr. Perfect cuts a promo with a toga’ed Mean Gene, who for some reason adds an extra syllable to “athleticism” (“ath-a-leticism,” he says it twice!) Mr. Perfect is set to face The Narcissist, Lex Luger, who diabolically attacked Bret Hart the day of this show. Wait, is Mr. Perfect the babyface here? This is blowing my mind. He stumbles over Lex’s name twice then waves it off and heads for the ring. Four ring girls accompanying Luger to the ring give us the most T&A of any WrestleMania so far, while Macho Man and Bobby Heenan ham it up drooling over them. Lex disrobes and he’s a goddamn specimen. On cue the girls hold up mirrors so Lex can see himself, then the mirrors start shooting fireworks. WTF is even happening right now. The wind is blowing the sparks in the girls’ faces and I feel bad for them. Nobody’s hair is set on fire though, so I guess it’s fine. Mr. Perfect comes to the ring with just his towel and chewing gum, no manager or crazy accompaniment (no llamas). He’s ready to get it on. He’s so good, and so damn fast. When he runs the ropes he looks like a track star. Lex tries to get away with a pin with his feet on the ropes, but the ref catches him. Mr. Perfect nails Luger with a nice drop kick off the top rope. For the finish, Lex rolls Perfect over for the pin and gets the three count, even though Perfect’s feet are touching the ropes. Booo! After the bell, Lex cold cocks Perfect like a jerk. When he wakes up, Perfect goes looking for Luger and finds him backstage, but also finds Shawn Michaels (in some stellar 90s mom jeans), who jumps him and hits him with an assortment of objects in what may be our first hardcore moment of a WrestleMania!

  • The Undertaker, with Paul Bearer vs. Giant Gonzalez, with Harvey Wippleman

TH: Andre is gone, so it’s time for a new Giant. Gonzalez, aka El Gigante from WCW, is billed at eight feet tall, and I don’t have any reason to doubt him. What I do have reason to doubt, though, is the super weird Slim Goodbody suit which is printed with muscles all over and, for some reason, printed hair on the arms, shoulders, shins, and back. Fake hair is also printed on the crotch, but sadly not the butt crack. Disappointing. Even in broad daylight, Undertaker manages a cool entrance, using clouds of green smoke and riding on a funeral chariot with a live vulture on a perch for company. Those are some absolutely buff chariot pullers — I bet Vince tried to sign them. The vulture’s freaking out a bit and I feel bad for him. I hope they gave him some nice roadkill to puke on after this. Undertaker goes toe to toe at the start, showing that he’s not afraid of the Giant. He’s 6’10 and he’s absolutely dwarfed by Gonzalez. ‘Taker shrugs off two big blows from the Giant, then returns fire. The two get into dueling chokeholds, Undertaker climbing to the ropes to bring him up to Giant’s level. This is a bit of an awkward start — the Giant is working too slow and not quite keeping up with the pace Undertaker is setting, and they never really find their rhythm. ‘Taker makes a concerted effort and finally drops the Giant to one knee, but gets distracted by Harvey Wippleman, allowing the Giant to grab a rag, which we’re meant to believe is soaked in chloroform, and use it to choke out ‘Taker. The announcers can smell it ringside! They really want us to know the rag has chloroform on it, even though Macho Man can’t quite say the word. The bell rings and ‘Taker is out cold, presumably having chloroform-induced nightmares about the Giant in his skinsuit with the head of a vulture. Oh great, now I’m going to have nightmares about that too. There’s a group (A flock? A colony? An incompetence?) of referees in the ring to check on the Dead Man. Eventually they wrestle his bulk onto a gurney and wheel him out of the arena, while the audience, confusingly, chants for Hogan. Is this the dumbest crowd in the history of wrestling? It seems at least possible. Giant is still hanging out in the ring when Undertaker’s gong sounds! Here he comes, and man he is pissed. Paul Bearer is in pursuit, trying to keep his charge from getting back in the ring in his weakened state, but we can tell this isn’t gonna be good for the Giant. Undertaker dishes out three big clotheslines and the Giant finally drops to the mat, rolls out, and beats a retreat with Harvey Wippleman. The announcer let us know that the Giant has lost by disqualification, duh. That was some crazy stuff.

Giant Gonzalez breastfeeds Harvey Wippleman

RS: At this point, any time anything bad happens, the crowd chants for Hogan to show up to fix it because they’re the victims of 20 years of gaslighting. Gonzalez is such a weird concept. He is huge. The Undertaker is upping his entrance game, being pulled in a chariot with a pet vulture. It’s the start of his elaborate WrestleMania entrances (at the Summerslam in Wembley Stadium he arrived in a hearse.) This is an odd matchup because normally giants make a living by fighting smaller folks who over-sell every move. And, while the Undertaker is smaller, his whole gimmick is no-selling his opponents’ moves. Gonzalez is so tall his asshole lines up with the top rope. He’s so big everything looks awkward and made for children. Undertaker keeps getting up, no matter what. Hot take: he’s a Goth Hulk Hogan. Gonzalez has a towel with chloroform and yet isn’t disqualified? He turns on the ref who does an amazing sell of being rag dolled. Undertaker is stretchered out, then comes storming back out and the crowd wets itself. They finally announce that Giant Gonzalez is disqualified. What a weird ending.

  • Yokozuna, with Mr. Fuji vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart, WWF Championship match

TH: Here we go! I’m excited for this, especially after watching the WWE Icons documentary on Yokozuna. They start slow with a stare-down, Yokozuna doing his sumo stomp, raising the tension ever so slowly. Jesus, he is huge, and the idea to give him a sumo gimmick was a stroke of genius. Bret watches for a while then hits him with a flying dropkick with both feet. Yoko shoulder blocks Bret right out of the ring in return. From the floor, Hart ties Yoko’s feet up in the ropes and uses the opportunity to tip him over, then hits him with an elbow from the second turnbuckle. Yoko is back up and Bret lands two ineffective clotheslines, but then gets his clock cleaned with a brutal clothesline in return. Hot damn, the crowd goes nuts when Yoko winds up for that leg drop. Oh good, a U-S-A chant from the world’s dumbest crowd. Bret’s from Canada, you racist halfwits. Yoko lands an impressive reverse kick, then applies what JR calls the “Oriental nerve hold.” I’m not sure we can say that anymore. Yokozuna misses a corner splash, then Bret nails him with a pretty sweet bulldog from the second rope. Bret slams Yoko into the corner where the turnbuckle pad has been removed, then somehow hooks a sharpshooter on Yoko’s side of beef legs. He’s almost got the submission, but Fuji hits him in the eyes with the salt! Dastardly! Yoko gets the easy pin and the WWF Championship belt.

Yokozuna picks up Bret and prepares to slam him
Yokozuna takes Bret for a ride

RS: Yokozuna’s first WrestleMania! Earlier in his career, he was introduced from American Samoa, but now he is Japanese so it’s easier to say he’s foreign and therefore evil. Hogan cut a random promo to support Bret fighting Hogan:  “I don’t care who wins, whether it’s Bret or The Jap, I want the first challenge.” Thanks, xenophobe. Hogan wants the title to stay in America, but I guess he forgot that Bret is Canadian. An interesting thing they did for all of Yokozuna’s matches was to surround the ring with Asian photographers to make it seem like the Japanese press cared about him, giving him a feel of being world renown. It will be really interesting to see how Bret and Yoko work together. The WrestleMania ass-cam is back, giving Yokozuna a colonoscopy. Bret comes out hot but Yokozuna isn’t just big, he’s strong too. Bret is so creative, getting Yokozuna’s leg trapped in the ropes to take him down and keep him down but he just can’t keep control. Yokozuna gets such big reactions from the crowd, and rightfully so; his moves appear devastating. Hart and Yokozuna have what looks like an intentionally ugly tackle, giving a real desperate feel. Yokozuna is the only guy since Andre that makes the shoulder pinch (“[East Asian] nerve hold”) look legit painful. Yoko is an amazing seller. He also clearly has incredible control of his body. Bret gets the sharpshooter on Yoko’s massive legs. It’s so impressive. But, it’s in view of Mr Fuji who salts Bret’s eyes and Bret gets pinned.

  • Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna, with Mr. Fuji, WWF Championship match
Hogan explains to Mr. Fuji that he’s trying to reduce his salt intake #thisis40

TH: The show is over, but Hogan is in the ring to check on Bret and make the case to the ref that Mr. Fuji cheated. Fuji issues a challenge on behalf of Yoko to wrestle Hogan for the belt, right here and now. Bret tells Hulk to go for it; Hogan’s in the ring with Yoko now but no bell has sounded yet. Yokozuna grabs Hogan from behind and Fuji tries the salt trick again, but hits Yoko instead. Hogan drops Yoko with one shot (amazing sell!) and the pin and belt. JFC that was stupid. They never rang the bell — is this even official? There’s the theme song, the posing, and fireworks, of course. I guess Hogan is the champion once again. I’m not happy about this development. 

RS: FUCK HULK HOGAN.

Best Match

TH: I’m going to give this one to Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka. These two are great performers individually and work together really well. This one has some cool spots, and I liked the tension between the two female managers. I didn’t care for the weird countout finish, but I can live with it. Runner up for me would be Bret vs. Yokozuna, ruined somewhat by the stupid follow up match with Hogan, though that’s neither Bret nor Yokozuna’s fault.

RS: Bret vs. Yokozuna for me. I’m a mark for both of them and this match shows exactly why. According to Bret, Yokozuna actually cut about half of the match they had planned to do and skipped to the finish, which is why Fuji took so long with the salt. Even with half of a match, it was an amazing work and showed how amazing Yokozuna was and how great of a worker Bret was. We aren’t worthy of either of them. 

Worst Match

RS: FUCK HOGAN.

TH: You’ve gotta be doing something wrong to do worse than a Doink the Clown match, but that tag title match was hot garbage. An over-the-hill Hulk Hogan and a post-reconstructive-surgery Brutus Beefcake, a super dumb finish, and five minutes of posing in the middle of the card. What a crock.

Oh Sh!t Moment

Undertaker with a vulture on a perch, making their way to the ring for the match at WrestleMania IX
Sending positive vibes to the Undertaker’s vulture friend

TH: I legit said “Oh shit” when the Undertaker’s gong sounded and he came back out to wail on the Giant some more. Awesome moment. I hope that vulture from the beginning of the match is doing ok.

RS: Well, if it’s a Bullshit moment, fuck Hogan. But a general Oh Shit, I got great glee out of a second Doink. Geniuses, all of them.

Overall Rating

RS: 4 out of 5 if I had cut it off the moment Yokozuna raised the belt. But, with that heinous ending, and that garbage tag match, I’m dropping it to a 2.5. Hogan’s ego ruins this whole show for a fan like me, even though the crowd fucking jizzes all over itself whenever he appears. I probably would have too if I had been there. I honestly think that reaction was just because they got to see Hulk Hogan and you’re supposed to like him. It’s like today’s younger fans celebrating when Hogan shows up on Raw. Maybe their grandparents remember him in a positive light, but their parents would remember the horse shit ending to WrestleMania IX and boo the piss out of him. Have no fear though, Yokozuna whoops Hogan’s ass at the next event, the new King of the Ring, where one of those Japanese photographers burns Hogan’s eyes with a camera flash and Yoko capitalizes. Other nicks to the score include most of the matches being far too long and a general lack of feeling special outside of the Roman hedonistic theme. 

TH: 2.5 sounds about right. Tatanka vs. Shawn Michaels, Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Luger, the Headshrinkers vs. the Steiners, and Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna are legitimately good, maybe even great, matches. But goddamn, Hogan craps all over this thing. It will be nice to get to WrestleMania X, our first Hogan-less show. At this point he’s a houseguest who’s long overstayed his welcome. I’ll drive you to the airport myself, Hulk, but you gots to go.

In Memoriam

A special In Memoriam note for “Hacksaw” Butch Reed, aka “The Natural” Butch Reed, aka Bruce Franklin Reed, who died this weekend at age 66 due to heart complications. Born in Kansas CIty, MO, Reed played football for the Kansas City Chiefs before making his pro wrestling debut in 1978. He spent five years in NWA and its various promotions in St. Louis, Florida, and Georgia, then made the move to Mid-South Wrestling in 1986, where he feuded with the other Hacksaw, Jim Duggan, over their shared moniker. He spent 1986 to 1988 with the WWF, where he wrestled as “The Natural” and appeared in WrestleManias III and IV. Post-WWF, Reed performed with Jim Crockett Promotions, the NWA, and a variety of independents.

Paul Bearer, d. 2013

Matt Borne (Doink the Clown), d. 2013

Diahann Carroll, d. 2019

Crush, d. 2007

Natalie Cole, d. 2015

Howard Finkel (Finkus Maximus), d. 2020

Mr. Fuji, d. 2016

Giant Gonzalez, d. 2010

Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, d. 2017

Joey Marella (referee), d. 1994

“Sensational” Sherri Martel, d. 2007

Gorilla Monsoon, d. 1999

Mr. Perfect, d. 2003

“Mean” Gene Okerlund, d. 2020

Randy “Macho Man” Savage, d. 2011

Luna Vachon, d. 2010

Yokozuna, d. 2000

RIP, Hacksaw Butch Reed, 1954-2021

4 thoughts on “WrestleMania IX

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