He’s Gotta Be A Man, He Can’t Let It Slide
WrestleMania 9 was held on April 4th, 1993 at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. It had an attendance of 16,891 and is so hard to write about that the Wikipedia entry for the event reads, “The buildup to the pay-per-view consisted of feuds scripted by the WWF’s writers, and the matches that took place at the event had pre-determined outcomes that had been decided by the promotion.”
Get out of town!
WrestleMania 9 had writers, and matches that the writers wrote? My mind is f—king blown. I don’t know how to handle this. You’ve shattered my existence, Wikipedia editor.
Snarkiness aside, this really is hard to write about. It did have possibly the best onscreen personalities ever in charge of a WrestleMania with Macho Man Randy Savage, Jim Ross, and Bobby The Brain Heenan handling the commentating, while Gorilla Monsoon hosted. That was a welcome treat in the face of all of the lackluster wrestling going on during this showcase of dudes who might live slightly longer lives. Nothing befitting the tag of “immortal” happened on April 4th that year. Nothing at all.
The event started with Tito Santana and Papa Shango going toe to toe. Tito is one of those guys who belong in the greatest Intercontinental Champion holder of all time conversation, but it’s because of how talented a wrestler he was. However, unfortunately, sitting and watching a guy command a ring with solid technical wrestling can be boring as all hell. It helps to have the personality to get over even further, but Tito never really did. On the other hand, his opponent, Papa Shango was all personality and a weird, always short-lived style.
He couldn’t go more than ten minutes. Off topic, but interesting: Papa Shango would later go on to become the conductor of the HOOOOOOOE TRAIN, The Godfather.
After Shango and Santana, it was time for Tatanka versus The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. Tatanka had that rousing music and personality, and wrestling ability to match, so putting him in the ring with HBK made for a solid match. It’s the shiny pearl among the dark black coal that is this card.
Warning: If you’re looking for a wrestling show with great wrestling, you should look elsewhere. This is all spectacle and it’s quite laughable at times.
We got one more match worth at least a watch before things started to fall apart: The Steiner Brothers vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu). The Steiner Brothers are one of the greatest tag teams in the history of the business, and The Headshrinkers were one of the toughest. The ensuing match got the third most time on the show at fourteen minutes and twenty two seconds.
Next was Doink The Clown vs. Crush. Boy, is this a classic. Doink used comic book villain worthy subterfuge and theatricality to pick up the win. He had a second man dressed as Doink appear and take out Crush, so the first Doink could get the victory. Cool, the clown beat the big guy. Thank God I was five and not watching wrestling at the time.
After Doink’s time to shine, the stage was set for Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon. I’ve written about my respect for Scott Hall, and I don’t want to be one of those young guys who tries to challenge the old guard, but why the hell was Bob Backlund ever the Heavyweight Champion at all, let alone for like twelve years. The man was so incredibly boring. I guess it worked for him as a heel to be so painfully boring, but always win. Nobody could beat him for years. That was not the case here, though, as Razor Ramon dispatched of the master of The Cross Face Chicken Wing in less than four minutes.
Next up was what should have been the end of Hulk Hogan’s involvement in the show. It should have just been this match where he was partnered with Brutus The Barber Beefcake in The Mega-Maniacs to take on Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster). They lost, allowing The Million Dollar Man and I.R.S to retain their Tag Team Championship Titles. That should have been it, but as I’ve written about before, The Hulkster was the master of backstage politicking.
We’ll get to that later. First, we have Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect and The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez to talk about. Well, the first one was all right. You’d be hard pressed to find a bad match with Curt Hennig. The same cannot be said about Luger, however. He has had more than a few, and he was still young here, not truly in control of his style. The end result was, as I’ve already said, alright. That’s really all I can say about it.
Undertaker versus Giant Gonzalez is a different story. That was a colossal failure. I understand it. Look at the size of Gonzalez. He was a true monster. In theory, the idea of putting him in a program with The Undertaker is solid. The execution was much less than that. It was a bumbling beast being taken down by a chloroform rag. That’s it. That was the end result. Taker took him out with a rag.
The Main Event of the evening was Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna. At least, that’s what it was supposed to be. The two put on a great match, considering how limited they were, given the size of Yoko. A man of that weight does not contain a tremendous amount of stamina. He was only able to go just under nine minutes before the planned finish, which was Yokozuna’s manager Mr. Fuji throwing salt in Bret Hart’s eyes as he applied The Sharpshooter to Yoko, enabling the monster to get the pin on The Hitman and win Bret’s WWE Championship.
This is when “concerned friend” Hulk Hogan came out to check on his buddy Bret The Hitman Hart. The first step was covered: they hurt Hogan’s friend. Then they challenged him to a match for the Championship right there at WrestleMania, claiming him to be too chicken to take it. They hurt his pride, and by God, he had to be a man, he couldn’t let it slide. Twenty-two seconds later, Hulk Hogan was WWE Champion again.
The rest is history.