When I was younger, I remember thinking this Wrestlemania was fantastic. Will it hold up all these years later?
1. Intercontinental Championship Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka
Shawn Michaels debuts another Wrestlemania, this time against the lazily racist caricature that is Tatanka. As usual, Sherri is hovering by ringside, watching him wrestle, but not actually in his corner. That interaction has been going on for like a year now.
Shawn Michaels does his usual bit here – petulant complaining to the ref and over-the-top falls when he sells moves. It’s a fun match.
…or so I thought. 22 goddamn agonizing minutes later and my enthusiasm has waned. Opening matches should be quick and high energy to get the crowd immediately excited.
On the mic, Bobby Heenan and Macho Man say what we’re all thinking:
Macho Man: “This match should have been over by now”
Bobby Heenan:”It should have been over 30 moves ago”
Michaels barely touches the ref outside the ring and gets counted out or something? It’s out of nowhere and it’s a crappy ending
Overall: Not a great start. Horrible booking
2. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) vs. The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu)
Hoo boy. Let’s get this over with. Macho Man is more optimistic than me and says “This should be a great match. Even better than the last one”
Scott and Fatu start in the ring and exchange some blows. Scott gives Fatu a clotheline, which announcer Jim Ross calls a “Steiner Line”. I am briefly entertained by the thought that every move they do will be re-branded by Jim Ross to be Steiner-related. An arm bar will become a Stein-bar. A chin lock will be a Rick Lock. A suplex will be a Stein-plex.
I am honestly not sure if Fatu fucked up there or not. Generally the way that move works, you drop the guy on the top rope, not launch him right over the top. Macho Man and Jim Ross actually comment on that for the next couple of minutes.
After that move, Scott is a destroyed mess and the Headshrinkers just lay on a pounding. Eventually Scott makes the tag and Rick gets to play the hero rescue role. Jim Ross refers to Rick Steiner as Dog Face, which is great. Why not just call him “Fuc’t brow” or “Sea Monster”?
While I’m making jokes, Fatu puts Rick on his shoulders and when Samu goes for the clothesline, Rick catches him (on another guys shoulders) and power slams him. It’s a very unexpected and very cool move.
Fresh on the heels of that, Scott hits a Frankensteiner and the match is over.
Overall: Not a horrible match. It had 3 huge moves that were great
3. Doink the Clown vs. Crush
Look gang! It’s Doink the Clown – in his SECOND Wrestlemania. What’s that? When was his first? Glad you asked, hypothetical reader who talks to his computer. He was in the very first Wrestlemania against Ricky Steamboat!
There is nothing spectacular to recap in this match. Neither wrestler is that good, the moves are all telegraphed and clumsy and neither character is that interesting.
The ref gets knocked down, Doink gets knocked out of the ring and in the confusion a 2nd Doink comes out from under the apron. The 2nd Doink interferes, clobbers Crush, it’s the dumbest thing I’ve seen and who cares. Who. Cares.
Overall: Two Doinks!
4. Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
Yep. This is an actual Wrestlemania match. Ramon, ostensibly the heel, comes out to a huge pop, Bob Backlund comes out to what can best be classified as polite indifference. The WWE has always been a little tone deaf when it comes to who the fans like.
I wish there was something entertaining to say about this match. Bob Backlund goes on a tiny amount of offence and the crowd is stone cold silent. Out of nowhere, Ramon hits a small package and gets the win
Overall: That was garbage
5. Tag Team Championship Match: Money Inc (Ted Dibiase and IRS) vs. The Mega
Friends Powers Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake)
Money incorporated put their belts on the line in the second title defense of the night. Hogan and Beefcake are sporting a black eye and stupid face mask, respectively
In real life, Hogan had been in a jet ski accident. They worked the injury into the match by saying Money Inc attacked him in the dressing room backstage.
At this point of his career, Hogan has given up any pretense of actual wrestling and is just throwing haymakers. Even Macho points out “not many wrestling holds from the Hulkster”
Halfway through the match, Money Inc decides to bail on the match and go back to the dressing room. Taking the mic, the ref lets them know that (contrary to the actual rules of WWE) “If Money Inc does not return to the ring, they will forfeit the belt”.
I think every professional sport would be improved if the ref had the ability to alter the rules of the game on the fly.
The match continues and Ted Dibiase makes the cardinal mistake of putting Hogan in a choke hold. Really surprisingly, Hogan doesn’t Hulk The Fuck Out. Beefcake comes in and clears house, but Money Inc. regains the advantage.
Money Inc. takes off Beefcakes mask and start punching him in the face. Beefcake oversells every punch and I guess the gist is that his face bones are really soft and squishy now? Because he’s healing or something?
Hogan gets the tag and then a bunch of weird things happen. The ref is knocked out, Hogan hits Money Inc with the “titanium” face mask, the Mega Maniacs collectively pin Money Inc, Jimmy Hart reverses his jacket so it’s a referee stripes and then counts for the 3. A new ref comes out and says Money Inc is disqualified so they keep the belts.
Overall: I think this match might have been the high point of this PPV which is really unfortunate
6. Mr. Perfect vs. Lex Lugar
The match hasn’t started and I’m already disappointed. I’m pretty sure Perfect is going to put Lugar over. Poor Mr Perfect. He deserves better.
Lugar was still doing his “Narcissist” bit at this point so we are treated to 5 minutes of posing
At the start of the match, Macho Man calls Bobby Heenan “Camel breath”. I have no idea what that insult means in this context. Normally, that’s something Jesse Ventura would say to the Iron Sheik or something. It’s completely random. Why not call him “Panda breath” or “Unicorn Breath”?
Macho and Heenan basically bicker for the whole match. They barely call the action. I’m not sure if this is a bit or if they are genuinely irritated with each other.
More wresting continues in the background. It’s pretty routine stuff, nothing that great. Perfect is having trouble dragging a math out of Lugar.
It ends when Lugar reverses a back… slide… flip-pin?
Overall: This Wrestlemania is just dragging on and on
7. Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez
I have almost nothing to say about this match
Gonzalez is as much a wrestler as I am. He quite obviously has no idea what he’s doing. This entire match is a farce. The whole thing is punch after punch.
It ends when Gonzalez chloroforms The Undertaker. Sure. Why the fuck not.
The booking in this event was abysmal. There were so few clean wins. We now have 7 matches and 3 disqualifications, 2 suspicious endings and 1 clean pin. Fuck you, Wrestlemania IX.
Overall: I love the Undertaker, but this was embarrassing
8. Heavyweight Championship Match: Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna
Did I say embarrassing? I forgot about this travesty of a match. Rather than bother with a recap, I’ll just let Bret Hart tell you about it
“On April 2, 1993, [I] went to my room just in time to answer a call from Vince, who asked me to come to his suite to talk.I knocked on his door and he answered it with that goofy grin. We sat down, and Vince said, “This is what I want to do. I want you to drop the belt to Yoko tomorrow.”
This was not what I had expected. I sat there dumbstruck as he went on to explain how Fuji would screw me by throwing salt in my face, blinding me. After Yoko was handed the belt, Hogan would rush to my aid and in some kind of roundabout way Hogan would end up winning the belt from Yoko right then and there!
Like I was handing Vince my sword, I told him I appreciated everything he did for me and I’d do whatever he wanted. Vince said, “Don’t get bitter. I still have big plans for you.” Sound bites flashed through my mind of Vince assuring me that I was the long-term champion, and not to worry about Hogan, who still hadn’t even spoken to me yet.
As I stood up to leave, I asked, “Did you take the belt from me because I didn’t do a good enough job?”
“Of course not! I’m just going in a different direction. It’s still onwards and upwards for you. Nothing is going to change too much for you.”
I was totally crushed
As I lay in bed that night, the more I thought about what Vince had in mind for Hogan, the more I felt that it would completely backfire on both of them. The hokey finish would stink, maybe not immediately, but in the weeks to come my fans, who were the biggest contingent in Vince’s paying audience at that time, would gag on it. There was something different about my fans. They really believed in me as a person.
By the time I got to the dressing room the following afternoon, word that I was losing the title had leaked out to the boys. Most of them were quiet and some were angry. The Nasty Boys, Shawn, Taker and several others expressed their utter disappointment. Knowing I was losing the belt didn’t stop me from planning on having a great match. I went over everything with Yoko and designed the match so that all the best moves were left for the final minute.
Hulk arrived with his entourage: his wife, manager, Beefcake and Jimmy Hart. Clearly he’d been in the know all along, probably from the first day he came back. Now he was suddenly acting like my long-lost old pal and wearing a big smile that rightfully belonged to me.”
Overall: This match was garbage and this was a terrible event