Full disclosure, this was my 1st Wrestlemania that I watched live as a kid. I’ll try not to be biased.
First off, we start with the location of Caesar’s Place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Attendance was 16,891. It was the first outside Wrestlemania. They transformed the parking lot into their own Roman Coliseum. Everyone was wearing Togas – even the Announcers. It was Jim Ross’ first WWE appearance. (Let that sink in, Imagine Tom Phillips calling Wrestlemania out of the gate) They went all out including Finkus Maximus and Gorilla Monsoon looking more than ridiculous in their Togas. I will say one of the brightest spots of the opening to Wrestlemania 9 is Bobby Heenan riding backwards on a camel. To this day it makes me giggle and I remember it fondly. Bobby was – and always will be – a genius.
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The opener was Shawn Michaels w/ Luna defending the IC title vs. The Undefeated Tatanka w/ Sherri. This went 18:13 and it showcased one thing: the athleticism of Shawn Michaels. The man went out of his way to make this match decent. Jumping off the top rope into an arm drag, a sunset flip from the top, and aerial maneuvers a plenty! The match was well paced and a decent open. The crowd surprisingly was really behind Sherri Martel. Match ends with HBK unable to return to the ring and Tatanka keeps his undefeated streak alive, but no title change. This match was good, but having a count out finish start off Wrestlemania really seemed like a bad idea. (Grade: B-)
The Steiners Beat the Head Shrinkers in 14:22.
The next match is the Holy Shit match. You should go out of your way to watch simply for the fact that the they do some of the most dangerous stuff I’ve ever seen. Moves like a both Steiners jumping off the top next to each other to deliver clotheslines, Rick Steiner is put in a doomsday device only to catch Samu and turn it into a powerslam on Fatu’s shoulders, and a move that still haunt’s my dreams. I’m talking about an innocent flapjack that was going to ring Scott Steiner’s neck on the top rope, but Fatu decides to pull the top rope down. Scott goes head first to the floor! It’s horrifyingly amazing! I thought he was dead. It’s dangerous beyond most things in the WWF. Anyway, Steiners fight back and Scott throws out a Frankensteiner for the win. (Grade:B -)
Mean Gene has a quick Doink promo where they recap the feud with Crush.
Note: Matt Bourne as Doink was amazing at promos. It really shined here. Now to the match. . .
Doink beats Crush in 8:28. Not a lot happens in this match. To be up front, I’ve never seen the appeal of Crush. It’s an overall pretty shitty contest EXCEPT FOR THE ENDING! After our first Ref bump of the evening a second Doink emerges while Crush has the original Doink in the Cranium Crush. The Second Doink smashes a prosthetic arm over Crush’s head. Then they do the seeing double mirror gimmick that I loved so much than, and I appreciate much more now. Doink wins by pinfall. A shitty match indeed, but all I will remember was the finish because it was perfect for the character. They even went further after the match to have a second ref (Fonzy) come down to try and switch the decision. They looked underneath the ring to find NO DOINK! Was it a mirage? Was it real? It worked. The story was better than the match. (Grade: D+)
The headscratcher of the night is our next match.
A heel Razor Ramon beats Bob Backlund in 3:45 with A FUCKING ROLL UP. If you listen to the Jobber Knocker or know me personally you know I hate roll ups. Overdone. Not used properly. Unoriginal.
Anyway. . . the only thing to note here. A heel Razor was being cheered because no one knows WHO THE FUCK BOB BACKLUND IS! (Grade: F)
A quick Money Inc. Promo is next. They have to explain how Hogan got his black eye last night for storyline purposes. If you believe the Legend, Macho Man popped Hogan because he thought Hogan was sleeping with Elizabeth. Scandalous, I know! Officials say it was a jet ski accident.
Money Inc. defeats the MegaManiacs by DQ to retain the WWF Tag Team titles in 18:27. Now that’s just match time folks. This thing started long and ended long. The beginning is very odd to me. With Hulk’s music still playing Beefcake and Hogan start beating up Money Inc. and throwin them out of the ring so HOGAN CAN POSE! We get it. It’s just an odd choice to do it right out of the gate. This is every Hogan match you’ve ever seen. Something to note: A lot more cheating occurs from the baby faces than the heels. It makes little sense and done for no reason. Of course, its SCHMOZE TIME! Beefcake’s mask comes off and Brutus puts The Million Dollar man in a sleeper and we have THE SECOND ref bump of the night. Jimmy Hart turns his jacket inside out to reveal ref stripes and counts the 3. They celebrate, ref comes to and the second ref Danny Davis says Hulk smash people with Beefcake’s mask and DQs the Megamaniacs because WHY NOT! And then Beefcake, Hogan, and Jimmy Hart celebrate forever and throw actual money to the crowd. Fuck this shit! (Grade: F)
This match was awful from beginning to end. You could see Hogan already losing a step going through the motions. He didn’t care, time as a baby face had passed him by. I’ve never been a Beefcake fan so this was one I would like to forget. We have two ref bumps already in the same night. This shows a lack of creativity and quite frankly makes this night feel like we aren’t going to get ANYTHING WE WANT!
Quick babyface Mr. Perfect promo. Dude is lucky this week. He won money at the tables and got a hole in one! (Let’s not downplay how hard that is folks.) He’s gonna beat The Narcissist.
Lex Luger beat Mr. Perfect in 10:56. Lex had an amazing entrance with some scantly clad women holding mirrors that shot fireworks out. Perfect got a big pop. Match was all Perfect. He did what he could, but really Luger wasn’t up to snuff. Although this was mostly a meh kind of match. The finish and aftermath was so great. The finish came when Luger does a backslide (another pinning combo. Seriously guys?) However, Perfect’s feet were on caught on the second rope. I dug it! An otherwise pedestrian finish with a tweak made it fun! After the match Lex hits the running elbow on Perfect. Remember folks, Luger has a steel plate in his elbow! Perfect is knocked out… well, for the moment and then rushes to the back to fight Luger. They battle backstage but Shawn Michaels in there with Lex and HBK goes after Perfect! They battle in cardboard boxes. Overall, the match could have been something, but it was nothing. (Grade: D+)
Now to the portion of the event we all wish we could forget.
The Undertaker beats Giant Gonzalez by DQ in 7:33. The Undertaker has a great entrance with a chariot and a Vulture. That’s probably the highlight. This is the NO SELL match of the night. No one sells a damn thing until the finish. Managers get involved The Giant gets a towel with Chloroform on it. (How do you know, Jim Ross?) And The Undertaker gets smothered while the ref (Fonzy) takes fucking forever to DQ the Giant. YEESH! The Undertaker gets carried out on a stretcher while Giant just beats up refs and officials. But The Undertaker comes backs to beat up the Giant. YAY! Who cares? Serious a contender for WORST. WRESTLEMANIA. MATCH. EVER. (Grade F – )
You feel for The Undertaker especially knowing what he’s capable of. This entire night so far has been non finishes, schmozes, or just down right stupid. It’s really no wonder people hate this thing. It can’t get any worse, right?
Quick Hogan promo slightly putting over Bret Hart, but really saying I’m challenging the winner. We get it Terry, you’re a draw!
Main Event! Yokozuna beats Bret Hart to win the WWF Championship in 8:55. THE MAIN EVENT IS 8 minutes and 55 seconds. Are you fucking kidding me!? There’s actually a story to this match they show of Yoko’s size and Bret has to fight from underneath. Yoko seems like he didn’t come to play during this match. He’s on his back, he’s doing rest holds, and falling all over the place. You could tell Bret worked his ass off, but the crowd didn’t care. The top turnbuckle comes undone and Bret smash’s Yoko’s face in it. (No DQ on this one? I don’t get it) Bret puts Yoko in the sharpshooter. Fuji takes fucking forever for to get the sand to throw in Bret’s face. It makes Bret look like shit. Yoko doesn’t even hit a move he just covers Bret. What a piece a hot garbage this was. (Grade: D-)
Now here comes the real bullshit that everyone remembers. Hogan comes out to tell the ref what happens. He tries to help Bret to the back, Yoko and Mr. Fuji challenge Hogan for the Championship right here right now. Like a fool Bret Hart says “Ya, go ahead my good friend Terry, who I’ve never interacted with before. Go avenge me!” Hogan drops Bret right away, goes into the ring, gets tied up with Yoko, ducks the sand, hits a clothesline, the big leg, and get the pin 1,2,3! Hogan becomes the new WWF Champion in 22 secs. WHAT THE FUCK. So much for the New Generation.
Let’s think about this there’s no way Bret Hart got the back before Hogan became champ. This is Hulk Hogan in a nutshell. I get that there was an overseas tour, and they wanted Hogan to be Champion. But not like this folks. Vince goes out of his way to start the New Generation, only to have their face of the company lose to a dominate guy in a shitty main event. That’s fine, I can deal with that. But then you take the guy you’ve been building the UNBEATABLE Yokozuna. He loses in 22 secs! You just killed all the credibility to your main event scene to make a business decision. It sent the WWE back for a long time.
Overall, there’s a lot of hate for this PPV and with good reason. There we two DQs, a count out, quick/cheap victories for Yokozuna, Luger, and Razor. The actual wins that happened didn’t really matter. In a world were we are told this is where legacies are cemented, boy was this one the drizzling shits!