wrestling / Video Reviews

Kevin’s RetrospectiveMania Series: WrestleMania IX

July 12, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 9 LOL
WWF WrestleMania IX
April 4th, 1993 | Caesar’s Palace in Paradise, Nevada | Attendance: 16,891


I’d say this is the earliest WrestleMania that I remember from my childhood. The company was in a transition period of sorts and the “New Generation” era was beginning, but you’ll find that some stuff on this night held it back. A notable note for this event was that it was the first outdoor WrestleMania. I will go in by warning readers. I watched this for an old podcast I did a few years back and it was pretty terrible. We’ll see if that remains my opinion.

Where will it rank among the rest of the WrestleManias so far? We’ll find out here. As a reminder, I’m reliving these WrestleManias and rating them on a 1-10 scale in these seven categories. They’ll be ranked by their total score.

I’ve enjoyed these so much that I’ll be doing more. Once the WrestleMania series is over, you can head over to patreon.com/the_kevstaaa for a new series. Becoming a Gold Tier member means you can help choose what the series will be! You’ll also get access to exclusive reviews, previews, top ten lists, and analysis of wrestling, film, and television.

• Match quality – Self-explanatory. Will always be the longest section.
• Memorability – How memorable is the show?
• Historical significance – The impact the show had on wrestling
• Booking decisions – Did the event have logical booking decisions for the stories they told
• Presentation – Things like stage setup, video packages, commentary, etc.
• Pacing/Flow – How well is the show laid out? Does it drag or move along smoothly?
• Entertainment – The non-wrestling elements like promos, celebrity interaction, concerts, etc.

Match Quality


El Matador vs. Papa Shango ~ An added bonus! The WWE Network uploaded this dark match to the Hidden Gems section, so I figured I’d check it out and include it as part of this series. An interesting note is that Jim Ross did commentary for this alone. We even got to hear him acknowledge Bruce Pritchard in his headset. Another note is that this makes Tito the only guy besides Hulk Hogan to compete at every Mania to this point. Anyway, this was a simple case of a big heel against an underdog babyface. It’s a basic formula but it often works. After getting dumped outside, Santana fought back but missed the flying forearm. JR said, “Bruce will tell me what that’s called later because I don’t know.” Shango missed an elbow and Tito got the three in 7:40. Better than expected. [**¼]


WWF Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels [c] vs. Tatanka ~ Pairing Shawn Michaels with Luna Vachon made no sense. Shawn looked like he wanted no part of her. She was basically there to be a foil to Sherri, who was out with Tatanka for this match. Lots of stalling from Shawn at the start. Once it got going, the action worked. Tatanka catching a leaping Shawn into an arm drag was great. He put his focus on the arm and went to the armbar a ton. You could tell he knew he had to work a while and didn’t have enough to make a compelling match last that long. There were some really good ideas in here, but they weren’t ready to nearly go 20 minutes. The finish was terrible. As Shawn Michaels was about to get counted out, he pulled the referee to the outside. Once bac in, the referee waited until Tatanka hit his finisher to tap him on the shoulder and signal for a DQ at 18:13. A wildly average match with one of the worst finishes ever. Cut this down to around 10 minutes and give it a better ending (even if it’s just a more sensible DQ) and you’ve got something good. [**¼]

The Headshrinkers vs. The Steiner Brothers ~ We’re a few minutes into JR’s run and he’s already busted out “slobberknocker.” The Steiners were awesome and the Headshrinkers always felt underrated to me. This was hard hitting from bell to bell. The Steiners had control until a shot with a kendo stick on Scott outside. That’s not a weapon I remember being used much in this era. They did a good job isolating Scott and building to the hot tag for Rick. The heat segment did last a bit too long for the offense the Headshrinkers were throwing out there. It had some good moments but dragged at points. Rick’s hot tag stalled when he tried headbutting the Samoans. That’s like, Wrestling 101 dude. The highlights came late with Rick countering a Doomsday Device into a huge powerslam and a Frankensteiner that nearly killed Samu. That ended it in 14:22. More time than I expected. I’ve always liked this match for the good action throughout. [***¼]


Crush vs. Doink ~ Somehow, Crush wore a brighter outfit than the clown. I love 1993 Doink. Matt Borne was doing great work as the evil clown. This feud wasn’t all that but he made it work well enough. The idea here was that Crush was way more powerful, but Doink was cunning and used that to his advantage. Following a ref bump, a second Doink appeared and nailed Crush with a prosthetic arm (fitting of the storyline coming into the match). After a cool mirror standoff, the real Doink pinned Crush at the 8:28 mark. Somehow, this still went too long. Crush was hella boring. This gets points for Doink being Doink. [*¼]

Bob Backlund vs. Razor Ramon ~ Razor Ramon has been booked like a big deal since arriving in the WWF. Bob Backlund had no theme music and was trying for a comeback. Not exactly a “new generation” guy. Razor was cocky throughout and I fully expected it to cost him. Backlund got going a bit with some 1970s offense, but was caught with an inside cradle to lose in 3:43. Weird match. The finish didn’t make sense. Razor dominated and then wins on a fluke? [¼*]


WWF Tag Team Championship: Money Inc. [c] vs. The Mega Maniacs ~ For those who don’t recall, the Mega Maniacs were Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. Hogan came in with a black eye, next to no muscle definition, and he got a lukewarm reaction. Yikes. Hogan did get a better reaction for his mild tag during the match. Beefcake sported a red and yellow mask that could’ve influenced the one worn by the Undertaker in 1995. The reason Hogan’s tag wasn’t hot is because the faces never felt like they were in peril here. They were booked like the superior team throughout and we weren’t given a reason to sympathize with them. The referee stopped the champs from walking out like last year and threatened to hand the tiles over. I wish he didn’t because it meant the match had to continue. I swear I counted about seven different sleeper holds in this one. After a ref bump, awful babyface Hogan knocked out the champs with Beefcake’s protective mask and Jimmy Hart counted three for them. Of course, a second ref came out as they celebrated like they somehow counted and rightfully DQed Hogan in 18:27. Overly long, boring as hell, and with a terrible finish. A dire match. [DUD]

The Narcissist vs. Mr. Perfect ~ Mr. Perfect was on quite the roll as a red hot babyface coming into this show, while Luger was doing pretty well as a heel. I think Narcissist fit him way better than the AMERICAN HERO he played later in the year. This match followed the trend of the night by being kind of boring. It had more going for it than most, with Perfect bumping like a madman for Luger. When Perfect got on offense, the pace quickened but it still never felt like it got out of first gear. Perfect nearly had the match won, but Luger got his feet on the ropes. They battled over a backslide and Luger used the ropes to block. He used his own backslide to win in 10:56. A disappointing contest that never really got going. [*¾]


Giant Gonzalez vs. The Undertaker ~ I don’t even want to spend too much time here. Whatever you’ve heard about this match, I promise you that it’s somehow worse. I don’t mind the novelty of two big guys going at it. It can be fun at times. This was two dudes plodding around the ring doing a whole bunch of nothing. Gonzalez’s attempts to sell were hilariously bad and his offense was awful. And then came another shitty finish, as Gonzalez used a cloth with chloroform to subdue Taker and get disqualified in 7:33. Yes, Undertaker’s great Mania record has a cheap DQ win. One of the worst matches in WrestleMania history. Our first foray into negative territory. [-****½]

WWF Championship: Bret Hart [c] vs. Yokozuna ~ I’ve fantasy booked this card often. I usually go with Hart beating Savage in the main event and Hogan going over Yokozuna in a novelty match as the semi-main event. Shoutout to Bret Hart. Dude was doing everything in his power to get something watchable out of Yokozuna. He came out with a smart game plan, only to get pummeled by his larger opponent. The dumbass fans chanted “USA” as a kayfabe Japanese wrestler faced a legit Canadian. Yokozuna’s offense just didn’t look convincing and it held this back from being anything worth checking out. Bret still found a way to apply the Sharpshooter, but Mr. Fuji threw salt in his eyes and Yokozuna covered to win the title in 8:35. Bret jobbed to salt. He made the match at least somewhat decent. [**]


WWF Championship: Yokozuna [c] vs. Hulk Hogan ~ After Hulk Hogan showed up to steal the spotlight, Mr. Fuji offered to have Yokozuna face him and put the title on the line. For no reason. Bret told Hogan to go and the match was on. Fuji accidentally tossed the salt into Yokozuna’s eyes and Hogan won with the Leg Drop in 0:21. Not a match but more on the trash booking later. [NR]

Arguably the worst Mania so far from an in-ring standpoint. Mania I and IV both scored 2.5. IV had an excuse of cramming in a ton of matches and neither had anything go into negative territory. This show had Undertaker/Gonzalez, which was god awful. The Steiners tag was the best thing on the show and that capped out at “good.” There were a handful of ** matches and those were all lackluster and disappointing. And then there was the really unwatchable stuff.

SCORE: 2.5

 


 

Memorability

 


Here’s a show that is memorable, even if it isn’t always for the best of reasons. We all remember Hulk Hogan’s hijacking of the end of this show, Luger’s entrance, Bobby Heenan’s arrival on a camel, and the train wreck that is Giant Gonzalez vs. The Undertaker. My most fond memory of the show is the mirror Doink spot because I think it’s kind of cool. So while the memories aren’t all positive, I do think a lot of this show sticks out so I’ll score it down the middle.

SCORE: 5.0

 


 

Historical Significance

 


While it isn’t a good show, WrestleMania IX was notable for a handful of historic reasons. For one, it marked the first outdoor Mania. For another, it gave us the debut of one of the company’s biggest commentators ever in Jim Ross. This was the first time that the WWF Title changed hands twice in one night and marked the third time Hogan won the title at a WrestleMania. I think that’s more than enough to allow this section to get an above average total.

SCORE: 6.5

 


 

Booking Decisions

 


Regardless of how bad the match quality was, this is the show’s worst part. It’s a problem when your three title matches all have bad finishes. One was a DQ, another made no sense and came off awkwardly, and then your WWF Title match ended when the champion jobbed to salt. Undertaker won by DQ. The Narcissist won a match that didn’t have a clean finish. That was a trend of the night. Even when the right guy won, like Razor Ramon, it was done in a way that didn’t help him. And then Hulk Hogan came in and closed the show as the conquering “hero” in a way that put a damper on the entire event. At least the Steiner Brothers won clean.

SCORE: 1.0

 


 

Presentation

 


I think outdoor wrestling events look pretty sweet. Even without a massive stadium attendance, this show just looked cool. I think putting the announcers and such in togas was a cheesy move, but it helped make the show unique. No other WrestleMania looks anything like this, and I like that. The new commentary team mostly worked. Bobby Heenan continued to deliver, Jim Ross was solid, and I’ve always liked Macho Man in the booth. All in all, I think this section turned out better than expected.

SCORE: 6.0

 


 

Pacing/Flow

 


For the most part, this show moved along briskly. It did struggle early, as it took forever to get started. They introduced the announcers and had some extra fluff before we even got to the first match. On the flip side, it helped that this was a short WrestleMania, clocking in at just under two hours and 45 minutes. However, it does drag during the Tag Team Title and Undertaker matches. So it’s short, but does feel long at points.

SCORE: 6.0

 


 

Entertainment

 


This section got off to a bad start. They opened with a Caesar and Cleopatra segment that made sense for the setting. However, it was weird, didn’t get a good reaction, and went too long. I did appreciate the entrance of Bobby Heenan on the camel. It was funny. But then the promos for most guys came along and they didn’t’ work. Hogan said nothing of note, Mr. Perfect had a rare flub in his, and Todd Pettengil had an offensive segment with some Japanese photographers. With no celebrity involvement, this show also didn’t feel all that special.

SCORE: 5.0

 


 

Overall

 


From a wrestling standpoint, this show is arguably the worst Mania so far. It didn’t deliver in terms of match quality and the booking throughout was atrocious. WrestleMania IX did surprise me in a few of the other categories. That gave it a total that keeps it out of last place.

TOTAL: 31.5/70

 

WrestleMania Rankings
1. WrestleMania III – 55/70
2. WrestleMania VIII – 50.5/70
3. WrestleMania I – 50/70
4. WrestleMania VII – 46/70
5. WrestleMania VI – 44/70
6. WrestleMania V – 39/70
7. WrestleMania IV – 32/70
8. WrestleMania IX – 31.5/70
9. WrestleMania II – 29/70

article topics :

WrestleMania 9, Kevin Pantoja