Torch Flashbacks COMMON FAN'S RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW - WrestleMania 9: Ross debuts on WWE TV 20 years ago today, Hogan "wins" WWF Title, Did You Know: Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund happened?
Apr 4, 2013 - 2:45:34 PM
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Perspective of the Common Fan Retrospective Review
By Jimmy Eaton, PWTorch Common Fan specialist
It's time for another trip down memory lane... to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev. on April 4, 1993, exactly 20 years ago today. We have the pomp, the circumstance, the elephants... and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan on a camel... and "Macho Man" Randy Savage eating grapes. Ah, the quirkiness of the WWE/F in the mid-'90s.
Jim Ross, making his WWE TV debut, introduces the show along with the Brain and Macho Man. Tatanka's music hits and we're off with the biggest show of the year! Hard to believe attendance of 16,000 was touted for WM9 when six years earlier they were in the Pontiac Silverdome for WrestleMania 3 and they're predicting 75,000 in MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
1 - IC champion Shawn Michaels (w/Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/Sensational Sherri) - Intercontinental Title match
Jim Ross sells surprise when before the match begins, Sheri comes to the side of Tatanka after recently leaving Shawn Michaels. Bobby Heenan of course mentions that she shouldn't be there as a distraction. They also make note of Tatanka's undefeated streak. The match was solid and a bit on a short side, yet Michaels had a good hold on his heel character and spent a lot of time outside the ring interacting with Sheri, which ultimately cost him the match but not the title. This was fun while it lasted but the story seemed to revolve more around Luna and Sheri.
WINNER: Tatanka via count-out in about 8 minutes. (**)
"Mean" Gene Okerland interviewed the Steiner Brothers on their first time at WrestleMania. They touted their Michigan amateur wrestling background before Rick barked them off to the ring for the next match.
2 - Steiner Brothers vs. Headshrinkers (w/Afa)
The Steiners got a great reaction for this match and it was interesting to think that this was their only WrestleMania as a tag team. The Headshrinkers worked over Scott, who eventually hot-tagged Rick. However, they ultimately fell to the hard-headed team from Samoa. Solid tag action that was probably the best match of the night.
WINNERS: The Headshrinkers via pinfall in about 12 minutes (**1/2)
"Mean" Gene was then joined by Doink backstage. He was actually interesting as a heel and at the end of the segment sprayed water on Gene. Of note, the Ceaser statue for this segment was dressed like Doink. Clever. They broke to footage from a few weeks earlier when Doink used his armcast to attack Crush from behind.
3 - Doink vs. Crush
This one just plodded along for most of the way. Doink went to the top about three times doing the same double ax-handle drop on Crush. The finish came when the ref was bumped and another Doink came from under the ring and knocked out Crush. The real Doink then got the cover for the win. The double Doink story was somewhat fun, and it was played to perfection especially by Mr. Heenan stating it was a brilliant illusion.
WINNER: Doink via pinfall in about 7 minutes. (*)
4 - Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
This match just came off as a bit random with no story leading in. It was basically just showcasing Razor Ramon in his earlier WWF days. Not much to this as Backlund came out to his usual non-existent music and after a few minutes of back and forth schtick, Razor hit his patented Razor's Edge for the win.
WINNER: Razor Ramon via pinfall in about 5 minutes. (*1/2)
I may be a bit off on when this occurred, but at some point in the show, "Mean" Gene went to the locker/trailer of Doink to get to the bottom of the double Doinks. After getting nothing, he left and another one walks by him. GIVE ME A BREAK!
5 - Money, Inc. vs. Hulk Hogan & Brutus "The Barber" Beefcake (w/Jimmy Hart) - World Tag Title match
The announcers discussed the build-up to the match, which revolved around a mask Beefcake wore to cover for an eye injury he got a few days earlier due to an "attack at the gym." This wasn't a terrible match, but it felt almost like a squash match more or less with the crowd absolutely loving Hogan. Money, Inc. ended up getting themselves disqualified after trying to use IRS's briefcase. After the match, Hogan and Beefcake with Jimmy Hart opened the briefcase to find a brick, which of course Heenan defended and Macho Man was outraged about. Funny stuff.
WINNERS: Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake via DQ in about 13 minutes. (**)
Gene was with Mr. Perfect to hype his upcoming match against Lex Luger. Perfect humorously botched Lex Luger's name, but Gene covered for him. They also referred to the steel in his forearm, which took out Bret Hart a few nights earlier.
6 - "The Narcissist" Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect
Luger came out first and the wind outside made it a bit tough to use his pyro with his multiple mirrors held by scantily-clad valets. They made the best of it, though, as it still did the trick to put the character over as an arrogant bodybuilder. Not an awful start for Luger, but the match was a bit short for my taste. Mr. Perfect was great and really worked hard to put over Luger throughout and I don't think that would be a surprise to anyone who has ever watched ten seconds of wrestling. Luger got the win, though, with that "steel" forearm smash.
WINNER: Lex Luger via pinfall in about 10 minutes. (**)
7 - The Undertaker (w/Paul Bearer) vs. Giant Gonzales (w/Harvey Wippleman)
Yeah... We all know how this one goes. Extremely short and this only gets a quarter-star due to the cool imagery of The Undertaker holding a vulture during his ring entrance. The good ol' rag to the face to cause a DQ was the finish here. Ugh.
WINNER: The Undertaker via DQ in about 5 minutes. (1/4*)
8 - WWF champion Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. Yokozuna (w/Mr. Fuji) - WWF Title match
Yokozuna was out first with his usual traditional fanfare, flowers and all. Hart got a huge ovation. They actually tried to tell a story in this match and everyone knows how sympathetic Bret can be, but in the end this still fell short mainly due to time to really finish telling the story. The cheap finish didn't help, but, as a kid, it's one I always remember being furious at. When Hart executed the Sharpshooter, Mr. Fuji used the ref's blind spot to throw salt in Hitman's eyes, giving Yoko the chance to steal a pin.
WINNER: Yokozuna via pinfall in around 15 minutes to win the WWE Championship. (**1/2)
After the match, Hulk Hogan ran down to the ring to aid Bret Hart, but Mr. Fuji challenged Hogan to take on Yokozuna for with the title on the line. Bret Hart told him to accept, which he did.
9 - WWF champion Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan - WWF Title match
Hogan hit the leg drop after a slam, then defeated Yoko to become new champion.
WINNER: Hulk Hogan to become the new WWE champion. (n/a)
So, yeah. With not really one extremely memorable "good" wrestling match, it's hard to give this show much more than a solid if not generous 6.0. I remember reading how Bret Hart wasn't happy with seeing Hogan get the belt in the fashion that he did and I can't blame him. But, with more gimmicks than anything else on the card, besides some decent outings and a memorable setting, this was a very forgettable show. It was ultimately funny, though, at the due to WWF's over-the-top stories and quirkiness. Because of this, somehow, it's one of the earliest WrestleManias that sticks out for me as a kid during those innocent childhood fan days.
Agree? Disagree? Have an nostalgic show you want me to review? Tweet/Post suggestions to me and keep the debate rolling on Twitter - @TheCommonFan.
Jimmy occasionally writes a Retrospective/Perspectives of of the Common Fan column for the Pro Wrestling Torch on nostalgia/independent scenes and can be found on Sean Radican's Wrestling Community Audio page/show yapping about independent wrestling from time to time. He also blogs about gaming, sports, movies, and other entertainment mediums via his website, POTCF.blogspot.com. Speaking of which, be sure to "Like" the Radican's Wrestling Community Page! It's here - Facebook.comSeanRadicanRWC.
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