It’s April 4, 1993, and you know what that means! That’s right, the ninth annual WrestleMania event, LIVE from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas Nevada! Tonight, Bret Hart defends the WWF Championship against the mighty Yokozuna! Hulk Hogan returns to team with Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake to try and take the tag team titles away from Money, Inc! And on top of all of that, it’s the world’s largest toga party! Let’s go!
Gorilla Monsoon kicks off WrestleMania, welcoming us to WrestleMania IX and the largest toga party in the world! There will be a lot of firsts at WrestleMania IX – and the first one is the newest WWF announcer, Jim Ross! We’ll see two great main events, which I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this review. We throw to Finkus Maximus. Which is Howard Finkel in a toga. He introduces Caesar and Cleopatra. They come out riding elephants. Jim Ross actually puts over the elephants. That’s a great announcer. Finkus Maximus introduces Macho Man Randy Savage, who is being carried to the ring by vestal virgins. Or something. I don’t know anymore. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan is introduced, and he’s riding a camel. Backward. This is already ridiculous. Can we just get to the ring?
Finally. Shawn Michaels, along with… Luna Vachon??? Anyway, he makes his way to the ring, set to defend his WWE Intercontinental Championship. Tatanka is the challenger, and he’s accompanied by Sensational Sherri. Michaels takes his time getting out of his entrance attire, and our opening contest is underway. The way the sun is shining on the ring, it’s different. When they get to the far end of the ring they’re pretty much engulfed in shade. Tatanka gets knocked to the floor, Luna comes around to that side of the ring, but Sherri stops her from doing anything. Good back and forth match so far. Tatanka takes control for a bit. When Michaels starts battling back, Sherri once again prevents Luna from going after Tatanka. It matters not, however, as Michaels starts to wear Tatanka down with various holds. Tatanka starts getting fired up, and it seems like nothing Michaels does can phase him. He takes Michaels down with a bit clothesline, and scores a two from a cross body attempt. The back and forth momentum starts up again. Tatanka catches Michaels with a powerslam for a two count. Michaels dumps Tatanka to the floor again, and again Sherri runs off Luna. Michaels tries a dive from the apron and crashed head first into the steel steps at ringside. Frustrated, Michaels pulls the referee out of the ring. Tatanka takes Michaels down and goes for a cover, but the referee has decided instead to disqualify Shawn Michaels. So, your winner is Tatanka, but your Champion is still Shawn Michaels. After the match, Luna bodyslams Sherri on the outside of the ring.
Hall of Famer count: 6 (Gorilla,Bobby, JR, Fink, HBK, Sherri)
Mean Gene Okerlund is standing by with The Steiner Brothers, who are facing The Headshrinkers in the following match. Scott says they’re excited about their first WrestleMania, and plan to make it memorable. Rick says they’ve got a gameplan, and they’re going to do what they do best, wrestle. They’ll make Julius Caesar proud.
Jim Ross says this is going to be what they call a “slobberknocker.” Physical, smash-mouth wrestling. And it is. The Steiners send the Headshrinkers reeling, and JR announces that Luna attacked Sherri in the first aid area in the back. With the referee’s back turned, Afa whacks Scott Steiner on the floor with what appears to be a large piece of bamboo. The Headshrinkers take control and work over Scott in their corner. You know, for the “world’s largest toga party,” there’s not a lot of people wearing togas. Pretty much just the announcers and staff. Steiner and Fatu knock each other down with a double clothesline. Fatu is closer to his corner and tags in Samu, who continues to work over Scott Steiner. Samu misses a top rope headbutt as Scott rolls out of the way. Samu gets to Fatu first, but this time, Rick gets tagged in. He tries to bash the Headshrinkers’ heads together, but we all know that’s a bad idea, and then they both headbutt him. Rick makes an awesome counter of a double team move, powerslamming one of the Headshrinkers from off the shoulders of the other one. Scott hits the Frankensteiner on one of the Headshrinkers, and the Steiners pick up the victory.
Hall of Famer count: 8 (Mean Gene, Afa)
Okerlund is in the back with Doink, who painted up a picture of Julius Caesar to look like him. We get a look at Doink attacking Crush with a fake arm. He says he’s bringing a sense of humor to this party, but Gene says that Crush has revenge on his mind. Doink says Crush may be seeing double vision after WrestleMania IX.
Crush is out first. I miss Demolition. Doink taunts him as he comes to the ring, squirting him with his flower. Crush comes out after him and attacks him before the bell. By time the match gets into the ring, it’s all Crush. He’s flat out dominating Doink. Doink finally turns things around by dropping Crush throat first over the top rope. Doink bodyslams Crush, and goes for the Whoopie Cushion, but Crush catches him with a boot to the face. The big Hawaiian powerslams Doink. Doink rolls outside and tries to go under the ring, but Crush catches him. Military press slam by Crush back in the ring, and he puts the Kona Clutch on him, but Doink gets to the ropes, and then inadvertently knocks out the referee. Doink tries to go under the ring again. Crush gets the Kona Clutch on again, but the referee is out – and Doink comes in and hits Crush with the fake arm?!? There’s two Doinks! One of them pins Crush after the other one hides under the ring. That must be what he meant by “double vision.” Another referee comes down, and explains to the original that there was another Doink hiding under the ring. They look for the second Doink. They apparently don’t see him. Maybe it was an illusion.
Hall of Famer count: Still 8
Todd Pettengil is in the crowd, taking a poll, was it two Doinks, or an illusion. He asks a Japanese photographer, the guy wants to talk about Yokozuna and says “Las Vegas #1.” Pettengil says he’s having a great time. Meanwhile, Razor Ramon heads to the ring for his match. His opponent is Bob Backlund.
The fans are actually chanting for Razor. The chant dies down, but the assault doesn’t – Razor is all over Backlund. Backlund starts to mount a comeback, using arm drags, suplexes, and clotheslines to maintain the advantage. The power of Backlund is on display as he walks around with Razor in position for an atomic drop for a few moments – but Razor manages to get a small package in and pick up the three count for the win.
Hall of Famer count: 10 (Backlund, and 2014 inductee Razor Ramon)
Okerlund is with Money Inc, the WWF Tag Team Champions. He believes the titles are in jeopardy because of Hogan, Beefcake, and Jimmy Hart. They started it on Monday Night RAW, where IRS shoved Jimmy Hart aside and nailed Beefcake in his surgically repaired face with his briefcase. The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase says they’re in Vegas, where the stakes are always high, and they don’t make bets they can’t win. This is their city, the city of money, and the odds are against Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake. IRS says Beefcake’s mask won’t protect him from Money Inc. They heard Hogan got into an accident last night leaving the gym, that’s what money can do. If you thought Beefcake’s face was bad, wait until you see Hogan’s.
Hey, speaking of that tag team match, it’s RIGHT NOW! Money Inc. are out first. Heenan says DiBiase told him not to worry, that the money is in the bank. Red and yellow smoke billows from the entryway, and The Mega Maniacs make their way to the ring. Hogan is sporting a black eye. Actually, that’s an understatement. His eye looks bad. Money Inc. attack before the bell, but Hogan and Beefcake easily fight them off. Beefcake starts for the Maniacs, and Money Inc. get him in their corner to work him over. Beefcake doesn’t stay on defense long though, turning the tide and working over DiBiase, who tags in Hulk Hogan, who wails away on DiBiase. The Maniacs get DiBiase in their corner, and isolate him from IRS. Even when IRS comes in, Hogan and Beefcake dominate. Money Inc. decide to take a hike. The referee tells Finkus Maximus that if Money Inc. doesn’t come back by the count of ten, they’ll also lose the Tag Team Titles. Since when can referees make that decision? Aren’t there contracts they have to sign prior to the match? Wouldn’t the tag champs have to agree to that stipulation to lose the titles that way? Anyway, I digress. Money Inc. get Hogan in their corner and start to control the match. DiBiase cinches in the Million Dollar Dream. Hogan’s arm drops once. Twice. But the third time around, Hogan springs back to life. Beefcake gets in the ring behind the referee’s back and locks a sleeper of his own on DiBiase. When the referee gets done arguing with IRS he counts both Hogan and DiBiase down. Neither of them are moving. Hogan sits up at 8. Beefcake and IRS wind up being the legal men moments later, and Brutus takes control until DiBiase hits Beefcake in the back with the briefcase, though the referee doesn’t see it. Once again, it’s Beefcake trapped in the Money Inc. corner. DiBiase tries to pull the protective mask from the face of Beefcake, and manages to do so. They immediately go after the shattered and unprotected face of Beefcake. Beefcake, IRS, and the referee all wind up down on the canvase at one point. IRS tags DiBiase, and Beefcake tags Hogan. Don’t matter, the referee’s out. Hogan nails both Money Inc. members with Beefcake’s mask. The referee is out as the Maniacs cover Money Inc. Jimmy Hart puts on a striped jacket and counts the three, and hands the Mega Maniacs the belts. Another referee comes down and talks to the other referee, then raises the hands of Money Inc., who win by disqualification. They try to attack Maniacs with the belts, but it doesn’t phase them, so Money Inc. bail. Then the Maniacs question referee Danny Davis, and Jimmy Hart throws him out of the ring. Hogan and Beefcake get ahold of Money Inc.’s briefcase after a lengthy celebration (despite the fact that they lost), and there’s some tax forms, money, and a brick. They toss the money out to the audience.
Hall of Famer count: 13 (DiBiase, Hogan, Hart)
Pettengil is still in the audience. He’s with Natalie Cole, who didn’t get any of the money, but she’s having a good time. The CEO of Caesar’s Palace says they’re delighted to have WrestleMania. The energy level is higher than for any previous event. Elsewhere, Okerlund is with Mr. Perfect, who personifies athleticism. His opponent, The Narcissist, Lex Luger, has been knocking people out left and right with his forearm. Perfect says Luger’s not a knockout artist. Perfect is on a roll, and then proceeds to flub his lines.
Back in the arena, The Narcissist is accompanied by four bikini clad ladies. They hold mirrors for him that shoot out pyro. Perfect comes out, and we’ve got a match. This should be a good one, and it’s back and forth early on. Apparently, Bret Hart got knocked out by Luger at a brunch this morning, and the announcers debate whether or not the fact Luger can essentially knock people out at will is a coincidence or if there’s something more to it. Perfect gets a sunset flip on Luger but only scores a two count. Perfect gets an inside cradle for two. Perfect catapults Luger into the top turnbuckle, but Luger keeps getting up. Perfect hits a forearm, but Luger gets up again. Luger gets Perfect over with a backslide. Perfect’s feet were on the ropes, but the referee didn’t see it, and counted the three anyway. Afterward, Luger knocks Perfect out with the forearm. Perfect gets up, asks the fans if Luger hit him with the forearm, and he heads back to the locker room, very angry. We follow him backstage, where he catches Luger, who is with Shawn Michaels, who makes the save when Perfect attacks Luger. Savage and Heenan get into it at the announce table. Jim Ross tries to maintain order.
Hall of Famer count: 14 (Mr. Perfect)
Gorilla Monsoon is standing by, telling us about the rest of the card. He tosses it back to Finkus Maximus, who introduces Giant Gonzalez and Harvey Wippleman. Black smoke fills the entryway, and Paul Bearer walks through it, leading a couple of guys pulling a funeral chariot carrying The Undertaker and a vulture.
Gonzalez towers over The Undertaker. Just huge. Undertaker doesn’t back down though, he backs Gonzalez into the corner. Gonzalez backs Undertaker into the opposite corner, but Undertaker climbs the ropes and grabs Gonzalez by the throat. Undertaker’s strategy seems to be to avoid attack from Gonzalez. Undertaker walks the top rope and crashes down on Gonzalez. Gonzalez turns things around and chokes out The Undertaker. Very slow pace here. Gonzalez takes Undertaker down with a chinlock but the power of the urn apparently gives Undertaker the power to stand up. Gonzalez tosses Undertaker into the steel steps a couple of times on the outside. Undertaker still stands back up. Undertaker keeps getting knocked down, Paul Bearer keeps raising the urn, and The Undertaker keeps getting back up. Undertaker knocks Gonzalez down. Wippleman sends something into the ring, Gonzalez knocks out Paul Bearer, and Gonzalez rubs what is apparently a chloroform soaked rag into The Undertaker’s face. The referee calls for the bell, we’ve got a disqualification victory for The Undertaker. WWF officials swarm the ring to check on The Undertaker. They bring out a stretcher. Gonzalez really seems proud of himself. He manhandles a referee. The other officials get Undertaker on the stretcher and take him out. Gonzalez refuses to leave. The crowd chants for Hogan. The bell tolls, and The Undertaker returns, despite pleas from Paul Bearer. Undertaker gets back in the ring and starts trying to take Gonzalez off his feet, and finally does. Gonzalez leaves, partly because uniformed officers are forcing him to leave. Meanwhile, The Undertaker celebrates his third straight WrestleMania victory in the ring.
Hall of Famer count: 15 (2014 inductee Paul Bearer)
Elsewhere, Okerlund is backstage, and shows us footage of Yokozuna injuring Hacksaw Jim Duggan. Okerlund was there for the contract signing between Bret Hart and Yokozuna, and shows us footage of Hart being squashed by the Banzai drop. Hulk Hogan comes in, and Gene asks him about his eye. Hogan just left Hart’s dressing room, and says all the Hulkamaniacs are in his corner. Last night, Hogan figured out that money truly can buy anything. He wants Bret Hart to watch Mr. Fuji like a cat. Hogan issues a challenge to either Bret Hart “or the Jap, brother,” to a title shot. Elsewhere, Pettengil is still in the crowd with some little kid, and then some surfer dudes, who stole the sheets from Motel 6 to make their togas. That’s literally what they said.
Yokozuna comes out to the ring first, along with Mr. Fuji. He’s the challenger in our main event. The WWF Champion, Bret Hart, makes his way to the ring, and we’re set for what should be a great WWF Championship match. Hart doesn’t back down – in fact, he takes the fight straight to the challenger. Hart gets Yokozuna down by pulling his legs out from under him while he’s tied up in the ropes. Hart really takes it to Yokozuna, but a clothesline puts Hart down and brings the momentum back to Yoko’s favor. A leg drop doesn’t help Hart’s case either. The Vegas sun starts to set, which Bobby Heenan takes as a metaphor for Bret Hart’s title reign. Hart catches a charging Yokozuna with a boot to the face and takes him down with a modified bulldog for a two count. His comeback doesn’t last long as Yoko drops him with a martial arts kick and wears him down with a nerve hold. The fans chant “USA,” so they must be rooting for the referee, since Hart is from Canada and Yoko is from Japan. Hart hits another bulldog but only gets one. Hart drops the second rope elbow for another two. Hart takes Yoko down after a series of clotheslines but the challenger gets back up. Hart inadvertently pulls the turnbuckle cover off, and winds up using it to his advantage, bouncing Yokozuna’s head off of it. He manages to lock in the Sharpshooter! Mr. Fuji sneaks around and throws salt into the eyes of Bret Hart. The referee didn’t see it, and Yokozuna pins Bret Hart to become the new WWF Champion!
Hulk Hogan runs down to the ring to question the referee and check on Bret Hart. Mr. Fuji challenges Hogan to an immediate title match on behalf of Yokuzuna. Bret Hart tells Hogan to go for it. Hogan gets in the ring, and Yoko attacks immediately. Fuji tries to throw salt in Hogan’s face, but he ducks and Fuji gets Yokozuna instead. Hogan hits the legdrop and covers Yokozuna, the referee counts, and Hogan is the new WWF Champion!
Hall of Famer count: 19 (Fuji, Yokozuna, Hart, and Hogan)