WM PPV Countdown: #25 – WrestleMania IX

Without hyperbole, WrestleMania IX is not only considered the worst WrestleMania in history, but one of the worst pay per views in general. While the concept of hosting the company’s biggest event of the year outdoors at the Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino looked solid on paper, virtually everything on the show failed in execution.

Being the event was held at Caesar’s Palace, the entire event was outfitted in Roman themes and attire. The commentators and announcers were adorned in togas and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan even came out on a camel. It was also notable that it was Jim Ross’ first day on the job in the WWF.

The card was promoted on the backs of two matches. First was Hulk Hogan returning to the WWF and joining his long time friend Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake to challenge “Million $ Man” Ted DiBiase and IRS for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Then the new super heavyweight in town, Yokozuna, had won Royal Rumble ’93 and earned the right to challenge Bret Hart for the WWF Championship. Knowing full well neither match would be a five star classic the undercard was shored up with Shawn Michaels defending his Intercontinental Championship against the red-hot, undefeated Tatanka and “The Narcissist” Lex Luger meeting “Mr. Perfect” Curt Hennig in a battle of egos.

While everything looked decent enough, no one could have predicted how bad the show ended up being. The opening match between Michaels and Tatanka ended with a bad count out ending in order to protect Tatanka’s undefeated streak but yet keep the Championship on Michaels. As a nine year old remembering this show, I was absolutely sure Tatanka would walk out as the new Champion, but it apparently was not in the cards. From there the evil clown Doink beat his archrival Crush in a match that saw two Doinks, a plaster cast and so many neon colors that could ruin TV screens. The Undertaker continued his run of terrible pay per view matches against less talented super heavyweights as he beat the 7’7 Giant Gonzalez by disqualification thanks to Gonzalez using chloroform to subdue him.

That seemed like it would be the first event of the card, but it doesn’t even come close. Hogan and Beefcake lost the Tag Championship match by disqualification (in the middle of the card no less). In the main event thanks to some salt in the eyes from Yokozuna’s manager Mr. Fuji, the big monster got the pin on Hart and the World Championship. WrestleMania had never ended with a villain celebrating up that point and it wasn’t going to happen this year. Hogan came out to check on Hart, got challenged to come into the ring by Mr. Fuji and an impromtu match was on. Within moments Fuji threw salt at Hogan, who ducked and caused it to hit Yokozuna. He then dropped his legdrop and got the pinfall and the WWF Championship once again. So what started as a night promoting new stars like Hart and Yokozuna ended up with Hogan once again on top.

The move ended up being a big disaster as Hogan never appeared on WWF television once with Championship or defended it on house shows. His only appearance and defense of the belt was three months later at the King of the Ring pay per view, which saw Yokozuna regain the Title. Lex Luger was then hastily moved from his Narcissist gimmick into a patriotic hero character to take Hogan’s place as the new face of the company.

The only good in-ring match from WrestleMania IX was the under promoted tag team match between The Steiner Brothers and The Headshrinkers. It was a match that was better than it had any right to be and was a pleasant surprise amongst its surroundings. By SummerSlam most of what happened at WrestleMania had been forgotten as the company had moved in new directions and new characters were introduced. Terrible in-ring wrestling, bad booking all around, some bad gimmicks, and overall subpar presentation easily makes the worst of the company’s flagship event.

Match Results:
– Tito Santana defeated Papa Shango in a dark match before the pay per view went live on the air.
– Tatanka beat Shawn Michaels (c) by count out in an Intercontinental Championship match.
– Rick & Scott Steiner beat The Headshrinkers (Fatu & Samu).
– Doink The Clown beat Crush.
– Razor Ramon pinned Bob Backlund.
– Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase & IRS) (c) beat Hulk Hogan & Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake by disqualification in a WWF World Tag Team Title match.
– Lex Luger beat Mr. Perfect.
– The Undertaker beat Giant Gonzalez by disqualification.
– Yokozuna pinned Bret “Hit Man” Hart (c) to win the WWF World Championship.
– Hulk Hogan pinned Yokozuna (c) to win the WWF World Championship.

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