Ahhh, WrestleMania. Truly it is the day around which every mark’s life revolves, our own personal Christmas present that WWE allows us to open for just $49.95. Throughout its twenty-year history, the event has played host to countless great matches, unforgettable angles, and shocking happenings that we will all remember for the rest of our lives.
Indeed, when you step back and think about it, it’s pretty incredible that over the past 20 years there have been so few bad WrestleManias. Some would point to WrestleMania IV, with its interminable World Title tournament as a bad one. WrestleMania XIII certainly won’t win any awards, with an Undertaker-Sid main event so pathetic that it caused many to completely forget the tremendous Bret Hart-Steve Austin match on the undercard.
Those two might have been bad, but there’s only one WrestleMania worthy of being inducted into the annals of Crapdom: WrestleMania IX. In fact, several readers have duly noted that on the cover of the WrestleCrap book, two of the shots are from that very event: one of Giant Gonzalez, one of the double Doinks. Flip the book over, and you’ll see that yet another shot from the show is there as well, as the Narcissist also gets some ink. It’s really telling just how atrocious this show was that on what is arguably the definitive book about the worst stuff in the HISTORY of wrestling, half the shots are from this one event.
It therefore kind of goes without saying that 1993 was a weird year for not only the WWF, but pro wrestling as a whole. It was during this bizarre period when no one could really figure out what the fans wanted, so you had the WWF throwing stuff like Doink the Clown and Bastion Booger out there just to see if they might somehow catch on. Then there was WCW doing mini-movies with Cheatum and turning Paul Roma into a Horsemen. No, 1993 was not a great year to be a wrestling fan.
And if WrestleMania is our Christmas, then Santa took a big crap down the chimney that year.
WrestleMania IX emanated from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, and therefore the entire show had a Roman feel to it. To that end, the entire announce crew was dressed up like outcasts from Ben Hur.
For all your trivia buffs out there, it should be noted that WMIX was Jim Ross’ debut PPV with the company.
It should also be noted that he made said debut wearing a toga, a fact that no doubt made him wonder just what the heck he had gotten himself into. In fact, he even made sure to make note of when he did his heel turn in 1996 and he introduced the world to Razor Ramon, Mach 2.
But JR wasn’t the only employee wearing a bed sheet – Howard Finkel did as well, becoming Finkus Maximus for a day.
As bad as that was, he actually looked more normal than Randy Savage. You know, I was always a big Randy Savage fan during his early WWF tenure, when he wore the three star trunks and the awesome robes. But I just kind of lost interest once he started wearing the bizarro hats and fringy jacket. Look at him and tell me he doesn’t look like a clown from the world’s most effeminate rodeo.
I think it speaks volumes for the event that the very first match (which didn’t air on the PPV) featured not just one, but two WrestleCrap alumns: Papa Shango and El Matador.
It would be Tito’s last WrestleMania, and luckily enough for him, he’d actually win the match. This would be his first victory at the big dance since picking up the duke in the very first WrestleMania match in history,.
That was the good news. The bad news is that even with the win, he’d have the very dubious honor of having the worst Mania record known to man at a dreadful 2-7.
No wonder the guy retired shortly after this.
The show proper began with a fairly uneventful match between Shawn Michaels and Tatanka (Buffalo). After that fans got to see the Steiners battle the Headshrinkers.
Maybe it’s just me, but neither of those sounds like a “WrestleMania” level of match.
Having said that, the third match on the card redeems things somewhat as Doink the Clown KO’ed Kona Crush with a plaster cast. That’s some good fun right there.
Just look at him (or them), nailing Bryan Adams upside the head. Hell, I could watch that all day, especially after being force-fed that Kronik crap in WCW’s dying years.
And people wonder why I’d never induct the original decidedly evil version of Doink into WrestleCrap.
You know, I’ve never inducted a piece of apparel into WrestleCrap, but the image to the left is causing me to very seriously rethink my stance on that.
For those of you too smart to have followed wrestling during this time period, you’re looking at Brutus Beefcake, who would, shortly after this show, head to WCW and become the Bootyman, the Zodiac, the Clipmaster, the Man with No Name, the Man with No Face, the Butcher, and the Disciple. I mean, good Lord, the man is like a walking billboard for this site! But I’ll be kind and not add those to the tally, since he hadn’t even done those characters quite yet.
That mask, though, requires serious consideration.
The reason for the stupid looking thing was that he had been involved in a very serious parasailing accident in which his face was quite literally shattered. He was forced to undergo some insane amount of surgery (I want to say it was over eight hours) in which steel plates and screws were put into his skull so as to rebuild his face.
He came back to wrestling because, quite frankly, he had nothing else to fall back on. The WWF played him up as a sympathetic character, talking about how he’d lost everything due to the accident. Showing the world what a compassionate man he was, Bobby Heenan even stuck refrigerator magnets on his face during a segment on Prime Time Wrestling.
All of this lead to the tag champs at the time, Money Inc., Ted DiBiase and IRS (yet another WrestleCrap inductee, bringing the official count so far to three), to pummel the Beefer, setting up a world title tag bout with Hulk Hogan and Beefcake’s partner.
It should be noted that this was the fifth match on the show (following a Bob Backlund-Razor Ramon snoozefest), and Hogan and Beefcake actually lost the bout via DQ. That didn’t stop Hogan from posing after the match.
Anyone who celebrated Hogan being eliminated from the show so early really should have known better.
The Narcissist (Inductee number four) makes his appearance as well…
…taking on Mr. Perfect in yet another so-so match up.
The frightening thing here is that being so-so made it like the best match on the entire show. I mean, seriously – this was WRESTLEMANIA. Couldn’t Vince and his crew come up with something that at least had a chance of hitting at least the *** range?
Just when you thought it couldn’t get a whole hell of a lot worse, here comes not only inductee number five(!!), but the man most learned experts in this business would call the worst wrestler in the entire history of the civilized world: your friend and mine, Giant Gonzalez.
I’ve ranted and raved about how insanely horrible he was in the past, so I will only make one further comment, that being that the suit with the airbrushed muscles was bad enough…did they really need to spray paint on an ASS CRACK? Who in the hell thought THAT was a good idea? I mean, someone had the foresight to cover up his weiner with a patch of fur…couldn’t we have gotten the same courtesy for his hindquarters?
Seriously, think about this. Someone had to come up with the concept for that suit; it didn’t just spray paint itself.
I think what frightens me most is that someone high up in the WWF hierarchy at one point or another had to have told a seamstress: “…and make sure the Sasquatch wrestler’s outfit features a musclebound anus.”
(More useless trivia: I lobbied long and hard to get this image on the back cover of the first book, to no avail. I guess I should be thankful for the sheer fact that I was able to convince someone to pay me to write a book with the word “CRAP” in the title, but damn did I want the back cover to feature that spray painted ass. What a weirdo I am.)
His opponent in this negative star anti-classic is the Undertaker, who celebrated the occasion by bringing a vulture with him to ringside, a bit that Sting would inexplicably steal years later.
As awful as the show had been, at least fans had one guy they could count on in the main even to deliver the goods: Bret Hart.
Hart was an unlikely choice to be WWF champion, but one that Vince was willing to gamble on, especially in light of the steroid investigations that were plaguing his company at the time. In order to get him over with fans, he was given a win against Ric Flair for the title, then started a gimmick of being a fighting champion.
In other words, they were basically trying to get him over as, get this, a WRESTLER. A novel concept to be sure.
His opponent this evening was the 500 pound Yokozuna, who was booked as an unstoppable monster. And really, that’s just about the perfect wrestling set-up: fighting champion defends against unstoppable monster who just so happens to outweigh him by 250 pounds. So far, so good.
Of course, since Yoko was so heavy and largely immobile, it was tough for Bret to really do much with him. To Hart’s credit, he was able to get a decent match, but no more – certainly not something WrestleMania main event worthy.
Anyway, the match ended when the vile Mr. Fuji threw salt in Bret’s eyes, giving Yoko the advantage to pick up the win and Bret’s title belt.
It was the first time since the beginning of WrestleMania that a heel would walk out of the event with the strap.
But stop the presses! Here comes Hulk Hogan of all people to dispute the decision. That’s sure nice of him to come to Bret’s aid, as they had ZERO relationship in the storyline. Nope, Hogan just suddenly showed up out of the goodness of his heart or something.
Fuji, being a total blathering idiot, grabbed the house mic and challenged Hogan to a title match RIGHT DAMN NOW.
Yoko grabbed Hogan while Fuji loaded up the salt. Since Fuji had successfully thrown salt into Bret’s eyes, RD’s Law of Evil Manager Averages states that he wouldn’t hit his intended target for at least the next ten years. Hogan ducked, Yoko took the salt…
…which lead to the legdrop…
…which lead to this.
You know, I bitch all the time about Hunter, but trust me, that guy has NOTHING on Hogan, who manipulated Vince to such a degree that he basically buried two top stars in Hart and Yokozuna just to appease his ego by putting the strap on him once again.
In a match he wasn’t even in!
So there were zero good matches, a bunch of stupid characters, and Hogan giving himself the proverbial BJ yet again. Oh yeah, and this:
So while you may have cheer Hogan when he comes back for one of his oh-so-frequent nostalgia tours, don’t do so too loudly.
You might give him ideas.