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WrestleMania IX was the first outdoor WrestleMania, when the Superstars of WWE invaded Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas. WWE Champion Bret "Hit Man" Hart had to face the seemingly unstoppable monster Yokozuna, and Hulk Hogan returned to WWE to team with Brutus Beefcake to challenge Money Inc. for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Here is the match listings for this video:
* Tatanka vs. Shawn Michaels
* Steiner Brothers vs. The Headshrinkers
* Doink vs. Crush
* Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
* Money Inc. vs. Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake
* Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect
* The Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzales
* Yokozuna vs. WWE Champion: Bret Hart
* Hulk Hogan vs. Yokozuna
Wrestlemania 9 is remembered for probably all the wrong reasons, first it took place in the Caesars Place Casino in Las Vegas in the first open area arena which also meant the entire show had a Roman feel to it, even the announcers (including Jim Ross who made his WWE PPV debut here) had to get in on it by wearing togas. It also featured some terrible matches and a dreadful ending but because of the memories I had of watching it with my late Grandfather, this is still a special show to me. Plus you get to see Bobby Heenan head to the arena, backwards while riding a camel, surly that’s comedy gold?
It’s very noticeable with Wrestlemania 9 that many of the big names of the 80’s are long gone and a whole new generation of superstars have taken up the mantle which may have explained why this Wrestlemania did so poorly compared to previous shows simply because they had to create a whole new set of stars for people to get used to.
Mr Wrestlemania Shawn Michaels kicks off the show for the second straight year by successfully defending the Intercontinental championship against the undefeated Tatanka by losing via count out. This was probably one of the strongest matches on the show as it kept the title on Shawn while keeping Tatanka looking strong, it’s also very noticeable how since the last Wrestlemania he had tweaked his character into a very successful mid-card performer. Certainly a fantastic way to kick off the show and its always good to see some classic early HBK matches as they mix technical wrestling, with a fast paced style and a great simple story.
Tag team action followed as the Steiner Brothers (making their only Wrestlemania appearance) facing the Headshrinkers in a solid enjoyable tag team match that when looking at the show as a whole, this one is certainly one of the better matches. It’s a shame we don’t get to see matches like this anymore within the WWE tag team division as the Steiner brothers really put on a clinic with Scott Steiner performing some fantastic moves that makes me wish he never got so caught up in the whole “Big Poppa Pump” character which reduced his overall move ability.
but its just a shame the show goes down hill from here.
Doink the Clown vs. Crush was up next in a pretty solid match as Doink really managed to sell the idea of a evil clown as they introduced a doppelganger Doink to distract the Hawaiian Crusher. I was always a big fan of the Doink character as while it was simple, it could be good and evil so easily. In the previous decade this match would have been half as long and almost forgotten amongst lots of other filler matches, but generally I thought this was a solid filler match that did its job well as the story was simple, you had the smart sneaky guy out think the big powerhouse. The Doink/Crush match was certainly a lot better than the following filler squash match as Razor Ramon played with Bob Buckland and beat him in just under 4 minutes
We get to the first of the double main events as Money Inc (Ted Dibiase & IRS) defended their tag team titles against the Mega Maniacs Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and Hulk Hogan. Some of the weird things with this match included seeing Beefcake in some mask that he needed due to surgery on his face and Hogan sporting his own black eye. But anyway, this match went the longest of the night and booked in a way to protect everybody since Hogan and Beefcake looked strong and kept the crowd happy while Money Inc retained the straps, of course by the end of the show we all know why Hogan didn’t win the tag team titles here.
Lex Luger made his Wrestlemania debut by facing Mr Perfect, Lex Luger was brought in with the whole Narcissist gimmick and it worked well, and this match also was again very solid but not groundbreaking but lots of interesting spots that delivered a good contest that helps fill out this show. This match is then followed by probably the worst match of the night as the Undertaker took on the Giant Gonzalez who makes the Great Khali look like Rey Mysterio, at least the Undertaker kept the streak alive and well plus his entrance with the vulture looked cool.
Finally we get to the main event, it’s Bret Hart defending the championship against the undefeated monster, Yokozuna which is a very entertaining as it plays to the underdog versus giant story only with the giant finally destroying the underdog but it took a handful of salt from Mr Fuji for Yokozuna to do it. I think this is a much better David vs. Goliath match than those early Hulk vs. Bundy or Hulk vs. Andre matches since you can see Bret trying to outsmart and outmanoeuvre Yokozuna. Of course watching the late Yokozuna win the title was a big shock as a heel had never walked out of Wrestlemania as champion before but it was the after events of this match that really gets fans heated. Hulk Hogan makes a appearance to help Bret only for Mr Fuji to issue a open challenge to the Hulkster to get in the ring straight away to face him. We see Bret give Hogan the go ahead and Hulk steps into the ring for an impromptu main event which sees Hulk destroy Yokozuna in minutes and walk out as WWF champion again, to keep the fans in attendance happy.
However this was a huge mistake, Hogan was only with the company until the next PPV “The King of the Ring” which saw Yokozuna win back his title and Hogan ran off to WCW to make some more money. It was the time of a new generation as many of the top names had already gone to WCW and in all honestly, having Hogan win in the main event didn’t help build anyone as it made Bret Hart look bad for losing then after months of building, to have their monster Yokozuna out done in seconds by the veteran, just made him look weak but at least he would reign as champion until the next Wrestlemania.
This would be Hulk Hogan’s last Wrestlemania appearance until he would return to the Skydome to face The Rock, nine years later and it was a disappointing appearance as it just looked like he couldn’t handle not being involved in the title scene or main event, resulting in a moment which fans don’t look upon in a good way.
Overall: Like I said before, Wrestlemania 9 is remembered because of the dreadful ending with Yokozuna losing the title to Hulk Hogan in a unannounced match that was completely unnecessary and very desperate. There are a few hidden gems such as the first two matches involving HBK and the Steiner Brothers with the majority of other matches sitting in the average area but sadly overall this isn’t a great show even if it is very special because of the memories I have of it as a child, but like most things, you see memories through rose tinted glasses and not for what they are. However in Wrestlemania 9’s defence, there wasn’t really too many dud matches like there was in previous Mania’s, however there wasn’t any 5 star classic’s either.