Promotional poster featuring Bret Hart
|Tagline(s)||An Event of Epic Proportions|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||April 4, 1993|
|City||Las Vegas, Nevada|
WrestleMania IX was the ninth annual WrestleMania professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Federation. The event took place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 4, 1993 and was the first WrestleMania event held outdoors.
WrestleMania IX was built around two main storylines. The first was the seemingly unstoppable Yokozuna challenging Bret Hart for the WWF Championship, a right he earned by winning the 1993 Royal Rumble. The other major storyline was the return of Hulk Hogan, who had departed the WWF following WrestleMania VIII but returned to team with Brutus Beefcake against the WWF Tag Team Champions, Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster). Hogan and Beefcake lost the tag team match, but Hogan later faced Yokozuna for the title in an impromptu match after Yokozuna defeated Hart to win the championship. In addition, Shawn Michaels retained the WWF Intercontinental Championship, though he lost his match against Tatanka.
Several reviewers have been critical of the event. The most frequent criticism has been related to the match between The Undertaker and Giant Gonzalez, Hulk Hogan's title win, and the Roman togas worn by announcers. Both the pay-per-view buyrate and the attendance for the event dropped from the previous year's WrestleMania.
One of the feuds heading into the event was between Tatanka and WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels. Tatanka was in the midst of an undefeated streak and had wrestled Michaels twice in the months leading up to WrestleMania IX. Tatanka pinned Michaels in a singles match on the February 13, 1993 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling and later teamed with The Nasty Boys in a six-man match against Michaels and the Beverly Brothers; Tatanka pinned Michaels to win this match as well. Michaels was also feuding with Sensational Sherri, who stood in Tatanka's corner during the match. Sherri had been Michaels' valet. When Marty Jannetty tried to hit Michaels with a mirror, however, Michaels pulled Sherri in front of him to protect himself. Sherri's anger at getting hit over the head with a mirror caused her to turn on him at Royal Rumble 1993.
The match between The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) and The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu) had little background, although Afa, who managed The Headshrinkers, claimed that his team would ""tear [the Steiners'] heads off". Doink the Clown and Crush had been feuding since the January 2, 1993 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling. After Crush's match on that show, he confronted Doink, who had thrown a ball at a child in the audience. Crush grabbed Doink by the arm and warned him not to play any more pranks on children. Doink, wearing a cast on the arm that Crush had supposedly injured by grabbing, came to ringside during Crush's match on the January 18 episode of WWF Monday Night Raw. He apologized to Crush and gave him a flower; when Crush walked away, Doink removed a prosthetic arm from his cast and attacked Crush, who was later taken away in an ambulance due to kayfabe (storyline) injuries. For storyline purposes, Crush was said to be too injured to compete in the 1993 Royal Rumble match. Doink continued his pranks by squirting Crush with a water pistol and recording video messages to Crush, which showed two Doinks on the screen.
The feud between The Mega-Maniacs (Brutus Beefcake and Hulk Hogan) and WWF Tag Team Champions Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) stemmed from a legitimate parasailing accident in 1990 that forced Beefcake to undergo reconstructive surgery to his face. He was unable to wrestle again until the February 15, 1993 episode of Raw. He faced DiBiase in his return match, after which DiBiase and Schyster attacked him. DiBiase held Beefcake for Schyster to hit him in the face with a briefcase, but Jimmy Hart, who managed Money Inc., repeatedly got in the way before Schyster shoved him out of the ring. Schyster then hit Beefcake in the face with the briefcase. Hart later claimed that he felt the need to "step up and do the right thing" and that he "had a change of heart", and his intervention led to him becoming a babyface, or crowd favorite. Shortly thereafter, Hulk Hogan made his return to the WWF and joined with Beefcake, and manager Jimmy Hart, to form The Mega-Maniacs and challenge Money Inc. for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Mr. Perfect's rivalry with Bobby Heenan dated back to Survivor Series (1992). Perfect and Ric Flair were managed by Heenan, but Perfect turned on Flair and Heenan by agreeing to face them as part of a tag team match at Survivor Series. Flair feuded briefly with Perfect but left the company to return to World Championship Wrestling. Lex Luger had joined Vince McMahon's World Bodybuilding Federation, but he signed with McMahon's WWF when the bodybuilding company failed. He made his debut at Royal Rumble 1993, where he was unveiled as Heenan's latest wrestler, Narcissus (although the ring name was changed to "The Narcissist" Lex Luger).
The Undertaker's feud with Giant Gonzalez was an offshoot of The Undertaker's feud with manager Harvey Wippleman. The Undertaker defeated Kamala, who was managed by Wippleman, at SummerSlam 1992. A rematch was held at Survivor Series 1992, and The Undertaker beat Kamala in a coffin match. Wippleman vowed revenge, and he introduced Gonzalez at Royal Rumble 1993 and instructed him to attack The Undertaker. The Undertaker was eliminated from the Royal Rumble match as a result of the interference, and a match was scheduled between The Undertaker and Giant Gonzalez for WrestleMania IX.
Beginning with his debut with the company in 1992, Yokozuna was pushed by the WWF as an unstoppable monster heel. Weighing over 500 pounds, he used the Banzai Drop, a move in which he jumped from the second rope and sat on his opponent's chest, to defeat several of the WWF's biggest stars. In a notable match on the February 6, 1993 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Yokozuna attacked "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan and performed the Banzai Drop four times. Due to the kayfabe injuries from the attack, Duggan was unable to wrestle for over two months. Yokozuna earned a title shot against WWF Champion Bret Hart by winning the 1993 Royal Rumble match. During the contract signing, Yokozuna attacked Hart and performed the Banzai Drop on him.
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel
(under the name Finkus Maximus)
Before the televised broadcast began, Tito Santana defeated Papa Shango in a dark match. In the first match of the pay-per-view event, WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels was accompanied to the ring by a new valet, Luna Vachon. Sensational Sherri followed Tatanka to the ring to prevent Vachon from getting involved in the match. During the match, Vachon approached Tatanka twice outside the ring, but Sherri was able to intervene and stop Vachon from interfering. Tatanka spent much of the match trying to injure Michaels with an armbar hold. Michaels gained the advantage and almost pinned Tatanka with a victory roll, but Tatanka escaped the pin attempt and performed a war dance to channel his energy. Michaels threw Tatanka out of the ring and tried to jump at him to attack, but Tatanka moved. Michaels was unable to return to the ring within ten seconds; he pulled the referee out of the ring. Tatanka was awarded the victory by countout but did not win the championship because titles can only change hands as a result of pinfall or submission. Vachon attacked Sherri after the match, and Tatanka had to help Sherri make it back to the dressing rooms.
In the next match, the Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) faced The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu). The advantage switched back and forth several times, as the Steiners threw The Headshrinkers with several suplex variations and used their aerial abilities to attack their opponents from the ring ropes. The Headshrinkers relied mainly on using their power to wear down the Steiners. At one point, Fatu picked Rick Steiner up on his shoulders so that Samu could attack Rick from the top rope. Rick caught Samu instead and performed a bodyslam on Samu from Fatu's shoulders. The match ended when Scott Steiner performed a Frankensteiner to pin Samu and win the match.
Crush attacked Doink the Clown outside the ring prior to the next match. After getting Doink inside the ring, Crush used his strength advantage to overpower Doink. Doink gained the advantage but missed two attacks from the top rope. Crush used more power moves to wear down Doink, and Doink tried to crawl under the ring. Crush forced Doink back into the ring and performed the Cranium Crunch, a head vice submission hold, on Doink. Doink pulled himself to the ropes and broke the hold. Doink hit the referee and knocked him unconscious; as a result of this staged ref bump, a second Doink the Clown (portrayed by Steve Keirn) was able to interfere. He hit Crush with a prosthetic arm, which enabled the first Doink to win by pinfall when the referee regained consciousness.
Razor Ramon faced Bob Backlund next. Ramon used his power to dominate the majority of the match, but Backlund used hip tosses to attempt a comeback. Ramon won the match in under four minutes by pinning Backlund with a small package.
In the following match, Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) defended their WWF Tag Team Championship against The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake). Beefcake wore a protective titanium facemask because of his injured face, and Hulk Hogan came to the ring with a black eye, which led the announcers to speculate about the cause. Money Inc. gained the early advantage, but DiBiase soon injured himself by hitting Beefcake's mask. Hogan and Beefcake brawled with their enemies and controlled the match until Money Inc. was counted out. Referee Earl Hebner announced, however, that he would strip them of their title if they did not return to the ring and continue the match. DiBiase returned to the ring and rendered Hogan unconscious with the Million Dollar Dream chokehold. Beefcake attacked DiBiase by applying a sleeper hold and then turned his attention to Schyster, but DiBiase hit him in the back with Schyster's briefcase. Money Inc. attacked Beefcake and removed his facemask, but Beefcake fought back and applied a sleeper hold to Schyster. The referee was accidentally knocked unconscious, and Hogan recovered and attacked both members of Money Inc. with Beefcake's facemask. He tried to make the cover for a pinfall, but the referee still unconscious. Manager Jimmy Hart turned his jacket inside-out to reveal a striped referee jacket; he made the three-count and declared The Mega-Maniacs the winners of the match. Referee Danny Davis came to the ring and disqualified Hogan for using the facemask as a weapon. Money Inc. won the match and retained their championship, but The Mega-Maniacs threw them out of the ring and opened Schyster's briefcase to reveal stacks of cash. They celebrated in the ring and threw the money into the crowd.
Lex Luger was accompanied to the ring by four women with revealing outfits as he prepared to face Mr. Perfect. The match began with technical wrestling, and Perfect tried to injure Luger's knee while Luger worked on Perfect's back. Perfect took control of the match with a powerslam and tried to pin Luger after performing a dropkick from the top rope. Luger's foot was on the ropes, however, so the referee halted the three-count and continued the match. Luger gained momentum and pinned Perfect; Perfect's feet were on the rope, but the referee did not see them. Luger continued to attack Perfect after the match and hit him with his forearm, which contains a steel plate as the result of a legitimate motorcycle accident. When Perfect got up, he chased Luger but was attacked by Shawn Michaels backstage.
In the next match, The Undertaker faced Giant Gonzalez. Both men tried to use their size and power to control the match. Gonzalez used a reverse chinlock to wear The Undertaker down and attacked him outside the ring. The Undertaker regained control of the match and knocked Gonzalez onto his knees. Harvey Wippleman threw Gonzalez a rag soaked with chloroform, which Gonzalez used to knock The Undertaker unconscious. The referee disqualified Gonzalez for using a foreign object and awarded the match to The Undertaker. After the match, The Undertaker recovered and attacked Giant Gonzalez.
In the final scheduled match of the event, Bret Hart defended the WWF Championship against Yokozuna. Hart tried to use his technical wrestling abilities against Yokozuna, while Yokozuna relied on his size advantage in the match. Hart gained control at the beginning, but Yokozuna came back with a clothesline, leg drop, and nerve hold. Hart regained the advantage when Yokozuna missed a running splash. Yokozuna applied another nerve hold but missed a running splash again. He recovered and carried Hart to the middle of the ring, but Hart removed the protective padding on the turnbuckle in the corner of the ring. He threw Yokozuna's head into the turnbuckle and applied the Sharpshooter, his signature submission hold that stretches the opponent's legs and back. Mr. Fuji, Yokozuna's manager, threw salt in Hart's eyes, which enabled Yokozuna to pin Hart and win the WWF Championship.
After the match, Hulk Hogan came to ring to check on Hart's condition. Hogan had stated during an interview earlier in the broadcast that he wanted to face the winner of the match, and Fuji challenged Hogan to face Yokozuna immediately. Hogan agreed and entered the ring. Fuji tried to throw salt in Hogan's eyes, but he missed and the salt hit Yokozuna. Hogan performed a leg drop and pinned Yokozuna to win the title in 22 seconds.
A feud began between Shawn Michaels and Mr. Perfect after WrestleMania IX as a result of Michaels attacking Perfect. They faced each other at SummerSlam 1993, and Michaels won by countout after his new bodyguard, Diesel attacked Perfect. Perfect then feuded with Diesel until leaving the WWF.
Money Inc. lost the WWF Tag Team Championship to the Steiner Brothers on June 14, 1993. Money Inc. won the belts back in a rematch on June 16, but the Steiners won them again three days later. Money Inc. received several rematches but were unable to regain the title; they soon focused on singles wrestling, and DiBiase retired shortly thereafter.
The Undertaker continued to feud with Harvey Wippleman. On the June 12, 1993 episode of WWF Superstars of Wrestling, Wippleman, Giant Gonzalez, and Mr. Hughes attacked The Undertaker, and his manager Paul Bearer, and stole the urn that was said to be the source of his power. The Undertaker and Giant Gonzalez faced each other one final time at SummerSlam 1993 in a Rest in Peace match, in which neither wrestler could be disqualified. The Undertaker won the match to end the feud. After the match, a frustrated Gonzalez chokeslammed Wippleman to the delight of the fans and turned face in the process.
Bret Hart later claimed that during a conversation with Vince McMahon, he was told that Hulk Hogan refused to drop the WWF Championship to him. However, during a separate conversation with Hulk Hogan (who was preparing to leave the company), a deal was made to drop the belt to the top heel at the time (Yokozuna) at the following King of The Ring. With McMahon telling Bret Hart one thing, yet telling Hulk Hogan another, all three men eventually wound up in a meeting where McMahon denied telling Bret that Hogan refused to drop the Championship to him.[dubious ]
After regaining the title, Yokozuna challenged any American athlete to bodyslam him on the deck of the USS Intrepid on July 4, 1993. After many challengers failed, Lex Luger arrived by helicopter and bodyslammed Yokozuna. Luger became a fan favorite and changed his gimmick to an American patriot. He faced Yokozuna for the WWF championship at SummerSlam 1993; he won the match by countout but did not win the title. Lex Luger and Bret Hart each earned a title match against Yokozuna the following year at WrestleMania X. Luger was disqualified in his match, but Hart won the championship later that night.
This was the first WrestleMania held entirely outdoors, a concept the company did not use again until WrestleMania XXIV in 2008. Because WrestleMania IX was held in Caesar's Palace, the WWF promoted the event as the "World's Largest Toga Party". The arena was made to look like a Roman coliseum, and the event featured guards, trumpeters, and several live animals. The company built on this theme by having the commentators, including debuting announcer Jim Ross, wear togas. Ring announcer Howard Finkel was also renamed "Finkus Maximus" for the day. Randy Savage came to the broadcast booth accompanied by women throwing flower petals and feeding him grapes while he rode on a couch pulled by a horse. Bobby Heenan made his entrance wearing a toga and riding a camel backwards.
Hulk Hogan's visibly damaged eye was explained in the storyline as the result of Ted DiBiase hiring a group of men to attack Hogan before the match. In reality, the cause of injury has been open to debate. One theory is that Randy Savage punched Hogan because he believed that his ex-wife Elizabeth Hulette had an affair with Hogan while Savage and Hulette were married (the couple divorced in September 1992). WWF officials claimed that the injury was the result of a Jet Ski accident.
The event was attended by 16,891 fans, who paid a total of $1,100,000 in admission fees. This represents less than one-third of the number of fans at WrestleMania VIII, which had an attendance of 62,167. The pay-per-view drew a 2.3 buyrate, which was lower than the previous year's 2.8 buyrate. It was higher, however, than the buyrates for any of the following four WrestleManias.
WrestleMania IX has received criticism for what some reviewers have perceived as a poorly booked event. Writing for SLAM! Wrestling, John Powell states that, aside from the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championship matches and the scantily-clad women that accompanied Lex Luger to the ring, the rest of the broadcast was poor. He is also critical of some of the outfits worn for the event, notably Jim Ross's toga and Giant Gonzalez's spray-painted suit. Reviewing the event for Online Onslaught, Adam Gutschmidt claims that several of the matches flowed poorly and had ill-conceived conclusions. He also claims that the match between Giant Gonzalez and The Undertaker was a "dud" and that Hulk Hogan's ego made the conclusion the "worst WrestleMania ending ever". RD Reynolds, owner of the website WrestleCrap, has inducted the event into the site's list of "the very worst in pro wrestling". He cites Giant Gonzalez, Papa Shango, Luger's "narcissist" gimmick, and Jim Ross wearing a toga as his reasons for including the event in the list.
WWE places two events from WrestleMania IX in its top 50 WrestleMania moments: Bobby Heenan's entrance on the camel, which the company calls "one of the most hilarious moments in WWE history", and Hulk Hogan's title victory. Matt Anoa'i, who wrestled for WWE as Rosey, and is the cousin of Samu and Fatu, has identified The Headshrinkers performing a double splash on Scott Steiner at this event as his favorite moment at WrestleMania.
WrestleMania IX was released on VHS by Coliseum Video. It was then released as part of the WWF's WrestleMania: The Collection (1985–1997) box set in 1997. The video was re-released six years later in March 1999. That month, it was also released as part of the WWF's WrestleMania: The Legacy box set. It was also released on DVD for WWE's History of WrestleMania I-IX box set on September 14, 2004.
|Dark||Tito Santana defeated Papa Shango||Singles match||08:00|
|1||Tatanka (with Sensational Sherri) defeated Shawn Michaels (c) (with Luna Vachon) by countout||Singles match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship||18:13|
|2||The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) defeated The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu) (with Afa)||Tag team match||14:22|
|3||Doink the Clown defeated Crush||Singles match||08:28|
|4||Razor Ramon defeated Bob Backlund||Singles match||03:45|
|5||Money Inc. (Ted DiBiase and Irwin R. Schyster) (c) defeated The Mega-Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake) (with Jimmy Hart) by disqualification||Tag team match for the WWF Tag Team Championship||18:27|
|6||Lex Luger defeated Mr. Perfect||Singles match||10:56|
|7||The Undertaker (with Paul Bearer) defeated Giant Gonzalez (with Harvey Wippleman) by disqualification||Singles match||07:33|
|8||Yokozuna (with Mr. Fuji) defeated Bret Hart (c)||Singles match for the WWF Championship||08:55|
|9||Hulk Hogan defeated Yokozuna (c) (with Mr. Fuji)||Singles match for the WWF Championship||00:22|
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
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