Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Saturday, 22 March 2014

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania 9

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: event poster
April 4, 1993
Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Nevada


No discussion about the worst WWE PPV events of all time is complete without Wrestlemania IX cropping up, rearing its toga-covered head and reminding us of its absolute worst moments.

But was the show really that bad?

This reviewer does not think so.

Sure, there was plenty to lambaste (and I will, at length), but in between all that, there were many moments of pretty enjoyable wrestling, too.

Not convinced? Let's take a look at the show, shall we?

Welcome to Caesers Palace!
No early-90s pay per view offering would be quite complete without Vince McMahon growling like the proverbial man possessed over an opening graphic. This year, McMahon kept it short. In just twenty odd seconds, he revealed himself to be far more excited about the location of this year's spectacular than he was about any of the matches involved.


Unfortunately for all concerned, that pretty much set the tone for the whole affair as the pomp and ceremony -tacky as it may have been- took far greater precedent than the action.

Having made his mark, Vince passed over to Gorilla Monsoon, whose role as Host of Wrestlemania IX involved nothing more than appearing on camera twice for a total of about thirty seconds on a show spanning multiple hours.

Still, Monsoon, dressed in a black, green and gold toga and flanked by two clearly bored actors dressed as Roman guards, did the best job he could by saying hello and immediately handing over to former WCW announcer, Jim Ross.

Opening ceremony
Wearing a toga of his own and surrounded by more actors, Ross made his World Wrestling Federation debut by beaming happily at the camera and running down tonight's card.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Jim Ross made his World Wrestling Federation debut
Ross then introduced us to Finkus Maximus (better known to you and I as veteran ring announcer, Howard Finkle) before proceeding doing his best to make the Wrestlemania opening ceremony sound like a legtimate huge deal.

As two actors dressed as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra arrived on an elephant, Ross really did try hard to make us care.

'Oh my, isn't that tremendous,' he said without a flash of sarcasm as the elephant reared up on its hind legs before returning to a more natural position on all fours.

Caesar and Cleopatra (who may or may not have been the same actors from the 1993 Royal Rumble) walked around the ring before commentator Macho Man Randy Savage was carried to the ring on a sedan, surrounded by muscular hunks and cheap hookers masquerading as 'celestial virgins.'

'The Macho Man, [with] a little grape action there,' Ross informed as Savage popped the fruit in his mouth, giving you just some idea of how badly the Oklahoma native wanted us to care.

Finally greeting Ross, Savage told us that we had a 'lock and load' situation going on and that the 'grapes were great,' before, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan arrived, riding backwards on a camel.

After falling off the camel, Heenan engaged in banter with Ross and Savage, the latter of whom made his first utterance of a phrase he would use repeatedly throughout the show. Yes ladies and gentlemen, it was time to Do The Thing.

At last.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship match:
WWF Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka (w/ Sensational Sherri)
WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Luna Vachon was in the company of Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels
As an eight year-old, I thought that the pairing of arrogant pretty boy Shawn Michaels with the deranged and freaky-looking Luna Vachon was an odd one to say the least.

Now approaching thirty, I still do (especially as Michaels ignored his valet from the moment he walked through the curtain), though I can at least appreciate the logic in such a partnership. Why wouldn't the Intercontinental Champion hire the services of the reputably dangerous Vachon to counter any attempt at shenanigans by his former squeeze Sensational Sherri, now in the corner of his Native American challenger.

Over twelve minutes after Wrestlemania IX began, the bell finally sounded and our opening contest was underway.

Despite both champ and challenger having zero chemistry with their respective seconds, this turned out to be a fine match.

Sure, Michaels would have, and already had, better matches in his career, the champion performed to his usual high standards. Tatanka was no slouch either. Indeed, both men worked hard to deliver an entertaining opener which was spoiled only by the finish.

As Heenan bickered with Savage and Savage continued to rant about doing the thing, Jim Ross called eighteen minutes of solid action until Michaels, in danger of being counted out, dragged the referee out of the ring.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Tatanka helps Sensational Sherri to the back following his count-out win over Intercontinental Champion, Shawn Michaels
The champion made his way back between the ropes and straight into a samoan drop from Tatanka. The challenger made the cover, but the referee returned to the ring and, rather than count the fall, awarded Tatanka the match via count-out.
Your winner via count-out: Tatanka (Shawn Michaels retains the title)

In the post-match, Luna Vachon waylaid rival Sensational Sherri then ran off at speed as Tatanka came to the rescue.

Things then moved to the back, where Mean Gene Okerlund proclaimed that 'Julius Caesar himself would have been proud to be involved in this Wrestlemania.'  Maybe Gene was busy at the craps table when Caeser himself made his grand entrance earlier in the show.

Okerlund lavished praise on The Steiner Brothers, who arrived on the scene to talk about their first Wrestlemania match in which they vowed to overthrow The Headshrinkers.

The Headshrinkers (Samu and Fatu w/ Afa) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott)
As Rick and Scott made their way to the ring, a fan held up a sign which read 'New York loves The Steiner Brothers and The "Under"taker. I'd say something about that, but I'm still kind of irked at the lack of apostrophe in Caesar's Palace.

That aside, this was another solid encounter.

Arguably even more enjoyable than the opening clash, The Steiners and The Headshrinkers engaged in a hard-hitting, smash-mouth tag team match.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The Steiner Brothers speak to Mean Gene before facing The Headshrinkers
In the early going, Jim Ross informed us that Luna Vachon had assaulted Sensational Sherri back in the First Aid area. Otherwise, the focus was purely on the two teams in the ring as they fought a memorable battle with a number of highlights, including a key moment where The Headshrinkers dumped Scotty head first over the top rope, where Afa added to Steiner's woes with a cane shot across the spine.

After just just shy of fifteen minutes, this entertaining match saw The Steiners pick up the three count thanks to a Frankensteiner from Scott.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers

Backstage, Mean Gene claimed to have just seen Doink The Clown deface a statue, but did nothing about it. Okerlund reminded Doink of the Clown's biggest sins, including throwing pies in the face of little children and, worst of all, beating up Crush with a fake arm.

In response, Doink insisted he was bringing the fun to Wrestlemania and, with a nod and wink in the direction of things to come, joked that Crush might 'see double vision' in their upcoming clash.

Crush vs. Doink The Clown
This is the point where eight year-old Chris would be hiding behind the sofa. OK, so Doink was awful as a babyface, but as a sinister heel with a split personality, he was genuinely terrifying, especially to a pre-pubescent boy.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Doink The Clown talks to Mean Gene about facing CrushThe bulk of this eight-plus minute match was nothing to write home about. The mighty Crush beat up on his sneaky adversary around and outside the ring, battering down with a series of exaggerated fists and boots and occasionally shaking things up with the odd snap mare or neckbreaker.

Doink mounted a comeback, diving off the ropes to wear down his foe and ramming Crush's head into the ring post to a faint smattering of applause.

'Everybody here is psyched to the max!' enthused Savage as the Las Vegas crowd sat on and watched in near silence.

Doink made several attempts to hide under the ring, only to be pulled back by Crush and thrown about the ring some more. Eventually, with the referee down, a second Doink emerged from under the ring, saving his doppleganger from Crush's Cranium Crush by hitting the big Hawaiian with the deadly Fake Arm of Doom.

As the announcers raved about a Double Doink (beating Paul Vasquez by some seventeen years), the original Doink made the cover, the referee woke up long enough to hit the three count, and this one was thankfully over.
Your winner: Doink The Clown

Next, we went to a man equally loved and loathed by wrestling fans, the one and only Todd Pettengill. Situated up in the cheap seats, with a pair of sunglasses and a backwards baseball cap complimenting his toga outfit, Pettengill moved around a sea of drunk and rowdy fans trying to conduct a survey into whether there really had been two Doinks or whether it was all just an illusion.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Doink The Clown, unmasked after his match with Crush
The Toddster had little luck with that one, though he did manage to give us the obligatory 'LOL! Foreigners can't speak English good' joke by interviewing two Japanese fans who only understood the word Yokozuna.

Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
After an outstanding performance at that year's Royal Rumble, Bob Backlund was relegated back to the jobber status he would endure until his memorable metamorphosis into the psychotic Mr. Backlund in the summer of 1994.

Here, he was overthrown by Razor Ramon in an entertaining, if instantly forgettable encounter.

Despite a valiant effort against a much larger opponent, Backlund's efforts were thwarted when Ramon pulled out an inside cradle for the win.
Your winner: Razor Ramon

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund caught up with WWF Tag Team Champions, Money Incorporated.

Okerlund reminded Ted Dibiase and I.R.S of how their feud with the Mega Manics began, namely with a briefcase to the injured face of Brutus Beefcake.

Dibiase responded by saying it was time Beefcake and his partner Hulk Hogan put up, or shut up. Dibiase claimed that Vegas, The City of Money, was Money Inc.'s backyard, and that their opponents had no chance of winning.

For his part, I.R.S said they would 'beat [Beefcake's] face into oblivion' and also told Gene that, if they thought Beefcake's face was bad, he should see Hogan's.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The Mega Maniacs faced Money Incorporated for the WWF Tag Team Titles


World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship match
WWF Tag Team Champions Money Incorporated ('Million Dollar Man' Ted Dibiase & I.R.S) vs. The Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan and Brutus 'The Barber' Beefcake w/ Jimmy Hart)

Emerging through a cloud of red smoke, Brutus Beefcake wore a protective face mask, playing up to the legitimate injury he suffered which had kept him away from WWF pay per view since Wrestlemania 6).

For his part, The Hulkster, besides appearing much slimmer, sported a shiner and several stitches. The company covered this with the story that Money Inc. had hired goons to beat up Hogan at the gym the night before.

The truth, depending on who you believe, is either that Randy Savage punched him out after finding out Hogan had an affair with Elizabeth, or that The Immortal One was involved in a jet ski accident.

Their look was a far cry from that of the last time they had teamed up on pay per view to face Macho Man and Zeus at Summerslam 1989.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Money Inc. find out they'll lose the belts if they walk out of their match with Hogan and Beefcake
The match itself was good (if not a little long) for what it was, though despite the best efforts of all four men, it lacked that all-important Big Match Feel you have to believe they were going for.

After threatening to walk out (only to be told they would thus forfeit their titles if they did so), Dibiase and I.R.S returned to the ring and took control, cutting off Hogan from his partner by choking him out with a tag rope.

Hogan did the whole babyface-in-peril thing well, and the crowd lit up when Beefcake finally took the inevitable hot tag to a huge pop from the Vegas faithful or, as Savage put it 'the fans are hanging from the rafters...except Caesar's Palace doesn't have rafters, but it has columns and they're hanging from the columns.'

Nice save, Macho.

Beefcake eventually came up short against the champions, losing his mask in the process.

The match then reached it's thrilling climax when Hogan drilled both opponents with the mask. The referee was down so, as Hogan and Beefcake covered their opponents, manager Jimmy Hart turned his jacket inside out to reveal zebra stripes, and made the three count.

The Mega Maniacs celebrated with the titles, but alas their triumph was short lived. A second referee rushed to ringside and decreed that not only could a match not end by 'Manager Changing His Jacket,' but that Hogan had been disqualified.
Your winner via disqualification: Money Inc.

The champions may have escaped with their gold intact, but they certainly didn't look too much like winners. Hogan and Beefcake disposed of them before Jimmy Hart threw former charge turned referee Danny Davis from the ring.

'The Mega Maniacs are The Mega Maniacs,' said Savage, keeping up his outstanding work at the announce table.

Hogan, Beefcake and Hart went through the usual post-match posedown celebration for what felt like the hour, eventually opening up Money Inc.'s gold-plated briefcase, removing a brick from it, and tossing money out into the audience.

The show then went back to Todd Pettengill and his gang of rowdy drunks. Pettengill spoke with singer Natalie Cole, who couldn't believe The Mega Maniacs had given away real money. He then spoke with the C.E.O of Caesar's Palace, who took the opportunity to shill his area and said that the wrestlers 'really appreciated themselves to the local community.'

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Mean Gene interviews Mr. Perfect about the latter's match with Lex Luger
Twenty one years later, I still have no idea what that means.

Backstage, Mean Gene spoke with Mr. Perfect. Okerlund told Perfect that, earlier in the day, Lex Luger had knocked out WWF Champion Bret Hart with his steel elbow thing. Perfect said he didn't know who Luger thought he was, raved about his own perfect week, then messed up trying to say 'The Narcissist Lex Luger' and instead made for the ring.

The Narcissist Lex Luger (w/ a gang of thong-wearing ladies) vs. Mr. Perfect
The cameraman spent much of Luger's entrance filming the rear ends of his female flunkies. Not that this writer is complaining.

Luger then spent some time posing in front of mirrors which shot fireworks before Perfect arrived on the scene to an enormous ovation.

This was another decent match which saw both men trading the advantage. With the crowd firmly on his side, Mr. Perfect using technical wrestling to combat The Narcissist's power-based offense.

Alas, as was fast becoming a trend with Wrestlemania 9, another good match reached failed to reach a clean finish. This time round, Perfect got his foot on the ropes to counter a Luger pin attempt. Unfortunately for the former Intercontinental Champion, the referee didn't see it, and thus awarded the match to Luger.
Your winner: Lex Luger


WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: The best thing Lex Luger ever brought to the ring?
Afterwards, Perfect argued with the referee, only to receive a metal-plated elbow to the head from Luger.

Perfect recovered quickly and ran backstage, where he found Luger chatting to Shawn Michaels. Somehow, Perfect wound up brawling, and then getting beaten up by, the Intercontinental Champion.

Back in the arena, Savage and Bobby Heenan got into a heated argument before Jim Ross difused the situation by sending over to Gorilla Monsoon for his second cameo of the evening.

Monsoon hyped up the remaining two scheduled matches before going back to How..I mean, Finkus Maximus.

Giant Gonzales (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer)
And so we have it, folks: One of the most notoriously bad matches in WWE history. Giant Gonzales, wearing That Infamous Suit, made his way to the ring first, followed by The Undertaker.

The Deadman, along with his pet vulture, came to the ring on a kind of hearse carried by four musclemen and flanked by a druid who didn't seem to quite get the whole gimmick, slapping hands with fans en route to the ring.

The bell rang, and fans were subjected to a match so terrible not even your usually-optimistic reviewer can excuse.

To his credit, The Undertaker did what he could to make the slow, immobile Gonzales look like a credible threat, though his efforts were continually diminished whenever the former El Gigante lumbered around the ring throwing awkward-looking offense.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: An iconic shot of The Undertaker at Wrestlemania
Things, whatever they were, fell apart at the end when Harvey Wippleman got involved and was taken out by The Undertaker, and Paul Bearer stuck his nose in, only to receive the same treatment courtesy of Gonzales.

The Giant then pulled out a chloroform-soaked rag, using it to knock out his opponent and thus lose the match via disqualification.
Your winner via disqualification: The Undertaker

Post match, a slew of officials rushed to Undertaker's aid. Gonzales beat up most of them, but Earl Hebner, Jack Doan and Paul Bearer managed to get Undertaker on a stretcher.

As Gonzales soaked up the jeers from the crowd (and a brief chant for Hulk Hogan), The Undertaker walked back to the ring, his face like a zombie, and took out his rival, leading to their ill-fated rematch at Summerslam 1993.

Despite a horrible match in which he got knocked out, The Undertaker stood 3-0 at Wrestlemania.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Hulk Hogan challenges the winner between Bret 'Hitman' Hart and Yokozuna
It was almost time for our main event world title match between Bret Hart and Yokozuna, a match which had largely been ignored by the announcers until now.

Though rather than give a final few words to either the champion or the challenger, Mean Gene Okerlund showed us a recap of Yoko killing both Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Bret Hart (in separate instances) then spoke to Hulk Hogan, a man who, as far as everybody was concerned at the time, had nothing to do with the final match of the evening.

Hogan played up the idea that Money Inc. were responsible for his black eye, before telling Bret Hart that Hogan, and all his Hulkamaniacs were on his side. Hogan claimed that he had looked into The Hitman's eyes and questioned the greatness of Hulkamania, which is why he was issuing a challenge to either Hart or -and I quote- 'The Jap, brother,' depending on which man won the upcoming match.

Todd Pettengill was back out in the audience, interviewing a mute kid and a couple of drunk dudes in togas who started brawling.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Yokozuna challenged Bret 'The Hitman' Hart for the WWF title


World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
If you were watching this show, you'd be forgiven for forgetting this match was schedule to take place, that's how much attention it got throughout the broadcast.

Still, it was here, and the fans in Caesar's Palace were excited.

Yoko made his way to the ring first, greeted by a couple of geishas and a chorus of boos. The Hitman, decked in all-pink attire, arrived next, greeted by a huge symphony of applause fro the Las Vegas faithful.

WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: WWF Champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart prepares for battle
The bell rang, the match was on.

Everything was going well. Both men worked to deliver everything you'd want in a big-man vs. little man clash on a main event scale. The nimble, technically-sound Hitman used everything from legitimate wrestling to down and dirty tactics to get the better of his larger opponent, but 'The Man from the Orient' continued to fight back using a winning combination of surprising speed and raw power.

The challenger's offense was certainly impressive, but it seemed that it would be no match for the champion, who wrapped up Yoko's expansive thighs into the sharpshooter.

Behind the referees back, Mr. Fuji threw salt into the eyes of the champion. The move seemed to practically cripple Hart, who fell back and was promptly put away for a three count, ending what had otherwise been a thrilling, if short, main event.
Your winner and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion: Yokozuna

As your writer sat trying to figure out how salt in the eyes could take a man off his feat, Yoko grabbed the world title belt and celebrated, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Hulk Hogan.

Playing the good guy, Hogan went immediately to check on the defeated Hitman. Somewhat foolishly, Mr. Fuji took to the microphone and challenged Hogan to fight Yokozuna there and then. Recieving Bret Hart's blessing, Hogan accepted.

World Wrestling Federation Championship match
WWF Champion Yokozuna vs. Hulk Hogan


WWE / WWF WRESTLEMANIA 9: Yokozuna enjoys his brief reign as WWF Champion
Yokozuna grabbed Hogan. Fuji threw salt. Hogan ducked. Yoko took the salt to the eyes (but didn't fall down like a wimp).  A punch to Fuji, a clothesline to the champion and a Leg Drop of Doom Later, the new WWF Champion Yokozuna was now the former WWF Champion Yokozuna.
Your winner and new WWF Champion: Hulk Hogan

As per the norm, Hogan celebrated with the title to end the show.




An anti-climatic end then to a disappointing show. Though Wrestlemania 9 was never going to stand out as The Greatest of All Time, your reviewer truly believes it would have stood out as being at least a decent effort were it for all the random cheap finishes and that Gonzales/Taker match.
Michaels/Tatanka, Steiners/Headshrinkers and even Mega Maniacs/Money Inc. stood out as being worth watching, whilst others, namely Hart/Yoko, Luger/Perfect and Ramon/Backlund all held their own until their respective endings.
Yet thanks to the poor finishers, Giant Gonzales, the tacky toga shtick and the Hogan/Yokozuna non-match, the 1993 edition of the WWF flagship even is widely regarded as one of the Worst Ever.
A shame really, as at least seventy percent of the in-ring action was actually pretty good, even it was marred with Randy Savage's awful commentary. Do The Thing, Oh yeah, brother!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

ARCHIVED WRITING: WWE vs. TNA fantasy booking - Beer Money vs. Miz & Morrison


OK, so I’m back again with more What If? Scenarios. This time, we’ll be indulging in a bit of tag team shenanigans.

[Five years after this post was originally published on another website, I realise what a lousy scenario I created for this fantasy booking. That said, I'd still like to watch this match even now]

Beer Money, Inc. vs. The Miz & John Morrison

This is the one ‘dream match’ which inspired my whole WWE vs. TNA idea.

In Storm/Roode and Miz/Morrison, we have two great examples of singles workers with not much going on thrown together in a team and actually excelling in their new roles.

Beer Money have lit up TNA’s tag scene and, truth be told, are one the only things worth watching on the catastrophe known as TNA Impact.

Meanwhile, along with Carlito & Primo, The Miz & John Morrison are WWE’s tag team division (Cryme Tyme don’t count since they’re destined to be used as filler for the foreseeable future, and Rhodes/Dibiase are little more than Orton’s stooges).

In my opinion, this could work really well as a Heel vs. Heel match and though admittedly I don’t have as strong an idea for a storyline as I did with Styles/Punk, I actually reckon it wouldn’t need much of one.

All you’d need would be one more match between Miz & Morrison and The Colons with all the titles on the line. M &M would pick up the win and unify the titles.

The following week on Smackdown, the two are in the ring boasting about being the undisputed tag team champions when Robert Roode and James Storm show up with the TNA tag straps.

They beg to differ about the whole ‘Undisputed’ thing, and affirm their heel status by insulting both WWE and its fans; claiming that neither would recognise a truly great tag team like Beer Money if it powerbombed them.

To prevent a forced face-turn, Miz & Morrison agree that WWE fans are stupid (cheap heat, sure, but that’s all it would need), but that they are the better tag team.

From there, we could either go straight into this match on the following show, or build up to a pay per view with several weeks of entertaining skits/promos in which each time tries to prove they are the best.

Who would win? Who would care? This would just be a fun one to watch.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.