I considered watching more Raws but I wasn't really planning on going through like...every show in 1993 so it's probably time to just get to fucking WrestleMania 9. Jim Ross is there for his first ever Mania. He and Monsoon are both loving that it's their first time in togas. Gladiators, Cleopatra, Caesar, Elephants! A certain incredibly tall headed internet wrestling "smart mark" was once very shocked by the idea of Cleopatra being portrayed a black woman.
A llama walks out and Randy Savage is carried to the ring, escorted by virgins. Here comes Bobby Heenan and he's riding BACKWARD on the camel! Can you believe it? Ostrach! Holy beans! It's a zoo out there! Savage lifts up Heenan's toga and gives a thumbs up.
WWF Intercontinental Championship: Shawn Michaels (c) (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Tatanka
Luna had some bangin' legs. Don't argue with me. Sensational Sherri comes out after Tatanka and now is kinda sorta in his corner. It takes Michaels forever to get out of his fancy pre-match pants. This is the whole "challenger has the champion's number" thing where Tatanka won a singles non-title match over Michaels and also pinned him in that six man on Raw. And early on he keeps getting reversals so Shawn changes things up and goes to the headlock. Early on this is decent enough but Tatanka isn't exactly able to keep up with Michaels and their timing is off. Shawn misses a sunset flip off the top rope and now it's just slooooooowing doooown with an armbar from Tatanka and some chops to the shoulder. A lot of teasing of a hair pull by Michaels and he can't land a clothesline because his arm hurts. Holy shit, this went from okay to way too slow. More armbar. There are other ways to work the arm, Buffalo!
Michaels gets free, tries to do work and hits his shoulder on the guardrail. Back to the armbar. This is a phenomenal way to take the crowd out of the show on the opening match. Chop! Chop! Chop! Tatanka goes to the proverbial well one too many times and eats a superkick. Michaels throwing Tatanka over the top rope and more teasing of a Sherri/Luna catfight. Michaels with a flying clothesline off the apron to Tatanka on the outside. This is such a weird, uneven match. There's just no rhythm. It's not that it's bad, it's just not good. Shawn tries for a headscisors thing and instead it's just a weird rolling thing since neither guy appeared to have a clue what was going on. Shawn keeps doing things and the announcers yell that he is doing all this with a hurt shoulder, but Shawn seems to have forgotten about all that work on his shoulder. Like a Hogan match this was all just a build to Tatanka doing his dancing Native American comeback thing. Catapault makes sure that I hate this match just a little bit more. A lot of near falls but whatever. This match is too long for what they're doing. Tatanka catches Michaels coming off the top rope and powerslams him for the best near fall of the match. Michaels pulls the referee out of the ring and then gets dropped by Tatanka and that should win him the title, but no! It's a disqualification! Oh wait! No! It was a countout! So in your opening match you have guys go way too long, use a lot of rest holds and have the hot challenger win by countout so the fans get no satisfaction. That'll get the crowd excited!
Luna kicks Sherri's ass after the match.
I had a feeling that popular sentiment on that match would be in conflict with me and I was right. Probably because the "we want wrestling" crowd (even before that was the mantra) has long confused restholds with "real wrestling." It's like how Ian Rotten would show up on an IWA-MS bill against someone like Colt Cabana and everyone would go "WAAAAIT! Colt isn't a hardcore guy! What's gonna happen?" and then Ian would do an armdrag and hold an armbar for a minute and a half and everyone would applaud and go "see! Ian is a REAL wrestler!" and give him a standing ovation. At some point the backlash against the spotfest got confused. Proper pacing doesn't mean taking a match that could be done really well in 8-11 minutes and making it go over 18. The job of an opening match is to hook the crowd and set the tone, this was overly long, included work on a limb that wasn't sold, had a shitty ending and Michaels sandbagged like crazy the whole match. I don't do star ratings but if I did you can bet it wouldn't be some "**1/2 because of the ending" bullshit.
The Headshrinkers vs. The Steiner Brothers
I don't remember this match, but I should love it based on the teams involved. Fatu and Scott start it out and it's all powerful and shit and they start hammering the shit out of each other, trading right hands. Both Rick and Scott with flying clotheslines out of the same corner so Afa smashes Samu and Fatu's heads together to wake them up. Headshrinkers dump Scott to the floor and then smash him with a cane. They probably should have done a few hundred Headshrinkers/Steiners matches because these four guys are pretty great together. The Headshrinkers are fantastic because they're big, strong, agile, athletic and willing to be dirty. Oh...and Samoan which is always great. Scott is in peril and tries to come back by smashing Fatu's head into the canvas but you can't do that to a Samoan so he gets kicked in his shit for his trouble. They've cut off a ton of Steiner comebacks with eyepokes which i love to death.
Double clothesline sets up what one would think will be the hot tag, but no. Okay, at this point they've just beat the shit out of Scott. Hinally there's the hot tag to Rick and he's a house of god damn fire...until he tries to knock the noggins of the 'shrinkers and they take back over. God damn, this is really good. Out of nowhere it's Scott with the frankensteiner for the win. Well, that'll be the high point for this show.
Mean Gene interviews Doink. It's treated as though his "desecrating" the statue of Julius Cesar is a big deal, as though Cesar's Palace is fucking actually a historical landmark. But Doink is awesome, so fine.
Crush vs. Doink
Doink squirts Crush and that pisses of the big man so he chases Doink down, takes his coat and body slams him. Crush with big slow Crush offense for a bit until Doink takes over for a bit and hits a piledriver and body slam. This is kind of shitty. Ref bump! Doink keeps trying to get under the ring, world's worst spinning back kick by Crush and now the Kona Clutch but here comes the fucking second Doink and the start of meddling with the Doink character just a few months into his run. They beat up Crush with the fake arm and second Doink goes back under the ring and Crush is pinned for the three count.
Bill Alfonso runs out to tell Joey that there were two Doinks. They check under the ring but there's no one there. Todd Pettengill is in the crowd talking to people to see if there were really two Doinks or if it was an illusion. He talks to two horribly stereotypical Japanese photographers and says he's having fun even through he is drenched in beer.
Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund
I'm a bit thrown off that they're still acting like maybe the two Doinks really WERE an illusion. Anyway, this is a fucking weird match-up. It's kind of interesting that Bob Backlund, who was sold as the old guy in this match in 1993, is the one in better shape today in 2012. It's the usual Backlund offense with the leg sweeping and all that. These two mesh about as well as one might expect, which is to say they don't and this kinda sucks. Small package wins for Razor after getting beat on for a while. Pretty fucking stupid match and yet another stupid decision on the ending..
Money Inc. ("The Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase & IRS) vs. The Mega Maniacs (Hulk Hogan & Brutus Beefcake w/ Jimmy Hart)
Hogan has a damaged eye here from a jet-ski accident (or from being assaulted by paid goons courtesy of Money Inc. if you want the storyline reason...or from being punched by Randy Savage if you want the popular myth version). The Mega Maniacs hit the ring and chase them from the ring. Beefcake's "protective gear" for his face is absurd. DiBiase hurts his hand when he tries to double axehandle Beefcake's face and now Beefcake isn't hurt by getting rammed into the turnbuckle. THat seems like quite the unfair advantage, doesn't it? This match sucks because Money Inc. are sold as being at a big power disadvantage, but they're also getting outsmarted, and Hogan is poking eyes and shit so they're not the dirtier team either. So your big blowoff to this heated situation is the badguys getting their asses kicked. I mean, yeah, that's going to turn once they get some heat on Hogan and all that but still.
Money Inc. tries to bail and walk to the back and for some reason the referee is allowed to determine that Money Inc. will lose their titles if they are counted out. That seems like a decision above the referee level. Time for them to get heat on Hogan...you know...so there can be a hot tag made to shitty fucking Beefcake. Hogan tries to hulk up out of the Million Dollar Dream but he ends up down again, still in the hold. So Beefcake gets in and uses the sleeper to put DiBiase to sleep...because, again, the good guys are filthy cheaters. Hogan to his eet first and hot tag to Beefcake who uses his diverse "offense" to take over until DiBiase hits him with the briefcase. DiBiase pulls off Beefcake's faceguard and they start attacking. Beefcake goes for the sleeper instead of tagging in Hogan and gets hit from behind for his trouble. God, this match sucks. Hogan lays out both men with the titanium facemask. Beefcake and Hogan pin both men and, since the ref is out, Jimmy Hart turns his jacket inside out to reveal stripes, and counts the three. Which...isn't legit. Danny Davis runs in to point out that they used a foreign object and disqualifies the Mega Maniacs. So...they chase off Money Inc. and beat up the referee. ...because they're the faces...another match, another bunch of bullshit that makes no sense. I'm so ready for this show to be done.
Mr. Perfect vs. "The Narcissist" Lex Luger
Lex walks out with some ladies. Them ladies got they butts hangin' out. I should probably do a whole "whoa! this is a family show, you guys!" but come on! Early 90's butts! They're like 70's boobs! Somehow totally different. Heenan insisting that Lex outshines them all and it remains insanely weird how over the top gay for Lex they've made Heenan. Trading armbars, then trading hammerlocks. Hennig really was smooth as silk when he got going.
Perfect working over the leg and now chopping Lex and this is actually pretty good. Luger takes over and starts working the back of Perfect but doesn't forget that his leg was worked over and keeps selling it a little bit. I mean, Lex never was the smoothest guy and he is getting worse as he gasses here. But I think Lex still had a little of the good he had in his WCW run that Scott was talking about during his Mission From God thing. Lex is starting to kick out a bit too slow now as he's been run ragged. Luger wins despite Perfect's feet being on the ropes and then Luger knocks him out after the match. So another shitty finish. Yaaay. What a deeply satisfying show!
Hennig comes to, runs to the back and tries to attack Luger, but then Shawn Michaels kicks the shit out of Perfect. So the face gets cheated, knocked out after the match, tries to get revenge and gets his ass kicked by someone completely different. Great.
Giant Gonzalez vs. The Undertaker
Somebody used a lot of ink and paper in their dot matrix printer to make a "Giant Gonzalez Rot In Peace" sign. There isn't a single time I see GG without thinking "holy shit is that bodysuit thing stupid." The other problem is...he just doesn't look mean. I mean, he's really fucking tall, but he always looks kind of like he'd like to just hug and watch a movie. Then he's in his stupid fucking spandex body suit with muscles painted on it moving all slow as shit. He doesn't even have a clue how to do a rear chinlock. This is horrible. Chloroform rag usage by Gonzalez results in a DQ win for The Undertaker. So many things to complain about here but I don't care anymore.
WWF Championship Match: Bret Hart (c) vs. Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji)
Hart is on fire early! Yokozuna tries to take over with power but Bret is crafty and shit. Yoko takes back over and does his big fat offense and is awesome. There's a reason he was named our #1 Big Fat Heel. The crowd chants USA...Bret is Canadian. This is pretty damn good honestly. I mean, Yokozuna matches have built-in limitations but they're actually having a good damn match. When Hart locks in the sharpshooter, it's pretty great and then he gets the salt in the eyes and Yokozuna wins the title. Here comes Hogan though. Fuji says Yokozuna issued a challenge and calls him a "yellow belly" then offers up the title right now. Bret tells him to do it.
WWF Championship Match: Yokozuna (c) vs. Hulk Hogan
Fuji with salt in the eyes of Yokozuna accidently, forearm smash, leg drop. Hogan is the champ.
"I told you not to mess with mother nature! WOOF!" says Hogan. And with that great thought, the worst WrestleMania ever comes to an end.
I'm going to keep telling myself that it's all uphill from here.