Friday 17 June 2011

Wrestlemania IX: The Unloved Mania - The Build Up By Matthew Husson

We have a new writer to WLH, Matthew was introduced to me by my good friend and WLH columnist Shaun Nichols, Matthew is one of a few that likes the Wrestle Mania IX PPV from 1993. We got talking and he told me about what he thought of WM IX so I said, well put it down for others to read so here is part one of his article - The Build up.

What was so terrible about Wrestlemania IX, and why do fans consider this to be the worst Wrestlemania of all time? Well, I may not be able to give an accurate answer to the question, but at least I may be able to persuade you to reconsider and give it another go.

STAR POWER: Things weren’t always going to be easy. Hulk Hogan left soon after Wrestlemania VIII. Randy Savage took time out from wrestling and got behind the mic as a colour commentator. Sid Justice left in late April of ‘92. The Ultimate Warrior was fired before the 1992 Survivor Series, and Ric Flair went the following February back to WCW. This automatically eliminated arguably the five biggest superstars at that time and the double bill main event from Wrestlemania VIII. Where was the WWF going to find that kind of star power in time for their biggest show of 1993?

THE BUILD UP: Wrestlemania IX was being advertised as a double main event show. The first of which was Bret Hart(c) Vs Yokozuna. Bret Hart, making his first Wrestlemania defence of the WWF Championship against the 505lb Yokozuna. It was never going to be a classic technical match, but they were going to do everything possible to get people to buy the show. On television, alongside Mr Fuji, Yokozuna would smash his way through jobbers and use the Bonzai drop effectively to a point where you couldn’t take Yokozuna to be anything other than a credible opponent and someone who could genuinely take the belt off Bret. This came to a head nicely one week before Wrestlemania on Superstars. The contract signing was being held, with both participants in the ring and at either end of a table going face to face. Bret was being interviewed at his end of the table and before he had a chance to finish what he was saying, Yokozuna slammed the table into Bret’s knees throwing him off guard long enough for Yokozuna to get him into position to execute the Bonzai Drop. Now, both guys did their roles perfectly but the Pièce de résistance came from Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan on commentary. Heenan was shouting things like “if Yokozuna has hurt him, then there’s no match!” and “I think he’s made a mistake, I don’t think this was the right thing to do!” Monsoon picked up the ball and responded perfectly to Heenan which made everything that went on in the ring seem that little bit more devastating. After the attack, once the referees had managed to clear the ring, Bret was left there to recover, slowly rising to his feet. - This left the perfect question and reason to buy the PPV. Will Bret recover in time to defend his belt? - The build up and the doubt left hanging in the air were perfect.

Who would have thought that the second main event would be built around Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake? Well, sort of! Beefcake had already taken a lot of time off due to a parasailing accident back in 1990, which was acknowledged on air as the genuine reason for his disappearance. Something they didn’t tend to do back in those days. This background information led perfectly to an angle and return of Hulk Hogan. Beefcake had agreed to have a singles match with Ted DiBiase, who was then tagging with Irvin R. Schyster (I.R.S) in a team called Money Inc. Soon after the bell had rung, it didn’t take long for Schyster to get involved. The situation came to a head when, with a steel briefcase in hand and with DiBiase holding Brutus, he took a running swing with the case at his head. All at the same time Jimmy Hart, who was Money Inc’s manager, was desperately trying to stop Schyster, only to be thrown out of the ring and to the floor for his troubles. The following Raw, Vince McMahon announced the return of Hulk Hogan. Hogan said he had returned because he couldn’t sit back and watch his friend being attacked. This brought out Hulks friend to the end ‘The master of the strut and cut’, Brutus ‘The Bionic Barber’ Beefcake, and, Jimmy Hart who had left Money Inc. to form a trio known as the Megamanics. Hulk announced that it was Jimmy’s job to get DiBiase and Schyster into any form of match that he could, be it singles or tag team. It wasn’t long after that, that Money Inc. challenged the Megamanics to a title match at Wrestlemania IX, proclaiming that Brutus would be the weak link due to his facial injuries. It was announced shortly before Wrestlemania that Brutus had been cleared to wear a face mask for his title match. The only difference being that this wasn’t any old mask, oh no! It was designed by NASA and most importantly was yellow and red in colour!! - We’re finally going to see Hulk Hogan back in the WWF and at Wrestlemania, and that Money Inc. is going to get what’s coming to them.

The undercard featued Shawn Michaels defended the I-C title against Tatanka, Lex Luger making his first WWF PPV appearance against Mr Perfect. This was quite a big deal after Luger had been stuck in Vince's WBF bodybuilding group after his departure from WCW. The Undertaker faced another former WCW foe in Giant Gonzalez, while tag team action was provided by the Steiner Brothers (in the first Wrestlemania) facing the Headshrinkers. It was now ready for show time.

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