Retro Review

WWE Hidden Gems – March to Wrestlemania IX Review

Jack Irene checks out the latest addition to the WWE Network ‘Hidden Gems’ collection, March to WrestleMania IX.

We are on the exciting Road to Wrestlemania 35 at the moment, so let’s get hyped for this year’s spectacle by taking a trip down memory lane and checking out the March to Wrestlemania IX from Fayetteville, NC.

This has just been unnearthed in the ‘Hidden Gems’ section on the WWE Network, but is this worth your time? Let’s find out.

Vince McMahon and Bobby Heenan open the show highlighting the events earlier this weekend when Bret Hart and Yokozuna signed for their World Title bout at Mania. Yoko delivered a pelvic thrust into the table, bumping into Bret Hart’s leg. He proceeded to attack Hart only for him to stand right up and prove that he is a fighting champion. This moment would have been nothing without the crowd’s chant of “USA!” for Canadian wrestling icon Bret Hart. They run down the card for tonight featuring the Wrestlemania headliner, Yokozuna, against Macho Man Randy Savage, as well as The Undertaker preparing for his clash with Giant Gonzalez by taking on Bam Bam Bigelow tonight.

YOKOZUNA VS. RANDY SAVAGE

Yokozuna is out to some major heat and more “USA!” chants as we head to our first commercial break. Randy Savage receives a standing ovation. The crowd noise almost seems edited in, but the place is visibly going bonkers for the Macho Man so who knows? The bell rings and both men circle each other for what feels like forever. Savage ducks underneath some of Yokozuna’s attacks and continues to taunt the big man. Yokozuna tosses Savage and works his methodical pace. Savage goes airborne over the rope and Yokozuna hurls him into the blue steel steps. Back in the ring, Savage beings to come back with some sharp jabs, only to eat a big chop to the throat. Yoko nails a heavy leg drop to a chorus of boos and continues his slow offence. He charges Savage in the corner and comes up empty. Macho Man dives from the top rope, connecting with his double axe-handle to stun the giant. He goes up once more, but Mr Fuji whacks him with the Japanese Flag, and Yokozuna follows up with a thunderous belly-to-belly suplex for the W. After the match, he goes for the Bonzai Drop but comes up empty. Savage drives him to the outside with a big knee as he attempts to come back in. Referees hold him back and Fuji directs him backstage.

Rating – ½*

There wasn’t much to this one. There was endless stalling and it was essentially an extended squash match for the challenger at Wrestlemania. They made him look strong but contradicted this by having Savage obtain the upper hand directly after. Once again, this was a short, but uneventful affair.

We go to a clip of the Royal Rumble where Narcissist Lex Luger debuted, staring at himself in a mirror.

MR. PERFECT VS. SKINNER

Skinner comes out to his weird animal noises, which is interrupted by Mr Perfect before he even makes it into the ring. Perfect has a date with Luger at Mania. Skinner gets the advantage early by sneak attacking him. Perfect is sent to the outside and Skinner follows, biting him. Perfect fights back on the outside, sending Skinner into the post. Skinner attacks Mr Perfect in the ring with the belt, which somehow does not warrant a disqualification. The crowd rallies behind Perfect as he absorbs Skinner’s rough attack, featuring more biting and choking. Perfect chops Skinner in the corner and connects with his knee lift. Perfect becomes more aggressive, stomping the throat of Skinner. Skinner jams the alligator claw into the eye of Perfect but ends up on the receiving end of a Perfect Plex for the 1-2-3.

Rating – *¾

I have seen a lot of wrestling matches, and this was one of them. Luckily it did have more action than the opening bout but served little to no purpose at all. This was a decent contest.

They advertise Wrestlemania touting Hulk Hogan’s success and highlighting him as the main selling point of the event. This is understandable knowing what takes place.

Reverend Slick appears in the ring, predicting that Kamala will defeat Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania. He appreciates the support of the crowd, driving Kamala to the good side. Slick says we cannot allow Kim Chee to take Kamala to the dark side. Kamala’s music hits with no sight of the Ugandan Giant. Slick runs backstage and we go to commercial for an apparent cliffhanger. Never mind, he just escorts him into the ring. Okay.

KIM CHEE VS. KAMALA

Kim Chee charges Kamala in the corner and completely takes control. Kamala stares at Kim Chee and slaps his belly, then suddenly goes nuts and attacks him. Kamala continues to kick and slam Kim Chee, following up with a big splash. Kamala is lost and can’t turn Kim Chee over for the pin, but the crowd stands up and motivates him to flip him over and pull off the victory. Kamala is on the good side and Slick places Kim Chee’s hat on his head and they celebrate

DUD

This seemed to be the end of Kim Chee’s attempts. The match was thankfully short but still awful. Kamala has one of the most unique wrestling styles I have ever seen, to the point where I can never tell if he botches or he’s just in character. Regardless, this one was tough to watch.

Glorious Wrestlemania music video with a catchy song and Superstars yelling at me.

We see the formation of the Mega-Maniacs, with Hogan standing up for his friend, Brutus Beefcake, following an attack from Money Inc.

MONEY INC. VS. RENO RIGGINS AND JERRY SABIN

Riggins’ trunks say “High Roller” on them, accompanied by some dice. His partner, Sabin, is a chubby man with “Italy” on his gear. Sabin gets ambushed by Money Inc. early on, with DiBiase attacking him on the outside while IRS distracted the referee. Riggins is in and suffers the same consequences. DiBiase back body drops Riggins so hard, he almost lands on his feet. DiBiase locks in the Million Dollar Dream causing Riggins passes out.

This was just a squash match to make Money Inc. look strong in preparation for their battle with the Mega-Maniacs at Wrestlemania.

DUD

Gene Okerlund introduces the Mega-Maniacs and Jimmy Hart. Hogan stumbles over his words as he describes his feelings watching Beefcake get attacked last week from his home in Venice Beach. He heard the prayers of Hulkamaniacs for Beefcake as he rode a motorcycle through the beach or something. He found Beefcake watching The Three Stooges with an icepack. Beefcake speaks now, talking about his new mask as the camera zooms in on Hogan’s oily bicep. He delivers this wild story, similar to Hogan, but can’t even nearly match the presentation that Hogan provided. It’s comparable to a fan doing a half-hearted Hulk Hogan promo. Jimmy Hart is yelling now about how Money Inc. is bankrupt and they are going to make Mega-Maniac video games for some reason. Brutus Beefcake sounds like a mid-pubescent boy at this point, with his voice cracking on every other word. Hogan reminisces about pulling two hammerhead sharks out of the ocean with his bare hands, then filled the Caesar’s Palace fountains with chlorine, “nasty mermaids”, and sea urchins. Excuse me? He hits his catchphrases and they rip their clothes off as McMahon has the time of his life on commentary. The crowd goes crazy for Hogan as Beefcake awkwardly exits, then comes back to mooch off of The Hulkster’s pop. This was an embarrassing segment and just a boring, pointless, over-the-top promo that would make somebody turn their television off. Beefcake should never touch a microphone again and Hogan needs to turn off his imagination. This segment dragged on and on, becoming more dreadful by the minute.

Highlights of Tatanka defeating Shawn Michaels on Superstars and Raw. Shawn Michaels then claims that he will walk out of WrestleMania with the Intercontinental Championship and Tatanka’s scalp.

TATANKA VS. GEORGE SOUTH

Tatanka overpowers South to start the match, pushing him to the mat twice. South backs Tatanka into the corner and unloads on him. Tatanka fires back with a leapfrog and chops. He slams South to the canvas but gets his eyes and back raked for it. Tatanka starts his trot and chops South down three times. Tatanka nails a Samoan Drop for the victory as Shawn Michaels immediately makes his way out to the ring, promising that he will not lose his belt. Tatanka invites HBK to fight right now, but Michaels walks away after teasing a fight.

This was another brief squash bout.

DUD

WrestleMania IX Report kicking off with a generic Bret Hart promo and ICO-PRO ads. Krush claims that he will crush Doink like an octopus. The Steiners warn The Headshrinkers, featuring Scott Steiner correctly speaking the English language.

BEVERLY BROTHERS AND LITTLE LOUIE VS. THE BUSHWHACKERS AND TIGER JACKSON

Heenan finds Louie’s name appropriate as he initially questions if he is Hillbilly Jim. Tiger Jackson does the Bushwhacker walk as they lick Howard Finkel’s head. Heenan now wants to sweep Tiger Jackson under his sofa, but warns you not to touch him. The Brain seems to have a plethora of midget jokes in his pocket. Beau goes to work quickly, stomping on Luke. The Bushwhackers retaliate by biting their opponents on the posterior. Tiger Jackson dances and dropkicks Louie. Jackson pins Louie and gets thrown off onto the ref, as he bounces back and forth between them. Blake is in, offering a handshake to Butch who obviously sees nothing wrong with this, causing him to be attacked. Luke comes in, as they work on the arm of the Beverly Brother. Blake goes outside to evade more punishment, allowing Beau to attack Luke in the ring. Beau now comes in as the legal man, scoring a big axe handle from the top rope. The Beverly Brothers maintain control until Luke counters with a big clothesline for a double down. Butch gets the hot tag and dominates the brothers. Tiger Jackson comes in to take care of Louie. The Bushwhackers place Jackson on the top rope, who hits a crossbody on his adversary for a pinfall. Bobby Heenan is confused but lets it slide as we go to commercial.


The Bushwhackers were insanely over here and did produce some fun spots. Unfortunately, this was the longest match of the night at this point and would have been decent if cut in half.

We look back at Giant Gonzalez attacking The Undertaker at Royal Rumble.

BAM BAM BIGELOW VS. THE UNDERTAKER

The Undertaker is out with Paul Bearer to a massive ovation. Bigelow is not intimidated by The Deadman, as he stares into the urn. They stand toe-to-toe where McMahon claims Bigelow was backing down. Undertaker catches him with a good shot, sending him running. Undertaker connects with a big DDT in the middle of the ring. Taker walks the ropes for Old School, crashing onto the shoulder of Bigelow. Neither man can knock each other down, until Bigelow dodges a flying attack from Taker, sending us to a commercial break. Bigelow slams Taker onto the floor, followed by sending the Deadman knee first into the steel steps. Bigelow slams Undertaker with a back suplex but once again, he keeps coming back for more. He finally grounds Taker momentarily and looks to keep this going with a huge headbutt from the top rope, but comes up empty. Undertaker sat up right before Bigelow hit the canvas. He gets up and sets Bigelow straight down with a chokeslam. He rolls outside and walks up the ramp. The Undertaker wins by count-out. Giant Gonzalez and Harvey Wippleman come out and pose, with security separating both giants before their big match at Mania.

**¼

This was the best match of the night but still lacklustre due to the flat finish. The storytelling and selling were very good but Bigelow just walking out was a horrible way to close the show, and didn’t give Undertaker the momentum he should have.

FINAL RATING: 2/10

This show was just brutal. I shouldn’t be too critical, as it was just an event designed to sell Wrestlemania, but it sure didn’t make me enthusiastic about the show. We got two solid, unmemorable matches, some squashes, a boring tag team match, and the unbearable Mega-Maniacs segment. Luckily, the longest match was just under 10 minutes, causing this show to fly by. Even with its short runtime, I can’t recommend this at all. There is not one minute of this show that I could feel okay about promoting (except the festive Wrestlemania music video). If you are looking for some unique Wrestlemania history to watch, do yourself a favour and avoid this one.

If you liked my article, make sure to check out all of my other work. You can find me on my new Twitter account @JIWrestling

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