We here at TheWrestlingMania.com are slaving away behind the scenes on a special countdown article about the top 30 matches in WrestleMania history, voted for by our partners at the WWE Prediction Leagues Facebook Group. It will be an epic countdown that will cover a lot of ground, and will be an extremely intriguing read that’s for sure.
But that got me thinking about the bad side of WrestleMania. These days it is taken for granted that a WrestleMania show will feature some great matches, some memorable moments and some great celebrity cameos. OK, maybe that last one was taking it a bit too far. Yet it wasn’t always so and over the years there have been some absolutely miserable WrestleMania moments, matches and cards.
And when we’re talking about one WrestleMania show that sinks beneath all the others, there’s only one that comes to mind for me. The irredeemable mess that was WrestleMania IX. In fact it was so terrible, that when the voting candidates were put forward for our upcoming top 30, every WrestleMania had at least one match that was voted for. All except one. WrestleMania IX.
To get the “decent” action out of the way first, the tag team match pitting The Steiners vs. The Headshrinkers was OK. Other than that there is very little positive to say about the show. Things start off bad enough with the site of Jim Ross in a toga but at least he was saved Bobby Heenan’s fate of riding into the arena on a camel backwards. It gets even worse once the matches kick in.
The opener for the Intercontinental Title may well be one of the better matches of Tatanka’s WWF career, but it is most definitely the worst of Shawn Michael’s WrestleMania career. I would question why you would book a match at WrestleMania if you didn’t want a clean, or at least decisive, finish either. Eighteen minutes of my life wasted for a non-finish.
The Doink vs. Crush match was a fiasco of epic proportions; there’s a school of thought that runs this was so bad that it was good. No it wasn’t. It was just terrible. And the fact that the two Doink’s couldn’t even get their miming act to match each other made it even worse. This was followed by perhaps the “anti-highlight” of the show as babyface Bob Backlund is booed out of the building (yes, I know it was outdoors) in his match with Razor Ramon.
The Mega-Maniacs against Money Inc is another match that wastes nearly twenty minutes of your life only to deliver you a non-finish. The real intrigue here is whether or not you believe that Hogan’s black eye was the result of a boating accident, or Randy Savage punching him after accusing him of having an affair with his, by now, ex-wife Elizabeth.
Lex Luger against Mr. Perfect is depressing and the Narcissist gimmick was awful. Still that match was a five-star classic compared to The Undertaker against Giant Gonzales. The feckless Gonzales lays claim here to be the worst ever wrestler to lace up his boots for a WrestleMania card, and does so in one of the most ridiculous outfits you will ever see. Still the “chloroform rag” finish is certainly one they teach you in all the best wrestling schools. It is also amusing to watch this with the weight of history behind “The Streak” and see them having to “protect” Gonzales here with the non-finish.
We finally come to the most ridiculous main event in WrestleMania history. It’s bad enough that Yokozuna beats Bret Hart if you’re a fan of great wrestling. Their ten minute match is dreadful (although it’s arguably better than Miz/Cena at WrestleMania XXVII!) but Hulk Hogan coming back to win the title in an impromptu match is beyond ridiculous. Why of course, if you had just won the World Title in the main event of the biggest show of the year, you’d let your manager issue a challenge to defend it right there and then wouldn’t you…? Again the real intrigue here is the politics; did Bret do the job here thinking that Hogan would drop the title to him later that year? Did Vince really promise this? And if he did, did he really mean it? Still, you can read about the in’s and out’s of that situation without watching the terrible “action” that unfolded here.
When you’re thankful for the small mercy of a Kamala/Bam Bam Bigelow match being cancelled without explanation, you know you’ve got a desperately bad card on your hands. There’s enough people today who will tell you the modern WWE product is pretty poor. Don’t believe them. Watch WrestleMania IX and see what poor is all about.
– By Matthew Roberts