WWF WrestleMania 9 (1993) – A Retrospective Review

Setting the Stage: WrestleMania 9, emanating from Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on April 4, 1993, stands out as one of the most unique events in WWF (now WWE) history. The decision to host the event outdoors, with a Roman-themed setting complete with togas, centurions, and other era-appropriate trappings, made for an atmosphere that hasn’t been replicated since. This WrestleMania carried the subtext of the “World’s Largest Toga Party.”

Shawn Michaels (c) vs. Tatanka: Intercontinental Championship Bout

The night kicked off with Shawn Michaels, defending his Intercontinental Championship against “Native American” Tatanka. This bout showcased Michaels’ ever-evolving wrestling acumen, with both competitors delivering an engaging match. Tatanka’s undefeated streak played a pivotal narrative, but it was Michaels’ craftiness and the looming presence of Luna Vachon that carried the storyline. The match ended in a count-out, letting Tatanka win the battle, but not the war – or the title.

Steiners vs. Headshrinkers

The powerhouse team of the Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott) squared off against the Headshrinkers. With hard-hitting maneuvers and raw power on display, this bout highlighted the tag team prowess of the time. The Steiners’ collegiate wrestling background provided a technical counter to the raw ferocity of the Headshrinkers.

Doink vs. Crush

infamous clown Doink’s feud with Crush reached its zenith at this WrestleMania. The bout had its share of wrestling, but it’s best remembered for the illusion of twin Doinks, baffling both Crush and the audience.

Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund

Razor Ramon, with his swaggering Cuban chain gang character, faced off against the wholesome, “All-American boy” Bob Backlund. It was a classic tale of contrasting personalities, with Ramon’s arrogance up against Backlund’s pure wrestling style. Ramon’s victory was a sign of the company moving towards newer, edgier characters.

Money Inc (Ted Dibiase and IRS) (c) vs. Hulk Hogan and Brutus Beefcake – WWF Tag Team Title Match

Money Inc., the tag team of IRS & Ted DiBiase, defended their Tag Team Championships against the Mega Maniacs – Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake and Hulk Hogan. This marked Hogan’s return to WWF after a hiatus, and the story leading up to this was personal, stemming from an assault on Beefcake. Though the Mega Maniacs won by disqualification, the titles remained with Money Inc.

Lex Luger vs. Mr. Perfect

Lex Luger, dubbed “The Narcissist”, took on Mr. Perfect Curt Hennig in a bout that showcased Luger’s power and Hennig’s unmatched selling ability. With the storyline hinting at a previous altercation at a charity basketball game, this feud felt personal. The post-match attack by Luger set the tone for his heel run.

Giant Gonzalez vs. The Undertaker

Undertaker’s legendary WrestleMania streak was in its infancy when he clashed with the towering Giant Gonzalez. Though the bout wasn’t a technical masterpiece, it’s remembered for the sheer visual of the near-eight-foot Gonzalez, and the intrigue of someone potentially halting the Deadman’s momentum. The match ended in a disqualification, a rare WrestleMania result, due to Gonzalez’s use of chloroform.

Bret Hart (c) vs. Yokozuna – WWF Title Match

Bret “The Hitman” Hart’s WWF Championship defense against Yokozuna was a tale of David vs. Goliath. With Mr. Fuji’s antics playing pivotal roles, the bout showcased Hart’s resilience. However, after a handful of salt from Fuji blinded Hart, Yokozuna captured the title. But the night wasn’t over. In a surprise twist, Hulk Hogan, ostensibly coming to aid Hart, was challenged by Mr. Fuji for an impromptu title shot. Moments later, Hogan became the champion, leaving many bewildered.

Behind-the-Scenes Glimpses:

WrestleMania 9 remains an inflection point in WWF’s history. There’s been much debate regarding the decision to let Hogan walk out as champion. Rumors suggest Hogan’s political clout backstage influenced this abrupt title change, and his reign post this event was short-lived, hinting at backstage tensions.

Furthermore, the Roman theme, while visually striking, was seen by some as gimmicky and detracting from the essence of WrestleMania. Nevertheless, it added a unique flavor, and the WWF’s ability to try out-of-the-box ideas was evident.

WrestleMania 9 and the Politics of Hulkamania:

WrestleMania 9 stands as one of the most controversial and talked-about events in the annals of the World Wrestling Federation (now WWE), primarily due to the unexpected conclusion that saw Hulk Hogan recapture the WWF Championship. The dynamics involving Bret Hart, Hogan, and the title provide a fascinating look into the power plays of wrestling’s backstage world.

Bret “The Hitman” Hart: The Ascending Star

By 1993, Bret Hart had cemented himself as the future of the company. A skilled technician with an everyman appeal, Bret’s dedication to the craft and ability to resonate with fans led to his WWF Championship win against Ric Flair in late 1992. Heading into WrestleMania 9, it was assumed that Bret was the face of the new generation, a leader in transitioning the company from the larger-than-life personalities of the ’80s to the more athletic, grounded performers of the ’90s.

Hulk Hogan: The Lingering Icon:

On the other hand, Hulk Hogan, WWF’s premier star of the ’80s, was entering a different phase of his career. Hogan’s aura had started to wane. He took a hiatus post-WrestleMania 8, returning in early 1993. With the changing dynamics of the wrestling world, many felt it was time for Hogan to pass the torch to the new generation, especially to someone like Bret Hart. However, Hogan’s influence and star power were undeniable.

The Main Event Controversy:

Bret Hart was set to defend his WWF Championship against the monstrous Yokozuna at WrestleMania 9. Most expected a straightforward title match with Hart eventually overcoming the odds. Instead, in a swerve, Yokozuna defeated Hart, with Mr. Fuji’s interference playing a pivotal role. What transpired next left fans and insiders alike bewildered: Hogan, coming ostensibly to aid Hart, was challenged to an impromptu match by Yokozuna’s manager, Mr. Fuji. Within moments, Hogan defeated Yokozuna, capturing the WWF Championship.

Behind-the-Scenes Politics:

The sudden title change fueled rampant speculation. Why would the WWF sideline its rising star (Hart) in favor of a veteran whose prime was seemingly behind him (Hogan)? Rumors swirled about Hogan’s backstage influence. Many believed that Hogan, leveraging his stature and history with the company, maneuvered to position himself in the title picture and eventually walk out as champion. It’s said that the original plan was for Hart to hold onto the title or for Hogan to feud with Hart post-WrestleMania, but backstage discussions led to the hasty title switch.

Furthermore, Bret Hart, in multiple interviews, has mentioned his surprise and disappointment regarding the decision. He felt it was a move that undermined the younger talent. The fact that Hogan would soon drop the title to Yokozuna at King of the Ring 1993 and then leave WWF added more credence to the idea that the WrestleMania 9 outcome was a result of short-term backstage politics rather than long-term storytelling.


WrestleMania 9’s conclusion is a poignant reminder of the complex interplay of egos, power, and business decisions that shape the world of professional wrestling. While the stage may spotlight athletic prowess and scripted storylines, the drama behind the curtain often rivals the intensity of the grandest wrestling spectacles.

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