Triple H, October 2011:

“When I grew up, I hated Hogan. I thought he was terrible and didn’t like to watch him. I was like Punk in a way. I liked the Steamboats and Flairs and the ones that could go. Would I be right in saying that Hogan was the wrong guy to go with, and they should’ve changed directions and gone with Steamboat because he was the better wrestler? Ludicrous.” - Triple H. October, 2011.

Wrestlemania IX 1993

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Rumble is here.

Wrestlemania IX – 1993 Las Vegas

(Dark – Bam Bam Bigelow d. Terry Taylor)

Show opens with Vince in the ring – which is, one notes, unusual, I don’t remember the last time Vince wanted to be on camera. He’s here to pimp X, announcing that it returns to MSG for the first time since I. Vince then introduces two men who he hopes will play a big role at X – former WWF Champion Randy Savage, and former Intercontinental Champion Owen Hart!

Savage and Owen enter. They say they’re feeling better, they’re training together, they’re working hard, and they’re gonna come back better than ever.

Vince then throws to Gorilla – with his new partner, Jim Ross. JR does play by play, Gorilla color. Except for periods when JR is fired or ill, he's your new voice of the WWF. Thanks to Gorilla.

1. Headshrinkers d. Doink/Papa Shango
-I’m working a little shorthanded.

2. Legend's Match: Mr. Backlund d. Hulk Hogan (special guest referee-Jerry Lawler)
"You are filled with orange malfeasance. You will not do the backstroke over me, ever again, Hulk Hogan. I am a real American. I will not fight for the rights of these plebeians. You cannot hurt my friends or my pride! Goodbye, Thunderlips! Goodbye!" Backlund does the Hogan pose, keeping it going long after the boos have turned to confusion.

3. Demolition Crush d. Tatanka
Here comes the Ax – here comes the Smasher, the Demolition, the walking disaster. See? And he’s Crush. So it’s funny.

4. The Total Package Lex Luger d. Tito Santana
-Lex is the Total Package. He’s all jacked up. You know, he's Lex. He squashes Santana, then cuts a promo about how it was always his dream to be a professional bodybuilder, but no one has ever had the foresight to be top dollar for bodybuilders - so, until that glorious day, he will just have to dominant the WWF.

5. Undertaker d. Yokozuna
It’s not a good match, but they've sold it. Dead guy’s unbeaten 2 1/2 years – Yoko’s unbeaten since his arrival – Chokeslam. Tombstone. Bodybag. I like the Undertaker, he sweeps the crap right out of the company. He’s way over here. JR, incidentally, not wearing a toga. In fact, there's no reason why IX can't be inside a casino as opposed to, you know, not.

6. Tags: Steiners d. Money Inc.
Steiners overcome all of Ted’s attempts to take them out. First good match of the night – but Ted and Mike are really sucking wind by 1993. Ted's going to continue his efforts to get the tag belts.

7. IC: Shawn Michaels d. Curt Hennig
Crowd hot – Michaels is on fire at this point, and it’s Mr. Perfect, after all. Hennig gets to control the tempo – the story is that he’s really close to being Mr. Perfect again – but he just can’t quite get over the hump. It’s not true – Hennig’s reduced and Shawn has to carry him through the match – but Shawn can and Hennig’s still enough to make his way through a match like this. Perfectplex…foot on the ropes. Superkick pinfall. Shawn’s beaten Savage and Hennig at PPVs. Hennig has to be helped up the aisle.

8. WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Razor Ramon
One year anniversary of Bret’s taking from Flair. A terrific match, Bret keeps. Like the IC – Razor gets the offense and lets Bret sell (Scott not much for the selling) Fallaway slam, Razor’s Edge, Bret kicks out --- second razor’s edge, Bret kicks out – Razor goes for the third – Bret rolls up into the small package for the flash fall and the win.

Shawn enters – he and Razor put the wood to Bret – Savage and Owen run in, giving the faces a 3 on 2…faces, faces, faces, faces…..enter a 7 foot man, long dyed black hair – big boot to Bret…big boot to Savage…big boot to Owen….Razor’s Edge to all three men – Michaels elbowdrops to all three men – the three heels --- Michaels, Razor, and of course, the man who we’ll learn to be Diesel tomorrow on RAW – pose in the center of the ring. Each now throwing up the Clique handsign. Each man wearing some variation of the same colors. A reminder, all the Harts, forever, have a little pink and black - even if it's just tape on the wrist - it can be subtle, but it's like a uniform or gang colors, from Dynamite all the way through.   The Harts, as I'd come up with a little later, all wear hockey jerseys as a matter of fact, all with their own numbers.  Stu -0, Dynamite -1, Bret -2, Davey -3, Anvil - 4, Owen -5.

The next month is the NWA PPV. Prior to this, we’ve reset the Horsemen as faces: AA, Rude, and two mystery members to be named later. Benoit returns and goes over Douglas in a terrific matchup – they play up the Calgary connection, looking to bootstrap upon the success of the Harts. Orndorff goes over Windham. Dustin wins. Sting wins. AA/Rude win the tag straps over the nefarious Austin/Pillman when the 3rd member of the Horsemen – uh, Flair – makes his return to the crazy, crazy fan reaction and aids in the win. Steamboat takes the US from 2 Cold. And Davey Boy gets his shot at the NWA Title – but goes down to Vader. Who’s the man??

Slamboree – 1993 Atlanta
NWA Title: Vader d. Davey Boy Smith
US Title: Ricky Steamboat d. 2 Cold Scorpio
Tags: Arn Anderson/Rick Rude d. Blonds
Sting d. Kensuke Sasaki

Dustin Rhodes d. Mark Bagwell
Paul Orndorff d. Barry Windham
Chris Benoit d. Shane Douglas
Dick Murdoch/Dory Funk d. Don Muraco/Jimmy Snuka

On the road to Summer Slam…

-We open RAW the night after IX with Shawn, Razor, Diesel – and they are doing their wiseguy act. So, Shawn is Shawn and Razor is Razor – but Diesel is Nash, or more exactly, the Diesel after the title run. Shawn says he’s the Heartbreak Kid, the only man in history to have two tag titles and two IC titles – and the WWF doesn’t belong to the Harts anymore – the WWF belongs to the Clique.

Razor says, “Hit Mang, you lucky, Chico. You don’t think you luc-ky, because your wife is thinking about the Bad Guy, but you lucky. Last night, at Wrestlemania, Ra-zor Ra-mon de-ci-ded to let you stay the “champ” one_last_night. But the next time, the Clique, and the Bad Guy are going to_carve_you_up!

Some of you don’t know who this man is. But the Hit Mang, and the Ma-cho Mang, and the lit-tle ba-by Rock-et, they know. I used to run with this man, Big Daddy Cool Diesel…down there.

HBK: Down Where?

Razor: You know where.

And Nash does his Nash thing. He’s watched the WWF over the years – and they’ve had a lot of big guys. But you can basically put them all into a few categories, feel free to take notes if you get confused. 1. Fat Guys like Bundy or Yoko. Sorry Yoko, but you know you’re fat. 2. Dead guys like Andre.

Shawn and Razor laugh and laugh. That’ll get him some heel heat. I don’t want these guys getting cheered too much yet.

Boring guys like the Undertaker. Big Daddy Cool sure isn’t fat, and as all the ladies at (insert local bar/hotel) here know, he’s not dead – and there ain’t no one as boring as the Undertaker – so the WWF fans are in for a treat.

You know, Nash. That kinda thing.

We’re gonna have a tournament leading up to Summer Slam for the number one contender for the IC. The finals of the tournament will be at the PPV – and the winner will get the IC shot the night after the PPV on RAW.

Mr. Backlund v. Hulk Hogan
Sean Waltman v. Razor Ramon
Yokozuna v. Tito Santana
Owen Hart v. Randy Savage

Owen/Savage is particularly intriguing, given that they haven't returned to the ring yet.

We meet Jerry Lawler, doing the same “everyone here sucks, I’m the best wrestler who ever lived” angle that Carlos Colon did. Lights, bong, bong. Same drill.

They do spots where Ted tries to get someone wipe out the Steiners. We do racist comedy as he tries to explain to the Headshrinkers about stock options and mutual funds.

Lex is still the Total Package. Add a new monster, Ludwig Borga, to the Crush/Bigelow feud.

Lots of taped pieces with Owen and Randy working out, getting ready to come back. Randy playing big brother to Owen. Interesting, a discerning viewer might note, that it’s not Bret.

Here’s your tourney results: Backlund beats Hogan again. They sell Waltman a little differently, he gets to keep his name, adding his indie nickname, the Lightning Kid. They don’t sell him as a jobber, in fact, the WWF really doesn’t have anyone like him, so we’re impressed by his crazy high flying. But Razor still treats him the same way, cause he’s scrawny and goofy looking and Razor is the bad guy. Waltman beats him. Same deal, Razor flips out, he’s embarrassed, they’ll have a rematch the next week – Waltman’s gonna beat him again, but by DQ – as Razor’s gonna beat the hell out of him. At every opportunity, every time we see Waltman, Razor attacks him and humiliates him – but Waltman never backs down and never goes away – Waltman even gets in some sneak attacks too – and as it evolves, the discerning viewer sees that Razor’s starting to enjoy the little guy.

Yoko beats Tito.

So, it's Backlund v. Waltman on one side - and Yoko v. the Owen/Savage winner on the other.

But first...

Recall that in 1991, they started a tradition, every other year, on the way to Summer Slam, a number one contender battle royale is held to make the main event for the PPV. Davey Boy won it in '91, eliminating Bret and going onto beat Perfect at SSlam. Here we are in '93, and a good date seems to be the King of the Ring date this year.

JR and Gorilla calling the action, Bret joins in on the announce.

1. Owen
-Owen's return to the ring for the first time since getting laid out by Yoko before Mania.

2. Shawn
-Well, what would you expect?

3. Doink
-It's the evil Doink character, they never used the good Doink in this universe - Owen and Shawn stop their brawl to toss Doink over the top (30, Doink)

4. Tatanka
-Comes into attack both Owen and Shawn, quickly, Shawn superkicks Tatanka - Owen hits the enziguiri, and Tatanka's gone (29, Tatanka)

5. Tito
-Arriba~ Santana comes in with fast fists, knocking down Shawn, knocking down Owen, knocking down Shawn, knocking down Owen, but then Owen and Shawn double whip Tito, and then double drop kick him over the top (28, Tito) then do a quick Rocker nip up - which should draw a pop - they look at each other quizzically for a moment in a comedy spot - then go back to throwing hands.

6. Yokozuna
-The obvious spot here is that Yoko is too big for the Owen/Shawn doubleteam. He headbutts both of them to the canvas.

7. Fatu
-They do some Samoan damage on Owen and Shawn - they're gonna stick Yoko as part of the Headshrinker package now.

8. Samu
-Bonzai Drops for both Owen and Shawn - they're in opposite corners of the ring - both laid out - and the Shrinkers scowl and taunt the audience as they have dominated Shawn and Owen.

9. Scott Steiner
-Steiner comes in with overhead belly to bellys - to Fatu - to Samu that sends him over (Samu, 27) and tries to suplex Yoko, tries to suplex Yoko - but Yoko belly to bellys him. Owen and Shawn remain laid out.

10. Billy Gunn
-They've done Smoking Gunn vignettes over the summer, it's really the same gimmick, they're cowboys - hopefully with a harder edge, since the program is geared toward a harder edge, they both dip the chaw, they drink - they're shitkicking babyface cowboys. They're looking to appeal to the NASCAR demographic. Billy and Bart! Billy comes in here firing at Yoko and Fatu.

11. Bart Gunn
-Hey, here's the other one. Billy and Bart take out Fatu (Fatu, 26). Scotty brawls with Yoko, Owen and Shawn still laid out.

12. Rick Steiner
-Woof, Woof, Woof. The Steiners and the Gunns team up to take out Yoko. (Yoko, 25)

13. DiBiase
-Ted comes in, telling the Gunns he'll give them the hundred grand - a hundred grand to take out the Steiners - Billy and Bart pause - then eliminate Ted (Ted, 24). As Ted's eliminated, Michaels staggers to his feet and sprints across the ring to attack Owen.

14. Perfect
-Perfect comes in to help Owen - the Steiners and Gunns now begin to brawl.

15. Borga
-Big monster Ludwig hits the ring, dropping all 7 men with right hands.

16. Bigelow
-The Beast comes in after Borga, they throw heavy in the middle.

17. Rotundo
-Former tag champ Mike is in - he first aids the Steiners in tossing Billy (23) - then turns around and aids Bart in tossing Rick (22) - Scotty then suplexes Rotundo (21) and he and Bart brawl.

18. Crush
-Comes into the big man brawl in the middle. Perfect and Owen still doubleteaming Shawn, Scotty fighting Bart.

19. Razor
-Comes into help Michaels. Scotty takes out Rotundo (20).

20. Lex.
-Luger gets the monster push. (Scott, 19) (Crush, 18) (Borga, 17) (Bigelow, 16)

21. Adam Bomb
-Bomb goes nose to nose with Luger - Lex racks him and tosses him over (15)

22. Hogan
-Hogan and Luger go nose to nose - Luger cockily flexing in front of the older Hogan.

23. Marty
-Marty comes in with Perfect and Owen - attacking Michaels.

24. Waltman
-And Waltman joins him, attacking Razor. 4 on 2 for the babyfaces, Luger and Hogan fighting in midring.

25. Backlund
- Mr. Backlund's taken out Hogan twice, and now he joins Lex in trying to eliminate Hogan

26. Lawler
-The King comes in - and now the three heels take Hogan out - and end his WWF run (Hogan, 14)

27. Diesel
-With the Clique outnumbered, Diesel changes the odds. (Marty, 13). (Waltman, 12). Lawler dumps Backlund (11).

28. Jacques
-Rougeau comes into the Lex/Lawler mix. Diesel, Razor, Shawn have the numbers and are close to eliminating Owen and Perfect. 8 men in the ring. 2 left - 10 total and 1 is going to Summer Slam to face Bret Hart! Who_will_it_be?

29. Undertaker
-And guys be gettin' tossed. And not in a way that the Warrior would have enjoyed. Taker gets Lawler (10), Luger gets Jacques (9), Taker and Lex are knocked out together by Razor and Diesel (8 and 7). Shawn superkicks Perfect and then Owen - laying them both out!

Razor and Diesel make the Clique sign, and then the "toss him over" sign - as they grab Owen.

30. Savage
-And here comes Randy - and he's got his fork.

Savage forks Razor, Savage forks Diesel, Savage forks Michaels - Diesel comes at Savage with the boot, misses, and Savage topples Diesel over the top (6).

Simultaneously, Michaels finally wins his hour long battle with Owen (5).

And the four men in the ring realize where they are. Michaels and Razor quickly strategize - and now we realize that standing in the ring, on the same side, are Perfect and Savage.

And if you don't know what that means, then you haven't been reading this Counterfactual.

You should go back a few years. Hennig v. Savage is maybe the greatest feud in WWF history. It's why Liz is gone. It's why Randy has a fork in his hand. It's why Perfect was WWF Champ 2 straight years. Savage and Hennig stare at each other warily - Savage calls Hennig over, looking to smartly strategize in the way that Razor and Michaels are doing.

Perfect exhales, comes over - and Savage forks him right between the eyes and tosses him over the top. (4)

Ideally, the fork would stay stuck in Perfect's forehead for the visual image.

Bret yells at Randy from the announce - everyone realizing that Randy, well, he's just being Randy - and he quickly falls to the numbers (3)

Razor and Michaels square off - they slap hands and go - Michaels has been in the ring well over an hour after lasting nearly an hour at the inaugural Battle Royale - he misses the superkick and gets dumped over the top by Ramon.

Razor shrugs and celebrates - he's going to Summer Slam to take on the Hit Man once again for the big belt.

Later that summer... Owen and Savage return for their IC tournament match – Owen going over – Savage is proud but disappointed.

Owen, with Savage in his corner, beats Yoko – and the two of them get revenge for the banzai drops as they beat the big man down. So, the finals of the tournament, Waltman and Owen, set for Summer Slam.

The main events are rematches. They do a spot where the faces get revenge with a sneak attack of their own, Bret and Hennig aren’t choir boys – and once, when Shawn/Razor and Diesel were doing a promo – Bret and Curt wiped them out, posed over them, the whole thing. But the RAW before Summer Slam ends with Shawn interrupting a Bret/Hennig promo to show a highlight package of the old Hennig/Bret feud – reminding everyone (and reminding Bret) of what a scumbag Hennig was during his run – and why are you with this guy – why are you cheering for this guy – he’s a bad guy…which perhaps convinces Bret – Bret leaves Hennig alone in the ring – Hennig gets wiped out by an entering Razor and Diesel – Bret doesn’t attempt to save.

Summer Slam '93 - Bret/Razor, Shawn/Hennig, Steiners defending against the Headshrinkers, Waltman/Owen in the tournament finals, Lex, Bam Bam, Undertaker v. Lawler, and the Gunns meet Money Inc. Summer Slam '93 is coming from Detroit! Call your yadda, yadda!

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