The Changing of the Guard During WrestleMania 9 Was Not Pretty
The World Wrestling Federation decided to take a more unique and creative approach with their annual wrestling extravaganza. Toning down it from the 60,000 plus audience attendance, WrestleMania 9 would scale it back to having a show with 16,000 fans instead. However it was not in the interest of making a more intimate feel for the fans but rather the WWF taking advantage of their Las Vegas, Nevada venue, Caesars Palace.
Just like Trump Plaza, Caesars Palace would host a variety of legendary boxing matches, but Caesars would not only be the home of the WWF that night, but it would also be the world’s largest toga party. With flare and feel of Julius Caesar, Spartacus and Cleopatra everywhere, this regal event could not go wrong right? Wrong.
This WrestleMania would be the event where Hulk Hogan would make his WWF PPV return. Hogan would be teaming up with Brutus The Barber Beefcake to try to capture the WWF Tag Team Titles from Money Inc. (The Million Dollar Man Ted Dibiase and IRS).
There was already locker room tension brewing since Hogan could just come in and automatically get a tag team title shot, disregarding the likes of The Steiner Brothers, The Head Shrinkers, The Natural Disasters and The Beverly Brothers. But not only did Hogan get one main event spot during Mania, but he gets two? In addition to his tag match, Hogan would then get an impromptu match against newly crowned WWF Champion Yokozuna, after Yoko defeated Bret Hart.
Bret Hart had a fulfilled 10-minute match with the 500 pound behemoth, making Yokozuna look unstoppable. But immediately after the match, Hogan came in and defeated the giant in 21 seconds and won the title. Sure this was very exciting for the fans worldwide, but didn’t sit too well with the guys in the locker room. The message that it sent to everyone who have been working every night non-stop was a very dangerous one.
If the wrestlers would’ve decided to rebel against the ideas of the company and the politics, the front offices would have been out numbered. And who would have blamed them? After all, Hogan would not appear on television again until The King of the Ring pay per view in June to defend the title against Yokozuna, who would recapture the belt, becoming a two-time champion.
The rumor at the time was Hulk Hogan was to have a program with Bret Hart leading to Summer Slam 1993 for the title. But Hulk Hogan refused the idea of having this program, stating that Hitman was “Not ready to be in the ring with him”. Since Hogan refused the program the WWF would go in a different direction with Hogan dropping the title to Yokozuna at the pay per view.
Hogan did not win any friends when he made his return back to the WWF in early 1993. However, the locker room was much different from what it used to be. Much of the locker room was filled with a lot of newer, younger talent on the roster, which placed Hogan in a very uncomfortable position. This may have been the reason why Hogan was only on television four times between Feb and June 1993. He may be known as being “Immortal”, but even supermen of his caliber have a kryptonite.
Maurice D. Proffit is a Writer for Rant Sports