April 4th, 2018 will mark the 25th anniversary of what many people refer to as the worst WrestleMania in history.
WrestleMania IX was marred with mediocrity, poor payoffs, and bizarre booking. While I personally disagree that the ninth iteration of the show of shows is the worst (WrestleMania 2 is my all-time least favorite), it was a bad show and a huge disappointment. But most of all, it was frustrating.
Frustrating, because the World Wrestling Federation had the tools to make this Mania so much better. Add to that the fact that they managed to make a bare parking lot in Paradise, Nevada look so much better than it should have. The outdoor setting gave the show a special look and feel and could have provided a wonderful backdrop to an entertaining show, had the WWF not messed up so much.
But alas, they did mess up, and that’s the reason for this article. I’m here to clean up this mess of a show, re-book the first 93 days of 1993, and fix WrestleMania IX.
So, here are the rules I gave myself:
-I cannot hire anyone new. Whoever was with the company starting in January of 1993 is who I’m working with. Now, I do exploit a loophole in this rule, by enticing a certain future two-time WWE Hall of Famer to stay with the company an extra couple of months. More on that later.
-I cannot change titles prior to WrestleMania IX. I wanted to keep the titles where they were in order to keep a bit of continuity going from the end of 1992 and to make it more of a challenge on my end. I like a good challenge.
-I cannot go beyond a 3 hour broadcast. My match times had to stay relatively close to the total match times of the original show, though the runtime was 2 hours 43 minutes 18 seconds according to the WWE Network, so I gained an extra 17 minutes by extending the show to a full 3 hours. A 3 hour WrestleMania seems so novel now, with WrestleMania 34 looking to push 7 hours with the pre-show included.
-I cannot create match types that were not used by WWF at the time. So, no triple threats, no TLC matches (although the first televised ladder match was in 1992), no Hell in a Cells, that sort of thing.
Also, I should note that my commentators for this event are Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan (sorry, JR, no debut for you tonight). This is the very end of the Hulkamania era so I felt it fitting to put Monsoon and Heenan on the call for this swan song.
Also, also, I want to point out that all (or most) of the build to Mania will take place on this new show called Raw. I think it makes more sense to put the build there instead of relying on Superstars or Wrestling Challenge or anything like that. Plus, I’m wanting to get some solid ratings for this show.
With that out of the way, let’s get to our first match and explain how we got there…
1. Bob Backlund vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
That’s right, King’s WrestleMania drought ends before it begins in this universe. I thought these two old school workers could put on an excellent opening contest that would have headlined a dream card in the early 80s, as Backlund was the WWF Champion while Lawler was on national television feuding with Andy Kaufman. This is so much better than what either man got at the real Mania 9. Backlund lost a pathetic 3:45 match to Razor Ramon (his first ever televised loss in WWF! What a waste) while Lawler wasn’t on the show in any capacity. So, how did I get to this match? Let’s find out…
During the 1993 Royal Rumble, the first two entrants were Ric Flair and Bob Backlund (no change there). Later in the match, Backlund eliminates the debuting Jerry Lawler in short order. The King was incensed by being eliminated so quickly. He returned to the ring and assisted Ric Flair in eliminating Bob Backlund from the Rumble. The two brawled to the back as Monsoon railed against Lawler’s despicable actions.
On Raw over the next few weeks, Lawler hosts his King’s Court where he constantly belittles Backlund. He calls him a has-been, crawling back to the WWF, trying to escape from the depths of obscurity that he faded away into after he quit like a coward when he lost the WWF Title 9 years previously. King would then inform Backlund that while Backlund’s career fizzled out, Lawler was reigning as the King of the wrestling world. Backlund’s title reign was over but the reign of Jerry “The King” Lawler was just getting started in the WWF. Long live The King!
Backlund would respond to Lawler, challenging him to a match to back up everything he’d said about Backlund. Lawler would duck the challenge while continuing to ridicule Backlund, saying that as The King, he didn’t have time to deal with has-been peasants.
At the February 15th edition of Raw, Lawler hosted a special edition of The King’s Court with his guest, Bob Backlund’s former manager, Arnold Skaaland. During the interview, as King escalated his verbal attacks on Backlund, Skaaland interrupted Lawler to tell him he didn’t know what he was talking about and that he wasn’t sticking around to hear anymore lies. As Skaaland turned to leave, Lawler attacked him from behind. The King continued his beatdown until Backlund ran in to make the save as Lawler hightailed it to the back.
Due to his embarrassing actions towards Skaaland, WWF President Jack Tunney forces Lawler to face Backlund at WrestleMania IX as punishment.
My thoughts on this match is that it would be a throwback to some old school wrestling. I have Backlund making Lawler submit to the Crossface Chickenwing in 10 minutes. (Note that my times are all rough estimates).
This would be the end of the feud. Lawler would enter into a feud with Randy Savage coming out of this event which would carry on into SummerSlam. Backlund would continue to rack up wins, leading to an eventual face vs. face feud with Mr. Perfect, where Backlund would turn heel and go crazy like in the real timeline.
2. Mr. Perfect vs. Shawn Michaels (c) WWF Intercontinental Championship Match
Shawn’s real match with Tatanka was a snoozefest and hindered by the fact that WWF wasn’t ready to have the Native American suffer his first pinfall loss but Michaels was in no way willing to drop the title. They were booked into a corner so the boring match ended in a dumb non-finish. Perfect’s match with Luger was okay, but imagine how good this match would have been on such a big stage.
Following the Royal Rumble, where Perfect eliminated Ric Flair from the match, Perfect and Flair would face off in a cage match on Monday Night Raw to finally blow-off the feud between the two. With Bobby Heenan at ringside, Perfect would pick up the win with his Perfect-plex. Flair would be absolutely distraught following the match (more on that later). As a result of his win, Perfect would be declared the number one contender to the Intercontinental Championship which was currently held by Shawn Michaels following his successful defense against Marty Jannetty at the Royal Rumble.
During the build-up to the match, Shawn would start using the Perfect-plex in his matches (on Superstars, All-American Wrestling, etc.), declaring that he could do the move better than Mr. Perfect himself. The two would throw barbs at one another within their matches, escalating to the point that Perfect challenged Michaels to a Beat the Clock competition.
On the February 15th episode of Raw both men were placed in matches to see who could win in the quickest time. Shawn defeated Tito Santana in just 3 minutes and 20 seconds, with the Perfect-plex, but Mr. Perfect responded by beating Terry Taylor in 3 minutes and 3 seconds. The next week, Shawn demanded they compete again. This time, Shawn Michaels would defeat Koko B. Ware in 2 minutes and 50 seconds, again with the Perfect-plex. Mr. Perfect, however, was able to take out Damien DeMento in just 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Finally, for a third time, the two once again engaged in the Beat the Clock competition. Shawn used the Perfect-plex to beat Virgil in 1 minute and 37 seconds. Just a few seconds into Mr. Perfect’s match with Skinner, Shawn Michaels ran in from behind and took Perfect out with a steel chair.
Perfect would miss the next few Raw’s as Shawn continued to use the Perfect-plex. Perfect would return at the March to WrestleMania IX special on the USA Network, where he would attack Shawn Michaels while on his way to the ring for a match. The two would be separated by officials, leading us to the match at Mania.
These two would bump for each other like mad. Just before going home with the finish, Shawn would hit the Perfect-plex on Perfect, but would only get a two count. The finish would come as Shawn would grab on to the ref to avoid getting hit by a Perfect-plex himself. Perfect would release the hold as the referee would be spun around. With the ref turned, Shawn would poke the eyes and hit a superkick that would knock Perfect out cold. Shawn would get the pin at around the 15 minute mark.
Perfect would move into a “mutual respect” feud with Bob Backlund before entering a feud that fall with Lex Luger. The premise of the Luger feud would be Heenan blaming Perfect for destroying Ric Flair’s mental state and career (you’ll see…). Meanwhile, Shawn would be equipped with a new finishing move that would become Sweet Chin Music. Shawn would feud with a returning Marty Jannetty that summer.
3. Steiner Bros. vs. Money Inc. w/Jimmy Hart (c) WWF Tag Team Championship Match
The Steiner’s match at the real Mania against The Headshrinkers was actually a pretty decent match. They were really the only guys who put on a halfway good match. So, I felt it necessary to give them a tag title shot in this timeline. Also, note that Jimmy Hart is with Money Inc. In this timeline, Hart never turned face as Brutus Beefcake was never feuding with Money Inc. in the first place.
This match is pretty straight-forward in terms of build. The Steiner’s would earn their title shot by beating The Headshrinkers at the Royal Rumble. Money Inc. would have retained the titles the night after on Raw by beating The Nasty Boys.
The two would cut promos back and forth until Rick faced off against DiBiase on the March 15th Raw, where DiBiase would win following a briefcase shot from IRS to the face of Steiner behind the ref’s back. The next week, Scott would one up IRS, beating him after Rick foiled a briefcase shot from DiBiase. Rick would hit IRS with his own briefcase, allowing Scott to pick up the singles win.
DiBiase was nearing retirement at this point, as his final match with WWF would come at SummerSlam that August (followed by a 3 month tour in All Japan). I’m not sure that this match would blow the roof off the place or anything (which wouldn’t be hard since it was an outdoor event) but I trust the guys in the match to know how to use psychology to get the match over. Rick would get worked over in the match before getting the hot tag to Scott. Scott would hit the Frankensteiner on IRS at the 10 minute mark to win the match and the titles.
Money Inc would be phased out after this match, while the tag division would be rebuilt around The Steiners. The Beverly Brothers would enter into a feud for the titles following Mania.
4. Razor Ramon vs. Lex Luger
I’ve established that Razor’s match was pathetic at the real Mania. But it was difficult to find a place for him as well as Lex Luger. Luger was left without an opponent because I needed Perfect for the Michaels match (which would be a lot better than the original Luger/Perfect match). I figured since these two were left in the wind I could put them together for a halfway competent match. But I had to jump through some hoops to get there…
Following the meltdown that Ric Flair had experienced heading into February (I promise, I’ll get to that) Bobby Heenan was looking to take out his frustrations on someone. He wanted to lay the blame on Perfect, but since Perfect had beaten Flair in the cage match which set Flair off the deep end to begin with, Heenan wanted to steer clear of his former running buddy for fear of making matters worse. Heenan felt everything was going so well for him and Flair in 1992, so what went wrong?
He felt everything could be traced back to one moment, Survivor Series 1992, where Mr. Perfect teamed with Randy Savage in a winning effort against Ric Flair and Razor Ramon. That’s who’s fault it was. It was all Razor Ramon’s fault!
After more or less airing these grievances on Raw over the weeks following Flair’s cage match loss to Perfect, Heenan decided to go on a tirade against Razor on the February 15th Raw in the ring. Heenan said that Razor had failed to pull his weight in the tag match. If Flair hadn’t had to carry him throughout the match, Flair would have been able to humiliate Perfect in his return to the ring sending him back to the retirement home. Razor was a no good bum, who had more grease in his hair than brains in his head. He proved he was a loser at the Royal Rumble when he lost to Bret for the title. The only gold Razor would ever gain in the WWF was the ones he wore around his neck, which he probably got from a pawn shop for a few bucks and an old vcr he stole from his grandmother. The one good thing about those cheap chains, the green stain they left around his neck certainly matched his ring attire.
At this point, Razor had heard enough. He came out to confront Heenan. After getting in the ring, Razor said he didn’t want to stand there and trade insults with a weasel. He wanted to break his jaw so Heenan could get it wired shut. As Ramon put his hands on Heenan, a man jumped the barricade and attacked Razor. It was none other than Lex Luger. No one had seen him in the wrestling world in quite some time. Luger focuses his attack on Ramon’s leg. Razor is stretchered to the back following the attack
The following week, Heenan officially unveiled Narcissist Lex Luger to the world (in pretty much the same way he did at the real 1993 Royal Rumble). Heenan revealed that the previous week had been a plot The Brain had put together a few weeks back. He knew that Luger would get the revenge he was looking for and he would do it at WrestleMania, where Ramon would be humiliated and exposed as a loser once and for all. Razor accepts the match in an interview from his home. He says his leg might not be 100% by the time Mania rolls around, but it’ll be good enough for him to walk into Mania and carve up The Narcissist.
I’m not expecting a five-star classic, but I do think these two can have a good brawling match. Razor will be out for blood, as a newly turned babyface, he’ll still have a heel edge to him, plus his quest for revenge will cut out most of the grappling stuff. The finish has Razor lifting Lex up for the Razor’s Edge, only to have his injured leg give out. Luger drops behind Ramon and picks him up for the Torture Rack, but Razor counters into a crucifix pin for the win around the 10 minute mark. After the match, Luger grabs a steel chair and takes Ramon’s leg out again.
Okay, I’m the kind of person who likes to see feuds end at Mania, but I had to keep this one going. Luger was debuting so I couldn’t have him lose without getting his heat back. He takes out Ramon here to set up a return bout at SummerSlam. Following Mania, Ramon would be on the shelf while Luger would get on a roll, winning all of his matches leading up to the King of the Ring. There, he would come up short in the semi-finals thanks to a distraction from the returning Razor Ramon. The two would have a no disqualification match at SummerSlam to end the feud, with Razor getting his ultimate revenge.
5. Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Luna Vachon vs. The Undertaker w/ Paul Bearer
In this timeline, Giant Gonzales never debuts ever in the WWF. His match with Undertaker at the real Mania 9 was just God awful. As for Bam Bam, he was scheduled for a match with Kamala, but it was thankfully cut for time reasons. Bam Bam and Taker actually wrestled at the March to WrestleMania special on the USA Network (which ended in a countout) and were married on the house shows during most of March and April in 1995, but they never had a proper television feud. I took care that in our little universe’s timeline.
At the 1993 Royal Rumble, Bam Bam Bigelow made his WWF return, after being away nearly 5 years. He made his return in the Royal Rumble where he went toe to toe with The Undertaker. The two battled with Bam Bam shocking everyone as he eliminated The Deadman. Bam Bam would be eliminated later in the match by a double team of Earthquake and Typhoon.
The next night, Bam Bam would have a match with Earthquake. Undertaker would appear at the top of the entrance way with Paul Bearer halfway through the match. Bam Bam would ignore the distraction and pin Earthquake after a diving headbutt. Bam Bam would stare down Taker, who gave zero response to Bigelow, before delivering another headbutt to Earthquake. He did this two more times before officials got him to leave the ring. Bam Bam was begging Taker to come to the ring, but Taker simply watched before slowly walking to the back.
The next week it was announced that Earthquake would be out of action indefinitely if not permanently following Bigelow’s assault. On the February 8th Raw, the same thing happens when Bam Bam faces Typhoon. Bam Bam wins the match while Taker looks on, Bam Bam taunts/demands Taker come to the ring, but he does not, and so Bam Bam puts Typhoon on the shelf.
On the February 22nd Raw, Bam Bam calls out The Undertaker, calling him a coward for not responding to his challenge earlier. He says he needs to face The Undertaker to prove that what he did at The Royal Rumble wasn’t a fluke. He also says that he needs to put Undertaker on the shelf so that he would be the new Phenom in the WWF. Taker again doesn’t respond.
On March 1st, Luna Vachon debuts on Raw after first appearing with Bam Bam on an episode of Superstars as his “main squeeze.” She calls out Undertaker on Bam Bam’s behalf, but again Taker ignores the challenge. Luna said she figured that might happen and calls for Bam Bam, who comes to the ring with Paul Bearer in a headlock. Once in the ring, Bam Bam shoves Bearer to the mat. Luna holds him while Bam Bam goes to the top rope for the flying headbutt. Before he can deliver the devastating move, The lights go out. When they come back on, Undertaker is standing above Bearer. Bam Bam and Taker go at it with Bam Bam eventually slamming Taker down. Bigelow delivers a flying headbutt, and another, and another.
After 3 headbutts, Bam Bam assumes Taker will join Earthquake and Typhoon on the shelf. But Undertaker sits up! He somehow mounts a comeback, but Luna attacks Paul Bearer on the outside, distracting The Deadman. Bam Bam takes advantage and lays Undertaker out again. Luna steals the urn as Bigelow flies off the top rope with a 4th headbutt. This time, without the urn, Taker doesn’t sit up. As officials come out to finally break things up, Bearer manages to reclaim the urn from Luna, however and as Undertaker sits up yet again.
The next week on Raw, Undertaker appears and challenges Bigelow to a match at WrestleMania. Bam Bam accepts. Undertaker said he didn’t accept Bigelow’s earlier challenges because he wanted Bigelow to make sure this is what he really wanted. He wanted to give Bam Bam enough time to dig his own grave and now, at WrestleMania 9, Undertaker was going to bury him in it.
I really wish these two had a real life, PPV quality match because I think they could’ve done some really fun stuff together. The one TV match they had was way too short to get anything from. The outside the ring stuff with Luna and Bearer would be a nice little sizzle to the steak of the match as well. I don’t know if those two ever worked together on TV, but that would’ve been fun to watch as well. Taker wins a competitive match with the Tombstone at around 10 minutes.
This would end the feud. Undertaker would go on to feud with Yokozuna throughout the summer. Bam Bam would get his momentum back heading into the King of the Ring, where he would win the tournament by defeating Mr. Perfect. From there, Bam Bam would feud with the champion (you’ll find out who holds the title in a minute), through Royal Rumble 94. Bam Bam would be positioned as the top heel for the remainder of 1993
6. 20 Man Battle Royal
This match serves two purposes, it gives Yokozuna a chance to do something halfway meaningful and it gets a lot of people on the card (I’m a caring booker. I wanna get these guys a payday…). Also, I should point out now that Yoko didn’t win the Rumble in our universe. Remember that spot where like 10 guys teamed up on Yoko to dump him out of the real Rumble? Well, that spot proved successful in this new universe’s timeline.
There’s not much background here. The participants are announced over the weeks leading to Mania. Promos are cut, video packages are aired, etc. etc. and so on.
Tatanka’s win streak would get pushed during the match. He’d find himself at the end of the battle royal with Yoko and the Headshrinkers. Outnumbered 3-1, Tatanka would manage to dump out both Headshrinkers before being sent packing by Yoko in about 13 minutes.
I guess Tatanka should eventually get that IC Title shot. Boom. There I gave it to him and he lost to Shawn Michaels at King of the Ring. Valiant effort Buffalo. As for Yoko, as mentioned above he feuds with Undertaker moving away from the Rumble. He puts Taker on the shelf at The 1994 Royal Rumble in a regular match that doesn’t involve a dozen heels running in nor any green smoke whatsoever. I like Yoko, but his matches weren’t great so I don’t see him ever winning the WWF Title in this timeline.
7. Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Bret Hart (c) WWF Championship Match
Macho not wrestling at WrestleMania IX is one of the dumbest decisions I’ve seen in the WWF/E. The dude stole the show at WrestleMania 7, won the title at WrestleMania 8, so of course let’s have him do commentary at Mania 9. Stupid. He’s in the main event in this timeline. Let’s see how we got here…
Macho Man Randy Savage entered the 1993 Royal Rumble and won, last eliminating IRS and Ted DiBiase. By virtue of that victory he earned the right to face the WWF Champion at WrestleMania IX, whomever that man may be.
Bret Hart defeated Razor Ramon to retain the WWF Title at the Rumble (I always liked their match at the real Rumble). This set up the WWF Title match as Macho Man challenging The Hitman for the title.
On the February 1st Raw, Macho Man did an interview in the ring with Vince McMahon. He talked about how he’d been to the mountain top before and he’d been in the valley. He’d been a king and a beggar, a winner and a loser, uh huhhh, yeah… But at WrestleMania IX, The Macho Man Randy Savage was gonna prove to the whole world that he was still the greatest wrestler in the universe today. He was swindled and cheated out of the title by Ric Flair last year. He never got his rematch for the title. But at Caesar’s Palace, April 4th, in front of the entire world, Hitman, Macho is going to take his shot and he’s not gonna miss. Ohhhhhh, yeah! Dig it!
The next week, we get a promo from Bret Hart talking about how much he respects Macho Man Randy Savage and everything he’s done in the wrestling business. He says Macho was one of the greatest WWF superstars of all time. He looks forward to the challenge at WrestleMania IX and proving that, by beating Macho, he truly is the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.
On the February 15th Raw, Macho Man cut a promo backstage taking exception to the fact that Bret talked about him like he USED to be a great wrestler and that all of his great accomplishments were behind him.
On the March 1st Raw, Macho Man has a match with Fatu of the Headshrinkers. The match ends in a DQ when Samu interferes. The Headshrinkers do a double-team beatdown on Macho until Bret Hart comes in to make the save. Afterwards, Macho refuses Bret’s offer to help him to his feet. He pushes him away, has some words with him and leaves.
The next week, Macho does a backstage interview explaining that the only reason Bret made the save is because he thinks of Savage as a washed up has-been. He’s going to prove him wrong at Mania. On March 15th’s Raw we are told that the March to WrestleMania IX special will be headlined by a tag team match, pitting The Headshrinkers against Bret Hart and Macho Man Randy Savage.
At the Mania Special, Bret Hart has the match in hand. He has Samu in position to lock in the sharpshooter, but Macho leans over the ropes and tags himself in. Savage goes to the top rope and hits the elbow drop on Samu for the win. Bret is furious at Savage for his actions and the two go nose to nose to end the show.
I trust both of these guys to put on a heck of a title match. I’m looking for this to be a match people talk about every time WrestleMania rolls around. After a long and hard fought match, I have Bret Hart pinning Macho after a superplex (that could actually finish a match 1993) in about 25 minutes. After the match, Macho shakes Bret’s hand in a passing of the torch moment.
As mentioned earlier, Macho would enter into a feud with Jerry Lawler that would culminate in a match at SummerSlam. I think those two could have a better feud than Lawler and Hart did in the real timeline. Bret would go on to feud with Bam Bam Bigelow following Bigelow’s King of the Ring win. Bam Bam would cheat to win the WWF Title from Bret at SummerSlam 93. Bret would be chasing Bam Bam to get his title back, but there would be a pit stop at Survivor Series first. Team Bam Bam (Bigelow, The Headshrinkers, and Yokozuna) would beat Team Hitman (Bret Hart, Owen Hart, The Undertaker, and Mr. Perfect) at the event. Bret and Owen would have a 2-1 advantage over Bam Bam, but after Owen accidentally runs into Bret and gets pinned by Bigelow, Owen snaps and beats up his brother, allowing WWF Champ Bigelow to get the win. At the 1994 Royal Rumble, Bret beats Bigelow to regain the WWF Title while Owen wins the Rumble match. The main event for WrestleMania X is set for Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart for the WWF Title.
And now for the Main Event of the evening…
8. Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair (If Flair loses, he has to leave the WWF)
I’m not a fan of the title match not going on last at Mania, but I had to keep some realism here and we all know how Hogan would’ve whined and cried if he wasn’t in the main event. So here we are.
But how is Flair at WrestleMania IX? I thought he left in January? Well, he left TV in January, but worked house shows in February. But his original contract, according to the September 12, 1991 issue of the PW Torch, Ric Flair’s contract was a 2 year deal, meaning that Vince let him leave early in the real 1993 timeline. Well, I’ve enticed him to stay through WrestleMania IX because I’m making up everything and so therefore I’m a really good negotiator… or something like that. Anyway, his farewell to WWF will now take place at Mania 9. But how did we get here?
On the Raw after the Rumble, Flair and Perfect have a match to blow off their feud. Unlike the real timeline, this match is in a cage and it is not a loser leaves the WWF match. Perfect wins which sends Flair off of the deep end.
The next week on the February 1st Raw, an “earlier today” video shows Bobby Heenan greeting Flair as he arrived at the Manhattan Center. Flair is borderline insane as he exits his limo, dressed in his wrestling gear instead of a suit. Heenan asks him why he hasn’t returned any of his calls all week. Flair grabs Heenan by his jacket and screams at him that he isn’t ready to roll over and die! He needs to be Ric Flair! But he doesn’t feel like Ric Flair anymore. “They broke me!” he keeps yelling at Heenan. “But I know a way to fix it! I have to find him and I have to beat him!” Brain tries to talk sense into him but Flair walks off ignoring Heenan.
Later that night, Flair runs to ringside and yells at the announcers about finding him, beating him, and being Ric Flair again. The announcers can’t make heads or tails of what he’s talking about but they all fear for Flair’s mental well being.
The next week on Raw, the show opens with Flair in the ring screaming Jack Tunney’s name over and over again. Finally he stops and says that he needs Tunney to find “him” so he can beat “him” and prove that he is still Ric Flair. Jack Tunney comes out and tries to calm Flair down, but he cannot be calmed. He tells Tunney that if “he” isn’t brought to him, he’ll ruin WrestleMania, even threatening to drop a nuclear warhead on Caesar’s Palace. He grabs Tunney by the throat, prompting officials to rush from the back and escort Flair out of the ring.
Tunney announces later that night that Flair has been suspended for 4 weeks effective tonight.
4 weeks later, on the March 8th Raw, Brutus the Barber Beefcake is making his return to in ring action with a match against Terry Taylor. After the match, as Brutus wins his return, Flair shows up from out of the crowd. His suspension officially over, he’s able to get into the ring without incident. He confronts Brutus and challenges him to a match the next week. He yells at “him” telling “him” that if he’s not at Raw next week at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, terrible things will happen to Beefcake. Brutus takes the mic and says he can take care of himself and accepts the match.
On the March 15th Raw, during his match with Beefcake, Flair grabs a chair and hits Brutus in his surgically repaired face (remember, in this timeline he doesn’t have the “titanium” faceplate). He hits him a second time in the face with a chair before taking out the referee with a chairshot as well. Flair lays the chair on Brutus’ face and climbs to the middle rope. He demands a mic. From the second rope he tells “him” that he better be there because if not, he’s going to drop a knee on Beefcake and end his career for good.
Then… he appears. Hulk Hogan appears at the entrance way in street clothes. He cautiously makes his way to the ring, trying not to cause Flair to leap down on his fallen friend. Hogan enters the ring as Flair tells him to keep his distance. Flair says that he’s always known that Ric Flair is the greatest wrestler in history, but after what’s happened to him over the last few months, he needs to prove it to the world. There’s only one person the ignorant fans think is on the same level as Flair and that’s Hulk Hogan. “Hogan! You’ve ducked The Nature Boy for over a year and a half! You can’t run anymore from me! You’re going to face me on the biggest stage! April 4th! If I can’t beat you, then I don’t want to be here in the WWF anymore! With my career on the line, and all the little Hulkamaniacs watching, what are you gonna do Hogan!? Are you gonna be a man and face the man? Or are you going to run back to Hollywood and hide from The Nature Boy again?”
Hogan takes a mic and basically says he’ll run wild on Flair in Caesar’s Palace. Flair smiles as he drops down onto Beefcake and slides out of the ring as Hogan, distraught, checks on his friend.
At the March 28th March to WrestleMania IX special, Hogan and Flair open the show with their contract signing. The two do the typical contract signing showdown as they stare down each other before referees seperate them.
Look, I’m not expecting this to be a mat classic, but these two proved in WCW in 1994 that they can have a good match. I’m hoping they both feel motivated to do so here. Hogan wins (of course) with his leg drop in around 20 minutes.
The fallout here is simple. Flair leaves and goes to WCW while Hogan leaves for Hollywood before eventually signing with WCW. Hogan never shows back up in the WWF until 2002.
Well, there you have it. This is probably the most detailed and nerdy thing I’ve ever written but I have to admit I enjoyed the heck out of it and I hope you did too. Hopefully I didn’t make any continuity errors or goofy mistakes here, I tried to make sure everything was detailed out perfectly. I even kept a list of what the Raw’s leading up to Mania would look like to make sure I didn’t over-book any of the episodes.
And until we see each other again, make good decisions.