#145 – Road to WrestleMania 9

It’s WrestleMania season again and this year we’re going to review WrestleMania 9, but before we get to the big show, we make a few stops along the way, reviewing the five weeks of RAW leading up to WrestleMania. Hop in the back of the car and join Dre and the Black Cat on the road to…WrestleMania 9! Please support the Old School Wrestling Podcast by visiting oldschoolwrestlingpodcast.com where you can find links to all of our great products. We now offer all of our box sets and bonus episodes from all three seasons on our premium digital download site. Thanks for listening and we’ll see you…..at the matches!

This episode has been archived in the Season 5 digital box set available for $9.99 at the OSWP Merch Store!


  1. Zeppo Ramone says:

    Between daylight savings and a three hour OSWP episode, my internal clock is bumping all over the place today.

    Great episode! By the time it wrapped, I was actually sort of shocked that it had been three hours…really entertaining listen.

    Two little things that I thought worth mentioning…

    1) How in the world could a wrestling-centric podcast that featured a minutes-long tangent about the wonders of the Foreman Grill manage to NOT make mention of the fact that Hulk Hogan has, on multiple occasions, claimed that he was originally supposed to be the celebrity-name attached to said magical grill? Whenever Hulk’s feeling a little down on his luck, he trots out the story in interviews…

    One fateful day in the early 90’s, his agent called with an offer to endorse a series of dorm-friendly kitchen appliances. Unfortunately, Hulk missed the call while picking up the kids or shopping for groceries or rescuing kittens or whatever it was that he did in his downtime. When he later got back to his agent, he was informed that the offer was still on the table for most of the line of products (I think he ended up going with a juicer) but that the grill had been snagged by Foreman.

    2) Far less important than the Hogan Grill…when running down the card for Mania IX, you mentioned Tito Santana vs Papa Shango. This was actually the dark-match for the event. There was, however, a match on the original card that was promoted for weeks before the event but cut for time during the day of the show. That match would have put the newly God-fearing Kamala up against the Beast of the East, Bam Bam Bigelow. I believe both matches actually ended up being recorded at the next set of Superstars tapings and broadcast in subsequent weeks.

    Thanks again for a fantastic show!

    • Black Cat says:

      I am also shocked we forgot about the Hogan/Foreman Grill thing…he was probably out on his jet ski when they called.

  2. Paul E Cautiously says:

    You can do 3 hours of old Raws, but still no Big Show tribute. Time to rethink your priorities gentlemen. Otherwise, keep up the great work!

  3. The worst thing I remember about the commentary during these early Raws was Vince making these ridiculously bad jokes about pop culture figures but preceding them with “Despite what you’ve heard, there’s no truth to the rumor that…” He would then say something about Roseanne or some other (surprisingly) relevant celebrity that wasn’t a news item that he clearly made up out of thin air.

    Glad to hear Doink get some props. Evil Doink was wonderful.

    • Black Cat says:

      Vince STILL makes horrible horrible jokes or at least writes them so other people have to say them.

    • Drew Money says:

      I maintain that because Doink was portrayed by different wrestlers back in the day, and most fans were none the wiser… The WWE should slap the outfit and gimmick on a young up-and-comer. Not the fun-loving, midget-toting Doink, though, of course. The eeevil one.

      Any thoughts on who in NXT that could fit this mold?

  4. The star of the angle where Mr. Perfect turns face is (surprise surprise) Bobby Heenan. Heenan went from berating and ultimately slapping Hennig across the face to, borrowing one from Ron Burgundy, immediately regretting that decision. He switched on a dime with his facial expressions and a sudden panicky appologetic tone. It was all in the way he said “I’m sorry” that you had to feel bad for the guy. He knew he f’ed up and all he could do was stand there and take Perfect pouring the water over his head. Classic Heenan at his very best.

    • Black Cat says:

      YES. This segment was gold. We all know Bobby was the best but then you see something like this and you’re reminded why exactly he was the best.

  5. Zeppo Ramone says:

    Seconding the sentiment regarding the Matt Bourne version of Doink. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time but he was spectacular in that role. Evil Doink was years ahead of his time.

    Also, one last thank you…I went back and watch the Bartlett-as-Vince episode of RAW after listening to the podcast. Bobby and Gorilla’s reactions to Bartlett really just made that episode…that and Bobby not realizing that they were back from commercial and screaming at a production-assistant right before the Giant Gonzales interview.

  6. Kyle F. says:

    Ahoy hoy gents. This was one of my favorite episodes ever! I’m a closet fan of WWF 1993, partially because of a childhood nostalgia, partially because I enjoy punishment.

    Really excited to listen to this episode, as I’ve been recently watching WWF 1993 more or less “how it would have been watched” at the time. As in watching WWF SuperStars/RAW/PPVs in broadcast order.

    WWF 1993- overall, I dont find nearly as bad as WWF 1995/1994, and 1993 still has a kind of childlike charm to it I find. WWF 1993 gets a pass a bit due to still being the early 90s and I found the over the top gimmicks still to be somewhat acceptable.
    To me 1995 was the absolute pits for WWF. By 1995 WWF was STILL using the same type of gimmicky characters, but at this point in society this type of shit was just not passing at all and completely passé. Stuff like TL Hopper, The Goon, Mantaur, Abe Schwartz etc, was so cringeworthy and past its prime, especially when you look at what ECW and WCW were doing at the time.

    Listening to this episode and watching all this stuff lately really makes me want to bring to attention HOW GOOD PEOPLE TODAY HAVE IT! Today, even the absolute worst RAW still features ongoing storylines and top superstars battling.
    Perfect example: Rewind back to 1993 and you have Money Inc. vs 2 jablonskis as one of the top matches on the go-home show prior to WrestleMania!! Insane. Enough said.

    So just thought I’d stick up for 1993 a bit and try to put things in perspective.

    BTW, looks like LA GORE didnt have much of a career other than a couple job matches haha:


    • Black Cat says:

      I’ve also become a fan of 1993…I’ve never really given it a chance but there’s a lot of good stuff there. And you’re right, 95 was WAY worse.

  7. While this was a weird transition period for the WWF, as you guys mentioned, there were some hidden gems. On the Raw Season 1 box set (or whatever it’s called), there are two great great matches.

    One is the Bret Hart/Fatu match you reviewed on the show. I watched this match and legitimately thought at times that Fatu was going to win the title from Bret. And of course everyone knows Fatu never won the title. That’s good storytelling right there.

    There was also an amazing, seemingly put together for no reason, 2 out of 3 falls match between Evil Doink and Marty Jannetty. Jannetty is no great wrestler, but Doink was amazing. He was a great wrestler, and a great evil dick character. Once Borne left, the character was never the same. Hard to believe that evil Doink was the same guy as the bear walking lumberjack called Big Josh.

  8. Jordan says:

    I thought this would be the perfect time for me to leave my first comment. I only started listening in December, but have already listened to about 100 episodes.

    My father used to own a clothing company and would travel to Vegas twice a year for tradeshows. In 1993, he just happened to be there during WrestleMania week. He also happened to be staying at Caesar’s Palace, so he had a number of run-ins with WWF wrestlers. Two of which are especially my favorites.

    First, one night he was playing craps when Curt Hennig walked up, holding a drink in one hand and his chips in the other. He then asked my dad how to play. My dad instantly recognized him by his trademark hair. They wound up talking for quite a while with both of them winning. Most interestingly to me is the fact that at one point Lex Luger walked up and asked Hennig to spot him some money since he was, apparently, all out at the moment. If you remember, Hennig and Luger wrestled each other at WrestleMania IX. Way to keep kayfabe alive, Lex.

    Second, he ran into Macho Man getting on the elevator one night. My dad said the door opened and as he looked inside the elevator there was Macho Man … with a woman on each arm. Savage was dressed in a quintessential flamboyant outfit, essentially living his gimmick. My dad just quipped, “How are you, Macho Man?” To which Macho Man replied in kind with a quick, “Doing good, yeah.” My dad asked if he would be willing to sign a piece of paper for me and Savage obliged. He actually waited for my dad to go to his hotel room and come back. A great gesture for sure.

    While others don’t rate WrestleMania IX very highly, 13-year-old Jordan will always keep it in special regard. Oooh yeah, dig it!

  9. Baron von Rashy says:

    Great episode guys. You breeze through a three hour episode like it’s nothing. This is unknown territory for me as I didn’t actually get RAW at this period. I’m not sure if we just didn’t have the cable package tier that would have had RAW here in central Canada (we didn’t have the USA network here), or I just don’t remember it being on but unfortunately(?) I didn’t see this early incarnation of RAW. I got my WWF fix from Superstars every Saturday morning and Wrestlemania. I watch clips nowadays and it looks terrible so perhaps I got off lucky.

    Anyway, I never thought about that Backlund angle mirroring George Foreman’s comeback. It makes total sense. I thought Backlund was a move to bring older fans back into the fold and feature someone who is clean living and furthest from the steroid scandal as you can possibly get.

    And IRS? Does anyone else get the impression that Vince got audited the year he rolled out the IRS gimmick? Why would any kid who is too young to have a job and pay taxes hate this guy?

  10. Posh says:

    When I first heard this weeks OSWP I had the same thought all other listeners who pay there $9.99 a month had “fiddle sticks I know have to watch 1993 Raw” however having been 8 at the time I was one of thoughts fans still watching, and it brought back some memories blocked out due to all the Crush. Most heart warming was hearing the respect Randy Savage and Brett Hart had for each other as described in “the wrestling bible” penned by the WWF champ at the time. How do we know Macho Man respected the Hit Man? Because he could not just say he had r-e-s-p-e-c-t for Brett, no he had to spell his r-e-s-p-e-c-t … a lot. I started counting how many times he spelled out his adoration, but lost count because just how much r-e-s-p-e-c-t Savage had

  11. Buzz Tyler's Idol says:

    You mentioned during ‘feedback’ that you liked stories about grandfathers and wrestling. The highlight of my gran dad’s week was Saturday afternoon when wrestling came on Channel 4 from Dothan, AL. His favorite TV chair was a porch rocker, and he wrestled harder than the people on TV. He’d lean forward when his man was winning and backward when he was losing. He turned hi chair over backward more than once.

  12. Drew Money says:

    I once literally ran on a “Road to Wrestlemania”, in the sense that I participated in the “Wrestlemania VI 5K Road Race” the day before the big event. My buddies and I from the our high school’s cross-country team thought it would be a fun race, and we were right.

    The ceremonial starting pistol was fired by the late actor, Al Waxman, and he was flanked on either side by Tito Santana and Hillbilly Jim. It was the first time I recall seeing Jim without his trademark overalls, and my image of him was shattered, as his attire consisted of a sweatshirt and Zubaz pants.

    The race began on Front Street and wound through some downtown Toronto corridors before finishing right outside the south gates of the Skydome (now known as the Rogers Centre).

    After completing the race, I waited by the finish line for the last of my friends to straggle in. A cheer erupted around in the distance, and the Bushwhackers appeared down the final stretch, doing a sped-up version of that weird trademark march of theirs, decked out in their full camo and boots. Needless to say, this was a work, just like wrestling. These dum-dums didn’t run the whole race and only popped in for the final 200 meters or so. A “run-in” of different type, one could say. The thing is, they actually crossed the finish line with a respectable time, before one of my slower buddies. Later, he could be found shaking his head and remarking, “I can’t believe I got whacked by the Bushwhackers.” In hindsight, it was the beginning of the end for him as far as participating in road races was concerned.

    • Drew Money says:

      I have an update on a post you read on your podcast a couple of years ago: I no longer have a 80s-style WHITE couch, like Ric Flair. I re-upholstered it dark blue as it was too difficult to maintain and keep clean. I was also tired of Jim Ross dropping by unannounced and asking me about my neck.

  13. Millennium Man says:

    This is the Millennium Man and I am a long time listener to the podcast. I have laughed my ass off many times and have gone through rough times in life while finding solace in your creative episodes and hilarious outlooks on the great sport that I grew up with. You guys respect each other while talking trash. This is something that draws me to your dialogue. I am finally catching up in the episodes and just wanted to let you guys know that what you are doing is appreciated and helping us through life’s battles. Thank you and I look forward to many more episodes.

  14. The Small Package says:

    Hey guys, we went a little heavy on the Luger bashing this episode don’t you think. Sit back because this is going to be a long one, you guys got my Pro-Luger blood pumping. When you were comparing him to Hercules or Paul Roma, and then debating who had the better look, my head almost exploded. I think you are selling Luger way short with those comparisons.

    The problem with his WWF run was something that you touched on, the WWF never acknowledged where anyone came from. Look at the Steiner Brothers, they didn’t have nearly the same impact that they did in WCW because they weren’t billed as this team that was the best in the world and had held multiple titles. They were just two guys in outfits that made them look like walking talking Trapper Keepers. You could have slapped the Narcissist gimmick on anyone because it wasn’t special. Now, if you bring in Luger as “The Total Package”, I guy who combines size, speed, strength, and skill like no other, well that’s a different story.

    I would also disagree with your assessment of Lex’s WCW career. While he may never have been the #1 guy all by himself, how many people were in the ‘80s? It was always Flair on top, minus brief periods where he lost the belt only to get it right back. Clearly Flair is the top dog and there are a whole host of wrestlers under him. Dusty is close but still below him. Next you have a host of contenders like Sting, Magnum TA, and Nikita Koloff. I would put Lex Luger right up there with any of them. Even Ricky Steamboat was great because of the matches with Flair, it wasn’t Steamboat on his own. By your logic, practically no one in the NWA in the ‘80s was a success because of Flair. I think you two are way undervaluing Lex Luger. But I guess that’s what you would expect out of me. Still love the show.

  15. Bobby's Brainscan (Formerly IanEvs79) says:

    I wonder if Hulk and Brutus still hang and bang together?

    • Black Cat says:

      Congrats on catching up, BROTHER! Thanks for all the comments, I’ve enjoyed reading them along the way.