The term "cult classic" denotes something that was once widely panned, ridiculed, or ignored on its lack of qualitative merit, but later gains a fervent audience, oftentimes for ironic reasons. While WrestleMania 9 probably isn't exactly the Rocky Horror Picture Show of the wrestling world, the event has gained a somewhat accommodating audience in recent years. Once vilified as one of the worst shows in WWE history, and possibly the worst 'Mania ever produced, the Las Vegas spectacular has its defenders who'll tell you that the passage of time has been kinder to WrestleMania 9.
Has it? Even if one imbues value in the stronger points of the show (Shawn Michaels vs. Tatanka, a hard-hitting Steiner Brothers vs. Headshrinkers match, the WWE debut of Jim Ross), it's hard to ignore the doldrums, like Undertaker vs. Giant Gonzalez, Razor Ramon vs. Bob Backlund, Crush vs. Doink (sans the wonderfully bizarre finish), and Hulk Hogan's, "Hey look, I'm a champion again!" groaner of a conclusion.
In 1993, WWE was continuing its spiral into near-oblivion, resorting to holding its TV tapings in smaller venues in the northeast while watching its roster of reliable performers dwindle due to age or financial reasons.
The mid-nineties for the promotion represents little more than gaudy neon splashed upon an increasingly darker canvas. WrestleMania 9 is that notion defined...
10. Jim Ross Used His WCW-Sponsored Radio Show To Promote WrestleMania 9
A week before the grand spectacle, Jim Ross still had not received his release from WCW. He announced his resignation from the company on February 25, after WCW re-assigned him from commentary to syndication sales (yes, really). As of Sunday night, March 28, 1993 (one week before WrestleMania), Ross was still technically signed with WCW, according to Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter. There, he would stick it to his soon-to-be former employer.
Ross hosted a Sunday night radio show on Atlanta's WSB station, and on the March 28 broadcast, he announced he was WWE's newest broadcaster. Then he had Vince McMahon, Bobby Heenan, and Shawn Michaels on his program as guests, promoting WrestleMania 9. Since WCW was paying for the show, WrestleMania 9 got some extra publicity on WCW's dime.
The Observer speculates that because WCW removed Ross from its payroll (in the transition from broadcasting to sales, perhaps), it created a loophole that allowed him to sign with WWE when he did.