Hulk Hogan and Bruce Prichard have delved into the reason behind the controversial finish of Bret Hart vs. Yokozuna at WrestleMania IX and revealed how and why plans changed.
On April 4, 1993, a capacity crowd at Caesars Palace watched as WWF Champion Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart defended his coveted gold against the indomitable Yokozuna, who had booked his spot in the main event by last eliminating Randy Savage in the 1993 Royal Rumble Match.
While the bout was an intriguing juxtaposition of David vs. Goliath, the double-controversial ending caused it be not only the highlight of what is widely regarded as one of the worst WrestleManias in history, but one of the best remembered main events in history.
With Hart having done the impossible and grounded the colossus, ‘The Excellence of Execution’ locked in his trademark Sharpshooter as the crowd rose to their feet in anticipation. Seconds later, Mr. Fuji pitched salt – which was clearly powder – into the eyes of the champion which allowed Yoko to break the hold and pin his foe to claim the championship.
Seconds after the momentous victory, Hulk Hogan raged to the ring to save Bret Hart and ended up challenging the new champion for his gold there and then. To the detriment of a man who had been built as an unstoppable monster, Hogan pinned him in just twenty two seconds to lift the strap.
Sitting down with WWE Icons: Yokozuna, Executive Director of Monday Night Raw, Bruce Prichard, stated plans were drastically changed on the weekend of the event thanks to tickets needing to be sold for the upcoming international tour:
“First of all, going into WrestleMania 9, the plan was for Yokozuna to be our champion for the immediate future. That changed the weekend of WrestleMania. The reasoning was because of the international tour we had coming up. It was going to be Hulk’s farewell tour in a lot of respects and we felt it would be better to have Hulk as the champion. Hindsight [big sigh].
Adding to the talking heads, Hulk Hogan pitched in on the moment in question and refreshingly admitted that only was the entire thing his idea, but with hindsight it was the wrong call to make:
“To the best of my recollection, I knew I was leaving. I couldn’t remember if I was going to do a movie, but I talked into, ‘Hey man, what’s the finish in the main event?’ He told me what it was and I said, ‘Brother, if I go out and help Bret Hart. Hulk Hogan, Yokozuna, you can book us in the next pay-per-view.’ It was my hare-brained idea and it caused quite a controversy. It was one of those audible, wild wild west type situations. You know?
Yokozuna may have been the ultimate transitional champion at WrestleMania IX, but his reign of terror over the roster continued when he finally overcame Hulk Hogan at King of the Ring 1993 to send ‘The Hulkster’ on his way to World Championship Wrestling.
Credit for the interviews: WWE Icons
h/t for the transcriptions: Fightful