Was Bret really supposed to face Hogan at Mania 9?
This is a subject that I've always wanted to debate. I've heard a lot of stories about WM9 being Bret vs Hogan, and Hogan nixing the idea, because he found Bret too small etc
Knowing the way Vince McMahon books his product, and a couple of other facts, make me doubt this was ever the plan. Here's my take on it:
- Bret won the WWF title at an untelevised event with little fanfare or buildup.
This was the first time ever the WWF title changed hands like that. If you booked the show, is this how you would book the next big thing? I honestly think that Bret was a transitional champion. They had to get the belt of Flair, who had his last televised appearance for the WWF only 3 months later.
- Vince was pushing/establishing Yokozuna, not Bret.
Yokozuna got a monster push. He debuted in October, won the royal rumble 3 months later (By eliminating Randy Savage), and won the WWF title a mania after 6 months on the roster. In the meantime, Bret feuded with midcardes like Papa Shango, Razor Ramon and Shawn Michaels (Razor and Shawn only started to become bigger stars later in 93)
- Wrestlemania was Yokozunas moment. Not Brets.
Hogan was on his way out. Vince needed a new star. I beleive he wanted Yokozuna to be the new Andre, and Luger to be the new Hogan. Bret was there to make Yoko look good, and for Yoko to get a pin on a credible opponent, so Vince' true chosen one could overcome the odds.
Yoko was the first heel ever to win the title at mania. I think it's pretty obvious that he had Vince's focus, not Bret.
I think the Hogan title win might have been booked as a "feel good moment". Vince wanted Yoko to win a mania, but did'nt want to send the crowd home after a heel victory.
- Yoko SQASHED Hogan.
Seriously. Look up the king of the ring match. Up to that point Hogan had NEVER looked this weak. He constantly failed the strength lockups, his comebacks were ineffective, he couldn't get Yoko off his feet, Hogan hit Yoko with three big boots and the big leg, and still couldn't get the pin. When Yoko defeated Hogan. He had steamrolled all the big faces in six months. Vince now had his monster.
To sum it all up. I think it's obvious that Vince was giving Yokozuna a monster push, while Bret was somewhat of an afterthought. I simply can't see Vince ever considering Bret vs Hogan for mania. I think he always intended Luger, or someone else, to be the next face of the company. Why else book a monster heel to go over your current champ + the two biggest faces of the last decade (Savage and Hogan)?