Vintage Vault Pre-Viewing: The WWF at Madison Square Garden 7/1/91

The Ultimate Warrior vs. the Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) in a Bodybag match

We continue on through the summer of 1991 and we come to the month of July as we are about a little under two months away from Summerslam, and one of the hottest feuds that was building by this point was between the Ultimate Warrior and the Undertaker. After ending Randy Savage’s career back at Wrestlemania, Warrior almost seemed to be a bit directionless especially with Hulk Hogan winning the WWF Title at Wrestlemania. On the flip side, Taker was clearly on the fast track to something big as he has kept strong on TV and the house shows to the point that they started teasing the feud with Warrior even before Wrestlemania. It seemed pretty clear that they would have this match at Summerslam given how much they have been building it on TV, but as we will see they decide to take a bit of a different turn and it will be interesting to see how that affects Summerslam as a whole.

As mentioned, the feud was first teased at the Road to Wrestlemania VII on 3/17 when Warrior and Savage had the contract signing and Taker came out to stalk Warrior, and on the 4/6 Superstars Taker and Bearer challenged Warrior to come on the Funeral Parlor. Warrior would show up on the Funeral Parlor and Taker would attack him as he and Bearer locked Warrior in the casket and walked away as officials came out and pried the casket open with Warrior being left in a trance. The two would begin their house show run with Warrior usually winning the matches and Taker would attempt to put him in a bodybag, and at the last Saturday Night’s Main Event Taker attacked Warrior after his match with Sgt. Slaughter. The two would cut promos on each other on TV and would continue their feud on the house shows, and it was announced they would face each other here at MSG with the stipulation added that the only way to win was to put your opponent in a bodybag. Given that this match was happening now with Summerslam happening at MSG the next month, you had to wonder if they would manage to stretch it out one more month or if this was going to be the blowoff especially with it being a unique gimmick match.

Taker and Bearer give a good promo before the match and Taker was red hot as a heel while Warrior got a big pop from the crowd, and it was smart to have this as the main event with nothing else worthy of that spot. Taker wastes no time and stomps on Warrior as he gets in the ring to start the match as Warrior trips Taker up and pulls him to the outside, and Warrior pounds on Taker and rams him into the steps twice before continuing to pound on him. He sends Taker into the post and pounds on him before throwing him back into the ring as he continues to pound on him, and he rams Taker into the buckle and kicks at him repeatedly as he rams him into the buckle again. He continues to kick at Taker and rams him into the buckle again as he continues to kick at him and he rams him into the buckle again, and he whips Taker into the corner only for Taker to hit a clothesline and then he hits the flying clothesline on Warrior. Taker chokes Warrior in the corner and takes him to the mat as Warrior gets to his feet and ducks a shot before hitting a slam, and he pounds on Taker and whips him into the corner only for Taker to catch him with a boot to the face. Taker misses the elbow only for Warrior to miss the elbow himself and Taker chokes Warrior in the corner again, and he pounds on Warrior and whips him into the other corner only for Warrior to catch him with a boot to the face. Warrior gets a kick in and hits a piledriver on Taker who quickly gets to his feet and Warrior pounds and kicks at him, and he hits a second piledriver on Taker who sits up again and gets to his feet as Warrior gets a kick in and hits a third piledriver as Taker tries to sit up only to fall to the mat. Warrior attempts the big splash only for Taker to get a shot in to block it and Warrior is groggy as Taker hoists Warrior up and hits the Tombstone, and Taker grabs the bodybag and lays it down on the mat as he puts Warrior on it and attempts to close it only for Warrior to keep his arms out to block Taker from zipping it up. Warrior pounds on Taker and gets out of the bodybag as he fires up on Taker who gets a shot in, and Warrior catches him ducking with a kick and he hits a trio of clotheslines on Taker as Bearer gets on the apron. Warrior takes the urn from Bearer and nails Taker in the head with it before grabbing the bag and he puts it on the mat, and he places Taker in it and zips it up completely to win the match. Warrior celebrates briefly and heads to the back as Bearer gets in the ring and Taker sits up while Bearer frees him from the bodybag, and he grabs the bodybag as Bearer leads up to the back.

The match itself was pretty good as both men worked hard and put on a solid gimmick match for the 10 minutes that it got. Warrior was really hitting his stride by this point while it is amazing how quickly Taker has gotten this character honed down in such a short time, and they had some pretty good chemistry as Warrior busted out a few piledrivers which was rare for him. Considering how many different gimmick matches designed for Taker that we will see in the future, this might be the most basic one of them all and I can see why they kept it as a house show special and not used it on TV. Again, it was weird that they did this match here with Summerslam being at MSG the next month, and it makes you wonder if the feud was going to end here or if it would stretch out to the next month. This was a big win for Warrior though Taker isn’t hurt by the loss as it took the urn to defeat him and he didn’t get pinned either. The crowd was into the match and popped big for Warrior when he won. Warrior gets the win over Taker in this Bodybag match and it will be interesting to see where the feud goes from here.

Final Grade: ***