Today’s episode of My Two Pence Worth will be on another feud in the World Wrestling Federation that was only done on TV in mid 1991 – The Ultimate Warrior vs. The Undertaker.
Just like the last feud I discussed, this feud began one week after WrestleMania 7 (where Warrior defeated “Macho King” Randy Savage in a career vs. career match, and Taker had begun his long undefeated WrestleMania streak by squashing “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka) on the March 30th episode of Superstars…
…where Taker’s manager Paul Bearer debuted his new talk show segment called “The Funeral Parlor” (which replaced “The Brother Love Show”, since Warrior had beaten up Brother Love prior to WrestleMania). One week later, on the April 6th episode of Superstars, Taker was the first guest on the Funeral Parlor, as he and Bearer invited Warrior to appear on the show next week.
Eventually, on the April 13th episode of Superstars, Warrior appeared on the Funeral Parlor to confront Bearer, as well as noticed a casket with little Warrior logos all over it.
As Warrior threatened Bearer, Taker made his entrance through a stand-up casket and attacked Warrior! Taker then stuffed Warrior into the special airtight Warrior casket, with Bearer locking it.
After Taker and Bearer left, road agents Tony Garea, Blackjack Lanza, Rene Goulet, and Dave Hebner feverishly tried to break open the impromptu tomb with crowbars, chisels, drills, and sledgehammers.
They eventually succeeded, and referee Earl Hebner managed to successfully revive Warrior by applying CPR. Warrior came back a changed man.
As a result, this set up a very popular house show feud between Warrior and Taker, which sold more tickets than Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter, as well as win the Pro Wrestling Illustrated award “Best Feud of 1991”, even involving Taker interfering in Warrior’s match with Slaughter on the April 27th 1991 edition of Saturday Night’s Main Event. In fact, there was a showdown between Warrior and Taker at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, which made its way onto the U.S. Rampage 1991 VHS released in October that same year, as well as a bodybag match in Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York on July 1st, and a handicap match pitting Hogan & Warrior against Slaughter, Taker, & General Adnan on a different tape called World Tour 1991, which ended with Hogan pinning Slaughter and getting the victory, while protecting Taker.
Three months after Warrior’s brush with death, on the July 27th episode of Superstars, Jake “The Snake” Roberts came on the Funeral Parlor and told Bearer that he would help train Warrior with the secrets of the dark side in order to defeat Taker. Jake asked Warrior to “trust” him, he accepted, and we were treated to three trials that Jake had set up for Warrior.
In the first trial, shown on the August 3rd episode of Superstars, Warrior had to lay still in a sealed casket, returning like a dead man, his eyes serene and empty.
For the second trial, shown on the August 10th episode of Superstars, Warrior dug up a grave in a cemetery, found a skull, and spent the night being buried up to his neck by Jake to stare at the skull until morning.
The final trial, shown on the August 17th episode of Superstars, required Warrior to go into a room full of snakes and ask the cobra Lucifer about his fate. Warrior reluctantly opened up a little casket ornament on a pedestal, and a cobra appeared, striking and biting Warrior in the face, who struggled and knocked down the door trying to escape!
As the venom spread through his veins, Warrior passed out…
…but not before he saw Taker and Bearer staring above him…
…and Jake laughing. The Warrior was a fool to trust a snake after all!
And so, as a result, Jake is offically a killer heel, and allies with Taker and Bearer. The biggest reason why Jake turned heel is because nobody helped him stop Earthquake from flattening his pet Damien, so Jake decided to become one with the snakes again and find solace in the dark side. Unfortunately, the Warrior/Taker feud never had a proper blow-off, as Warrior teamed with Hogan against Slaughter, Adnan, & The Iron Sheik, aka Col. Mustafa, at SummerSlam 1991, while Jake and Taker gate-crashed Randy Savage (who had reverted back to being the “Macho Man”) and Miss Elizabeth’s wedding. From there, Warrior was suspended and would not return until WrestleMania 8, Jake feuded with Savage, and Taker went on to defeat Hogan for the World Championship at the 1991 Survivor Series.
You see, the Jake/Earthquake and Warrior/Taker feuds never being blown off at SummerSlam that year is a very big example of why Vince McMahon had so much going on storyline-wise, he desperately needed to add in another pay-per-view during the five-month period between WrestleMania and SummerSlam to polish off lingering feuds that didnâ€™t have the legs to make it between shows (Jake/Earthquake and Warrior/Taker) or end feuds that had no right lasting that long (Hogan/Slaughter).