The SmarK Rant for Coliseum Video presents Jake the Snake Roberts
Given the recent discussion of Jake with the A&E doc, this seemed like a natural one to have another look.
Your hosts are Craig DeGeorge and Johnny V, who goes on a funny rant about the snake and does his impression of it.
Jake Roberts v. Scott McGhee
Back to MSG in April 1986 for Jake’s debut there. Jake beats McGhee down and hits him with a short clothesline, but makes the mistake of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, and that allows Scott to come back with a gut wrench for two. Jake bails to the floor and McGhee chases him back in and drops a knee on him for two. Jake goes for the snake, but is unable to whip it out successfully, as Scott snake-blocks him and drops him right on the external occipital protuberance. Scotty misses a knee, however, and Jake gives him the short clothesline to take over, and McGhee tries a rollup, but Jake blocks and the DDT finishes at 4:15. Slick finish there. And then Jake puts the snake on him to the horror of the crowd, as they hit all of the big beats with Jake here and this was a home run MSG debut. Not a great match or anything but Jake was off and hit the ground running. **.
Jake Roberts v. Ricky Steamboat
From SNME, with Jake breaking out the neon green and purple tights for this one. And Jake immediately Pearl Harbors Steamboat on the apron before the bell, and then takes him to the floor and DDTs him out there to kick off their blood feud. Oh, and he knocked Ricky out legit because Steamboat basically told him to do the move on the concrete and he’d figure out how to take the bump safely. Spoiler: He didn’t.
From TNT: Jake brings his snake collection to the show and Mean Gene is pretty disgusted by the whole deal. Jake: “This guy has a rattle that acts as a warning system for you. And most people hear it and back up. Most people.” Also Jake shows off a “three step” Mamba, because you get bitten and only live for three steps. Meanwhile Jake is literally poking the poisonous snakes to agitate them while Gene is freaking out in terror and Jake calmly does a promo on Ricky Steamboat. And then Jake does the money promo, comparing a giant lazy fat snake to Hulk Hogan, who used to be the big man but now he’s just fat and lazy. Man it sucks that we were robbed of that match.
Jake Roberts v. Ricky Steamboat
Off to the Boston Garden, August 86. Steamboat tries to use his illegal martial arts, but Jake blocks it with what I can only assume is Cobra Kai karate. They slug it out and Ricky can’t get past his blocking, so Jake slugs him down. Steamboat slips away and tries another chop, but Jake blocks that one as well in a counter you don’t see…well, ever. Basically he just puts up both forearms and takes away the target. Jake takes him down and goes to work on the arm, and keeps shifting his center of gravity to prevent Steamboat from hiptossing out. Finally Steamboat escapes and Jake has to take a powder to the floor to prevent Steamboat from building up momentum.
Back in the ring, Jake continues to celebrate his own counter-wrestling abilities and they trade headlocks. But Jake gets cocky and this time Steamboat chops the crap out of him before he can throw up his blocks, sending Jake to the floor. Back in the ring, Steamboat fires away with more chops and Jake tumbles to the floor again, so Ricky chases him and they fight out there, which is mostly Dragon beating on him with chops. But then he backs Jake into the corner against the post, and he chops the post by mistake. And of course, Jake goes to work on the arm and uses some SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION by bending Ricky’s fingers around one of the post supports. Back in the ring, Jake drops knees on the injured hand, but Steamboat fights back with his remaining chopping hand.
Jake just grabs the bad wrist and twists him down to the mat as Gorilla notes that Dragon isn’t a quitter. Unless you count all his marriages and every job in wrestling he ever had, sure. Jake stomps on the bad hand and grinds his boot into the fingers in a very Jake strategy and continues to bend and wrench the fingers on the ropes. Dragon gets to the apron for a breather, but Jake necks him on the top rope to cut him off again. Jake tries using his wrist tape to choke Steamboat out, but the ref catches it and Steamboat is able to make the comeback and toss him into the railing outside. Back in the ring, Steamboat drops the chops on him and then fires up with the karate blows for two. To the top for the flying chop, but the ref is bumped and everyone is out. Jake with the short clothesline for the visual pinfall, but Jake goes to revive the ref and Steamboat rolls him up for the pin at 17:18. That’s what you get for trying to help a referee. It’s not worth it, just head to the pound and adopt a stray as a replacement and move on with your life. Also this match RULED. ****.
Meanwhile, Mean Gene interviews Jake, who is pivoting to facing heels now and quotes some Whitesnake as he’s a drifter who was born to walk alone. Also don’t walk in front of his car because he’ll run you over. Good thing he wasn’t driving the car when Tawny was in that music video.
Jake Roberts v. Junkyard Dog
This is an interesting dark match from a Superstars taping in Phoenix. Dog slugs him down to start and goes to work on the arm while beating Jake down. Jake runs away and we get an extended stall before Jake catches him with a kneelift and then goes to an extended chinlock. JYD fights out and makes a comeback with some CM Punk bodyslams as Jake is literally just running at him and then taking his own bump while Dog stands there. I know it wasn’t on TV anyway but that looked ridiculously fake. So Jake heads out and goes for the snake, but Dog beats the countout for the win at 9:20. Yes the finish of the match was Junkyard Dog somehow moving faster than another human being. I take back what I said about the bodyslam spots, that finish is what was exposing the business. 1/2*.
Jake Roberts v. King Kong Bundy
We move onto MSG in February of 87, as Jake is in the midst of turning babyface. Jake has some badass black tights with white snakes on them, a combo he didn’t use very much at that point. Simple but effective. Jake slugs away in the corner to start and dodges a charge before winning another slugfest. The crowd is MOLTEN for Jake tonight for some reason, probably because the product was super-hot at this point in general. Also Jimmy Hart is on commentary with Gorilla and claims that “his lips are sealed” about future plans while talking non-stop at a million miles a minute. Bundy gets a test of strength and gets Jake to the mat with that, but Jake boots out of it and then evades another attack from Bundy. Finally Bundy slams him and drops an elbow to take over before using some clubbing forearms and a back elbow to put him down. Bundy drops a knee for two, but Jake fights up and tries for the DDT. Bundy backdrops out of that and Jake tries it again, but Bundy dumps him to escape that one. But then Bundy takes too long hauling Jake back in and somehow gets counted out at 9:20 in a some timekeeping that’s so questionable that even Tony Khan thought it was a mess. **1/2
Jake Roberts v. King Kong Bundy
This one is from SNME a little later on, as they do a lot of the beats from the MSG match again early on, with Jake evading Bundy’s power and outsmarting him. Jake gets a kneelift on Bundy, but Bobby steals the snake and we take a break. Back with Bundy taking over with a clothesline, but he misses a charge and Jake goes for the snake. The ref tries to stop him, so Jake nails him for the DQ at 6:00 in a dumb finish. Bundy tries to attack him afterwards, but Jake manages to put him down with the DDT. Bobby saves Bundy from the snake, so Vince excitedly declares “Put the snake on the referee then!” because he’s so excited about someone getting the snake all over them. Ew. **
The Snake Pit sees Jake recapping his feud with Honky Tonk Man and promising to get revenge at Wrestlemania. And we of course get that match as well, although I’ve reviewed that one enough for one lifetime. They should have teamed up as Snake Rattle and Roll though.
Jake Roberts v. Kamala
And we finish with another SNME match, albeit one with a famously clever finish. Kamala attacks from behind and Jake fights him off before taking a chop to the throat to put Kamala in control. Bearhug follows as the commentary telegraphs the twist by constantly calling attention to Kim Chee at ringside. Jake goes to work on the arm, but Kamala beats him down and chokes him out on the ropes until Jake makes a comeback. Vince declares it a SEE SAW BATTLE BACK AND FORTH while Jake bails off a headbutt and then catches Kamala with a kneelift to make a comeback. But then Kim Chee hits Jake from behind and Kamala gets the splash for the pin at 4:20. Man Jake was doing a lot of jobs at that point. And of course, Kim Chee unmasks and reveals himself to be The Honky Tonk Man. “What a classy dresser that Kim Chee is!” notes Jesse in a funny line.
I liked the heel Jake stuff here much better than the “babyface Jake fights big fat heels” second half, but this was a good compilation and an enjoyable 90 minutes.