The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast with Jake Roberts
Hosts: John and Chad
Interview available at Tmptow.podomatic.com
Roberts on his cancelled program with Hulk Hogan “People started chanting DDT, DDT because they believed in that maneuver and rightfully so, they had just seen me kill (Ricky) Steamboat with it. It damn near killed him. Now they are going to go after Hogan and I dropped Hogan on the set and my God the guy is down and I split his skull too. That was one thing they just could not get through their heads and that is you cannot do that DDT on concrete or on a stage set because that would just don’t give much.”
Whether it was Hulk Hogan or Vince McMahon worried that Jake may overshadow Hogan: “It was Vince. He just said that’s it. He said Oh my god I can’t believe this. After I walked through the curtain he told me to stand right there and that he wants me to hear these people start chanting Hulk and he’s going to come to his feet and he’s going to rip his shirt off and do all of this and you guys are going to make money for a long time and blah, blah, blah, and we waited and waited and started looking at each other and at Pat Patterson, and said I don’t know what is going on here. And all of a sudden the people started slow at first going DDT and started chanting DDT, and Vince looked at me and said wow, well that’s the end of that. He said he’s not going to split his marketing up and that was the whole thing. Vince made his money in marketing and not the wrestling shows. We were on the road to spread the marketing out there and for people to buy the marketing and to make us icons because he made stars out of so many people and sold so much and how many billions of dollars did the marketing make? I don’t know how many people were in the arena, not at all so that was a very expensive lesson to learn and cost me a lot of money.”
Why wrestlers wanted to work with Jake: “I think most guys wanted to jump on the Jake train anyway. (Ted) DiBiase for instance, when we wrestled we never said a word. He let me guide the ship and take us to where we needed to go and most guys have been that way with me. They let me run it and that is just being smart because you can’t have two guys out there that both want to run it and if you do you are going to have a clusterf— so to speak and are going to have a mess. You’ve got to have a captain and the rest of the guys are just soldiers and are following and they are going to react. My job is to sell it in a big way and I always tried to make my opponents and a lot of people don’t know how to do that. I’m going to go to that ring and if I’m going to lose that match than I am going to make this guy look good enough to beat me, if I am going to win the match than I am going to make him look like he is twice as good as I am because I don’t want to beat a guy that I’ve beat down. I want a beat a guy that had a clear edge to him because that is what makes Jake better than everybody else, was that I would go out and make my opponent and make my opponent a star that way I beat a star I didn’t just beat Joe Blow the popcorn carrier, I beat a star every time.”
His match with Randy Savage years prior to the snake-biting incident: “It was unexpected for a lot of people to see that happening and I remember that night really well. Hogan was off doing a movie and Vince and the gentleman from NBC, (Dick) Ebersol, pulled us in a room and said that we are going to be on longer than anybody has ever been on a Saturday Night Main Event and this is the first time that we’ve ever done it without Hogan, and we want you to know that if the numbers drop when down when we go to commercial break the chances are you will be back in Poughkeepsie working for some minor league promotion. I laughed, but Savage went freaking nuts. He said that we’d have to do something spectacular or something they’d never expect, and I said just lighten up, man. I said Randy, let’s just use what got us here. Don’t change and go off the wall with some fly by night seed of your pants thing that may not work, lets just go with what got us to the dance. He argued that point but I remember that match really well because for the first five to seven minutes I basically just had to block and block everything that he was throwing because he was throwing some taters. Rights and lefts and just zinging them in because he was pumped up and going for it all at once right there in the beginning and just going with everything, and I was like we’ve got to make them wait. I finally blew him (up) and he settled down once he blew up and then he was fine and we got back to working the match and everything was great. I remember one of the greatest compliments that I’ve ever got in this business was his father (Angelo Poffo) approached me in Tampa one night and told me that was the best match of Randy’s career by far, and thanked me for putting it out there. That was a hell of a compliment because, I myself, never graded my stuff and I just wanted to have the best match that I could all the time. That doesn’t mean going out there and doing all this crazy stuff, it just means going out there and putting together a great match and to have an old timer like that come up and tell me that made my day, my year, my career actually.”
On his “Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal” match in WCW: “Great thing, the commercials were good because that was it. The match stunk and so did the idea. That was such a horrible thing to choose. What in the hell, man? I’m not climbing no pole, are you serious Bill (Watts)? That is the best thing that you could come up with? I thought it was ridiculous and the match was one of my worst matches. Sting wasn’t very excited to wrestle back then and he had gotten tired of being the guy that everybody depended on to bring in the big house and he was getting lazy because he had that contract and that is the bad thing about contracts is that guys get lazy and are like well, I’ll get all my money anyway. That is the wrong way to look at it brother, those are the guys that hurt wrestling. Those contracts and they didn’t go out there and put out and they didn’t push it and he went out there and did just enough to get by. Well, that is just not how you do it, that is not how you wrestle and never will and same goes for these shows that I’m doing now. I go out there and I gut it and it is kind of crazy but after an hour or an hour and twenty minuets out there on stage I feel like I worked a damn match and I am using that energy and I pour it out. I empty the damn bucket and by the end of the night I have to get out of there because I am exhausted and ready to collapse because I put everything I can into it and that is how much I believe in it.”
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