Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Pick Your Poison: Jake "The Snake" Roberts DVD

Adam let me borrow this DVD--the feature was very good, and the matches, although not good for the most part in the classical sense, were still enjoyable in their own way. I was working in a deserted calendar store at a mall during the holidays when I had this, I stole my niece’s portable DVD player and watched all the matches during a few boring shifts. Oddly enough, I'm now writing this months later, on the clock in an office at another job. In an odd way to look at it, I've been spending far too much time getting paid studying Jake Roberts.

Disc #1
1. vs. Ricky Steamboat - Snake Pit Match (The Big Event 8/28/86) - 7
2. vs. Honky Tonk Man - (Wrestlemania 3 3/29/87) - 5
3. vs. Rick Rude - Rude Awakening vs. DDT Match (MSG 10/24/88) - 5

You need to see the Snake Pit match--I always thought Cobra Commander was the coolest thing related to snakes, that and the Wild Boyz, but this match takes the cake. It's old school, the psychology is near perfect, and plain and simple, Steamboat just rules. The match with Honky Tonk from Wrestlemania isn't too special, besides historical significance, with it being one of the biggest shows in wrestling history. I'm not a betting man, but if I were, I'd predict Jake and Alice Cooper shot up heroin after the match and listened to Twisted Sister b-sides. I don't remember a ton from the Rude match, but let's be honest, it's "Ravishing" Rick--it's certainly worth a viewing.

Disc #2
1. w/ Ricky Steamboat vs. Jim Nelson and Mike Miller - (Mid-Atlantic 9/9/81) - 5
2. vs. Ronnie Garvin - (Georgia Championship 12/3/83) - 3
3. vs. "Leaping" Lanny Poffo - (MSG 3/16/86) - 3
4. vs. Earthquake - (Superstars 4/27/91) - 1
5. vs. Sting - Coal Miner's Glove Match (Halloween Havoc 10/25/92) - 5
6. vs. Dirty White Boy - (Smokey Mountain Wrestling 5/7/94) - 2
7. vs. "Stone Cold" Steve Austin - (King of the Ring 6/23/96) - 4
8. vs. Jerry "The King" Lawler - (Summerslam 8/18/96) - 2
9. w/ Tommy Dreamer vs. Justin Credible and Jack Victory - (November 2 Remember 11/1/98) - 2

I liked the Mid-Atlantic match far more than I should have, something about watching grown men roll around a tiny TV studio that just warms the heart. Jim Nelson and Mike Miller are probably serving chili, or stealing wallets somewhere near Iowa. I met Ronnie Garvin when I was a kid at a local bowling alley, he asked if I wanted an autograph, I declined--but I did ask him if I could shake his famous "hands of stone". His match with Roberts here soils that memory. In the biggest botched spot of the DVD, Poffo tries to do some dive over the ropes onto Jake on the floor, gets his legs caught up, and tumbles over roughly landing on Jake's head in a nasty looking bungle. This was Jake's first official match for W.W.F.--hey Roberts, welcome to the big time! You know how Scarecrow, of Batman lore, can put a mask on anyone and it will show them their worst fear? If he put that mask on me, Earthquake versus Roberts from Superstars would be on constant replay.

I remember watching the Coal Miner's Glove match live on pay-per-view when I was growing up--so for nostalgic purposes alone, I had a blast watching this. Performance wise, I wouldn't put it on my resume, but it's a spectacle regardless. It's hilarious watching Jake literally apply the snake to this throat at the end, practically forcing it to bite him. According to unnamed sources, he did the same thing to many women while on the road in the early 90's. I was very disappointed in the Smokey Mountain match; Jake looked pathetic, he was so obviously under the influence of narcotics during this bout that it's undeniable. He was sucking down booze, pills, and chilidogs before this match--I guarantee that! The Austin match is notable as directly after it, Austin gave the "3:16" speech that birthed the phenomenon. Jake was selling the "injured ribs" heavy, and Austin basically punished him. The match with Lawler is equally disturbing as the match in Smokey Mountain, as the storyline around it was Lawler using Jake's former problems with drugs as fodder for a bad angle. After the match, Lawler poured real whiskey all over Jake's face--Jake said on the DVD that this pissed him off, as he was legit clean at this point, and it burned his eyes. All I remember about the E.C.W. match is I forced myself not to remember anything about it.

1 comment:

Jessie said...

how wonderful that you were paid to watch Jake. althought, these days i'd wager you make more watching him than he does doing anything.