Jake "The Snake" Roberts DDTs Hulk Hogan (lost Snake Pit segment; 1986)

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Providence Rematch Newspaper Ad Roberts Hogan.png

A newspaper advertisement for the rematch between Roberts and Hogan in Providence, RI.

Status: Lost

Roberts being interviewed on WWF Canadian television about his upcoming bout with Hulk Hogan in Winnipeg
Roberts’ insert promo on Hulk Hogan from January 10, 1987

On November 1, 2005, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) released a DVD highlighting the career of professional wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts. [1] On the DVD, Hulk Hogan revealed that Roberts was to feud with Hogan in a pre-determined storyline over the then-World Wrestling Federation (WWF) World Heavyweight Championship. At the time, Hogan was a babyface, or crowd favorite, and Roberts was a heel, or villain. [2]

To begin this storyline, Roberts invited Hogan to his interview segment known as "The Snake Pit". According to a 2016 interview with Roberts, Roberts states the segment sees Hogan compare the size of his arms, nicknamed "pythons", to Roberts actual pythons that he used to adorn the set and to serve as his mascot. Roberts uses his finishing move, the DDT, on Hogan to lay out Hogan and begin the feud. According to Roberts, WWF owner Vince McMahon stood by the curtain after Roberts planned assault with Roberts to gauge the reaction of the fans. Instead of the fans cheering for Hogan, as planned, the fans instead chanted "DDT", supporting Roberts instead of Hogan. Because of this reaction, the footage of Roberts DDT'ing Hogan and the planned feud, intended to tour nationwide, was canceled. [3]

The two, however, would meet in Providence, RI on December 30, 1986 with some speculating that the footage of Roberts DDT'ing Hogan had aired in that market to set up the bout. [4] Footage has surfaced from a regional broadcast of WWF's then-third-tier syndicated program Wrestling Spotlight of the December 30 bout between Hogan and Roberts referencing that the match was set up due to actions that took place on "The Snake Pit" and that there would be a re-match on January 29, 1987. [5] According to the History of WWE, the rematch took place, with Hogan winning via pinfall.

A match between the two also took place on February 28, 1987 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. [6]

While the matches took place and the DDT was referenced on television, it is believed that only the Providence and Winnipeg markets were shown the footage of Roberts DDT'ing Hogan. A promo during a Roberts match from the January 10, 1987 episode of Superstars of Wrestling has announcer Vince McMahon throwing to an insert promo of Roberts with the lead-in being that Roberts' promo were words for Hulk Hogan. [7]

Additionally, Roberts cut a promo referencing "The Snake Pit" incident that aired on WWF Canadian television[8]

Potential "Snake Pit" Episodes

There has been an effort among pro wrestling fans to track down this missing episode of "The Snake Pit". Hulk Hogan appeared on the talk show segment several times previous to their bouts in Providence and Winnipeg.

October 12, 1986 "Snake Pit" from Salisbury, MD

A screencap of the October 12, 1986 “Snake Pit” with Hogan (left) and Roberts (right)

A segment that aired on Wrestling Challenge on October 12, 1986 features Roberts asking Hogan if he would turn his back on anyone he was afraid of. Hogan says "No" and walks off, implying that he is not afraid of Roberts. [9] The original airing in the United States often did not feature Hogan turning his back on Roberts and walking away depending on markets. Because the episode aired without the entire "Snake Pit" in the United States, a fact that was not necessarily realized until the episode was rebroadcast in the UK as "WWE Classics" in the early 2000s, there is speculation that this segment was actually even longer and may have contained the missing DDT.

November 23, 1986 "Snake Pit" from Glens Falls, NY

A screencap of the November 23, 1986 “Snake Pit” with Hogan (left) and Roberts (right)

A segment that aired on Wrestling Challenge on November 23, 1986 features Hogan on "The Snake Pit" and a reference to the pythons that is consistent with Roberts' 2016 remembrance of the events. The segment references Hogan's ongoing feud with "Mr. Wonderful" Paul Orndorff leading some to believe this is not "The Snake Pit" in question but does end quite abruptly, fading to black, seemingly in mid-conversation leading others to think that this could be the segment. Additionally, this "Snake Pit" aired prior to their first bout in Providence. [10]

Missing January 4, 1987 "Snake Pit" from Tuscon, AZ

At the December 10, 1986, the WWF filmed four episodes of Wrestling Challenge in Tuscon, AZ to air on December 21 and December 28, 1986 and January 4, and January 11, 1987. The January 4, 1987 episode is the only episode from this set of tapings that aired without a "Snake Pit" segment, leading some to speculate that the missing "Snake Pit" may have been filmed with the intention to air on this episode but was not for reasons stated by both Hogan and Roberts. This theory leads to the most timely instance of a "Snake Pit" occurring in relation to the Providence, RI bouts.

References

  1. [1] Amazon. Retrieved 15 August 2016
  2. "World Wrestling Entertainment Presents Jake 'The Snake' Roberts' Pick Your Poison" DVD
  3. [2] THE HANNIBAL TV - "Jake Roberts on Hulk Hogan Feud". Retrieved 15 August 2016
  4. [3] The History of WWE. Retrieved 15 August 2016
  5. [4] "Clip of Jake Roberts/Hulk Hogan match from Providence, RI (12-30-1986)". Retrieved 15 August 2016
  6. [5] The History of WWE. Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  7. [6] "Jake Roberts Promo on Hulk Hogan (01-10-1987)". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  8. [7] "Jake Roberts.mpg". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  9. [8] "WWF Snake Pit Hulk Hogan Extended (10-12-86)". Retrieved 15 August 2016.
  10. [9] "Snake Pit - Hulk Hogan (11-23-86)". Retrieved 15 August 2016.