Jump to content
Pro Wrestling Only

[1991-11-23-WWF-Superstars] Randy Savage and Jake Roberts


Loss
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • 4 months later...

One of the most famous angles the WWF ever did. Jake finishes a squash and starts taunting Savage at the announce booth, calling him someone who used to be a real man, but someone who has now gotten soft. He says he should see if he could borrow Piper's skirt. Savage gets up and assures Vince and Piper that all he's going to do is get a closer look. Savage has enough of Jake's taunting and hits the ring, but while the referees are trying to keep him out, Jake cheapshots him and ties him to the ring ropes, where he lets a snake gnaw on his arm in a WILD scene, which gets censored. I hate nameless WWF officials breaking up something like Savage walking to the ring, and they are nowhere to be found during all of this? In the kicker, Elizabeth runs down and is hysterical at ringside. The best angle of the year, and I'm shocked they got away with going this far.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate nameless WWF officials breaking up something like Savage walking to the ring, and they are nowhere to be found during all of this?

This cracked me up. Keeping Elizabeth from ringside at Wrestlemania is evidently a lot more important than making sure Randy Savage doesn't die.

 

The best part of this, and its been burned into my mind, was Savage finally getting up, stumbling around still taking swings at Jake. What an incredible performer. I know it goes without saying, but dear lord how much of a lunatic was Randy Savage to let a freaking cobra gnaw on his arm?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a shame Jake left when he did because I'm sure they could have continued at this pace once Randy was champion.

I was reading the WON from around this time, and unbelievably, the angle was a huge flop. Savage vs Jake on house shows set all-time lows in every building it headlined in on the first run except Nassau Coliseum, the only arena where they drew well. Wrestling fans suck.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a theory but maybe parents were forbidding their children to watch or attend wrestling since the WWF was steering towards an adult direction with their storylines in late 91/early 92. It's a shame it flopped because they ditched the more "adult" direction by the end of 92 or so. The company was receiving a lot of threats from parental groups around this time and Vince will eventually cave into that stuff

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The WWF by far had the most hardcore booking in the world in November-December 1991. Pretty fascinating, and something most people wouldn't guess. Even the Hogan/Undertaker finishing stuff with Flair and Tunney -- which was pulled off immaculately, by the way -- feels like an SMW finish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think WWF did take a very dark turn in 1991. The Jake vs. Savage feud is only the most visible and extreme example, but think about stuff like DiBiase bullying Virgil and making him clean fungus from between his toes earlier in the year. I think they carried on down this path with the Flair vs. Savage stuff in 92 and the Liz centrefold until something (steroid scandal?) made them change course.

 

I really like this angle by the way. I remember the first time I watched This Tuesday in Texas, I was absolutely blown away by the intensity and the hatred of the feud too. Jake and Savage has something special with this feud, something that seemed to go beyond wrestling in a way that is rare (Magnum vs. Tully also has this).

 

Also, we shouldn't underestimate how traumatic this angle might have been for kids seeing someone actually get bitten by a snake and thinking that they were at genuine risk of death.

 

Really surprised that the feud did low draws BUT ... weren't Hogan vs. Flair also pulling poor gates at this time? My conclusion looking at that would be something like "the market was down in general".

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think WWF did take a very dark turn in 1991. The Jake vs. Savage feud is only the most visible and extreme example, but think about stuff like DiBiase bullying Virgil and making him clean fungus from between his toes earlier in the year. I think they carried on down this path with the Flair vs. Savage stuff in 92 and the Liz centrefold until something (steroid scandal?) made them change course.

 

I really like this angle by the way. I remember the first time I watched This Tuesday in Texas, I was absolutely blown away by the intensity and the hatred of the feud too. Jake and Savage has something special with this feud, something that seemed to go beyond wrestling in a way that is rare (Magnum vs. Tully also has this).

 

Also, we shouldn't underestimate how traumatic this angle might have been for kids seeing someone actually get bitten by a snake and thinking that they were at genuine risk of death.

 

Really surprised that the feud did low draws BUT ... weren't Hogan vs. Flair also pulling poor gates at this time? My conclusion looking at that would be something like "the market was down in general".

I also think part of it is that it just took some time to catch on. The first three months of 1992 were to that point the hottest period for house shows in the history of the company. So maybe they were laying the groundwork here for a really hot period that lasted a few months and carried them into Wrestlemania.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I also think part of it is that it just took some time to catch on. The first three months of 1992 were to that point the hottest period for house shows in the history of the company. So maybe they were laying the groundwork here for a really hot period that lasted a few months and carried them into Wrestlemania.

I find that extremely hard to believe. Not shooting the messenger, just wondering about the criteria. I need to find my disc with all the WON back issues and dig this out myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a Dave point made on Wrestling Classics, so that is what I was basing it on. The biggest success was the Hogan/Piper vs Flair/Sid tag that headlined quite a few house shows.

 

* Drew 5,000 (a sellout) in West Palm Beach on 2/18

* Drew 12,500 in Philly on 2/28

* Drew 10,000 in Boston on 2/29

* Drew 7,500 in Chicago on 3/7

* Drew 13,500 in Oakland on 3/15 (Matinee)

* Drew 5,800 in San Diego on 3/15 (Evening)

* Drew 11,500 in Philly on 3/20

* Drew 6,500 in Toronto on 3/22

* Drew 9,000 at MSG on 3/23

* Drew 8,600 in Sacramento on 3/28 (Matinee)

* Drew 7,000 in Los Angeles on 3/28 (Evening)

 

The match also headlined 9 other shows that Cawthon's site doesn't have attendance figures for. But that's a pretty impressive run. I only pulled shows where that was the headlining match, not others.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's a Dave point made on Wrestling Classics, so that is what I was basing it on. The biggest success was the Hogan/Piper vs Flair/Sid tag that headlined quite a few house shows.

 

* Drew 5,000 (a sellout) in West Palm Beach on 2/18

* Drew 12,500 in Philly on 2/28

* Drew 10,000 in Boston on 2/29

* Drew 7,500 in Chicago on 3/7

* Drew 13,500 in Oakland on 3/15 (Matinee)

* Drew 5,800 in San Diego on 3/15 (Evening)

* Drew 11,500 in Philly on 3/20

* Drew 6,500 in Toronto on 3/22

* Drew 9,000 at MSG on 3/23

* Drew 8,600 in Sacramento on 3/28 (Matinee)

* Drew 7,000 in Los Angeles on 3/28 (Evening)

 

The match also headlined 9 other shows that Cawthon's site doesn't have attendance figures for. But that's a pretty impressive run.

 

I only pulled shows where that was the headlining match, not others.

I'm not saying those aren't good numbers, because they are. But if we just look at raw attendance numbers over any 3 month period, I'd imagine late 1986 with Hogan/Orndorff and Hogan/Kamala, and early-mid 1989 with Hogan/BossMan, Savage/Warrior, and Hogan/Savage would have been better.

 

For example, February '89:

 

- 12,000 sell-out San Diego 2/4 (Hogan/Boss Man)

- 9,000 sell-out Toledo 2/4 (Savage/Bad News)

- 9,000 sell-out Anaheim 2/5 (Hogan/Boss Man, Cage)

- 6,500 sell-out Grand Rapids (Savage/Akeem)

- 7,500 sell-out Halifax 2/10 (Savage/Warrior)

- 15,200 sell-out Boston 2/11 (Savage/Warrior)

- 10,017 Philly 2/11 (Hogan/Boss Man)

- 5,000 sell-out Utica 2/12 (Savage/Warrior) ***Graham notes 1st sell-out since in Utica since 70's

- 8,539 Portland 2/12 (Hogan/Boss Man)

- 12,300 sell-out New Haven 2/13 (Hogan/Boss Man)

- 10,207 Buffalo 2/13 (Savage/Warrior)

- 18,000 sell-out St. Louis 2/17 (Hogan/Boss Man, Cage)

- 19,000 sell-out Chicago 2/18 (Hogan/Boss Man, Cage)

- 10,000 Minneapolis 2/19 (Hogan/Boss Man, Cage)

- 20,000 sell-out MSG 2/20 (Savage/Warrior)

 

As you can see, both the A and B shows were doing very well. Fair number of sell-outs even without Hogan on the cards. I didn't include the C shows which obviously didn't do as strongly. I guess those might bring down the average attendance per show. Without looking at the B shows in 1992, I could see that being the only argument in favor of 1992 (i.e. stronger secondary shows that didn't dilute overall average).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Just a theory but maybe parents were forbidding their children to watch or attend wrestling since the WWF was steering towards an adult direction with their storylines in late 91/early 92. It's a shame it flopped because they ditched the more "adult" direction by the end of 92 or so. The company was receiving a lot of threats from parental groups around this time and Vince will eventually cave into that stuff

Just a guess, but I imagine the steroid scandals and such had more to do with this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Didnt Lanny say in his "Breaking Kayfabe" that the cobra (while de-venomized) still died while Savage got a very bad fever? Savage gave far more than I would have in that case, I'll give him that.

I do remember him saying that but in Jake's AOW podcast he basically admitted he killed some of the snakes ("they commited suicide by smashing their heads against the wall" as he put it) so this snake which was baited into becoming aggressive was probably doomed either way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a shame Jake left when he did because I'm sure they could have continued at this pace once Randy was champion.

I was reading the WON from around this time, and unbelievably, the angle was a huge flop. Savage vs Jake on house shows set all-time lows in every building it headlined in on the first run except Nassau Coliseum, the only arena where they drew well. Wrestling fans suck.

 

This angle more than anything else defined my childhood wrestling experience.

 

Nearly everyone in my family gave me shit for watching wrestling. Watching this one saturday morning with 2 of my cousins. One of them flipped the FUCK OUT watching this angle (fear of snakes).

 

I can see how it failed. It was way too hardcore for the time. Fuck its way too hardcore for now.

 

The cobra might of been de-venomised and de-fanged. But thats a real fucking cobra chewing on a dude's arm.

 

That is fucking mental! however you slice it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Not much to add to this one on what has already been said. They heavily censor the snake attack but the live fans look completely shocked. This was probably too much for many of the young fans to watch. Great, great angle though with Roberts pushing the envelope heavy with the snake attack and Savage incredible selling of it. It really is a shame Jake's run as heel was cut short in 92.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jake cuts another fantastic promo goading Savage into the ring. It is pretty silly that referees so stridently attempt to prevent Savage from entering the ring but don't do anything once Jake starts beating him down. That said, once the cobra is out and biting, they do a good job of getting across that in-ring help for Savage is impossible, particularly with Jake beating up medics and threatening everyone else with the snake. Savage sells this incredibly as even through the canned "MACHO" chants this crowd is obviously horrified. Whether or not the resulting feud bombed, this segment was the perfect blend of hardcore, edgey booking with the WWF's slick production values--which with the shaky cameras and chaotic atmosphere don't come off as TOO slick.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 11 months later...
  • 1 year later...
  • 2 months later...

Sorry, but this did nothing for me. I repeat: NOTHING.

 

First of all, couldn't you guys have found the uncensored version? The WWF damn near blotted out the whole picture with that stupid red X; I couldn't see a thing, literally. For all I knew, Jake and Savage could have been putting golf balls back and forth in the ring. Sure, Vince freaked out, but he's always freaking out over something or other, so what made this so special? Without actually seeing the cobra dig his fangs into Randy's arm, the whole thing just becomes another overacted skit, complete with Randy's Keystone Kops-like pratfalls when he's going after Jake. All I could think was, "For God's sake, Mach, quit hamming it up. This whole thing's stupid enough." Liz's hysterics, which I'm sure were at least partially real, saved it slightly, but not to the point where I cared. Taker locking Warrior in the casket scared me to death, even a few months ago; I can still remember looking for a place to hide and covering my ears when Savage seemingly put Steamboat on the critical list with the ring bell. This isn't either of those.

 

(Let me reemphasize: the above comments were just for the censored version. I'm sure it was legitimately frightening in the arena, as we saw with the little boy crying his eyes out. But siting here watching it twenty-four years later when all I can see is that X.......well, to paraphrase Popeye, I saw what I saw, and that's all that I saw, and it moved me not a bit.)

 

To be fair, the mood was damaged for me before the cobra ever made his appearance, and this one was purely Vince's fault. Jake outdoes himself on the mic, as he knows he has to in order to entice Randy into the ring. At one point, he's even got Piper ready to fight him, which I would have laid down big money to see. Savage slowly rises from his seat, makes his explanations to Vince, and stalks down to the ring, with Jake still fanning the fire, making sure his trap still holds fast. But do we hear what Jake's saying? We do not. We hear Vince babbling on and on about Survivor Series and how Randy blew his opportunity for reinstatement even while he never so much as touches Jake. It's Jake who cheapshots Randy, rams him into the post, and ties him up in the ropes, and yet Vince still cries the blues because Randy couldn't "be a pro", as he's put it before. Only when the cobra comes out does Vince finally wake up and smell the venom, so to speak.

 

What we needed out of him was to shut the hell up and let us listen to what is quite literally a money promo from the best heel talker of all time. That's right, better than JCP Flair, better than prime AWA Heenan, better than '84 Piper. This is the promo that's going to finally talk Savage into a confrontation, reinstatement or no reinstatement, and we hear less than half of it. He could have started speaking Swedish from the second Randy got out of his chair and it would have made no earthly difference, because the home audience would never have heard him one way or the other. Vince learned this bad habit in the studio, or maybe he's always had it and it's only getting unbearable now. Regardless, it made me feel more disgust with him than with Jake, and the red X finished it off on a horrible note. I understand why they had to do it, but couldn't they have made it smaller somehow?

 

This may seem like sacrilege, but I wouldn't have done this angle at all, I'd have settled for an exact replay of the Steamboat SNME angle and brought back the python instead. If I recall correctly, Damien wrapped himself around Ricky's neck at one point and it wasn't censored by NBC, so I would have given the cobra the night off and used Lucifer one last time. This would have had the added effect of Savage going into the ring at Tuesday in Texas with a severe concussion (hopefully not a legitimate one like Steamer got) which he could sell throughout the match. I'll have to watch the match when I get to it to see for sure, but I don't believe that Randy sold the arm that was bitten, or that Jake made a point of working on it. (By the way, if that was a blade job Randy did where the cobra bit him, that's Cactus Jack levels of sick. If it wasn't, let me slightly amend my comments from above, because that looked really scary, red X notwithstanding.)

 

In summation, now that I think about it I'm probably more pissed at Vince tromping all over Jake's promo than about the X, though I still wish it had been a bit smaller. At least the X was understandable even if I didn't like it; Vince's behavior was not only ignorant, but cut his best verbal performer off right below the waist.

 

Sad to see that this feud didn't do so well at the box office. You'd think they'd have gone to MSG with it instead of Long Island, but I used to get WWOR on cable, and it was amazing how many big feuds went to Nassau or the Meadowlands when they hit New York instead of the so-called Mecca. MSG never saw Hogan-Orndorff, Steamboat-Savage, Piper-Adonis, Hogan-Andre (except for SummerSlam '88, which of course was a tag), and the list goes on. From what I heard, Nassau was the hardest of the three New York metropolitan arenas to get to, so maybe Vince wanted to reward those who made the trip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...

One of so many examples that illustrates the all-time greatness of Randy Savage. Not only letting the snake attack his arm, but his performance afterwards is just incredible. Throwing those wild punches! So much has been said, so I'll just throw in on the compliments and say I loved this and think it's great. Also, how about the closing fade out!? Jake has this maniacal look on his face and the Snake is up staring at right back at him! It's chilling!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 6 months later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1991-11-23-WWF-Superstars] Randy Savage and Jake Roberts

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...