I’m not sure why, during WrestleMania weekend, that the one Mania match that keeps coming to my head is Jake “The Snake” Roberts vs. George Wells from WrestleMania 2 in 1986.
It was a prelim match from the Nassau Coliseum in Long Island (WrestleMania 2 emanated from three locations, the other two being suburban Chicago and Los Angeles – it was the first and last time Mania was help in multiple sites).
Roberts had just entered the WWF at the time and this was his first match at Mania. The DDT was hardly over with the crowd at this point as it barely got a reaction, but it became one of the great finishers in WWF history.
Wells was an ex-Canadian football star who was a bland, forgettable wrestler. My memories of Wells are him fighting in many prelims at the old Boston Garden.
However, after Roberts pinned him, he unleashed a huge python on Wells, which riled up the crowd. The snake later became known as Damien, but that Mania 2 it had no name. Wells frothed at the mouth as the snake wrapped around his neck (about 3:30 into the clip).
By the way, 1980s actress Susan St. James is the woman doing color commentary with Vince McMahon during the match. She was (and still is) married to NBC executive Dick Ebersol, who along with McMahon spearheaded Saturday Night’s Main Event on NBC.
Roberts vs. Wells was a throw-away match at Mania, but it got Jake noticed by a lot of people. I was kind of surprised Roberts didn’t get a nod into the WWE Hall of Fame this year, given that he was always billed from Stone Mountain, GA.