The babyface turn of Jake “The Snake” Roberts in 1987 wasn’t known for a particularly inventive angle or hot feud, but rather for a series of shots that were brutal by even old ECW standards.
And the incident actually legitimately injured Roberts.
At the time, Roberts was hosting an interview segment called the Snake Pit. Original, huh? Typical of wrestling, after the runaway success of Piper’s Pit, the WWF went back to that well over and over. We had the Snake Pit, the Body Shop with Jesse Ventura, the Flower Shop with Adrian Adonis, Blackjack Mulligan’s BBQ Pit, and the Brother Love Show.
Back to my original point: Roberts had the Honky Tonk Man as a guest, and during the skit, as Honky tried to sing, Jake taunted him with his snake. Honky and manager Jimmy Hart snuck around the site of the Snake Pit’s set, and Honky nailed Roberts hard in the head with his guitar.
The thing is, this wasn’t a gimmicked Jeff Jarrett guitar. You can tell as you watch the whack to the head that Honky had a real guitar, because it hardly broke after the initial hit. Even as Honky unloaded with further shots on Jake’s neck and shoulders, the guitar held up pretty well.
Roberts suffered a real neck injury that kept him out of action on and off for a long time. I have no idea whether the cause of the injury was the guitar they used or whether Honky just hit him too hard.
Honky and Roberts had their big match at WrestleMania III in front of
93,173 78,000, with rock star Alice Cooper in Jake’s corner. But the match kind of sucked, and after Honky won, he went on to bigger things by winning the Intercontinental Title a few months later. Roberts later had a huge feud with Ravishing Rick Rude in 1988 that involved Jake’s wife.