Well, one of the great mysteries of the 1980s may have been solved for me: Why Hulk Hogan never had a main event program with Jake “The Snake” Roberts.
Roberts played a heel so well that people got into him and started to cheer him, sort of like what happened to Roddy Piper. Where Roberts had the advantage over Piper was that Jake had a killer finishing move, the DDT.
I’ll never forget early into Jake’s original run in the WWF when Mean Gene Okerlund asked him what DDT meant. And Roberts simply said, “The end.”
So why did such a hot heel never challenge Hogan either during a house show series or on pay-per-view? I’ve wondered about that for a long time.
Hogan himself may have lifted the veil during a Q&A session in Montreal that the Wrestling Observer reported on. The Observer said a TV angle was shot between the two that involved Jake giving Hulk a DDT, upon which the crowd cheered Roberts. Based on that reaction, Hogan nixed the angle.
[Hogan] said he didn’t think he versus Roberts would have been money, but now he thinks it would have been big,” the Observer said.
Yup, I agree with Hulk’s assessment.
I doubt Hogan really didn’t think it wouldn’t draw money; he simply didn’t like that Roberts stood the very high chance of getting cheered more than him. In that respect, you’ve got to hand it to John Cena, who seems to relish getting booed even though he’s the lead babyface in the WWE.
The awesome The History of WWE website only lists four matches between Hogan and Roberts in the site’s voluminous records. Two of those occurred at the Providence (RI) Civic Center in December 1986 and January 1987, and I’m quite sad I didn’t make it to those cards.