Thursday, October 17, 2013

Boo: Warrior Gets Bitten

Ultimate Warrior's mission
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents

Less than a year into Jake "The Snake" Roberts' first run in the WWF, the company turned him from a cool, calculated heel to a baby face.  I'm not going to say I didn't like it, as I was a huge fan of the Snake back in the day.  I actually have a ton of respect for all the hard work he's putting in to stay sober and get back into shape, but that's a blog for another day.

Jake was one of those guys I liked no matter which side of the fence he was on.  When he challenged "Macho Man" Randy Savage for the Intercontinental title on Saturday Night's Main Event, I wanted him to win, even though he had ruthlessly attacked another one of my favorite Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat.  Jake just seemed at that time to be the lesser of two evils.

Anyway, after years of facing guys like the Honky Tonk Man, "Ravishing" Rick Rude, and even Andre the Giant, Jake's time as a face in WWF was getting somewhat predictable.  The Ultimate Warrior was getting involved in a hot feud with a newcomer named The Undertaker.  It all started after the dead man locked the former champ in a casket on TV.  Warrior turned to Jake to help him walk on the dark side to better understand his new foe.

Each week on Superstars or Wrestling Challenge or maybe both, they showed vignettes of the two good guys going through some challenging stuff.  Jake always pushed the Warrior, assuring him that the task at hand would only make him stronger in the end.  I'm going from memory, but I believe one of the spots involved Warrior being buried in the dirt in a graveyard.

Help me!
The whole angle culminated with Jake taking Warrior to a room with a small coffin containing his snake Lucifer.  When Warrior entered to grab the Snake's snake (not as perverted as it sounds), Roberts locked the door.  He then turned on the lights, revealing hundreds (maybe) of snakes.  The reptiles were all shapes, sizes, and types of snake and they were everywhere.  The Warrior kicked them out of his way as he made his way to the coffin in the middle of the room. (I'm sure PETA had a cow over it) That's when Lucifer popped out and lunged at the Warrior, biting him.

Oh yeah, Lucifer by the way was a cobra.  Warrior slurred his speech and sold the bite as only the Warrior could, while Jake talked trash to him.  The Snake continued cutting a promo as the Warrior knocked down the and gurgled for what we thought would be his last breath.  He managed to crawl a few feet before grabbing the black boots of the Undertaker.  He and Paul Bearer gazed down as the Warrior tried to turn to Roberts for help, who then informed Warrior to "never trust a snake."

Never trust a snake....
The execution was cheesy, even back then, but it solidified Jake as a true heel once again as he united with Bearer and Taker.  It lead him into his feud with Randy Savage and eventually the Undertaker himself.  As I rewatched this bit, I asked myself, why didn't the camera man in the room with Warrior help him, but that's what happens when you blur the lines between the entertainment and reality portions of wrestling.

I have no idea where this feud was headed with the Undertaker and the Ultimate Warrior, as he split from the WWF shortly after this promo aired.  Jake only stuck around a short time too, before losing to Taker at Wrestlemania VIII and heading south to WCW.  I would have loved for Warrior and Snake to actually have a program, but I think the Savage-Roberts feud was outstanding, and included another snakebite from Lucifer.

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