Steamboat vs. Roberts

1986

Written by Canadian Bulldog

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Jake "The Snake" Roberts is such a natural rivalry that it may shock you to find out that in the early 1980s, the two were actually tag team partners for a short period (see the clip above for details).

Years later, as the Rock and Wrestling Connection gripped the nation, these two future WWE Hall of Famers would meet again, albeit under very different circumstances.

On the May 3, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, Steamboat and Roberts were set to face off one-on-one. But instead of the match taking place, The Snake sneak-attacked his opponent and delivered a brutal DDT to The Dragon on the concrete floor.

According to Roberts, the DDT wasn't a work and he was reluctant to do it, speaking to booker George Scott and Vince McMahon about the stunt beforehand. And although Steamboat assured everyone he could protect himself from the move, he was legitimately knocked out.

Following his legitimate injury, Steamboat swore revenge on Roberts and the two were programmed against each other. Their match took place at The Big Event on August 28 in my hometown of Toronto, Canada (where I was sitting 12 rows from ringside in unseasonably cold weather). In what was dubbed a "Snakepit Match," (read: no disqualification), Steamboat got a measure of revenge by handing Roberts his first pinfall loss in the WWF.

The match was a frequent attraction on the house show circuit that year, with Steamboat bringing a komodo dragon (read: lizard) to ringside to counteract Roberts' python Damien. 

Their final big encounter took place where everything began, on Saturday Night's Main Event on October 4. While Steamboat pinned Roberts again for the decisive victory, The Snake pulled Damien out of his bag, only to be countered by The Dragon's dragon.

An unusual (yet oddly satisfying) ending to an unusual yet classic rivalry.

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