WWE Hall Of Famer Jake Roberts has recalled his abandoned program with The Ultimate Warrior and says Warrior eventually apologised for costing him “millions.”
Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts became an icon of the World Wrestling Federation in the late eighties and early nineties with his trademark whispering promos and his penchant for bringing a giant snake with him to the ring.
Following WrestleMania 6, The Ultimate Warrior was the WWF Champion and Jake Roberts got the call from on high that he was going to work with the new champion. However, as Roberts explained on DDP’s Snake Pit, working with Warrior was anything but straightforward:
“Here’s where the problem began. Back in the day, I was working with whoever, and we’re in Orlando and Blackjack Lanza comes up to me and says, ‘call Vince, he wants to talk to you.’ I’m thinking, ‘oh my god, did I flunk a p*ss test,’ trying to remember because it had happened.”
“I called him and Vince tells me, ‘Jake, I think you’re ready.’ ‘Ready for what?’ ‘I think you’re ready to work with the champ.’ ‘Warrior? I’m gonna work with Warrior?’ ‘No, no, no I’m not saying you’re going to because here’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve gotta go to his dressing room and talk to him, and see if he’ll work with you.’ ‘Excuse me?!’ You had to ask his permission to work with him.”
“‘Are you f*cking ribbing me?’ ‘No, Jake, go talk to him, or else it’s not going to happen.’ I’m a little bit p*ssed right now, and I went to his locker room and knocked, and he cut a promo on my ass. Told me he didn’t care about me, he didn’t care about my family and if he’s going to work with me, I had to be on f*cking time, I had to be sure not to miss any shots and I better not f*ck no damn drug test yadda, yadda, yadda.”
“He just ran the riot act. Never did look at me in the eyes, just stomped around the room in a circle, back and forth, marching around. I’m like, ‘OK!’ then he goes, ‘OK, get out!’ He dismissed me. I come back, and I still had to call Vince, and I said, ‘He said he would.’ And I was so f*cking angry the way he’d treated me.”
However, before Jake Roberts could begin the feud in earnest, Warrior famously held Vince McMahon up for money which led to him being fired immediately. This wasn’t the first time Roberts had found one of his main event programs shut down:
“Then we started doing all these vignettes. I had to take time off, which meant no money. Do these vignettes because we’re gonna line it up and work with the Warrior. And what happens?”
“At SummerSlam, in the Garden, he holds Vince McMahon up for $1 million. They had to bring $1 million in cash to him at the arena. Cash. And they had to have two guards to get that money out of there to wherever he wanted it to go before he would go to the ring.”
“Now I’m hearing this stuff going, ‘this is not cool. This is not good,’ knowing that tomorrow, I start my program with him. Tomorrow. But, after his match, it was announced that there was not going to be a tomorrow because Vince McMahon was standing right beside me when he fired him.”
“‘You’re fired, get the f*ck out of my building!’ Vince looked at me and said ‘you’ve got the worst friggin’ luck there is!’ Hogan, couldn’t do it. People chanting the wrong thing. Work with ‘Macho’, got to cut it short, and now this. Well, I was friggin’ furious because now I’ve lost another championship run.”
Ironically, The Ultimate Warrior and Jake The Snake were both inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame in 2014. Roberts said he had it in mind to say his piece to Warrior but before he could, he received an unexpected apology:
“So we go to the Hall of Fame, I’m wanting to get my two cents worth in because of the way he treated me in the locker room. I wanted to knock him out. That was in the back of my mind. I turned a corner and he was right there. And I stopped, and he looked at me and he goes, ‘Jake, please let me apologise to you.’”
“He was so humble. So sincere. My mouth just fell open. Is this the same damn guy? He said, ‘I know I screwed you out of millions, I’m so sorry.’ Then he turned around and made himself available for my kids and my grandchildren, and I had to let it go.”
Three days after the WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony in 2014, The Ultimate Warrior died of a heart attack at the age of just 54.