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Jake Roberts: “Vince McMahon Didn’t Think Steve Austin Was A Main-Eventer”

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Jake Roberts has recently spoken about Steve Austin’s debut in the then World Wrestling Federation and Vince McMahon’s reaction to the man he originally labelled, ‘The Ringmaster.’

Following his unpopular views on Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels as the worst world champions of our time, Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts took to the Premier Live YouTube show in order to tell an intriguing tale of the first time Vince McMahon set eyes on the man who would evolve into ‘The Texas Rattlesnake’:

“When Steve Austin came to WWF, I was helping write television, and I watched him, and I said, ‘This motherf****r got it, man. He’s got that ‘it’ factor and he don’t even know he’s got it. I’m starting to scoot him into places. Sort of as an afterthought so nobody was watching. Well then one day I told Vince [McMahon], I said, ‘That guy right there is gonna be your next super, superstar.’ ‘You kidding me Jake?’ He said, ‘That guy, he’ll never make it past fifth, sixth match. He’s not a main-eventer.’ I said, ‘The f**k he ain’t.’ He said, ‘Do you think so?’ I said, ‘Yeah I think so,’ and we tried the thing and I guess it might’ve worked huh?”

Jake’s sentiment was an understatement. Not only did it work, but it pushed ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin the biggest heights imaginable. Arguably the most popular WWF Champion of all time, Austin he grew into a phenomenon that matched and according to some surpassed Hulk Hogan.

With Steve Austin’s help, the then World Wrestling Federation stomped the proverbial mudhole into World Championship Wrestling, won the Monday Night War and pioneered the celebrated Attitude Era which is considered to this day the greatest years in the promotion’s history.

Jake Roberts didn’t just help Austin behind the scenes, however. He was also part of the birth of Austin 3:16 at the 1996 King of the Ring. After looking at the lights in the Final, it was Jake’s demons that the mega-star based his now historic acceptance speech on, coining the phrase that will last an eternity.

If you would like to listen to the full interview which includes Roberts talking about health and addiction then you can do so here.

Credit for the interview: Premier Live

h/t for the transcript: Wrestlezone