Recently on Talk Is Jericho, the second youngest AEW World Champion in history Chris Jericho was joined by WWE Hall Of Famer Jake 'The Snake' Roberts. Among many other things, Roberts discussed why he never had a lengthy world title feud in WWE with fellow WWE Hall Of Famer Hulk Hogan.
According to Roberts, WWE had different pay levels during his time as an active performer for the company. Roberts wished to work with Hogan because the opponent of the world titleholder got equal pay.
"I just wanted to work with the guy because that's when you got paid. Well, in the WWF, they've got levels, okay? The [World] Champ gets the most money. Okay, I dig it. I understand. Then, the Intercontinental Champ. But, if you're wrestling the Champ, you get the same money, so that's a damn good thing!"
Roberts, who recently weighed in on AEW World Champion Jon Moxley's double-arm DDT finish, said he was going to have program against Hogan, but fans chanting 'DDT' ensured no long feud would take place between the two.
"We shot the angle to wrestle Hulk Hogan in Phoenix [Arizona]. I DDTed him on The Snake Pit, and I go to the back, and Vince McMahon is like, 'stand right here, Jake. It's going to be gold. It's going to be beautiful. In about 30 seconds, they will start chanting, 'Hulk! Hulk! Hulk!' He'll come to his feet, he'll rip his shirt off, and you guys are going to be making money for the next year.'" Roberts continued, "15 seconds, 30 seconds, they weren't chanting. And then, they started chanting, 'DDT! DDT! DDT!' And Vince looked at me and he goes, 'you're screwed.' [McMahon] allowed me to wrestle [Hogan] twice. Once was Providence, Rhode Island. We set a record there. And then, [in] Montreal [Canada] in The [Montreal] Forum, [Le] Forum. We wrestled there and sold it out, man. And Vince says, 'it's not happening again because the fans are split chanting, 'DDT!'' Well, I understood it, however [McMahon] put it out there, but I didn't have to like it.
"But bottom line is I get it. It's all about business and he [has] got $10 million invested in Hulk's merchandise. He [has] got $0.52 invested in mine. And he didn't want to get stuck with Hulk's s--t, so that's when they decided I had to be a babyface. That way, I could get the heels ready for Hulk."
Roberts talked about being told by medical staff that he would never wrestle again following a neck injury.
"I know when I had my neck messed up, they told me I would never ever wrestle again because I had two discs completely gone," Roberts recalled. "And all the surgeons said, 'there's no way in hell you're getting back in that ring.' I said, 'hey, you have no idea, doc. It's a chemical world now!' And I went to Amsterdam [Netherlands] after the surgery and picked up a few products and I came back."
Apparently, McMahon threatened to fine Roberts if he found out that Roberts had been in the gym because his character was supposed to be "slimy" and "dirty", not swole and tan like 'The Hulkster'.
"And at the time of the surgery, I could lift, like, 4 lbs. with my left arm and that was it. I could hardly move my left arm at all. And somehow, within 10 weeks, I had I was doing seated behind the neck presses with 225 [lbs.] and I gained a lot of size. Here's the best part though. I gained, like, 40 lbs., man, in three months, so I went into to see Vince to tell him I was coming back and he almost took a bump out of his chair when he saw me. [Imitating McMahon] 'what the hell's wrong with you?'" Roberts added, "[McMahon] looked at me and he goes, 'Jake, what the hell have you done to yourself?' I said, 'my God, I'm in the best shape of my f--king life! I mean, look at this s--t!' I had big knobs up here on my shoulder and s--t. He said, 'if we wanted Hogan to carry the snake, we'd have Hogan carry the snake!' He said, 'we wanted some slimy, no-good son of a b---h to carry the snake, you know, a guy that looks like he [has] been run through the mill and a little nasty and dirty, a flesh eating bastard.' He told me, he said, 'if I find out that you're in a gym, I'm fining you $1,000 every time.'"
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