On the latest episode of the DDP Snake Pit podcast, AEW performer Jake Roberts talked about working with the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes during the early part of his career.
Roberts described working with Rhodes as easy, and that there was magic in a program involving those two and Kevin Sullivan, which Roberts then described.
“So easy,” Roberts said. “In the tag matches, it was always Barry and I doing all the work and Kevin Sullivan and Dusty sitting, waiting to come in and steal the show, which they did. We had to put the time in. There was a magic night, my first near-death experience I guess, in the business, in St. Petersburg, Florida. It’s Christmas night and it’s going to be Kevin Sullivan wrestling Dusty Rhodes, loser leaves and can’t come back. So, man, all the marbles are on the line. My previous actions had caused the NWA to ban me from the building in St. Petersburg. Those bastards, how can they do that?
“I thought I had the night off. But no, I don’t have a night off. I had to go to the SportArtium there in Tampa and they dressed me up in this ridiculous Santa Claus suit, and they take me over to St. Pete and I’m told, ‘just walk through the crowd, anywhere you want to go, up in the cheap seats, and hand out candy. And don’t get recognized because if you do, you might be in some deep sh-t out there alone.’ You know, because they didn’t much care for Kevin and I.”
Jake Roberts then told the story of working as Santa Claus throughout the night, until it was time for the finish of the match between Rhodes and Sullivan. Ultimately, Roberts helped Sullivan win, sending Rhodes packing from the territory.
“All night long, I go up and down those aisles and hand out the candy to the kids and they take pictures with Santa and all sorts of stuff, and Dusty and he gets in the ring and the cage,” Roberts said. “And at the right time, Santa makes it down to ringside and he’s handing out toys, and stuff, and candy, and he steps over the barricade, and at the right time, he slips Kevin Sullivan something, and he hits Dusty with it. Dusty goes down, cover, one, two, three. Now, they done told me in the back, ‘Jake, expect everything to happen. But don’t leave the area until Kevin gets out of the cage. You guys come back together.’ ‘Okay, okay, okay, I got it. We’ll find our way back, okay.'”
After the angle, Jake Roberts recalled the difficulty getting to the back, saying he had to fight some fans. He also recalled reading the newspaper yesterday, and learning fans were so upset over the angle that they attacked several other Santa Claus’ in the Tampa Bay area.
“I don’t know what I was doing because I was thinking, ‘Kevin’s going to be a big help.’ How wrong was I? Well, let me tell you,” Roberts said. “We made it around the corner and now we got a straight shot to the back, and I’m getting punched and I’m fighting. And I look and there’s no Kevin around at all. I look up at the back, he’s in the back already. He ducked down and just ran through, like this. I can’t duck down like that. I’m not 5’5, you know? I fought my way back.
“Anyway, this is a water tower moment for me, because I’m in the locker room and we can hear the people outside chanting, ‘we want Santa.’ It’s Christmas night, you know, and the police come in and say, ‘we’ve never seen anything like this. There’s got to be 400 people outside waiting for you.’ I’m like, ‘well, they’re not going to get what they want.’ You know, and to hear those people chanting, ‘we want Santa’ and, ‘eff you Santa’, and all that stuff. And then to go home that night, and the next day I get up and pick up a Tampa paper and read that eight Santa Clauses had gotten beat up the night before on the streets.”
To quote this article, please credit DDP Snake Pit and provide an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
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