Jake “The Snake” Roberts has been involved in the wrestling business for a long time and has witnessed many things in his time, both in the ring and behind the scenes, but he never saw anything quite like the 1996 incident at Madison Square Garden that came to be known as the Curtain Call.
“I remember being at the Garden when that happened,” reminisced Roberts on his podcast “DDP Snake Pit”. “It got ugly in the back. There was a lot of shouting. [Vince McMahon] just stood there and watched. Freddie Blassie was absolutely maniacal. He was in a total meltdown.”
Roberts added that he still stands by his original views and he doesn’t care what people think.
“There were a few others who were pretty hot. I was one of them. I didn’t think anybody had the right to go out there and do that,” he said.
The incident took place during an un-televised house show on May 19, 1996. Kayfabe was still intact at this point in time, meaning wrestlers were expected to stay in character even when the cameras were off. World Championship Wrestling was the top competitor to what was then known as the World Wrestling Federation, and Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were jumping ship to WCW for financial reasons — this show in Madison Square Garden would be both of their final appearances for the company. Hall would face Triple H, while Nash took on reigning WWF Champion Shawn Michaels in the main event. The four were notoriously good friends backstage — along with Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, they were collectively known behind the scenes as The Kliq.
When the match was over, Triple H and Hall joined Michaels and Nash in the ring, and the four men hugged one another in a touching moment of farewell as Hall and Nash prepared to depart. The only problem: Hall and Michaels were babyfaces, and Triple H and Nash were heels. They were supposed to hate each other, not be friends. A fan managed to capture the moment on camera, which would cement the moment as infamous in wrestling history — kayfabe was blown wide open and fans were suddenly confronted with the reality that these men were not really the characters they portrayed in the squared circle.
Roberts worked with the WWE on and off from 1986 to 1992 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He previously worked for WCW, ECW, and TNA, and can presently be found on AEW programming as the manager of Lance Archer.
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