wrestling / TV Reports

411’s WWE Rivals Report: Jake Roberts vs. Randy Savage

March 3, 2024 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Randy Savage Jake Roberts Cobra Image Credit: WWE

-This is the one I have been waiting to see since the rundown for this season was announced. Savage is one of my two favorite wrestlers of all time, and EVIL JAKE is awesome. This should be fantastic. Let’s get to it!

-As a reminder Freddy Prinze Jr is our host and is at the table with Kevin Nash, Bayley, Natalya, and JBL.

-Nash talks about the difference in styles with Savage being out his mind with emotion and energy, while Jake was calculated and never raised his voice. He also brings up Miss Elizabeth being the third part of the story and we flashback to when Savage announced Liz as his manager.

-Jake made his WWF debut on March 8, 1986 and Foley brings up that Jake always had the Snake nickname, but didn’t bring a snake to the ring until he came to the WWF. We see people freak out when Jake breaks out Damian. Cody puts over the feeling you would get looking into Jake’s eyes when he would speak. Nash puts over Jake’s skill on the mic and how he made you listen without needing to raise his voice. JAKE IS AWESOME! Hogan says Jake went somewhere a lot of guys weren’t going at the time and that’s being pure evil. Taker loves Jake and the evil streak the character had.

-Freddy notes that Randy always seemed more suited to be the good guy. Eh, Savage was so awesome he was made to play both parts. We see Savage win the WWF Title at WrestleMania IV and get a series of his backstage promos with Gene. CUP OF COFFEE IN THE BIG TIME! Hogan: “The more you watched him, the cooler he became.” Taker talks about the unique voice and we get the Slim Jim commercial.

-Miss Elizabeth next and Prichard says she was unique as there weren’t female managers. Liz was the most beautiful woman in the world to all of us wrestling fans in Hutchinson Elementary School. They discuss Savage being very protective of Liz. YES! “THOSE EYES RIGHT THERE. THOSE EYES LUST ELIZABETH. YOU GOT LUST FOR ELIZABETH.” Hogan says that angle was a shoot and it got crazy. I love that feud so much and here is my recent Retro Review of The Main Event II.

-WrestleMania VII: More greatness as Ultimate Warrior and Randy Savage have one of my favorite matches of all time. Warrior gets the win as he pins Savage with one foot on his chest. Sadly, they don’t mention the epic post match reunion with Liz. Savage was retired and moved to the announce desk.

-Lanny Poffo (from 2022) says Randy was insulted that they took him out of the ring. He wasn’t happy, but was willing to do whatever they wanted. Foley talks about the challenge of a wrestler stepping back into another role that they didn’t dream about doing. Nattie says it messes with your confidence and you question if you can keep up. Bret says he figured Randy would be back as he wasn’t destined to be an announcer.

-Superstars: July 6, 1991: Randy Savage proposes to Liz and this memory is seared in my brain forever. Everything from Piper coaching from commentary to Randy popping the question and Liz taking a second before responding with “Oh Yeah.” I love this all so, so much!

-SummerSlam 1991: Match Made in Heaven as Randy and Liz get married in MSG on screen. I can’t stop smiling watching this. Ted Dibiase notes they were already married in real life, but not on screen. They could make you laugh and make you cry. It just makes me so happy watching this. Sam Roberts notes it was a wrestling wedding that went off without a hitch, which never happens.

-Then we get the reception and Liz opens a present and WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

-Commercials!

-Back to the reception and in the box is a cobra which freaks everyone out. Jake blasts Savage and teases Liz with the cobra. Jake instantly becomes the biggest bad guy in the business. Cody: “Any danger that was presented to Liz, we all felt.” This man speaks the truth.

-Bayley can’t believe they did it, and JBL says Jake is basically seen as Lucifer. The story is that Randy is forced into retirement, so he can’t do anything about it. They trade promos on each other and you can just feel that they mean every word they say. Savage pleads to be reinstated and even got crowds across the country to chant “REINSTATE.”

-Sean Mooney says Jake was always about the snake and the thought everyone had was, “what if it bite someone?” Jake says the cobra at the wedding wasn’t all that scary and says it was a little cheesy. “Hooking the cobra up to Randy was a totally different deal.” No kidding! Now for the moment that scared children all across the world.

-Freddy doesn’t oversell it at all as he calls it one of the most infamous moments ever. Jake: “I heard what we were going to do and I was like, Hell Yeah.” Jake tells the story of Randy being paranoid about people wanting his job (when he told the story to Rogan, he claimed Randy didn’t want people taking his IC Title, which he didn’t hold at the time, but you can forgive Jake), and he didn’t trust anyone. Randy wants to make sure the cobra has had the venom removed, and Jake says of course or he wouldn’t be playing with it. Randy wants Jake to take the bite first. JBL says Randy thinking Jake wants to kill him with a venomous snake is as crazy as Randy agreeing to take the bite. That’s our Macho Man!

-So Jake lets the snake bite him on leg and Randy makes him sit there without taking anything. Randy is cool and is ready to do the deal. Jake is rather pissed which probably isn’t good for Randy considering this man is about to attach a cobra to his arm.

-Superstars: Nov. 23, 1991: Jake wins a SQUASH match and starts poking at Savage who is on commentary. Piper and Vince try to keep Savage calm as he is still a non-wrestler. Jake calls Randy soft as he hides behind the skirt of woman. Jake even gets in a shot at Piper and his skirt. Randy talks a walk to the ring! Jake says this is no bullshit and there is no way Randy can protect himself.

-Commercials!

-Back with Savage walking to the ring. To set the stage of my memory of this moment, I watched this in Smock, PA in my grandma’s living room. The same living room I watched WrestleMania III. Jake continues to taunt Savage and then hits him with a clothesline as the ref tries to hold Randy back. Poffo says that Randy asked him if he would do it, and Poffo said absolutely not, but he’s not The Macho Man. Fair! Jake then ties Savage up between the second and bottom rope as the crowd chants “Macho.” Jake puts on his black glove and goes for the bag as the crowd freaks out. Piper and McMahon are just magnificent on commentary. Bret talks about how nasty that snake looked and he gives Jake credit for even handling it. THE SNAKE BITES AND LATCHES ONTO SAVAGE’S LEFT BICEP. It’s still creepy to watch over 30 years later. It is just going to town on his arm and the crowd is just in shock at what is happening. Savage sells it like death, as you would expect.

-Mooney says he watched on the monitors and wondered how they were going to get the snake off Randy. Jake laughs about how well Randy was selling it, but then realizes he can’t get the snake to let go. That had to suck so much for Randy. Savage’s arm is bleeding at this point. JBL back at the desk: “That snake’s not a worker.” HA! They always say in Hollywood don’t work with animals or children. Jimmy Hart says Randy always did whatever he needed to elevate his character, but he would have never gone that far. Cody mentions they kept saying the snake had no venom, but “they’re no scientists. They’re not veterinarians.” He calls it lunacy!

-Roberts mentions WWF was a cartoon show come to life, but this was very real. Liz rushes down screaming and Piper holds her back as this is just chaos and not something you are used to seeing on Saturday morning. Taker says people ask him how they pulled the snake bite off, and he tells them “the snake bit Randy’s arm.” Savage then sells the bite while wildly swinging at Jake. Savage gets taken away on a stretcher as the cobra just stares at them from the ring. I LOVE PRO WRESTLING SO MUCH! Hogan says it was drastic and beyond what he expected. He says it gave them a great start out of the blocks, but there was no way to match it.

-It seems Randy got sick after the bite with a fever and chills. Poffo says the bacteria from the bite, even if no venom, can do damage.

-Commercials!

-Hogan is still amazed Randy agreed to do the spot. Poffo says that Randy got a fever of 104 and the snake ended up dying a few days later. Randy would tell people that the snake had no venom, but he did. Ha! Back at the table, Nash compares Jake to Satan.

-Jack Tunney bans all snakes from ringside and immediately reinstates Randy Savage as an active wrestler. Well, I would hope so. I mean, there was a lawsuit there if Savage wanted to push the issue and Tunney wanted no parts of that. Talk about an unsafe work environment!

-Savage cuts his return promo and says the only thing he could hear and see was Elizabeth crying. SELL THE STORY BROTHER! Lawler puts over Jake for talking the fans into the building and we hear Jake talk about how he was turned on hearing Randy scream. Savage can equal him on the mic and has the crazy intensity we all love.

-This Tuesday in Texas: Dec 3, 1991: Randy returns in a match against Jake and it’s just a fight. Randy has the arm bandaged, with blood, and Jake tears away at it. The talking heads discuss the psychology of the match and how both Randy and Jake were masters. Randy gets the pin, but that’s not enough and really, who can blame him? He grabs the ring bell, but Jake catches Randy with a DDT. Still my favorite wrestling move of all time.

-Jake goes under the ring and he has a black bag. The crowd is losing it, and out comes Elizabeth. JAKE GRABS HER BY THE HAIR AND…

-Commercials!

-Back with the crowd ready to riot as Jake has his hands on Elizabeth. HE THEN SLAPS ELIZABETH AND I’M PISS OFF WATCHING IT NOW. Prinze says there is no way to do this story today. You think? Bayley and Nattie are stunned it happened. Nash says his mom taught him that you never touch a girl, ever. “She can do whatever she wants to do. Hit you with a shovel. Just get your hands up, but you don’t fire back.”

-Hogan says it showed how much Liz was invested and notes Randy had to approve it, but he was pretty wide open when it came to wrestling. Jake says that when he slapped Liz, Randy never let Liz’s family know that the business was a work. Liz felt they should explain it to them, but Randy is old school, and Taker agrees with Randy’s position. Jake says Liz’s family went crazy on Randy and threatened to shoot him if he ever came back as he didn’t protect Liz.

-Royal Rumble 1992: This is probably the most famous Royal Rumble of all time, and most will tell you the greatest one of all time. Randy and Jake are both in the match, and Jake is in the ring when Randy’s number pop up, and IT’S ON! Savage immediately goes for Jake and throws him out, and then jumps over the rope to eliminate himself. Of course that was a mistake, so they had Heenan cover for that on the air by noting you have to be tossed out.

-Saturday Night’s Main Event: Feb. 8, 1992: Sadly, this is the blow-off for the feud as they needed Savage for Flair at Mania. I assume if Hogan/Flair happens at Mania, then Savage/Roberts blow their feud off there as well. Jake says Savage came in hot and hard the first six minutes of the match, and Poffo says Randy was extra stiff, but it needed to be that way because of the angle. Bret and Dibiase both say they needed to make it as real as possible. Jake responded in kind as he is bleeding from the nose.

-Commercials!

-Savage wins the war as he beats Jake with The Flying Elbow in the middle of the ring. Again, not enough for Savage as he drops another elbow., and then grabs the ring bell, but the officials get Jake out of the ring. Miss Elizabeth hits the ring and we get the proper celebration as Savage as the most over babyface in the company.

-One last bit of business as Jake is waiting behind the curtain with a chair and is going to deck whoever comes through first and it looks like it’s going to be Liz. As an aside, and respectfully, Liz was just stunningly beautiful!! Anyway, Taker makes the save to start his face turn. Taker: “The rest is all history,”

-The table talks about the greatness of the angle and then touch on Savage beating Flair at WrestleMania VIII. Another one of my favorite matches of all time. After I finish with 1989, I am jumping to 1992 for my next year of Retro Reviews.

-They talk about how Savage became the top guy again after that feud. Poffo says that Randy told him after the feud, that Jake had the greatest mind in pro-wrestling. JBL notes that Jake was the ultimate heel, and Jake loved it. Hogan says the rivalry was between two of the greatest performers to ever walk into a ring. TELL EM HULK!

-If you can’t tell, I loved every second of this. I am not ashamed to say that I had a smile on my face the entire time I watched. This is my childhood and I will always hold this period of wrestling in high regard. Savage was on the run of a lifetime from 1991-1992 and this feud was the start of putting him on top of the card again. There is a reason so many people remember this feud over thirty years later, and it only lasted six months with a pair of matches on TV/PPV. It deserved a bigger blow-off, but there were other plans for both men. Both men were excellent in this role and you can’t forget what Elizabeth brought and I really hope fans today realize how important she was to professional wrestling. Highest recommendation for this episode and I think I am going to watch it again. Thanks for reading!