December 31, 2009
Josh Powell

Jake "The Snake" Roberts vs "The Natural" Dustin Rhodes
WCW Saturday Night
taped 9/21/92, aired 9/26/92

This bout opened up the September 26, 1992 edition of WCW Saturday Night. "The Living Legend" Bruno Sammartino joins play-by-play man Jim Ross for the call of the action. The combatants are already in the ring when JR sends it there.

Dustin has the early advantage as he uses his agility and technical skills to frustrate the Snake. After a bit Rhodes fixes in on Jake's left arm. I guess Jake's 1992 spell in WCW would probably be considered the end of his prime period even though he didn't make a long term impact there. He would have another run in the WWF a few years later, but it was not top notch stuff. Here he was about a month away from his one true big match in WCW with Sting in Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal at Halloween Havoc for which the promotion was well underway. Roberts in 1992 was still doing all the big and little things that made him a great psychological performer. His skills are in full effect early on in regards to selling. The first 8+ minutes of the match are dominated by Dustin attacking Jake's arm using various locks and strikes. The Snake gets literally no offense in except for maybe a short knee to the midsection. It is not at all boring though because of a combination of movement by both wrestlers and Jake's reactions.

Roberts finally is able to get some kind of offense with a thumb to the eye. A whip is reversed by Dustin who ducks, but Jake then appears to hurt his knee coming down from a leapfrog. Of course it's a ruse as the Snake nails Dustin with a right hand as he's stumbling to his feet. Jake tosses Rhodes to the outside of the ring and does damage with some borderline cheap shots. Back in the ring and Roberts methodically takes control as he fully recovers his strength from the sustained arm attack. Bruno notes that Roberts seems to be concentrating on throat shots as Jake clotheslines Dustin on the top rope. A sleeper turned reverse chinlock follows. Dustin quickly hiptosses out of that, but Jake counters with a running clothesline. Jake hits a short arm clothesline with the traditional left arm and then sells it like that wasn't such a good idea. The DDT is called for. Roberts goes for it, but Rhodes counters it with his own short clothesline. Jake comes charging, and Dustin gets a knee up followed by a running lariat which gets a two count. Dustin hits a couple slams, a bionic elbow, and the bulldog. The ref counts 1-2, but Jake's leg is draped over the bottom rope. Dustin thinks he's won and gets up to celebrate. A knee to the back and a DDT later, Jake the Snake gets the 1-2-3.

Result: Roberts def Rhodes via pinfall at 14:18

In my opinion this is a good example of why the Bill Watts-era of WCW is fondly remembered by quite a few wrestling fans. Almost 15 minutes of straightforward, few frills but exciting pro wrestling between two people who know what they are doing with no interference, a clean pin, and the correct winner for the particular situation. I am by no means Mr. Old School or some kind of purist, but when I think of pro wrestling this is the kind of thing that's in my mind. This one's a winner.

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