July 16, 2005
Graham Cawthon

Ricky Steamboat vs. Jake Roberts
Boston Garden
August 9, 1986
Gorilla Monsoon & Lord Alfred Hayes on commentary
From the Jake "The Snake" Roberts Coliseum Video

Following WrestleMania 2, several of the younger and newer faces in the company were left without programs behind them. Two such names were Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat and the newly arrived Jake “the Snake” Roberts.

Steamboat had been in the company only a year but had already battled against the best the WWF had to offer, from Don Muraco to Greg Valentine. Roberts, on the other hand, arrived just weeks before WrestleMania 2. Though his time in the ring had been brief, a line of preliminary wrestlers had been left in his wake.

The two were paired off to battle in front of millions as part of the season finale of NBC’s Saturday Night’s Main Event on May 3rd. However, Steamboat was blindsided before the bell even began and sustained a vicious DDT on the exposed concrete floor. Ricky had to be taken backstage on a stretcher while his wife helplessly looked on. That incident would result in one of the hottest feuds of the year.

After wrestling across the country, their rivalry eventually brought them to the Boston Garden. On June 27th, Roberts scored a count-out victory over Steamboat. This would be the rematch.

The Match:

The two cautiously lock up and power each other around the ring, where Steamboat eventually lets go and attempts a series of chops, each of which Roberts amazingly blocks by using his forearms. The snake man, with an evil grin on his face, applauds Steamboat’s attempt and alludes to the fact he’s the smarter of the two.

A second lock up sees Jake connect with a shoulder to the ribs. Jake continues with a series of punches but Steamboat fights him off with a few punches.

A little annoying kid can be heard chanting “Jake the Snake” as Steamboat applies a waistlock, which Roberts reverses into an arm bar and wristlock. Steamboat eventually utilizes a few elbows and Jake happily releases the hold so as to avoid further injury.

With both men still cautious of one another, Roberts initiates a test of power but then surprises Steamboat with a kick to the midsection. Jake attempts a bodyslam moments later but Steamboat avoids it, spins around and attempts a chop but Roberts again blocks the move.

Seconds later, Jake has Steamboat back in the armbar. A soft chant of “Steamboat” can be heard. After several failed attempts to free himself, Steamboat eventually sends Roberts to the ropes. After two leapfrogs, the Dragon sets Jake up for a big chop. However, Roberts sees it coming, grabs onto the ring ropes, and pulls himself out to the floor.

With 5:30 gone, Roberts has done an amazing job of not only controlling the pace of the match but making sure his opponent can’t utilize his martial arts skills.

While on the floor, Roberts slowly walks around the ring, making sure to stop by the commentary table and share his expertise with Monsoon & Hayes. Once inside the ring, Roberts wears a proud grin on his face for how the bout has gone thus far, and more or less dares the Dragon to do something about it. Steamboat has a look of both frustration and determination on his face.

Roberts takes control with a headlock and take over, which Steamboat reverses into a head scissors. Jake quickly escapes and goes back to the headlock, which Steamboat again reverses into the head scissors. Roberts misses a clothesline and the Dragon finally connects with one of his trademark chops. Several more follow, sending Jake tumbling out to the floor.

A dazed Roberts takes his time on the floor, quietly referring to Steamboat as a son of a bitch, before walking up the wooden Boston Garden ring steps and reentering the ring.

Back inside the ring, Ricky takes control with a headlock. Roberts sends him off the ropes, where Steamboat slides underneath the legs on the way back and connects with a series of chops and thrusts before landing a punch that drops Jake to the mat.

The two men soon find themselves on the floor, where Steamboat rams Jake face-first into the apron. The battle continues to the ring apron where Roberts avoids a chop and Steamboat inadvertently hits the steel ring post with his hand and wrist, sustaining what appears to be a serious injury in the process.

Roberts drags Steamboat out to the floor and uses the ring post to pull back on the injured hand before slamming it against the barricade at ringside. Back inside, Roberts uses a series of knees to the hand to further aggravate the injury.

Ricky valiantly fights on and hits a snap mare but Jake immediately turns the tide by grabbing the injured hand and forcing Steamboat down to the mat with a wristlock. Roberts uses his boots to push back against Steamboat’s shoulder while he wrenches the hand and wrist. A series of stomps to the hand soon follow.

The Dragon continues to take a beating, with his hand becoming more and more useless, but is able to make the occasional comeback. Jake eventually uses Steamboat’s own momentum to dump him through the ropes to the apron. With Steamboat back to his feet, Roberts drops him throat-first across the top rope.

Moments later, Roberts unravels his wrist tape and attempts to use it to choke out his foe but the referee catches him before he has the chance. In the distraction, Steamboat is able to drop Roberts throat-first across the top to regain the advantage at the 14-minute mark.

Steamboat pulls Roberts out to the floor and throws him against the retaining barrier and the wooden commentary table. Back inside the ring, the Dragon connects with a series of chops to the head, using his good hand. A lackadaisical 2-count follows.

Steamboat goes up top and comes off with a tomahawk chop to the head. Roberts grabs the Dragon seconds later and throws him into the referee, knocking both men down. Jake pulls himself up by the ropes and hits the patented short-arm clothesline on Steamboat. He makes the cover, with the lifeless Steamboat making no attempt to kick out, but the referee is still down. Moments later, Roberts follows up with a gutbuster and again makes the cover but again the referee is unable to make the count.

A frustrated Roberts gets up and goes over to revive the official. The Dragon crawls over and utilizes a roll up, in plain sight of the now conscious referee, to score the 1-2-3 at 17:21.

Roberts is enraged and curses out the referee and ring announcer. Before Steamboat can celebrate his victory, Jake comes up from behind and hits a back suplex. Seconds later, he grabs Steamboat up by the hair, drops him with the DDT, and raises his own arm in victory.

Damien is soon taken out of his bag but Ted Arcidi and Dick Slater run out before any more damage can befall the Dragon.

My View:

Good stuff. Jake’s demeanor is gold here and, though he is the one pinned, his personality and intelligence in the bout easily make him the star of the match. Definitely check this out if you have the chance.

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