Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts in a Snake Pit match
One of the things that has been well documented since we’ve gone back to 1985 is that many feuds are extended way past what many would believe is the time they should finish. Sometimes you could argue that many feuds did go on too long and tended to drag out just to make as much money as possible, but there are some feuds that stay hot enough that you can run them for just a bit longer and have a hotter blowoff. One of these feuds that seemed to finish last month yet was able to continue on at least to this month was the feud between Jake Roberts and Ricky Steamboat. After Roberts debuted back in March, you knew he was going to be involved in a hot feud to really get him over and Steamboat was the perfect guy to put him with. Coming off his feud with the Magnificent Muraco, it was interesting to see who Steamboat would feud with next and this was a good way to keep him busy since you knew it was only a matter of time before he was feuding for a title. It was cool to see this feud develop over the months as Roberts was clearly getting over with the fans despite being a heel though at the same time they weren’t turning on Steamboat, and as we head into the final match between the two it would be unique to see how it would turn out and if the feud ends on a high note.
As we know, the feud began way back at the 5/3 Saturday Night’s Main Event when the two were set to face off in a match only for Roberts to attack Steamboat before the match and gave him the DDT on the floor, giving him a concussion. Steamboat would stay on the sideline to sell the injury while Roberts continued to gain steam on TV and the house shows, and when he returned they would begin working the house shows including the 5/19 MSG house show with all the matches ending in double DQs. Steamboat would return to TV on the 5/31 Championship Wrestling and attacked Roberts after a squash match, and two weeks later Steamboat would bring out a komodo dragon with him which he claimed was here to counter Damien the snake. The two would continue to face each other across the house shows with Steamboat either pinning Roberts clean, Roberts winning by countout, or the matches ended in double DQs, and on the 7/19 All-Star Wrestling Steamboat would again attack Roberts after a squash match. The two men would then face off at the Big Event in a Snake Pit match per Roberts’ request and both their animals were kept away from the ring, and Steamboat would win the match after Roberts got too arrogant during a pin attempt and Steamboat surprised him. They would compete a few more times on the house shows as it was announced that they would face off one more time here at SNME in a Snake Pit match, and this has been a red hot feud that has benefited both men and it would be interesting to see how the feud plays out here.
Both men give great promos before the match with Roberts giving his in the shower with Damien during which he maintained his confidence despite losing at the Big Event, and Steamboat shows off his dragon which he’ll have with him and the intensity was still pretty high for this match. Steamboat gets a big pop from the crowd while Roberts was red hot as a heel. Roberts clearly looks concerned with Steamboat’s bag as they lock up to start with Roberts working on the arm, but Steamboat turns it around and chops at Roberts before hoisting him up by the arm and hitting a backdrop for a two count. Steamboat hits an armdrag and goes back to the arm as he drags Roberts to his corner which freaks him out, and Roberts gets a shot in only for Steamboat to reverse a whip and he leaps over Roberts before hitting a flapjack for a two count. Roberts rolls outside to regroup only for Steamboat to chase him back into the ring and he hits another armdrag before going back to the arm, and he pulls Roberts close to his bag again which freaks Roberts out when it starts moving and he continues to work the arm. Roberts rakes the eyes and whips Steamboat into the corner only to miss a charge and then Steamboat slingshots him into the corner, and he slams Roberts to the mat before going up top only for Roberts to get his knees up on the splash attempt. Roberts crawls for his bag until he notices Steamboat crawling for his and he stops Steamboat from getting it as he picks him up and hits a gutbuster for a two count, and he stomps on Steamboat and nails a shot to the ribs before nailing a punch and hitting a short clothesline for a two count. Roberts hits a slam on Steamboat and drives the knee into the ribs twice before pulling Steamboat up by the hair and slamming his head into the mat, and he chokes Steamboat on the mat as Steamboat tries to battle back only for Roberts to slap him in the face. Steamboat surprises Roberts with a chop only for Roberts to get a kick in and he hits a running kneelift, and he pounds on Steamboat and hits a snapmare for a two count as Steamboat rakes the eyes and he slams Roberts’ head into the mat. Roberts recovers first and hits an atomic drop on Steamboat only for Steamboat to duck a shot and he hooks a crucifix, getting the three and winning the match. After the match, Roberts knees Steamboat in the back and sends him to the outside as he goes out himself, and he picks Steamboat up and rams his back into the post twice before throwing him back into the ring. Roberts crawls to his bag and takes out Damien only to back off when he sees that Steamboat has pulled out the dragon out of his bag, and after a staredown Roberts charges only for Steamboat to scare him out of the ring with the dragon. Roberts pulls Damien out of the ring and heads to the back as Steamboat celebrates with the dragon.
The match itself was very good for the short amount of time it was given as both men worked hard and put on a solid match for TV. Steamboat was clearly hitting his stride as one of the best workers in the company by this point and Roberts was also a really good worker as well, and their chemistry has grown since the feud started back in May and they put on a fun sprint. It was weird that they did the “Snake Pit” stipulation again like they did at the Big Event and they didn’t utilize it here, but considering how short the match was they couldn’t go all out in a wild brawl. Even though Bobby Heenan did a good job on commentary at the last SNME, it was good to have Jesse back in the booth as he puts both guys over while ripping the ref for his inconsistent counts to the point that even Vince is agreeing with him about the counts. I thought it was cool having the snake and the dragon out there as well as it paid off that part of the feud with the dragon prevailing over the snake. Again, you do wish that it could’ve went longer than just over 6 minutes as the action was pretty hot throughout the match, but being on SNME hamstrung them a bit in that they couldn’t go too long though it was good to see the feud come to an end with Steamboat getting the win. The crowd was pretty hot for the match and popped for Steamboat when he won. Steamboat gets the win over Roberts in the “Snake Pit” match and both men move on as Roberts looks for his next feud while Steamboat is seemingly ready to take the next step.
Final Grade: **1/2