Jake Roberts has recently revealed on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast that Vince McMahon shelved a potentially momentous WWE storyline involving him and the legendary Hulk Hogan due to an unexpected fan reaction during a Snake Pit segment in the mid-'80s.
As WWE's top billing during this period, Hulk Hogan was promoted as the 'face' of the franchise, with Roberts positioned as the main antagonist. The planned feud, however, abruptly ended following an unexpected turn of events.
During the podcast, Roberts recounted the night he used his infamous DDT move on Hogan during a Snake Pit episode. As he and McMahon listened to the fan response, instead of cheering for Hogan, the crowd began to chant 'DDT, DDT, DDT!', Roberts' signature move.
This unexpected shift in audience sentiment led to McMahon reportedly stating, 'F**k that, it'll never happen,' hence putting the storyline to an immediate halt.
Vince McMahon Decision Alters Storyline
Despite two sell-out bouts between Hogan and Roberts, McMahon made the call not to jeopardize Hogan's marketed image.
Consequently, this decision led to Roberts pivoting to a 'face' character, relegating any other face-off with Hogan to a non-televised live event in 1992. So why did WWE fans rally behind Roberts instead of the franchise's golden boy, Hulk Hogan? Many credits the appeal of the DDT – arguably one of WWE's most renowned finishing moves, later adopted by the likes of Alexa Bliss, The Miz, and The Rock.
Roberts said this: "I think they believed in the DDT. You have to remember I dropped [Ricky] Steamboat with it – I killed him – and now I've dropped Hogan too. I was the worst son of a b***h on the planet... Now and then, a guy will come along, and you can't see him losing.
Well, they're going to get behind that guy." The story highlights the unpredictability of WWE fans and the influence they can have on storylines. Despite a well-laid plan, the audience can sometimes dictate the narrative's direction.
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