This Day In History (October 10th): Heroes of Wrestling

On this day in professional wrestling history (October 10th, 1999), one of the biggest disasters in professional wrestling took place in a small town hotel/casino in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi….Heroes of Wrestling.

Intended to be the first of several series of PPV events featuring several popular stars of professional wrestling from the 80’s & 90’s.  Plans for the franchise was immediately halted due to a litany of issues such as a poor buy rate, bad wrestling & several controversies such as the unannounced replacement of lead commentator Gordon Solie (who became seriously ill with throat cancer at the time, and sadly would succumb to the disease 9 months later), his replacement Randy Rosenbloom had little to no knowledge of professional wrestling and many pundits consider his performance here some of the worst color commentary ever in professional wrestling history.

But the show is notoriously remembered by the antics of Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Roberts was scheduled to face Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart in the main event.  However, Roberts suffered a relapse and consumed a significant amount of alcohol prior to the event.  He cut a promo before his scheduled match and instead of talking about the match with Neidhart, he rambled incoherently talking about the casino setting.

“You don’t want to play cards with me because I’ll cheat. Okay? I cheat. You wanna play 21? I’ve got 22. You want to play blackjack? I’ve got two of those, too! You wanna play…Aces and eights, baby? I got too many of those, too!”

After the promo, Roberts staggered to the ring with his trademark snake. However, upon reaching the ring, Roberts put the snake down and attempted to return backstage; he then reversed course, returned to ringside, and began greeting fans. Before entering the ring, Roberts grabbed a female fan and had her rub her hands on his bare chest. Later, Roberts removed the snake from its bag and simulated masturbation with it. The event’s producers cut to wide-shots of the crowd during the incident, so that at-home viewers were unaware what was happening in the ring. Roberts eventually collapsed in the middle of the ring with the snake draped over his body; the prone Roberts then began to attempt to kiss the snake.

In an effort to salvage the match, promoter Bill Stone decided on the fly to combine the main events into one tag team event and sent Bundy to team with Neidhart and Yokozuna to team with Roberts. Stone then went to ringside himself to consult with the wrestlers. Bundy pinned Roberts by hitting him with a splash after Roberts had staggered and fallen around the ring several times, despite Roberts not being the legal man in the ring.[8] Yokozuna and Stone attempted to salvage the event and Roberts’ reputation by trying to goad Roberts into attacking Stone, making his behavior appear scripted. Roberts was too inebriated to realize what was happening and remained oblivious to Yokozuna and Stone’s attacks. Yokozuna then hit a Samoan drop on Stone to make the entire series of events appear scripted; while Yokozuna attacked Stone, Roberts began to disrobe in the middle of the ring and the producers cut the feed immediately thereafter.

Full results for Heroes of Wrestling:

    • The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & The Samoan Savage) defeated Marty Jannetty & Tommy Rogers
    • Greg “The Hammer” Valentine defeated George “The Animal” Steele
    • 2 Cold Scorpio defeated Julio Fantastico
    • The Bushwhackers (Luke & Butch) defeated The Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
    • Tully Blanchard defeated Stan Lee
    • Abdullah the Butcher vs. One Man Gang ended in a double count-out
    • “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka defeated “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr.
    • Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart & King Kong Bundy defeated Jake “The Snake” Roberts & Yokozuna