Jake Roberts discusses King of the Ring 1996 and the rise of Steve Austin.
Throughout the spring of 1996, Jake Roberts began working with Steve Austin on the house show loop as the two prepared for their showdown at King of the Ring. Speaking to the Milwaukee Record, Roberts discussed working with Austin and how he saw money in him right away.
"It was important for me because Steve had came to the WWF and, you know, he was kind of treated poorly a couple of other places and not been given the shot. You know, to make himself known, really. You know, he was Stunning Steve for awhile and he was with DiBiase as the Ringmaster," said Roberts. "And I was writing television at the time for Vince [McMahon] and I told Vince, 'That’s your guy right there' and he’s like 'Are you kidding? No way, Jake. That guy is middle of the card.' And I’m like, 'Really?'"
Roberts continued, "From that point on, I started getting with Steve every night. If I wasn’t in the same town with him, he would call me. I’d go over his match. I’d go over and talk to him about doing different things, and saying different things, and creating, and we put it together. He just had to be himself, basically. That was the problem. They let him be himself and he became Steve Austin."
Austin defeated Roberts in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament and in his famous "Austin 3:16" victory speech, played off Roberts' love of God and "Bible thumping" when discussing the ass-whooping he just laid on Roberts. Roberts revealed that the material did not offended him and was actually upset that Austin didn't take it further.
"The Austin 3:16 thing, everyone was like, “Oh, that must have really upset you.” Are you kidding me? You know how many people opened the Bible just to check that out who had never even opened a bible before, you know? Yeah, I’ve got my relationship with God. He knows where I’m going, I don’t, but he does. So that didn’t offend me at all," he stated. "The only thing that kind of upset me is they didn’t put the money maker out there which would’ve been Austin’s 10 commandments. You know: Thou shall not kill unless thou are pissed. Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife unless she’s really hot. Thou shall honor thy mother and father unless they’re jerks. You know, right on down the line. You could’ve had a lot of fun with that. That would’ve been a great seller, no doubt. Steve Austin, that was a…you know, a lot of guys can help themselves in this business. But to me, the people that mean the most are guys that can help everybody, and that’s what I prided myself on. And that was my job in the WWF."
Jake Roberts is currently on the road and performing his one man show titled "Tales from The Pit." The routine is described as "an uncensored night of comedy, stories from the road, Q&A, and more."