Ask WrestleTalk – Vol. 3

4 years ago by WrestleTalk

What were the reasons for Jake Roberts’ departures from WCW in 1992 and the WWF in 1997?
– Stephanie Edwards

Jake had problems in WCW from day one.

Having held up Vince McMahon for his WWF contract release at WrestleMania VIII (by refusing to work his match with Undertaker unless McMahon let him leave) because he had agreed a deal with WCW that would pay him $750,000 per annum, Jake turned up in Atlanta to find that Bill Watts had taken over from deal-broker Kip Frey. Watts balked at Jake’s gigantic contract, tearing it up in front of him.

With his WWF bridges burned because of the WrestleMania stunt, Roberts had no choice but to take a far lower deal than had originally been promised. Roberts and Watts despised each other, with the latter waiting for any excuse to fire him from the company. When Roberts failed a drugs test and missed house show dates five months into his deal (because he had checked into a Betty Ford rehab clinic), Watts fired him, citing the missed days and test failure as a contract violation.

Following his WWF return in 1996 (in both a wrestling and backstage role), Roberts lasted little over a year before receiving his marching orders. This time he was canned after taking a rental car and disappearing for two days, which caused him to miss shows.

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