Adam Knight preps to face Jake the Snake
DOUG LUNNEY - Winnipeg Sun
Adam Knight has battled with several big stars over the years, but — in more ways than one — perhaps none of this scale.
Knight will tangle with Jake (The Snake) Roberts at a Primos Wrestling event at Garden City Shopping Centre on Saturday. A veteran indy wrestler from Winnipeg known as The Outlaw, Knight said it'll be an honour to step in the ring with a WWE Hall of Famer.
"Jake is one of the most well-known pro wrestlers in the last 50 years," Knight said on Thursday. "He was very unique in a time when everybody was a super bodybuilder, because he was the quiet, dangerous guy.
"I have been a big fan of his work and studied his tapes over and over."
Roberts starred with the World Wrestling Federation from 1986 to '92. Bringing massive pythons and cobras with him to the ring, Roberts would take on greats such as Andre The Giant, Randy (Macho Man) Savage, and The Ultimate Warrior in main events.
One of the most bizarre matches of the era — and there were many — had one of Roberts' cobras bite down on the arm of a prone Macho Man.
"That was legitimately crazy," Knight said.
Because of Knight's size and experience, local bookers often line him up against big-name stars. He's gone to the mat with Jim Neidhart, the Honky Tonk Man, and Samoa Joe.
In 2002, Knight teamed with Darren (the Bomb) Dalton to face the Road Warriors, Hawk and Animal, regarded as one of the best tag teams of all time. Sadly, Hawk (Michael Hegstrand) died of a heart attack a year later at 46.
The Ultimate Warrior, 54, died last month of a heart attack as well and the two are part of a lengthy list of wrestlers who have died young. Roberts, while not one of those from the era who had a monstrous physique, also has a well-documented history with drug rehab treatment.
Knight, nearing his 20th year in the ring, is often looked up to by the rookies for advice and, while he doesn't like to preach, he will point out the pitfalls of the business.
"It's about being smart and being able to protect yourself," he said. "I tell guys you only get so many matches, so many bumps, and so many opportunities to get in front of a crowd. Make the most of your opportunity and try to be the best you can be, whether that is through fitness or your diet ... otherwise there are potential dangers.
"History is the only true guide for mistakes that other people have made."
On the other hand, Knight feels pro wrestling gets a bad rap regarding drug abuse and the fast-lane lifestyle that occurred in the '80s.
"You think about the rock stars who died and the actors who died," he said. "Pro wrestlers were living the rock and roll lifestyle, but they never got time off the road and that's where the mileage kicks in.
"Back in the day, some guys were legitimately on the road 300 days of the year, trying to look like bodybuilders, getting two days a month to be home with their families and rest. I'm surprised sometimes more people aren't in horrible condition."
Roberts is expected to be accompanied by a locally owned snake for the Garden City event, as it's tough to cross the border with huge reptiles.
An autograph and photo opportunity with Roberts goes from 3-6 p.m. at the shopping centre, followed by the matches at 7 p.m. For more details, call 204-417-8697.