Chappell: What was you favorite tag team matchup in the Carolinas and Virginia ? Partner and opponents.


Jacobs: Luther and I wrestled that masked team…the Infernos with Jimmy Dykes. I remember wrestling them in Raleigh, and at the time Raleigh wasn’t drawing real great. The house came up, and we came back and wrestled them again. The next week we came back and wrestled them again…and Dorton Arena was full on one side and the other side was two thirds full.


Let me tell you a little joke about Luther…


Chappell: Okay.


Jacobs: Luther had a little farm up there…he was really a farm boy. I used to tell him that when I was a kid back on the ranch, we had a Stallion padding where we kept the Stallion. And we also had a Jersey Bull, and I tell you, you can’t trust those son of a guns. Every year, there are ranchers killed by Jersey Bulls. They could be nice, you stroke them on their heads…but you turn your back and they’re gonna get you.


So anyways, in the summers there my Dad would send me over with a long handle shovel to do some work on a drain. We had a drain coming off a little stream through a pasture. And this pasture is where we kept the Stallion and the Bull. They would both drink out of it, so every week I was sent over there with my shovel to keep the water running.


So when I was shoveling, this Bull would be standing around looking, watching me. So when I shoveled, I would keep my eye on him. One day, I saw the Bull behind a gorse bush…this is a tall prickly bush that was brought over to New Zealand from England. The Bull looked kind of sleepy, and was just chewing his cud…and I thought, ‘Well, this will be a good time to show this Bull a lesson…he better not be looking at me from close up.’


Chappell: Did you go after him with that long handle shovel?


Jacobs: Yeah…I snuck up on him, and before he could get to his feet I hit him on the rear end with this long handled shovel a couple of times. And, boy, I got two licks in, and he was gone! And after that, every time I cleaned this ditch out, the Bull was on the other end away from me…where I wanted him! (laughs)


So anyways, I told Luther that story. And one night we were wrestling a tag team match…and I had forgotten then that I had told him that story.


During the match, the two guys had Luther, and he couldn’t tag me. They were kicking the daylights out of him for about ten minutes. FINALLY, he got to me and tagged me, and he said to me, ‘Abe, what we need is a long handle shovel!!’ (everybody laughs)


Chappell: How did you react to that?!


Jacobs: Here I was, all concerned about him…and then he tells me that! I just lost it! (laughs)


Chappell: That’s funny!


Jacobs: That’s one of the funniest things that ever happened to me during a match!


I tell you, Luther was a good guy, and he was one heck of a man. 


Chappell: He was a powerhouse, wasn’t he?


Jacobs: He was about five foot seven, and at his best he was about 240 pounds, and there wasn’t an ounce of fat on him.


Chappell: I remember he was in terrific shape. You always kept yourself in outstanding shape as well. Would you consider your conditioning as your major strength as a wrestler?


Jacobs: Yes, I always worked out. As a matter of fact, as an amateur I worked out on the weights…that was in the 50s. And then, that was taboo. The only people that worked out on the weights then were the weightlifters and bodybuilders. None of the athletes worked out on the weights.


Chappell: Why was that?


Jacobs: The old story then was that you’d get muscle bound by doing it. I remember we had an Easter Camp, and they brought in the light heavyweight Olympic Champion, I think from 1952, to help coach us. And anyhow, the head of the wrestling association said, ‘Hey Abe, you’re slowing up, and it looks like you’re getting muscle bound. You better stop working out on the weights.’


I was putting on some weight, but even as dumb as I was then, I didn’t think he was right. I thought I was on the right track, but I didn’t know for sure. But I kept working out on the weights.


That Camp…I had an invite to it, but my invite got thrown out. And the reason was…because I didn’t stop working out on the weights. The way it is now…you get thrown off the team if you DON’T work out on the weights. (laughs)


Chappell: That’s about right!


Jacobs: The last ones to go without working out on the weights were the golfers, and now they’ve started too.


Chappell: That’s right…gotta hit that little ball further and further.


Jacobs: Yes.


Chappell: Abe, the Mid-Atlantic Gateway primarily covers the years from 1974-1986 in Jim Crockett Promotions. This is a time frame where you were in the twilight of your career. Most people that visit our site primarily remember you working opening matches rather than main events. Tell us about that adjustment for you.


Jacobs: (pauses) I don’t do I describe it, David? Every so often then, I would still go out (to other areas). I knew there was nothing here with Crockett for me, because those spots were taken. We had guys, bookers and so forth, and those (top) spots were just taken, so I knew there was nothing for me.


It was just a place to come…somewhere to come. And then I’d often still go overseas… somewhere else to wrestle.


Chappell: I believe you were Ric Flair’s first opponent in the Mid-Atlantic area…in May of 1974. Later into the 70s with Crockett, did you feel as an established veteran you were doing a service of sorts by helping get all that great new talent over?

Jacobs: Yeah, I guess…yeah. And I guess Flair was one of them.


And you know, I saw [Flair] at Tim Woods’ funeral. Sat down…same deal, and he was there, and he never said ‘hi’ to me.


Chappell: Really?


Jacobs: He and [David] Crockett were together, and neither of them said ‘hi’ to me. Well, you know, that’s over now.


Chappell: How long did you stay with Crockett?


Jacobs: I had a confrontation with Ole Anderson way back, and he became the booker here (in 1981). Anyhow, we had a little something going from the past, and he wouldn’t book me anymore. I didn’t quit. When Ole started booking, he wouldn’t book me anymore.


Chappell: When you worked underneath for Crockett in the latter 70s and early 80s, does that period hold any special significance for you? Certainly, a lot of fans like me that were growing up in the 70s primarily remember you in that role.


Jacobs: Well, I guess I’m lucky that people remember me then because I was just one of the undercard guys. It’s a wonder that you knew that I wrestled Lou Thesz! A lot of people in your age group probably don’t know that, and don’t know that I wrestled all over the world…and the best all over the world.


Chappell: You’re certainly very much remembered by fans in the Mid-Atlantic area for your work as an undercard performer. In that slot, did you see your role as being one of putting other guys over, making sure the arena shows got off to a good start…or just having a quality match?


Jacobs: I think just having a good match…that was the most important thing. I knew I still had it in me then…but of course, if you don’t know the right people, things don’t usually happen. It’s politics…politics hits us everyplace in this world, doesn’t it? (laughs) From the guy that’s digging ditches, to the guy that has the highest office in the world! It’s all politics…


Chappell: Did you have a favorite town or venue on Crockett’s circuit?


Jacobs: Well, I think it would be the big towns on the circuit where they drew a lot of money…wherever the payoffs were good! (smiles)


Chappell: Fair answer! (laughs)


Jacobs: But there were a lot of true fans in those days. And of course, in the smaller places you could get out and say ‘hello’ to the fans…and that was good. In the bigger towns, a lot of times you couldn’t do that.


A lot of people here came out to support you, and it was great to get out and talk with them.


Chappell: How did Mid-Atlantic fans compare with fans in other areas and parts of the world you went?


Jacobs: In Japan, for instance, the fans just sit there. They just sit there, and don’t say a word…only occasionally they might say something. The Japanese don’t let their feelings be known…they could be mad, but they don’t usually show it.


BUT, I remember one time when I was wrestling Inoki, and I was on the ring apron, a fan came up and hit me with his umbrella! I gave him a bad look, and he took off running across the tops of the chairs in the arena! (everybody laughs)


People are mostly the same everywhere, but Japan was a bit different.


Chappell: Well, wrestling took you around the world how many times?


Jacobs: Four times.


Chappell: One thing that you are really known for, regardless of what part of the world you were in or what stage of your career you were at, is the Kiwi Leg Roll. A really amazing wrestling hold…I’ve never seen anything quite like it!


Jacobs: (smiles) The Kiwi Roll…I came across that as an amateur. I thought, ‘This is going to be great.’ You know my first match I told you about…against George Bollas in Hastings, New Zealand…I put it on him. That was the first time ever, and there were headlines in the paper… ‘Jacobs Comes Up With New Hold.’


Chappell: Did you come up with the name for the hold?


Jacobs: Yes, I named it. Because, New Zealander’s are referred to as ‘Kiwis.’ The Kiwi is New Zealand’s bird, like the Eagle is here. The Kiwi is a flightless bird, and it’s nowhere else in the world. If you see a New Zealander and say, ‘Hey Kiwi,’ he’s going to answer to you. So…I just called my hold the ‘Kiwi Roll.’


I think there was something written up, in the Mid-Atlantic somewhere…there was a picture and it was said that maybe it was the only hold that’s never been copied?


Chappell: I have certainly never seen anything like it…and to me, that makes your hold very special and unique.


Jacobs: There have been ten or a dozen wrestlers ask me about it, you know, how to do it. And I tell them, ‘Heck, I forgot how. It’s been so long ago.’ (laughs hard)


Chappell: Come on, Abe! (laughs)


Jacobs: (still laughing)


Chappell: How did you come up with the Kiwi Roll?


Jacobs: Just working out in the gym. You have 14,000-15,000 workouts, and you try different things…you know?


Chappell: Can you try to describe the Kiwi Roll, for some of the younger fans that may have never seen it?


Jacobs: Well, you get a leg and you roll him around the ring…


Chappell: Almost in a circular motion, right?


Jacobs: Yeah, yeah. Right around the ring…and of course, you have pressure right across his ankle.


Chappell: To me, the Kiwi Roll was your signature move. Were there others?


Jacobs: Oh, it was. The Kiwi Roll was my signature move…it was a great thing.


Heck, while I was wrestling for Vince McMahon, we had TV in Bridgeport, Connecticut, one day I was heading to Chicago to wrestle in the Amphitheater there, and I was coming off the plane and a guy said, ‘I don’t know your name…but I know you do the Kiwi Roll.’ (laughs)


Chappell: It was, and IS, a very memorable hold!


Jacobs: There are a lot of people now that still ask me about the Kiwi Roll. People will say, ‘What’s your name?’ I’ll say, ‘Abe Jacobs,’ and they’ll have this blank look on their faces. Then I’ll say, ‘Do you remember a guy who used to do the Kiwi Roll?’ They’ll always say, ‘Yeah!’ So they remember the hold, even if they don’t remember me! (laughs)


Somebody asked me fairly recently if I had a son in wrestling. I told them no. (laughs) Then they said they had heard of an Abe Jacobs, Jr. in wrestling now. Somebody trying to steal a little smoke, I guess!


Chappell: Did anything come of this Abe Jacobs imposter?


Jacobs: Well, I got a call. At the time, I was looking after (Ricky) Steamboat’s Gym. The woman on the phone said she was Abe Jacobs’ manager. I told her I didn’t have a manager! (everybody laughs)


She said she had this boy named Abe Jacobs [,Jr.], and she wanted me to come to Asheville to be in his corner when he wrestled. I said, ‘I don’t think I can make it.’ (everybody laughs)


Finally, one day they came down to Charlotte. She came in, introduced herself, and said she had this guy out there, and could she bring him in to see me. I said, ‘Yeah…I’d like to see him!’ He was a tall guy, but he had a big belly and he wasn’t in shape. You know, David, I just wish if some guy would steal my name he would at least be in shape! (laughs)


Chappell: (laughing)


Jacobs: And get this…she wanted me to teach him the Kiwi Roll! (laughs)


Chappell: That hold you forgot how to use, right Abe? (laughs)


Jacobs: (laughing) But anyways, a lot of people remember the Kiwi Roll, because it was spectacular.


Abe Jacobs and David Chappell, Concord, NC, January 2004

Chappell: Without a doubt. Well, Abe, as we finish up, please let us know what you are up to these days.


Jacobs: Well, when I get back to New Zealand…I have a sheep and cattle ranch over there.


I live here in Charlotte. I play a lot of golf. You remember the quarterback, Roman Gabriel?


Chappell: Sure do.


Jacobs: He has a lot of charity golf tournaments…for hospice, cancer and things like that. And I go out and play in all those tournaments. There’s a big one in Greensboro for diabetes. And Brad Johnson, the quarterback for Tampa Bay, has a big charity tournament in May that I’m playing in.


Chappell: And you currently still work some for a Gym in Charlotte, correct?


Jacobs: Yes, it’s not my Gym…it belongs to a friend of mine. I go up there and work for him part time. I looked after Steamboat’s Gym some time ago, and we actually have a lot of members from Steamboat’s old Gym.


Chappell: You still look in great shape yourself, Abe! Seeing you again, is really like turning back the clock for me…because you look just the same as I remember you in the ring! It’s great to see you still going strong. Thanks so much for spending time with the Gateway tonight.


Jacobs: Well, David, I appreciate you asking me. Thank you for having me.